Sunday, May 8, 2011

Final Reflection

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Blog Post 13

Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX)
Alabama learning Exchange Logo

The first part of this assignment was to explore ALEX or the Alabama Learning Exchange. ALEX is a project of the Alabama Department of Education designed to share educational resources. These include lesson plans, podcasts, web links, and interactive activities. It is designed so that it benefits students, teachers, and parents. I am somewhat familiar with ALEX, in my EDF class last semester we used it to create lesson plans, but I decided to try and find out a little more.
I began by exploring the podcast gallery and entered the subject field that interest me, Mathematics. I scrolled through the resulting list and found a wonderful podcast created by Samford University entitled "Traveling Numbers". This tells about how numbers can show up in everyday life. I then began looking through various lesson plans and found a lesson plan by Sara Wheeler about Wheel of Fortune and probability. After this I was very interested to find out what ALEX had to offer in the Professional Learning category. I found that it has several useful tools such as different grant opportunities, school improvement, and multimedia applications.
In conclusion, I think ALEX could be a great tool for educators and one that I will definitely be using in the future. Not only can it benefit educators, but also parents who may want to enhance their child's learning experience. So go look, find, and contribute to ALEX!

Alabama Connecting Classroom, Educators and Students Statewide (ACCESS)

ACCESS is a site in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Education that provides distance learning for Alabama public high school students. It was created November 2004 to help promote equity in public schools. The objective being to offer students who may come from a more rural school or a school that doesn't offer as many courses a chance to take courses that may interest them on the internet.
I think this is a great idea, I went to a very small school and as a result of that wasn't able to take many upper level courses. For example, my high school only went up to Pre-calculus in the math field while most schools offer at least Calculus 1. Also, my high school didn't offer any Advance Placement (AP) courses. The ACCESS website makes up for those inconsistencies. While not completely solving the problem of unequal educational opportunities across the state, ACCESS is definitely a step in the right direction.

Blog Post 10

An Open Letter To Educators
screenshot of the Open Letter video

For this blog post I was assigned to read a post by Morgan Bayda, a teacher in Saskatchewan, about a video she found by a man named Dan Brown. You can watch this video by visiting Ms. Bayda's blog post. In this video Dan talks about how if institutionalized education doesn't change it will eventually die and become unimportant. Dan went so far as to eventually quit school, while I don't agree with this, I do agree with his first statement.
Institutionalized education is already becoming irrelevant to students today. Think about it, you go to school and, for the most part, are lectured all day about topics that are irrelevant to your everyday life. Most students, in both secondary and post-secondary education, are bored and unmotivated in the classroom. Why is that? One reason is that most classes have become a sort of lecture the facts and memorize the facts type of classroom. Students simply memorize everything the teachers say and then are forced to regurgitate the information. Now wonder the dropout rate for high schools is reaching 50%.
I think that if we have been given an opportunity to change this course of learning, it won't be easy and it will face opposition, but it will be better off in the long run.

Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home

I really enjoyed reading this blog post. In it Tom Johnson uses a metaphor by saying "Don't let them take the pencils home" he really means, "Don't let them take the computers home." The angry Academic Specialist claims that computers will lower the students' test scores, while Johnson argues that they will enhance learning. See he states that in lower-income neighborhoods computers are only marketed as entertainment systems so that's all they are seen as. But he also says with a little instruction families can be taught to use them educationally. I think that is so true, computers are marketed as these gaming systems, but if you teach students and their parents how to use them educationally they can open up a whole new world of learning!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Final Report on PLN

PLN wordle

First of I want to start by saying that my PLN or personal learning network is far from complete and I'm sure it will develop much further as I get further into the program. I told you last time that I created a Symbaloo page for educational purposes and since then I have added many more tiles it. These include BBC Math, which gives many fun activities to help students learn math skills in a different way. I also began using Google Scholar to find many articles about integrating technology in the classroom, such as Effective Teaching With Technology in Higher Education by A.W. Bates and Gary Poole, in this article they offer guidance for developing a course using technology.
I also began using YouTube and TeacherTube to find great resources for teaching Mathematics at the middle school and high school level. I did research alittle on the ALEX, Alabama Learning Exchange, website, many of the lesson plans I found were pretty pedagogical, but their were some that I thought could be pretty useful and others that can be modified.
As far as making connections with other math teacher I am still working on. I have found some very useful blogs such as SweeneyMath, a blog run by Mr. Sweeney who is a high school math teacher. I have also begun following many other teachers on twitter who I think could come in very useful in the future.

C4T Summary Post

Joe Dale's Workshop

My assigned teacher for the past few weeks has been Joe Dale, his blog focuses on using ICT to enhance teaching. You can visit his blog here.

Easy classroom blogging with Posterous

In this post Joe gave very detailed instructions for creating a classroom blog. He specifically focused on the site Posterous, but the instructions could be easily modified for another blogging site. I thought this was a very useful blog and one that could come in handy for any teacher looking to set up a class blog. In fact, I'm saving this blog for when I start my own. He also has on there a podcast you can download about setting up a blog. One of his main objectives for doing this was to show the educational benefits a class blog can have. Check it out!

Listen, Speak, Read, Write Web!

In this post Joe spoke about a recent opportunity he had to go to Scotland and lead a national ICT event. He mostly spoke about using technology to enhance students' creativity and raise their standards. You can see a video of this workshop on his blog. In the first session he listed some helpful programs to enhance listening and speaking skills, such as audacity, and cue prompter. In the second session he focused on programs like Wordle to improve reading and writing skills. I think that both of these sessions can be extremely useful to the everyday teacher. Especially when enhancing listening skills! These sessions tackled big problem areas for schools and gave useful suggestions to improve those areas.
computer with smiley face

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Final Project

My group for the final project consisted of myself, Erin Holton, and Dustin Barsh. For our final project we decided to make a trailer for EDM 310 much like the book trailers we made. We thought it would be nice to really let the future students know exactly what their getting into! We used pictures of several of the websites and programs we use. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Summary Post for C4K # 7, 8, 9, 10

C4K # 7

Mr. McClung's World Banner

This comments for kids assignment was special in that we would be commenting on Mr. McClung's blog Mr. McClung's World. Mr. McClung is an 8th grade teacher in Fayetteville, Arkansas and this is his third year teaching. I was assigned to read a post entitled Club Day in Mr. McClung's Lessons Learned section. In this post he told about something his school holds once a month called club day. Students pick a club at the beginning of the year. Mr. McClung is in charge of a Wii Sports club. One of his main reasons for liking club day is that it gives teachers a chance to build stronger relationships with their students. Having strong relationships with your students is so important and can really help grow learning potential in the classroom.

C4K # 8

My student for this week was Sira in grade six. Sira only had one post on her blog at the time and it was a welcome post just stating that she was new to blogging. You can visit Sira's blog here. I have visited Sira's blog since then and she has added on more post about things she likes to do on school holidays. I just asked Sira a few questions about school and encouraged her to keep blogging. I haven't got a response yet, but hopefully I'll get one soon!

C4K # 9

For this assignment we were asked to comment on Mrs. Yollis' Classroom Blog. Mrs. Yollis is a third grade teacher who is active in technology integration in the schools and she firmly believes in having a class blog and teaching her student how to creat quality comments. The blog post we were assigned to read was Quality Commenting During Family Blogging Month. In this post Mrs. Yollis posted examples of quality comments that had been left on the class blog, as well as individual students' blogs. April is Family Blogging Month and this post was to encourage more comments!

C4K # 10
bunny the stuffed animal

For this comment I was assigned to one of Mrs. Yollis' third grade students Grace. Grace, along with two other students in her class, wrote EDM 310 a thank you note for all the comments we left their class. You can see their thank you note here. In the note they explained: why they have a classroom blog, how they earned their own blog, and why we should all get class blogs when we begin teaching. The specific post on her blog that I read was My New Mascot. In this post Grace introduced her 9-year-old stuffed animal bunny. She told a little bit about bunny's abilities like dancing and playing the piano. It was a cute and very creative post; she even included pictures of bunny doing her favorite things!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Project 15

Hey guys, for this project I did a book trailer for The Last Basselope by Berkeley Breathed. This is an adorable kids book about the almost extinct Basselope, which looks a whole lot like a hound dog with antlers. Your child will be guaranteed to love this book. It has a rather surprising end!

Blog Post 12

YouTube logo

For this blog post I was assigned to create my own blogging assignment. For this assignment I thought about what we haven't already tackled in EDM 310 in regards to technology, there's not much, but I did think of one thing we haven't talked about and that is YouTube. YouTube, which was created in April 2005, is a popular site which allows people to upload and share their videos. There is no doubt what a huge success YouTube has become exceeding 2 billion views a day, but does it offer any educational value?

Read YouTube: The Next Major Teaching Tool? , written by Anushka Mohideen about the possible educational benefits of YouTube. Also read The Ultimate Guide to YouTube for Educators , which gives a tutorial for using YouTube in the classroom.

What are your reactions to these videos? Do you believe YouTube has any educational value? If so, to what extent?

Progress Report on Final Project

keyboard with awesome typed on one of the keys.

For the final project my partner is Erin Holton. We talked about some different ideas for the project, including maybe a EDM 310 help video. We will be meeting later this week to finalize a topic and get started! Check out either one of our blogs May 1st to see the finished project!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Teach Someone Project 14

For my "Teach Someone" project I taught my son, Micah, how to make playdough. We had so much fun doing it and it made for some good mom-son bonding time. Enjoy!

Blog Post 11

Mrs. Cassidy's Class
little kids..big potential

This week I watched a video from a Ms. Cassidy's Class out of Moose Jaw, Canada entitled Little Kids...Big Potential. In this video the students from her class gave a run down of what they do in their class. Technology is definitely being used in this classroom, but seems to be serving a very educational purpose.
The students each create their own blog to use for things such as writing and posting artwork. These students receive comments from their parents, siblings, and people from around the world. What a confidence boost for these kids to know that what they are doing is seen by other people. It seems like it would be good motivation for learning.
They also use wikis in their classroom to answer and learn about questions they may have. I can definitely see implementing this in my own classroom. As you know I am going to school to be a math teacher and I'm sure my students will have plenty of questions I am not able to answer and I would appreciate the connections wiki can create.
She also uses a class website for her students to access. I also would really like to implement this in my own classroom. I could use this website to share various resources with my class and they can access it whenever they like.
You can find out more about Ms. Cassidy's classroom, in her Skype interview with the fall 2010 EDM 310 class, here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Comments for Teachers Summary Post 3

Blended Instruction with Blogs and Wikis for Young Learners

Greta as a teacher

My teacher for these past few weeks has been Greta Sandler. Greta teaches English as a second language at an elementary school. She grew up in Argentina speaking Spanish and feel in love with the English language at an early age. The first post I read was telling her followers that she would be presenting an award for Blended Instruction with Blogs and Wikis for Young Learners at the CO11 Free Online Conference. She believes blogs and wikis are amazing tools that can help to engage students in learning. She also believes that they are powerful tools to help get parents more involved in their child's learning. I couldn't agree more. I think things like blogs and wikis can really interest parent and they have the ability to check in on their child's education anytime they desire. I really don't think parents, for the most part, aren't interested in their child's education I just think they are busy.

Creating Safe Learning Environments

For this post Greta shared a slideshow featured in a presentation she did for the New Teachers Reform Symposium. This presentation was on creating safe learning environments for students. In the presentation she describes a safe learning environment to be a place where students feel comfortable enough to participate, are motivated to learn, and feel confident enough to give their best. This is the kind of atmosphere every classroom should have. Why they don't I'm not quite sure, but it is definitely something every teacher should strive to create. If a child has a safe learning environment it opens the door to a new level of learning.
Greta gives a list of things teachers can do to create this type of environment in their classroom. Here is the list:

  • Make Connections
  • Clear Rules and Expectations
  • Build Trusting Relationships
  • Our Class, Not A Class
  • It's OK to Make Mistakes
  • It's OK to Have Fun
  • Working Together With Parents

Sunday, March 27, 2011


What I've Learned This Year

reading: what I've learned this year.

This is a wonderful post by Mr. McClung. If you haven't read it already I suggest you do. In this post Mr. McClung gives a self-reflection of his first year of teaching and also shares tips that he has learned.
One of his points is "How to read the crowd." As a teacher we can get so caught up in making sure that we cover every little thing that we are supposed to that we forget who the lesson is actually for, the students. We should recognize them as our audience and make sure they are following the lesson. Another point that goes along with this is "be flexible". Lessons are not always going to go the way you plan, be willing to veer off course and don't beat yourself up if a lesson doesn't work out.
Another point he mentions is to communicate. I think this is so important for a teacher to take hold of. We should learn how to communicate with our students, coworkers, and students' parents. It should be a top priority to have an open line of communication in all of these areas. It takes a lot of effort on the teacher's part, but I think it is so worth it.
He brings out an excellent sentence about using technology. He says not to give up before you start. I know that technology can be very intimidating, especially when you, as a teacher, has never been encouraged or had the benefit of having a class like EDM 310, but technology can be your friend!
His last point I think is important for all of us to grasp, "It's never too late to change." I know that once you started on a certain path or begun teaching a certain way it can seem impossible to change that. But if you realize there's something better out there you should change it. As humans we should all be continuous learners, constantly changing and constantly trying to better ourselves.

Comments for Kids Summary Post 2

comments for kids

C4K #4

For my C4K #4 I was assigned to Osana, a year 6 student at Pt England School in Auckland, NZ. On Osana's blog she learned how to post pictures to her blog. She has also learned how to take a link for Google's search engine and make it into a button on her blog post. On one of her posts she mentions a goal for next year is to be a very good girl! Osana, that's a goal for all of us!

C4K #5

My assigned student for this week had not posted any posts for 2011 so I chose another student Eleva. Eleva is a year 6 student at Pt England School in Auckland, NZ. Eleva is a beautiful little girl who looks as sweet as a button. I honestly don't know how any of her teachers could ever get on to her! She mentions in one of her posts that playing with her friends helps her to learn more about math and reading. Kudos to the teacher on that one! That is the way it should be; coming up with fun and creative ways to teach our students!

C4K #6

My assigned classroom for this week was from the Melville Intermediate School in New Zealand. I was assigned to Room 8 which is taught by Mr. Webb. The students in this class range from 12 to 13 years-old. The video I watched was made by a group of students who take part in a digital photography elective every Thursday afternoon. The challenge was to take pictures that relate to four different topics. The video was great. It's good to see that the students in Room 8 not only know how to use a digital camera, but also can import the images, edit, and turn them into a video.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Smartboard Presentation Project 13

For my group's Smartboard presentation we did a lesson for grade levels 1-2. The topic for our lesson was counting money. We explained what each coin was and the amount of money they represent. We had interactive examples on counting coins. After the lesson we sent out a Google form for the observing group to complete. You can find the results of that form here.
We got four responses to our form and I was a little surprised by the results. My group thought that a lesson aimed at first and second graders would be a breeze for college students, but there were some wrong answers. Do I think that the use of debit cards is to blame? Absolutely not, I think that some of the questions might have been worded a little strangely. Another reason I think all of the questions were not answered correctly was that some of the question required two answers. I think some of the people may have rushed through the form without really reading the questions.

Blog Post 8

Richard Miller: This Is How We Dream

In this video Richard Miller from Rutgers University talks about using "writing with multimedia" in today's classroom. While I wouldn't dare call myself an expert at writing with multimedia; I am willing to learn and I believe I am learning.
Mr. Miller talks about how in today's society we don't even have to go to a library to write articles, virtually everything we need is at our fingertips. "Writing with multimedia" is using multimedia, such as: videos, pictures, links, etc., in writing. Students in this generation are such visual learners and as teachers we need to learn how to adapt to that. As Dr. Strange said this video shows "what can be done to change from a reading/writing culture to a listening/watching culture".
He states that courses in this type of writing do not yet exist they have to be invented. He realizes the challenges of this type of writing, but believes they can be overcome. He admits that it is not about the technology. I am looking forward to learning more about "writing with multimedia", I think it could be a very valuable asset in our classrooms.

EDM310 is Different

The Chipper Series

In this series "Chipper" is not exactly the model student, but unfortunately she represents a large population of students in American Universities. I have to admit that I have even been responsible for "Chipper moments". Chipper has a lot of misconstrued ideas about education. She believes that procrastination is turning in assignments late, she thinks that she should be taught so she doesn't have to learn, and she believes everything should be handed to her. Because Chipper's teacher did not believe these things and instead drives his students to be independent learners Chipper eventually drops out of school. This happens everyday in U.S. universities. When students are presents with classes where they are forced to learn new things and become independent learners they fled the classroom and blame the teacher. In one of the clips Chipper goes into her boss' office and her boss asks her why she hasn't shown up for class. Her excuses sound a lot like many of the excuses college students use. We have to realize that when we graduate and get a job in a school simply not showing up and giving lame excuses is not going to work. Eventually, after going thourgh several jobs, Chipper has a change of heart and returns to school. This video is a testament of doing things right the first time around. Not everyone gets the chance to go to college. We should take advantage of the opportunity we've been given.

EDM for Dummies

This video showed how frustrating EDM can be for students who know nothing about technology, but refuse to use the help available to make their EDM experience better. With the lab, various tutorials, and the class blog a student has all the help they need to really become technology-literate teacher.

I really enjoyed watching these student-made videos for EDM. Kudos to all who were involved in making the videos. You did a great job! If I were to make a video for EDM I might make one on a student who believes they are technology literate, but is then blown away by what EDM has exposed them to. This is based on my own personal experience. I considered myself to be very proficient in using technology, but their is so much I didn't know. With the help of EDM I have been exposed to Blogging, Tweeting, PLN, and so much more. I still don't know everything, but I am looking forward to learning.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

The US Department of Commerce ranked 55 industries on level of IT intensiveness. Education was ranked number fifty-five. One woman in the video points out that students receive a more stimulating environment outside of the classroom. This technology that has taught them so much is not even allowed in the classroom. Our schools have really become more like prisons, in my opinion, places where discipline is more important than really learning. Changing education starts with us as future teachers, we will be the ones that are able to change the way students are learning. We have been given the opportunity to engage our students and remodel the classroom. Sure we are going to face, as Randy Pausch called it, brickwalls, but for the sake of our students and our countries future we have to try.

The Secret Powers of Time by Philip Zambardo

screenshot from youtube

In this video Zambardo brings up a lot of good points. He talks about how at the beginning of life we are present hedonists. That is, we live for pleasure and want to avoid pain. The purpose of school is to take children and make them more future oriented or get them to think about goals and consequences. In the US a child drops out of school every nine seconds. This is worse for minorities and males. Zambardo points out that by the age of 21 a boy has spent 10,000 hours playing video games. This alters their brains and the way they think. What are the consequences of this? Well, this means that in a lecture and whiteboard classroom boys will be bored and this type of teaching is passive; they don't control it. If we don't begin to change the way our system of education works we ARE going to lose our students and the US will continue to drop among the ranks. We have to create an educational experience that allows our students to create their education. Where they can have a part in it.

The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us

In this video Dan Pink shares a startling statistic that counters the familiar saying "higher pay = better performance". The study found that this works for purely mechanical skills, but when the task called for rudimentary cognitive skills it did not work. In fact, the higher the reward the worse people did. When people don't have to worry about money there are three factors that affect performance: autonomy, mastery, and making a contribution.

We can relate these factors to teaching our students. Giving our students autonomy, the desire to be self-directed, is essential in schools if we want schools to be an engaging place. That is, if we want our schools to be more than a place of compliance. Mastery is the desire to be great at stuff. If we present learning that cam be fun and allow them to be creative, then they'll want to work harder at it. Making a contribution deals with purpose. When students see education as irrelevant or without a purpose they are going to turn off and shut down. I'll close with a quote from the video, "If we start treating people like people and not assuming that they're simply horses...if we get past this ideology...that make us better off...and our world a little bit better."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blog Post 7

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

This video shows a lecture given by Randy Pausch; this lecture would be his last at the university. Pausch was a professor of computer science and human-computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given "3 to six months of good health". He gave this lecture on September 18, 2007 and died from the cancer on July 25, 2008.
Pausch begins by talking about his childhood dreams. They were various off the wall things, like most of our childhood dreams are, like: being Captian Kirk, playing in the NFL, becoming a Disney Imagineer, and being in zero gravity. With exception of becoming a NFL player (he did play in high school) and changing "being Captain Kirk" to "meeting Captain Kirk" , he fulfilled them all. One thing he constantly talks about throughout the lecture are brickwalls. He says that whenever you're on your way to achieving a dream you're going to hit brickwalls, but you have to keep pressing. Brickwalls show our dedication.
He talks about one student in particular who he helped achieve a childhood dream. The student wanted to work on Star War films and he was able to see that dream fulfilled. He wanted to be able to do that on a larger scale so he created a class on virtual worlds. Whenever he would address his students about projects he would tell them, "That was pretty good, but I know you can do better." That drove the students and a campus-wide phenomenon was created. But that was just one course, so he decided to take it to a bigger scale and co-created the Entertainment Technology Center. This was a master level program where students completed two years of project-based courses. There were no books! Pausch stated that they had spent enough time with book work. He was big on working in groups and teaching students to be self reflective.
He gives great advice on learning from bosses, learning from students, having fun, helping others, and how to get people to help you. He encourages you to get a feedback loop, someone who will tell you your faults and listen to them,show gratitude when it should be given, work harder, and find the good in everyone. At the end he says that this talk was not about achieving your childhood dreams, but leading your life. This was an amazing man who left an amazing legacy. We should follow his advice.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Summary Post C4T#2

Grading Parents
parents report card

My teacher for this past few weeks has been Caren Carrillo. This post was particularly interesting. Apparently Florida state Rep. Kelli Stargel has introduced a bill in which teachers would grade their students' parents on levels ranging from unsatisfactory to satisfactory. You can read the article here. The parents would be graded in three categories:
1. A child should be at school on time, prepared to learn after a good night's sleep, and have eaten a meal.

2. A child should have the homework done and prepared for examinations.

3. There should be regular communication between the parent and teacher.

She agrees that parents should be held responsible for their children getting to school on time, at least until they can drive. That one is easy enough to agree with. For the next part, Caren agrees that breakfast is extremely important, but how in the world would you know for sure if a child ate breakfast? Do we put video cameras in the homes? Some kids chose not to eat breakfast and then some have candy for breakfast. The next part was a good night's sleep. Caren feels this part to be completely absurd. I mean any parent knows that you can try and promote good sleeping, but sometimes it just doesn't happen. The next part was that children should have homework done. She states that homework should be done, but teachers have to make it clear enough for parents to understand. We have to realize that education is constantly changing and parents learned things differently than their children are. The last point was regular communication. Caren wonders if their would be a quota for how many times a parent must talk to a teacher. I personally think that communication is just as much the teacher's responsibility as it is the parent's.
The next part of her article is about the implications of this grading policy:
1. Hurts Families of Lower Socioeconomic Status
2. Gives Advantages to Families of Higher SES
3. Divides Teachers and Parents Instead of Fostering Teamwork
4. School Attendance is Mandatory, Caring is Not
5. "Should" and "Must" are Two Very Different Things

On these points I couldn't agree more. In our education system we already have huge gaps in racial, socioeconomic, and cutural areas. This parent grading policy would only serve to widen those gaps.

A Teacher's Frightening Power
Sue Sylvester Yelling

In the opening paragraph of her blog Caren states that she believes that teachers are responsible for how students feel about school. She tells about an experience she has in one of her graduate level courses. She explains herself to be a critical thinker who questions everything put in front of her. Apparently the teacher wasn't too found of her thinking. She tells that her professor often sarcastically tries to humiliate her in front of the class for being a divergent thinker. She feels defeated by this and considers shutting down and giving up in the class.
Then a light bulb goes off, has she ever made one of her students feel this way? If Caren being a motivated graduate level student can be made to feel so defeated, how much more can a teacher make a grade school student feel?
I really enjoyed reading Caren's post. It really did show the enormous power a teacher can have in a student's life. You've all heard the saying that with power comes enormous responsibility, and that is certainly true for teachers. We have to be extremely careful with the power we've been given. We must motivate and encourage independent thinking in our classroom and be careful to never ridicule a student. Caren closes with, "I need to approach my classroom in a way that makes students feel validated as long as they're thinking. I'm sure it's a difficult thing to accomplish, but it's now a top priority." Caren, it will definitely be a top priority of mine as well.
Caren goes on to

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Progress Report on PLN

Beginning my PLN felt, honestly, overwelming at first. I wasn't quite sure how to go about it. I read Dr. Strange's document on creating a PLN and all the links on it, but was still a little unsure. So when in doubt, dive in! I began on Symbaloo, creating a page especially for my education. I added a few neat gadgets like WebMath and a graphing tile. Then I decided to jump into twitter and I began following some of the people Dr. Strange suggested. I am a secondary education/math major, so I really wanted to find some people who taught math. I typed math teacher in the search bar on twitter and began following some of the people who's twitter profiles matched what I was looking for. While reading the timeline on one teachers profile I found an article titled "Top Four Passionate Math Teacher Blogs". I read the article and added the blogs to my Symbaloo page. These teachers were exactly what I was looking for and their blogs are dedicated to teaching math in a creative and pratical way. One of the blogs, Sweeney Math, shared a lesson plan using the popular game "Angry Birds" to create quadratic models.

picture of the game angry birds

I still have a lot of work in developing my PLN, but am excited about the wonderful resources I have already found! Major goal for this next week: Start Contributing!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blog Post 6

The Networked Student

picture of teacher

This is a video created by Wendy Drexler; you can watch it here. This video talked about the idea of connectivism. Connectivism is a newer learning strategy in which the teacher is not just someone to read lessons out of a book, but acts as a change agent in her classroom. In this classroom a teacher acts more as guide and model to her students. She shows here students how to sort out good and bad information, teaches them how to research, guides them in making their PLN, and helps them to connect to others around them.
I like the idea of teacher being more of a model for their students. Give them guidence and direction and allow them the freedom to really discover and learn on their own. I know this is controversial and there are many arguments against it, but I think it's something that should really be explored. I mean parents are advised to teach their children what is right and wrong, but they know they have to allow them to ultimately decide on their own, they must be allowed to spread their wings, otherwise they'll never fly. Our students are the same way. We must be a model to them, a guide, and support. And we can only hope that when they jump they can fly.

A 7th Graders Personal Learning Environment

circle of people representative of a personal learning network

This was a video tour of a 7th Graders PLE (or PLN). You can watch it here. It was great to look a her PLE it made me realize how useful they can be for a student's education. It also made me want to work on mine some more! This student could access a variety of information about her class from one symbaloo page. She could access her class blog to see information about what they would be doing in class that day. How cool is that? Students have the opportunity to know what class will be about before they even get there. That allows for students to be prepared and bring a ground knowledge of the subject matter into the classroom. I think that is every teachers dream. She also used her own blog to post reflections of the days class.
She also used her PLE as a useful research tool. She shared projects she created with others and was able to keep all her resources for a particular project in her Delicious page. She even emailed and skyped scientist regarding her project.
In summary, I strongly believe this could be an amazing tool for any student. Student could learn so much by having a PLE. But like most good things it requires work, but it will be work well done!

Critiques of Smartboards

smartboard and teacher

Hmm...this one was interesting. For this assignment I read to articles: Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards by Bill Ferriter and Why Smartboards are a Dumb Initiative by Michael Staton. At first I was shocked by the fact that anyone could hate Smartboards, I've never had the pleasure of using one myself, but all the teachers seem to love them. And they are working towards the goal of a technologically advanced classroom, right?
As shocking as this may be to all of you I agree with some of the things these bloggers were saying. In a lot of ways the smartboard does seem to be a glorified whiteboard/projector. I mean it's cool and all, but what is it really changing? Has education gotten better because of their prescence? Well, we don't know as it seems no one really asks that question. As Mr. Staton pointed out, a smartboard doesn't change the way teachers teach. It is still the same old lecture and notetaking learning procedure. Yes, smartboards are cool, but as I've said time and time again technology won't change anything without a teacher willing to break the mold and think outside the box. Heck blow the stinking box up! Without changing our way of thinking smartboards will just be thousands of dollars flushed down the drain.

Comments for Kids Summary Post

kid on a computer

C4K #1

My student for week one was Ayden who goes to a school in Comox Valley, Vancouver Island. Ayden really loves playing video games and the particular blog I commented on was about his favorite video game is World of Warcraft. I don't have much experience in the video game world, but I do have a Wii so I asked him for suggestions on games. His blog is also creatively titled "Ayden The Amazing Gamer" and you can visit it here.

C4K #2

My assigned student for C4K#2 was Gianna. Gianna is a year five student at Pt England School in Auckland, New Zealand. At the time Gianna had only one post posted for the year; it was a welcome post with a link to some of her posts from past years. Her post were mostly narrative. She had a great concept of grammer. She also had a video on there of her interpretation of a volcano, tsunami, and earthquake complete with sound effects. She seems to be a very creative little girl and the blog seems to have brought that out. You can visit Gianna's blog here.


My assigned student for this week was Eleva who also goes to Pt England School. She is a year six student and her teacher is Mr. Somerville. I got interested in this school, so I did a little research on it. The school requires every student to have a blog and you can easily access the student blogs from the schools website. This school was the judges' choice for best value in the 2006 Computerworld Excellence Awards. They also have a podcast that is produced by students from ages 9 to 11. You can visit their podcast blog here.

picture of logo

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Timetoast Individual Project 9a

Creating a timeline was so much fun. Create yours now by visiting:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Blog Post 5

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom

picture of bulldog with headphones and a microphone

This video, which you can watch here, gives useful ideas one how podcasting can be used to benefit the classroom. First of all, as we all should know we are living in a technology driven society and our students have never lived without many technologies, such as the computer and world wide web. Using this form of technology in the classroom can really boost creativity, there are so many different things you can do with a podcast. For instance, podcast or vodcast. For those who don't know a vodcast is a podcast with video. It also requires the student to really learn the material because they may be teaching it in their podcast. They also gave an idea that teachers could record their lectures as a podcast so students can use them as study guides. It also provides a great way for parents to be proactive in their child's education. I love the idea of using podcast in the classroom and hope that I will one day be able to use it in mine.

Eagle Nest Radio

third grade students

This is a class blog in which radio shows or podcasts are used to show what these students are learning. They have a podcast about the Ancient Romans where even I learned some interesting facts, like the meaning behind the saying "All roads lead to Rome." They have many other interesting podcast, such as one on sharks and one on explorers. Oh yeah, did i mention these are third graders?
What a wonderful and creative learning experience these third graders are having. no doubt they have soaked up some knowledge about the topics they are podcasting about. Each student has the opportunity to share their knowledge and furthermore just think about the public speaking practice they are getting. What they learned in their third grade class will no doubt benefit them for years to come.

You can visit their class blog here.

100 Ways to Use Your iPod to Learn and Study Better

This webpage has literally a hundred resources to enhance your education experience all on your iPod. But for this week we'll focus on the resources for podcasts.
One of the resources lisited was "The Philosophy Talk". Their slogan is "a program that questions everythink, except your intelligence. They deal with a variety of topics such as, procrastination, racial issues, abortion, disagreement, and the power of thought. This is a great podcast to really get your juices flowing.
Another resource is "The Education Podcast Network". This webpage is especially for teachers and strives to bring together podcast to benefit teachers in the 21st century. It sorts podcast by topics such as grade level and subject matter. It even has fourteen podcasts that focus on math! I think this is a great resource for teachers to explore. It is another way to for teachers to connect and share ideas.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

iSchool Comes to Life

picture of cougar holding an ipod

So I got a reply on twitter from @iSchoolAdvocate to a tweet I recently posted about their video iSchool Initiative, which you can watch here. This was the reply:

iSchoolAdvocate Travis Allen
@hillaryrolin Glad you liked our video. You may also be interested in our latest video:

This video is from a Digital Learning Revolution tour at Kearns High School. This high school, in Salt Lake City, Utah, gave each of their 1700 students an iPod touch as a step towards the ultimate iSchool. I can't wait to see how this will effect their school and will be following closely to see how they incorporate the iPods into the classroom.

You can follow along to by visiting Kearns High School's web page:

Or you can visit their iPod Touch Program page:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

This is My Sentence

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

This is my book trailer for "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry" by Mildred D. Taylor. I hope you enjoy.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Blog Post 4

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?

picture of child on computer
Click the picture to see Mr. McLeod's Blog.

This is my reponse to a post from Scott McLeod. Mr. McLeod is an Associate Professor at Iowa State University. He works in the Educational Administration Program. He is also Director of UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE) which targets the technology needs of School Administrators. He is also co-creator of the famous (Did You Know? Shift Happens)

In this post Mr. McLeod sarcastically talks about how dangerous technology is and how you should never let your children use it. At first I was in shock, "how could this man think this", but after further reading I realized that he was using his scarcasm to make a point. By taking arguements against technology and proving them unimportant he shows how important technology really is. We can choose not to allow our children or students to use technology, but who are we really hurting in the long run? I think Mr. McLeod would agree with me in saying we are hurting them. Technology is at the forefront of our world and that dependence on technology will only continue to grow.

The iSchool Initiative

I just got done watching this wonderful video on YouTube created by Travis Allen who was at the time a 17 year-old high school student. This student is clearly wise beyond his years and I think we would be smart to listen to some of his ideas.
He talked about what he called the "iSchool". This is using iTouch technology to improve our schools. He talked about how we can use iTouch to reduce school cost. For example, you can now buy textbooks for your iTouch at a much lower cost and it doesn't use paper. So this is a win for students and our planet. You can also buy graphing and scientific calculators for your iTouch.
He also talked about making apps that will have classroom assignments and will be an easy way for the teachers to communicate with their students. It will also open up a way that parents can better communicate with their child's teachers.
From what I can tell the iSchool is a win-win for everyone, well maybe not the paper companies!

Lost Generation

Wow is all I can say. If you haven't seen this video yet I strongly suggest you watch it. At first you may be shocked at some of the things the narrator is saying, but trust me; watch it all the way through. It is a call for this generation to take a stand for the things that matter most. To realize it's not all about the money, fame, or fortune. It is a call to rebuild families. It is a call for change. Will you take it?

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir

This is a video of 185 singers performing 'Lux Aurumque'. Normally you might say, so what, but these singers have never met and are from 12 different countries. The whole this is virtual. It was absolutely beautiful to watch and amazed me that they were able to sing in complete syncronization. It just goes to show what wonderful things can come about with our friend, technology.

Teaching in the 21st Century

This is a video originally created as a summary of the ASB Unplugged Conference in Mumbai, India 2010. You can watch it here. The fact of the matter is that teachers are no longer the main source of information in a student's life. They can simply turn to the internet and find anything they want to know. So what are teachers necessary for? I believe we are, like the video said, a filter. We're to steer them in the right direction. Open up a world where they can be their own teachers. We are not called to dump a ton of facts on them, we are called to give them the SKILLS necessary in order to have a sucessful life!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Project 5

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Summary Post C4T#1

My assignment was to an excellent blog called Learning is Life by Russ Goerend. Mr. Goerend is a 6th grade Language arts teacher in Iowa; you can find the link to his blog here.

Mr. Goerend, his wife, and son

Kelly Gallagher's Pillars of Writing Success
The first post I read from Mr. Goerend was about an exert from Kelly Gallagher's book Teaching Adolescent Writers. In the post he lists Gallagher's six student needs that must be met in order for effective teenage writers to emerge. These were:
1. Students need a lot more writing practice.
2. Students need teachers who model good writing.
3. Students need the opportunity to read and study other writers.
4. Students need choice when it comes to writing topics.
5. Students need to write for authentic purposes and for authentic audiences.
6. Students need meaningful feedback from both the teacher and their peers.
Goerend goes on to evaluate his own strengths and weaknesses regarding these six needs. He gives an honest account of what he is doing in his classroom and what he needs to do to create effective writers.
My response to this post was positive, as a high school student I never really enjoyed writing, so it's always nice to see an educator excited and dedicated to learning more about their profession. I also commented about how I feel feedback from their teacher is very important to foster students' hunger for writing.

Defend Yourself Fridays
In another post from Mr. Goerend's blog he shares a fun and creative idea for getting students excited about writing. The idea is that every Friday the students would have a Defend Yourself Friday writing assignment. The students were given a topic for which they would spend 5 minutes defending, arguing, and supporting a topic. After their time is up the students have two minutes to look over what they had written and summarize it in one sentence.
After seeing the excitement this created Mr. Goerend decided to give the topic out a week early and provide links relevant to the topic on the class blog. He did this to try and fuel the students interest in the topics and so they could come up with firm opinions on them.
I love Mr. Goerend's DYF idea and believe it is such a creative way to get students writing. After reading the comments one reader suggested that he keep the suprise element regarding the topics and in response Mr. Goerend said maybe they would have a suprise topic once a month. I also think it would be a good idea to throw in a debate after the assignment is completed. This would give students more motivation into researching the topic, would allow them to strengthen their public speaking skills, and would cause them to look at different points of view regarding the topic.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blog Post 3

A Vison of Students Today

This video was created by Michael Wesch and over 200 students from Kansas State University. You can find the link to it here.
Unfortunately, most of my college experience has been like the students in this video described. As I look back and ask myself the question, "What have I actually learned?", I'm troubled by my lack of knowledge. Now that I have gotten into my core studies it has gotten better, but in my general studies what I learned in class left me as soon as I was finished with the final exam.
From my collective college experience there have been many textbooks I haven't used and a lot of "burp back" education. Fortunately, I haven't had to take out student loans and have been blessed with a scholarship to pay for college. I think education needs to change and I hope and pray it does for future students.

It’s Not About the Technology

This is my response to a blog from Kelly Hines.

First of all, I’m not sure if this will be a popular response, but I agree with Ms. Hines for the most part. Don’t get me wrong I believe that technology is a very useful tool in education and one that should be taken advantage of. However, I do not believe that a teacher can be successful in a classroom with technology if he or she is not an effective teacher without the technology. She gives a list of four things teachers must do in order to impact their students.
Her first point is that teachers must be learners. This is simply saying that teachers must be dedicated to learning more and more about teaching everyday. Learning cannot end on graduation day in order to be an effective teacher. We must be constantly coming up with new methods in teaching. Saying that I believe that teachers should also be learners with technology and should be constantly learning how we can incorporate it in the classroom to help our students learn in creative ways.
Another one of her points is that technology is useless without good teaching. On this I completely agree. The teacher must already be a creative and innovative teacher who requires critical thinking in her classroom before technology is presented.
It is when teachers embrace Ms. Hines’ for points on teaching and then technology is presented that possibilities in the classroom become endless.

Is It Okay To Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?
This is my response to Karl Fisch's blog:

Mr. Fisch's post intimidated me at first, I mean it won the 2007 individual post of the year for edublog, so I knew it had to be good. I strongly believe that ALL teachers must be technologically literate. It is almost impossible for teachers not to be as many schools are incorporating teacher e-mails, websites, and online gradebooks. So beyond a doubt teachers should be literate in these areas, but I suggest it should go even further than that. None of my previous examples were dealing directly with using technology in the classroom. I believe teachers should be literate in this area as well. Let's face it we are living in a day where technology is a huge part of our world and also a very important part of almost any career requiring a college degree and a large chunk of careers not requiring a degree. If technology is such a huge part of the world today, just think about how big it will be by the time our future students graduate and enter the job field.
Saying that what do we do with the teachers who are presently not technologically literate. My opinion on this is not quite as extreme as Mr. Fisch's or Mr. Freedman's. I believe these teachers should be offered an opportunity to learn by being offered a class like EDM310 that would last a semester. After that the teacher should be given a term to incorporate what he or she has learned in the classroom. If after this time frame the teacher still has not become literate or if the teacher refuses to even try to become literate I feel they should be let go.
Learning how to use technology is not about giving someone a headache, it's about our future and more importantly the students we have the honor of teaching's future.

Gary Hayes Social Media Count

I believe this count is an undeniable example about how technology is a huge part of our world. The fact of the matter is that the growth in technology is exponetial, this means that it will continue to grow at a bigger and bigger rate. If technology is such a relevant part to our lives today just imagine how relevant it will be years from now when our future students graduate. I think we need to use this amazing tool in our classrooms today.

Monday, January 31, 2011


Did You Know
This video is a intriguing set of statistics relation to how the world and technology are growing. One very interesting thing the video pointed out is that by the time a technical college student enters their third year of study what they learned their first year is already outdated. I believe this shows how rapidly information regarding technology is growing. What did I learn from this video? For me this video reinforced the idea that if we don't embrace technology in the classroom the US will be left behind.
It was also interesting to learn that the top ten in demand jobs did not even exist in 2004. That is how fast the world around us is changing. I also did not realize what huge populations China and India had. That is crazy.
Mr. Wrinkle Wakes
This video was about a man awaking after an one-hundred year slumber. Mr. Wrinkle is amazed and confused by the world around him. Everything around him is new. He is troubled by this difference. As Mr. Wrinkle wonders around he comes across the school and is pleased to find that nothing has changed. The children are listening to lectures and taking notes. He notices a computer in the corner, but it is too dusty to worry him.
This video was troubling to watch. At first I wondered where it was headed. Of course things have drastically changed in 100 years. When he walked in the school it struck a nerve. I suddenly realized nothing has changed. How can that be? We have all these amazing advances in every area except education. Why aren't we using technology to advance our schools. No wonder we're behind in education. No wonder our children are sitting in classrooms bored out of their minds.
Cecelia Gault (Young Student in Finland) Interviews Sir Ken Robinson
This video shows a young student interviewing Sir Ken Robinson about different topics in education. She begins by asking how education must change in the 21st century. One of his responses that it needed to incorporate technology in the classroom. His reasoning behind this was that students understand computers. He also stated that the curriculum must change.
Sir Ken Robinson also addressed the three myths of creativity. One of the biggest myths was that either a person is born with creativity or they are not. I agree with him completely. We must engage our students in critical thinking with subject matter that is relevant to their lives.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Project 2

This is a collage of words about me created at

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blog Assignment 1

All About Me

Hello as you've probably seen my name is Hillary Rolin. I am from a little town called Atmore, Alabama. I am majoring in Secondary Education/Mathematics at USA. Every time I mention my major to someone I get a reflexive "Eww" and I think that is because most students do not have good experiences in math classes. Most students are taught to memorize and regurgitate formulas and I think that is what makes math so miserable for students. My goal in teaching math is to help the students understand it. I will require critical thinking in my classroom so that the material is not forgotten as soon as my students leave.
I am 21-years-old and have a beautiful 3-year-old son named Micah. I had him at a very young age, but I would not take it back for anything. I love to sing, not necessarily in public, there is just something so freeing about it. I also love to take pictures in my spare time, especially of my son. I am also a member of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, something I take great pride in, and I love learning about our history as a tribe.
I hope through this blog you have gotten to know me better and I'm looking forward to spending the semester with all of you!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Practice Post

My first post