Wednesday, June 30, 2010
In the post he talks about how some beginning teachers are so worried about being rated by their superiors that they sometimes lose focus as to how to read their actual audience which is in fact the students. At the end of the day we should be more worried about what the students walked away from our lesson with than how our superiors are rating us. If our students are learning, and enjoying while they learn, aren't we doing our jobs as teachers?
Another point that Mr. McClung made was that we need to remember to be flexible. Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world and so our lesson plans do not always go as smooth and perfect as when we plan them. This isn't something to become frustrated with we just have to simply learn that this is inevitable and how to take it in stride.
"Be Reasonable" This simple statement holds quite a bit of meaning. I think that teachers should set high expectations for their students but not so high as they are unattainable. Think of how frustrated you would be if there were always these goals set before you but you just simply couldn't quite reach them even though you were doing your very best. You wouldn't keep trying for long if no matter what you still failed. Students will be the same way. If we set the expectations too high they will eventually quit trying all together. Set the goals in an attainable range and praise their good work and they will be more likely to take on even harder work in the future.
I think all new teachers could learn a lot from this post, because I sure did and I am not yet a teacher.
Thank You Mr. McClung for your insight and help.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
These are the comments I left for Mr. Ferlazzo on the blogs that I read.
Hi Mr. Ferlazzo,
My name is Christina Motes and I am a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama, Mobile AL. I am currently pursuing my degree in secondary education and mathematics there at the university. As part of an assignment for EDM310 I will be following your blog for the next several weeks and then summarizing my visits and comments on my own personal blog.
I had no idea that something like Docs Teach from the National Archives was available but I am glad that I can now add that to my list of available teaching tools. I visited the page and was quite impressed and can’t wait until I can use this. I am learning everyday about all the technological tools available for teachers to use. Thank you so much for posting such helpful websites.
EDM310 Class Blog
Hi Mr. Ferlazzo,
My name is Christina and I am part of Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class, I have posted on one of your previous blogs.
Thanks for another helpful website to check out. In the EDM310 class I am required to do student blogging myself and this was very insightful on why we are completing these assignments. If at all possible in my future teaching opportunities in mathematics I will incorporate student blogging.
Hi Mr. Ferlazzo,
Thanks again for this useful post. I went to your “Best Applications for Annotating Websites list” and found all the information very helpful there. I am a student myself so any tools that help with studying and learning are greatly appreciated.
Also after my first comment Mr. Ferlazzo immediately emailed me and this was his response:
I hope you find the blog useful, and wish you well in your career!
Sunday, June 27, 2010
I was moved beyond words while watching Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams. After learning about his health condition and his only having a short time left to live I was amazed with his demeanor, character, and just his happiness in general. I only hope that if ever put in a similar situation I could remain so gracious and use even that as a teaching tool. God bless him and his family.
I personally think that Mr. Pausch would be the perfect teacher to have. He seems to have all the characteristics of a perfect teacher. He remained focused on "enabling others to achieve their dreams" which in turn was part of his achieving his own personal dreams. I think that is exactly what all teachers should be striving for, enabling their students.
I was amazed further when Mr. Pausch went on to tell about how he focused on a way of teaching in "alice" that showed students how to do something really hard and complicated but since it was fun to them they responded eager to learn or have fun. He went about teaching, not in the traditional sense of textbook learning, but leaning more to project base learning and hands on experience (much like this class) where his students learned by doing something themselves vs. reading about someone else doing it. I through experience have learned that not only does this seem to be the most rewarding aspect of learning but it also seems to be more of what sticks with me through life. He was there as a teacher to set the expectation, challenge, affirm good behaviors, and help students correct some not so good behaviors.
Mr. Randy Pausch has definitely challenged me in this video and inspired me to be the best teacher possible. I cannot imagine better attributes in a teacher or person in general. After watching his video my interest was piqued so I googled "alice" and was able to find the website for the "alice" program that he kept mentioning. Since my major, prior to my switch to secondary education, was computer science I found this whole idea very interesting and am currently in the process of downloading some of the software to try. I am very excited.
Thank you Randy Pausch for your dedication to achieving your childhood dreams which in turn drove you in your dedication to be an amazing teacher. I hope to be even have an ounce of your wisdom and teaching abilities.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
This Is How We Dream, Part 1&2 by Dr. Richard E. Miller was yet another set of videos that made me feel like I am very behind in things. The way he showed writing evolving so fast left me second guessing the last papers and reports that I have turned in.
I have to agree with him when he points out that, how much more compelling is a report that includes video, audio, visual aids, as well as text, all of which can be posted online so that not only can your teacher and classmates can see but the whole world, compared to a simple text document. If you were trying to get out valuable information you would more than likely reach a lot more people and have genuine interest with this new way of writing vs. the old word processor way.
To answer the question as to if I write this way, the answer unfortunately is not enough as I should. Do I think my students will write this way? Most definitely, and I would not consider myself a good future teacher if I was not catching up and learning the same things my students will be doing. I cannot expect quality work from students if I am not already giving that myself.
The similarities between The Networked Student video, by Wendy Drexler, and this EDM310 class seem very similar. I understand that "The Networked Student" could even be taking it a step further than we are but I think Dr. Strange is teaching us how to use many of the same tools.
In the video the question is raised as to why does the networked student even need the teacher? The answers did not surprise me but reminded me as to what teaching is all about. The teacher is there to guide, encourage, help when needed, advice, and empower the students with the tools that they need to learn. The networked student's teacher is not cramming information down the student's neck but rather showing them how to find information, request help, and share their knowledge with the world.
I absolutely love this video. I personally am a a person that learns and retains the most when I have spent the time to research and find out for myself. I'm not sure if that is because I feel it is even more valuable since I have spent the blood, sweat, and tears working on it or if I feel that it's more rewarding to find out new things on my own. However, as all students I still like the reinforcement of a teacher telling me if I'm doing a good or bad job, someone I can go to for advice, and simply a guide on how to get started and to keep me on the right track.
Michael Wesch's video Toward a New Future of Whatever was very interesting. I particularly liked his history of the word "whatever" as well as "meh". I definitely see we are experiencing the things he talks about everyday. In school students still seem to have the "whatever" or "meh" attitude in one of it's many meanings. This attitude makes it a challenge for teachers to present students with material that they feel passionate about or at the very least a decent amount of interest in because there are so many other stimulating things in the generation that we live in. However, as teachers this is ultimately our job.
My first C4K assignment was Jordan's Blog from Miss T's Classroom.
Miss T's Classroom blog is for her 5 and 6 year students in New Zealand. The page was designed to get the parents involved and keep them involved with what their children are doing at school as well as a local place for information for the students.
Jordan's Blog was very interesting. He had reviews of books that he was reading as well as just videos that were important to him in some way, whether that be just as entertainment or something he saw a message in. I commented on Jordan's blog telling him how much I enjoyed my visit there and of the good work that I thought he was doing. I also included a few things about myself like where I was from, where I was attending school, EDM310, as well as a link to my blog.
This was a great experience of seeing students using technology.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Almost the same feelings are expressed by Bill Ferriter in his post, Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards. Mr. Ferriter even goes as far as to say that he has given his interactive board away. Both of these gentlemen express some very intense feelings on the idea of SMART boards.
While I do not completely disagree with both of these men I cannot agree 100% either. Having experienced lessons with and without the use of SMART board I can appreciate some of the advantages as well. Students today like to use technology, and the chance to use the SMART board is an incentive to many students when giving reports. It gives them a sense of creative freedom when doing presentations that just simply doesn't exist with the use of normal blackboards. Also, I know from experience that when teachers are writing things on the board for you to copy as notes it is sometimes hard to get every single thing before they are erasing and going on to the next time. SMART boards allow teachers to save anything that has been written on a SMART board and posted on the internet for the students to refer back to at a later time.
While the idea of using a SMART board is totally opinionated this is a link I found interesting and helpful when looking at advantages to utilizing interactive whiteboards. Why Do Teachers Love SMART boards? is a website where teachers from all over have went and posted what they love the most about SMART boards so school board officials and principals can see the potential and possibly approve the funding to put these boards in their schools.
Watching the Chipper video as well as the EDM310 for dummies was a very interesting experience. Both videos showed a great amount of thought and creativity as well as the "chipper" video teaches several great lessons about being successful in life.
They were made you think of what were some possibilities for other movies? Maybe like the "chipper" movie we could make a video showing kids the consequences for drug and alcohol abuse just like chipper found out the consequences for procrastinating on school and work? Cliche maybe but I still think it would be a good idea.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
After exploring the list of websites given by Dr. Strange I have a whole new outlook on podcasts. They can be a fun new way for students to do reporting on subject matter and if teachers have lectures or assignments recorded then they are always available to the students and not just during class time. Also it gives the parents a chance to get involved and know what's going on with their children.
The Eagle Nest Radio & Class Blog is a perfect example of students using podcasts to further learning, use creativity, and have fun in the process. This was a podcast made by 3rd graders on the things they were learning about the ancient Romans.
I was amazed at the ability and creativity that these students showed and the amount of detail they were able to put into this podcast. Also the teacher that assigned this should be commended for taking the initiative for wanting the children to learn about podcasting and incorporated their class work as well. I can guarantee these children will never forget the facts they used to make this fun podcast.
Another set of amazing students are shown in the Langwitches Blog. This group of students took what they were learning about space and the solar system and created an entertaining and fact filled podcast. The teacher of this class asked another teacher to come in and show the students all about podcasting and creating a storyboard and the students took the knowledge and ran with it.
The podcast tells a creative little story, made up by the children, about space and the solar system but the catch is that all the facts that the students have to use in the podcast. It showed real creativity of not only the students way of showing their knowledge of the material but it also is a fun way to teach other students the same material.
So after seeing these podcasts I wondered, where to find great podcast like these? The Education Podcasting Network was a helpful website to answer this question.
This website is a library of sorts on educational podcasts that can be used for education. There are podcasts on practically everything, like mathematics, english, technology, and even theatre and drama. I will definitely be referring back to this website in the future when I begin teaching.
If you are still wondering about the benefits of podcasting, a how-to guide, or any other basic information, Judy Sharf Podcast Collection is a great website to visit. I found so much of this website helpful. There is info on what is a podcast, how to podcast, sample timelines for podcasts, and even sample assignments for student's podcasts.
Overall I feel very enlightened on yet another piece of technology available to us as teachers and students. I'm excited about this new knowledge and tool to put in my teaching belt.
Friday, June 11, 2010
According to his website he is an Associate Professor of Educational Administration at Iowa State University. Also the Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE). Then I was also surprised to find that he was also a co-creator of the Did You Know? 3.0 video we watched for our first blog assignment.
His strong feelings in "Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please" now make much more sense. Not that I didn't agree with him already. My interpretation was that children/students who's parents/teachers don't teach them to be "technologically literate" they are directly effecting on how successful they will be in the future or how many opportunities they will have. It's simple, in the near future the more technologically savvy we are the better chance we have to be successful. Teachers should feel a direct responsibility to these future students and should do everything in their power to ensure their ability to be successful.
In the video The iSchool Initiative Travis proposes a plan for all the financial cuts going on in the education system today. He talks about the costs of things in school like copies, paper, pencils, etc and how money could be saved by using the iTouch and it's applications. He goes even further to propose and iSchool plan.
I see a couple problems with his plan and that would be the costs of the iTouch. One for every student and one for every teacher is going to add up really fast. Then there's the question of who supplies the iTouch? The school? The parents and teachers? I definitely agree with Travis that technology should be used but I think we first need to implement more of the technology that is already available in the schools before we start asking them to buy more. The iTouch plan will not work if teachers first aren't willing to use technology.
The video Watch the Lost Generation was very interesting. The creator of the video starts off by reciting, line by line, a story of sorts of how in the future work will be more important than family, divorce will be inevitable, "money makes me happy", and that she is the lost generation. Then the video starts to sort of go backwards with the creator of the video reading each line but in opposite order. The same thing she said only with the lines in reverse order says that she will not be the lost generation, "money makes me happy" is a lie, divorce will not be inevitable, and that family will be more important that work.
I think the author was saying that we have to make a conscious effort and decision to do things that "change the world". I have to say that I agree with her. If we go by all the statistics alone of course we won't change anything. It's the people who try to change things or "make a difference" are the people who are remembered in history.
Eric Whitaker's Virtual Choir should show anyone the countless opportunities that can be found by using the internet. This was a beautiful vocal piece performed by over 100 people who never actually met but used the internet to post their contribution to the song, and then the composer put all the pieces together to make a beautiful song that sounds like it was performed in a recital hall with all of these singers present. But it wasn't performed in a recital hall with all the singers present. This is just a small show of the power of the internet.
I have also seen a similar video on youtube by the famous composer Tan Dun. His composition is called "Internet Symphony, Eroica".
Here is the video if you would like to take a look.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
A Vision of Students Today by Michael Wesch describes about 75% of my college experience. I always spend lots of money on books I barely(if at all) use, half of my classmates don't come to class, and I'm just not motivated to concentrate during class or participate in class because I know all my teacher is concerned with is that I pass the tests. Now there are exceptions to this, EDM310 for example as well as a few other classes I have taken. The exceptions are generally the classes I take the most from and the classes that I most enjoy. When a teacher finds a way to challenge students in other things than just spitting back facts and figures thats been crammed down our throats it's actually quite enjoyable. I think all teachers should watch this video and it should be a wake up call on what they can do so that these students in the video are not their students.
"It's Not about the Technology" is an article by Kelly W. Hines. In this article Ms. Hines talks about that it's not the technology that is the essential part that is missing in schools. In fact it's the teacher's lack of use of technology or actually knowing how to use and implement the technology available to them in the classrooms.
Here are the comments I posted on her entries. If you would like to read the articles please check out her blog.
I really enjoyed reading this blog. My name is Christina Motes and I am not currently a teacher but am a student at the University of South Alabama as a secondary education/math major. I am currently taking EDM310 and as part of my assignment I am going to be following your blog for the next few weeks and then posting a summary post on my own blog. I will also be linking my post to the blog for my EDM310 class.
Since I am not a teacher yet I have not attended conferences or workshops like the ones you were talking about. However as a student I feel like I can relate on a certain level. You mentioned that working together with people and building relationships with people helps you to learn as well as makes it more enjoyable and that you are more likely to remember. I fully agree. As a student whenever a teacher conducts a class in a way to where he/she gets the students involved with the course content as well as the other classmates and we actually get hands on experience versus just being told it is much more beneficial, enjoyable, and I feel I walk away with much more.
It sounds like you have really grasped the meaning of a productive workshop for teachers and are striving to improve with each workshop you conduct. Good luck with everything and I am looking forward to reading more on your blog!
Wow this was really interesting. I had never thought of having an entire k-12 school online. Since I am a student that was homeschooled my entire life before college I can recognize the advantages of this. I am sure my mom would have appreciated the extra help when it came to teaching some higher level high school course to me right after she was teaching second grade material to my younger brother.
I understand as well the trying to solve the integrity problem but I’m sure this is something that could be taken care of with enough dedication.
I definitely agree with you that sometimes teachers get so caught up with teaching their prepared materia,l and also some who are trying to learn new techniques to use in the classroom and with technology, that they lose sight of what the desired end result is. Ultimately teachers should be wanting to help students become the type of diverse people that you saw in the event you attended. If we only produce students who just have a basic knowledge of general education but who don’t take that knowledge and accomplish anything, have we really succeeded as teachers? Please note that by “accomplish” I don’t mean that the students have to be famous for something they did or are doing but I mean that they take what they learn and use it in some form or another.
My EDM310 Class Blog
Friday, June 4, 2010
In the video "Did you know 3.0" (available on www.youtube.com) Mr Karl Fisch points out many interesting facts about the world and the fast way it is evolving. I was not only unaware of many of the facts but was in fact quite shocked to learn of them.
However it was not only the little facts that were enlightening. This video really made me stop and think of just how important technology is to the world we live in, and how that importance and need increases with every passing day. During the first class for EDM310 Dr. Strange asked the entire class whether we thought that teachers should be technologically literate? I didn't really spend a lot of time pondering this question at first, I just knew that I thought yes they should, but I didn't think about why. Watching this video made me realize why. How can we as teachers (or future teachers in my case) be teaching children without first familiarizing ourselves with the tools available that obviously the children are already very aware of? I think teachers have to work harder to stay up to pace with their students in the technology world and still be able to teach them something new as well. How can students have respect for and want to learn from a teacher who doesn't even know the basics of internet, email, online teaching tools, etc? This brings me to the next video I watched.
"Mr Winkle Wakes" by Mathew Needleman is a short cartoon about an old man who wakes from a 100 year sleep to find the world very different from the world he knew upon going into that long slumber. He is immediately overwhelmed by skyscrapers, computers, printers, and basically technology in general. However he enters a school and immediately feels very comfortable in familiar surroundings because nothing has seemed to change. All the desks are in a straight line, children are sitting and listening to a teacher lecture, and taking notes traditionally just as he remembers.
My question is this, should schools still be this traditional? Please don't misunderstand me, I am not criticizing teaching in it's most tradition sense. However I am saying this, if there are more tools available to create a more involved, interactive, and hands on learning shouldn't we be using them? I just think that sometimes we are scared to try new things when teaching people, but one of the first things I learned about people is that everyone has a different learning style. Some people learn from simple hearing while others need to actually see something and experience it to learn about it. Today's technology makes tools easily available to us that should help us reach a larger amount of students.
"If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original." This was my favorite quote from Sir Ken Robinson from his talk on "The Importance of Creativity". Throughout out his speech he talks about how traditional teaching focuses on of course mathematics, science, history, and grammar. Progressively as we get older we are taught that the arts and creativity are not important because ultimately we think that most of us cannot get a job knowing and doing things like dancing, drama, etc.
I agree with Sir Robinson but my thought is this, what if we were taught things like math and science just like now but we were taught equally in the arts? Students were allowed to be as creative as they like but still mastered all the skills of math and science and had a vast knowledge of history? Imagine the next generations level of intelligence and the things they could accomplish. I was listening to a discussion last night and someone said that ingenuity was someone's ability to think outside the box when faced with a problem and being able to solve it without knowing the "proper" way to begin the problem. I agree very much with this statement and I think the way to empower people to do this is to encourage creativity as well as traditional knowledge.
After watching Vicki Davis in the video on www.edutopia.org called "Harnessing Your Students' Digital Smarts" I have an immediate respect for her and will be frequenting her blog. In this video she shows the importance of technology to students, the opportunities it creates, and also the importance of helping them really learn how to do things for themselves rather than being taught a list of instructions.
I was homeschool student my entire life from K - 12. I remember getting so frustrated with my mom because every time I asked what a word meant her response was simple, "go look it up". I always complained that it would be much easier and time efficient if she just would tell me the meaning since obviously she already knew it. She never would just tell me though, she said I would be more likely to remember after I looked it up than if she just told me. She was right. There are not many words that I looked up that I do not still know the meaning and all it's uses.
I said all that to get to the point that Vicki Davis reminds me of my mom in that area. She makes gives the students the tools they need but make them find things and learn for themselves. This is probably one of best teaching practices that I can think of just because I know from experience that it works and I feel much more prepared for the world because of it.
For anyone who would like to check out Vicki Davis here is a link to her blog.