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.