Sunday, December 8, 2013

Blog Assignment #16

At the beginning of my study of technology in Education in EDM 310 I evaluated what should be the central focus of Education in Humanities subjects. I stated my belief that the development of the individual's intellect in modern society is dependent on critical thinking skills and technological literacy. Therefore, students should be encouraged to use technology as a medium for developing critical thinking skills. My opinion on Education remains the same, but my experience in EDM 310 has given me a broader perspective of how technology is being used in Education and the practical knowledge of how to apply these technological mediums in my classroom.
Re-Examining Education Technology
Though my central Thesis on Humanities-based Education remains very similar, EDM 310 has expanded the scope of my opinion of technology in Education. At the beginning of the semester, I envisioned using technology as a medium for students to develop Classical critical thinking skills by analyzing primary documents or watching videos; then discussing students' findings. What I learned in EDM 310 was this was only the base level of technological application in Education. To elaborate, EDM 310 taught me that effective technological application in Education goes beyond the most basic technological skills, such as looking up primary documents or videos, and into an area where students are the creators.

Technology in Education serves a multitude of purposes, but two are distinctly prevalent. A) Project Based Learning using technological mediums encourages the development of critical thinking skills as long as the projects are carefully developed with the intent of developing critical thinking skills. B) Project Based Learning using technological mediums encourages technological literacy, developing students for success in our world where technological literacy is required for almost all professionals.

The ThinkerMy experience in EDM 310 challenged me to think of deeper ways to apply technology in my classroom and allowed me to develop the practical skills to be able to accomplish this goal. In addition, my experience in EDM 310 instilled the desire in me to apply Project Based Learning in my class just as equally in my classroom as class discussion and subject analysis. My initial goal of developing critical thinking skills by applying technology remains the same, but my experience in EDM 310 has given me a broader perspective of this goal and allowed me to develop a greater understanding of how to effectively use technology to develop critical thinking skills. Technology encourages communication, collaboration, networking, and creativity all of which are necessary skills for success in the modern world. My initial vision for my classroom at the beginning of the semester was to develop a classroom where critical thinking was developed by applying technology. EDM 310 has allowed me to develop the skills necessary to accomplish this goal and an understanding of technology in Education that will allow me to encourage students to develop critical thinking skills in more profound ways than I ever thought possible.

EDM 310 Final Reflection Video


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blog Assignment #15

What Kind of Assistive Technologies are Available for Teachers?
           Lance Wilkinson, Erin Crane, and Wesley Etheridge

Every student deserves the right to a quality education. Assistive technology is extremely important in education to make sure that every student has the right to a quality education despite disabilities. Assistive technology is more accessible than ever before with technological advancements. From physical applications such as Braille keyboards and grids, to the voice over feature on the iPad, assistive technology is making learning for students with sight and hearing disabilities more accessible every day.

Assistive Technologies for Vision and Hearing Impaired Children is a video meant to inspire teachers to develop methods of learning for students with hearing or visual disabilities. By developing new methods of learning for disabled students, these students can be prepared for a variety of career options. In this way, education would "break down walls that students can jump over".

The creators of "The Mountbatten" carried out the mission to accommodate learning for disabled students. "The Mountbatten" is a braille typewriter that gives audio feedback as it is being typed. This works extremely well in a classroom where the teacher doesn't know braille.

The Universal Accessibility Mathematics Lab at the University of San Francisco also made mathematics more accessible for blind students based on a grid they developed to help blind students see math problems in a two dimensional format. The ability for blind students to do more advanced mathematics opens them up to a more diverse career field.

iPad Usage For The Blind details the benefits of the voice over application on the iPad. To use the voice over feature one must drag one's finger across the screen and a voice will tell you which app you're on. This makes iPads easily accessible for blind students. In addition to this, voice over makes iBooks completely accessible to blind students. Voice over makes the text of the iBook audible, allowing students who couldn't read with an iPad before to now do so. In Having a Great Time Teaching Mom What Her Deaf/Blind Child is Learning on the iPad, a disabled student's mother is given instruction on how to use the iPad. This video details the depth of the voice over application, which has both standard and the more advanced touch typing mode.

Ibooks Logo

The Assistive Technology blog from 50 Must-See Blogs for Special Education Teachers is an extremely relevant blog. It details the different types of assistive technology available for teachers as well as keeps them up to date on upcoming and developing assistive technologies. This "Teach Thought" article also details different types of assistive technology that are affordable for students.

Overall, as future History teachers we find "The Mountbatten" to be extremely effective for writing assignments for students with visual disabilities. In addition, the voice over feature of the iPad makes it an invaluable tool for students with visual disabilities due to the ability to read and participate with their classmates. Assistive technology is one of the best examples of how technology is pushing education in a forward direction.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Project #12

PLN Project #2 Final Report

Lost GenerationDeveloping a Personal Learning Network is something every professional must do. Whether you're a Musician, Teacher, or Business person, everyone has a network of the their peers and colleagues that they work with and learn from. In developing my own Personal Learning Network I have found that I have grown personally, as well as intellectually. Scholars have always had a Personal Learning Network. The Personal Learning Network may sound official, but that doesn't mean it has to be, or should be, boring. Take the Lost Generation for example. The Lost Generation was a group of writers in the 1920's who all shared a common mentor and learned and critiqued each other. The result was some of the best writing in history. The same attitude and vivacity should be expressed in groups of scholars, artists, and business people of today.

As a future History teacher, I have tried to develop my Personal Learning Network with teachers who now work in the field, or particular professors at South that have had an influence on me. In addition, one's peers should also make up one's PLN. Often, my group of friends and I critique each others' writing. The PLN should be something you carry with you, not turn on and off.

Social media has provided a new way for intellectuals and professionals to network with each other. Most people don't use Facebook or Twitter for intellectual reasons, but if used in such a way they can be an amazing resource. If connected with one's PLN over social networking sites, one can constantly have access to shared sources, links, and academic discussions. Many of the people in my PLN don't use social media, however, with Twitter I can follow Politicians, Teachers, and Academic Magazines and Journals. This provides me with a great resource that I can access any time on my phone.

Overall, developing my Personal Learning Network has allowed me to grow as a professional and intellectual. One of the greatest things about technology is the ability to share. Now, professionals can share ideas more effectively and creatively than ever before.
Twitter Developing Personal Learning Network

C4T #4 Summary

Educator Joe Sowash fully supports technological innovation in education. The blog posts I read and commented on by Mr. Sowash fully reflected these beliefs. In one blog, Mr. Sowash detailed his experiences planning the 2013 MiGoogle Conference. The MiGoogle conference is a large convention of 600 people to showcase Google tools and new teaching styles using these tools. Sessions on Project Based Learning were held and new versions of applications such as Google Drive were showcased. Mr. Sowash also had success engaging the whole community in the convention, bringing in local sponsors.

In my comment to Mr. Sowash I shared my recognition of his belief in the importance of technology in education. In addition, I made sure to commend him on his success organizing the MiGoogle event. The second blog post I commented on advocated the use of Google Chrome and gave suggestions on shortcuts and syncing methods. These suggestions range from Tab and Bookmark syncing methods to auto loading pages one visits every time one gets on Chrome. In my comment, I shared that most people prefer to use Chrome, so there is a consensus that is a good browser. In addition, I shared in my comment that the suggestions he gave were good things to know for any Chrome user.

You can view Mr. Sowash's blog here

C4K November

The C4K assignments for November varied from very early age students to older students. The diversity of age made reading and commenting on the blog posts much more enjoyable, as most C4K assignments have been for younger students. The younger students I commented on had grammatical issues. As usual, I made sure to remind them that using proper grammar is essential for one's credibility. The students showed a real effort in their blogs. Some of the C4K teachers were allowing their younger students to blog about what they enjoy. One student did a Google Presentation on Horror Movies.

One blog post I was assigned, however, was for a high school student. This student did an in depth analysis of voter prejudice in today's society and its historical implications. This post showed just how effective blogging can be for older students as well. This student exhibited competence in her writing, understanding, and argument. It was one of the best blog posts I've ever read. Younger students blogged about their class activities and their own. Blogging seems to be an effective learning method for students if you make it fun for them and allow them to put their selves into it.

When Harry Met Sally

Blog Assignment #14

How can teachers help students develop critical thinking skills, in addition to technological literacy, to prepare them for success in our Post-Modern, technologically advanced world?
“With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word 'intellectual,' of course, became the swear word it deserved to be.” - Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)

Ray Bradbury's bleak vision of a world where books are burned by the masses may have been a little overstretched in comparison to reality. Still, the image of books being burned and regarded as useless paints a powerful image in one's head and draws an interesting parallel to today's society in which paper books are coming to be considered more and more obsolete. More so, society's shift to prefer students to study Mathematics and Science to achieve capital gain, rather than Humanities subjects which inspire critical thinking leads us to question what is the role of critical thinking in modern society and how should our students be prepared to fit that role. With technology's role being so prevalent in society, developing critical thinking skills in students is more important than ever. Students should be inspired to develop critical thinking skills by implementing and using technology together, thus preparing them not only for achieving in the world around them, but for understanding it as well.
Critical thinking is at the basis of all Human intellectual development. If Humankind ceases to critically think, it ceases to create. Some argue that focusing on Math and Science subjects, instead of Humanities will better prepare students for success in the modern world. This view is not completely unfounded, but students will be missing a major part of their intellectual development if they do not learn to critically think, read, and write. After all, it was man's ability to creatively and critically think that designed Apple products, understood the Laws of Physics, and came up with internet programs such as Google.
Technology is a tool that students should use to develop critical thinking skills. After all, what better way to analyze current events, literature, and scientific developments than with Laptops, iPads, and Smart Phones? What could be a better way to collaborate and share ideas than Google Drive? Essays and articles can be written and shared within minutes of their finding or writing. Technology shouldn't push critical thinking aside; it should inspire it.
The answer lies in developing projects that encourage critical thinking, but use technology. Both technology and critical thinking are skills that are necessary for success in our modern world. By encouraging that they be used together in the classroom, teachers will be preparing students for using the two together for the rest of their lives. Students should be encouraged to use relevant technological media and programs for making videos, sharing ideas, and networking. This will not only give them practical experience using technology, but also make their ideas come to life and give them a basis for critically thinking.
By incorporating projects that encourage critical thinking, but use technology, students will not only be prepared for success in our modern world, but also be able to understand and share ideas in it. Some people argue technology is making critical thinking obsolete. I think it's just pushing it a step further.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blog Assignment #13

Jose Antonio Abreu
The El Sistema Music Revolution
Lance Wilkinson

In his TED Talks presentation, Jose Antonio Abreu shares a powerful message on how Music can invigorate the lives of students and instill a desire to learn and succeed within them. Most of Mr. Abreu’s opinions on how Music should be instilled in students’ lives applies to general education as well. Mr. Abreu is the founder of the El Sistema Music Revolution, a Youth Orchestra program in Venezuela. This orchestra program instills a passion for music in students of all economic backgrounds, taking care to make sure every student that applies himself or herself has the same accessibility to perform as any other student.

A key aspect of the El Sistema program is that everyone’s dreams should be realized. By showing students that they have a chance to do great things, the El Sistema program invigorates their lives with a desire to succeed and learn. At first, the El Sistema program did not have an excess of supplies; however, limited resources does not mean that standards should be limited. By belief in his students, Mr. Abreu and his students developed the El Sistema program into one of the greatest Youth Orchestra programs in the world.

Funding for Fine Arts is always at risk. Mr. Abreu promotes the opinion that Musical training develops not only self-confidence and inspires purpose, but also teaches interdependence and cooperation. These are 21st century skills that not only apply to Music, but to Education in general as well. Mr. Abreu also emphasizes that everyone should have access to Musical programs; not just the elite. This concept applies to Education as well. Every student deserves a quality education, not just those who are privileged enough to have one.

Mr. Abreu showed that the El Sistema program affected individuals at Personal, Familial, and Community-Based levels. An engaging Education program should also reach students at each of these levels. Mr. Abreu stated: “The worst thing about poverty is the lack of identification.” Engaging Music and Educational programs give these students the confidence and skills they need to identify themselves. Finally, as Mr. Abreu stated, Music and Education should be put at the service of society. A good Educational or Music program can change a student’s life. As Mr. Abreu said, and this statement can be applied to a good Educational program as well: “The spirit of music overcomes the spirit of material poverty.”
Shane Koyczan: To This Day...for the bullied and beautiful by Erin Crane
I honestly cannot describe Shane Koyczan’s poetry video about being bullied. The way he used his poetry to perfectly convey what kids go through in schools was breathtaking. Shane started off talking about the way his decisions would get shot down as a kid. Decisions like “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “What do you want to make of yourself?”. He would answer honestly and be told he either could not do it or needed to aim higher. They didn’t want to know what he wanted to be, they wanted to tell him what not to be!

He moved on to talk about the titles and nicknames he was labeled by his peers. Some purposely hurtful, some not. Children don’t always see that the words they use hurt other people (adults have this problem too). He talked about how the name “porkchop” leaves him no longer able to eat the food, and another little girl called dog for her early childhood still doesn’t see herself as beautiful. Words are scarring.

He started bringing in the way he kept self-motivated after these things. A boy adamant on calling him “Yogi Bear” demanded he do his homework. Shane did it, but with all incorrect answers. The boy was confused as to why he received a 0 on the paper that Shane got a 28/30 on. Shane responded with “smarter than the average bear…”! He used his brains to outsmart them. A great example to fight violence with nonviolence.

Listening to him go through his bullying trials in school, turning it into poetry, I was shown a boy who made his bad circumstances into greatness. He chose to take those experiences and use them to better himself. This gave me insight into how “just words” can truly affect people’s lives and ways that I hope, as a teacher, I can help students to shape it into something beneficial.
Turning Trash Into Toys for Learning by Wesley Etheridge

In the video, Turning Trash Into Toys for Learning, Arvind Gupta discusses how imagination can turn the simplest toys into learning tools. Gupta's story is interesting. He's went to school in India to become an engineer in the early 1970's. However, at the age of 24 he realized he wasn't born to make trucks. He found his passion when he joined a village science program. In the small village he moved to, he realized he enjoyed creating toys much more than creating trucks.

Gupta enjoyed taking trash and making toys out of it. One of his first creations was simply made of cycle valve tube with sticks inside. This created all kinds of shapes. With this simple "toy" he was able to teach children about angles and shapes, but the greatest part about this toy according to Arvind Gupta was its flimsiness. This allowed the students to use their imagination and creative abilities to experiment with all sorts of shapes and sizes. For example, the children could create little houses with these shapes. Every one of Arvind Gupta's toys were interesting to me, but the one that interested me the most was the motor he made from a 5cent battery. Imagination is a key for learning anything and Gupta's toys enhance every students imagination.

It was great to see how trash could be used to teach. I love the way Gupta feels about students breaking toys. He says, "The best thing a child can do with a toy is break it." Gupta shows that the only thing that can limit our teaching is lack of imagination. Also, his experiences show that children can learn on their own through just about anything. There's no doubt that Gupta is a firm believer of project based learning, and after his personal experiences how can you blame him. I agree with Gupta, imagination can lead to unlimited learning.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Blog Assignment #12

Degas Collaborative Blog Post: What Can We Learn From Ken Robinson?

Changing Education Paradigms

In the first video Ken Robinson opened our eyes to the injustice that is taking place thanks to the current system of education. Ken states that todays education system was designed for another time period. The current education system was created in the intellectual culture of the enlightenment and in the economic circumstances of the industrial revolution and you can see evidence of it through every aspect of the system. Schools are like factory lines. Ringing bells have conditioned students to know when to change class, schools have separate sections for each individual subject, and students are classified by their age instead of their academic level. A result of the system is we have "smart" people and "non smart" people, or at least thats how people are viewed. The consequence of this has been many brilliant people questioning their intelligence. ADHD has risen with the growth of standardized testing and Ken Robinson doesn't believe it's a coincidence. Sure some people may have ADHD, but is there really anything wrong with students being outgoing and energetic? We agree with Robinson that the issue is boring teaching. In the book Breakpoint and Beyond we see that the more a student is "educated" the more their capacity for divergent thinking decreases. If we really care about our students we have to change. Change may be scary, but it beats the burden of staying the same.

How to Escape Education's Death Valley

In the second video we learn that Death Valley isn't dead, it's dormant. Underneath the surface there is potential. Ken Robinson gives us a tremendous amount of advice that can lead American schools out of the "Death Valley" they are currently in. The three things that are important for human flourishing are the keys to improving the culture of education. The first thing is we must remember that human beings are naturally different and diverse. Ken Robinson is quick to point out that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is irony at it's best. Education under NCLB is based on conformity when it should be based on diversity. Students are diverse and they prosper best under a broad curriculum. The second thing that is important is curiosity. Our job as teachers is really easy if we can spark curiosity. Once curiosity is sparked children are natural learners. Great teachers mentor, stimulate, provoke, and engage their students. Ultimately, education is about learning. The whole point of being a teacher is getting students to learn. If our future students don't learn it's our fault. In our current culture, teachers are more concerned with test results than curiosity. Testing has a role in education, but it shouldn't dominate education. The infatuation with test results could be the biggest problem with our current system of education. The third key to human flourishing is creativity. Human life is inherently creative. Imagination and creativity is a unique trait of human beings. It's our role as educators to awaken these powers in our students. The problem is in our current culture of education students are becoming standardized. Everyone of us who will become teachers has the ability to change this culture of education. The question is do we care? If we do care about our students we will break away from the current system.

How Schools Kill Creativity

In the final video Ken Robinson discusses some issues he has with the current culture of education dealing with student's creativity. Robinson states that creativity is just as important as literacy. The problem is schools are instilling fear in students. Students are so afraid of being wrong that they get in a quite bubble. People who are afraid of being wrong will never come up with anything original. Children naturally aren't frightened of being wrong, but after years of schooling this capacity is diminished. We have to change this by creating an atmosphere where students can be who they are. Sir Ken Robinson also asks why certain subjects (like Math) are treated with higher regard than others (like dance). Not every student is going to be a college professor. Intelligence is diverse, dynamic, and distinct. In todays society a degree in a popular course of study doesn't equate to a job anymore. We must rethink the way we educate. We must consider the whole being of a student, not just certain areas.   

Project #15 PBL Plan #3

                                                                         Cultural Collages

A good understanding of History includes an understanding of Culture. The culture of the 1960’s in the U.S. was a culture of radical change. Students will be assigned to groups and given Primary Documents to analyze Historical events that affected the culture of the U.S. at this time. Students will then be given free reign to search the internet for videos, music, journal articles, pictures, art, ect. from the time period to further their research and understanding. The group will collaboratively write an essay (3-5) pages on the culture of the 60’s and the Historical events that influenced these cultural trends. Finally, each group will use the pictures, videos, music, and art they find during their research to create either a Virtual Collage (Power Point Presentation) or a traditional poster Collage. Groups will present the Thesis of their papers, as well as their collages, during presentations the following week.

Project Overview:

Project Calendar:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Smartboard Presentation Part A - Project #12

C4T #3

English teacher and writer Mary Worrell makes some extremely important points about English and writing in the 21st century in her Blog. In her post "The Purpose of the English Major", Ms. Worrell presents and reflects on a New York Times article "The Decline and Fall of the English Major". This article presents the view that students are drifting further and further away from Humanities subjects, though Humanities subjects encourage critical thinking and clear, competent, writing. The article and Worrell present the view that Humanities encourage not only practical writing skills, but a competency of the world around you and the ability to reflect on that world. The Humanities' practical value is writing and critical thinking, but it's intrinsic value lies in one's appreciation of literature and a competency of the world around the self.

The Decline and Fall of the English Major:

Lost GenerationIn her Blog "Building Experiences to Mine", Ms. Worrell elaborates on the need for teachers to find time to engage in study of their subject themselves. Worrell contends that teachers get so caught up in teaching, they forget to pursue their own subjects. Worrell also stated that she learned more in College from one on one help with the T.A.'s than she did in "a crowded lecture hall". In my comments to Ms. Worrell I reflected my belief in the intrinsic, as well as the practical value of Humanities. I also supported Worrell's belief that teachers should find time to pursue study in their field. Overall, I found my opinions to be very similar to Ms. Worrell's. It was immensely encouraging to read a teacher's blog that I have so much common ground with.

Ms. Worrell's Blog:

Interview Movie - Project #10

Interview with Mr. Gurley
Faith Academy

Note: Sorry about the Sweet Tea cup obstruction! Classic Mr. Gurley!

C4K Assignments - October

One of the main things I've noticed while doing C4K assignments is that most students aren't proofreading their blog posts. Most of my comments involve encouraging students to keep blogging, but also pointing out grammatical errors they need to fix. Blogging is an extremely important medium for students to learn with, but most students' blog posts are only a few sentences in length.

However, I think it is extremely important for students to blog because it increases their learning network and gets them excited. One student, Liku, seemed to have put a good bit of work into a graph in his blog. Another had to imagine she was a character in a book and had to write from that character's point of view. It's amazing to see how much kids learn and interact with each other from blogging. C4K assignments not only benefit C4K students, but us as well as we can clearly see how blogging is having a positive effect on students' learning process.

When commenting on a C4K student named Jack's blog, I made sure to tell him grammar is important when blogging because everyone can see your work! Overall C4K not only benefits the younger students' but us as well. After all, we're all students. Blogging just connects us to a more intricate and advanced learning network.

Great Pumpkin

Blog Assignment #11

                            Reflection on Kathy Cassidy's Use of Technology in the Classroom

If anyone has proven technology's usefulness in the classroom, it's Kathy Cassidy. Ms. Cassidy of Moose Jaw, Canada employs every kind of technology from Skype to video games in her classroom. The results are astounding.

Ms. Cassidy's students genuinely seem to enjoy school and learning. Students even remarked that they preferred blogging over other mediums of communicating their ideas. The students' writing improved as a result of blogging and their communication skills grew more vast by using Skype. According to Ms. Cassidy, the students love technology in the classroom because it's a "part of their world".

For Ms. Cassidy and her students educations is about "always pushing the envelope and asking about new things". Ms. Cassidy's Thesis for implementing technology in the classroom rests not only on student's ability to learn for themselves, but for the ability to collaborate and learn with other people online as well.

Technology in the ClassroomMs. Cassidy stated: "Find a way that works for you to keep in touch with technology". She goes on to state that denying students of technology in school would be handicapping them. Ms. Cassidy also is a strong advocate of the personal learning network. Though not extremely into social networking herself, Ms. Cassidy employs Twitter due to its expansive nature. Ms. Cassidy states that Twitter provides important links and allows access to a personal learning network that can answer questions one may have.

In addition to technology, the 21st century classroom must have Collaboration. Ms. Cassidy stated: "Collaboration is not cheating". Collaboration is an extremely important skill that is becoming more prevalent in our modern world. Preparing students for collaboration will be preparing them for a healthy professional life. Employing technology in the classroom teaches students another important skill, filtering information. In the Information Age, filtering information is more important than ever.

Overall I feel that Ms. Cassidy is an amazing example of how technological implication in the classroom can help students develop more. In my classroom I plan on employing technological mediums such as Skype, ITunes U, among others. Technology is always evolving, therefore so must Education.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Project #14 PBL Plan #2

                                                             Degas Project #14

The passage of Bills in the U.S. is an extremely complex system. In this project students will be divided into two groups, imitating the two Chambers of Congress. One group will be the House of Representatives and the other will be the Senate. Both groups will elect a leader (Speaker of the House - House of Representatives, and Vice President - Senate) to share the opinion of the group. A controversial "Bill" will be introduced, such as gun laws, gay marriage, ect. The groups will then be given time to discuss amongst themselves their position on the Bill. The House group will then present their opinion to the Senate, and if approval is unanimous the "Bill" is passed. If not, we have a Filibuster. The goal is to show students how Congress works, how Bills are passed, and the complexity of the American Legislative system.

Google Site - Degas Project #14:

Project Overview:

Project Calendar:

Blog Assignment #10

                                                  "Enabling the Dreams of Others"

                  "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." - Randy Pausch

Educator and innovator Randy Pausch was all about enabling the dreams of others. As teachers, this should be our goal as well. In his "Last Lecture" Pausch not only covers enabling the dreams of others, but of enabling and accomplishing your own dreams as well. Pausch contends that this is accomplished by having specific dreams. As teachers, we should challenge students to help find and accomplish their dreams so that they may lived more fulfilling lives. The teacher as a guide could serve no better purpose.

Pausch contends that "it's all about the fundamentals". He goes on to say in reference to his time playing football: "When you do something young enough and you train for it, it becomes a part of you". This is the attitude not just students, but teachers as well should take on for learning. By actively engaging students in learning throughout school, it will become a part of them that they will hopefully carry with them for the rest of their lives.

In his Building Virtual Worlds class, Pausch "put engineers and artists together". This shows the future of the Educational system. By showing both the value of the Empirical Sciences and Humanities and applying them together, everyone can engage in a meaningful Project-Based Learning environment. The writer may not be interested in the workings of a computer and vice versa, but when the two work together on different parts of the same project, masterful things can occur.

More so, Pausch elaborates that a "phenomenon swept across campus" engaging all kinds of students and parents. This not only taught the students subject matter, but drew them closer together as people, proving the value of cooperative learning.

Breaking Through Brick WallPausch himself was an inspiration. One quote that stuck with me was: "Brick walls are there for a reason. Brick walls are there to show us how badly we want something."

As teachers, our goal is not to be a brick wall, but to prepare students for how to deal with brick walls in life. Teachers are there to enable, prepare, and inspire. To quote Pausch: "The inspiration and permission to dream are huge."

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Blog Assignment #9

                                    Education in a "Meaningful and Motivational Context"
                                                              Written By: Degas
                                      Erin Crane, Wesley Etheridge, and Lance Wilkinson

In his TED talks presentation, Brian Crosby expressed the idea that an education in a "meaningful and motivational context" was the right of every student in the educational system; to which he got a round of applause from the audience. As educators, this should be our goal; however, how do we achieve a "meaningful" and "motivational" context. What questions do we ask students? What projects do we engage students in? How do inspire students to carry what they've learned throughout their lives?

AP Biology teacher Paul Anderson poses the power of the question. He implores the "Blended Learning Cycle" in his classroom. The Blended Learning Cycle is a combination of Blended Learning (incorporating elements of online, mobile, and classroom learning) and the Learning Cycle. The Learning Cycle is a process composed of the steps of engaging, exploring, explain, expanding, and evaluating. By applying the Blended Learning Cycle students are engaged in a meaningful and motivational context. Mr. Anderson uses the Blended Learning Cycle in his own classroom using a process he named "Quivers". The steps for "Quivers" include: "Ask a question", "Investigation, Inquiry", "Video", "Elaboration", "Review", "Summary". These steps engage students, applying a meaningful and motivational context to the classroom.

Check out Mr. Anderson's Video on Blended Learning:

In a TED Talks Presentation, Brian Crosby gave a presentation entitled "Back to the Future" in which Mr. Crosby details his experiences working with at risk children. Mr. Crosby poses that striking a passion in students will remove the "disconnect" from education. Project Based Learning, Blogging, and Skype are all used by the students to further immerse them in learning. By doing so, the students are not only engaged in learning, but learn to collaborate and detail their findings in a meaningful context. By applying a meaningful context, students are further immersed in learning and thus, become much more passionate.

Mr. Crosby's Blog:

Making Thinking VisibleMark Church, author of "Making Thinking Visible", shows that critical thinking can be applied, thus making it seem relevant in a meaningful context. Mr. Church had students make a "Headline" for "what the puzzle and challenge for search for human origins is all about". This may seem like a simple assignment, but as one student remarked: "That's a big topic to put in such a small amount of words." Students worked in groups, so all the students in the group had to agree on the Headline. This teaches students collaboration and critical thinking, inspiring discussions between students that are much more effective than lecture alone.
Above all, these teachers show us that providing education in as Brian Crosby says, a "meaningful and motivational context" is most important. This context can be achieved through interactive learning, engaging projects, critical thinking, and discussions. This leaves us to conclude, in modern society, questioning might just be more important than answering.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

C4T Assignment #2

Tina Barseghian discusses in her blog "Can Music Help Low-Income Students Close the Academic Gap" the positive aspects a musical education can have on students' lives and academic development. According to Ms. Barseghian, research indicates students' brains develop faster when musically trained. In addition, adults who started a musical education in childhood had more enhancement in brain structure than non-musicians.

Programs are now available to at-risk students in Los Angeles to learn instruments including the violin, cello, and bass. In addition, students can participate in Saturday Ensemble Programs where they can play with a full band or orchestra. 

Take a look at Ms. Barseghian's Blog detailing these findings:

In my comment I expressed my excitement upon hearing further research promoting a musical education and my excitement upon hearing that the Los Angeles school system was reaching out to at-risk students. Funding for Fine Arts programs are often in danger of being cut; therefore to hear of research encouraging a musical education is amazing to say the least.

In her blog "The Importance of Fostering Kids' Creative Confidence" Ms. Barseghian presents David Kelley's views on creative potential. According to Kelley, everyone has creative potential. Individuals can master creative applications if they just "stick with it long enough". In addition, professionals and educators of all kinds should practice "Guided Mastery", a system of encouraging creative potential in their students.

Check out Mr. Kelley's TED Talks presentation:

In my comment I expressed my sharing of Kelley's views. As a musician, many people tell me "I could never be creative" or "I could never play an instrument". Everyone has creative potential; they just have to be guided into unlocking that potential in the right way.

Project #9 Podcast

Blog Assignment #8

                                                             Flipping the Classroom

1) Written by: Lance Wilkinson - Degas

As technology is further immersed in students' lives it is necessary to accommodate the learning process with relevant technological applications. This method has been proven to engage a larger percentage of students in the classroom. Check out Katie Gimbar's video on how effective technological implementation in her curriculum drastically changed her classroom's learning process.

By "pre-loading" the material to be taught before the lecture, students could gain a general knowledge of the material and ask questions, leaving the class time to be devoted to applying the material, rather than being delivered the material. This application is extremely valuable to all subjects, but as a future History teacher I see enormous potential in the process of receiving and learning material before class to inspire questions, speculation, and debate.

3 Sources I have found to apply this method are:

1) ITunes U

2) Online Websites: Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, Fordham University's Internet History Sourcebook, and BBC History.

3) Databases (Such as the Alabama Virtual Library - AVL)

ITunes U provides an immense resource for students of any academic discipline. ITunes U allows students to subscribe to Podcasts of areas of study as well as provides Primary and Secondary Sources for humanities subjects. Since most students own an iDevice of some sort, most students could take their classroom material with them to access at any time. ITunes U is full of material that can be incorporated into any curriculum.

ITunes U Banner
The internet provides an immense amount of content, but students need to know how to filter content to get the best sources possible. The teacher as a guide should show students where to access proper source material online first, to give students a good example of what fits good source criteria. From there, students can find their own websites and resources for source material. Being able to filter content is a 21st century skill directly related to the study of History. The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media is a website that provides an immense amount of content directly related to the field of History. Students can browse everything from broad categories such as surveys of U.S. History and World History, to specific topics such as Women in History, and Events/Time Periods such as The French Revolution. Take a look:

Fordham University in New York also provides an "Internet Sourcebook" for History Students. Primary Sources from all of History are provided online for research and study. These primary sources will be assigned in class in context of the curriculum and Common Core Standards. In addition, the Primary Sources Fordham University's website provides can be used for Research Papers and Presentations. Fordham University Link:

BBC History Online also provides has a less-detailed source catalogue, as well as Historical games and quizzes for areas of interest. BBC History:

Students can also access source material online at The Alabama Virtual Library, or AVL. The AVL provides a secure, academic data base for students to use for research.

The internet is an excellent tool for preserving the past, but looking toward the future. Using technology students learn not only to gather information, but to filter information as well. By applying 21st century skills to the classroom, students can engage in research like never before. Having sources directly available via the internet connects students to a world of knowledge no one before our time could imagine.

2) Written by: Wesley Etheridge - Degas

21st Century Learning and Communicating Tools

I've learned about so many new tools in this class that I thought it would be impossible for me to find something new to add to my class, but I was wrong. I will be teaching Social Studies on the high school level so it's very important that the tools I utilize are age appropriate and engaging. After a lot of thinking and research, I've come across numerous technological tools that would be great for a history class. However, there are three that I want to discuss today that really stood out to me:

The first tool is probably my favorite tool. In some of my previous blog posts I've discussed how I believe some video games to be a  tool that history teachers can use to their advantage. Sid Meier's Civilization video games specialize in historical content. These games are available on the iPad, Computers, and gaming consoles. In my classroom I plan to use the iPad version of this game. The game is a turn-based strategy game series in which you attempt to build an empire to stand the test of time. Students will have the opportunity to become ruler of the world by establishing and leading a civilization from the dawn of man into the space age. They will be able to wage war against other civilizations on the game, conduct diplomacy, discover new technologies for their civilization, go head-to-head with some of history's greatest leaders, and build the most powerful empire the world has ever known. The game's instructions are very clear, and allow anyone over the age of 10 great gameplay. This game would be great to utilize when teaching World History because it allows you the opportunity to play as any of the early world empires. It would give students a better understanding of these early civilizations and would even allow them to see how technological advancements have taken place over time. The game could be a great tool if used properly.

The second tool is one that I never thought about using in my class until I was assigned to Eric Langhorst's blog for C4T's. Eric is a social studies teacher and he has used Google Maps to aid in teaching his 8th graders about geography. Google Maps allows you to learn about the geography of every where in the world. It's truly amazing. I can remember the first time I ever found out about google maps. I would get lost looking at various places all over the world zooming in as close as I could to see what it was like there. Eric Langhorst allowed his 8th grade class to create their own progressive Google Map in his class and I would love to do something like this myself. Each unit the students add locations to their map that are significant to the content they are currently studying.

The final tool I want to share is a website that provides numerous resources for history teachers. History Matters provides teachers with various links, but the thing I like about this website the most is it connects history teachers with other history teachers. This is a great way for me to shape my teaching strategies with other history teacher’s strategies. Also, this tool provides over 1000 links to historical documents, images, and audio interviews that would be beneficial to every history teacher.

Written By: Erin Crane - Degas

21st Century Learning and Communicating Tool      In this class we tend to talk about things that relate more to Elementary Education.  Don't get me wrong, I still find new things to incorporate in my classroom.  For this blog assignment I wanted to get outside of the things we have learned and find something that would interest my high school students, particular in my history classes.  Usually any tool you find for history of that age involved a lot of reading simply because of the content. I visited some of my favorite historical landmarks' websites to see if they had anything interesting. Here's what I found.

Mount Vernon
     Mount Vernon is one of my favorite historical places i've visited.  The grounds are gorgeous and there is so much history there with the birth of our nation.  I would love to be able to take my students there, but it's just not always financial feasible.  I started looking at their website and noticed this page.
Teacher Resources
They have a Teacher Resources section of their website that included Lesson Plans you can use as well as videos you can incorporate into your teaching.  They also have a photo/video gallery of things around the estate that I could show the class as I am teaching.  They also have a Student Resources section.
Student Resources
I can send my students here for research when they are completing their "This Person In History" project (see lesson plans).  This section holds more videos, an interactive "Meet people from the past", and a digital encyclopedia.

     After finding these new tools I could use successfully I decided to go look at some of my other favorite historical places' websites.  Ford's Theatre has a Virtual Tour that I could pull up to use as a point-of-view when talking about President Lincoln's assassination.  The U.S Capitol also has Teacher and Student Resources that I could turn to when discussing the more political aspects of history.

     I feel like students would have more fun navigating the sites themselves, and it even may spark an interest for them to go search out more historical websites.  The virtual tours would help them visualize things more clearly, as well as the videos.  Overall, I think using this tool and technology might help high school students become more interesting in the history of their country.