Monday, April 29, 2013

C4T summary

C4T # 4 

4/14/13 - The teacher I was assigned to comment on was Mrs. Greta Sandler. Her blog is entitled "About a Teacher." She updates her blog monthly, but her last post was during October of 2011.

The first post of hers that I read was entitled "Finding My Voice." Mrs. Sandler talked about how when she was a little girl she loved to write. She savored each and every opportunity she had to write. Her Great Uncle is a poet and once wrote a poem with her. She would share her writings with him.

As the years passed by, she went through some rough times and unfortunately lost her inner voice and her love for writing. She tried and tried to regain this love, but she was at loss for words. She developed writer's block for several years.

When she became older and more connected with her passions of teaching and technology the writer inside seemed to wake up. She felt the words swirling in her heart and head. She signed up for a WordPress account and still couldn't write. Although something was changing, she still couldn't find a way to get the words out.

Through her involvement with her PLN, she began commenting on blogs and found herself taking a long time to come up with the words for a comment. A message from her friend, Pernille Ripp, eventually allowed her to regain her voice as she was presented with an opportunity that she was humbled and honored with. Her words began to flow like magic.

My comment:
Writing has always been a passion of mine. It seems to be a talent I have. In high school, some of my writing was published in anthology books. I am glad you found a way to rekindle an interest in writing. I've always had trouble expressing myself verbally, but when I put pen to paper it's like taking on a completely different identity. I decided to major in Elementary Education, but I kept my passion for writing by choosing to minor in English. I enjoyed reading your post.

4/28/13- In her next post entitled "Kids Motivating Other Kids to Blog!", Mrs. Sandler discusses a special event she held during which she invited her group from the previous year to come in and share their blogging adventure with her students. She found that each student was highly engaged in conversation and was amazed at how everyone wanted to participate by asking or answering questions. She carefully selected a few quotes from a video which shows how much blogging means to them and how important it is for students to learn about new things they are passionate about. Some of the quotes include accounts of how a student received a comment from an uncle who lives in Spain. Another quote describes a map that was created to record each location a comment was received from. The map was filled with various colors all over the world. Mrs. Sandler was astonished with the results and reactions she received from her students. She is well pleased with their encouragement to learn and is excited to blog herself

My comment:
I liked your blog post about kids helping kids. I think it is a great idea. Kids can learn a lot from other kids who have been in their shoes. The kids can form a connection with someone who sees things on their level and learn from that very experience.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Final Report on PLN

As I explored the use of PLNs, I determined they are not as simple to use as they first appeared. One must experience both trial an error to reach a given outcome and one may even come out with a completely different outcome than what was expected. This idea holds true with any aspect of technology as it is constantly evolving and making transitions.

One saying that holds true with any aspect of life is that you will get out of something exactly what you put in to it. You cannot expect a grand outcome if you are only putting in the least amount of effort. If you want to learn, you cannot be afraid to ask questions and explore.

I have found Twitter and Blogger to be quite interactive. I was not a major fan of either as the semester began, but I have found both to be a resourceful means of connecting with an audience that otherwise would not be available.

Blog Post #14

Teacher knows if you've done the E- Reading

This is an article summarizing a new technology known as CourseSmart that is now being tested at Texas A&M. Teachers are able to know if students have opened the text book, read the textbook, or even if they have highlighted in the textbook. CourseSmart allows teachers to track each student through digital textbooks. As with all aspects of technology, CourseSmart comes with both its pros and cons for teachers and students. A student's "engagement index" may be low, but the student may be doing exceptionally well on quizzes. This is evidence that the student may have not even opened the textbook. The teacher must then ask themselves "What does this say about the student?" The teacher must also determine whether or not to speak to the student about their study habits, decided if the textbook is helpful or not, or if the course is too easy. The students are not able to see their "engagement index" themselves, but they are well aware that they are being watched.

As a future teacher, I feel I would need to ask myself these same questions. The most important question would be to determine how to interpret the information. I like the idea that as a teacher I can know whether or not the students have done the reading. Although some students may do the reading, they have terrible test taking anxiety and/or skills. CourseSmart may allow for educators to identify this issue at an early point in the student's educational years. This technology also allows for a new change to be brought about in the classroom with the elimination of reading quizzes and an open opportunity for points to be given for simply doing the reading. As with all new things, there are the pros and cons, but many times the pros outweigh the cons and the new idea can be very resourceful.

As a student, I might think well "so what if I do the reading or not as long as I can summarize the text.." As an English minor, I know it can be quite helpful to have actually done the reading when it comes time for the test. This holds especially true if the test format is an essay. There are still many students that will do whatever it takes to get around doing the reading and to take the easy way out. This is one of the cons included in the article. There are ways around this technology as there are ways around other means of technology. Some examples include simply leaving the screen up and doing other tasks such as surfing the internet or spending time on social networks. The computer can do many things that humans cannot do, but a computer can still be fooled just the same way a human can be fooled. A student may leave the screen up while doing other tasks to make it appear as though they have done the reading. A teacher may think of an idea to have the students show evidence of doing the readings such as marking key points or words which they do not understand. As we all know, there are students that will find their way around completing any task and some of us have been there ourselves. Not only must a teacher decide how to interpret the information provided by CourseSmart, but a teacher must also determine how much they plan to rely on the information. This technology will highlight the study habits of the students and allow more class time and discussion for the students who complete the reading.

My questions for a teacher currently testing this technology:
1) How are you interpreting the information you receive from this technology?
2) How do you evaluate students based on the information?
3) What benefits have you discovered with using this technology? What difficulties/misinterpretations have you discovered?
4) What is your opinion of students who are not completing the reading according to their engagement index, but are doing exceptionally well on tests/quizzes?

My questions for a student currently testing this technology:
1) Do you actually complete the readings or do you find ways around doing so?
2) Do you feel a lack of freedom or like you are being "watched" because of this program?
3) Has this program changed your attitude toward actually doing the readings or is it about the same?
4) How effective do you feel this technology is in the classroom?

My comment on this article:
I am somewhat caught in the middle as far as my opinion on this program. This is because on one hand  it is nice to be able to determine if a student is actually completing the reading, but at the same time a student is able to find a means of getting around this technology. I would like to see the results of using this program and hear opinions of those who have used it. In a college atmosphere, this technology would not be as useful because a textbook is not used as useful as it is in a classroom for younger students. I think this a program that would open up the chance for more "cheating of the system." College students are there on their own self motivation to better their future, and younger students are required to be in class. I feel that college students should not be placed in a situation where they are being "watched." College is about becoming independent.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Blog Post # 13

Mr. Anderson uses an excellent blended teaching strategy he uses to teach his students. He refers to his method as Q.I.V.E.R.S. Each of these letters stands for a specific piece to his plan to get his students engaged in learning. First, there is (Q)uestion, this is usually the step where you start the
lesson of by presenting the students with a question. This is similar to a bell-ringer and is just simply used to get the students to think. The next step is known as (I)nvestigation. In this phase, the students are told to further explore what has been presented to them. Next, there is (V)ideo, and this is where students watch a video produced by the teacher. The students can watch the video independently or even watch it several times. The fourth step is known as (E)laboration. This is the step during which the students learn from reading and studying the information, charts, or other material given to them. The students then enter a step known as (R)eview. During this step, teachers may meet to discuss the material to see if the students are successfully comprehending what they are to be learning about. The process remains on this step until the teachers are satisfied that the students are successfully comprehending the material. The final step is the (S)ummary quiz. This is where students are accessed on what they have learned from the material.

In my opinion, this is an effective and beneficial method to both learn and teach in a structured way.Mr. Anderson's strategy made me think back on my assigned C4T teacher, Andrea Hernandez, who wrote about learning being messy in her blog post. Anderson's method would "clean up learning." The step by step process provides motivation for the students to become engaged and to be successful. The students must fully dive into the material in order to succeed in this strategy. This will benefit them because they will only learn more as they immerse themselves deeper into learning and reaching a goal. I also think the strategy is a great way to keep both students and teachers on track. It allows students to feel as though they have a path to follow when they get lost in new material. I like the idea of structured learning. I would use this strategy in my classroom to help keep students engaged in learning. The best part about this method is that students must successfully master the objectives before they are able to move on to the next step. This makes sure students are not just doing what they can to get by. All of these are reasons why this can be a highly effective method for not only students, but it can be a great resource for teachers as well.

Special Assignment Blog Post #13

Brain Crosby, a 4th grade teacher at Agnes Risely Elementary School is the author of the blog entitled "Learning is Messy." He posted a video of his presentation at TEDx in Denver where he discussed the activities of his class. Mr. Crosby was presented with an interesting challenge.

Mr. Crosby's class was composed of over 90% of students who spoke English as their second language. He gave a survey during the first week of school which asked questions such as "What is your phone number?" and "What country do you live in?" Through this survey he discovered a lack of connection among his students. He decided to turn toward the use of technology to engage his students. This was a different approach then the methods taken by others who had tried to teach them.

Each student had a laptop and their own blog to use. The class went well beyond simply just reading the textbook. They accomplished this through many hands-on projects such as constructing a hot air balloon that went up over 100,00 ft. The students embedded videos of of their activities and the new discoveries which they learned from these activities onto their blogs. The students explored the history of ballooning and created a wiki webpage. As the students imagined themselves as balloons, they wrote stories. The students then wrote high hopes for themselves, their community as well as the entire world. They put these high hopes on "Stratocards" which went up with the ballons. When it came back they placed pictures of themselves and part of the balloon on it. The students discovered world events that were going on that were not covered by the news through people around the world who began posting their high hopes. All of the students' amazing activities were recorded on their blogs.

Mr. Crosby is amazing. He is an excellent educator who makes use of his creative mind. He not only accepted this difficult challenge and ran with it, but he also went beyond his calling in giving them a worldwide audience. He helped his students uncover amazing possibilities under a broad area. Mr. Crosby learned alongside his students. This is an aspect of being an educator that shows true dedication.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Progress Report on Final Project

Our group, The Avengers, has met a few times to plan and begin creating our project. We chose to create an ibook. We've ran into a few issues with saving the ibook, but we have found that we can save it on a jump drive and transfer it to our ipads. We are unable to edit the ibook on the ipad because you must have the author software to do so. We also discovered a useful website known as We used this website to create widgets to put our my sentence videos and book trailers into our ibook. We are including each component listed in the instructions, but we each have our own page for each category in the ibook. Our group plans to meet next week as we have been during our normal class time to add finishing touches to our ibook.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blog Post # 12

For this week's blog post we were asked to create our own assignment in our field of study for future EDM 310 students. I am an Elementary Education major, and I am minoring in English. I decided on an assignment that not only would fit with my minor, but one that may also be used by educators of any level.

Metaphor Scavenger Hunt

Locate 5 metaphors having to do with Education. These metaphors can refer to any subject from technology in the classroom to a particular area of study. Metaphors can allow us to see things in a completely different light. We can learn from metaphors, however, everyone interprets differently. Metaphors shape behavior,create realities and roles. Read each metaphor and briefly summarize what the metaphor means and/or is referring to in your opinion. Include a link to where you found each metaphor in your summary.

1) Teacher's Mind Resources
"Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel." -Socrates
This metaphor refers to a similar idea we use in EDM 310 with eliminating "burp back education." Students truly learn by experiencing the lesson on their own. As educators, it is not our job to pour information into the minds of our students simply to have them just repeat it back. We are educators, not programmers of robots. By comparing Education to the kindling of a flame, Socrates is simply saying that as educators we must encourage our students to possess the desire to learn on their own. We are there to guide them in the right direction. Our students are dependent on us to be role models of  self- learning. They rely on us as a flame relies on fuel ,such as wood, for a fire to burn.

2) Teacher's Mind Resources
"A Lesson is a journey, knowledge is a landscape."
Knowledge is a landscape across which the learning journey travels. As we learn, we are essentially on a journey. A journey takes us on an adventure on which we learn from our experiences. We take a journey across an unknown landscape, and we learn from the lessons we experience in our educational journey across a landscape of opportunity.

3) Metaphors in Education
"Teachers are engineers of the soul."
As educators, we are to guide students in the right direction to be successful. One must possess the desire deep within, such as in the soul, to truly believe in themselves that they can be a success. A teacher is responsible for fostering a passion for learning in their students.

4) Teaching International Students
"A good teacher is a shepherd who tends to his sheep."
This metaphor is somewhat self- explanatory. A good educator cares about his/her students. In order to be a good educator, one must put their heart and soul into a love for teaching. If a teacher's heart is not in it for the benefit of the students, then the students will mimic this behavior.

5) Teaching International Students
 "Education is light, lack of it is darkness."
Education opens the door to new opportunity. Without education or learning, we would be essentially "sprinting just to stay in place." Education allows us to make a path for a new journey. Education brings new ideas to light that otherwise may have gone unnoticed. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

C4T # 3

Andrea Hernandez is a teacher at Martin J. Gottlieb Day School in Jacksonville, FL. Her blog is entitled Ed Tech Workshop. 

Learning is Messy...Cause life is Messy

Andrea Hernandez's post is about how she identifies learning as messy. She says that accepting the mess doesn't mean that the mess is always enjoyable. She describes her approach to the mess as a feeling that deep down inside she still sees a goal that must be met in a way that satisfies a part of her that wants "a neat little package, tied up with a string." She compares the moment to the satisfaction felt after cleaning the kitchen as you gaze upon the "gleaming counter tops and an an empty, shiny sink." She makes a statement saying, "The house would stay clean if one lived there." She says learning is messy simply because life is messy and learning is life. She describes how after conducting research projects with 2nd and 3rd graders how they reflect upon, assess, and discuss the mess and develop strategies on new things to try. She says that the process of teaching and learning differs from the process of cleaning the kitchen because it isn't the same process every time. The process of learning and teaching is iterative. 

After reading the title of her post, I was curious as to what it would be about. I agree with Ms. Hernandez. Learning can be messy. Hands- On learning is the best way to learn and can sometimes be the messiest. Learning is an experience that we all do differently. I agree with her statement that learning is messy because life is messy and learning is life.

Great Virtual Conference Expectations

As Ms. Hernandez returns from the North American Jewish Day School Conference and is in the process of co- organizing the upcoming edJEWcon conference she has thought of "virtual participation" at these conferences. She mentions a post by her colleague, Silvia Tolisano, that led to inquires about virtual conference participation. It was suggested that there not be a charge for virtual participation. This brought the fact that virtual participation has a different meaning to different people. Ms. Hernandez looks into what virtual participation looks and feels like. She describes the two parts of virtual participation. The first part is the work of the virtual participant and the second part is reliance on the face- to - face attendee. There has to be a commitment to connect.

Virtual attendance or communication is becoming more and more popular. Technology such as Skype allows people on opposite sides of the world to connect in a way as if they were sitting right next to each other. I like the idea of virtual connections. It can be expensive to travel and this type of technology allows a way around such expense.

C4K Summary for March

 Saturday March 2, 2013 - C4K #4
 The student's blog I was assigned to comment on was Brandi in Ms. Vannoy's first grade class. Jacey- Blair, an EDM 310 Lab Assistant, is a student teacher for this class. Brandi's latest blog post was posted on Feb. 25. Her blog post said the following: 1.I      love      vannnoy.      2.   she     is     the      best.        3.       she           is       the        sweetest.     4.   I          love       her     so      much. 
  I commented that it is great she has a teacher who she loves. Learning is always easier when you have a connection with the teacher.

Sunday March 10, 2013 C4k #5

The student's blog I was assigned to comment on was Ryan in Carol Mclaughlin's second grade class in Birmingham.  The link their class blog is Miss Mac's Outstanding Owls. Ryan described a special birthday surprise. The surprise was a trip to the American Girl Doll store. This was Ryan's post: I went to the American girl doll store for my birthday.It was a surprise . I thought  me and my cousin Abby were going shopping . We were  going shopping at the American girl doll store.
I commented that it sounded like the trip was a special birthday surprise. I told Ryan that the American Girl Dolls can be a special treasure. I also told Ryan that I collected American Girl dolls myself when I was younger, and I have now passed them on to my niece.

C4k #6 March 24, 2013
 Nick S.  is in Mr. Seyfert's 6th grade class in Waukesha, WI. His post was about how he would like to hang out with Alex Rider because he thinks he is a cool spy. Nick also wrote about how those who have met Alex have said he is handsome.

I commented that I see that he must like adventures since he likes the fact Alex is a spy. I told Nick I am an adventurous person myself. I mentioned it's always exciting to go through new experiences and learn new things. I asked him if he would like to be a spy? 

C4k #7 Rachel in Ms. Lentine's class - March 31, 2013
Rachel is in Ms. Lentine's class. Her post is a letter written to Tracy and Larry who visited her school. They are dancers with empowering stories intended to make a difference. Rachel talks about how she really enjoyed their show and listening to their stories. She was surprised to learn about what it's like for those who can't communicate. She commended them for bringing light to people who can't communicate but still have a lot to say. She wanted to know how they met.

I commented that I enjoyed reading her post. I told her how it's always a great feeling to find someone who is a true inspiration. I also told her I would also be interested in how they met. I asked Rachel  what was her favorite part of their visit was.

Blog Post # 11


Ms. Cassidy's approach to technology is quite the eye opening experience. It's surprising to see these children diving head first into the world of technology at such a young age. When I was their age we were just getting excited about the opportunity to finger paint, but students today can even paint on an electronic canvas such as on a computer and/or on a Smart Board. As these students start using technology early on, they will be able to go to great lengths as they grow. I think the signed permission slip is a great idea because it gets the parents involved.

Blogging was pretty pointless to me at first, but EDM 310 has broadened my viewpoint on blogging. Blogging is a unique way to connect with and meet people whom you can learn from that you may have never discovered without blogging. It allows you the opportunity to read about and comment on the opinions of others, both near and far. Blogging allows you to see things at all different angles, and it essentially eliminates "tunnel vision." Blogging is also a way to record reflections on experiences as we saw with Mr. Spencer.

Some people will remain stubborn and simply refuse to accept the world of technology and it's effectiveness. The truth is that technology can open so many doors that would normally go undiscovered. Technology allows students to learn new ideas in new ways. Technology is the new way of learning. We are all going to look at any one thing in a different way. Some will see the glass half full, while others will see the glass half empty. Technology allows us to gain access to all these viewpoints and compare them with our own. Educating is about making a difference, even if it may just be the slightest difference.

Ms. Cassidy points out that the only way to be successful in the use of technology is to find something that works for you and your classroom. The same thing is not going to work for everybody, but we must each find our own path on which to travel. As educators, we must be successful with technology in order to teach our students to be successful with technology.

Blogging, Facebook, and other social networking sites allow conversations to develop which we can learn from. Twitter, on the other hand, has its limits as it has a 140 character limit. Although Twitter can be used to express a short thought or simply a Thank You.