Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Blog Post 14/15

I feel that EDM310 has really opened my eyes to just how much education has changed. When I was in high school there were hardly any types of technology available for the students to use. Now every single student has access to either an iPad or Macbook. These tools have become an essential part of a student's education. This course has helped me to become more comfortable with the many types of Project Based learning that I will have to adapt to when I begin my teaching career. While I have definitely not completely grasped all of the concepts, I do feel as though I am well on my way. I would say that my strengths in regards to PBL and technology as a whole are well suited for today's modern education. I am very comfortable with many different programs that we have used and if not have been able to adjust quickly. I believe that I am a fast learner and will be able to help my students access the full capabilities of the technology they have available to them today. I will also say that I still have some weaknesses that I need to work on. My organizational skills are lacking and that is not a very good characteristic to have as an educator. I need to stay organized so that I can keep track of my students many projects. I also think that i need to develop a larger network of professional resources that I can use for inspiration to advance my own teaching methods in the future.


The video, How to Make an Audio QR Code, was very interesting to me. I did not know that you can assign audio to a QR Code. I always thought that QR Codes were only used to pull up pictures or websites. This could be an excellent tool to relay information to students as well as their parents.

The use of iPads in the videos, iPad Reading Centers, Poplet, Alabama Virtual Library, and iMovie Trailers show the multitudes of ways that iPads can be such an effective way of teaching. They are so versatile and will only continue to get better as more apps are developed. The iPad Reading Centers seems like an excellent way for students to hear themselves read the stories back to themselves. Practicing this allows for the student to hear where they messed up and also go back through the material for a second time. Poplet is an excellent PBL tool that the students use to complete their project. They must look up information/images and then place them in the diagram in order to present them to the class. Alabama Virtual Library is a great online resource that the students can go to for info on book. 

The Build a Board video gives an example of another way that iPads are great tools for PBL. The kids set up their virtual "Board" that shows the information they have collected on a particular subject. After they have completed the assignment they then present their findings to the class. 

In Twitter for Educators and We All Become Learners the focus is on technology not only changing education, but also the educators themselves. Twitter is discussed as a very insightful resource that can bring the ideas of the entire world right to your computer screen. Twitter gives the ability to listen and respond to education professionals instantly. These new technologies have also turned the table on the balance of learning in the classroom. The students are no longer the only individuals who are learning. Teachers are actually being taught by their students now! Technology allows for students to be able to show off what they have learned to their classmates as well as their teachers. As educators we must keep our eyes and ears open because we never know what we are going to learn next.

21st Century Educator Skills

C4Tp #4

The Langwitches post, Building Good C.U.L.T.U.R.E., Ms. Tolisano discusses how sharing through Twitter can lead to new ideas forming. She shares how a simple tweet directed at her lead to her creating a new piece of educational art. The tweet showed an acronym on how to build a good C.U.L.T.U.R.E. = Collaborate. Understand. Love. Trust. Unite. Respect. Empower. This simple phrase becomes a motto of sorts just by being shared through a social media source. This is an example of how quickly ideas can grow in this modern age of the internet.


The Blogging Kraken: How to Keep Up with All Your Students' Blogs?, is a post about effectively monitoring your classes' blogs. She discusses the importance of blogs in developing a student's ability to document, reflect, organize, and use critical thinking. The importance of feedback from teachers to students is also highlighted. After discussing the importance of having students create blogs she then details how a teacher should set up an effective system for keeping track of them. Using the RSS Reader, Feedly, teachers are able to organize the blogs. Creating this system of organization allows for quicker review times, the ability to search through the blogs, keep up with when students post and keep track of your grading progress. Ms. Tolisano stresses that having an organized system is the best way of properly keeping track of the student' blogs. 

The Blog Kraken

C4Ta #4

On his website, The Flipped Coach, Jason Hahnstadt discusses many of the ways that technology and "flipping" the classroom has assisted him in his coaching career. In his post, Google Chrome Screencasting With Snagit App, he talks about a helpful program for creating videos of your computer screen. He explains that this program is very easy to use and allows him to make videos of his computer screen so that he can use it to teach his students. After creating a video he is then able to share it with his students so that they will have the information they need for the following day of class. He also talks about how it is an effective way for coaches to share and review game film with their players. I found the fact that this app is connected to Google Drive to be a major asset. Having access to Google Drive gives the ability to easily save a video as well as a simple method of sharing.

Coaching Football

Mr. Hahnstadt writes about how iBooks and iBooks Author, are great programs with many educational uses. He begins this post by talking about a recent iBook he had viewed called 101+ Pro Style Pistol offense Plays. This iBook is a collection of offensive football plays. This is a great example of how technology is becoming more and more present in sports. He also talks about the many different features that the iBooks programs offer. Mr. Hahnstadt encourages coaches to create their own iBooks so that they are sharing their knowledge of the game, and sometimes even making a profit in the iBooks store. Finally, he talks about how accessible these books are for students through the use of their iPads. Teachers are now able to create interactive books that relay the information they are trying to teach to their students in an effective manner.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Blog Post #13

In the video, Teaching History in the 21st Century, Thomas Ketchell discusses the ways in which today's history teachers have begun to adapt new methods of teaching. He talks about how the old outdated methods of teaching history are no longer able to capture the interest of today's students. 

The first example he gives is of his own creation. He discusses how he used Twitter in order to discuss London's Great Smog of 1952. By using the hash-tag, #GreatSmog, he tweets as though he is an individual living through that event. By using this perspective he is able to make the Great Smog come to life for his students and followers. This method allows for the use of technology that the students can utilize and also engage them by making it seem as though it is a real-time event. 

Great Smog

The second method he discusses is the creation of a student. By using the game, Minecraft, the student is able to actively engage himself with the material he was covering in his history class. The student creates an entire Roman Bathhouse on this program that he can connect with. From this creation he actually learned to speak Latin and eventually began giving virtual tours of his creation. This is an amazing example of a student's creativity that actually helped him to process the material. 

Minecraft Roman Bath House

The final example in the video is about educator, Enrique Legaspi  who also uses Twitter to reach his history students. Collaboration between the students is amplified through the use of Twitter. They are able to discuss a topic or event through a common hash-tag. He has seen an increase in student participation and even participation from the more reserved students. This has led to all of his students feeling they have a role in the classroom. 

I feel that these methods discussed would definitely aid my history education. The incorporation of tools such as Twitter would allow for more collaboration among me and my classmates. The creation of 3D models through the Minecraft engine is something that i would be very interested in. It would be a very exciting project to build a replica of historical buildings. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Blog Post #12

What Assistive Technologies Are Available To You As A Teacher?

Man holding ipad

The advancement of technology has led to many new doors being opened for individuals with impairments. Students who are blind or deaf now have many more tools to assist them in their academic careers. I believe that it can be argued that the iPad is at the top of the list of most important technologies created for the impaired. As shown in the video, iPad Usage For The Blind, the iPad comes straight out of the box with the ability to be configured for a blind individual. Through the built in program, Voiceover, the contents of the screen are read aloud. By having this ease of access, the iPad has made it possible for the visually impaired to be able to do things such as read a book or even search iTunesU for academic materials. One can see that this would not only help the student in their studies, but also aid the teacher in being able to educate. The accessibility of the iPad would allow the educator to assign reading materials to the entire class. This would also make the grading and feedback process more efficient for teachers because the students with visual impairments are now able to use email as a means to submit work.

Many apps are being developed to take advantage of the iPads boundless capabilities. The e-book, Reach For The Stars, is just one example of developers trying to create a method for blind students to experience science and the universe. Astronomer Elena Sabbi, the inspiration for the e-book states that, “And technology is improving so fast that we are sure you will be able to learn and do new things. Things are becoming more reachable.” I believe that this is the main way that technologies such as these assist educators the most. They give teachers the ability to reach the impaired students nearly just as effectively as their general students. These tools allow for an impaired student to have a much greater chance at discovering that subject or topic that they connect with and want to study deeper.

 - Russell McDuffie

The Mountbatten, an electronic machine used to write braille, is very beneficial not only with the blind student but for the instructor and fellow classmates. The device uses word processing and provides audio feedback to ensure the correct character was selected. The use of the iPad for deaf/blind students in Having a Great Time Teaching demonstrates how effective such modern devices have become in the world of education.

Music notes

In the field of music education, a website entitled Blind Music Student lists several programs that would aid in a visually impaired child’s ability to read, compose, and perform music. Two programs that assist are Lime Lighter and Goodfeel. Lime Lighter creates a legible digital music score for individuals with low vision while Goodfeel serves as a music note-to-braille translator. Goodfeel also allows sighted teachers and other musicians to change typical sheet music into Braille without having any prior knowledge of the Braille system. Before Goodfeel was invented, converting musical notations into Braille could take six weeks to complete after sending the materials to a translator.

Another app that is widely popular with those working with exceptional children that fall under the Autistic Spectrum (along with several other developmental and intellectual disabilities) is Proloquo2Go. The features found in this program provide assistance with children who benefit from symbol support. Students can speak by tapping buttons with words/phrases, develop their vocabulary, and send emails/text messages.

-Vikki Turner

What assistive technologies are available to you as a teacher?
Currently iPads are becoming increasingly popular in all classrooms, and voice reader allows every student to participate even if a student is blind. Simply hovering over an application or icon allows the voice reader to read the name of the application aloud, and also instruct an individual to double click the icon in order to open it.

Computer Assisted Notetaking (CAN)
Students can enjoy full access to instruction in selected mainstream settings through the use of this real-time captioning system. An instructor or paraprofessional typing into a laptop computer, that is hooked up to a high-luminosity portable projector, will allow not only deaf students, but non-hearing impaired students to follow the instructions on an oversized screen or whiteboard at the front of the room. Hard copies of the notes will be edited into functional language-masters and provided to students at the end of the day for study at home.

A Mountbatten Brailer

The Mountbatten Brailer
The MB Learning System has been designed for children who need Braille. It is a fun and inclusive introduction to Braille literacy and provides a solid foundation for a lifetime of learning. Extensive research and development has resulted in a design suitable for the very first stages of Braille instruction through to high school and beyond.

-Melanie Lee

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Blog Post #11

What Can We Learn About Teaching and Learning From These Teachers?

In his video, Back to the Future, science teacher Brian Crosby discusses the Project-Based Learning methods he uses in his classroom. He details how his students worked on a project using a high-altitude balloon as the basis. By creating the lesson plan around the journey of their balloon all the way to the Earth's atmosphere, Mr. Crosby is able to keep his students engaged and actively learning. Not only are the students able to learn about the science behind the balloon's travels, but also practice their writing skills by documenting it.

UP House

Mr. Paul Anderson discusses the Blended Learning Cycle in his video. He breaks down the way in which he teaches his students by unit. He uses the acronym "QUIVERS" in order to explain his method.

Qu - Question
   I  - Investigation/Inquiry
  V - Video
  E - Elaboration
  R - Review
  S - Summary Quiz

This acronym is used to summarize what the students complete throughout each assignment. He begins the lesson with an intriguing question which then leads the students to want to discover the answer. Once they have completed the assigned materials, an assessment is then given.

In Making Thinking Visible, Mark Church uses a video to propose an idea to his classroom. After viewing this video he asks the students to create a headline for that video's main idea as a group. He uses group collaboration in order to allow the student's to share their thoughts and work together to answer the question.

Sam Pane uses a very innovative method to teach his students how to be responsible online. The video, Teaching Digital Citizenship, shows how he uses technology in his classroom. Each one of his students create a super hero online and then get to use this character in their own comic strip. In this comic strip the students show themselves making poor decisions on the internet. The character they created then "saves" them from their mistake. This is an excellent method for teaching proper internet usage that allows the students to show how creative they are.

Project Based Learning shows a high school in Canada that has taken a new approach to teaching many of the core subjects. They have combined Language Arts, History and Information Technology into a blended course. The educators are able to create a more rounded learning experience by including these three courses together. The subject matter has been blended so that writing assignments also have historical implications as well. This also allows for the teachers to expect more from their students' abilities because of the increased amount of time they spend in this type of course.

Roosevelt Elementary's PBL Program emphasizes the importance of public speaking and collaboration from their students. They state that they strive to teach the students lessons that they will use during everyday life in the future. A sense of community is represented in their PBL Program in which students work together in order to solve the problems they are assigned.


C4Tp #3

The Possibilities of Student Blogging

In this Langwitches post, the positive effects of students maintaining a blog are discussed. Silvia Tolisano, the website creator, has posted a video one of her colleagues filmed. In the video, Andrea Hernandez discusses the many ways that student blogging is beneficial to not only her students, but other students around the world. She talks about how they utilize a system of "quad-blogging" in which four different classrooms around the world are involved. The four classrooms in the video consist of the United States, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Thailand.  The students are able to learn about other parts of the world by having such diverse cultures actively participating with one another. The primary goal of the blog use is better quality writing. This better quality of writing will come after the student views critiques from the other global students.
Ms. Hernandez also talks about how important it is for the teacher to create the connections for the students. The educator must use their Personal Learning Network in order to set up an educational system such as "quad-blogging". This requires the teacher to be digitally active with resources such as Twitter to make these connections. The educator is able to bring a higher method of learning to their students by having these relationships built.  

Global Blog

Documenting FOR Learning

Ms. Tolisano discusses the importance of documentation in an educational setting in this post. She begins by stating that she had only used documentation in professional settings for use by other educators. By expanding how documenting is used, she sees that it can be used by many types of people besides educators. Ms. Tolisano shows that it can be useful for Teachers, Students and even School/Districts. Students are able to showcase their work and grade their learning growth. They are also able to create an electronic portfolio of their accomplishments. Schools/Districts are able to use documentation for parent/community involvement, attract employees, and develop their employees. Teachers are also able to create a portfolio, reflect and change lesson plans if needed, and evaluate their teaching methods through their students' progress.

Documenting gives the ability to make a record of past methods and reflect upon them. This reflection can lead to the creation of more effective methods for Teachers, Students, and Schools. She also gives a list of tools she uses for documenting: "Videos, Photos, Notes, Tweets, Blogs and so on." She is showing that documenting can be an important way of reflecting upon your past experiences in order to improve your future educational methods.

Organized Files

Project #10 - Teacher Interview

C4Ta #3

In his blog, The Physical Educator, Joey Feith discusses how technology is essential for the education of his students. He uses it as an outlet to share what tools and methods he utilizes through his teaching. In his post, How I Teach: Ash Casey, he interviews a PE teacher from the UK, Ash Casey, who uses technology in his course. Casey begins by giving some of his essential tools that he uses in the classroom. He lists items such as Keynote, Word, iStockphoto, Twitter and iAnnotatePDF. He states that these items allow him to expand his base of knowledge on a day to day basis. When asked about his classes he claims, "I am not afraid to look silly and I will hoop and holler and try to get my students engaged." This shows that he is very active with his students and will try all types of methods to get them actively participating. At the end of the post Casey discusses the best piece of advice he ever received. He admits that when he first started teaching he thought he knew everything, but he learned from his mentor that he had a lot of things he could change about his teaching style. Casey states, "I used to consider myself as the finished article until I came to realize that I am a co-learner in every session I teach." I found this quote to be very true because as an educator we should be learning from our students just as much as they are from us. We should not believe that we know everything already but instead be willing and able to learn new things.

Physical Education, Teacher Education

In the next post, Team #PhysEd Stories: Standards Based Instruction, Sarah Gietschier-Hartman discusses her grading method adjustments in her PE classes. She begins the blog talking about how in the beginning of her career she did not put much effort into her student's assessments. After reading the book, How to Grade For Learning: Linking Grades to Standards by Ken O'Connor, she decided to create new strategies for assessing her student's learning. Instead of continuing the standard format she had been accustomed to, she instituted a new one based on two components. These two components are Standards-Based Grading and Standards-Based Instruction. These are both more accurate representations of the students' achievements in the classroom. They are checked against the national/state standards that are set and allow the student and parents to compare their student with their grade level equivalent. She also created a more "kid-friendly" description of the grades:

Level 4 = "Wow!" (100%)
Level 3 = "Got It!" (89%)
Level 2 = "Getting There!" (79%)
Level 1 = "I need more practice. (69%)

By creating this new method she is able to relate these categories more effectively with her students. By giving them these "fun" terms for grades it gives the students a goal they want to achieve (Wow!). She talks about how it is important for the student's to understand the grading system in order to know what grade they want to obtain. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Blog Post #10

What Can We Learn From Mrs. Cassidy?

Mrs. Cassidy is a first grade teacher in Moose Jaw, Canada. She uses technology and project-based learning methods in order to instruct her class. In her video, Little Kids...Big Potential, a compilation of many of the kids at work is shown. It is very entertaining to see such young students being able to be so comfortable with technology. The students walk the viewer through the many different tools they use to enhance their learning. Items such as blogs, SMART Boards, and even Nintendo DS are used to give the student a very rewarding learning environment.

Technology in the Classroom

In Dr. Strange's interview with Mrs. Cassidy, they discuss how important the use of technology in the classroom is for modern day students. Mrs. Cassidy emphasizes the fact that the way students used to learn in the past is not going to be successful with today's students. She states that students do not have to "power down" when they come to class anymore. By having the same technology used in the class that they have at home, they are able to continue to build upon their prior computer knowledge. Students now have so many more resources at their fingertips because of the internet. Through the use of blogging and wiki pages her students are able to not only use the computer for their work, but also show it off to the world. Mrs. Cassidy discusses how being able to share their work brings so much excitement to the students. Obviously if the students are excited about what they are working on, they will want it to be high quality. Mrs. Cassidy can teach us that her use of technology in the classroom can allow us to maximize a student's learning potential by using the technologies available today.