Sunday, December 4, 2011

Summary Post C4K (November)

c4k computer image

My first comment was my assignment to Ms. Yollis' class blog. I want to say that I felt a little nervous about commenting after the reputation of her calling out students could potentially bring my lovely little blog crashing down. What I found once I got on her blog was an array of incredible tools and I really enjoyed the blog I was assigned to. It was on on the Fall festival as part of a project called Yollis' 365 Project. It was about some fun facts involving Halloween and its origins. I added some interesting facts to the blog as that is the way Ms. Yollis likes to see people reply to her student's blogs.

Blog Post #14

top ten list

I really enjoyed Jose Picardo's video on Top ten tips for using technology in the classroom. Some of his tips I have already learned how to utilize while doing assignments in this class. But there were a few reminders he put on there that I wasn't aware of. I never thought of actually letting the students utilize their gadgets in the classroom. With so many students having either an IPhone or IPod, we should start taking the initiative to show them how to use those products in helping improve their education. It would seem to spark their interests and possibly motivate them to want to come to a class where they actually get to play on their phone!! Although that "playing" would be in an educational format.

I also like his list of a-z internet resources for education. There is an extensive list of free resources that teachers and students can use for further improving their education. The list is updated regularly and it is encouraged to suggest other sites that I may find are useful to add to the list. I like the site called lingro that will translate a website into English to help you learn some interesting perspectives from other cultures and languages around the world. This is just one of many awesome resources available to anybody that is smart enough to utilize them.

Final Report on PLN

symbaloo

So I have done a lot with my PLN since my last update. I added a ton of sites that I feel will help me become a better educator. I have a few blogs on there such as Ms. Yollis' class blog and a blog by Mr. Jeff Delps who is a k-12 administrator. His blog is very inspirational and has a lot of very useful tools. I also added a video sharing site called TeacherTube and I added a couple of great sites for helping kids with learning. I also put a project learning site as a resource for me to help implement some of those ideas into my curriculum in the future. Symbaloo has been a great tool and I will continue to add to it as I grow in my profession.

C4T #4

diagram of half-glass full philosophy

My first comment was on Ms. Jenna Bentley. She did an amazing post on Perception is the Key to Survival. She gives her opinion on the idea of optimism and how people's perception has such a major impact on their life. I commented on how I see optimism as one of the greatest tools that we have. The power of will has made and broken the identity of some of our greatest leaders and historians. We could all be a little more optimistic in our life!!

My second comment was on another post by Ms. Jenna Bentley. She had a post called Recipe for Defeating Fear. The post talks about the effects of fear in our personal journey and the steps you must take to defeat your own fears. This is done by acknowledging your fear and then taking action to face it head on. I mentioned how I used to have a fear of public speaking. I talked about how I defeated it and what that did to my confidence when I became a better public speaker.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Additional Post #1

list of funny metaphors

I will start by answering the question of why I didn't get the metaphor in Don't Let them take the Pencils Home. I go back and I replace technology in the place of it and I can do nothing but laugh at myself. The problem that I encounter with college at times is that I take it too seriously. Now I am not saying that students should treat their future lightly. My suggestion is to remember why we are here. Teaching is one of the few careers that to me is very inspiring and it takes a special person to be an educator. We obviously don't do it for the money!! We do it because we want to not only teach them but we want to change their lives for the better. I tell my wife all the time that if I can change the path of just one student and see them succeed because I showed them that I cared, then I have accomplished more than any business executive could ever do. So I say that in the future just relax a little bit and look for the meaning in some of these blog post assignments!!

Here are a list of some of the metaphors I have written down:
Life is a roller coaster.
It's hotter than hades.
You're about as sharp as a beach ball.
I'm mad as a bull
Run like the wind
slept like a baby

I think as an educator that metaphors are a great way to communicate with students. Everybody has a different way of learning and metaphors are a tool that we use to get our point across not only in the classroom but in everyday situations. Also, as mentioned in Jennifer asked: Why use Metaphors, metaphors are sometimes a great way to talk about difficult topics. For example, it is much easier to use the Boy Who Cried Wolf as a way to explain why lying is bad than to tell someone that lying is bad without understanding the consequences in a way that they understand. It is amazing how much we use metaphors in the English language!

Blog Assignment #13

kids watching a cardboard televison

So I decided I would try my hand at this technology fast for a day. I decided Friday would be the day. Now why would anybody in their right mind choose Friday of all days to try and not use technology. Let me explain the method to my madness. I was excused from PT with ROTC that morning; so that meant that I didn't have to use my phone to get up at 4:30. I could have my wife wake me up in time for me to leave for school at 8. Second, I didn't have to work that night and that meant no using the touch screens at work to ring in the customers orders. I also had a 400+ page book that I needed to read for my history class. This seemed like the perfect storm and a great opportunity to not use any form of technology till Saturday. Well, in the words of Lee Corso on ESPN, "Not so fast my friend!"

One thing that I have learned is that my cell phone is a direct extension of me. When you have kids and a wife that need to be able to get in touch with you at a moments notice, it becomes nearly impossible to not use it. It's funny because I never had a cell phone until I was 19 years old. I made it 19 years without a phone and yet I am struggling for cell phone sobriety for 24 hours. The point is that I made it to about 1:30 in the afternoon before my wife was calling one of my friends that I was going to school with to get in touch with me. She needed me to pick up my son by 3:00 who was sick at school. 13 1/2 hours until my first violation. I would say that is a win. Unfortunately, it would not be my last violation.

I go to my last class 5 minutes later and I am informed that I have an assignment due by midnight that night that involves going online and watching a video and taking a test on it. I'm thinking to myself that maybe I can get a pass for this unnecessary violation. I mean school should count as a pass for this technology fasting. But a person of integrity like myself decides that I am simply making excuses and will have to fess up to my breaking the rules. Needless to say that by 6:00 p.m. that night I had now used a cell phone and a computer on my mecca to no technology land. I was down in the dumps but feeling that 6 more hours could be reached. Focus Owen. You are almost there!!!!

So I get engulfed in my book and I am getting to about 10:00 p.m. that night when I make my last and fatal error with my assignment. I reach over to my ipod, turn on some nice tunes at a low volume so that I can have a little background while reading a great book on the abolition of the slave trade in Great Britain. My wife walks in and says, "What are you doing?" I simply reply that I am turning on something to help me relax and focus on my book. "Well, aren't you breaking the rules?" I look at her dumbfounded and all I can mutter is, "Guilty as charged." This technology thing is pretty darn important and it is nearly impossible to function without it.

The conclusion I have of my study is that the world has become dependent on the use of computers, cell phones, and IPods. Yet, many educators feel that technology is EVIL and UNNECESSARY in the classroom. This is the same people that get on their phone on their break and plan their weekend, order supplies, and then respond to emails from concerned parents about the conduct of their child. I truly believe that computers and technology in general are enhancing our world and we have become a much more accessible community because of the speed of information. I remember trying to call my friends and if they weren't home you simply called someone else to see what they were doing. Imagine if high school students had to actually drive around to get in touch with someone. I won't even get into life without text messages, facebook, or twitter. In fact, the creator of Facebook is the youngest billionaire in the world. Isn't that amazing? One of the richest people in the world made his fortune making it easier for people to gossip. That is truly a significant realization that technology has become the utmost of importance in our daily lives!!!

Final Project

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Project #14 Skype Interview

C4K #11 Special Assignment

snapshot picture of Mrs. Yollis' class blog

I have spent the last four hours just getting engulfed in Mrs. Yollis' classroom blog. What an incredible amount of resources at the fingertips of those very lucky 3rd graders as well as for their parents!! I tried to read as much as I could about who Mrs. Yollis is and what she is trying to produce to her students, parents, and visitors like me on the internet. I would say that what I read about her is pretty impressive. She has traveled to places like Bali and fished in the Arctic Circle. She has also been to the headquarters for Google and left a link to her blog on the results of the conference. I would say that she is a very passionate person who genuinely cares about the success of her students.

Another great part of this site that I really enjoyed were all the tools that are provided for the parents. She gives a ton of tutorials that can help the parents understand what their kids are doing and it also gives them the tools to actually help their kids with their assignments. One of the biggest excuses that a lot of parents use today are they don't know how to do the homework. So they feel that they are not help and tend to bow out as a support for their kids. Well, not with Mrs. Yollis' students parents. There are links like How to talk to your Child and 8 Back to School Goals for Parents that really educate the parents and give them great tools on the approach they should take with expectations and skills they they can learn to help their children be more successful!

I also really enjoyed the different blogs that the students are working on! They are working on a blog called Yollis' 365 Project in which each student is assigned to put a picture up for that particular day and write what the meaning of the picture is and why they are using it. I have seen some really great post. The one I was assigned to what from day 283 and it was about a fall festival and the origins of Halloween. There are many other blogs that the students are involved in. Mrs. Yollis' 3rd grade class is involved in a collaborative project called Our World Our Stories and it involves classes from all six continents who blog about different things about where they are from. This involves hobbies, food, etc. The great thing is it opens up communication between these different cultures and they each share their experiences so that the students are learning about the other classes. I am really excited about this and have added it to my PLN!!

I really enjoyed this assignment and I would like to thank Mrs. Yollis for being such an incredible inspiration. I have got so many ideas that I took from her that I will implement into my curriculum if I am lucky enough to have an administrator that is as open as hers is to utilize the tools that technology has supplied to us!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Blog Assignment #12

classroom with computers at every desk

Watch the video on The Classroom of the Futureand write at least two paragraphs about what you thought of the video. Do you agree that this is the future of education or do you have a different idea of what the future holds for education?

After watching the video, I came away with two very important points about the video. The first is that the idea of computers at every desk shouldn't be such an unrealistic goal. I have two children who are in public schools and they give us a list of items that usually costs about $100-150 for supplies such as paper, pencils, and other unnecessary supplies that would be obsolete with the use of computers. As affordable as computers are becoming, the idea of a computer for every student should be happening!! Especially when you consider the price breaks that companies like DELL and Gateway give when you buy multiple systems. When you go to college, one of the requirements is that you own a computer. Why is this not being adapted at every level of education. I know that the lower income areas will struggle with this; but, think about how the money that goes into useless supplies could easily pay for a computer for every student.

The second key point I took away from the video is that computers and technology have become a vital part of our society. We are holding back the youth by not implementing this into the curriculum!! People think that I will never use a computer in my job. My answer to that is WAKE UP!!! Even fast food restaurants are becoming much more technologically advanced and it won't be long before even this low paying jobs will require some computer experience to get hired. The world is changing and evolving at a really incredibly fast rate. Educators and administrators need to make it a priority to change the way we do education and teach or we will fall behind in the global race with countries such as China and Japan!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Final Project Update

top secret picture

Our final project will include Mary LaCoste, Angela Pitts, and Owen Gill, and we will be doing our final reflection on the ups and downs of EDM 310. We plan on utilizing the green screen to enhance the effect with some really cool videos and pictures of software programs we have utilized throughout the semester. We don't want to give too much away because we don't want our idea to be hijacked due to its awesome originality!! Stay tuned for more details!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Blog Assignment 11

book with blogging101 on it

After watching Ms. Cassidy's videoon blogging and then watching her Skype video, I have so much to learn and now have so many more great ideas I can use when I become a teacher myself.

First of all, I loved how she used the wiki pictures as links to material the students can use to learn about what is going on in the curriculum. This answers the much sought after question of monitoring the access of students on the internet. Taking the time to create links to helpful sites will eliminate the temptation for the students to go off course with their internet browsing. It is such a simple but brilliant idea and I can't believe that I didn't think of that. My reasoning would be that I am still very unfamiliar with using the wiki as a tool.

That of course leads me into the second thing I took from her philosophy. That is the idea that I need to learn as much as possible now; because once I become a teacher, the free time that I have will be significantly reduced because of the demands of the state in keeping on pace with the curriculum. This is the time for all of us that strive to be technologically literate teachers to expand and grow so that we are more prepared for the new generation of student. I absolutely love her enthusiasm and honesty when it comes to teaching and it was really informative. She mentioned the fact of having a technology coordinator as a go between with the administration and the teachers. My question to that would be do we have a coordinator designated in every school system or is that on a county by county basis? I would love to find out and I am going to ask some of the teachers in my daughters school if they have someone like that to help facilitate the needed resources to make the classes more technology friendly!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

C4K Summary Post for October

kids blogging award

My first comment for October was for a class blog called We are Kids with a View. This is a class that is comprised of 1st grade students. They are located in New Zealand. This is the class that did the survey on the design of the New Zealand flag. I am assigned to comment on a particular student by the name of Rohan. He mentions that he is working on subtraction with numbers up to 20. An interesting fact I gave him about the U.S. was a geography fact that the state of Alabama is located on the Gulf of Mexico. I figured he would like to know exactly where the person from the other side of the world that is commenting on his page is located. Visualization has always been a good first step for me!

My second assignment for C4K was for Ms. Gregory's 6th grade class. I was assigned to comment on two students from this class. The first student was Nate. He was the student I had from my list. I wrote on his blog about sports and enjoying the hobbies that make us all happy. My second comment was from the random slot machine that is on the site. The student that I "won" was named Anthony. He was blogging about his science class on density and talking about a project where he would figure out the amount of seconds it takes for the earth to rotate once. I asked him to elaborate on how to do the project and will look for his reply.

My third assignment for C4K was for Hailey"s blog in an 8th grade class. She does a post describing her in a soccer game where she is about to score a goal. The detail was really amazing and it made me feel like I was actually in the game. This is some of the best descriptive detail I have ever seen a student at this level give! It makes me realize how amazingly talented some of these students really are!!

My fourth assignment was to comment on a student from Classroom 9 in Miss Priscilla Lavaculla's class. I ended up commenting on PJ's Australian animation blog post. It was a short animation of animals in the Australian outback. I gave him high praise for his effort and put a link to follow the progress of this class. Really great videos are being done in this class. What a great way to get students involved in history and other aspects of their subject requirements!!

My final comment from this month covers a blog that I am very excited to read. It is a blog for history students that do various projects on topics from different periods in history. The one that I was assigned to focus on is called anticipation of the projetand it is written by a student in Miss Gwaltney's 10-12 grade history class in Portland, Oregon. This student did a blog reflecting on their project about the Ottoman Empire and how he went about doing the work. There is mentions of using various sources as well as his love for having the freedom to choose his topic from a particular era in history. I commented on my agreement that students deserve to have some control over what they learn based on their interest and that we all could benefit from this form of education. I am adding this blog to my PLN. Excited for the possibilities of how my future class is going to be conducted!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blog Assignment #10

pencils

I just looked at John Spencer's blog on Adventures in Pencil Integration and read some of the other blogs on his site as well as the link to what inspired this blog. I think that the key point he is trying to get across to teachers and administrators is that they tend to follow statistics and usually focus on a particular group and it generally doesn't paint the appropriate picture of truth behind the study. He is trying to say that pencils are not the cause of the problem. It is the people that control them without the proper knowledge to really get the most use out of that are not using the pencil correctly. So many people are good at identifying the problem; but, they have no idea how to come up with a solution. Doctors and scientist have identified all kinds of viruses. How many have they found a solution for to reduce or eliminate? They just put the sample in a lab and study why it is bad. There is no thought that the solution is better than the prevention. This is similar to education. Teachers and administrators see some statistic that pencils make students scores go down and they don't identify a solution. Instead, we just ban it and say that it is an avoidable subject. This can be compared to many items or ideas in our society that are labeled as black and white when we know that almost everything has a grey area.
He also touched on something in a blog called Capturing reality in which he touches on the idea of good vs bad. It talks about a conversation between a little girl and her father about taking pictures. She asks him why people need pictures to help them have a memory of a particular event or place. The story gets to the root of being a person that captures life through technology or participates in the moment using the technology. It is a matter of the context and how that applies to you. This has so much to do with the first blog in that everybody is different in how we learn. We cannot label a pencil or anything else as the cause of problems in education. It is supposed to be a joint effort between students, parents, and teachers to get students to use the tools properly and for the benefit of their education. Technology and pencils are just tools that we use to facilitate our thoughts, ideas, and innovations. But guidance is a necessary tool that we all will continue to need. Even the teachers that are educating the students!!!

I just got done watching the Do your Teach or Do you Educatevideo and it really hits home on why I am so passionate about becoming a teacher. In fact it is why I want to become an EDUCATOR!! The definition of teaching has many different variations; but, it all says the same thing. You are merely showing them how to do or remember something that is required from the curriculum. On the other hand, educating someone is reaching them on a whole new level. This is where I can make a real difference in their lives. It is my passion and it is the motivation that makes me want to educate!! There are so many ways to reach your kids on a personal level. That to me is the best way to have an impact on their education. Let them know that you really want to help them learn to be better human beings. Not just smarter students with a high GPA or part of an honor society. I think the key to education is teaching that exceptional student to take what they learned in the classroom as well as the life skills that we can provide and do something that will have a positive impact on their lives. Whether that be financial success or humanitarian relief, know that they were influenced by the care we showed them at a young, impressionable age!!
I just heard something in church that makes me think a lot about this video. My pastor mentioned that "Success is being able to take something and simplify it" It was the mindset that made Steve Jobs such an incredible person!! Jobs wanted to create a computer that was user friendly but cool looking at the same time. Well, I want to take education and simplify it so that everyone can enjoy it; but, I want to make it fun and cool and interesting at the same time!! The point I am saying is I have always wanted to truly touch the lives of my future classroom participants. Whatever impact that is(no matter how small) will be the highlight of my teaching career!!

C4T #3

north star illustration

My assigned teacher for this time was Mr. Jeff Delp who is a k-12 administrator. He posted a blog about the importance of building hope to students who come from poverty or bad family lives. I have to say that this blog is the reason why I want to teach!! My response was about my passion for giving back to those that are less fortunate. My way of doing this is helping open doors for students who are born with no hope for success. This is due to many things; but the most common problem is they fall into this trap of hopelessness because everyone around them tells them that this is the best it is ever going to be!! That is unfair and I want to change this perception. We need to show these kids colleges and jobs that stimulate their interest and give them options to take if they apply themselves in school! I only hope that other people in this profession share my beliefs. Because we are as much to blame as they are for so much failure!!!

The second comment from Mr. Delp's blog was about an idea called The North Star Effect. It is about the long term effects we can leave on our students. His analogy was that when you go a few degrees off, there is nothing seen right away. But, over time you see what that direction has taken you. Education has the same effect. If I can help a student just change their direction by just a few "degrees", maybe that will positively change their lives forever!! I can only dream that I can make this a real possibility!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blog Assignment #9

classroom

I would like to break this down into the two different end of the year reflections that Mr. McClung wrote about his teaching experience.

The first reflection I read was from his first year of teaching. He gave a list of key concepts that helped him with teaching and that he feels make us improve overall as teachers with our students and with fellow faculty. I think that his first topic of reading the crowd is really understated by most teachers. So many teachers tend to teach "their" way instead of reading how their students are responding to their teaching style. I have preached in my blogs that teachers have to find a way to spark the interests of students in the classroom. Many of them tend to fall short in this very important aspect of teaching. Another point that he touched on was the need to have reasonable expectations for your classroom. It's great to expect all of your students to make A's; but, we have to plan that some students will fall short and we have to find a way to help them just as much as the student that breezes through the class. Kids have very fragile levels of confidence and it doesn't take much to shatter that confidence. I think one of the most important responsibilities of teachers is to build their confidence and reinforce a positive communication with them when a struggling student is showing even the smallest improvements.

The second reflection I read was from his third year of teaching. He talks about the changes he has gone through in his career as far as adding coaching and going to professional development classes to further enhance his teaching skills. I enjoyed his point about knowing who your boss is. I really plan on making my students my number one priority!!!! They are the reason we are there. It is not for the administrative staff, the other teachers, or anybody else in the school system. Our job is to educate and prepare kids to be quality citizens in the world one day. So don't get so wrapped up in impressing your boss that your students are the ones who suffer. Another part that was really cool and something I have added to my memory is "Don't Touch the Keyboard!" What he is saying is don't take the work and do it for your students. Teach them to do something but let them do the steps on their own. I have learned that the hands-on process has always been the most effective tools that anybody ever taught me. In fact, I used this subject in the "My Sentence" project from earlier in the semester. If you have the time to check it out, you will know what I am talking about. What a great idea for all educators to do. We all should do reflections on a yearly basis. It can be like a diary that we can go back and look at when we are older!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Blog Assignment #8

multimedia education diagram

This video that Dr. Miller made about incorporating multimedia applications as the future form of writing for students was pretty interesting. He mentions in part one of the video that he grew up loving books and reading and knew that he wanted to be associated with it when he grew up. However, he realizes that the world has evolved into something that has outgrown the library and the word processor. I have mentioned previously in other blogs of mine that education has got to reinvent itself. Dr. Miller said we need "fundamental changes." His idea is to teach students how to write with multimedia. The information is already there and there is an unlimited amount that we have access to.

Instead of barricading yourself away for hours or days to write reports, learn to collaborate with other students and educators from all over the world to produce these amazing multimedia projects that can cover any topic going on in the world from the past, present, or even the future!! Dr. Miller showed us in the video these amazing projects with videos, text, graphs, and webcast of people who all have insight of that particular topic. Instead of just watching teachers present them with information, help them research their questions, assignments, and projects online where the sky is the limit!

He mentions in the second part to the video a few ideas of where education can go. He has this vision of teachers that are inspired to the idea of new media composing and spaces that foster collaborative learning. He said there is ideas on this video that are not even possible yet; but, he believes that with the ever evolving improvements in technology, that the possibility will become reality. This will only happen when people like me and others coming up in education as principals, teachers, and school board members take a real deep look into what can make this field better. Because we are the ones who are going to shape our kids lives and your kids lives!

girl blowing guy off her hand

After reading Carly's blog, I am just blown away by her idea. I just got down watching all of her videos she created on her playlist. Every video tells a little bit about what her vision is of teaching. What is so amazing about this idea that she along with Dr. Miller are emphasizing is that we are all different in how we see the world. Yet, everybody brings something unique to the table. Everybody has heard the term "A picture says a thousand words." There are other ways to express our passions other than essays and word processor applications!! The world is a great big place just full of incredible people that want to tell you there hopes and dreams!! Help them make this a reality and we will all succeed in this crazy profession we all are inspired to do!!

squirrel with an eating disorder

I have been sitting here for the past hour trying to come up with an idea for a video that would help with this class. Well, I came up with absolutely nothing!! But wait, there is a reason for this. I am suffering from a new epidemic that is spreading all over the campus at the University of South Alabama. Students are going through these debilitating phases of depression and mass hysteria. This is followed by walking the streets aimlessly almost like a zombie. Eyewitnesses have said that when they approached these people to ask if they were okay, they only thing they could say was, "EEEEEEEDDDDDDDDDDDDDMMMMMMMMMMMM3333333333111111111000000000". It seems that all the students who have this problem have been linked to a class called EDM310. This class is taught by Dr. John Strange and requires students to learn how to do things on their own and utilize technology in their future classrooms. This idea of self learning has pushed them to the point of madness!! Somebody make it stop!!

Okay, I was just kidding!! It does make for a great video of the stages of self improvement that you go through in this class. It would be fun to film a student as they go from scared to frustrated and then watch them on their ascent up when they actually opened their minds and tried to learn something on their own!! What an amazing concept. Maybe we need Dr. Phil!!(For those of you that don't know what sarcasm is, you just read it in the previous paragraph as well as this one!!) That was for you Dr. Strange!

After watching the two videos, I can tell you that Chipper was related to procrastination and the notion that students still want to be force fed information. They don't want to learn. In fact, some would rather do something "easier" like serving or cleaning up garbage because you don't have to learn new skills. The key to this class is taking what you learn and continue to grow and expand your knowledge. This is a never ending process. The second video on EDM310 for Dummies was great!! The message I got from it is that if you take the time to read all the links that this class provides you, you can actually teach yourself a lot of the required programs that are in this class. What I can tell you is that if you make the effort to learn the tools of this class, the lab assistants are almost like the guides that we are learning to be as teachers. They won't do the work for you, but they will help fill in the blanks on what we don't quite grasp. Enjoyed the videos a lot!!

title picture

My stance on this video is mixed. I watched the educator and the student version of this so I could get a better perspective on what this new style of education is that they are pushing for in the classroom. I agree that technology is very important to education moving forward. My only objection is they were kind of unclear on how to do this. One of the professors mentioned that school should be a place for social media sharing and collaborative projects. I believe that could be a great addition but not the only forms of education. Don't get me wrong, the idea that most kids are probably learning more from researching on their own than they used to. That doesn't mean that education in the classroom is becoming obsolete. Maybe the whole brick and mortar idea is getting old. I am a huge fan of the ISchool approach that was mentioned in one of the earlier videos from the semester. A combination of the two is the direction I would like to see.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Blog Assignment #7

randy pausch

I just watched Randy Pausch's Last Lecture and I have laughed and cried at the same time more times than I can remember to count. All I have to say is I hope nobody tried a shortcut and didn't watch this video. It is truly inspiring and I am saddened that this incredible man is not here to continue to help other people down the path to success! Dr. Strange asked to write what I got from this video in at least 4 paragraphs. I will do my best to not drag this out; but, there is so much to learn from what Dr. Pausch said.

To quote the great Dr. Pausch, "The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough." To elaborate on what he is saying, everyone needs to take this quote and remember it for everyone obstacle that ever presents itself to you during your teaching career or any other part of your life. Success is the result of hard work and persistence. If education was easy, everybody could do it. The funny part is that we are our own brick wall. When we have a task that we feel is too tough (like 9 hours of work dedicated to a class), we drop the class, change majors, change jobs, buy something not as good, etc. If there is anything I will carry on from this video, it is to never give up on your dreams. Teach the way you feel will change a students life. Even if it isn't the traditional way. We used to call people that went against the norm "patriots", "revolutionists", and "innovators"!! Now we confuse people that think outside the box as "crazy" or "paranoid"!! Don't be afraid to be different. Steve Jobs was different. Randy Pausch was different!!

He also mentions that "Your critics are your ones telling you they still love you and care." Being critical is always confused with being overbearing or micromanaging. When people stop telling you your faults, they probably have given up on you. The only way to get better as a teacher is to take the criticism from others more experienced in the field and use it to make you better. We always feel that people criticize us because they are jealous or hate us!! That is so far from the truth. I have had a hard time with criticism over the years and have never stopped to think about what the message the person was trying to give.

Finally, I would like to touch on the most important part of the video. That is the "head fake" that he emphasized in the video. The key to education is convincing your students that they are having fun and not having to learn some boring subject. Misdirection is a great way to "trick" the students into actually learning a skill. I have preached this in my earlier blogs!! I am just happy to see how important it was to the late Dr. Pausch!! Again, I hope that everybody took the time to watch this video. It has already had a major impact on me!!

Timetoast Project 9b

Friday, October 7, 2011

PLN update

symbaloo pln example

My PLN is a work in progress. I decided to go with Symbaloo as my work space for my PLN and it is very user friendly. I had added all the common widgets such as facebook, twitter, and flickr. I am working on my education widget and adding different sites and blogs that I have found interesting. I just added a link to geocaching. If you look at my previous blog it describes what that is. Lots more work to go, but I am excited to add more as the semester rolls on!

CMT #2

geocaching picture

The teacher that I have been commenting on for the last two post has been Ms. Jen Deyenberg from Scotland. She is originally from Canada but has relocated to Scotland to teach.

The first blog I read from her was about using a system called geocaching to help students learn about nature. Now, the first question everybody wants to know is "What is geocaching?" Geocaching is a GPS system people use where they put various items outside and the students use a phone or alternate GPS system to go on a treasure hunt. So, in this particular project, Ms. Deyenberg places these items outside for a project about nature. Whenever they find the item on their GPS, it has instructions for them to find something in that area that can be used as a paintbrush for their art class. The kids brought back various items such as pine needles, rocks, pine cones, and feathers. I think that utilizing the outdoors in an art class is genius! The one thing most elementary age kids love to do is play outside.

The second blog I commented on is using geocaching to help students with money problems in math. She would put money problems in the caches that they found and they students would bring her back the answers with the correct amount of money. One thing she did to really challenge them was to use different forms of currency. This is just another incredible way to utilize outdoor activities into her curriculum. In this case, it was math!!!

One more comment I would like to add for those that read my blog is this: I plan on using this geocaching in my history classes once I am teaching. I think history is one of the best subjects that could benefit from this amazing idea!! Some ideas I have are field trips to historical sites where I could place these caches throughout the area with summaries about different events that occurred in that particular place!! Does anybody else feel this is a real possibility in the strict curriculum we are forced to stick to in schools? I welcome your comments!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Project 8-Podcast

Blog Assignment #6

networked student video

I think Mrs. Drexler's video on the networked student is very similar to what Dr. Strange is trying to teach us in EDM310. The idea of the networked student is built on self-motivation, self-learning, and using the social media as a tool to educate yourself on assignment given to you by a teacher. I absolutely believe in her ideas of a 21st century classroom based on her concept as well as Dr. Strange. However, it is going to see some major resistance from traditional teachers, principals, school boards, and parents! People fear what they don't know. I think the biggest problem with the American student is self-learning. Everyone wants to be shown how to do something. They don't want to LEARN how to do anything. Information has become so easily accessible; yet, many people are too busy utilizing these amazing tools for all the wrong reasons!!

Secondly, the answer to the question about the need for teachers with networked students is really interesting. This concept of teaching will need a ton of guidance and observation. I mentioned in a previous blog the idea that the new age teacher will be a person who guides students towards the path of success by teaching them skills. No longer will they force feed information that students don't retain. They will teach them how to gather information for assignments and collaborate with other students through social media to share ideas and opinions are particular subjects. Communication is the key to the success of the networked student!!

Now, how do you combat the resistance from the list of people mentioned above. The answer is simple. Provide them with a planned curriculum based around this concept and show them periodically during parent-teacher conferences and school board meetings the progress that is developing from this new style. Results are what it comes down to with Americans. They fear the wait and see method! Another way is to encourage the parents and administrators to receive emails showing the progress of the students as we do with Dr. Strange on our assignments. The tools are there people!! USE THEM!!!!

personal learning network picture

The PLE that this student put together is truly remarkable. I did not know that you can create tool bars like that. Great organization by the student of putting her non school related links on the top and her educational links in another area. This freedom that she preaches allows students to learn at their own pace and in their own style while keeping within the required curriculum that the teachers are required to have! This was assisted in being put together by Mrs. Drexler. So, she must be making some progress with her vision of the networked student.

In comparison to my PLN, I would say that the student has got me thinking about new ideas to improve my network of information. I am actually looking into creating a template similar to the student thanks to the link to the program below the video. Everybody should go check it out. =

C4K Summary Post for September

kids connecting picture

My first post for September was on Ngaina from Point England School in Auckland, New Zealand. I commented on a post about math and there was a link provided to help students break down large math problems into simpler problems by a series of steps. I mentioned that I thought it was useful and that I would pass it on to my daughter for her to use. I class blog mentions alot about the rugby team that brought home the championship. Rugby is obviously a huge sport in New Zealand. I learned something new because I thought soccer was the dominant sport everywhere except for here.

My second kid was Seino Mino from the same school in the previous paragraph. He was talking about a beep test that they do for fitness. It is based on a series of exercises that give them a score to see where they can improve their fitness. He seemed discouraged with his score and I felt the need to encourage him that his competitiveness will push him to be better as a student overall! Success is definitely in his future!

The last student I covered was from Point View School in New Zealand and her name is Rebecca. She is 12 years old and is a huge rugby fan. I commented on her use of technology in the classroom and how she used it towards her favorite sport rugby as well as volleyball. I encouraged her to continue to use the technology and that we are all learning and now I can see how even younger students are learning the importance of being "technologically literate".

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Timetoast Presentation

Blog Assignment #5

funny take on internet chatting

Dr. McLeod's post has a great sarcastic tone as it makes fun of the idea that we don't need technology in education. I love his poke that the internet is "evil" and all students do is look at porn and talk to sexual predators. Very funny and so very true. These teachers that believe that the traditional forms of educating are going to continue to work are hurting students in their preparation for the real world! What job doesn't require proficiency on a computer and the software programs such as word, excel, and PowerPoint? The answer is very few. Instead of focusing on how to keep phones, twitter, and Facebook out of the classroom, why not try to find a way to utilize them. I think the phrase, "If you can't beat em, Join em" is so true in this argument. The world is different from 50 years ago. Shoot, the world is different from 5 years ago!

ischool initiative slogan

All I have to say is Travis Allen is an absolute genius!!! Of all the people in the world, an 18 year old high school senior came up with an "out of the box" idea that can absolutely change education for the better. First, just look at the amount of money that can potentially be saved by parents and schools. Going from $600 a student to $150 a student to teach them in a way that is 20 times more efficient than the traditional setting! Not only that, think about the environmental affects it can have. No more dependence on paper, ink, and textbooks. Everything is accessible from the ISchool device.

I also like the detail that he went into with the apps that range from formulas for math and science to an app that gives you access to any book imaginable. Teachers can use this to give their reading assignments and students can use the formulas app to help get them through areas that may be struggling in. This idea can increase the amount of information that we can attain and use. All I want to know is how long is it gonna take before we make this the norm in education. This has me tingling all over with excitement!!! What a bright future we have!


In my response to the virtual choir that was posted by Jennifer Chamber, I would just like to say that the internet never ceases to amaze me. I just showed that clip to my wife and even she was getting goosebumps watching it. I really like this use of the internet and it got me thinking about how this could be utilized in other areas. The first thing that came to mind was Congress. What if people randomly could get an opportunity to sit in on sessions via internet? We could speak on bills and proposals that the leader of our country are working on in a live environment! In fact, lets just take it a level higher and set up a 30 minute window every week where people from opposite ends of the political spectrum could have group discussions with the president on their concerns. It is not a security risk to him and it closes the gap between the voter and the leader. It could be a new way for voters to feel like they have a voice in our government. Somebody respond and tell me what you think!!

time magazine cover on 21st century students

I think the biggest point that the video by Kevin Roberts points out is there are so many different resources to get information. We are not teaching students so much as we are guiding them towards the correct information. In my opinion, our biggest challenge going forward is figuring out how to get students to use the correct information available to them through technology. The internet is a powerful tool; but it is a dangerous tool as well. Teachers need to counsel them on how to gather information and provide them with credible resources to use. Life skills are becoming increasingly important and it is getting even more emphasis than it used to. We have become a society where people simply "Google" the answer to any kind of question. Well remember that students are doing the same thing on their homework assignments. Instead of discouraging them from doing that, lets point them in the right direction. It's better to provide them with the correct information than to trust that they will find it on their own.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blog Assignment #4

IPOD podcast

The first link I looked at was The Beneļ¬ts of Podcasting in the Classroom by Joe Dale. It went over the many uses for podcast in the classroom. It can range from teachers uploading their classroom lectures to getting the students to create their own podcast in the form of shows on what they are learning in the classroom. Some of the great ideas I saw in the podcast was helping kids that are out for extended absences have access to the lectures on venues like Itunes. This can help them stay caught up on materials for the test and it helps the teachers by keeping everyone on track with their learning. What an incredible tool that could be if every teacher utilized it! Also, it mentioned using the podcast in the classroom to assist in teaching the curriculum. You can do things like voice overs on stories to stimulate the interests of your students. It is an effective tools to help them retain the key information from the story.

The second link that I explored was the Practical Principles which is a series of podcast that cover different aspects of technology in the classroom and different tools used to help improve how teachers improve themselves and their students. Each podcast is really in depth and they focus on a different aspect of teaching on every episode. I think that the best part that I could come away with from this website is just to mirror their message of providing information on common problems associated with this ever evolving profession. I would love to set up a series of history podcast based on a timeline that I establish in my future classroom. I would add a lot of interesting dialogue and great pictures and links to some really amazing sites. Every week I feel like I am growing in my idea of what I want to be as a teacher. Very exciting!

The third link that I followed was Langwitches. The podcast that I looked at was a 1st grade teacher that got her class to record a podcast on a story and had each of their record a chapter so that everyone was involved in the book. The summary on the site talks about the kids made a script for everyone to follow along as they listened to keep everyone engaged. She mentioned that they were developing talents such as voice inflection, fluency, pitches. They actually cared that they were clear and interesting. What an amazing idea!! Reading is such a difficult part of education. I struggle with the proper practices to teach to my kids. It is so hard to find ways to get kids to enjoy reading. After seeing this, I wonder why more educators are not doing the same. Because they are not just listening, they are reading and following along. They are learning without even realizing it and they are enjoying it! Again, I feel a little bit smarter just by being exposed to these great innovators!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blog Assignment #3

take my advice, i don't use it anyways

After learning about how to critique someone's blog without offending them, I decided to privately discuss any mistakes I saw in their blog. I had noticed some grammatical errors on their slide and felt that it could use a little more content. Some pictures that showed some of her experience with dance or something from her high school would have given me a better idea of why she chose that particular slide. I think that every situation is different when it comes to critiquing someone and I hope to become more comfortable with this by the time I do this with my classes.

Ms. Hines post "It's not about the Technology" was really helpful and spot on. Technology doesn't become beneficial in a classroom if we are not practicing good teaching habits without it. The point that I loved the most was that teachers have to be learners. I had plenty of teachers that thought they knew it all and no student could ever teach them anything. These were usually the teachers that taught the same curriculum every year. I think my dad could recite it word for word. How is this kind of attitude positive for any student?

Also, she makes a point that if we utilize the four points she emphasized in the blog before adding the technology, then the learning is limitless. What an exciting time it is in education! Our generation still has not realized its full potential and hopefully everyone is going to take advantage of the unlimited resources that are at educators disposal.

before there were computers

After reading Mr. Fisch's blog on technological illiteracy, it makes me wonder why more teachers are not held accountable for falling behind on new trends and ideas that has shown to improve the quality of a student's education. It really falls on the principals and administrators who allow this to go on. He mentioned this in his list of do's and don'ts. The blog was bold and I commend him for having the guts to call out these teachers that beat their chests about their lack of technological knowledge. You should be so proud that you are now 30 years behind the rest of us. In fact, your students will probably eventually replace you because of your unwillingness to adapt!

Secondly, why isn't there more emphasis being put on forcing these teachers to make an effort to educate themselves? Aren't we expected to continually educate ourselves when it comes to our focus. Well, technology is as important of a focus as history, Math, and Science. I say get with the times or get out of our way!!


The social media count by Gary Hayes is really a symbol of what education is evolving into. Just like the huge amounts of data that is growing by the second, education and the way we get our message out to our classes, is constantly changing and evolving. When I see a stat that "24 hours of video is uploaded to youtube every minute", I am just blown away at how much computers and the internet have impacted our lives. Who knew that the potential to distribute information would be this significant when this all began to take form years ago.

If we, as teachers, do not continue to learn, study new skills, and employ technology into our classrooms, we are failing!! Everyone has a duty to be the best teacher they can be. So, don't get complacent. Be a sponge. Absorb every idea, skill, and movement that better prepares you and your students for an ever changing world.


student sleeping with books

I have to say that the video by Michael Wesch seems to bring up the notion that college students are wasting more time using their gadgets than focusing on their studies. The argument that I got from the video is they need to use those tools in the classes to get students more interested in what they are learning. It is basically how this class is utilizing facebook, twitter, and other online tools and social media to become better educators.

Principals and University Presidents have got to reevaluate the classroom setting and come up with some out of the box ideas that can stimulate the minds of our generation. Traditional settings are becoming obsolete!! Why must we spend hundreds of dollars on books that can be made available online for much less? This is a crime and yet nothing changes. Has anyone heard of an e-reader or a tablet?

Project #5 Google Presentation

Friday, September 9, 2011

C4T #1 summary

android 2.2 tablet



I was assigned to a teacher by the name of Jerrid W. Kruse. The first blog was on the concept of making sure that when using technology, you are making sure the student is focused on the topic and not just how to use the program to relay the topic. His argument is that students fail to remember the topic but remember the fact that they put together a slide show instead. I felt that creativity is great, but you have to figure out that balance between creativity and technology and the student retaining the topic or information.

The second blog is focused on different strategies for classroom participation on the topic of the nature of science. He did an experiment with two different concepts in which students learn about the subject. The first was using an informal assessment where the students did a one time reflection of what they had learned and any questions they may have. The second group did this as well a a formal assessment throughout the semester through a process of continual, reflective, and explicit assessment. The second group outperformed the first group due to a more in depth approach they gave them an opportunity to do self reflection as well as reflection from the teacher.
My opinion basically goes right along with his projection that a continual reflection of material over a period of time is a great way for students to retain the information. Class participation absolutely gets better results when you generate a buzz around a subject.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Blog Assignment 2

did you know 3.0 video

WOW!!!! Did you know that I am completely amazed at the speed we are progressing as a society when it comes to information technology. Something that really caught my attention was the statistic that the top 10 jobs in 2010 did not even exist in 2004! It is overwhelming to think that you go to school all these years to be a certain person in your career and now jobs are becoming obsolete and we are having to constantly reinvent ourselves to stay competitive in the ever changing job market. What we should all take from this video is jobs like education are evolving into something completely different. If people don't continue to educate themselves on new techniques and ideas, the students that we are teaching will be more educated and up to date than we are!!!!

mr. winkle wakes video

I have some really mixed feelings on this video. Not because I don't agree to the point that the author is trying to prove. I do agree that a lot of schools are behind in implementing technology into their curriculum. However, I can see a drastic improvement in what my daughter's teachers are using with computers compared to 20 years ago when I was in elementary school. My opinion is that the technology will continue to improve and eventually catch up as the "old school" teachers retire and we have principals and faculty that are educated on the new ideas and programs that we are learning in classes like EDM 310.
Also, the video really speaks to the problem that if we don't implement the technology into the classroom, we are doing an injustice to the students. It is absolutely apparent that the use of the internet and the many tools it offers are fueling businesses not only in America but all over the world. Countries like India and Japan are preparing their kids at young ages and that is why they are excelling in the fields of computer science. We HAVE TO ADAPT!!!

sir ken robinson video on creativity

That was one of the most entertaining videos I have ever seen. Mr. Robinson was really on point when it comes to the lack of emphasis on utilizing our creativity. Education has put such an emphasis on math and science and not enough on what he describes as the arts. He also mentions that the little bit of arts students do receive are music and art. There is really no focus on dance or drama. The root of this problem has resulted from the idea that creativity is dangerous and causes kids to not conform. Schools seems to have this general idea of conformity. If everyone acts exactly the same and thinks exactly the same, then it lessens the chances of kids that are "rogues" or "outcasts".

Also, I am completely in agreement that arts is last on the list. In my daughter's school, their music program is barely funded and now the teachers are asking us for donations just to keep it alive. When did a publicly funded school consider music such an afterthought? What would the world be without Beethoven, Mozart, and modern artists such as Elvis and the Beatles. They had an influence that crossed over borders of just music. They were inspiring and persevered through insurmountable odds. Don't give up on creativity. Without it, many of the greatest minds would have never evolved into what they are.

can us schools compete

My response to Ms. Gault's article is that we need to learn that balance between learning the necessary subjects such as math, science, and language and the creative subjects such as art, dance, drama, and music. To me, they share a relationship that is very underrated. If we are to continue to advance, we need the creative side of our brain to be stimulated in order to utilize the intelligence that we gather from the other side. Creativity breeds ideas that make our world more efficient. It doesn't just apply to people who write music or paint a picture. It applies to engineers who develop taller and stronger buildings or computer designers who create a faster program to improve operating systems. The point that I believe she is trying to prove is that Performing Arts schools are probably ahead of the regular schools because they teach all those subjects, but with a stronger balance.

Another point that I liked was Mr. Robinson's "3 myths of creativity". Now, I do think some people are more creative than others. However, everyone does have some creative ability. The stereotype that unless you can write novels or paint extravagant pictures is the scale on which we measure creativity is absolutely false! As I stated earlier, it comes in all sorts of ways. If this mentality doesn't change, American students will continue to fall further behind in the technological and intellectual race.

enhance your digital smarts

Every time I think I have seen every possible way to enhance students ability to learn, I am exposed to another method. This video about Vicki Davis's class in rural Georgia is really genius. She is using the gaming world as a portal to enhance kids drive to learn. The use of a virtual world to connect kids from all over the world to learn about technology and make it fun at the same time should be commended. She mentions that teachers think they can't teach something until they have learned it is not true at all. I have always felt that way until now. There can be opportunities for us as educators to learn from our students as they learn from us.

Also, I think that gaming has become such a part of our generation and our culture. We have to learn to utilize this in an educational environment like she has. The technology is there. Paper and pencil are not the only way. In fact, that is becoming obsolete. It is time to catch up and evolve. We have to start thinking outside the box.




Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Project #2 Wordle Document

top hat


So this is my first wordle post!!! That wasn't as painful as I thought. Hope everyone is enjoying this!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Blog Assignment 1: A little bit about myself

Hi everyone, my name is Owen Gill and I am 30 years old.  I am married and have three kids.  My wife's name is Adrienne and my children are Evan (8), Madison (7), and Colton (3).  I am a secondary education major with a focus on history.  I have lived in several places.  I was born in St. Petersburg, Fl on February 27, 1981.  From the time I was born until I was 4, I traveled cross country with my parents who hauled private boats that ranged from 30' to over 100'.  We settled down in Bryson City, NC when I was 4 and I lived there in the heart of the Smoky Mountains until I was 17 years old.  From there, I lived in Los Angeles, CA for about 6 months and then  moved to Mobile, AL for my senior year of high school.  I graduated from Murphy High School and met my future wife while I was there.  However, I moved away to Tampa, FL and we grew apart.  After seven years, she found me on Myspace and I came back to Mobile to visit her.  I have never left since that day.
I am also in the Army National Guard and I am enrolled in the ROTC program at South Alabama.  I plan on staying guard when I commission as an officer and become a history teacher and coach.  I have a tremendous passion for helping mentor troubled teens and help open up doors to opportunities that they are rarely aware of due to the environment they are subjected to.  Teaching to me is one of the most important jobs in the world today.  We are directly responsible for how prepared children are for the doggy dog world we live in today.  I want to do my part and I am really excited for the opportunity to learn from this class and apply it to my teaching when I get the honor of that position one day.  I look forward to talking with everyone in this class and I hope we can all learn from each other on how to improve and perfect our craft!
After watching Dr. Pausch's video on time management, I would have to say that it is a simple but brilliant solution to a problem many students and people, in general, have on a daily basis.  I think the part that I enjoyed the most is about doing the ugliest part of your list first.  I have always felt that you do your list based on getting the dreaded parts done first.  Because psychologically, it gives me a sense of relief and makes the other tasks on my list become easier because there is no stress.  Most people save that for last because they feel that if they do everything else but leave that last thing to another day, they have accomplished their day.   But the truth is we tend to shy away from challenges or obstacles that we feel are too difficult.  Then they pile up and now there is a whole day or week of ugly things to do.