Friday, July 20, 2012
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Sunday, July 15, 2012
My PLN is just awesome. There are really no other words to describe it. I started with a blank PLN page on Symbaloo some 8 wks ago and now it is filled with tiles including PBS Kids, Twitter, Denise Krebs' Blog, and EDM 310 just to name a few.
When I think back to the first day of EDM and reading pages beyond pages of work we had to do and thinking "omg, I'm not going to make it. Is this really the deciding factor of my fate as an educator?" It makes me giggle now to realize how silly I was. My problem was fear of technology. Not all technology. Take my iPhone for example, LOVES IT! Don't know what I would do without it! But, technology that I never heard of, much less used was being thrown at me with the force of an avalanche, what was I to do?!?! Slowly, but surely the information was coming together in such a way that it inspired me to seek out my own resources even before the introduction of the PLN. I had no clue what, why or when any of these blogs, websites, or organizations that I was saving in a "favorites" file would come to play in my life. Now, they're no longer a bunch of hidden stars buried beneath the tool bar on my laptop, they're serving their purpose as MY Personal Learning Network. I can't imagine ever losing site of my resources, as most of them at some point, has inspired one or more of my daily thoughts.
P.S. and provided the answer or helpful suggestions to obtain one.
For the lesson we use The Berenstain Bears "Trouble with Pets" by Jan & Stan Berenstain.
The pictures used in our lesson can be found at the following sites: PBS Kids, The Berenstain Bears Live! , and The Official Berenstain Bears website.
The video used can be found on YouTube.com: The Berenstain Bears "Trouble with Pets" Part 1 and Part 2.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Focusing soley on Project # 16 is a challenge with all that I have going on towards the end of the semester but, day by day bits and pieces are coming together. I've completed the "My Sentence" video and my book trailer and selected Blog Post # 8 for my group review. I'm not sure the route I want to go with my 10 photos just yet but, I do have a few ideas. My weekend plans do include finalizing the "importance of technology" video and creating an annotated picture.
Monday, July 9, 2012
I went back and forth with ideas for this blog assignment with the intent and hope to develop a great, useful and effective assignment. I referred to my PLN for some needed inspiration as my mind was flooding with endless possibilities. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. My impetuous migration to my "favorites tab" to search Symbaloo.com was the key to this assignment. See, I'm an elementary education major, who before taking this class, thought that the extent of "technology" in the classroom was merely the use of a Smart Board. Little did I know that there's an entire world devoted to technology in the classroom. 21st Century School Teacher is the label and the principles of "connectivism" is the definition. I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama and I am being groomed to become a part of this new revolution. Without this class teaching me the importance of technology, I might have hindered my students to some degree. A PLN meant nothing to me before the start of summer semester and now my vast web of "personal learning networks" lead me to the assignment I'm submitting.
II. According to http://schooltechleadership.org/contact/about/ , Scott McLeod and a team of professors at The University of Kentucky developed the website CASTLE--Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education-- which is currently "the nation’s only center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators."
CASTLE's [prime focus is the work within their Postsecondary Partnership Program, which is a close affiliation with a university's educational leadership program and the improvement of their technological prepardness.]
III. Within the site you will find their publications titled CASTLE Briefs. These briefs are intended to educate school administators about the what, why, and how-s surrounding technology leadership issues. The briefs attempt to answer the question, “What do school administrators need to know about this technology leadership topic? [They are] classic research or policy briefs; others may be more practice-oriented or focus on thought leadership in a particular area."
i. Your assignment is to submit a CASTLE brief using one of the provided topics/ideas OR using your own idea/topic here. Remember to address the question, "What do administrators need to know about ... ?", keep it between 500-2,000 words, and follow the guidelines of writing a quality blog.
ii. Send a 'thank you' tweet to Scott McLeod (@mcleod). Remember to tag EDM310 so that I can see it.
Dear Dr. McLeod and fellow founders of CASTLE,
My name is Mary Anderson and I am a student at the University of South Alabama obtaining my degree in elementary education. I am currently finishing my last few weeks of summer semester and my EDM 310 professor Dr. John Strange has asked me and all other students to develop an assignment we feel he would give during a semester. I became interested in the CASTLE briefs after viewing Dr. McLeod’s blog Dangerously Irrelevant for a previous class assignment. I did some browsing on the public school system website here in Mobile,AL, hoping to find “technical leadership” FAQs but, was unsuccessful. I also tried several phone calls to the “tech support” line, with no avail. My goals were to find exact information regarding the percentages of classrooms with technological advancements vs. the percentage of accurately trained educators, as well as, finding out if our school system currently has a full technological support staff.
The question I pose is, “What do administrators need to know about the benefits of having a full technological staff.” The answer? Better and more proficient expansion for educators is the solution to the improvement of quality learning within the classroom. When an educator cannot integrate technology to its full potential, the pressure can subdue the teachers, and hinder their confidence. Another reason school districts should have full time information technology (IT) help because it’s a more formal approach than workshops. Workshops have their perks in the heat of the moment but, when you toy around with a device for a short period of time, that does not make you an expert. The backbone for making technology within the classroom have a 100% success rate is the administration themselves. As part of my journey to becoming an elementary educator, being groomed to become a tech perceptive 21st century teacher is a main goal. Throughout my education, I have heard many excuses as to why an IT system is not in place in most schools. The number one reason is cost, and that is a huge factor for not providing a 10 manned “geek squad” for back up. It is not always possible for the educators themselves to attend weeklong workshops to receive the intended knowledge that would effectively implement technology in the classroom. However, there are plenty of useful and cheaper resources all around and that would be the PTA, room mothers, and active volunteers. Is administration stepping outside of the box to develop and expand their potential resources?
Thank you for your consideration and taking them time to view my concerns. I believe the CASTLE briefs are an excellent resource in themselves.
For my final C4T post I was assigned Dr. Scott McLeod, who is the director of innovation at Prairie Lakes AEA in Iowa. Aside from that title, Dr. McLeod has many aliases;"blogger, associate professor,idea generator, etc". (http://scottmcleod.net/) A few weeks back we were asked to view a few of his blog posts, comment on them, and lastly write about them in our own blog. At that point, I had no clue that he would be assigned as my last C4T, but it didn't matter because I was hooked to his blog Dangerously Irrelevant instantly. From there I discovered CASTLE, The Center for Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education, where Dr. McLeod is also a director. CASTLE also has publications titled CASTLE briefs which are extremely beneficial to not only the intended audience (administrators), but the author themselves. I selected to do a CASTLE brief for another assignment in EDM and I found myself asking more questions than I had approved length for (up to 2,000 words). Since the assignment was targeted towards elementary students, I shortened it to a few questions and simply addressed a broad question. Writing that inspired me to also write an email the MCPSS Technology staff with a variety of questions, which I haven't received a reply to as of today.
The first of Dr. McLeod's posts that I commented on was titled "What does the research say about school one-to-one computing initiatives" which discussed the re-issue of (and lead me to) his CASTLE site. The re-issue contained the revised edition of the CASTLE brief template. My comment to Dr. McLeod was an introduction of myself and the reason for my comment. I then explained to him that I am still a fan of the "old fashioned" way of teaching, yet I plan to implement a large amount of technology within my classroom. I thanked him for providing a valuable blog containing many resources that encouraged me to add him to my PLN.
My 2nd comment went to the post titled "Blaming Students and Technology instead of us". In this post he addressed a comment left on another of his posts by a 12th grade, AP English teacher. Summarizing the post, the teacher stood back and observed his classroom one day and found that not one of them was engaged in the lecture being presented. He basically blamed all of the gadgets being used by his students;net books, ipods, etc on their non interest. He states that technology needs to be used properly and not in a form that causes distractions. I think he even refers to the gadgets as a "hindrance".
When explaining in my comment that I could see both sides of the story because I am a STUDENT studying to become a TEACHER, I felt like someone with the little devil on the left shoulder and the little angel on the right one. Who wins? I more or less agree with the fact that the teacher should take control of his classroom with more engaging ways of teaching the students. With him being an AP teacher, he should realize that these particular children need to be challenged not spray painted with lectures and note taking.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Ms. Cassidy's First Graders
I'm enjoying every day of EDM because I learn something new. This blog assignment is just another bread crumb on my path towards becoming an educator in the 21st century. I wasn't in shock that Ms. Cassidy's first graders were using computers, my nephew is 4 and downloaded an app on my iPhone the other day because he knows the password...go figure!!!! ha ha I was literally in awe that these tiny people were blogging!!! Really? I'm in college and only created my first blog because of EDM 310. I was just so excited watching them do lessons and write about things on their blogs not to mention actually teaching us about things too. I've never let go of the fact that children are like sponges and Ms. Cassidy's class is a great testiment to my opinion. I often encourage future teachers (such as myself) to involve your classroom at any cost. Children deserve to feel accomplishment and there's no better way to achieve that than with hands on, interactive goals.
Skype Interview with Ms. Cassidy
I think Ms. Cassidy has a lot of valid points regarding her use of technology with such a young age group. My entire experience this semester has been a huge stepping stone within my journey as a future educator. If this wasn't a require class, I don't think I wouldn't taken it. I say this only because before the last week in May, I had no desire to use massive amounts of technology within my classroom. Sure, technology is a given, it's there, it will be used but, for me, the grave extent would've been a Smart Board. Today, that is NOT the case.
For me, the #1 thing I look forward to incorperating in my future classroom will definately be blogs. While I am very opptomistic that blogging can and will allow my students better self expression and creativism, I do have some reservations. Ms. Cassidy uses this tool with her first graders and the potential that it has shows within her video. The children are writing one or two sentences on specific topics which requires the child to stop and think thus, improving their metamemory skills. She also brings up a valid point in that pencil and paper writing doesn't hold an audience like blogging. While this is true, I can also see where blogging might come with some impediments such as jealousy among classmates. Ms. Cassidy says that the program she uses records the number of page views each child's blog has. What if Sally has 150 views and Jane has 5?? Just something to think about.
Another concern I had about the blogging that Ms. Cassidy addressed very well was the privacy of the children. She makes sure to encourage them to not use their last names or post pictures. I think it's wonderful that they're learning internet etiquette at such a young age because this fashion of learning isn't going anywhere, it will just evolve into broader ways of use.
Skype would be another technology approach I would use in my classroom. The use of Skype can always beneficial no matter what age. This blog is a great example of how we used Skype to communicate with Ms. Cassidy, imagine the dullness of using an instant messenger to record the entire interview?! geez! You can actually hear and see the excitement Ms. Cassidy has discussing the engagement of her children and the various devices used in their learning process.
I think that the beneficial pros of using these approaches out weigh the cons several times over. For every con you can place 2 pros on the same plate. Technology is growing whether you like it or not so, I'm embracing this change and accpeting every resource available to me so that I can hopefully have a classroom such as Ms. Cassidy's one day.
A Vision of Students Today
Some of the messages were spot on, but some of the students held up messages and my initial reaction was shock. Examples being: "I get 7 hours of sleep per night", "I watch 1.5 hours of t.v. per day", "I spend 2 hours eating, 2 hours on my cell phone". Literally jaw dropping because I can't think of the last time I had more than 6 hrs of sleep per night, I occasionally glance at the news in the evening between cooking, eating, and studying, 2 hours on my cell phone? PLEASE! But, the assignment states to not only view the video as a student, but think about the message that it's giving to the teachers and the universities. Unfortunately, I think some university presidents would enjoy knowing that they've sold a $200 book to a student that will never use it. It's more money in their pocket so that leads me right back to a student's perspective of "that's a total rip off!" Many of the messages suggested that no matter what is going on within the lecture or classroom, they're not paying attention to the teacher. Laptops are up and out but, students are working on non education sites. When you have an average of 115 students in your class, does that mean you give up trying to make the lecture entertaining? I would hope not. If there were more interactiveness involved with the lecture then the student, in my opinion, would be more apt to follow along, leading to a higher success rate.
How will you teach me in the 21st Century?
What I want my students to know? I want my students to know that being engaged with learning allows them the benefits of becoming a productive member of society. I would also want them to know the difference between standards and expectations as I hope they will choose to exceed the standards and rise above MY expectations.
What I want my students to be able to do? I want my students to be able to use technology effectively regardless of their age. It is simple defeat that even the smallest child can opererate technology. I hope to use that knowledge to my students' full potential.
What I want my students to experience? I want my classroom to experience the learning process from a point of view some children do not receive. That experience? Media technology!! I hope my students get to experience the rush of excitement when they use media to enhance the day's lesson. I hope for them to learn to solve a problem then transfer that knowledge to another field.
Ms. Dorothy's technology tool kit really hit home with me because before this semester I hadn't used a lot of the items. Some might think the criteria listed is much, but I think it shows that she values her educators as well as what they can offer to their students.
Mr. Webb did a wonderful job of involving Carlton with the video. I think with the great wonders of technology, this video becoming a success is masterful. It's not hard to feel that "wow" moment with Mr. Webb when you see how much fun little Carlton is having. Who would want to have a rehearsal and change up those guys chemistry? ha ha ha
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Since I had to look up what a Ticonderoga actually was, I think it's safe to say that my explanation might be a little off or possibly right on target. The cartoon displays that the "papermate" is the lesser of the two but, it's not reliable because it often breaks. Then the cartoon labels the "ticonderoga" as the most expensive tool a hipster will buy. That screams out to me, "hey, they're BOTH pencils, they're both going to break but, one will cost you $0.25 while the other will cost you over $1. You're not cool if you go with the cheaper one but, you're the most awesome person alive if you buy the way more expensive pencil...that breaks on the same day as the other guy's."
My my my...Mr. Spencer has such a uniqueness with his writing methods. He uses words metaphorically in such a way that you don't mind o.d.'ing on the abundance of content. Along with the assigned post , I read Remember pencil quests? , followed by The Con Academy, 10 points on pencils, etc...I could keep going! What I take from Mr. Spencer's blog is the integration of both pencils and technology. While, I think it's a riot how Mr. Spencer uses pencils to poke fun of technology in his posts. I especially enjoyed the post where he refers to not having an acceptable use policy for pencils but, protractors are ok! LOL I relate so well to this blog that I'm considering buying the book since I am the one who's been so fearful of using technology in the classroom. But, the longer I spend in EDM 310 the more I realize the essential need for technology in the classroom. As each week goes by when we're learning a new tool, or just reading teacher's blog posts, I feel relief knowing that 1) my students are going to LOVE working with technology and 2) EDM prepared me for the challenge. I still find it facinating that there are school systems out there that ban the use of technology inside the schools. There are so very many resources at students finger tips everyday with the use of "pencils" but, gosh darn it, I guess we'll need to get back to using that chalk.
I don't think I let the beginning of Dr. McLeod's "Don't teach your kids this stuff. Please?" fool me like I saw in several posted comments by previous EDM students. After reading, commenting, and summarizing many things in EDM this semester I knew there was NO way this was ending the way it began so I think that helped me to enjoy it on the first read. I think he used satire as a positive action to push people towards technology. Point blank. There's nothing wrong with a little constructive, smarty pants way of saying, "hey, seriously....open your eyes!"
According to http://scottmcleod.net/bio/, Dr. Scott McLeod is one of the nations's leading academic directors concerning technology leadership issues. Dr. McLeod took a LOA from his position at the University of Kentucky to serve as the Director of Innovation for Prairie Lakes Education Agency. He is one of the founding members of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE). CASTLE is an organization that oversees the technology needs of school administrators. Dr. McLeod also helped create the video series Did you know? Shift happens! You can view one of the many videos here.
Dr. McLeod has also received numerous awards such as a Leader in Learning honor, Emerging Leader by Phi Delta Kappa, being recognized as one of the National School Board Associations, 20 to Watch, as well as, many others.
You can keep up with Dr. McLeod's great ideas through his blog Dangerously Irrelevant or by purchasing his book, What School Leaders Need to Know about Digital Technologies and Social Media.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
All I can do is say sorry for that brain lapse :))))
After reading all 3 of Mr. McClung's blog post entries, I decided to write my post # 9 concentrating on his first and last posts. There is a major shift of character in Mr. McClung's writing voice between his first year teaching and this past year of teaching.
I believe he speaks many valid points in his first post but, we'll touch base on the 2 that stood out to me the most. 1) Being reasonable is a must have especially in elementary education. I must emphasis on the word especially in the previous sentence because elementary school is where kids truly learn the basics of life. Their tiny brains expand with knowledge that will carry them throughout their life and will help process harder applications in the future. Just think, you can't do chemistry without addition and subtraction, which you learn in kindergarten. That being said, holding an elementary child to a high standard is a given. As educators you want them to grasp every concept you put on their plate but, a lot of times that may not be the case. You will have children that will excel and others who will unfortunately fail. Some instances might be the way you deliever the lesson or better yet HOW you deliever the lesson. 2) Don't be afraid of technology. Wow, me, say that?! Dr. Strange had a chip implanted behind my ear the other day...JK! Seriously though, this point brings up a lot of fears I had (and to a degree still have) regarding technology. Before taking EDM 310 I was one of the future educators afraid to jump into the water as Mr. McClung puts it. I think that my fear lead to my inability to accept what technology could actually do for a student. Going back to the idea of "how you're teaching a student" might be a good place to start if a child is having difficulties picking up on something.
By the time you get to the end of Mr. McClung's final blog post, you feel his experience of becoming comfortable in his teaching skin. At this point in the game he has become a head coach, started teaching computer applications, and joined some committees. The primary focus of a teacher should always be their students and it pains me to see some educators lose sight of that focus. Many revert back to their childhood by becoming the "teacher's pet" to higher administration. I love the paragraph when he discussing being an outsider because I have witnessed with my own eyes what negativity can go on inside a teacher's lounge. When you're a substitute teacher for a high demanding private school, you can hear and see things that would frighten the flies!!!!!!! I found it best (I was an interim sub for a teacher on maternity leave a few years ago) to go about my own business and not try to fit in as well. At this point in my life, I wasn't even an education major so I was really looked down upon for NOT trying to be in a teacher's lounge clique. Just like Mr. McClung, I found it more fulfilling to be with the students during lunch because I could communicate with them on a different level while still maintaining my professionalism. It's a lot less scary than being in the classroom. I do disagree with him however on the issue of connecting with the students via social media outlets except when it comes to a classroom blog.
When he brings up Mrs. Barron's point of "don't touch the keyboard" I wanted to slap my own hand with a ruler because I am sooooo incredibly guilty of being the person who feels bad for the student who can't complete his/her work. I have unfortunately, during my subbing days, given very colorful explanations of questions that would give the answer away. I'm just that "feel sorry for you" future teacher. I know that doing this for a student doesn't benefit them at all so I'm confident that when I have my own classroom I will stray from this to the best of my ability. I haven't heard a teacher in Mobile Co use the word comfortable in a positive light in quite some time but, at any rate, becoming comfortable in the sense that Mr. McClung refers to is very common. Too often teachers stick to that 7-3 mindset and do not consider what positive influences you can have on your students by putting in more effort away from the classroom. It's so easy to create and save daily lessons and use them over and over and over again. How boring is that? Very!!! But, how easy is it for you to come to work, teach, go home, sleep, come to work, teach go home;you get the idea. I know some lessons are worth the repeat but, everything shouldn't stay the same. As adults we say "you learn something new everyday" if we find out that Krystal's uses yellow onions instead of vidalia onions, if we're learning even the slightest bit of knowledge daily, shouldn't we allow our students the same treatment?
In conclusion Mr. McClung's blog posts thoughts are probably not too far fetch from what we will experience as first year teachers. I think each of us will develop differently throughout our teaching years. Some may have a journey like his, some may not. All in all I think he's really evolved as an educator and I trust that he will continue the climb within this field.