Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sir Ken Robinson

The first video we watched by Sir Ken Robinson was about finding "your element". He made several important point during this video. His main points were 1. Personal Fulfillment, 2. Health of Communities, and 3. Economic Argument. He stated that when you are in "your element", you are doing something you are comfortable with and you love. Simply being good at something is not a good enough reason for doing it. He said that life revolves around opportunities that meet us, and this is why some people do not know what their talent is. I agree with him on the fact that we should base education on diversity rather than conformity. Education should be more about personal growth and culture. On the second video, he discussed human creativity. He pointed out that all kids have a talent, and they are not frightened by failure. The Hierarchy of Education puts more emphasis on math and language than the arts. I agree that America has an epidemic of ADHD, in which most kids are wrongly diagnosed. I feel it is important to include the arts in all subjects, because if we don't, the students that are strong in the arts will not feel they are successful. Sir Ken Robinson was very informative and humorous.

Monday, April 27, 2009

My EDM 310 Blog Assignments are Now Complete

I have enjoyed this class, and I hope to see some of my fellow classmates in the Fall. Have a Great Summer!

EDM 310 Reflection

The majority of topics we discussed in this class were new information to me. I was very familiar with Microsoft Office 2007, but I had never heard of Google Docs. I think this will probably be the most useful out of everything we learned. It's easy to use, and you have the option to make power point presentations and spreadsheets. It's nice to know all the Google products are FREE! I will be using each of those in my classroom. Making forms were also neat. I'm sure I will try to use this again in the future. The Blogs were also something I was not familiar with. I enjoyed learning about the different topics we were required to make posts about each week. My professional blog will be very useful, because I plan to include it on my resume from now on. iTunes is a great place to search for teaching material, and I would not have known that without this class. This class has given me so much information and so many new options to work with. I feel this class has shaped me into a more professional teacher. I now have the tools to incorporate technology in a variety of ways into my lessons on a daily basis. I have really enjoyed this class and found everything to be useful. I understand why it is a requirement. I don't think I would have been exposed to all this information without this class.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Teacher Contact

To establish contact with another teacher, I used Twitter. I sent a direct message to Mrs. Michelle Tegrootenhius on Twitter asking her to assist me with this specific project. Mrs. TG is a 5th grade teacher at Hospers Elementary in Iowa. She replied with her email address and a link to her website (http://www.mrstg.com). The website has a link to her class blog through Classroom 2.0. Her students also have a blog through 21classes.com. I asked Mrs. TG what types of technology she uses in her classroom, and what suggestions she has for me as a future teacher. She informed me that her students have blog assignment that they complete in class using 20 laptops. She reads and approves the material before the students can post it to their blog. The students enjoy showing their family the blogs. Mrs. TG also said she absolutely loves the SMART Board. It eliminates writing on the board, and allows you to move around the classroom. Mrs. TG uses her iPod frequently to provide the students with fun and calming music throughout the day. I enjoyed my conversations with Mrs. TG and found her advise to be useful to me.


Exploring Twitter was a great assignment for the class. Before this assignment, I had read about Twitter in a magazine and how it was becoming popular among movie stars. I had no idea so many people in education were also Twittering. I use Twitter when I am at my computer, which is usually a few times a week. I haven't posted many comments. I really just enjoy reading other people that I follow, especially the teachers. They give useful information about teaching. I used Twitter to establish a contact with another teacher. I think this is a great way for teachers to communicate with one another and share ideas. Twitter's format is much like a chat room, and this could be used for class discussions. Teachers could also use Twitter to answer homework questions, and the students could help one another as well. I don't feel Twitter should be used with younger students. It is more suited for middle and high school students. I plan to keep my Twitter account active and use it on a regular basis.

Podcasts Review

Overall, I think think the podcasts were a success, especially since a number of us had no idea what a podcast was, including myself. After listening to several podcasts, I found that most of the groups had one main talker. It appears that only one person in the group did the research, which I'm sure is not the case, but the other group members should have equally contributed during the podcast. The podcasts I listened to were very informative, but there was a lot of awkward silence moments when group members hesitated. This was probably due to anxiety, so the only way to improve would be have a practice run-through so the students would know what to expect. Personally, my group could have improved by meeting and discussing our topic. We each did research, but our schedules conflicted, so we only met right before our podcast. I was satisfied with our podcast, especially the format we used, because it was different from the other podcasts. I believe if we had time to practice, it would have been much better.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Blogging in Education

Blogging was something I had never heard of until this class. I was somewhat familiar with "MySpace", which is similar to blogging, but I had no experience with blogs. It took me some time to learn how to navigate and effectively use my blog, but once I got the hang of it, it became very useful. I plan to keep my blog and continue adding to it throughout the years. I have published a lot of useful information that will help me during my teaching career.

I reviewed a few different student's blogs, because I found that some students did not understand the blogging assignments. I came across one student that did not have one single post that related to the actual blog assignments. The student's blogs were about their own personal life and interests. Other students were so far behind on posts that I really don't think they have time to catch up before the end of the semester.

There were several students that had completed the correct blog assignments, and I found there opinion to be informative and interesting. This allowed me to re-evaluate my stand on certain subjects and take their opinion into consideration. This was actually similar to class discussions without the heated arguments that take up class time. I found this to be a very effective way to have students listen to others opinions. This also showed me that some students put more effort into their post than others, and there were a few that only did enough to barely skim by.

I hope to work at a school that promotes the use of blogs in the classroom. I think it is a great way to promote parent involvement. Parents can view what their children are learning and contribute when appropriate. I do think there would be issues with students not having computers or internet access at home, so I would not require them to work on their blogs for homework. I would allow class time for blogging and help the students become more computer literate.

The Stanford Challenge

Carol Dweck, from the University of Stanford, is the author of the book "Mindset: The New Philosophy of Success". Dweck developed at workshop consisting of two groups, "Growth vs. "Fixed" minds. One group received study skills and growth mindset skills, while the other group only received study skills. The first group had significant improvement in grades, while the second group received lower grades. Dweck points out that people who believe in "growth" never quit learning. These are the same people that believe the brain is a muscle that grows with frequent use.

As a teacher, I will strive to stretch my students thinking capacity to new depths. I believe in life-long learning. The brain has never stopped developing, and there is always new information to learn, no matter how old a person is. Encouraging the students to have a growth mindset is important for success. I enjoyed watching the video, and it confirmed what I already believed about learning.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

iTunesU (K-12 Videos)

WGBH has amazing videos that are useful for teachers of all grade levels. The videos are categorized in sections of K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. This makes it easy to search for a video targeted at the appropriate grade level. These videos are also short, sweet, and to the point, which is very important when dealing with younger children. Teachers can use these videos to introduce new concepts or help students grasp a concept that has already been taught.

The first video I watched was "Observe Clouds". This video explained the different kinds of clouds and how each of them are formed. This would have been very useful to me a few weeks ago in one of my college classes, because we studied just that. I will definitely use this video if I teach about clouds in my class. The second video I watched was "Solar Eclipse". I chose this video because the description stated it was a video of an actual eclipse. This interested me, because I have never actually seen an eclipse. I will use these videos on a regular basis in my classroom.