Sunday, September 15, 2013

Project #3 [Google Presentation]

Blog Assignment #4

     For this blog assignment, I had to search the Langwitches Blog and other sources for information about podcasts. Before this assignment, all I knew about podcasts is that they are recorded and can be listened to on iPods. I've never listened to that many podcasts though, just a few here and there! I was interested to find out about how people are using them for educational purposes. After reading Judy Scharf's post about podcasts on Curriki, I learned that the technical term "podcast" is just a cross between the words "broadcast" and "iPod". Podcasts can be thought of as "radio style" broadcasts, which happen to be an easy, cost effective way to share information with millions of people through the internet. I was excited to find out about the different ways that teachers are using them in their classrooms.

Podcasting In the Classroom

"Listening-Comprehension Podcasting" from the Langwitches Blog written by Silvia Tolisano:
     After reading about what these second graders are doing, I realize that podcasts can be used for so many different things. Mrs. Tolisano uses podcasts to their full advantage in her classroom. She has been using them with second grade students to help them re-inforce a new language that they are learning. When you really think about it, this makes perfect sense! Mrs. Tolisano explains that it can take over 70 times to internalize a new vocabulary word. Not only that, but it's also important for someone who is learning a new language to hear the word's pronunciation, to hear its context, and to hear the words that proceed and follow so that they can understand the word's true meaning. Mrs. Tolisano has been working with her students to create a script for the story of Purim, which is in the Hebrew language. 
     This project allowed her students to work together, to act out the story, and to focus on the context of the words and what they meant in the story. Her students were also challenged with using correct pronunciation, and how to emphasize the words in a way that would really tell the story in the best way possible. You can check out the class's recording up at the link mentioned above! This is the perfect example of how podcasts can be used as more than just a lesson in technology, but as a way to enhance learning other subjects too. Podcasts seem to be a perfect tool when it comes to learning new vocabulary words or a new language! 

"Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom" by Joe Dale:
     Joe Dale's post breaks down different ways that podcasts can be used to an advantage in the classroom. He mentions that podcasts give teachers a new way to effectively communicate with students outside of the classroom. For instance, if a student had to miss several classes from being sick, podcasts would be the perfect way for them to listen to their lessons at home. Podcasts also come to an advantage inside the classroom too! Podcast projects encourage students to work together, spark creativity, and incorporate technology, which is something that is very relevant to them in this day and age! 
     The video that was linked in Dale's post brings up an interesting point. We are now teaching "Millenials", kids who haven't experienced a life without technology. I remember whenever my family got our first home computer, and when cell phones were just getting popular. These things weren't the norm when I was a child. Nowadays, toddlers are being entertained by ipads and nearly every kid has a cell phone! It's crazy how much technology has become such an important part of our lives over the past decade alone! Joe Dale is incorporating technology into some of his lesson plans as a way to get his students excited about learning! You can see from the kid's reactions at the end of the video that this seems to be working. Joe's blog also gave some helpful links to tutorials on how to make podcasts through both Garage Band and Audacity. I'm sure I'll be checking back on these later if I need any help creating my own podcast!

"Podcasting with First Gradersfrom the Langwitches Blog written by Silvia Tolisano
     For my last article, I decided to read this post from Mrs. Tolisano about how her first graders were eager to create their own podcasts! After her students heard that a second grade class was receiving feedback and comments from all across the world, her first graders were eager to create some type of podcast on their own. Mrs. Tolisano helped them to create an interview for two of the main characters from a book they were currently reading. She created questions and answers, and then took turns recording her students asking and answering them. Since her students knew it would be heard by people all across the world, they took extra care in acting out the roles of the characters and even gave their input in the editing process!
  Mrs. Tolisano explains to us that having an audience matters, even to 6 year olds! Her first graders got so excited to hear their podcast after it was finished, and took pride in the work that they were doing because they knew it was being shared on the internet. This project wasn't just a lesson in technology either. It also helped them better understand the material they were learning, and gave them practice with listening, presenting, storytelling, and comprehension skills.

     After reading through these sources, I gained plenty of information to check out about how to record a podcast on Audacity and Garageband. I've already had experience recording things in Garageband, but hopefully these tutorials will come in handy if I need them! I also had the opportunity to read about many different ways that teachers are using podcasts to their full potential in the classroom. This is something that I will definitely keep in mind for later whenever I teach!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Project #4 [C4T Summary #1]

     For Project #4, I'll be featuring different teachers' blogs & blogposts right here on my EDM 310 class blog. I'll be sharing some of the awesome things that they are doing in their classrooms, and sharing our interaction through comments. This will show how easy it can be to build up a PLN (Personal Learning Network), how valuable it can be to connect with other teachers & their classrooms through class blogs, and how many great ideas you can get from exploring what's out there! I've already found some great suggestions, and this is only week 1! For my first C4T, I'll be featuring Matt Gomez and his space where he talks about his experiences as a K5 teacher. You can check out his blog here.

(MBG) Matt B Gomez: [Flipping in Kindergarten: Connecting Home and School]
     In this post, Matt talks about how he has flipped his K5 classroom, and what a great experience it has been. If you've never heard about "flipping a classroom", you can read more about it here. Instead of flipping his classroom in the typical way, since Matt's students are quite young, he has flipped his classroom for the PARENTS! Matt has created a class blog in which he posts everyday about what is going on in the classroom. He introduces the parents to vocabulary that they are using, and gives them a glimpse into what their child's day is like. To keep it simple, he will post pictures of different activities that they are doing, and write short little snippets to let parents know what is going on. He does this through the Blogger app which makes it fast and easy to keep everyone updated! This comes in handy for parents because they can then talk to their kids about what their day was like, and reinforce any vocabulary they are currently learning at home. Any way of getting the parents involved is a good thing in my book, and Matt seems to be doing an excellent job with this! I'll be sure to remember the concept of "flipping a classroom" for after I graduate! He also gave a few suggestions about some apps that we should check out: skitch, popplet, and educreations.
     For my comment, I introduced myself to Matt, and shared my blog and the EDM310 class blog with him. I let him know a little bit about what this class is all about, and that I'd be featuring some of his posts here in a couple of weeks! I also let him know how much I enjoyed reading about the concept of "flipping a classroom". It's something that I've never heard about before reading his post, and let him know that I'm going to keep it in mind for later down the road someday. I also mentioned how I thought it was awesome that he flipped the classroom for his students' parents since his K5 students are so young!

(MBG) Matt B Gomez: [Our Mission in Kindergarten: Video with Educreations]
     The second post I had the opportunity to check out from Matt's blog is all about the app, Educreations. Matt talks about this app, and how awesome it is for throwing together quick videos to share on his blog. He mentions that the great thing about this app is how easy and convenient it is to share the videos once they are finished! He uses these videos as a way to share what is going on in the classroom with parents and other classrooms. For this blogpost, Matt and his students created a video with their classroom mission statement. This project seems super easy, and Matt explained that he was able to create the video simply by finding random pictures that represented the different aspects of their mission statement, and then recording his students stating the mission over it. You can check the video out over at his blog here! This project is an awesome way for students to get involved in the process of creating their classroom mission statement, and it gives everyone the opportunity to take some time to really think about the statement and what it means. Another great thing about this project is that it could be done with multiple grade levels!
     For my comment, I told Matt how I thought it was awesome that this project gave his students the opportunity to really think about their classroom mission statement and what it means. It was a great way to incorporate technology into a project for younger students. One of my favorite parts of their classroom mission statement was "be brave". I also let Matt know that I've finally finished up this post where I've featured his class blog so that all of the other students in EDM310 will possibly be able to check out all of the great things that he's doing! 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Blog Assignment #3

      After reading Paige Ellis' blog post assignment about peer editing, I realize that peer editing is not something I should get cold feet about. I'm always afraid that I might come across in a negative light  without realizing it, or that someone might interpret what I have to say in the wrong way, which is never what I intend at all! By using some of the steps mentioned in the "What is Peer Editing" video and "Peer Edit with Perfection" tutorial, you can easily avoid these issues. I've listed below the three steps mentioned in these articles which can make this process as pain free as possible.
Keep Calm and Stay PositiveThree Steps to Remember:
1. Stay Positive (Make Compliments)
2. Make Suggestions (Be Specific!)
3. Corrections
     One of the easiest ways to go about critiquing your peer's work is to first start out with all of the positives! Find a few elements in their writing that you really enjoyed reading or hit home with. Let them know which particular content stands out to you in a positive way. By starting out your critique with a good attitude, your peers will be more accepting of what you have to say, and this will help them realize that you are not coming from a negative place with your suggestions.
     Next, make suggestions and corrections that could help improve their writing. A few of the things you can focus on are spelling and grammar, word choice and details, organization and structure, and whether or not the content applies to the topic at hand. The important thing to remember is to be specific about what needs to be corrected. However, when doing this, it's also important to keep in mind which things you should suggest publicly or privately. Paige was kind enough to share her email interaction with Dr. Strange about this particular issue when she was confused about how to approach the situation with one of her own classmates. Whether or not to correct someone publicly or privately is a decision we will all have to face as teachers someday, and it's important for us to have experience in deciding which way is the most appropriate for the given situation. The last thing you want to do when trying to help a fellow student or a student of your own is to make them feel embarrassed! This could lead to them feeling closed off, and not wanting to approach you for help in the future. One of the last things to remember from the videos discussed this week is not to be a "Mean Margaret", a "Picky Patty" or even worse a "Whatever William". You can see what I mean by watching Tim Bedley's video below!

   It is our job as future educators to be able to critique our students' work, and give them guidance about how to better their writing capabilities without embarrassing them or hurting their feelings. We have to know how to approach these situations, and what better way to practice than to work with our own peers to help each other improve the quality of our own writing! The more practice you have with giving good peer reviews, the easier and more natural it becomes. The last thing to remember is giving good peer reviews not only involves critiquing other people's work, but also includes becoming a good listener to be able to use other people's suggestions as a way to improve your own writing. It's not a one way street! By being open to what others have to say, it will only help you improve yourself. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Blog Assignment #2

Mr. Dancealot:
Overview & Assessment written by Jamie Baxter, Thomas Leytham, and Savannah Rhodes
     Professor Dancealot is a humorous video posted on youtube by Michael Johnson that shows how much can go wrong when a course's goals, assessments, and learning activities aren't aligned. Professor Dancealot, who is in charge of teaching a social dancing class, uses PowerPoints to teach his students how to dance. The students are expected to sit there quietly and take notes without participating. As you can imagine, it'd be pretty hard to learn a dance without any hands on practice or experience! When it's time to take the final exam, everyone is confused and doesn't even know where to begin, even though they tried to prepare with the notes they were given.
     We believe this video shows how important it is to teach students in a way that they feel involved. It’s important to use class time as an opportunity to really learn, and soak in material instead of just sitting there taking notes. That definitely has its place, but if it’s possible I feel like it’s important to come up with ways to make students feel involved. When you let students practice something in a hands on kind of way, they really pick up information and remember it.
Along with that, it’s also important to make sure that all of the class materials line up with what is expected from students in the end. You can't expect someone who has never touched a computer before to be able to write a blog post. They have to have practice and experience doing it. The same can be said about science experiments. It's likely that a student won't be able to learn from a science lab experiment just from having a teacher give them the steps through a PowerPoint. They need to try it themselves, make mistakes, and learn from them. 
    The video showing Professor Dancealot’s class shows what teachers are not suppose to be like. Students learn a lot better, especially in dance class, if they do the moves on their own and practice while the teacher is teaching. 

Edutopia Logo

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts:
Overview & Assessment written by Savannah Rhodes
     Harness Your Students’ Digital Smarts is a video post from Edutopia about all of the cool things that Vicki Davis is doing in her classroom. She brings up the point that she thinks every child is capable of learning, but when you only use paper and pencils in the classroom only certain types of learners are going to succeed. Mrs. Davis is able to teach the same curriculum in all of her classes, but customizes the specifics based on her students’ individual interests. Using this method, Mrs. Davis teaches her students how to use new software, how to blog, and how to collaborate with their own classmates as well as other students from around the world. 
     Mrs. Davis allows her students to share their projects and assignments through a website called DigiTeen, which encourages them to communicate and start discussions with other students about the material. One unique thing about Mrs. Davis is that when she introduces a term that her students are unfamiliar with, she expects them to google it and find out! It's important for students to be able to figure out some things for themselves in this day and age, especially when so much technology is right at our fingertips. Not only does she expect this from her students, but they are also responsible for teaching some of the lessons! When a student really understands and grasps a concept, they are allowed to get up in front of the class and teach their fellow classmates what they know. Mrs. Davis believes that this gives them the empowerment that they need to be confident their skills, and to keep striving to be self learners.

Teaching in the 21st Century:

Overview & Assessment written by Jamie Baxter
     There are many things that I think about after watching this Roberts’ video. Where is teaching going to be in the 21st century? What does it mean to teach? The video got me thinking about what the schools are going to be like in just a few years.
     When I was in elementary school, all teachers used to teach were chalkboards. Teachers in the 21st century will be able to use tablets and many different computer programs to aid in teaching their students. Students will be able to find any information at any time through the internet. There will be many different forms of technology in the classroom. Students will be able to communicate with one another through internet at any time of the day, which will make group projects more common. This will bring students together in the classroom, and not only will they learn from the teacher but from the other students as well. 
     Teachers teach their students skills and facts. In elementary school, teachers teach the students more facts then you would in high school. For example, students come to school in kindergarten and do not know what the alphabet is, so the teacher has to teach the students the letters of the alphabet and the sounds. Once they learn those then they use skills to put them together to form words. 
     The Robert’s video made me think about many different aspects of teaching, and also made me realize how different teaching is going to be in just a few years.
Overview & Assessment written by Thomas Leytham 
     The Networked Student is true story based on a student utilizing connectivity to learn. The idea behind this learning comes from the theory of connectivism. The video defines this as, “a theory that presumes that learning occurs as part of a social network of many diverse connections and ties, which is made possible through various tools and technology. The tools are not as important as the connections made possible by them.”
     The teacher’s role changes slightly in connectivism. In this class, there is no text book and the teacher rarely lectures. Instead of teaching a subject, the teacher teaches the student how to learn on their own. This is done by teaching how to assess data and insure its’ credibility. The teacher also helps when the student is stuck or needs to be pointed in a different direction.
    This particular student utilizes technologies to make a list of sources, subscribe to audio and video podcasts made by professors from elite colleges, use the internet to find other experts on the topic and asks them for information, and show what he has learned through blog posts. He then shares his organized research and threads with the world so that others may utilize his work.
     There are quite a lot of good things provided by this video. However, I am not sure how I feel about them. The idea of connectivity can be wonderful. It is exciting to see students learning on their own, and having a surplus of knowledge to attain. But I am unsure if this learning should be used for all students. We all learn differently. Sometimes people need exact instruction and lectures. They shouldn’t always have to search for information.
     In my opinion, it can possibly lead to two negative outcomes. One, it makes the students lazy and they don’t actually learn. Instead, they learn to tag sources and go to them whenever the information is required. Or two, the process become monotonous and the students lose intrigue in learning through this method.
     I’m also fairly concerned with the teacher’s credibility. It requires little training in order to promote students learning in this manner. How is the teacher to know whether the student is actually learning correct information if they themselves can’t verify it? And even still, how could it be assured that the student is actually learning the material and not just regurgitating internet posts? And what if the student needs something hands on? Could this kind of teacher provide this to every student? I’m unsure of these lazy qualifications. We cannot allow a teacher to simply monitor, and not necessarily have knowledge. The public school system is already seen as baby sitters. I don’t think this would help much with their image.
    Perhaps the teacher qualifications are overlooked because the students now have professors from elite colleges to “teach” them. I understand that it is fantastic to have the best professors in the world at your fingertips and the most new aged information. But what defines the best professors in the world? Do they have the most knowledge? Or  do they have the most effective results? Could they teach elementary students, middle school students, or high school students? Who is to say that my AP English teacher was lesser than an English professor at Berkeley? And is new aged information better than the basics for all subjects? I can see the benefits to history, psychology, and literature. But would math, the sciences, and the arts be benefitted in the same way? Is that even testable, and has it been tested?
    I see Sugata Mitra’s ideas in connectivism, and though I find those to be exciting revelations, it could backfire if not handled properly. My fear is what would happen if we lost the internet for a week, a month, or a year? If we only teach in this method… we may find ourselves in trouble in the long run. 
    Overall the theory of connectivism has its’ benefits. The students are learning on their own, and can constantly be learning thanks to the internet. I’m excited to utilize these techniques. But I’m unsure whether this is the most effective for all students, all teachers, and all subjects.