Sunday, February 24, 2013

Project #10 Finding the Right Tool

Finding the Right Tool

My plans as a health educator are unconventional compared to academics in the United States so it was difficult to think of a specific tool that would help me in my teaching.  Because I plan to be in third-world countries, there are many unforeseen variables that can interfere with a direct plan.  I understand that I will have to flexible with my plans and anticipate change.  For example, there may not be a good internet connection or reliable source of electricity.  A language barrier will be considered.  So while I was thinking of what we would have to work with, I came to the conclusion that the best tool for my classroom would be the iPad.

I would have to purchase several for the classroom.  An iPad would be a practical tool because it is portable, and I plan to be nomadic.  Moreover, I can download different applications and games that could help the students learn about health, the human body, and nutrition.  I could use a language and translation application to ease the language barrier. This way I could learn with the students as well!  Furthermore, I can download different presentations for classroom time and project it on a larger screen for the students to experience.  The iPads could also be tools to help show the children about more global issues.  This would expose the children to different people and cultures.  How cool would it be to have a class video chat meeting with another classroom all the way across the world?

In Joni Garcia's blog titled Communicate Nutrition, she introduces Prezi presentations, "a cloud-based presentation software that launches you into a new world between whiteboards and traditional can create visually captivating presentations that explore ideas and the connections between them....[Prezis] allow more creativity in a 3-dimensional platform."  Therefore the presentations are not linear! Some of the cool features outlined by Joni about Prezi are:

progression of learning
--> Imported media:  Youtube videos, power points, images, PDF's
--> Add storyline
--> Present online or offline
--> Collaborations in real-time
--> Prezi Viewer iPad app: view, retouch and present your Prezis from you iPad

Prezi is only one example of many applications that will help my students and I learn.  I could use the iPad to download books and share them.  There are many educational apps available from, "...interactive lessons to study aide to productivity tools, there's an app for every learner." First, I would download the lessons, videos, and applications that I chose and organized.  Then I would use the iPad as a presentation aide during classroom time.  I could divide the students into groups to interact and learn through various applications and games.  I would also use the iPad to create study aides and reminders to the students.

Overall, the iPad is just the beginning of the all the educational tech tools that will help.  Hopefully, I can incorporate more when the time comes.


Blog Post #6

Wendy Drexler: The Networked Student 

The Networked Student was created by Wendy Drexler with inspiration from George Siemens and Stephen Downes 2008 Connectivism course.  The concept map in the video was influenced by Alec Couro's Networked Teacher, and the video features a project done by some of Wendy's students.  The artwork was done by Alex Drexler.

Wendy Drexler did a great job demonstrating on how being connected is crucial and helpful in becoming a lifelong learner and educator.  According to this video, "connectivism is a theory that presumes that learning occurs as part of a social network of many diverse connections and ties." Basically this video tells the story of a student that takes a psychology class with a professor of connectivsm.  There are no lectures and no textbooks!

I love books and lectures! Not boring lecturing at the front of the class, but interaction, group work, and discussions during class time.  There is something about being able to physically  converse and debate with people to share ideas.   I love the networked student concept, although i think it should be a great addition to class lectures and text.    I enjoy discussing my opinions with people.  Being connected and learning social skills have to do with people interacting and communicating.

One may ask, why does a student of connectivism need a teacher?  Drexler highlights that the teacher of connectivism, "empowers her students to take control of their learning and make new connections with others who will strengthen the learning process." Therefore, the teacher is there to show the students the skills to search, validate credibility, and create the network.  She is there to help build the network, offer guidance when a student needs help, teaches the students how to communicate effectively and properly.  This includes how to address other respectfully.  The teacher would also be there to point the students in the direction to find different and reliable information.

engagement continuum
The part in this video that stood out the most was when Drexler mentions the application such as iTunes8 to download thousands of lectures from ivy league professors.  "He actually has access to the best professors in the world!"   This really drew me in because through connectivism, we can all get the best education and take control of how and what we get.  Although now I am thinking: Why am I paying so much for my college education if I can get it through a network in my own home?

Another part that stood out was when the student arranged a live video chat with his classmates and an expert.  "It never hurts to ask. People usually love to share their knowledge and expertise, especially with students." I'll keep this in mind on my intellectual micro computing journey.


A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment.  This was a cool video! I loved the freedom that the student had to explore what she wanted to explore.  The note taking application seemed useful and effective as well.  I liked how it automatically documented the source of the notes.  Sometimes that can take forever to record or find again!  She seemed to enjoy having the opportunity to learn through the internet and connect with experts through Skype or email to validate her information.  Thanks for sharing this informative video.  This course is exposing me to more technology that I had not even thought about when it came to connecting and teaching.

Her personal learning environment and more freedom to explore and learn whatever she would like.  It has many helpful applications to encourage organization.  Her information center is mostly internet.  Mine, on the other hand, involves class time, lectures, bookwork, and note taking.  I need to write the notes.  It is my personal study technique that works best; and believe me, I've tried others.  Also, I get most of my information predominantly from my textbooks.  There is not much freedom.  I am also tested.  The video did not mention how she was evaluated through her learning environment.  I look forward to incorporate and utilize all of these helpful applications to effectively learn and study.

wall art connectivism

Sunday, February 17, 2013

This is My Sentence

Blog Post #5

If I Built A School...

Krissy Venosdale writes about her dream school in her blogpost titled, "If I Built a School." I love Krissy's imagination and creativity.  She describes her school with a cafeteria that is like a coffee shop.  Also, she wants her school to be a treehouse! This is such a great idea. I know I would look forward to going to school in a treehouse.  Also, think of all the field trips the students could go on to learn about nature and biology through hands on experience.  I appreciate Krissy's fun imagination, which is hard to find these days.

If I had the opportunity to build my own school, I would make it near a beach or a lake.  There would be a huge garden near the school to teach the students how to grow their own food.  There would also be a farm with many animals to help the children learn about farming, health, diet, and nutrition.  These are essential skills that have been slowly ignored today.  There would be a large courtyard with many games, trees, and flowers.  I would make sure my school had a language building to start the students young for learning new languages.  The cafeteria would have vegetables from the garden and meat raised on the farm.  Additionally, starting in the third grade, I would implement a program to teach children about economics.  The students would have jobs in each classroom that changed each week.  For example, a student would water the plants one week or check and record the temperature outside daily the next.  All of the students would learn how to make saving and checking accounts, write checks, and balance a checkbook.  Each month, the students would participate in a marketplace selling either art creations or bought products to sell and consume.  If I built a school, this is how it would be.

Virtual Choir

Erik Whitacre is a classical composer and conductor who studied at Juilliard.  Whitacre does a presentation for TED in 2011 on how he discovered the first Virtual Choir 2.0 by cutting choir members through youtube.  Erik conducted his music silently and waited for his responses.  He ended up auditioning and syncing two thousand voices from fifty eight countries.  This video was amazing! I had never been exposed to any concept like a virtual choir.  Without technology, these choir members would never have had a chance to create this music together.  Moreover, technology enables people to connect and learn from each other.  Applying this to the education system will possess the same concept.  Thank you for recommending this video.

"It's great just to know I'm part of a worldwide community who I've never met before, but who are connected anyway."

Teaching in the 21st Century Kevin Roberts

Dr. Strange converted Kevin Roberts Prezi presentation Teaching in the 21st Century.  This was a thought provoking and interesting video.  I believe that we were already supposed to watch this according to the previous directions in the beginning of the semester.  This was a cool little video, but the mp4 version kept skipping.  I prefer text file or textbook to limit frustration and to speed up the reading and learning process.  This video described teachers as filters for knowledge rather than the main source.  Teachers should be there to validate, synthesize, leverage, communicate, collaborate, and problem solve.  These are essential skills to pass on.  I can recall many of my teachers growing up incorporating these life skills and information evaluation and application throughout my years as a student.  College life, however, is a lot different.  This is a great video that makes you think a little about knowledge, education, and technology.  Education is not about teaching specific information; on the other hand, it is about teaching the necessary skills to acquire the best information.

Why I Flipped My Classroom ---Flipped Classroom FAQ

Katie Gimbar created a video about why she flipped her classroom. She was teaching math, and realized that 90% of her class was spent on content and review while only 10% was spent on actual application.  Katie also noticed that she had very challenged students and unchallenged, bored students.  In order to fix her problem, she decided to assign videos that mapped out the concepts that would be covered in class.  This gave the students a chance to work at their own pace and ask questions while still being able to rewind, pause, or work ahead.  This created more classroom time because it gave Katie more time to spend on application of the concepts in different groups based on levels of understanding.  This gave her a chance to give effective differentiation and challenge all of the students.  I loved Katie's video because that is a problem that many teachers are having today with students.  This helps give students an individualized learning plan that does not just cater to the majority and also keep the accelerated learners challenged.  Thanks Katie for sharing why you flipped your classroom.    

Dr. Lodge McCammon's FIZZ - Flipping the Classroom 

Dr. Lodge McCammon is from Raleigh, NC at The Friday Institute.  He believes there is a problem with education in classrooms today because classrooms are inefficient and not engaging for the students.   Moreover, he describes lectures as, "a one shot deal and not engaging."  McCammon thinks that lecturing does not engage the students because  He wants teacher to flip the classroom through his product called FIZZ.  Kids can watch the FIZZ video lecturing to get their information.  This makes it possible for students to watch the video countless times for review while creating more classroom time. This increased classroom time means that more students can collaborate, apply, and publish their findings.  McCammon is convinced this is more engaging for students.

Ms. Munafo Flipping the Classroom - 4th Grade STEM

Ms. Munafo is a teacher at Hilburn Academy.  She does a great job explaining why teachers and students would benefit from flipping classrooms.  Basically, she coverers the same information that Katie Gimbar and Dr. Lodge explain from The Friday Institute.  She also mentions that students who do not have computers at home can use the computers or iPads in the classrooms before classrooms.  Coming down off of that, I was not in total agreement with this method because Dr. Lodge's video was the first that I watched, and it lacked the detail that Katie and Ms. Munafo's videos explained.  Overall, I have just fallen in love with FLIPPING classrooms just as long as we can rely on all the children to do their video homework.  I guess I could not use this in third world countries because a lack of supplies, however I plan to do what I can with what I have.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Blog Post #4

podcast image globe with headphones

Watching 1st Graders Create Their Own Read-Along Audiobook was a fun and interesting experience.  I especially liked how the class had a booklet to follow along with the podcast.  Moreover, this lets the children who are more visual keep up.  The kids seemed to have a good time in creating the podcast.  " Students started to experiment with their voices: inflection, fluency, pitches, emotions,  volume, speed..." Additionally, the first graders did a great job at creating, "Dinosaurs Before Dark."  I agree that letting the children read aloud can help them build confidence in their reading and speaking.  This reminded me of reading Shakespeare out loud in high school.

In Benefits for Podcasting in the Classroom shows how much technology has taken over the Millenials. Podcasting allows for differentiation in the classroom so students can look over and review the podcasts.  Furthermore, podcasting can enhance instruction because there is more room for creativity.  Also, students who cannot make it to class can download lectures and study.  Podcasting makes it convenient for parents to stay involved in a child's academic life.  On top of that, podcasting encourages debate and student interaction amongst themselves.  This video was beneficial, and I look forward to my experience with podcasting.

Judy Scharf wrote an informative article titled, "Podcast Collection."  In it, she addresses how to make a podcast and the amount of time to allot towards creating one.  She gives many tips to succeed such as letting the students pick who they would like to work with and a choice of topics.  This article helped me get a better understanding of podcasting.

Project #5 Presentation

C4T #1 Comment 1

David Truss Comment #1    

 In my next assignment, I will be summarizing an educator's blog.  I am privileged to have been assigned to David Truss, a vice principal with Coquitlam Open Learning and the new Inquiry Hub out of Canada whose philosophy on learning is truly inspirational.  Basically,  Inquiry Hub is a school that eliminates school blocks and provides an avenue to explore one's own questions through technological learning stressing inquiry, voice, audience, community, leadership, play, and networks.  David Truss's blog,  Pair-A-Dimes for Your Thoughts: A Reflection of Education, Technology, and Learning, is a compilation of techniques and thoughts of how to improve teaching, the education system and responsibilities, and maximize opportunities to all children.  After reading about Dave, I read his philosophy.  I highly recommend taking the time to read this as Dave understands the responsibility  and commitment that comes with being an educator.

In Dave's post on January 25, 2013, he discusses the details of his presentation to fellow educators on 7 techniques to transform a classroom.  In his first link, A 3 Minute Conversation Starter, Dave provides several links in hopes for though provoking conversations.

 I chose the link Adora Svitak: What adults can learn from kids.  Adora is a published child author, and she addresses the importance of keeping expectations high.  "When expectations are low, we will sink to them."  Adora also goes over the importance of reciprocated learning between adults and children without a fear of losing control.  "You must lend an ear today, because we are the leaders of tomorrow."  This link was powerful and lent a different perspective.

Next, I explored his link 7 Ways to Transform Your Classroom which highlights the seven principles of Inquiry Hub: (words by David Truss)
  • Inquiry:Give learners a choice. Students seek and explore their own questions.
  • Voice: Give learners a voice.  Provide students with meaningful opportunities to share
  • Audience: Give learners and audience.  Student work is shared with more than just teacher and peers.  
  • Community: Give learners a community to collaborate with.  Collaboration with peers ad teachers within global and local communities.  
  • Leadership: Give learners opportunities to lead.  Students as lead learners in our school and in our world.  
  • Play: Give learners opportunities to play.  School is a learning sandbox.  
  • Networks: Give learning digitally connected spaces to learn.  Connected learning in both physical and digital spaces.   
David has three key points

1.  Use technology as a tool.  Use it effectively.  Dave quotes Chris Kennedy in his TEDx talk:  "Technology doesn't make teaching easier, but rather that is makes teaching different."

2.  Be learners too through collaborative learning and go global!

3.  Pick and try one of the seven way to transform your classroom.

As you can see, David Truss has a powerful perspective on adapting to a changing technological world.  Dave helps us find ways to reach potential through embracing technology as a tool.  

I left Dave a comment explaining who I was and how I felt about his post. I mentioned Adora Svitak and the power of his philosophy.  Then I asked for a few tips for a prospective educator.

Comment #2 
David added a post about his first true story of connectedness.  He explains why he decided to imbed this video.  In his video, David described how social networking sites like Twitter has helped him.  He had a question from a student that he did not know the answer.  He tried to look it up, however he still could not come to the right conclusion.  Through Twitter, David found that he could find his answer from halfway around the world.  How cool! I have not had much experience with Twitter yet, however his post gave me some hope.  I commented on this post, and let him know that I feel better about getting into Twitter.  Twitter is a powerful tool to connect, explore, and learn.  

Special Blog Post #1

Communication Breakdown and WolframAlpha      

Communication Breakdown Comic
Some of us misinterpreted the last blog assignment.  The point of the assignment was to watch the video Did You Know? A Strange 2012 Version and make the connection that the United States has significantly less people than China and India.  Moreover, any comparison made in the video using numbers or fractions would not make sense unless we knew the populations.  I searched the populations of these countries on WolframAlpha.

-India 1.21 billion
-China 1.35 billion
-USA 309 million

working together
India and China have a whole bunch of people! As you can see, comparisons are just numbers unless we apply meaning and perspective.  Next, I searched the populations of Brazil, Costa Rica, and Egypt.  WolframAlpha brings up population and demographics such as population density, growth, life expectancy, and median age.  Finally, I searched for the populations of Massachusetts, Alabama, and North Carolina.  This is what I found.

-Brazil: 195 million
-Costa Rica: 4.64 million
-Egypt: 84.5 million

-Massachusetts: 6.5 million
-Alabama: 4.8 million
-North Carolina: 9.6 million

WolframAlpha is a a helpful tool to get a quick answers and perspective.  This knowledge engine could be helpful my students and myself to find out information or understand meaning of information.  This way, my students and I can analyze any data thrown our way.  As you can see, I have already benefitted from WolframAlpha.  Students need to learn how to find answers themselves, not simply memorize populations and facts.

In The Last Minute...
Social Media Counts

Gary Hayes Social Media Count is a page that counts social, mobile, games, and heritage.  For example, the numbers soar as this engine counts the number of likes and comments on Facebook and videos watched on Youtube.  Although this shows us how many people are doing these activities, I found it hard to believe that only 40,000 people were tuning into a radio station in the last hundred seconds.  This number seemed low to me. This site shows how fast technology is growing and changing.  Either way, this is a fun while providing perspective.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Blog Assignment #3

Peer Editing 

peer editing
Taking the time to explore What is Peer Editing? by Paige Ellis,  Peer Edit With Perfection, and Writing Peer Review Top 10 Mistakes is definitely worth the time.  I was always familiar with the 'sandwich method' which is compliment, suggestion, and another compliment.  These videos were very helpful.  The video Top Ten Mistakes video had me cracking up especially because I have encountered every top 10 peer editor.  Moreover, the video was made by little kids which put a unique spin on the critique.

I commented on my C4C Blog #2 using the guidelines in the videos linked above.  Basically, compliment, offer suggestions, and then corrections.  Stay positive while improving, revising, and editing.  There is an exception to every rule, however my rule is to make suggestions privately to avoid anybody becoming uncomfortable or embarrassed because writing can be personal.  Moreover, not telling someone about terrible grammar and spelling mistakes is as bad as commenting publicly because allowing poor published work on the internet is more embarrassing for the writer.

Assistive Technologies  Amy Archer 2012
Assistive Technologies for Vision and Hearing Impaired Children was inspiring.  The video shows that classrooms can be all inclusive.  Moreover, as teachers we are giving children a voice.  For example, The Mouthbatten created by Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine, FL.  The Mouthbatten is a device that acts as a computer for blind students.  Basically, the mouth batten types braille and receives and transfers files from a computer while translating braille.  Personally, I love that we have these assistive technologies.   These technologies help to be more inclusive with students with disabilities while making learning more effective.  I would incorporate this into my classroom during group projects and assignments and to help me understand braille so I can help more students.

Teaching Math to the Blind by Art Karshmer at the University of San Francisco is informative  and interesting.  I have never thought about how blind students viewed math through braille.  The idea is a group of blocks with braille that fit into a work board that would help blind students line up the numbers accordingly and set a foundation for more complex math problems and later studies. This is important because it gives blind students a chance to pursue scientific careers.  This would be a great assistive technology to use in the classroom.  I would use it just as shown in the video.  iPad Usage For the Blind  created by Wesley Majerus  explains how to use an iPad if you are blind.  Wesley explains ibooks and how liberating it is to be able to listen to books on the iPad. This is a revolutionary tool for learning because blind people can enjoy more books, search the internet, and simply have more liberties.  I would use this in a classroom for blind students and students with hearing disabilities.  Deaf students can create sentences and have the sentences read through learning applications that are easily downloaded.  Also, more blind students can participate in group reading projects and assignments.  This is a great tool. Viki Davis: Harness Your Students Digital Smarts Viki Davis is an incredible teacher who believes  learning through paper and pencil only does not  ensure that all students will thrive and succeed.  Additionally, she wants to empower each student to learn how to learn, collaborate, and become comfortable with technology.  For instance, Viki encourages students to define and explore unfamiliar terms because technology is a literacy.  "So many teachers think, 'I need to know everything before I can teach it,' You think of the power students have when they find out and they figure it out...I did not teach the terraforming group how to terraform. They were teaching me."  Viki has a great outlook on teaching and learning.  She has connected a relatively rural community globally.  

Text: Keep it Real
In this video, I like how students teach other students and that Viki learns with her students.  This empowers the students and lets them learn in their own way.  Viki created the Flat Classroom Project which studies trends in information technology.  The project give the students a chance to write reports with other students to aide in learning.  This way students can get the knowledge and see how it applies in real world situations.