Don't think outside the box, get outside the box.     Schrödinger's cat is in that box!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Project #13

      The Royal Court, comprised of Ash Baumann and myself, collaborated together for Projects #15 and #16. Both of these projects were to be completed without face to face contact. Long distance collaboration requires patience, time, and tools for communication. We relied heavily on texting to deliver immediate messages and responses. At times we used the old fashioned way and called on the phone. I found Google Docs to be the best resource for spelling out and rehashing my plans.

     Somehow I once erased my ability to 'share' our document and Ash had to get me back in. We were able to brainstorm initial ideas and give updates on progress efficiently with these tools. These three methods of communication work well enough for us probably because our group was so small. My wish is that Google Docs adapts a more user friendly platform for cut and paste. Documents outside of Google Docs were not easily transferred in.

Assignment #14 Final Reflection

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Final Project #16

a snapshot of the classroom web page

     For our last project in EDM310 Ash Baumann and I collaborated and designed a Class Webpage and Blog. We believed this was a good test run for the future. We have learned the importance of having both types of communication networks in the classroom. For this assignment we chose to create a fictional third grade and design a fun and informational place for classroom communication and for sharing our students achievements.

     The webpage was built with Edmodo, a closed system, that is a safe place for teachers, students and parents to exchange information. Access for EDM310 purposes is:,  edm310. There is a group specifically for students (Court Jesters) and parents (Parliament). Each group has a unique password. The student is expected to remember their password (u5drwh) and not share with anyone outside of the classroom. The Parliament password is: mblt4t. These names are a play off the "royal" theme of our EDM310 group: The Royal Court. Dr. Strange fancies himself the "King" so that must make us his "Royal Court."  The class blog was designed with Blogspot. We have had experience with it's interface and are comfortable with it's content and layout.

     On the class website you will find a Library. There you will find links to the Mobile Public School System's important information, tips on blogging and HTML coding, many sites for homework assistance and exploration, a kid-friendly search engine, and additional sites for creative projects. There is also a calendar for May. Here are posted most of the quizzes, trips, assignments, and fun activities. The students are able to see the entire calendar, while the parents are privy to only the sections that could possible involve them. By this stage of the game I expect my students to have a real grasp on being scholastically independent and not need as much parental oversight. Since this is fictitious I have not created: actual posts or names, or grades. This website is ready to be populated with students and parents.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Project #10 Final Report

my Personal Learning Network

     This is what my PLN, Personal Learning Network, looks like as of today, April, 27, 2012. The two of us have been through many, many transformations. Due to overcrowding I have added two columns to each side. Now it has more room to grow and is not such a jumble of sites, to me. I have tried separations of topics by color but in the end it did not work for me.

     What I have created are groups of similar topics: banking, shopping, school, communication, projects, and blogs. This week after a lot of contemplation, and  hesitation my PLN finally replaced MSN as my homepage. To quote Leyna, from my Project #15, "Ta-da!" She did it better. Seriously, go check her out!

     So far my PLN has performed better than I dared to hope. As I discover new places to visit they will be duly added and my boundaries will expand as needed. Goodbye bookmarks!

Project #15

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Assignment #13

                                          live without social media for a day

 This assignment came at a perfect time. Blog assignment #13 is an E-Media fast. No electronic or battery powered entertainment or communication devices can be utilized for a consecutive 24 hour period. Luckily, the rest of my household was out of town and the only one who could mess this up for me was ME. Which is not necessarily a good thing. I can be my own worst enemy at times.

But, as Barney Stinson from How I met Your Mother is fond of saying, "Challenge accepted." Cue the 'what have I done' dramatic music!
                                                      Barney Stimson

     Problem number one: I use my iphone as an alarm clock and during the night as a source of white noise to help me sleep. So I borrowed an alarm clock from another room, reset it and waited for the dreaded screeching noise. It did in fact deliver as promised and jolted me rudely awake at 7a.m. I do not like alarm clocks. Never did, and probably never will. I can wake up to a pin drop and do not want a jarring noise substitute for my soft, gentle nature sounds. I can not remember how many times I reached for the television remote in the morning. Somehow getting dressed is not the same without the Today Show. It is possible, just not as entertaining. On the plus side. I was ready to leave a lot sooner than usual. My iphone was silenced and not even set to vibrate. My day of e-fasting was underway. I really missed listening to music in the car. I am not used to so much silence. So I spent my non-driving time observing those around me. There were several people singing! Most people just stare straight ahead. I am almost always one of the singing drivers. Kids, on the other hand stare a lot! They will also wave when prompted. Me, too! So instead of being bored I found a way to amuse myself and capture a few smiles in the process.

     Tuesday is a fairly busy day on average. I am on campus from 10a.m. to 7:30p.m. Typically I am studying and getting busy work completed in the USA Library between classes. And with two big projects coming due soon in EDM310 I technically needed both of these appliances. But I was able to focus more on my other courses instead. So in a way it was a win/win situation.

     Once I arrived back home, to an empty house, things started to get boring fast. So I finished my chores, did a little tidying, and took the dog for a walk. That was a welcome surprise for her. Again I had a win/win senario with my free time. Time I would otherwise spend with the television on whether or not I was watching it. I did miss checking Facebook, email, Pinterest, bank accounts, Twitter, Drawsome, Words with Friends, and most of all texting with my three daughters and boyfriend, Brian. I can do without a lot of things but not having the freedom to communicate at will is the hardest. I did let family members and Brian know about my assignment. My daughters may have been secretly pleased that I was not going to be repeatedly pestering them for a whole day. Brian had to call the house phone. Which is not a big deal. Lucky for me a land line telephone was within bounds.

     In all I missed having access to text most of all. I live in the age of 'right now.' I remember the 'microwave age' of the eighties as being fast and immediate but nothing like today. I can have immediate interaction or at least send my thoughts any time I want. Yesterday I had to postpone my impulses. It was not impossible or out of the realm of possibility. I enjoyed the peace and quiet a little, but not enough to make a habit of it. I will not ask my kids what they thought of my 'silence.'

     I can say with a lot of certainty that media fasts are a lot more difficult for school age individuals. That is including college students along with grade schools. I have three daughters and I know that their phones are an extension of themselves that almost cannot be severed. For proof all I have to do is reach for their iphone and they hold it tighter. While in grade school they were not allowed to use it. This did not stop them, ever. Instead they learned to text without looking at the keypad. My youngest was amazingly fast and fairly accurate with her T-9 texts. Lucky for them they did not have them taken away by a teacher. Nor did they lose or break them. Their phones were well taken care of at all times. Television runs along that same line. They rarely watched anything important. It was used as a babysitter and could be restricted by me as a form of punishment. Being without entertainment or communication never did anyone harm in the long run. But adjusting to the absence can be difficult. There is a time and place for everything. Finding a working balance between want and need is not easy.
                                                    Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother television show

 Challenge considered,

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Progress Report on Project #16

     Project #16 is an open ended project that I am developing with Ashley Bauman. Brainstorming has led to a few interesting projects but none as pertinent to what each of us should have before day one. We have decided to build a class website for a fictional third grade. We are gathering ideas from past teacher's sites whose blogs we have read. And plan to interview local educators about necessary and non-productive content.

     This site will showcase the class activities, have a section especially for parents, sections for educational games, blogging, podcasts, homework assignments, suggested reading, and perhaps a few more. Communication between teacher and student, and teacher and parent is an important aspect to education. We believe a website that posts this information and a little more could possibly alleviate confusion, miscommunication,  forgetfulness, and deliver a clear one-stop-shopping hub of information. What sounded easy at first is proving to be slightly more detailed and time consuming. We are enjoying the journey and look forward to a finished product.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Assignment #12

     For this post I am to create an assignment in the spirit of what Dr. Strange and staff in EDM310 could have devised. I am to brainstorm a concept, write the instructions, and then complete it. At first it sounded more like "Go choose the instrument of torture that we will use on you!" But very quickly I got on board and had a good time brainstorming and following my directions.

     This entire semester in EDM310 we have been learning and using many types of technology. Most of these applications have been new to us. We have watched videos and read blogs concerning the importance of technology in the classroom and empowering the students to think for themselves, guide their own learning, be curious, and to spark their creativity. What has not been covered is the first step that comes BEFORE they ever sit down in front of the computer. Plenty of time must be devoted to Internet Safety.

The theme of this assignment is: Internet Safety

     For this assignment you are to create a Glogster using eight examples of: text, images, photos, special effects, and two examples of audio or video. You may add more than ten examples if you wish. I encourage you to explore and be creative with your display. Register as a "Teacher" for future use. Once registered you may start your glog at Glogster EDU.

     We have seen a Glogster in action a few posts back in the Dr. Wendy Drexler/Seventh Grader  video: Welcome to My PLE. A Glogster is an interactive poster/blog. A "graphical blog" of sorts where the reader can interact with the content, hence the name.  It is more fun and creative than a paper poster-board presentation and there is no glue, tape, or construction paper scraps to clean up!     

Here are a few videos to get you started: Ten Ways Schools are Teaching Internet Safety, Andrew Lee, Cyberbully Free, Daniel's- Basic Glogster Use, Beyond the Basics. There are many, many more instructional sites that you can explore. Be creative, and focus on the quality of the content. This presentation could easily serve as your "jumping off" point when introducing technology in your classroom for the first time. Having your students collaboratively create their own will reinforce the ideas you deem most important to their online safety. Enjoy. Be Safe!

     Here is my Glogster. There are two embeded links that will open another window in your browser when your mouse rolls over them. A red circle will appear right before the new window opens. My Glogster is aimed more towards the early elementary student. I believe that after reviewing this Glogster presentation to my class along with adequate discussions on the topic of internet safety they will understand the importance of privacy and ettiquette on the internet.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Creativity & Curiosity: My Thoughts
Special Post #12A

                                              ?????? Chemistry Cat killed by curiosity???????

Curiosity may in fact have killed the cat. But I have heard that satisfaction brought it back. In other words, curiosity can be a positive emotion that leads to the discovery of something new. It can also lead to dangerous instances when improperly executed. At this very point the educator/teacher is most in demand. Guidance during the exploratory and curious stage is necessary to spearhead online safety and unreliable data. One of our many "hats" reads: "Quality Control Agent."

     Why would schools in the U.S. (or anywhere) systematically inhibit a student's natural curious nature? I have sat through many classes in my lifetime, including most of my college classes, that did in fact limit the curiosity factor up to and including asking questions. On the flip side were my two English literary classes that DEMANDED participation as part of the final grade. Believe me, going from "sit down, be still, be quiet, and listen to me" was a shocker. At first it was very difficult. No one wanted to look foolish. Imagine a college classroom, a place of higher learning, and the students are mute. This is a crime against students. We are not drones. In fact we work faster and better when we are personally engaged and somewhat challenged. Those literary classes that started out so awkward did in fact turn into lively, vigorous mini-debates within three weeks. There were times when the professor walked in, asked us a question, and then sat down and watched us go at it! We agreed to disagree many times, but were always polite and respectful. My other classes became even more boring to me because there was no interaction at all. I discovered I could still have that interaction I craved. All that was needed was for me to speak up, sometimes even answering the rhetorical question. It is my education and when I had a relative comment or question it did not necessarily need to wait. I have run on and on and still not answered the fundamental question of "why?"

     "Why" is a wonderful word. It leads to reasoning and the investigation of an answer. Perhaps time constraint within the classroom has lead the teacher towards inhibiting curiosity. But this sounds like an easy cop-out. I have three (now grown) children and I am well aware of the time and energy they demand when in search of something. I had to weigh my time versus their satisfaction. Usually they won out and it was worth it in the long run. It is definitely a better streamlined model to simply "fill the head" and wait for the burping back of a few answers at test time. But what indeed did the student learn but to memorize and regurgitate. Was a real and tangible connection made with the information and will it be retained by the student? The answer, sadly, is probably not. Perhaps along with time constraint is the limited funding and available supplies for the classroom. In many school systems art, music, and even science labs have seen budget cuts up to and including elimination. Those three classes are good examples of curiosity and creativity in motion. And now they have been eliminated. I, for one, was never bored in these three subjects. I was in fact engaged, challenged, and rewarded. The outcome was usually positive and encouraging for next time.

     A curriculum can if fact be created that increases the creativity of students. The key component is direct student involvement. The Constructivist School concept uses engagement as a means of education. The teacher leads the learning process through a series of question/exploration/experimentation/thinking and understanding. The student has an active role in their education and learns how to think, not simply what to think. Not only is the student's education enhanced but also their social and communication skills. The educator's role is that of a guide instead of a supreme being. Technically the burden of teaching is delegated to the student. In a way this is a win-win solution for the teacher and student. Change is gradual and not always welcome. Dr. Strange through EDM310 is hoping to instill creativity, curiosity in his students so that we become the positive agents of change that is needed within the any school system we are hired into. An Executive in retail once told me, "Change is not always a good thing. But it is inevitable." I want to be a positive change.

     For most students there is no shortage of curiosity. The handicap here belongs solely to the teacher's inability to foster this curiosity in a productive learning atmosphere. Why give out all the answers at once. Learning should not be as simple as "plug and chug." Instead I can give out the most basic information, hint about interesting concepts, and challenge my students to engage in their own investigation.

Rainforest made by elementary students
For example: a lesson plan about the Rainforest. I introduce the topic and then we brainstorm about preconceived concepts which naturally leads to the need for more information gathering. The focus is on "gathering" not "getting." The next step is to construction. The students have free reign to the design and materials. I plan ahead and involve parent's resources for basic materials. It is the students role to investigate, collaborate, design, build and, in reality, lead their learning. This is not the typical lecture, worksheet and paper test classroom model. This one involves more involvement for students and teachers (at first). But in the long run this student ultimately comes out far ahead of the "head filled" student.
*creating a Green Boafinished Green Boa

     So far this semester we have been exposed to many new technology applications, and innovative and creative educators from around the world. These people and programs have sparked my curiosity and creativity far past the level I started with this semester. The educators have already blazed a trail and left many videos, podcasts, and blogs as markers for those that follow. It is my job to stay on this path and make sure my students become more actively their life.

Curiosity killed the cat gave life to creativity.

*Thank you Alyssa Gilman for sharing your AEEC photos with me.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Blog Assignment #11

Kathy Cassidy's technology movie

     Kathy Cassidy's video Little Kids...Big Potential shows what can be accomplished in a classroom when the educator is technologically literate. Ms. Cassidy, a first grade teacher in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada, states that it was not her original idea to have technology in her classroom but that all changed twelve years ago when she was given five laptops and decided to put them to good use. Her initial crash course into blogging, creating web-pages, movie making, and skyping has definitely created a more interesting and engaging learning atmosphere for her students. Center-time has a whole new meaning at 1:52. They are using this period for individual learning reinforcement. They have many choices to pick from on their web-page. Even a Nintendo DS gaming system is used as a learning tool by addressing: sharing, and collaborative problem solving. These are good skills for any age student. Ms. Cassidy's First Grade students are blessed to have such a techno-literate teacher.

     Ms. Cassidy's Skype interview with an EDM310 class in 2010 relates her journey into technology, what she has accomplished in ten years, and a few tips on what preservice teachers should focus on now while in school as opposed to later in a classroom. Creating a working PLN, personal learning network, has been stressed by both Dr. Strange and Ms. Cassidy. I have been working on mine by collecting Twitter buddies and following up on their tips, and exploring my C4T blog links. Both of these have been interesting and led to several sites that have potential. And I am confident that there are people on Twitter that would be happy to gives advice when I ask. It goes without saying that the use of Twitter has also pushed by both been pushed by Dr. Strange and Ms. Cassidy.

     Ms. Cassidy states that technology is here to stay and is becoming more mainstreamed every day. The internet has many learning tools for students to practice their writing and communication skills. Teaching internet safety and responsibility helps the student when at school and also at home to be better judge of content and how be be careful with personal information. Being prepared is much better than having to address and fix and issue. She has built a web-page and a blog-site for her students to showcase their work and for parents to access and observe their progress. Encouraging parental involvement and keeping them involved with classroom activities is important.

     The first impediment to incorporating technology into my classroom that I can imagine being faced with is the possible lack of interest and encouragement from my administration or faculty. Technology is still a new concept to many people and thus not widely embraced let alone encouraged. Blazing a trail into new territory without reinforcements is daunting at best. Ms. Cassidy had a good technology guide at her school and found the resources to assist her with the use of her new five laptops. Her principal and faculty were not overly knowledgeable about technology's use in the classroom at first. They did trust her to explore and start building a solid program. Starting something new is rarely easy. But I believe that implementing a classroom web-site and weekly student blogging would win over converts in very little time.  

     The internet can be an amazing source of information and also reinforce skillsets when used at school and at home. Also, allowing the parents web access to the daily activities in my classroom such as: current and future lessons, samples of papers, class news, and links to learning sites creates an open arena where they can observe, and possibly comment on posted work. I believe parents should be involved in their child's learning process from start to finish. With this type of involvement the parents are interactive partners in their child's education.

                 BabyBlues cartoon strip

Thursday, April 12, 2012

C4T April

Blogging About the Web 2.0 Connected Classroom

picture of Steven Anderson    by: Steven Anderson

Tools and Resources for Creating Infographics

East Carolina University mascot Petee the Pirate
     I checked out Mr. Anderson's personal information and found out he was an East Carolina University alum. So is my oldest daughter and her fiance. So I began my comment with a hearty Pirate "Arggg."

     This weeks blog  is Tools and Resources for Creating Infographics. We have used Wordle in EDM310 this semester. My podcast goup even inserted several Wordles into our video that served as transitions. Wordle is user friendly and is quite fun to use. Google has a program called Google Public Data Explorer. In EDM we have seen data on the public's technology usage. Here is a good site for creating charts and animations.

     Creately combines collaboration and diagramming. There is a free plan for the individual and up to three collaborators. There are many charts, diagrams, maps, and templates to browse. Actually there are seventeen pages to sorts through. Customer comments state that it is easier and cheaper than Microsoft Visio.

Kathy Schrock     Mr. Anderson gives a shout-out to Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything. It will take me a long time to check this blog out. Everything is an understatement. She has assembled almost everything necessary for researching and creating infographics for the large company down to the individual user. Need help with your PLN? Check this out. There is even a guide page for educators. Now all I need is a LOT of time to check out these two informational blogs.

   Some Handy Tools for YouTube 

     April 23, 2012 is the seventh anniversary of the first video uploaded to YouTube. This is that first video: Me at the Zoo. After watching those 19 seconds and a few others that comprised the first 20 or so uploadsI can definitely say that YouTube has come a long way. And in the same breathe it is still a good medium for those in need of a spotlight. Seven years later school districts are giving it the ok nod. So much has been uploaded that easily lends itself to becoming an accompaniment to lesson plans. Mr Anderson has added a cherry to the top of this anniversary in the form of his most favorite creative and useful tools when using YouTube.

     YouTube Video Editor-  is for those of us without iMovie or access to a Mac. Here are editing tools, music and sounds, and transitions. A Creative Commons (a circle around two cc) search leads to many creative possibilities prior to uploading to your account.
     Quiet Tube- this application sounds too good to be true! This is a bookmarklet that once activated removes all content on the page except for the intended video. No more intrusive video suggestions, comments, or other distractions. Imagine showing a video to your class without all the extra baggage! Enjoy just the meat the video.
     Tube Chop- is for trimming larnger videos into smaller more succinct portions. This samples can be added into presentations and so many other applications. No more wasting
 time waiting for 'the good part!'
     Drag on Tape- This is the next evolution application that follows those above it. Here you edit videos, your and others, and put them together into one fluid mixed presentation.


     I can see an EDM310 class using these applications much in the same way we have used the Macs in our lab. For PC users- your time in the fun-zone is here.


students from around the world are blogging


                                                 Vermont, USA

March 27, 2012

     Macy is a student from Vermont who lives on a beef cow and maple-syrup making farm. She is into sports, skiing, art and math. Macy has a horse named Magic. I looked around her blog and found a section titled: "ten things you do not know about me." I was able to comment on her most recent post and this list. I skied at Mt. Stowe a few years ago and really enjoyed the time spent there.
I wished her much success with school and blogging. I also wished her a happy birthday. Macy turned three years old on February 29, 2012.
                                                               Leap Year Birthday

April 3, 2012

up close cow face     Macy posted a picture of a cow on her blog this week. I asked her if it was the same type of cows her family is raising right now. Currently they have beef cows. I told her an almost tragic story of my younger brother and I when I was her age that involved us making a few cows very, very mad. We survived. And we did not tell anyone. Who wants to be almost trampled by cows and spanked all in the same day?

     I asked her if she had an specific chores to do that involved any of the animals on her family's farm? As stated in an earlier post she has her own horse and her family used to have
 milk cows. I asked which three animals for pets or profit that she would like to have on her
farm and why?

     In another post Macy states that her best friend is named Emily. They met in Kindergarten and have been best friends ever since. They reached for the same toy at a rice table and decided to be friends right then. I had to ask about the rice table. My imagination is not what it should be and at first I thought they met at the cafeteria. I asked her what kind of activities they like doing. I wondered if they rode horses together. I shared that I used to go to a local stable and ride with friends for $5 a half hour. Actually we rode for two hours once a month. We also hung out at the mall or rode bikes after school and on weekends.

     I asked Macy to giver her best friend Emily a "high-five" for me.

April 12, 2012

     I am so excited today! My C4K, Macy, just responded to my two comments I left her last week. She is articulate and creative. I picture a very rambunctious farm girl who knows how to have fun and has many friends. Naturally I responded to one of her responses. She wrote about two games that she and her friend Emily like to play. Well, I knew one of them very well. The other may have been the same but since I wasn't sure I told her my rules. I asked that she send me her instructions if the were different. I just love fun, and silly games.  Fuzzy Bunny is a hysterical one to watch! Watching kids play it is amusing but watch adults act insane is beyond words!

     This week Macy posts about litter and its consequences. Her argument is formed around good and bad littering. Throwing a piece of fruit out the window is deemed ok, but not paper or plastics. She uses decomposition as the basis for her argument. And as a clincher she explains that not only can littering cause harm to the initial animal coming in contact with it but possibly the next one that comes in contact with that animal.
person littering from a car

     I commented that littering was just plain bad manners to our Planet Earth. I acknowledged her solid argument along with her justifications. I told her to continue to let people know about the effects of littering. I asked if she had possibly been studying Biology when she learned this information and asked what else she had learned. As always I wished her the best of FUN in school and with her blogging.  


topography map of New Zealand
Rosalina, Year 3 Class
Auckland, New Zealand

     Rosalina is six and a half years old and the youngest of three children. Her video blog is all about her family, and what colors, songs, games and food are her favorite. Her family is part Samoan and Niuean. She has an older brother and sister. I told her she was so lucky to have a sister and brother to teach her things and take care of her. I have to younger brothers so I did the teaching. I have always wanted a sister.

     Her favorite game is tee-ball. I asked if she played at school or afterwards on a team. I told her that I did not play but my brothers did and I watched a lot. Tee-ball is a good way to practice your swing before a pitcher starts throwing to you. I wished her luck.

     Pizza bread is her favorite food. No surprise there. My favorite pizza, I told her, was pineapple and ham. I discovered it on vacation in Hawaii a few years ago and have liked it ever since. Luckily it has become more popular and easier to find in restaurants.

     Blue is one of our shared favorite colors. She did not say what shade blue in particular. I told her my favorite blues were the very dark and also the bright blue like the ocean. I mentioned that dark red was not a favorite color that I have heard of before. It must mean something very special to her.

     I congratulated her on her video and hoped that she continued blogging as often as possible. Blogging is an excellent way to practice writing skills and learning about people from all over the world. I also wished her a successful and fun school year.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Assignment #10

what is an educator

Do You Teach or Do You Educate?

     Joshua Bloom's video attempts to enlighten us about the difference between the words: teacher and educator. The question is what do I want to be. Based on his definitions I find it hard to believe that anyone would aspire to be a "teacher." As I watched the definitions of "teacher" scroll across the screen the thought that formed in my mind was "because I said so." In other words the facts have been presented and now they will be accepted and obeyed. As a mother of three I have used that phrase plenty of times and not always as a last resort. It is a shallow statement of a rhetorical fact. It is cold. It does not motivate or encourage cooperation. In fact it does more to turn the intended audience even further away from the desired goal. At times it is a bullying tactic. I know this because I am guilty of using it far to many times. But I seem to have lost my focus and needed to review the video again.

     I watched the "teacher" segment a few more times and I really do not think the four definitions are that far out of the scope of reality. I have every intention of showing and explaining many things. I plan to encourage the acceptance of several facts and principles. I will, in fact, give instruction and information. I will be the cause that helps a student understand something. I want to be the example of what to do or not do and when necessary I will decide on appropriate actions to encourage behavior modifications. To me these seem like solid goals. They are plain, direct and to the point. But it does not end with these statements. There is more, much more below the surface or there should be. I have seen a few teachers that were as shallow as any of these one sentence goals. I knew right away that I could "do it better" if I only knew how. I will surpass these definitions of "teacher" by being an "educator."

follow the plan and make a differenceRight this moment I may not fully know how to be an educator but I am setting goals. While showing and explaining I can also creatively engage. I can encourage the acceptance of information as fact while also challenging preconceived ideas or misunderstandings. I will motivate my students and encourage thinking and understanding. I will be a role model at all times and a counselor as needed. I will look for new tactics to instill an enjoyment to the process of learning. My students will not try to please me. They will learn how to please themselves. I will help them own their education and be responsible for what they achieve and do not achieve. There is nothing wrong with being a teacher. On the other hand it would be a disservice to merely stop at being "just" a teacher. As an educator I can bring the best of creativity into teaching.

Don't Let Them Take the Pencils Home

     John T. Spencer, a teacher in Phoenix, Arizona, scores a satirical home-run with his Adventures in Pencil Integration blog. I found this site a few months ago through a tip on Twitter. One day several of the educators I follow were tweeting about a new installment. Later that day Mr. Spenser started tweeting back. I added the RSS feed just to see what would develop. It has not been disappointing. In fact it has been a lot of fun picking random posts to read. More than once I laughed aloud. More than once I received evil stares from fellow library patrons. Satire (the witty exposure of human error) is alive and well and perfectly at home on Mr. Spencer's blog.

     Gertrude the School Curriculum Instructional Interventionist Academic Specialist sure has a lot to learn. The top of her to do list should read: replace fear with knowledge. She fears what she does not fully understand. Charts, graphs and tests are not an infallible litmus test for why ideas do or do not work. Even when "it" is not broken it can still be fixed. Sometimes a new creative concept seeps into the mainstream. Tom understands increasing popularity of the pencil and it's many application in and out of the classroom. It is a perfect fit for his students. Tom is a creative educator.

     Speaking of possible classroom applications the computer, iPad, iphone, notebooks, and tablets all went mainstream years ago. Students are proficient with their use as a social media tool. In fact some students are so fully engaged with one if not more of these items that they have become emotionally and physically dependent on them. What better tool to integrate into the classroom than one that has already proven to be addictive and unable to be ignored. Being on the learning curve with teaching and learning is an invaluable tool. Ms. Gertrude should try listening and observing Tom and his students. Tom seems to understand how to motivate his students and even their parents. He has presented Gertrude with a win/win situation. Too bad she can not see past her own fears, delusions, or ignorance. Heaven help the Gertrudes of the academic world when the Toms of the classroom start pushing for and even integrating the very latest technological marvels.

Computer Pencil     Spoiler alert: the pencil is a metaphor for the computer. Teacher Tom knows what is a toy by many students can easily be geared as a tool in the classroom with almost no learning curve for the student. Personally I learn when I am enjoying the process not when concepts are being drilled into me. Play can motivate and engage and definitely creates a fertile learning atmosphere.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Blog Post #9

What I have Learned This Year

a super hero of a teacher     This is the type of blogging I can really get enthused about. A real-deal self reflection, warts and all. Mr. McClung sheds some insight into his first three years of teaching. At times it is not so rosy a picture. I felt his pain and have experienced being new to a position and wanting so badly to be perfect. If only. If only it was so easy to have all the answers and experience right away. But the learning curve is quite bumpy and rarely a smooth process. Mr. McClung is a brave and honest soul and for that I am grateful. I will have my own struggles and learning curves. I will not be surprised if they closely mirror his struggles. If what does not kill you really and truly makes you stronger then he is on his way to becoming "Super Teacher." And his students become the real winners in the long run.  
Super students, perhaps!
super student

Being flexible while learning to be less controlling and establishing lines of communication were among the first important concepts that Mr. McClung recognized as being pivotal to success. I am well aware that am not as flexible as I should be. I have known this a long time and continue to work on the 'everything has to be perfect' concept. After all, it is not about my experience as a teacher but what the student stands to gain. Mr. McClung's experiences are valuable tools for the new teacher.

     His advice on finding a 'school mom' is such a good idea. He is brave to admit to being a momma's boy. That reference really brings home the idea that the new teacher needs to find a mentor to help the adjustment period that is easily going to be the entire first school year. I have made it a point in new situations to find a trustworthy ally that knows the ropes and is willing to help be my guide. There is no reason to tackle some situations by yourself. On the other hand I really enjoy being in the position to help others on occasion. I guess that is why this profession has chosen me.

C4T with Bill Genereux

  The Light Switch Cover, March 11,2012
     For the second session in a row I have been assigned to follow the TechIntersect blog of Bill Genereux. For me this is a happy coincidence and quite convenient since I have been checking into his blog regularly for a while now. Mr. Genereux finds the most creative way to blend art and technology. He is working towards a PhD in Education and is currently an assistant professor of Computer Systems Technology at Kansas State University. I find myself drawn to his humorous tone and creativity. And this weeks post is quite fun and funky and does not necessarily involve very much technology. It is all about creativity.
a light switch has been incorporated into a cartoon that makes it the activator for an electrocution chair

     The idea behind Light Switch Cover is to redesign the switch cover so the switch is incorporated into the overall design. Form follows function and becomes art. His digital media class was instructed to place their work on light switch covers around campus. I can only imagine the amusement as they were discovered. The concepts come from two books, "Caffeine for the Creative Team" and "Caffeine for the Creative Mind" by Stephan Memaw. A totally fun project for the creator and audience! I requested a link in his blog that would show what his students produced. He response to me the next day was he had requested his students tag their work so it could be followed from the assignment website.

This American Life Retraction, March 19, 2012
     This week's TechIntersect post has a familiar ring to it. Lesson number 1: What is put on the internet is permanent and has the ability to misinform and cause chaos forever. Lesson number 2: Fabrications, non-truths, exaggerations, plagerisms, and other forms of dishonesty are traceable back to the author. Errors will eventually be discovered and revealed faster than ever before because of the immediate availability of information for fact-checking. This is exactly what Dr. Strange has been telling our EDM310 class all semester. Both Dr. Strange and Mr. Generiux also agree that the web is a public place and what is presented for public consumption should be of the very highest caliber.

picture of Mike Daisey and his retracted radio podcast story
     This American Life is a podcast that Mr. Generiux 's Digital Media1 class follows weekly. Unfortunately a recent podcast contained information and facts that were later proved false. The radio producers have apologized for the incorrect information that was aired and have retracted the program. The author of the program has yet to admit any wrongdoing even after his facts were proven to be misleading. The victim in this podcast is Apple and other companies who have manufacturing operations in China. This issue will be a topic of discussion in Digital Media1 as soon as they return from spring break.

C4K Summary for March

Mogtasid in Mr. McLoughlin's class
March 19, 2012

Mogtasid is a fourth grader in Mr. McLoughlin's class in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. Mogtasid blogged about a birthday celebration for the Eiffel Tower. It was part of a one hundred word challenge. He has posted several of these challenges in previous blogs and is quite colorfully creative with his word painting. I commented that the scene he created of fireworks and cheering people was just as I had seen on the news in 1989 at the tower's 100th birthday celebration. I congratulated him on his wonderful sense of self expression and asked if he had seen the Eiffel Tower in person. He has an interesting accent which can be heard in an 'teamwork' interview with Mr. Loughlin.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Blog Assignment #8

                                                 cool tools for multimedia use 

This is How We Dream, Parts 1 and 2

     Dr. Richard Miller, professor of English at Rutgers University, in his 2008 lecture paints a compelling change within the art of communication. The book, as a single print based document is easily doomed to virtual extinction and is not easily shared by a mass audience. Our forms of communication are rapidly changing but to what extent is yet to be fully realized. What was the reference book in the library is now becoming a web based document. Its original format was a print document similar to the book. But it goes a step further when sound and visuals are incorporated. Now this newer form of multimedia communication is shared instantaneously and globally and collaboratively. It can be amended as change occurs making it a living and freely shared document.

     These are the references today's students are exploring and creating. Knowledge is available at a keystroke. The student needs only access it from a computer, tablet, or notebook right at their desk. This very well could signal the end of the typical library and possibly even the dependency on pens and paper. Perhaps I am old fashioned but I see a need for these basic tools to coexist along with emerging technologies.

     With the trained and inspiring teacher's assistance the student's reach is virtually limitless. Learning to use and also create and freely share multimedia is imperative. He touched on a few still developing technologies that will soon be involved in global communication. It is going to take me a while to grasp the concept of digital composing, or using the web itself to gather data.

     Dr. Miller states that he too is struggling with this concept and where it is heading. He points out what is needed in the school system is:
"Inspiring Teachers of New Media Composition, Ubiquitous Composing Technology, Pedagogues that Inspire Collaboration and Creativity, and Spaces that Foster Collaborative Learning."
This was an impressive statement and it sent me on an online search right away. Ubiquitous means: to seem to be everywhere at once. Pedagogues means: the work of the teacher, education. And that is where my classmates and I enter into Dr. Miller's lecture. We must be prepared to inspire and guide our students into these emerging technologies some of which have yet to be created. I can see how the interest in classroom blogging will soon evolve into collaborations of shared global experiences and learning on a daily basis. This first technological step paves the way for more web based involvement and creativity. Professor Miller makes it very clear that the restrictions we face are the ones that we place on ourselves. Today's student is not apprehensive of technology. They have already embraced it for years. The teacher and student can now operate as a creative team where each one has something to give and receive.

Carly Pugh's Blog Assignment #12

    In her blog #12 Miss Pugh is instructed to create an assignment within her area of expertise that is similar to those her instructor, Dr. Strange, has been giving during the semester. She will be writing the instructions and then following them. What Miss Pugh ultimately creates could be delivered at a teacher's convention. I felt like she was speaking directly to me, not simply delivering an assignment. Her tone is witty and her goals are well thought out and clearly presented.

    Her post delivers on several points from Dr. Miller's How We Dream movie. It is a web based document composed from materials found on the web and includes value-added visual and sound clips. Miss Pugh has invested a lot of time during her semester researching and creating a playlist on YouTube what she considered to be the most interesting and relevant videos to share with her students and classmates. She has a definite plan for diversity, creativity, and entertainment through the use of her playlist. According to Dr. Miller's movie, Miss Pugh seems to be the much needed inspiring teacher using new media technologies with a plan to inspire creativity within her classroom.

Thoughts for an EDM310 video

     Two movies made for EDM310, The Chipper Series and EDM310 for Dummies, deliver the not so subtle message that diligence, timeliness and hard work are the key to surviving the EDM310 course. Poor Chipper with her quick fixes, forecasting, and know it all attitude is an interesting character but also tragic. She wastes so much time before finally getting her head on straight. While there is still no tell-all book with all the answers for making EDM310 easier there are plenty of other resources: assistants, classmates, and acquired professionals we have followed on Twitter. So no matter how overloaded I may feel at times I am happy with the fact that I am not going to have to go it alone.

       Imagine a video series made by enthusiastic, eager, freshly self-trained EDM310 students (picture a super hero) that targets established teachers and helps them become a little more technologically literate. The teacher who is not comfortable with her whiteboard is given a few fun pointers and suddenly math and science lessons are not so boring. The teacher with classroom computers but no blogging skills has a few EDM-ites swoop in and set up a class blog and demonstrate how much fun it is to get comments on their work from people from around the world. Yet another classroom is instructed on making a podcast and publishing it to their class blog. Imagine a class being shown how to have a meaningful Skype session with another class in Australia.  Cue- "It's a Small World" music score!
children dressed in their countries style of dress standing in front of a globe symbolizing that it is a small world afterall
     Once these little seeds of creativity are planted in various classrooms we see morale increasing, technology being implemented, teachers sharing these ideas with other teachers and students interest in technology turned on. EDM310 has now gone past it's own lab and into real classrooms and made a difference...even before we have graduated.
drawing of a generic superhero in costume
                                    Now what would be a good costume for the EDM-ite hero?

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

     There are times when seemingly good ideas simply do not deliver the desired results. When a concept is tried and deemed unsuccessful then it is time to pack it away and look for a better solution. As stated in this 2008 video by the Pearson Foundation  our classrooms are falling behind on producing graduates that are suited for the real world. Today's employee needs to be collaborative, multi-disciplined, multicultural, a problem solver, highly communicative, skilled at finding information, and creative. An intelligent student and employee is one dimensional and underdeveloped. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and standardized testing have not improved the quality of education nor a more well rounded high school graduate. What has been documented is an increased rate of overall failures with school standards, time-lines and goals.

     Wherever there is a more interesting, creative, communicative world it is there that the most attention and time will be focused. Right now this is not found in the typical classroom. Cell phones are off limits and computers are scarce. I agree with the speaker who stated that change needed to start with the teachers being given the technology to connect with other teachers worldwide for collaborative purposes. Social networking can be as enriching and creative inside the classroom as outside. There is more to be gained by a community than an individual.

     If this video is deemed an 'attack' on the way schools are operated then so be it. The current plan simply has not work in the long run. According to this video there are many organizations and individuals pushing for change and spearheading technology inclusion into the classroom. Where there is change there is hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Scavenger Hunt 2.0

     I began the scavenger hunt by watching the Discovery Education Web 2.0 video on Justin Cometti's blog.  The WEB 20.12 site and tool section was start of the actual hunt.

     First stop: Community Tools to look for a site similar to Twitter and Facebook that will work as a social platform for teachers, student and parents. I chose Edmodo to be my Kingdom's communication site with students and parents. We are now referred to as The Royal Realm. Here they will find classmates pictures, completed projects, homework, and news of The Royal Court. For social networking with other educators around the world I have set up The Aristocracy. Here we can share ideas and swap dragon recipes.

     Second stop: $$. Edmodo is a free social networking site which is quite convenient since so Kingdom's coffers are lacking these days. Edmodo is available in a teacher or student format.

     Third stop: Find a video tool that is new to me. I chose Prezi which can be found in Presentation Tools. A Prezi is a presentation format that is visually dynamic, active, collaborative, easy to use, and best of all it can be FREE. The free Prezi is stored in the pubic domain. For privacy concerns Prezi has a pricing scale.

     Fourth stop: Create a poll at Poll Everywhere which can be found in Mobile Tools. This site is FREE for audiences of 40 or less and has a sliding scale for larger groups. I chose an open-ended poll rather than multiple choice for a larger variety of responses This poll was placed on my Facebook and Twitter sites.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Project #10


structure of a personal learning plan
     Prior to EDM310 I was for all practical purposes alone in my classes at USA. Granted I have an adviser, wonderful friends, a supportive family, and a patient, helpful boyfriend. But as far as I was concerned it seemed like I was swimming through semesters struggling to get by. I assumed that was the way it was supposed to be and I did the best I could. When I needed to vent there was always Facebook. But still I felt alone. Then by a small miracle I found the Khan Academy online. Sal and his team have created over 3,000 instructional videos on an impressive scale. Biology101 was at that point a breeze. Help and support is there for the finding. After a few weeks in EDM310 I now  know there is so much more support 'out there.'

     What has become apparent over the past several weeks is that I have been unconsciously setting up my PLN or Personal Learning Network through the projects, activities, and assignments of EDM310. Bookmarks on my computer have multiplied quickly and have required reorganization a few times to keep them manageable. I have found interesting, colorful educators on Twitter. I check Tweetdeck several times a day just to see what has happened. And when I reach out I have been acknowledged in record time. And now I have an iPhone. The apps are multiplying and then becoming reorganized into similar cells. I am not alone at all. Granted I am still the one responsible for my education but I definitely do not have to struggle nearly as much.

has a format for organizing a PLN that is interesting and easy to plan and use. One stop shopping, so to speak. On my PLN I am organizing all my interests, even including my banking. I am creating a living document that changes as my needs change. Bookmarks clogging up my computer screen are heading the way of the dinosaur it seems.
thumbs up

I am not alone.
I am becoming a more engaged member of the 21st century.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Blog Post #7

The Networked Student

My Photo     Dr. Wendy Drexler posted a video on her Teach Web 2.0 blog that puts the concept of the networked student and the new and expanded role of the teacher into a clear perspective. While the video itself is not high tech and fancy the message is clear. Today's student literally has the world at their fingertips. The amount of information is limitless since it can change on a daily basis. The teacher for this student is not the all-knowing, one dimensional lecturer. Today's teacher wears many more hats than when I was in school.

      Building a solid learning foundation is crucial and depends on many ideas. The networking student still needs advice and guidance through grey areas and around misleading content sites. Separating propaganda from useful information is an important skill to hone. Like the teacher of the 20th century the modern teacher is still needed as a grammar coach. Proper communication skills are a must when one is plugged in and networking around the world. Self taught courses as well as those that do not depend on a traditional classroom lecture format are becoming more predominant and ask a lot of the student. Time management is also a skill to be focused on. As always the teacher is the student's personal cheerleader at the end of the day. There are always large victories to be celebrated and small hurdles that need to be acknowledged.
                                                          an enclosed garden with the gate opened
     In a post from her blog dated February 27, 2011, Dr. Drexler recalls an analogy of Kristin Hokanson. She states that the traditional college classroom is similar to a walled garden in that the perspective is predominantly one-sided. In that type of classroom there is the lecturer and audience. By being networked and in communication with other classrooms the content would surely change and quite possible positively impact the quality of the course for all that are included within the network. Other changes were alluded to but left for the reader to ponder.

official symbol of Geocaching     Dr. Drexler is also a fellow Geocacher. She and her son have gone on several adventures: hiding and seeking. She has a site devoted to their excursions. I like that idea. My Geocaching pictures are on Facebook. This is exactly the type of highly engaged and outgoing person I need in my PLN!

A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment (or PLN)

source: all PLN's start with making one connection     What an amazing production this 7th grader has put together. Her speech alone is most impressive, but add what she has learned through her PLN and I am just speechless. Today's student has the ability to do, create, and simply work with so many new and classroom-friendly tools. Her PLN is so much more efficient than a planner and puts her informational, organizational, and personal interests all in one spot. Simple. Efficient. Effective. Glog?-I have something to investigate.

C4T with Bill Genereux

How Do You Ed Parkour? 
free style athlete as Ed Parkour

     To even remotely understand Bill Genereux's lastest blog one must do a little research back to a previous blog on February 4th. Who is Ed Parkour? Ed is simply a random name assigned to what seems to be the surname Parkour. In reality "Par-Kour" is a French term meaning to maneuver over and around obstacles quickly and fluidly. Picture extreme running and you will understand the concept.
     Bill throws out the question to todays teachers: "How do you Ed Parkour?" Meaning what are you doing to get around the obstacles within your classroom environment? He believes himself to be a free thinking, agile "Parkour Practitioner." He suggests we ignore other instructors styles and philosophies and go with our own personal strengths. If our own personal style 'works' for us then it will be a success. This reminded me of the phrase,"There is more than one way to skin a cat."
     He tells a story of a 'musical match-game' he used in his college technology course. His students worked together matching terms while music played. When the music stopped the two partners explained to the class what their terms meant when used together. Here is a college technology class with no desks to sit in for that day, music playing instead of a lecture, and the students are actively teaching each other terms and concepts. "Parkour" indeed. The video is amusing because the students do not seem to be comfortable quite yet with this new assignment. I understand their reluctance. And I understand the concept and freedom that Mr. Genereux is setting up.
     As future educators we should be "traceurs" of Ed Parkour. Whatever the issue in our way may be we should aim to rebound and readjust without missing a beat. The trick is to make it look easy and most of all interesting and meaningful for our students.

Combining Science and Art in "Evolution"

child's drawing of a salamander that has been animated

     In this installment of TechIntersect Bill posts a stunning animation "Evolution" from the drawing of young school children that comes complete with their voices and a driving musical accompaniment. Art has a place in every lesson plan and can enhance the concepts being taught to further a complete grasp of knowledge. STEM (science, technology, science and math) converts into STEAM once art is incorporated. The animator, Tyler Rhodes, has an interesting blog that describes how the video was created. It was worth the time to read through it. Afterwards I had the distinct feeling that I, too, could possibly create a project, albeit on a small scale, and make a drawing come to life!

     And if that wasn't interesting enough- imagine making your photos a 3-D moving presentation! The program is Adobe AfterEffects (think Photoshop for video) and it is way cool! Bill's example uses his family pictures from a Rocky Mountain vacation. Yet another way to capture attention and add another interesting layer to a classroom project.
Limited school resources should not rob the teacher or student of a creative and innovative pursuit. These two examples are yet another layer to be added into the teacher's arsenal of knowledge ammunition.
     Bill Genereux has a wonderfully creative site. He will be included into my PLN.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Blog Assignment #6

randy pausch as a young boyRandy Pausch's Last Lecture: 
              "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"

     Dr. Pausch delivered his September 18, 2007 lecture,                        "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"
a mere ten months before he passed away. His speech is a 'how to' to achieve personal and professional goals. Spoiler alert: this lecture is not about achieving goals or dreams of any particular kind. His is a lecture on the simple mechanics of how to lead your life. In all honesty it really is very simple to follow his direction. Spoiler alert #2: this talk, while being presented to the academia of Carnegie Mellon University, is not presented for their or our benefit. His is a permanent, personal testament delivered to his three children. Powerful. Dynamic. Amusing. Thoughtful. Instructive. Personal. Dr. Pausch creates a living legacy that blesses everyone who chooses to listen, absorb, and follow his life lessons. He makes a compelling point: achieving goals is not an accidental gain or luck of a draw, but a carefully planned and executed life-plan.

     Dr Pausch explains that sooner or later karma will introduce the 'brick wall.' Overcoming this barrier is not easy and takes drive, determination, dedication, and most of all a plan. For over twenty years I have thought about returning to school. Thinking is not doing, it is dreaming. Last Spring, with a lot of encouragement from family and my best friend Brian, I enrolled at USA. My first quarter was not easy but it was rewarding. Each subsequent semester has yielded more success and moved me closer to my goal of graduating with an Elementary Education degree. I have been given a second chance and I have taken that bull by the horns this time. As a teacher I must sense the 'wall' facing my students and prepare and encourage each one individually to scale it through their own hard work and drive.

It is said that no man is an island and for that reason it is important to find a network that will help out when faced with 'walls' of various kinds. A support network, an advice channel, or a cheering squad can be an invaluable bolster to the psyche. I have found many such people within my social network and at South Alabama. I am surprised at the amount of assistance that can be mined from simply mentioning the need for help. As an elementary teacher I believe it is valuable to develop a rapport with the student so they will feel comfortable confiding their needs. There will always be 'walls' and there will always be a need for assistance somewhere down the line.

     Once advice is requested and received the hard part starts. Feedback alone is useless. It becomes valuable once it is accepted and acted upon. Positive (continue on the same track) and negative (time to rethink, regroup) feedback messages are necessary and a valuable tool for achieving goals. Plan to not only ask for advice but follow up, cherish and act on feedback from a respected source. Two heads are better than one and a good support network can be amazingly beneficial. A teacher is given feedback every minute without even soliciting. Body language of the class speaks volumes. A savvy teacher will know when to change gears and recapture lost attention. Awareness to what excites and motivates an individual or class and the willingness to use novel tactics should ensure an active learning atmosphere with fewer down times. For the teacher and student: when in doubt, ask. I have had many occasions in the past year to ask for feedback and it has made a positive difference in my direction.

     Show gratitude whenever possible. Small displays and grand ones mean so much to the receiver. I have a friend, Deb, who goes out of her way to thank everyone who crosses her path. Her forum is Facebook and it is quite endearing.  Needless to say a lot of people cross her path and no-one is overlooked. If only everyone could execute a well intended show of gratitude whenever possible. What a warm and fuzzy place for example, the classroom, office, home, or grocery store would be.  Thank you, Deborah, for continually showing me how to be appreciative for even the little gems. Thank you, Dr. Pausch, for sharing your wealth of knowledge and experience.

                                                    see you on the other side of the wall
                                                           SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE!