Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blog Assignment #13

Back to the Future
 image of Brian Crosby

In the video, Back to the Future, Brian Crosby shows us exactly what his classroom is about. He has the same students from the 4th grade all the way up until the 6th grade. (You may have to give and take a few, but generally the same students.) He introduces us to this unconventional way of teaching and learning.

In his classroom, he provides computers for every child, along with many video cameras to be shared throughout the class and a Smart Board as well. He said that the majority of his students are considered as ESL and in poverty. So the computers are something they are very excited about working with. He does several projects a year with his students. They blog about their progress and how they feel about these projects as they complete them.

During this video, Brian shows us one of his projects: The Hot Air Balloon. The project's objective is to teach the students about the different layers of Earth's atmosphere. So in this project, they construct a hot air balloon and they put everyone's "high hopes" in the balloon. When they release the balloon, they are able to watch it through a satellite and see how high it goes until it bursts and sends their "high hopes" into highest layers of Earth's atmosphere. The kids also blog about this project, but in a different way: They are to pretend that they are the balloon and describe what it was like. So, their creative juices got a chance to flow. How creative?!

I loved what Brian has done with this classroom. I especially like that he has his students for 3 years. It gives him a chance to really get to know his students and teach them in a way that is best for them. He is so creative with his projects and does a great job of incorporating all aspects of technology and still targeting exactly what he suppose to be teaching (according to the state). My favorite part is that they started collaborating with students all around the world and got the opportunity to send their "high hopes" too. The students, as well as Brian, learned about many things that were going on in the world outside of the US throughout this project. Overall, I am so impressed with the amount of technology that he used and the different ways that he chose to incorporate them in his classroom. This pushes his students and makes them strive for something they are excited about and engaged in.

A Vision of Students Today

 image of college classroom with laptops
This video, A Vision of Students Today, shows you the everyday life of a college student. It provides a clear explanation of the struggles and difficulties that college students encounter on a day-to-day basis. Many of those things are brought to the surface; those being: the majority of teachers don't know their names, they are learning things that are irrelevant to their lives, they are bored in the classrooms, so many students will be overwhelmed with debt by the time they complete their degree, students are paying so much money and not receiving an education to match, and many more struggles are mentioned throughout the video.

It is very hard to look at this video in the perspective of a teacher trying to fix these problems, (considering I am a student experiencing just about every single one of the problems mentioned throughout the video)but I will do my best. After watching this video and trying to put myself in the educator's shoes, I have come to the conclusion of what I perceive to be the message of this video: incorporating more technology in the classroom and providing more opportunities for online education. Students in this video made several complaints about being bored and not coming to class. Maybe those students need to switch to online classes? Or, even better: Maybe the instructors need to switch to new methods of teaching, perhaps MORE TECHNOLOGY?! I think so. Technology is a universal tool that engages all ages, no matter if it's elementary or college-leveled students. Students will be more interested if more resources are provided for them, which is exactly what technology does.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Final Report on PLN

Since I first got my PLN with Symbaloo, my computer life has completely transformed! I LOVE IT. It has made everything so much easier and convenient. It took me a little while to understand how to work it, but once I got the hang of things, it made web-browsing easier and faster. I no longer have to type in every single address of the places that I visit most frequently. I have made my PLN with Symbaloo my homepage and all of my most common resources are just a click away! These are the different webpages that I have added to my PLN:
Sakai account at South Alabama
Paws account at South Alabama
I have many, many more, too!

Here is a picture of my current PLN:

image of my personal learning network

Final Project #16

Monday, November 19, 2012

Progress Report on Project #16

 teamwork photo
My group, The Raging Fireflies, and myself met on November 19th to discuss and plan out the details of our final project. Our project is going to be a short film describing the changes that a student underwent as they took on Dr. Strange's course, EDM 310. The student starts out being a "Negative Nancy" and progresses throughout the semester into seeing how this class really does a great job of preparing and helping teachers with their future in the classroom. We will be continuing to make changes between now and the day we plan on videoing our project. We plan on contacting each other via email, Google Docs, FaceTime, and several other means of communication. We are all very excited to see how this project turns out! We're having so much fun making it!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Blog Assignment #12

My major is secondary special education, so as discussed in a previous post, Dr. Strange has informed us that Apple offers many different types of applications for your iPhone or iPad. After visiting the Alabama Regional School for the Deaf and Blind, right here in Mobile, I found out that apple products already come with many types of adaptive technology for those who are disabled. I toured the school this past week for my EDU 400 class (Study of Exceptional Youth & Children). On this tour, they took us into their computer lab and briefly told us about some of the accessibility services that Apple provides for the visually and hearing impaired/disabled. I became so interested in what they had to say, I checked it out for myself. This is the web link that I first came across:, which led me to: When I came across these pages, I was amazed at what they have to offer to this community of individuals.

 students signing to each other via Mac
After checking out these 2 pages and a few others, this is the blog assignment that I came up with:

Students are to go to this page and find 5 types of adaptive services that Apple offers (I do not want you to pick any type of app that you would use for an iPad or iPhone. Dr. Strange has already given you an assignment in that area). You must mention five different types of accessibility technologies in your post. From the 5 that you chose, you must pick your favorite one. Whichever one of the 5 you choose, I want you to:
1. Describe what it is and how it helps
2. Find a video about it and add it to this post
3. Write about which type of disability this service targets (a detailed description)
4. Write about how you could possibly use this in your classroom

The purpose of this assignment is to get you involved in the disabled community. I want you to learn more about the types of disabilities that you will encounter as a teacher. It is so important to become familiar and comfortable with disabled students because you will come across many of them. This population will never go away and you need to learn how to incorporate them in your curriculum. I hope you enjoy doing this assignment as much as I have.

If I were to do this assignment myself, this is how I would respond:

I visited the Apple page,, and found it to be very useful and, eventually, resourceful. I was very unaware of how much Apple provides for the disabled community until coming across this page. I was assigned to find 5 different types of adaptive technology services that Apple offers for those who are disabled. The five that really stood out to me are:

1. VoiceOver
2. Refreshable Braille Display Support
3. GarageBand
4. Inkwell
5. Closed Captioning

 students signing via iChat on a Mac
Each one of these assistive technologies are miraculous and life-changing for someone who is disabled. Simple things that we take for granted each and everyday, may be a struggle for someone else with a disability. I'm so glad that Apple has come up with all of these things for the disabled community.

The one that stood out the most to me is Garageband. Garageband comes with all Macs. It is something that everyone can use. Garageband allows you to learn to play an instrument, record your very own music, write music, share your work and many other cool things. Not only, does it allow you to encounter musical adventures, but it also offers something for the deaf and hard of hearing community.

If a student is diagnosed as "deaf" or "hard of hearing", it can be very challenging for them to learn to adapt to their new way of living. Deaf is when someone has total loss of hearing. Hard of hearing is when the student has partial loss of hearing. When someone is hard of hearing they may only be able to hear certain sounds and frequencies within a specific volume range. These disabilities may result from a situation which caused their hearing to be lost, or it may be something the individual has had since birth. Either way, it is something that is difficult to withstand in an educational, or even an everyday setting.

image of Garageband
Although it is difficult for the student with the hearing trouble to learn, it may also be difficult for the teacher to adapt to a new way of teaching. This is why I think Garageband is a wonderful tool. Not only can you do all sorts of cool things musically, but it also works educationally. Teachers in the past have used Garageband to record podcasts of themselves delivering lessons to the deaf and hard of hearing population who are transitioning into learning to use their cochlear implants. (As a side note, a cochlear implant is a surgically implanted hearing device for those who are deaf or hard of hearing to assist in producing different types of sound to help them to decipher between.) Students learn inflection and how to differentiate between different pitches, voices, and frequencies. With help from the cochlear implants and Garageband overtime, the student can eventually evolve into better hearing. HOW FANTASTIC?!

Since I am planning on getting my degree in special education, I can use this everyday! I am so excited. Although I do not have a Mac now, I am planning on getting one in the near future. The Mac is equipped with so much adaptive technology. I cannot wait to get my kiddies started in on using it and seeing how much they progress throughout the year. I will use Garageband to make podcasts and do all sorts of other fun things with my students!

Unfortunately, I was unable to find any podcasts with teachers communicating with their deaf or hard of hearing students, but I did manage to find something else:

This video was created by some of the deaf students at Anacortes High School in Anacortes, Washington. The background music was also created by a deaf student in Garageband. How neat?!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Project #13

 toddler holding a computer
These collaborative tools were so helpful in communicating with my group! We used all sorts of different ways to collaborate with each other. We first started out with using Google Docs in preparation to outline our lesson plan for Project #15. We shared our ideas, thoughts, and learning objectives through this. We also used the video chat feature on Skype. Through this, we shared videos of what current web pages we were looking at and shared resources as well. Face Time was also a helpful tool in collaborating together! Maria and I used this feature when we needed to show something to each other on a short notice. Thank God for my iPhone, because we were texting nonstop, too! While we were texting, I sent several screen shots of interesting things that I found. I don't know what I would do without my iPhone. All of these tools were so very useful in communicating with my group. It has made our group collaboration so much easier versus other groups that I have been with in the past. Thank you, Dr. Strange, for introducing some of these tools to us!

Project 15: Smartboard

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

C4T #4

Post #1: Old Favourites

 pink cardigan
The teacher to whom I am assigned for in C4T #5 is Henrietta Miller and her blog, Classroom Chronicles. In this post, Henrietta started off discussing how it is now time for her to retire her favorite shirt: a pink, waffle-threaded sweater that she bought years ago. She talks about how she is comfortable in it and wears it with many outfits. It is her go-to accessory. She then, compared it to teachers today. Mrs. Miller came across this concept when she went to grab it out of her closet and prepared herself to patch it up once more. She says that teachers are this way when it comes to learning new ways of teaching students. They get caught up in their same 'ole, same 'ole ways and just try to patch it up temporarily to work for what's in store today.

As I was reading this post, I was confused as to why I was assigned to this blog. I thought to myself, "Did Dr. Strange accidentally assign me to a fashion blog? That couldn't possibly be true..."; and it wasn't. As I kept reading I came across her comparison of today's teachers. I thought this was brilliant! I love that she was doing something so simple and typical, and found a way to bring it in to education's revolution. This is so true and so over-looked. Teachers assume that what has worked in the past will continue to work for them in the future. That is not the case. Education and technology are now merging together so we, as teachers, must combine these two things and merge them into our curriculum for the betterment of our student's education. Mrs. Miller closed her post with this quote, "If we teach today the way we were taught yesterday we aren't preparing students for today or tomorrow.".

Post #2: It's All About Relationships
image of heart in hands

In this post, Mrs. Miller is discussing where she got inspiration to to write a graduation speech for her students. She says that she was chatting with some other teachers and discussing where these "teacher gurus" get there knowledge from. While doing this, she realizes that she is her own "teacher guru" and after teaching for several years has come up with her own theories, realizations, and advice on teaching and for her students. If you want to read the speech she has written, go to her post here.

I commented on Mrs. Millers blog with the following statement: "Hello!
As mentioned before, I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I really love where you got the inspiration to write the speech from: yourself! It came from your heart and your many years of experience as a teacher. You know your girls better than anyone else does, so you know exactly what to tell them and prepare them for in this next milestone of their lives. You seem to be a wonderful and caring teacher! I look up to you as I am in the process of becoming one myself. You are very wise and I will save your blog to my bookmarks so I can check in and see what other words of wisdom you have to offer! Keep up the great work :)

C4T #3

About A Teacher

For C4T #3 I was assigned to Greta Sander's blog, About a Teacher. The post that I read was titled, Finding My Voice. She talks about how, even as a child, she loved to write. Her uncle was a poet and wrote her a poem about how she would become a poet one day, herself. He seemed to be a big inspiration to her and as to why she loved to write. He made it exciting for her. She discusses that, as she got older, she came down with a bad case of writers block. It took several years for her to come out of that rut. Greta says that blogging has helped her. Since she was given an audience and someone to write for, it has provided her with more reason to discuss things of deeper and more emotional meaning. An instance that she described as the defining moment that pulled her out of the writers block stage she had been trapped in for years, was when a friend asked her to write an "Ah Ha" moment for her blog page. She says that the post was still one of her best. She left a link to it on this post. It is titled, Love Them Before You know Them.

I first introduced myself to Mrs. Sander. I complimented her on this post and told her how wonderful it was. I agreed with her when she mentioned that blogging helps to get her creative juices flowing. (I know it has mine!) After discussing how much I enjoyed this post, I went on to tell her how much more I enjoyed reading the post she titled as, Love Them Before You know Them. I told her how beautiful and inspirational it was. She talks about how there was a problem child throughout the school and all of the teachers had something bad to say about him. She soon finds out that he was sexually abused and his actions are mostly likely resulted from this. Her effort then, was to strive to make a difference in this child's life. I'm not going to tell you too much more about it, because I want you to read it for yourself. It will be well-worth your time; I know it was mine!

Kids Motivating Other Kids

In this post, Mrs. Sandler talks about a day when she let her previous class come in and talk about blogging with her current class. She said that she was surprised to get the reaction from her previous class that she did. The kids were so excited and completely motivated to keep blogging. She said that it got her new students motivated and ready to begin their own blogging adventure.

When I commented on her post, I first introduced myself. I told her that this post was very inspiring and motivating! I said that I can relate to her students entirely. I told her how I have showed family and friends all of the things that I have done in this class and how proud of my work I am. It has pushed and motivated me to do better with my work because it is published publicly for the whole world to see. I had a lot of the same reactions that her students did when it came to the excitement and thrill of achieving a great a blog post. I told her that she is doing a great job with her class and to keep up the great work and great blogging! I urge each of you to go and check out this post to see the reactions from her students (it is very relatable!)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

C4K for November

keyboard with blogging on it

The C4K this week was very special! Dr. Vutulli and Dr. Santoli are on a trip in Ireland attending a the Ireland International Conference on Education. This is a great opportunity for them. I am assigned to comment specifically on the post, A Bit About Ireland. In this post, they discuss how they looked up information about the place before they left; that way they are informed about the culture around them. They talk about the religion, language and many interesting statistics, too!

I first, introduced myself to them. I told them I was very jealous of their trip! It would be an awesome place to visit. I said that I thought it was interesting that 90% of the religion for the residents in Ireland is Catholic. I stated that the information they gave was very informative and it was a smart decision to look up things about their culture before they left.

C4K #8

The title of my C4K #8 was Alberta is Awesome. The student that I was assigned to created something similar to a collage, but of videos, posters and images. It was really neat and I have never seen anything like this! On this post, the student was talking about the rocky mountain region of Alberta. They posted pictures of lions, goats, and bears; OH MY! (Sorry, I just couldn't resist.)The video included information on a national park and all of the animals and other interesting things you can find there. She was very informative about natural resources, jobs and other interesting things about Alberta.

In my comment, I started off introducing myself to her. I told her my name and where I was from. I complimented her on the design of her blog and said that she did a good job. I told her that I found it interesting how she laid out all of the information in this post and that I was going to have to figure out how to do it myself. I told her that Alberta seemed like a beautiful place to live and that the pictures she chose for this post were very good. I told her to keep up the good work and good blogging!

C4K #9

The student to whom I was assigned to for C4K #9 is Brandon L. His last post is titled, Minecraft Steve’s Vengence part3 The Assassin. It sounded like he was describing a book that he is reading. In this post he talks about how the main character is attacked by some sort of familiar venom. He says that it is to be continued!

I first, introduced myself to Brandon. I told him that I was a student in Dr. Strange's course at the University of South Alabama. I told him that he made this story sound very interesting and I would like to check it out myself! He did a great job on his blogging and I was sure to tell him that, also. I told him to keep up the great work!

C4K #10

The student to who I am assigned to is Tiara and she is from Baldwin County High School and her blog is Tiara's blog listed 10 things that have to do with high school. Those were:
1.We will have a good day
2.BCHS Football team is great !
3.We will help you
4.The food is fantastic
5.We Will not have a test
6.You can put your head down.
7.You are my fav student
8.High school is better than the middle school.
9.I Love all my students.
10.The test is simple!

I responded and told Tiara that she is very positive about her school and to keep up the great work! She held a really positive viewpoint with all of her sentences. I also told her that I used to go to Faulkner State Community College right beside her high school, so I know exactly where that is!

Blog Assignment #11

Little Kids, BIG Potential

image of Mrs. Cassidy's classroom
In the video, First Graders in Mrs. Cassidy's Class, Mrs. Cassidy and her students take us on a virtual tour of her classroom and introduce us to all of the interactive technology used every day in her room. They use a variety of different technologies ranging from Nintendo DS, Skype, Wiki, blogging and many more. Her students are only in the 1st grade and know more about blogging than I do and most people that I know do, too.

Some of the students in her class were giving tips on how to blog properly. They told us to never say anything mean about anyone or to anyone, because it could hurt their feelings. That is such a great statement. I love the idea of this coming from a 1st grader. Not only do her students know how to blog at age 6, but they are also learning life lessons throughout this. Her students are at the perfect age to learn about social media, too. This is the age before they embark on Facebook, Twitter, and who knows what other websites will be out by the time they are old enough to use and understand them. It is great that they have grasped an understanding on how to respond to people and what they post BEFORE they enter this other area of social networking. I think that is a huge problem with my generation today. We were never properly taught how to respond to others' ideas, and Facebook is a direct correlation of that. These children are going to grow up with an understanding of how to positively speak to others, even when their ideas may not be the same. I am very excited to see how this generation transforms.

Skyping With Mrs. Cassidy

picture of Mrs. Cassidy and Dr. Strange skyping
Dr. Strange set up a Skype interview with Mrs. Cassidy to discuss some of her views on technology inside and outside of the classroom. He asked several questions and then gave the floor to some of his students.

During the interview with Mrs. Cassidy, Dr. Strange asked the question, "How do you see blogs?" Mrs. Cassidy answered with a statement similar to, "The world could go on without blogs and they would find some other sort of tool to communicate through, but it wouldn't make it as interesting." She mentioned that without blogs, the kids would be writing for their teacher, not the world. Now, when they are given an assignment, the students understand that their papers and assignments are out there for the world to see and that they have an unlimited audience. This gives them the pressure to write to the best of their abilities and gives them higher standards for themselves.

Dr. Strange also asked the question, "Where do you think is a good place to start with technology in a classroom?". Mrs. Cassidy responded with, "Start with what you are interested in the most." I think this is an important concept, especially when embarking in on a new or unfamiliar area such as blogging, audios, podcasting, wikis and many others. If you start with what you are most interested in at the beginning of your journey, you will be more motivated to keep it up.

A student in one of Dr. Strange's classes asked the question, "With blogging becoming a more common thing, do you think that cheating is becoming more prominent?". In Mrs. Cassdiy's response she made the comment that there is a difference between collaborating and cheating. Collaborating is when we feed off of others' work and cheating is when we actually steal it. I, personally, feel that is one of the primary purposes of blogging, podcasting, audios, videos and so on; so we can share our work and give information to the world. I loved her answer!!

This interview was very useful. I got a lot of questions answered from this. I want my students to be able to communicate with other students. I think that is wonderful. Children require interaction, and it would be beneficial, engaging, and fun for them to be able to communicate with other students across the world and see what they are engaging themselves in too! Also, I enjoyed seeing her backyard. I am so envious of all of the snow!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Special Blog Assignment

A World Where Grades Will Be Left Behind

Sebastian Thrun

USA Today was celebrating its 30th anniversary, and in doing so they interviewed some of the visionaries of USA to get their perspectives on the future. In this specific article, USA interviewed professor Sebastian Thrun, Google VP and owner of Udacity. Udacity is an education company in California that is in attempt to transform education as we know it today. For more information on Udacity, visit the website at

In this article, A World Where Grades Will Be Left Behind, Sebastian discusses how this future way of learning is going to be completely free and available for everyone to have access to it. He brings up the ideas of "flipping" the classroom and online classes with more than 160,000 students per class.

As a side note, Flipping the Classroom is a situation in which teachers, in nontraditional style classrooms, literally flip their classrooms. The students are suppose to watch videos at home that teach the lessons to them. They come to class the next day with any questions they may have concerning what they watched and learned. The homework is done at school, so they can get assistance as needed. It is a brilliant idea and I would love to incorporate this into my future classroom. For any questions, statistics or more information on the subject visit the Flipped Learning Network website. I found it to be very useful for myself.

 Sebastian Thrun
The ideas of this situation sounds all dreamy and Utopian, but just doesn't seem completely possible without the idea of "flipping" the world, not just the classroom. America would have to do a complete 180 to get this accomplished. There are many people to whom would be excited to get this concept on the map, I just don't think there are enough of those kinds of people willing to put forth the effort, energy, time and vitality towards an endeavor of this sort.

The concept that stands out most to me is the fact that it is "supposedly" free. With technology, comes innovation; with innovation, comes expenses. If people are willing to invest their time and money, they are going to expect some sort of payment in return. Which circles me back to the same question, "Where is the money going to come from?". I hate to be the pessimist that brings money into a great situation, but I just don't see that many good Samaritans to whom would be willing to volunteer their time and efforts into this project and expect nothing in return. Money has to come from somewhere; especially when you add all of the software, video cameras, editing programs, computers, maintenance on things that get broken and need updates, and all types of other high-tech equipment that cost a pretty good sum of money.

Another idea of this educational revolution that seems far-fetched to me is the thought that the entire United States can keep up with it. Technology is easily frowned upon in certain parts of the country; take the South, for example. They, or more-so, we, just cannot keep up with the Jones'. We all know that. We lag behind everyone else in their advances. People here are old-fashioned and it would take an act of congress to get something of this sort accomplished. Most people down here see innovation as something negative until years later, when they reap the benefits of it. It may be able to take place, but it is going to have to be much further in the future if they plan on spreading this nation-wide.

I think that this program has a lot of great efforts; I just do not see it progressing unless some major changes take place. Kudos to Sebastian Thrun and his coworkers at Udactiy. They are on the right road to educational innovations; I just, personally, think that it needs some revision to deem this whole concept possible.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

C4K for October

C4K #3

 image of student blogging
The blog to whom I was assigned for on C4K #3 is His name is Zach. It is his first year in high school at PWA. He said that he liked his new school much better than his old one for many reasons. He mentioned that the kids here aren't "psycho paranoid fools", which I found pretty humorous.

I complimented him on his new locker that he mentioned in his post. He said that it is a full sized one and he was excited about it. He also mentioned that he was glad his younger siblings did not go to his new school. I told him that I knew how he felt, because I have a younger sibling, also.

C4K #4

The blog to whom I was assigned for on C4K #4 is Her name is Shannon. The title of this post is Partnering to Make a Difference. Shannon briefly discusses a project on which she is partnered with a teacher. She says that she did very well on it, but she hopes that on her next project she can make it more enjoyable for others to watch.

On my comment, I first, introduced myself to her. I told her that she had a very interesting post and that I would love to learn more about the partnership. I also complimented her on setting goals for herself. I said that it is very important to do this, because it makes you push yourself and you end up accomplishing more than you ever knew you could do.

C4K #5

The blog to whom I was assigned for on C4K #5 is He refers to himself as "Jazzy". This was his first blog post. He was informing all of his readers about himself. He said that he played hockey and soccer and that his favorite subject is math.

When I commented on Jazzy's blog, I first, introduced myself. After that, I told him that I was jealous at the fact that they have hockey teams in Canada. I said that we do not have hockey teams in Mobile. I also told him to keep up the good work!

C4K #6

The blog to whom I was assigned for C4K #6 is a girl named Katie in Mrs. Peterson's 7th grade class. Here is a link to Katie's blog: . In Katie's post, "Hello World", she briefly introduces herself by talking about some of her favorite things to do, to read, to listen to and more. At the end of this post she says that she wants to be an astronomer when she grows up. Katie's blog is very creative.

In my response to Katie's post I started off by introducing myself to her. I told her that we have a lot in common. Her favorite book was The Hunger Games Trilogy. I said that I have read the books myself and that they are very enjoyable, as well as the movie! I complimented her on aspiring to be an astronomer. I told her that I enjoyed looking at the stars and learning about the planets too. I complimented her on her blog. I told her that it was very creative and she picked out a pretty background.

Blog Assignment #10


"I'm a Papermate. I'm a Ticonderoga."

cartoon picture

I had to sit here and think about this cartoon for a few minutes before anything clicked in my head. Finally, something came to me: I thought this was an illustration of a Mac and a PC. After checking out John T. Spencer's blog, Adventures in Pencil Integration , I realized that was his intention. So, kudos to me, I guess? I thought this cartoon was pretty good. It made you think, but it also gave a good illustration of the situation. Macs are, clearly, top of the line when it comes to computers, versus a PC, which does break frequently (I know from personal experience). PCs are inexpensive, for the most part, and they manage to get what you need done. Macs are built to last and improve what you need to get done.

Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?

Pencil Me In
This is another post by Mr. Spencer. He describes a scenario where a principal approaches a teacher with an issue. The principal took notice that the teacher was playing games with their students, and became very unhappy with that. The teacher defended himself and his students by saying the games were educational and the students were engaged. The principal's response was, "If we want students to pass the rote memorization test, we need to focus on rote memorization skills." The teacher was in awe at the fact that the principal just wanted the kids to memorize, not learn.

It was shocking for me to hear those words come out so honestly and blunt. Unfortunately, that is the way most schools attempt at teaching things: memorization. There are so many things that I have studied, or more-so, memorized, during my schooling years just to get the information in my head, not to learn. I, personally, feel that a major cause of this memorization tactic is due to how often the teachers instill it in their students' minds. It's been instilled in the teachers's minds, also; which is why they typically do not see a problem with it. It's like a never-ending cycle that NEEDS to be broken.

Capturing Reality

As I was plundering through Mr. Spencer's blog, I came across this post. He called it Capturing Reality. He starts out by setting up a conversation between his daughter and himself. She makes the comment,"Why do you have to capture it? Can't this moment run free?", after she questions her dad about capturing a picture. My attention had been caught after reading that statement. He then, transitions on to a conversation with another person about his perspective on looking through a lens. The individual says that he never takes a picture, because in the end it is just a picture of himself, not the others he was taking a picture of. This is how he worded it, "But the picture was of me. It was me, detached, looking through a lens, hiding behind a cloud of smoke." Spencer expresses that what may beneficial or pleasing to someone else, may not be for another, whether it's with technology or anything else.

First, I would like to add that I appreciate his writing style. It really helps portray the overall picture that he is trying to get across by setting up a play-by-play scenario through his dialect. Secondly, I enjoyed reading this post in particular, because of the way he expresses what may be good for someone else, may be bad for another person. In the classroom, it is easy to get in the habit of just assuming what is good for one child, is good for the rest, but in all reality it may result negatively with another. We need to get in the routine of asking, "What is best for that child?" and accommodate that into the curriculum.

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff, Please?

Scott Mcleod
Scott Mcleod's blog, Dangerously Irrelevant, is a masterpiece! He is a well-known blogger and professor in the industry of education. He has LOADS of useful information for educators out there. We were directed to read this one post in particular by Scott, Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff, Please?. In this post, he uses a sarcastic tone to address technological things that people (parents and educators) are frowning upon. This post may have come across as exaggerated, but there are ACTUALLY people in the world that believe these things! That blows my mine in itself! He basically tells them that you can do as you please, but my students will learn about these things and they will become more advanced than yours because of it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Project #10: My PLN


image of my personal pln

When choosing the right place to create my PLN, I immediately thought back to watching the video, A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment. When watching this, I became very impressed by the way everything was set up and by how easily accessible it was; thus my reason for choosing Symbaloo as my personal learning network.

When I signed up for Symbaloo it already had the majority of the webistes that I access most frequently in the "Home Webmix" section. Those websites include: Facebook, Twitter, CNN, Craigslist, eBay, Blogger, YouTube and many, many more. Symbaloo allows me to access these places with ease and have them all pulled up at once, that way I can alternate which websites I want at a quick pace. I am very excited that Dr. Strange has introduced us to this. It seems to be a useful tool and I am motivated to see at what extent this will help me now and in the future.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blog Assignment #9

What I Learned This Year

first year teaching cartoon
Mr. Joe McClung has begun to write out a reflection of how he feels after each school year is complete. He writes about what he likes and what he would like to change. This has inspired Dr. Strange to give us the opportunity to do the same at the end of our course in EDM 310.

What I Learned This Year- Volume 4

In McClung's post, What I Learned This Year- Volume 4, he discusses two things that he would like to change when stepping into the new school year.

The first thing McClung discussed that he would like to change is to learn how to not care how his peers viewed him as a teacher. He said that he got into the rut of stressing over how the other teachers viewed him. It really came down to the fact that he is not there for them, he is there for his students. As long as his students enjoyed his class and had a good time learning what they should learn, then he was not going to worry about it.

I thought this was very wise of him to say. As adults, it is sometimes hard to admit that we still care about how others perceive us to be and to act. We have to take a step back and look at the big picture, not the unnecessary details that distract from the beauty of it.

The second thing that he talks about changing next year is challenging himself. He says that he has gotten in the habit of being robotic with his teaching. He ends up pulling out the same lesson plans from year-to-year and tends to leave out the excitement that he once held. He is going to challenge himself this next year to make it more of a fun and riveting learning environment for his students.

I can easily see how a teacher can become lazy with his or her students and curriculum. Everyone says that your first year of teaching is pretty difficult and that the years after that become easier. In a way, that could pose a problem. As a first-year teacher, you strive to do your best and give your best to the students; although, we may fail in the process, we put it all out there for the students. The years that follow after that, somehow, become a breeze; whether it be because teachers become tired and use the same information over again or we actually are just getting the hang of it, who knows? It is our job as teachers to reevaluate ourselves frequently and see which side of the fence we stand on.

What I've Learned This Year 2008-2009

Dr. Strange gave us a list of posts from Mr. McClung that we could chose from to read and write about. I chose his 2008-2009 version because it was his first year teaching and I thought that it would be useful and interesting to see what his thoughts were going into his first year and coming out.

He gave several tips for first year teachers. Those are:
1. Read to the crowd, not yourself.
2. Be flexible.
3. Communicate.
4. Be reasonable.
5. Don't be afraid of technology.
6. Listen to your students.
7. Never stop learning.

Mr. McClung elaborated on each of these tips. They were all extremely helpful, but the one that stuck out to me the most was tip #2: Be flexible. I am a very "Type A" kind of person. I want everything done in advance and done the right way; no exceptions. Being a teacher, you get in the mindset that everything must be done perfectly and according to plan, and if plan A doesn't work out, have plans B-Z prepared and ready to go. Sometimes, you just have to go with the flow. Every classroom and every child is different. Curve balls will be thrown in every direction and our job is to maintain balance and give the kids what they need: love and a fun, entertaining education. We must be willing to adjust to what engages them, whether it be plan A, plan Z or none of the above. That is a quality that a good teacher must be able to posses.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Blog Assignment #8

This is How We Dream
this is how we dream: part 1 & part 2

Dr. Richard E. Miller has a 2 part series in which he titles, "This is How We Dream". In the first part of his series, This is How We Dream, Miller stated, "I think we are living at the moment of the greatest change in human communication in human history". That statement covered a multitude of what he discusses in this video. He talks about how he grew up, like most of us, reading, writing, teaching and being taught with verbal communication and written texts. He then discusses the transition that he made and how much easier it is to access for people in all aspects of the teaching-learning atmosphere.

In the 2nd part of his series Miller begins to discuss exactly what areas have been made easier. He talks about how lectures from college professors are now available on iTunes, how newspapers are available on the internet, and several other factors of the educational spectrum. He also mentions how fast people gain access via the internet versus written text. Miller says, "People are beginning to understand that ideas don't belong to us individually, but to us as a culture, and we, as educators, must be in the business of sharing ideas freely."

The statement mentioned previously really stuck out to me. In today's society, people become so stingy with their ideas. The whole world could be so much more educated if everyone shared all that they knew. I believe that the world is slowly realizing this and beginning to evolve into a generation that cooperates educationally with each other. I will leave you with this last quote stated by Dr. Miller, "The limits and restrictions are largely ones that we place among ourselves."

Carly's YouTube Playlist Assignment

From what I understand after reading Carly's Blog Post #12 assignment we will have to create our own assignment. Carly had a fantastic idea! She was very creative with her idea. (I also have to commend Carly on her writing skills. She is a great writer; very creative, fun, interesting, and the whole shebang!)

Her idea was for each student to create his or her own playlist of YouTube videos based on 10 topics that she gave us to follow. From the 10 that she gave us, we were to choose 5, and base the videos from the ones chosen.

This project/assignment is very creative, but mostly useful! It is a great resource to refer back to whenever you're having a bad day or you get down (and as teachers, we all know that is going to happen). Kudos to Carly!

EDM 310 is Different

The video, EDM 310 For Dummies explains how frustration can easily take over all of your efforts in being successful in the class. In the beginning of the video two girls are very aggravated because they do not seem to understand many of the assignments. They purchase the book, EDM 310 for Dummies, and after some reading and a little bit of time everything becomes much easier to them, and that makes the girls more motivated to keep working at it.

In the video, The Chipper Series, a student named Chipper confronts Dr. Strange with several issues she has in his course, EDM 310. She is trying to talk Dr. Strange into extending the deadline multiple times due to her procrastination. Secondly, she confronts him about him not teaching the course. She then, decides to drop out of school because things are getting too difficult for her. Her new idea is to attend Timeline Pilot School. When the pilot school does not work out for Chipper, she becomes a teacher and gets fired for not showing up. Chipper continues to try out several different jobs, but ends up getting fired or quitting because the work load is just too much for her to handle. At the end of the video, Chipper comes to the realization that she has to work for anything that she wants to be successful in and decides to go back to school and complete her degree. Chipper understands that if she would have just stuck it out and pushed herself to begin with, then she wouldn't have wasted all of the time that she did and would already have her degree.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn
 man holding books and computer

In the video, Learn to Change, Change to Learn, educators are discussing the importance of technology in this new generation's society. The way that students learn today have been changing and will continue to keep changing. These teachers are encouraging us, as future educators, to allow ourselves to accept the transformation of technology in today's society.

I could not agree more with this video. It is our job, as teachers, to get on our students' levels. We are responsible for their education, so we must respond to their needs in a way that they understand it.

Scavenger Hunt 2.0

This assignment was suggested by Justin Cometti in the fall semester of 2011 in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. Like mentioned previously in this post, he also had to come up with an assignment, like Carly's. Justin came up with the Scavenger Hunt 2.0 . In this assignment, we were given 5 things to look for, but were to only choose 3 assignments to do on our post.

I first, located . It is a website that is much like Twitter or Facebook, but for students and teachers to interact with one another. This is a great tool for the classroom. It is a space where students and teachers can communicate back and forth. It is especially useful for parents, too. The parents will be able to see some, if not most, of the work performed by their children online.

I created a poll at

I also created my very own comic strip at
comic strip about edm 310

C4T #2

apple, chalkboard and alphabet
Watching the Curiosity Rover Landing With Friends on Twitter

I was assigned to Eric Langhorst's blog, The blog that I commented on was titled, Watching the Curiosity Rover Landing With Friends on Twitter. I found it very interesting, mostly, because I could completely relate. He discussed his experience while watching the Rover land on Mars this summer and how it was very enjoyable to see the people's reaction in the controlling room, but also, the reaction of the people viewing it on television and responding about it on Twitter. He made many great points throughout his post.

I had a rather long response to his post. I normally don't post with such great detail, but I had such a related experience that it was hard not to. I told him my story of night that I watched it, also. I expressed my views of Twitter and Facebook to him.

My Six Goals for the 2012/13 School Year

On my 2nd C4T I was also assigned to the previous blog mentioned. He did not have any more recent posts, so I went back to the previous one before the one that I had commented on.
In this post Eric mentioned his top 6 goals for this school year. They were (in order from 1-6): 1) Learn names of students quickly. 2) Reduce the amount of paper used in my classroom. 3) Connect my students with outside experts on regular basis. 4) Include contents of entire unit online. 5) Transform my iPad into my take home computer. 6) Work more efficiently, work smarter. He elaborated on each one.

I commented back and said that was a great idea. Once you have publicly written something out, it makes you want to strive harder to achieve it. My favorite of his goals was the first: Learn the names of the student quickly. I told him that I, too, am horrible with names and that once you achieve this goal, it will become very beneficial for you and your students.

 create-teach-share image

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Project #8 Podcast

Blog Assignment #7

The Networked Student

The Networked Student
The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler is a short informative video about the preparation to learn in the 21st century. In this video, Mrs. Drexler's students guide us on connectivism and several other collaborative networking skills. It is implied that "the tools are not as important as the connections made possible by them." The students in this classroom are encouraged to make new connections with others to strengthen the learning process.

This video discusses all of the different ways that a student can access information. It is mentioned that you can download lectures from professors all over the world. Blogs, databases, search engines, audios, and podcasts are some of the tools acknowledged in the video.

The question, "Why does the networked student even need a teacher?", arises. A student may be able to access more information via the internet than a teacher or professor can physically give them, but the student needs guidance. That is where the instructor comes in. A student needs to see an actual person to serve as a role model and guide them to use these tools properly.

A 7th Grader's PLE

Symbaloo Screenshot
I thought A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment (or PLN) was really neat! The program that the student used, Symbaloo, seemed very helpful. I would not mind getting one myself. Everything on her PLE seemed very organized and she appeared to be excited to work on it. This type of learning environment is so important, especially because it captures the attention of young learners and motivates them to work harder. Children are more likely to put more effort into something when it involves higher levels of interaction. It becomes more enjoyable for the audience and the person doing the instruction.

The 7th grader's PLE closely resembled my PLN from EDM 310. Ours is progressively becoming more adequate and detailed. If I were an employer trying to find out what kind of person someone applying for my workplace is, our class blog would be an ideal place to look. It shows how hard, or how little effort the individual puts into their work. That is why I put as much effort as I can into everything that I post on my blog. I am excited to see the outcome of my PLN at the end of the semester.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

C4K Posts for September

The blog that I am assigned to for C4K #1 is The boy to whom it belongs to is Christopher. He is in Ms. Ouano's fifth grade class at the PT England School in Auckland, N.Z. His first post was about whales.

I commented on his post. First, I introduced myself and gave him compliments on his decorated background that he appeared to design himself. I found it very interesting that he said "Whales are not fish because the mother gives milk to its calf." I told him that I did not know that and was very impressed with the statement. I added at the end, "Keep up the good work, Christopher!"

The blog that I was assigned to for C4K #2 is The girl's name is Charlee. On this post, she had an informational video about Nadia Comaneci, the Olympic gymnast.

When I commented on her blog, I introduced myself to her, then complimented her name and the way she spells it. I told her it was very pretty. I also said that her blog was very interesting and colorful. I mentioned that her gymnastics video was very cute and it looked like they enjoyed making it.

Project #9a: Time Toast Timeline

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Blog Assignment #6

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

 Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch is a fantastic speaker. He is very motivational in how he approaches an audience and knows just how to grab their attention. I learned some very valuable things from watching this video; some statements, direct and others indirect.

He started off his speech with a list of his childhood dreams; all which he achieved in some sort of way. He told a story about a football coach. He went to practice one day and noticed that there were no footballs. His coach basically said that, “There are 22 people on a field at a time. Only one has a ball. We are going to work on what the other 21 should be doing.” They were working on fundamentals. As a volleyball coach, myself, we work on “no-ball” practices quite frequently. It is not about what can you do with a ball all the time; it is about how to prepare yourself for what may come at you. This is not just a physical lesson, it is a life lesson. I hope that I can train my girls to understand this as well as Randy’s coach did. Sports are not just about the physical aspect and competition. They are about discipline, teamwork, preparation, priorities and shaping one to be well-rounded.

Randy Pausch used the analogy of a “brick wall” several times throughout his speech. He stated, “Brick walls are not there to keep us out, they are there to show us how badly we want something. They are there to stop the people who do not want it badly enough… Brick walls let us show our dedication.” That really stood out to me. My whole life I have heard the brick wall analogy, but never put into these terms. As a teacher, you watch students face brick walls each and every day; some being school work and others being personal or social life. You can’t make them knock over their own brick walls, but you can set a good role model for them in doing so yourself and sometimes assisting where help is necessary. After all, not everyone is tall enough to climb their own brick wall. Sometimes we all need a little boost.

Randy quoted something from John Snoddy saying, “Wait long enough and people will surprise and impress you, because when you’re angry at them, you just haven’t given them enough time.” Sometimes that is a hard thing to do, but you just have to do it. I will be in a special education classroom once I graduate. I know that this classroom, especially, requires MUCH patience. As a special education instructor, you must learn to work at a pace that works with them. It is easy to become discouraged in this process. I am a person that wants immediate results with everything that I put effort into. The statement from John is a great reminder to just wait it out and let someone surprise you. It can also make it even sweeter when you do not expect something from someone and they surprise you.

I am really thankful for the video, Randy Pausch's Last Lecture. I will definitely be using this as an inspirational resource in the future.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Blog Assignment #5

iSchool Initiative

Travis Allen and his team members holding an iPad
Travis Allen made several great points in his video, The iSchool Initiative. He introduced the argument that the iSchool could be more efficient in the areas of “going green”, saving money and conserving space. His example is the iPhone and all of its applications. He stated that the applications can go beyond greater use than video games and entertainment. It can assist in everyday classroom learning.

I thought he had a great idea. I think it’s even greater that he was in high school and made such a huge impact on technology’s society and our eventual way of learning. I would love to learn in a classroom setting with the assistance of this type of technology. I don’t think I would enjoy our entire learning curriculum on the iSchool, though. I feel like I would get distracted throughout the day with having the iSchool. He had an example of using a globe on the iSchool instead of a physical one in the classrooms. In my opinion, some things are just better to be seen and learned hands on. It could eventually pose a problem for people that require tactile-style learning, like myself, with remembering what they are studying. That is my only objection to his idea. I enjoyed watching his second video, ZeitgeistYoungMind's Entry. I thought it was awesome that his program has launched to become so big. It’s very inspirational. Also, just a thought, but, without the technology of YouTube and other internet sources, it is very unlikely that his idea would have been discovered and turned into the program that it is today.

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir
Eric Whitacre pulls together hundreds of people from all over the world to make a virtual choir. The choir sings “Lux Aurumque”. I have seen this video, Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir, before. It gives me chills every time I listen to it. It’s absolutely stunning that we have the ability to make something so beautiful being so spread across the world. I would have never thought, imagined or dreamed of anything like this ever happening. This man is a musical revolutionist and genius.

Teaching in the 21st century

 a picture of an apple on a laptop
After watching Dr. Strange’s version of Kevin Robert’s presentation, Teaching in the 21st Century, my mind was blown. I had never thought about the fact that teachers are no longer the source of knowledge and that the internet is. Our new job, as instructors, is to show our students the proper way to use this resource. As much as I really don’t want to admit this is true, it is. I think that this class, EDM 310, is a perfect example of how to teach the proper way to do this. I have already learned so much from this course that I will definitely carry over into my future classroom. Education is changing today. This means our jobs, as instructors, are to learn to adjust accordingly, also.

Flipping the Classroom
 diagram of the positive effects of a

The idea of flipping the classroom is BRILLIANT! I have never thought of that. When a teacher "flips" the classroom it simply means that they are now putting their lectures online via videos accessible at home. They students will go home, watch the lectures and come into the classroom with previous knowledge about that lesson. The teacher can then, address any questions or problems during the class time. This is what is being discussed in the following videos: Why I Flipped My Classroom, Dr. Lodge McCammon's FIZZ - Flipping the Classroom and Flipping the Classroom - 4th Grade STEM

I can see how easily this process would encourage the students to be engaged. I think that it may help their parents get involved, also. I remember when I was younger and would struggle with math problems. I always came to my parents and asked for help, but they never knew how to help me, because they could not understand it themselves. With flipping the classroom, parents will now be able to watch the lectures for themselves. This might help eliminate questions the students may have for the teachers the next day in class.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

C4T #1

The blog that I am assigned to is titled Manaiakalani. She is from New Zealand and the facilitator of Manaikalani Cluster Schools. The main purpose of Manaikalani is get children in the classrooms in touch with technology and assist them in speaking good English.

The first post that I read on Manaikalani's page was titled "Agents of Change". She had a video about the technology she has introduced her students to. I commented on that post telling her what a great job she is doing and how I look forward to viewing future posts on her blog.

The next post she had on her blog was titled, "Partnership Hui". It was also a video. The video described the events held on their first annual Hui. On this day they got together to discuss what will be occurring in the future of Manaiakalani. I commented on this post and told her she was still doing a great job. I also introduced myself this time. I made the mistake in my last post of leaving that out.

Here is a link to Manaikalani's blog:

Blog Assignment #4

Flat Stanley Podcast

Flat Stanley
Ms. Tolisano had her first grade classroom do a podcast on the children's book, Flat Stanley. Flat Stanley is a story about a boy who gets squished by a bulletin board, becomes flat and realizes that it has many advantages. He is able to go all kinds and types of places. Ms. Tolisano allows her children to tell their own version of Flat Stanley and choose their own place to visit.

My favorite story told by the children, was a little girl's story of her trip to London. She described how it was her hometown and all of the places she missed and loved doing. She even discusses Les Miserables. It shocked me how detailed each one of their stories were (especially, being that they were in the first grade!). I enjoyed listening to each of their stories!

Podcasting With First Grade
Vacation Under a Volcano

This teacher does a podcast with her first grade classroom, and titles it Podcasting With First Graders. The book they chose is Vacation under the Volcano. In this teacher's podcast, she got her students to be very expressive with what they were to say. I loved how the teacher said that it brought out a side of the shy students that she has never seen before. Doing a different style of reading with kids so young makes it an exciting and challenging, new experience for them to take on.

Zoo Trip

The children in this classroom are discussing and learning about animals in their habitats. They are doing this via podcasts. The parents of the students are curious as to what the children are doing and learning in the classroom. Podcasts are the perfect way to show and exhibit the work that their children are doing. This may get the parents more involved and interested in the child's life if they can physically hear it for themselves.