Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blog Assignment #2

Did You Know? 3.0 A John Strange 2012 Version 

Dr. Strange, professor of EDM310, arranged a short clip titled, Did You Know? 3.0 A John Strange Version, linked in the heading.  The original Did You Know? 3.0 was done by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod.  Basically, these clips try to eliminate egocentrism and put the big picture into perspective by utilizing statistics, simplifications, and comparisons.  I believe the message Dr. Strange is trying to convey is that technology is progressing at an exponential rate; therefore, we need to adapt to survive.  Very true! Strange highlights how common technology is in today's American society by surveying households with cell phones and computers and how often the devices are used.  For example, "3 years ago 93% of all 8-18 year olds in the United States had computers in their homes.  It's more now!"

Personally, I agree that many people in the United States either have computers in their homes or can get access to computers in libraries or schools. However, third world areas have little access to computers.  On the military base in the Marshall Islands, there are no cellphones, personal vehicles, or malls for that matter.  Kwajalein is a three mile island!  I was fortunate enough get a solid education on the base and learn English.  Five RMI (Republic of the Marshall Islands) students of hundreds of applicants are chosen every year to attend Kwajalein High School from K-12.   The island city of Ebeye, a ferry boat ride away, does not have reliable running water.  Electricity of the entire island often goes out without prior notice, and computers are not common.  To get perspective,  my brother was teaching classes on Ebeye when he was a sophomore in High School.  Getting to my point, making connections between industrialized countries illustrates that technology is advancing faster than we can keep up with, but I would like to see this comparison go global.

As for cell phones, I did not have a cell phone until I was 18.  I recently went without a cell phone for six months excluding an emergency go phone for long trips.  This was one of the most peaceful experiences.  I did not spend all day replying to text messages.  Instead, I spent more time focusing on school, me, relaxing, and nature.  I love technology, and I love the most effective work, however I enjoy not being completely dependent; I can use my calculator, but I know how to solve the problem myself without one.

A detail in Strange's version that stood out to me was, "the top jobs ten years from now do not exist yet."  This blows my mind!  Technology is advancing at an exponential rate, I plan to keep up and survive.  Funny, my grandfather still cannot figure out how to use the remote.  This makes me wonder how I will be with technology in fifty years.  In the original version, I was impressed that, "it is estimated that 4 exabytes of unique information will be generated this year."  This is great because here I was thinking that all of my ideas had already been thought of, researched, and observed.  Additionally, Fisch and McLeod mentions, "the amount of new technical information is doubling every 2 years...for students starting a 4 year technical degree this mean that half of what they learn in their first year of study will be outdated by their third."  This illustrates the importance of the commitment of being lifelong learners and embrace technology with all of its benefits.

Mr. Winke Wakes by Matthew Needleman 

Mr. Winkle Wakes is a short video clip done by Matthew Needleman.  In essence, the clip is about a man who has slept for the last hundred years and wakes up only to find himself unfamiliar with a technologically literate world.  The only place where Mr. Winkle finds comfort and familiarity is a schoolroom of teachers lecturing and students taking notes.

There is a hint of humor and satire in this clip.  I agree with Matthew's point in this video.  The world is changing so fast around us, however classrooms are changing at a slower pace.  I agree that teachers should get the training to make technology in the classroom an effective tool instead of a frustrating burden that is feared.

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity 

Sir Ken Robinson delivers a powerful message in his lecture, Ken Robinson says school kills creativity, linked in the title.  Ken gives a different perspective on the importance of creativity and how society and education ranks the Arts.  Personally, I loved Mr. Robinson's ability to add humor while delivering an essential message.  I took out of his lecture that creativity is not to be overlooked.  He mentions that all humans are born with a creative mind and a curiosity to learn.  Through education, that creativity is lost when children become fearful of being wrong.  In a society that stigmatizes mistakes, can we blame them?  "We are educating people out of their creative capacities".  All of Ken's stories were not only entertaining, but supported his points as well.  This quote in particular stood out to me.  "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original."

A story that resonated was about the young dancer, Gillian Lynne, who was having trouble in school and with the help of a doctor found her passion, talent, and success as a dancer.  Ken Robinson also points out the creativity should be diverse, dynamic, and distinct.  I have never really thought about how education systems lack support in the arts, however after Ken's lecture, I can relate.  I agree that education systems should not only cater to mathematics and language, but encourage creativity through the Arts.  Who is to say that one focus is better than another?

As I was watching this clip, a friend walked into my room.  I immediately started it over and we watched Ken's lecture together.  When we finished, we discussed the video.  His thought were, "if we continue to base what we learn according to what other people determine is most important, then we are wasting our creativity and originality just to become something that someone else wants us to....that we aren't destined to be." He prefers to remain anonymous.

Both clips, Mr. Winkle Wakes and The Importance of Creativity point out that education and schools are dynamic.  In a rapidly changing world, no one can guess what the future holds.  A revolution in education and teaching will have to take place.  Students should be able explore their questions and interests without having a teacher give them direction or study, but rather how to find the answers and give them an environment to do so.

Students do not want to listen to lectures all day.  It was illustrated in Mr. Winkle Wakes how classrooms have stayed the same for the last 100 years while the world is not slowing down.  Giving the students an avenue to explore education and learning while curiosity and creativity are at their peek will keep students engaged and challenged.  David Truss pointed me in this direction today.  Makes me want to go hmmm..... The video gives a little perspective on college students today. Enjoy!



I have no experience with Pinterest, however I have created one today.  My new Pinterest is FincherW.  Follow me!  After reading Four Ways to Use Pinterest in Education by Aaron Morrison, I think Pinterest can be helpful in my future classroom.  Pinterest is helpful to create lesson plans, sharing ideas, organization, and student use.  I am always up for new ideas to improve my teaching, and I believe Pinterest has enough people networking that I can benefit from other's ideas.   Thousands of minds are better than one.  Surely sharing ideas ties into help on fun lesson plans.  Pinterest would be a great way to communicate with other teachers and parents.  Morover, I am entertained with the idea that I do not have to bring my flash drive everywhere with Pinterest.  I can have an online storage with folders for my work.  Although I would utilize student use, I believe it might be unfair to assume that all students will have access to a computer, especially if he or she cannot drive yet.  The last thing I would want to do is assign a project to make one of my students feel embarrassed.  

Vicki Davis: Vicki has such an  rockstar attitude that attracts me to her board.  
TED ED News:  I was exposed to a few videos by David Truss sponsored by TED ED such childhood author and presentor as Adora Svitak.  
Education World:  This is about science and technology. Need I say more? I love science!
Debbie Fucoloro:  Technical tips and tricks for beginners will help me to get started on my intellectual journey.  
ISTE:  I figure since this is the only International Society for Technology and Education, that this board would have essential information.  

This is my first experience with Pinterest, and already I am in love with the concept and agree that this site will be an essential tool for teaching.  Pinterest will help collect and organize ideas and collaborate with other teachers.  I liked the idea that students can use this Pinterest to create mini dictionaries for foreign language classes.  I am excited to jump on the Pinterest wagon to learn, improve, and share.  

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Project #2 Wordle

Wannetta Fincher's awesome wordle about her life

Blog Assignment #1

This is Me

Hello! My name is Wannetta Fincher.  I am a student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile.  I plan to major in Health Education with a teaching certification because of my passion for helping others and working in a health related field.  I am taking EDM310, a micro computing course, to stay afloat in today's rapidly advancing technology.  This blog is a part of my experience in Dr. Strange's course.  This will be my first blog post, however I look forward to learning and benefiting from a network of academics.

Coming down off of that, I will share a little about myself.  I was born and raised in the Marshall Islands,  Kwajalein to be exact, which is part of the largest atoll in the world located in Micronesia  approximately seven degrees North of the equator.  My mother is Japanese and Marshallese, the indigenous culture, and my father is Native American and European.  Growing up in two cultures with different  languages has taught me about people and given me an appreciation for diversity and respect for other cultures.  Moreover, some  places I have lived are Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Alabama.

Before South, I attended University of Alabama in Huntsville pursuing mechanical engineering. One may ask, why Huntsville, Alabama? Kwajalein is a US Army Missile Defense Testing base with a high concentration of engineers contracted by companies such as Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed, and KRS, mostly based in Huntsville.  Therefore, a large population of the residents move to that area after finishing contracts.  Meanwhile, realizing I did not want to sit in a cubicle all my life, I took a break to find my passion.  As soon as I was ready to go back to school, I decided to come to South Alabama mainly because of the location near the water.

Although free time is scarce while juggling work and school, if I could do anything right now,  I would sleep.  However, if I had time and finances, I would travel the world in a hot air balloon.  I would go skydiving, hiking, camping, climbing, cliff diving, canoeing and kayaking.  I had two months off recently only to find myself on a  road trip across the country camping at every national park I came across.  I strongly recommend one to experience the beauty of this country.  On top of that, I love anything that involves athletic coordination, exercise, or simply playing games.   Time with family and friends take priority.  I am the baby of four brothers and one sister, and a proud aunt of seven nieces and nephews.  Being away from support has been rough, but it has made me resilient and taught me to never take the ones you love for granted.  Thanks to technology, I have my family and friends here everyday.   The opportunity to attend an exceptional school, Kwajalein High School,  has given me an understanding of the difference that teachers, mentors, and coaches make in a child's future.  My mission is to make that difference.

Classroom Jazz

Before I begin, I am going to tell you a story that illustrates my motivation to pursue Health Education.  In eighth grade, I took a Health class.  Although I was active in sports, my family seldom stressed health and nutrition.  On the first day, my teacher passed out calendars and food diaries for us to evaluate our nutrition and health.  Unfortunately, the majority of us were either malnourished or exceeding recommended caloric intake.  Next, she had us write a goal above our calendars and also write exactly what we were going to do to achieve that goal.  We learned about habits; it is possible create habits in three weeks.  Never exercising outside of athletics, I chose to start running or walking daily.  So, I chose a partner and we began walking.  After a while, we started running three light poles and walking one.  Not long after, we had ran a mile without stopping!  We eventually ran two miles everyday until the end of the assignment.  Furthermore, after I had reached my goal on the third week, I could not stop.  She was right about habits.  For the rest of my high school career I ran four to six miles everyday and up to half a marathon.  Needless to say, I also had made my family an entirely revised grocery list.  This story illustrates the impact of Mrs. Peterson's class on my future.  She inspired me to want to help others.

When I think about my future classroom, the only constants will be change, stimulation, and an effective and comfortable learning environment.  My plans as a health educator include traveling to third world areas to teach and campaign for health, diet, and nutrition.  My certification covers grade six to twelve, however my preference focuses on middle and high school.  Nonetheless, I am happy to work with all grades and ages.  I chose this focus bracket because these students are becoming mature enough to think critically, evaluate situations outside of simply following directions, and possess the power to make changes.  Therefore, keeping in mind that my instruction will be nomadic, my future classroom will be a wholly stimulated classroom created by my immediate students and their work.  Imagine a classroom of desks arranged in pods to promote social skills and teamwork while exposing students at different academic levels to be positive peer models.  The walls will have posters made by the students to share information and evaluate other's work.  This will enable students to learn while just scanning the immediate environment.  Constant motivational reminders will be posted throughout the room to lock essential information into long term memory.

I plan to utilize scientifically researched methods of teaching while combining effective, personal experiences as a student.  Positive reinforcement, praise and observational learning will be stressed.  I will give an explicit and clear overview for the course and explain daily activities as many students need an idea of a larger picture to fully understand their expectations.  I will save time in lessons for questions and open discussions while encouraging students to answer each other's questions and supply peer input.  This will promote critical thinking and problem solving.  If available, textbooks will be used with presentations to aide understanding and provide examples of how the information pertains to the students personally. Moreover, trivia games will be incorporated to make learning rewarding and memorable through positive reinforcement.  Of course, we learn by doing and practicing.  I will lecture for the auditory learners, show powerpoint presentations for the visual learners, hold discussions  and assign projects for the hands on learners, while having them take notes for practice and relearning.  Importantly, instilling confidence in the students will facilitate learning.

     One could be an exceptional teacher, however a lack of motivation from students can hold a classroom behind.  It is important to motivate students without overwhelming them by creating an inviting, interesting, and challenging atmosphere.  For instance, if one would like a child to read more, surround them with books, have them read, read to them, and have his or her peers reading around them.  Additionally, I will concentrate on assuring my students of their capability to learn the material and do well.  A student does better and will not give up if he or she feels the task is possible. Again, my students will learn through all senses: writing, reading, watching, and discussing.  Group work, open class discussions, and peer reviews constantly provided will promote learning and critical thinking.  Hands on activities and projects  should help create firsts and lasts to engrain material into long term memory.  Additionally, outside projects such as Mrs. Peterson's habit experiment will be included.  Altogether, these methods should facilitate learning essential skills and applying that knowledge to all aspects of life.

Supplies are limited in third world areas, however I will make the best with the tools available.  I plan to utilize a textbook, workbooks, and powerpoint presentations that highlight the most important details and provide an illustration with research and video clips.  Video clips are powerful tools because there are countless avenues to explain and reframe an idea so that more students can grasp a concept.  Moreover, peer learning and teaching can make a big difference.  For instance, projects and group presentations will spark more interest than me lecturing.  Getting the students involved and active in class can be a tool to motivate peers to follow.  Journals were a large part of my education which helped me to write creatively and effectively while giving me an opportunity to relieve stress through expression.  I will continue to blog and utilize networking sites to find ways to improve myself, share experiences, and learn.

Pausch's Take on Time Management 

I used to believe I did my best work when I was faced with a deadline; if the deadline was tomorrow.  Randy Pausch's on Time Management and procrastination is casual, has a hint of humor, and is to the point.   Pausch addresses concepts we all have thought about subconsciously, however he simplifies the difficulties of time and stress in a way that makes you feel silly for ever thinking any task was complicated.  An influencial part of Pausch's lecture is when he brings up having a plan, anticipating change, and how to carry out the plan.  He says, "If you do the right things adequately, that is much more important than doing the wrong things beautifully."  He also says to do the ugliest things first and get them out of the way.  I found that asking yourself if something is important and why something is important can help you prioritize.

This was not the first time I have been exposed to Randy Pausch.  Last year, a friend sat me down to watch the full lecture.  I believe this was his last lecture before he passed.  His lecture made me feel like I could do anything I set to my mind.  His words motivated me to work hard, do the right thing, and pick myself up.  All in all, Randy Pausch was an influential person who touched many lives.  I never knew him, but he inspired me.