Monday, November 22, 2010

PROJECT 15 (Trailers for Books)

Trailers For Books
Ice Station by Matt Rielly

Beauty by Susan Wilson

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Additional Assignment #5

My review of four posts from Tom Johnson's Adventures in Pencil Intergration

Just teach them to solve for X
Instead of having the students solve for 'x' in math class.  Tom Johnson has the kids create metaphors to explain the concept of 'x'.  The CANDY LAND specialist inturrups his class because she doesn't agree with this method of teaching.  She thinks, in math, you should be taught cold hard truths, truths so the students can understand the world.  As Tom (Mr. Spencer) explains, there is no clarity like this in the learning process.  While we learn there is mud and confusion and mishaps.  Then, there is understanding and clarity.  Learning is messy.

Sketchy Portraits: 8th Grade Identity and Pencils
 I like to keep in mind that he is talking about computers and technology in general.  Yes, I thought it was pretty obvious of this fact when I was first introduced to this blog.

But, this post delves into more of the psychology of why middle schoolers behave the way they do.  They want to be treated as kids and adults.  They want to have freedom and govern themselves, yet they still cling onto the security of childhood.  This is just the nature of a middle schooler.

It's important to be shaped by the students we teach

He Just Likes the Class for the Pencils
So, a boy is accused of being disrespectful in all his class but the one that uses technology (Tom's class).  The other teachers write off Tom as not having a voice in the meeting because the boy likes Toms class,; he likes Mr. Toms class beacuse of the technology.  But, as you find out, he boy enjoys Mr Tom's class for more than the techonolgy.  Mr Tom actually listens to the student.  There is a mutual level of respect.  Tom Johnson is an innovative teacher and even though he is using technology, the students love his class for reasons beyond the technology.

The Medium Shapes the Learning
The tool we use, the medium we teach with, shapes our learning.  I about typed, "shapes the students learning" but I would like to steer away from the notion of the the students are the ones learning.  The classroom it is our learning experience not just the students.

This was a very thought provoking post.  As new technology comes out (not just the pencils any more but film and telegraphs), we must understand how to effectively teach with each, and understand how the medium creates an experience...which determines what we learn.

Blog Post 13

Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX)
Okay what is ALEX?  It is a library of lesson plans and other materials (such as web links).  Teachers can collaborate material, and I really like that the lesson plans were detailed and outlined to cover content standards (based on Alabama curriculum).  The search engine made finding useful material easy and most of the science lessons looked very interesting.  The lessons I looked at used methods of teaching that incorporated a lot of hands on experience!  I like that!  Yes, I definitely think this is a useful source to find lesson material. 

It is Alabama's distant learning initiative that is targeted at Alabama public high schools to bring them high quality instruction.  They offer two type of courses: Video Conferencing Instruction and Web Based Instruction.  I think it is a great idea to certify e-teachers.  Actually, I would like to be able to teach (more like mentoring and guiding) using only 21st century technology.  It seems like much more is possible than what this ACCESS program is offering, but it is great what they are offering.

As a side note...
I hated having to use the AVL (Alabama Virtual Library).  It was like pulling beaver teeth trying to find a reliable source.  When students are use to using wikipedia where topic specific information is very easy to find, it makes using AVL very frustrating.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Blog Post 12

1.  Watch Tom Charfield's 7 ways games reward the brain (16:29)
Think about how he defines engagement and how video games can show us how we learn.  Write a post in regards to these concepts.

2.  Read Scott Mcleod's Do Most Education Games Suck
Pay attention to questions A, B, and C at the end of the post.  I read a lot of the comments and downloaded a couple of free (actually decent) educational games.

Why I chose to do a blog about video games?
Video games are an enormous part of our society.  They are a huge part of student's lives.  We need to understand why we love them, why they engage us, and how we can incorporate video games into educating future generations.

Tom Charfield does a magnificent job explaining engagement.  WANTING + LIKING = ENGAGEMENT.  I think teachers can learn and adopt what video game designers have almost perfected: an effective ongoing reward system.  What these games do is give out rewards at carefully calibrated percentages.  They get us to work hard to achieve a win.  A reward system can spark ambition and drive people to be continuously motivated.

I thought the "Do Most Educational Games Suck" was a really neat post.  Most educational games just look dinky and cheap.  They look simple.  I think a main problem of these games is that the developers are too focused on what the student should learn from playing these games.  They are focused on teaching first and fun second.  You might as well just get the students to do a worksheet.  It seems like anytime we force and control learning actually happens!

I think that video games (either actual games or the concepts of the games) can and should be used in our teaching...

Here's my mini out line of what I want to do in my science class (found at the end of blog assignment 11) plus the ideas of a video game style reward system.
  • My class has a blog
  • The student scientists have their own personal blog where they complete assignments I give them, and they can do freelance research.  
  • Freelance research.  I will encourage kids to become observant in everyday life and do research.  They keep up with their research by writing about their findings in their blog.  If they wonder why salt is used in making ice cream or if they hear on the news about dispersants used in cleaning up oil spills, they can look up information (site it) and write about what they learned.
  •  The reward system: I can give the student scientists experience points according to the work they are doing.  After gaining so many experience points the student can level up!  With each level up, the student scientist gets to choose a new ability to have (I'll have to get creative on this).  Some abilities they could pick... being able to choose his/her seat in class, picking a pseudonym that everyone has to call that person while in class, getting bonus point to add to a test, or they can get free access to my pencil draw.
I've heard about a college professor giving experience points instead of grades and giving experience points for things like coming to class.  Here's one link to follow up... Professor Abandons Traditional Grades for Experience Points.  I'm going to do some more research and post it later.

      Summary of Responces From Project 6

      My project 6
      I created a survey in hopes to understand how well students are generalizing their education.  To me, generalizing your education is taking what you've learned in class and applying it to everyday life.  I feel as if college students today aren't sure exactly why they are in school.  The society basically demands this furthering of education, but the students aren't sure what they are supposed to get out of school.  I think on a basic level we do understand that being good at school isn't going to get us anywhere.  The world doesn't care how many facts we are able to regurgitate. a student, I think it is my responsibility to be able to learn and preform what I am taught.  To learn is to understand the why.  When information is thrown at us we have to be able to reason with this knowledge and use it in life!  AKA, generalize your education.

      What are my findings? 
      Well, school is important to these 22 college students.  Most all of them talk about school moderately or frequently outside of school.  Also, they can remember things they have been taught in previous classes.  They are more likely to remember (material taught in prior classes) than to have to relearn the material.

      18 of these students (81%) spend less than 50% of their own time exploring classroom subjects.

      Majority (68%)of these students claim that work related experience is more credible (worthy, important, valuable) than academic experience.

      Majority of these students do try to understand the why behind the facts presented in school.

      Most of these student's friends think they are above average in intelligence.

      They feel as if they know more concepts in contrast to trivia.

      The majority agree that if you teach a dog to fetch a ball but that dog can't fetch a bone...
      then the dog did not learn how to fetch.

       What did I conclude
      I am really pleased with all the outcomes of this survey (you can click on the picture to go to the form analysis).  I did not conclude any solid data.  After analyzing the data, I get the feeling that these college students want to learn and apply what they learn to everyday life.  We want to generalize our education.  We want, but the system of education doesn't supply what we want.

      Progress on the Final Project

      Emily Pilotte and I are working together on this last project. We want to create a website!  A place for teachers come and become inspired. We are getting comfortable with Weebly.  It seem like it will be able to do everything we want.  Which are:
      • Bring great minds and ideas of 21 century teaching together.  
      • A place for teachers to find others to blog with and learn from.
      • Watch videos 
      • Comment on blogs
      • learn how to use things like wordle, timetoast, voicethread.
      I really like the idea of creating this site and maintaining it as I become more involved in my teaching career.  Weebly looks very professional.  I'm not sure yet of all the possibilities.  Also, I'm not sure if we need to get permission to put peoples blogs on our website.

      Sunday, November 7, 2010

      Blog Post 11

       1st grade students can blog!  What can you do?

      One thing I have not thought about is the privacy issue with students blogging.  Mrs. Cassidy endeavors to protect student's identity. 
      What she does:
      • Sends out permission forms on the first day of school regarding student work being on the internet
      • Only uses student's first name
      • Doesn't match any names with pictures
      I think I can use blog as an online portfolio.  I like the fact that parents can watch their kids grow.  Kids love technology.  It is a natural part of their world.  With technology in schools, kids don't have to power down when they come to school.  They can live in their world and not the world of the 20th century.

      Are elementary education teachers held most responsible to show students how to learn with technology?  I know it is never to late to use technology with your students, but I feel like the elementary teachers have some of the biggest responsibilities because they are indoctrinating these students into their long like of learning.
      Curtis is in first grade and he loves me
      Now is the time to learn.  I say this with lots of things.  It is kind of like my scholastic version of the "just do it" saying.  Now is the time to learn how technology can help you learn.

      A cool advantage of blogs verses pen and paper
      With blogs, the students have a massive endless audience.  This is an aspect you don't have to teach the kids.  They know and understand what the internet is and what it allows.  Does it make a difference if students have an audience?  I think it makes a huge difference in one of the hardest areas about learning, motivation.  They want to be heard.  Everybody loves feedback on something they put personal time into, and I think it motivates students to do better quality work.

      I think it's a good time to talk about twitter.
      Okay I'm glad Ms. Cassidy said it, "Twitter doesn't feel worthwhile at first".  That's how I feel now.  I completely understand that I am following people who have similar interest as me, and I can learn from immensely from these people.  Or, maybe I'm following too many old people.  I have enjoyed some of the links people tweet, but there is so much material being thrown.  Maybe my stream of knowledge is too much for me right now (I bit off more than I could chew).  Also, I feel this way about the blogs I am following and in the RSS feeds being sent to my Google Reader.  I just don't have near enough time to read, comment, speak my mind, and enjoy these things I'm interested in.
      What do I want my students to use?  What do I see as having utility?
      Well, I definitely want to develop my students to be self learners.  I do not want to be the person that supplies facts and grades them on how many they can retain.  Here's a rough mini outline of what I want to do in my science class!
      • I want organize my class around the theme that the student IS the scientist.  The student scientists must be observant, form questions, collaborate questions, and test these hypothesis.  (This is the scientific method)
      • I would like to present assignments (ideas, facts, problems, deep questions, or let them ask questions) on a class blog 
      • I would like them to research the assignments using their self created learning environment.  I can show them things I'm using now in EDM310.  Also, I want to encourage learning from the natural world.  I want them questioning things they experience in nature, around their home, and in everyday life.  The student scientists generate the questions. Then, use the internet (their PLN) to do further research.
      • They have to keep track and record their data they collect in their blog.  This can be video, images, audio, or text.
      This is just an idea formed from my desire to have people control their learning, and enjoy the world they live in.  I would really like your feedback! What do you think about this outline?
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      Summary Post C4T Teacher #3

      This teacher seems like a really interesting fellow.  His blog.  He was a concrete artist then turned turned technology teacher on a journey to teach paperless!

      The Concrete Classroom
      Here's the first post I read: 10-10-10

      A woman had a baby on 08/08/08.  She became pregnant again and had a child on 09/09/09.  Now, she had her third on 10/10/10.  Is this coincidence?  Or was she aiming for these magic birth day numbers?

      His post was asking if this was a worthy question to ask students and how could it be used/presented.

      My Comment 
      Hello Mr. Kaechele,
      I'm Josh King an EDM 310 student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL. I'm preparing to be a general education science teacher! I think this is a great question to ask students because this questions makes students becme opinionated and form ideas to answer the question. This is a worthy question because life is going to be full of questions like this. Questions where we have to infer the best possible answer from our educated opinions.

      Next week I'll be writing some more thoughts about this on my blog

      The Alchemist and L'Amour
      It is amazing how in this class many assignments reiterate ideas of previous assignments.  I think you could entitle the last couple of weeks, "The failing aspects of institutionalized education".  In this post by Mr. Micheal he quoted some of L'Amour's work.  I want to remember these and spread these ideas, so what better place to start than here.

      Somewhere along the line I had fallen in love with learning, and it became a lifelong romance...

      No matter how much I admire our schools, I know that no university exists that can provide an education; what a university can provide is an outline, to give the learner a direction and guidance. The rest one has to do for oneself.

      Education should provide the tools for widening and deepening of life, for increased appreciation of all one sees or experiences. It should equip a person to live life well, to understand what is happening about him, for to live life well one must live with awareness... 

      My Comment
      I'm amazed at how cohesive this post is to what we've been learning in EDM310. You are right the ideas to change education really aren't new, and I think we need change now more than ever. We just watched a video about Dan Brown (a University of Nebraska student who dropped out of school because school was interfering with his education).

      I have really taken to heart some of the L'Amour quotes (posted my favorites on my blog) Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

      Josh King an EDM310 student.

      Summary Post C4K 3-7

      Levi (year 4 class at Pt England School in Auckland, NZ.)
      His post was entitled "Crazy Monkey".  He described a monkey eating a banana.  He used so many adjectives I felt like I was the crazy monkey ripping into the banana with my teeth, tasting the bitter peel and drooling on myself when I tasty the creamy banana inside. 

      My Comment for Levi
      Hello Levi, I'm Josh King. I'm from the Unites States and in college at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I don't think I've ever wanted a banana as bad as I want one right now! I think I'm going to just eat the creamy, tasty, fantastic part of the banana and not the yellow, nasty skin.
      I really like your writing. It has many crazy monkey characteristics. All the descriptions gave me a clear picture of how a monkey really looks when he eats a banana. That is awesome that you were able to do that! Keep up the good work.

      Jay (in grade 6 at a school half and hour away from Hobart which is the capital city of the Australian island Tasmania)
      This may or may not be surprising but this 6th grade boy loves video games!  In fact, all of his blog posts were about different games he had recently played.  Desert Storm 2: Back to Baghdad was his most recent post.  He was most interested in all the different weaponry available in the game.  Why do we like video games so much?  (I include myself in this because if I had more free time I would play some of the games he is describing.)  We love action; we love story lines; and we want to be involved in both!  All these things are key to in getting students to be engaged learners.

      My comment for Jay
      Hello Jay,
      I’m college student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL, USA. As a video game player myself, I enjoyed reading your blogs! I think what we enjoy most about games is being able to interact through the game and do all these crazy things like run around as a blue Avatar man or shoot really cool weapons. I also like a really good story plot in a game like in the game Mass Effect or Oblivion. It’s pretty cool to think that we can experience and learn things through a game, but that should not take away from the importance of learning from your teachers or from your parents.
      Keep up the good work and keep blogging!

      Liam (from the same school as Jay, only Liam is in grade 7) 
      His post was about different search engines you can use.  I thought this was really cool because I usually only use Google, but there are many different search engines out there.  The ones he listed are very visual search engines.  I bet he is a visual learner as well!  Here are the engines he listed

       1.Sleedo.I like Sleedo because every time you search something you are donating 10 grains of rice to the poor. Here is the URL with a hyperlink.     
      2. I like search cubebecause it is cool and it is a visual search so you type in what you want and it comes up with the things that you’ve searched for like google.  
      3.I like blacklebecause it is black and it is also a google custom search and the reason why it is black is becuase it is to save power

      My Comment for Liam 
      Hello, Liam
      This is Josh King. I’m in a class called EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. It’s in Mobile, Alabama USA.
      I really like these search engines! I’ve actually never used or heard of any of these. I really like the visual effects of search-cube. It makes searching and learning fun! I’m not really sure but sleedo wasn’t working, maybe the site was down, but I’ll try again later.
      Thank you for sharing these and teaching me!
      p.s here is a visual search engine I found..

      Riely S.
      We are the FUTURE.
      We are the PAST.
      We stand LEGENDARY.
      The TIME IS NOW.

      My Comment for Riely
      Hey Riley, This is an EDM310 student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL. This is a very inspirational post! I’m not really sure what you are describing, but to different people it can mean different things. That is what makes this post so good. I took it as describing your generation! Keep up the great work and show them how it’s done!

      She blogged about being drug free.  It was red ribbon week at their school and she learned about the importance of being drug free.  She said, "you have a  life don't waste it”. So, I would just like to be drug free growing up. If you are around an environment that has drugs, try to keep yourself away fome some where like that because it all depends on you to keep your life, body and yourself  DRUG FREE. So make your self safe by staying away from drugs."  These are great words from a young lady!

      My Comment for Autumn
      Hello Autumn, I'm in college at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL.  I think you have an amazing future ahead of you!  Planning to be drug free and knowing the importance of being drug free shows that you are very mature.  Keep up the wonderful blogging!

      Instructional Video: A scholastic way to use your iPod