Sunday, December 5, 2010

Final Project: project #16

Toni and Brandi's Glog on

***there will be a video posted onto our Glog before our presentation wednesday night. Screentoaster was giving us trouble when we decided to record a "how to" video on creating a glog.***

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

C4T Summary Post Teacher #4

see mary teach

Second Language Learning in America
Mary Worell wrote a post on her blog See Mary Teach about students learning a second language in America versus other countries who know at least 3 other languages besides their native tongue.
On a recent trip to the grocery store I shyly approached a young man (probably a teenage boy) quietly stocking the shelves. I stammered out my best “Pardon, spreekt u Engels?” to which he replied “a little bit.” I let out a sigh of relief even though I knew the answer before asking – everyone speaks at least “a little bit” of English. I’d been in The Netherlands for long enough at that point to recognize a Polish accent when he spoke. I needed help figuring out what to do with my produce since a sign covered up the scale where I normally weighed my fruit and obtained my price. While this young man’s English language skills weren’t perfect, he still understood my question and gave me the answer I needed.
I was impressed, as I often am when outside the U.S., by this man’s skill in being a Polish immigrant to The Netherlands speaking enough Dutch to get him a job at a store and also speaking enough English to help me. This man spoke three languages. Maybe not perfectly or academically, but he still spoke three languages. This wasn’t some university professor who had spent time in another country or a young person privelged enough to attend second language lessons at a young age. This was a stock boy in a grocery store. 
This wasn’t the first time I’ve found myself shocked by the second and third language skills of people in countries other than my own. In France a garbage collector was able to give me directions in a nearly perfect English accent. In my Dutch class there are students with native languages that make learning Dutch much more difficult than it is for me (Thai, for example), yet their tongues form the words and when they can’t get their point across they switch almost effortlessly to English. It’s in these moments that I realize my stereotype of multilingualism as a hobby of the elite is completely unfounded.
These moments shame me and inspire me. I am fluent in only one language – English. I attended a few private (and very low budget) Christian schools and graduated from public school where I was required to study Spanish. I also studied Spanish at university, but I can do little more than understand vocabulary words and simple sentences. Conversing is out of the question. I know very few people in the U.S. who are truly bilingual or even fluent in another language. The few people I know in America who are bilingual are so because they were raised in homes where English was not the first language spoken – not because their schools pushed them toward fluency in another tongue.
Research has shown us, time and time again, that the time in our development most ripe for language learning is at a young age, yet very few schools begin foreign language study at the primary level. On a recent trip back to America, I had a chance to grab a drink with a friend I taught with last year and we both lamented our inability to speak a foreign language and the daunting prospect of attempting to achieve fluency as adults. We felt jipped by our educations – like the people making the decisions didn’t think we were important enough to cultivate into global citizens. Unfortunately, part of the problem with foreign language education in the American public school systems is time. Students often have to take five or six classes each year just to graduate, leaving little time for in-depth study of a second language. And many students can graduate without ever having studied a foreign language.
America has put so much pressure on English and math courses as “most important” in the curriculum. Many of my students struggled with communicating clearly in their native English tongue and they were approaching 18 years old, so one might ask why we should even bother getting those students learning another language on top of English. We should do it because there is no better way to understand your native language than through the lens of a foreign one. I have never been so cognizant of English grammar constructions than when I started studying Dutch. I’m an “English teacher,” yet I’m continually learning about my own language as I learn a second one. To understand how the Dutch construct a sentence one has to understand how it differs from how sentences are constructed in your own language.
The lackluster foreign language education in America is breeding unilingual teachers like myself. The teachers who are bilingual (or multilingual) see the marketability of that fact and may reach beyond the borders of America for more lucritive and exciting careers in international education or opt for private schools that will compensate them for the rarity of fluency in a second language. Or they may skip over the prospect of education as a career since pay scales are set in stone and allow little room to compensate new hires for unique skills.
Dutch students are required to study not just their native language and English in school, but French and German. We put limits on the potential of American students by not pushing them to study two or more languages. Being able to speak a second or third language instills confidence in students and opens up new worlds to them, not to mention it helps to mold them into more global-minded individuals by allowing them to delve into cultures other than their own. While I hate the rhetoric about America “losing” to other countries in certain fields and studies, I would ask the leaders that make that argument as a push for standardized testing how they expect the students that score highly on those bubble tests to help America “win” if they can’t communicate in languages other than English?
I feel like I was done a disservice in my education by seeing foreign language study portrayed as an elective and being told “but don’t worry – everyone speaks English.” That may be comforting to the occasional traveler, but if we want our students to be able to go anywhere and do anything, as we so often tell them they can, then we have to put a heavier pressure on administrators and elected officials to appreciate and fund foreign language education.
Now, who wants to help me with my Spanish?

I commented on Mary's post by saying:
Hi, Mary!
I am a student at The University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I am a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 class and I was assigned to comment on one of your blog posts. I really appreciated this post because I have always thought about this myself. At my High School, we only had to have two credits of a foreign language to graduate, and we had two choices-French or Spanish. I, myself, took French I and II and learned a lot but still only learned the very, very basic concepts. I think if the U.S. put more emphasis on learning second languages and studying other countries and cultures that students can broaden their horizons a bit and will be given more insight on what is out there to accomplish as far as careers, or even travel opportunities, are concerned. Thank you for sharing this post!

One of the first things on my list of things to do after moving to The Netherlands was to get a library membership. If I couldn’t work right away, I wanted to at least take advantage of the time through reading. I ran into a brick wall of sorts when I realized the selection of English language books at the library wasn’t to my taste (I’m sorry, James Patterson). I was also taken aback by the fees, which include an annual fee of around 25 euro and a fee for each item checked out. I wouldn’t mind the fees if the selection were more appealing, but it wasn’t so I walked out the door and started to think of other ways to feed my reading cravings.
Buying books, even used, was out of the question because my partner and I are trying to save money wherever we can. I began looking at e-readers as an option given the amount of books one can save to them, the portability (shipping books from the states is breathtakingly expensive), and the endless selection. For many reasons I won’t detail here, I went with a Kindle from Amazon and have been delighted from the moment I busted it from its packaging.
Sure, it’s great to have an endless selection of books at your fingertips. And with the use of great, open-source software like Calibre, you can get news on your Kindle and convert different e-book formats to fit your device in one click. But as an educator I’m much more interested in the highlighting feature.
As a teacher I always encourged, and often required, my students to engage in active reading. I would ask them to take Post-It notes and, while reading, add them to a passage and include one thing on the note: a reflection, a question, a prediction, etc. This was a great way to check if students had done the reading for homework, but it also forced them to engage with the text in a more meaningful way. And it prepared them for the day’s discussion. As an aside, students that didn’t do the reading couldn’t engage in the discussion and had to spend that time reading the passage and noting while we discussed in a circle. With the advent of web highlighting and annotating tools (Diigo is my preferred choice), we can get students working virtually and reading not just their own notes but the notes of other classmates and people around the world.
The Kindle comes a highlighting and note-taking feature. I wasn’t sure I’d be using it, but along with the built-in dictionary it’s become one of my favorite parts of reading on the device. For example, the first thing I downloaded to the device was a free copy of “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde from Project Gutenberg. It’s a short and hilarious play (you can read my Goodreads review of it here) and I found myself wanting to highlight certain one-liners to remember and reflect upon later. Enter the highlight feature. You can view all of your highlighted and noted bits at once with the click of a button and the notes contain links back to the location of the passage. Often times in college I would highlight a passage in a textbook, but forget where I even made the note. The fact that Kindle gathers them all in one place is a bonus and the note-taking feature, should you take advantage of it, can help you as a reader add context to the highlighting lest you forget why you highlighted it in the first place (something that happens to me all the time).
While I use the highlighter often, I wasn’t sure when I’d want to add a note until I started reading “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer. Even though I’m a vegan and already know a lot about the farming systems of the world, I’m learning a ton through this book and I’m being challenged by it. It’s in these moments that the active reader needs to take action or the moment will pass and the potential for deeper learning will be lost. I’ve highlighted quite a few passages that I’d like to revisit and plan on adding a few notes for context. Ultimately I want to blog and reflect on why I made the choice to become vegan and I think Foer’s personal reflections on his choice of vegetarianism parallel mine in many ways. The e-reader is making this a lot easier.
Oh, and I’m very easily distracted by all the Web has to offer, so the allure of the e-reader as a nearly single-use device was part of the reason I went for it. It’s also cheaper than an iPad and the screen is, for lack of better words, extremely readable.

I commented on Mary's post by saying:
Hi, Mary!
I am a student at The University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I am enrolled in an EDM310 class in which we, as future educators, are learning about the benefits of incorporating technology into our classrooms. I think this scenario is a perfect example of how useful technology can be! I plan on teaching at the Elementary level, and have come to find that books, especially children’s books, can become overwhelmingly expensive. I think that an ereader, such as a kindle, could be very beneficial in the classroom. Thanks for sharing this and giving me some ideas.

Comments 4 Kids Summary (C4K #9-11)

The people that should be remembered this Remembrance Day are all the people that were risking their lives even if they didn’t die they should still be thought of. Everybody thinks that they can only be remembered if they died I think that all should be remembered because they still fighting or if their done then they must have defended something important that if they didn’t I might not be able to go on the computer or even sit on a chair. The people that still are fighting I think should still be remembered just because they didn’t die doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be thought of. It’s like being on a hockey team and it the last game and you don’t score any goals but you help with blocking the other guys so your team could score, and at the end nobody even thinks about what you did. What I think we should be remembering is what the soldiers did for us not they died and we remember they died. What I will remember is that all the people gave us what we have today without them we probably wouldn’t clothes or even television and cartoons that’s what makes me think of what they have done.
Austin is a 7th grader in Mrs. Byrne's class. He wrote his thoughts about Remembrance Day. I commented on his post saying I enjoyed reading his post and was proud of him for believing that EVERYONE should be remembered for what they do. 

Our class has been recently learning about planets.
We had  loads of fun making sentences and pictures on Kerpoof! .
It also helped us remember the order of the planets.
If you look at my crazy picture you can see the sentence
that helped me remember the order of the planets.
This is just one of our fun projects.

Jim is a 3rd grade student. His class created mnemonics to remember the order of the planets. They also created pictures for their mnemonics using kerpoof! which is a very cool website that let's you illustrate different things. You should check it out!

As most of you know I am allergic to corn itself and any corn products like corn protein, corn syrup & corn starch. ( I break into hives and my eyes swell up ) Every time I go to the grocery store I have to check the labels on every food I take and 1 in 20 foods have no corn anything in them. The more organic the better which is VERY hard to find. As I went to kindergarten helper, we passed the 1st grade hallway and I saw a poster with a 1st grader’s name on it. He was severally allergic to nuts, milk, eggs, corn and more. His allergies are airborne which means his allergies can occur in the air. Yikes! That really made me think. There are so many substitutes for sugar that scientists beleive cause cancer later on in life. I am not the only one with food allergies and I would like the world to be a healthier place. Sugar is 100 times better than substitutes. I want to write a letter to the first lady about decreasing the sugar substitutes around the world but I can’t do it alone. Any ideas? Please answer back in the comments or post. Thank you very much!
Yasmine is a student in Mr. St. Pierre's class who posts all the time. I commented on this post telling her it must be tough to live with such a restricting allergy, and encouraged her to write her letter to the First Lady to stand up for something she believed in. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Blog Assignment # 13

ALEX- Alabama Learning Exchange

ALEX is a project of the Alabama Department of Education that is designed to share educational materials through a one-stop website. Resources that are available include Lesson Plans, Web Links, and interactive activities. ALEX is still a work in progress, but it will expand based on input from viewers.

I created an account easily (and free!). When you sign up, you can enter your school district and the school at which you teach. Since I do not teach yet, I just put a school I'm familiar with in Mobile County. This information can be changed on your profile. On the homepage, they have 8 categories:
1. Courses of Study
2. Weblinks
3.Lesson Plans
4. Search
5. Personal Workspace
6. Professional Learning
7. Podcast Treasury
8. ALEXville
By clicking on one of these categories, you can pull up standards, lesson plans and web resources for any subject and any grade level. They are all linked to the Alabama Content Standards. Personal Workspace allows you to create a lesson plan, podcast entry or a teacher webpage. You have to create an account in order to use this feature. Professional learning gives you links to explore Grant opportunities and Professional Development.

This website is very informative and I think it would be extremely useful for teachers. The fact that everything is linked to the Alabama Courses of Study is great. I created an account and plan on using this site a lot. I think anyone who visits ALEX will find some way to benefit from it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Summary of Google Doc Form

What year are you in college?
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
What is your major?
Elementary Education: 6
Secondary Education: 2
Physical Education: 1
In what year do you plan to graduate from college?
2010: 2
2012: 13
2013: 3
Where do you hope to get a job?
Mobile County: 13 (about 68%)
Baldwin County: 2 (about 11%)
Colorado: 2 ( about 11%)
Georgia: 1 (about 5%)
Mississippi: 2 (about 11%)
What do you think will be your strategy for applying for teaching jobs after graduation?
apply anywhere and everywhere. Someone HAS to hire me!
Scope out the best schools for me and apply only at those schools
I'll apply only to my Alma Mater, of course!
Somewhere close to home.
who needs a job when you still live with your parents?!
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
Is there a specific grade level you would like to teach?
anything that is offered to me.
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
Would you be willing to move away to take a teaching job?
Sure, why not?
Anything for a job!
Of course not. Something will come up eventually!
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.
Did you decide to major in Education because it seemed like it would be "easy"?
what made you want to become a teacher?
friends: 1 (about 5%)
loves kids: 9 (about 47%)
help others: 5 (about 26%)
passion for teaching: 1 (about 5%)
want to make a difference: 1 (about 5%)
influence of previous teachers: 1 (about 5%)
n/a: 1 (about 5%)
Do you plan on continuing your education after graduation?
maybe later on after i'm settled with my job first
thought about it, but decided it just wasn't for me
Number of daily responses

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Teach Someone Project

wordle with lyrics to forever young by Bob Dylan

C4K summary post (october)

The squishy concrete is falling out of the long massive pipe.(Dictated to the teacher) By Maurice
Maurice is a first grade student at Port England school in Auckland, N.Z. He created a picture showing a concrete truck pouring concrete along with a description of his picture (above). I  commented on his post by saying that I liked the way he described the concrete and the pipe and that I liked his picture.
October 12, 2010     
It was a cold day on May 10,1775 when me and my friends called the Green Mountain Boys led by Ethan Allen, headed to a British garrison at the fort. We decided to attack because we didn’t want to loose the element of surprise. We all headed toward their fort. Then we attacked but we didn’t kill anyone. Since it was such a surprise the captain surrendered his sword, so we took over Fort Ticonderoga!
I was assigned to comment on Ashley's post on Mr. C's Class Blog: "Media in History"These students post journal entries about things they might write about if they lived in this specific time period. I commented on Ashley's post saying how I thought this was a perfect example of integrating technology into the classroom to help students engage in their lessons. I asked her if using a blog to do her assignments has helped her learn history and better or kept her engaged in the material and she wrote me back saying that it did help her focus on it a lot better and made it more interesting for her. 

 Blueberry Muffins (C4K #6)

I came down stairs one morning and smelled a berry type smell. I closed my eyes.  I got taller form the shoulders and up, and a smile appeared on my face. I breathed in and out opened my eyes and raced down stairs.  On the kitchen table there was a bowl of blueberry muffins sitting there waiting for me and I ate them all up.
 I was assigned to comment on BrennaS.'s blog post on Mr. Goerend and Mrs. Quam's 6th grade classes in Iowa. I commented on Brenna's post saying that I liked the way she described everything, and told her I would love to hear more!

I think this years halloween is going to be super fun. I am going to go over to a friends house for a bonfire after trick or treating. I am going to dress up as the Geico Caveman for halloween on Saturday. I think this years halloween is going to be even better than last year because I actually have a costume ad didnt wait until the day before halloween. Halloween is going to be great and I cant wait.
Dawson is a 6th grade student. He wrote about his plans for Halloween. I commented on his post saying how I enjoyed seeing how his teacher was incorporating technology in the classroom because that's what we're learning about in EDM 310, and that I loved his idea for his costume.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blog Assignment # 11

These children are absolutely precious. As you see in the video, these are 1st grade students at a school in Canada. One thing that I kept thinking about while watching this video was a thought that a lot of people think that technology in the classroom is limited to higher grade levels. They don't really see a need for integrating technology into lessons for younger children. It might be because they don't think the younger kids can handle it, or the teachers may not know how to be on the younger children's level when it comes to learning through technology. Seeing this class be passionate about sharing their work and seeing how the blogs allow them to know that other people can view and enjoy their progress in the class made me realize just how much of an impact these types of things can make on keeping students engaged in their work and wanting to do more.

I also viewed a Skype session where Dr. Strange talks to Ms. Cassidy about how she began using technology in her classroom and techniques she uses with her 6 year olds. I tried viewing this session all the way through, but, for some reason, my computer cuts out half way through on most of the videos we view on MobileMe Gallery. Perhaps it's because I'm a sinful PC owner, but I will do the best I can and comment on what I did get to see.

The thing that I liked was that Ms. Cassidy started out exactly how we, the students in EDM 310, have started out. She didn't know everything about technology, and began by learning how to create websites which branched off into blogging and other things and she is still learning about different ways to teach through integrating technology. This gave me some hope that I may, one day, be able to accomplish a lot of the things she lets her students do in her classroom.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

C4T Teacher #3 Summary Post

Web 2.0 Smackdown at TechForum

This post was by Lisa Thumann on her blog Thumann Resources. I really found this post interesting because she talked about how she was able to speak at Tech Forum NY. For her presentation she had a session where she allowed the participants to give tools that they found useful in the classroom. I encourage you to check some of these out, because a lot of them are interesting, fun and can definitely be used in your future classroom!

Here is the list of tools that was generated in their afternoon gathering:
  1. Evernote
  2. Rapportive
  26. Gmail Labs

 The second post I commented on was explaining how, as teachers, sometimes things do not go as planned and having a "plan B" will always be a necessity. Lisa Thumann was planning on speaking about a web tool called, but found out the week she was going to speak that the site was no longer working. She went with another tool that is similar to called dropbox. 
I commented on this post saying that although I hadn't had the situation arise where a tool was no longer available, I agreed that we, as educators, should ALWAYS have a plan B especially when we have an entire class of students relying on us to have everything together. 

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Blog Assignment # 10

    An Open Letter to Educators
    In Morgan Bayda's blog post she talks about a video she was sent via Delicious. The video was made by Dan Brown. He talks about how educational systems need to step it up if they want to keep up with the world. He said something that caught my attention in his video. He said that "Education isn't about...teaching students to conform to the world as it is, it's about EMPOWERING students to change the world for the better." If there is one thing I have learned in this EDM course this semester, it is that the world is changing and there is nothing we can do about it besides go along with it and benefit from it. We have such an advantage when it comes to having any information we want at our fingertips. With a few keystrokes and clicks of the mouse we can find out anything, anytime, anywhere! Why would we take that for granted by conducting our classes the exact way our parents classes were conducted? I don't know about you, but I can honestly say that I have learned more in this class (learned. not memorized, not read about, LEARNED) than in any class I've taken at South Alabama so far. EDM 310 gives me the capability to make connections I normally wouldn't be able to make if I were sitting in a desk reading a textbook and taking notes. 

    Don't Let Them Take the Pencils Home

    pencil sculpture
    This post gives a scenario where a teacher finds a way to alter a "problem" and make it beneficial to his students. I liked the message of this post because I believe, as educators, if we only focused on the problems that arose in our classroom we would literally drive ourselves crazy. Finding solutions to the problems, or working with them to make the situation better would help both teachers and students. 

    My Sentence
    The video Two Questions that Can Change Your Life addresses two questions. The first is "what is your sentence?" and the second is "Was I better today than yesterday?".  Keep in mind these two questions and motivation will take care of itself.
    Seeing as how there is no getting around coming up with my own sentence, here it is:
    "I am a wife, mother and daughter striving to do my best while living life to the fullest, and making a life I can be proud of." 

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    project # 12 recorded Skype Interview

    my interview was with my husband, Steve Alexander. He is at Ft. Rucker, Alabama doing training with the Alabama National Guard. They were experiencing difficulty on the other end, so I apologize for it being low quality.

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    Blog Assignment # 9


    Mr. McClung's post is a reflection of his first year of teaching at Noel Elementary in Noel, Missouri. He talks about how much he has grown since his first day as a teacher. He also mentions a few main things he has learned. The following are a few points that stood out to me as I read his post:

    1. Be Flexible.
    This is something I feel like I'm going to have trouble with in the future. I get so caught up with making every detail, and wanting the students to understand it the first time. This is not always the case. Mr. McClung had to learn not to let it get to him when his lessons did not go exactly as he wanted them to. He says that you have to learn that when things go wrong, try to better the situation and work with it.

    2. Communication
    Nothing can make a school run more smoothly than communication. When everyone is on the same page about what is going on, everyone seems to be more organized and willing to work with one another. It also builds stronger friendships and cooperation between fellow teachers.

    3. Don't be afraid of technology
    This is a HUGE point that Mr. McClung makes. He says that adults treat technology like a bad horror film where computers are trying to take over the world. I've learned that they are not here to take over our world, but to make our job easier, and help us make a bigger impact on our student's lives and education.

    4.Never Stop Learning
    Dr. Strange has made it clear to us that being a teacher also means being a learner. If we're not willing to learn, then we shouldn't be a teacher. There will always be new ways of teaching and enhancing our lessons. Why would we choose NOT to better our student's education? I plan on keeping an open mind in the future and accept any advice that comes my way.

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Project 9b: Instructional Timetoast

    Influential Hurricanes on the Gulf Coast (1950-present)

    Blog Assignment # 8

    Once Upon A Time
    Richard Miller explains how writing in culture has changed, andhow we have the capability of communicating instantly, globally. He talks about how the writing process today can be completed without ever setting foot in a library, how everything can be researched on the web, and, once published, a document stays on the internet or everyone to enjoy rather than being checked out of a library. He goes into detail about incremental changes which include writing processes back in the day vs. laptops and word processing today and how we now have the opportunity to collaborate through networking technology, and can compose documents using imaging and film found on the internet. 
    Mr. Miller believes that this should become the way that today's students write. I agree with him in that our society is changing and our way of doing things is changing at a rapid rate, but this is obviously not going to happen overnight. I think the process has begun, though, just in the fact that everyone produces documents on a computer with a word processor. This is one, tiny step towards the dream that Richard Miller has, but this dream is achievable. No question about it.

    I thought this video was pretty funny. I do wish this was an actual book, though. I feel pretty lost in this class sometimes, and I think it's because this class is really overwhelming. There's a lot to learn about in such a short period of time, but I am becoming more familiar with technology and I am also learning A LOT of stuff that will help me in the future! I hope to learn a little more about making movies this time for our upcoming "short movie" project and our " teach someone" project, because my podcast wasn't really what I wanted it to be.

    The discussion of the pros and cons, I've come to learn, is a very heated one. I've found a few pretty intense blogs and articles, written mostly by educators, about how much they hate smartboards, they're a waste of money, they perform the same things as an ordinary overhead projector and blah, blah, blah. I found this link talking about the benefits of having a SMARTboard in the classroom. And I also found this link that just explains the basics of what a smartboard is and how it is used. I haven't had the chance to actually use a smartboard yet, but from what I've read they seem like a great place to start when trying to incorporate technology in your classroom. I think it could help all of the "old school" teachers to get out of their comfort zone and try their hand at this new form of  interactive learning.  From what I understand, the teacher can design a lesson on their computer which is then projected onto the smartboard. This seems like a job that any old projector could take care of, right? Well, in addition to having a presentation that students can see, they can also interact with it. The board is touch sensitive. This seems like a nice alternative to the whole "get the student to come up to the board" routine.
    While a smartboard isn't the bottom line answer to improving student's interest in the classroom, it seems like a great way to at least get them out of the same routine day in and day out. Even if that means just using the smartboard once a week. 

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Project # 10: First PLN Progress Report

    My Personal Learning Network (PLN) isn't as developed as I wanted it to be at this point. I joined "Twitter", which I'm still trying to figure out how to use to its full advantage. Basically, my PLN consists of only two websites as of right now. The first one is This website I found through one of our blog assignments. It's a great source for teachers who want to incorporate technology into their classroom. It has a lot of "how to" posts and videos that are perfect for someone who feels lost when it comes to using technology in the classroom.
    The second thing I found was The description on the website states:
    "ABCya! is the leader in free educational kids computer games and activities for elementary students to learn on the web. All children's educational computer games and activities were created or approved by certified teachers. ABCya! educational games are free and are modeled from primary grade lessons and enhanced to provide an interactive way for children to learn. ABCya! games and activities incorporate content areas such as math and reading while introducing basic computer skills. Many of the kindergarten and first grade games are equipped with sound to enhance understanding. Great kids Holiday games and activities are available in grade level sections!"
     This is a quick, easy way to introduce students to the many ways to learn through technology, and lets them see that learning can be fun. It is also a great starting place for the teachers who want to use more technology, but just don't know where to start.

    I would also like to mention that symbaloo is the greatest invention ever. I now have it as my homepage when I pull the internet up and every website I visit on a day to day basis is one click away. Wonderful.

    Again, I know my PLN isn't very impressive right now but I plan on learning a lot in this course and finding things I can benefit from in the future when I have my own classroom.

    Project 9a: Individual Time Toast "L'histoire de moi"

    Blog Assignment #7

    This video was absolutely impressive. Randy Pausch is a man truly high on life and everything it entails. If you don't feel inspired by this speech, something is seriously wrong with you.
    Dr. Pausch is a professor who, at the time of giving this lecture, had recently been given 3-6 months to live due to 10 tumors found on his kidneys. The outline of this lecture consisted of three main points:
    1. His childhood dreams (and how he accomplished them in one way or another)
    2. Enabling the dreams of others
    3. How you can achieve your dreams or enable the dreams of others
    Dr. Pausch made the most of his life in the biggest way possible. No matter how hard it was or how long it took, he accomplished whatever goal he had set in his mind. (I won't go into too much detail about what he has accomplished because I hope you'll watch the video...nevermind how long it is).
    The teaching techniques that Dr. Pausch used as his time as professor remind me a lot the techniques of our instructor, Dr. Strange. He was against textbooks, as is Dr. Strange, and believed that students learned more by doing things themselves and learning along the way. I also thought that Dr. Pausch was an incredible speaker. His lecture was over an hour long, yet it went by rather quickly. Everything he presented had a purpose. There were no useless facts or rambling on a particular subject.
    Dr. Pausch lived the life he had dreamed of. He had many influential people help him along the way. He believed in karma and the idea that if you treat people nicely and show them respect, good things will eventually happen to you. He deserved every good thing that happened to him and it was a loss, in my opinion, to lose someone with such a great spirit about teaching and educating people about something you're so passionate about.

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    C4T Teacher #2 Summary Post

    For my second Comments 4 Teachers (C4T) assignment, I was assigned Dr. Paige Baggett. Dr. Baggett is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at the University of South Alabama. If you would like you can view her blog, Pondering Paige.
    The first post I viewed on her blog was a post titled "Studio Days" and how lessons learned in ART can teach us about life. I found Dr. Baggett's idea of having a Studio Day at South very exciting. She asked if she found a way to have a studio day would any one come to enjoy it, and I told her I would love to be involved with it. A few hours during the day to focus on nothing but a project that only you would have to enjoy would be great; a nice way to "get away from it all".

    pinwheels and peace signThe second post I viewed was her post titled "Whirled Peace" at the USA COE. I had seen a previous post about these pinwheels when I commented on her 1st post, but didn't really know what it was all about. It was great to see how Dr. Baggett brought the idea to USA and how people participated in the International Day of Peace. Dr. Baggett even brought her sons to plant the first pinwheel at the USA COE before they went to school that morning. I had Dr. Baggett for a course a few semesters ago, and always loved how she encouraged people to get out of their comfort zones and do things that they normally would not have done.

    Sunday, October 3, 2010

    Comments 4 Kids Summary

    For the month of September, I was assigned to Noel Elementary's Class of 2011  blog. I was assigned to a student named Blanca. She is a beginning blogger. Just like me! These students were assigned two assignments. The first was an "About Me" post. This is what Blanca had to say:

    "Well my name is Blanca I am 14 years old I was born Texas in a town called Maccllen. When I was 4 years old i moved to Missouri in a town called Noel I lived in a little yellow house. I  am half Indian and Mexican and white my dad is Indian and White my mom is Mexican. I been to 10 states well thats me so byy."

    I commented on her post by saying:
    Hello there, Blanca! (great name by the way.)

    My name is Brandi Alexander and we just started our Comments for Kids assignments for Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at The University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I'm so excited to meet all of these students through the great invention of the internet and blogging! I, like you, am a first time blogger and I have learned so much about how beneficial technology can be when used properly in the classroom. I hope your experience is as educational as mine has been!

    I see that you've been to 10 states. Does that mean you've visited them, or you have lived in 10 states? Either way, I think it's great that you've been so many places and experienced so many different things. I think it contributes to you becoming a well rounded person. I wish you good luck on the rest of your school year!

    Her second post was an assignment called "A Learning Manifesto". The students had to make goals or promises that they wanted to meet during the school year. This was Blanca's Manifesto:

    This year I promise to respect my teachers. I will give them my full intention and i will not try to talk  because I have a big mouth and i will talk but this year i won't talk.  Know what they say better listener the more samarter you  are.
    • I promise to study harder and right down notes and do all my homework for I could be 100% ready for the high school and have a good grades.
    • This year I promise to accomplish my my goals my goals for this year is to show a good inspiration for the upcoming 8th grade and to show them how to be a leader and set an example.
    • This year my peers will respect me because I will respect them they have full confident on me if they need me they know all always be there for them no mater what they can count on me and so can my teachers.
    • This is my biggest one because I hate reading AR books but I Blanca.P promise to read at least 15 books in one school year I have never read this many books   but I will accomplish this goal and if I don't then u could sap me up side of my head but if I do my teachers will be HAPPY. 
    I commented on her manifesto post by saying:
    Great, realistic goals! Being respectful to others, and yourself, will get you far. I appreciate how you want to be a leader and set good examples for the upcoming 8th grade class. I've always had a hard time making myself read books too, but when I finish a book I have a feeling of accomplishment and I learn a thing or two as well! Good luck finishing these goals, and I hope you learn a lot this year!

    Blog Assignment # 6

     This is a video based on the idea of a 21st century student. This student is a student of connectivism which is a theory that learning occurs as part of a social network of many diverse connections and ties. Connectivism is made possible throught tools of technology and the tools are not nearly as important as connections made by them. 
    As of right now, I personally do not think I am prepared to be a teacher of a networked student. I wouldn't be able to help my students in the process of learning how to benefit from technology and use it to build their future. I liked the response the video gave to the question "Why does the networked student even need a teacher?". 
    I liked it because I feel like the reason the majority of teachers do not use technology in their classroom, or want to learn how to use it, is because they view technology as trying to replace them all together. This is not true. I also had this point of view until this course where I have realized that teachers are not going anywhere. We are the ones who will guide these students in learning how to benefit form technology. We are the ones who will be there to offer guidance when they get stuck. It's our responsibility, as educators, to ensure that our students are as prepared as possible for their future. What better way to do that than to teach them how to use a tool they will always have? Technology.


    This girl blew me away. My PLE is nothing compared to hers, but I hope I can eventually have a PLN that I can benefit from as much as she has. It's also very encouraging that she is still pretty young and can already use technology in such a positive way. I can't wait until my PLN is developed enough to be able to help me this way.

    "The Machine Is Changing Us" by: Michael Wesch
     I found this video very interesting. It gave me a very different perspective as to what extent media connects us, and has also given us a completely new way to communicate and be accepted.

    Saturday, September 25, 2010

    Blog Assignment # 5

     picture of colorful iPod nanos

    100 Ways to Use Your iPod to Learn
     This was a very informative page. Obviously it gave you 100 ways to learn with your iPod including tutorials, applications and a section giving classroom help.  One of the things I liked was the iPod lesson plans link which gives you ways to allow the students to learn by integrating iPods into their lesson. I also liked the Create Podcasts link which gives you step by step instructions on how to create a podcast from preproduction to publishing. This is definitely something I think my group will use while creating our podcast for this class.

    Eagles' Nest Radio & Class Blog 
    I loved this. These 3rd graders are having a blast while learning about Rome, famous explorers and interesting shark facts. I think this page is the epitome of the use of technology in the classroom to engage students in learning while helping them realize that it is actually FUN to learn new things. 

    Langwitches Blog: Flat Stanley Podcast 
    I was blown away by how creative these kids were at just 5 years old. They did a podcast telling their version of the book Flat Stanley by Jim Brown, and it was so neat! They used the Garageband program to record their voices and add sound effects to the story. It turned out very well. I encourage you to check it out! I hope to be able to incorporate technology this way in my future classroom. 


    Friday, September 17, 2010

    Blog Assignment 4

    a cartoon depicting a computer class with a caption reading

    Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please? By: Scott Mcleod
    Scott Mcleod, who is a professor in the Educational Administration program at Iowa State University wrote this post regarding children using technology. Sarcastically, Mr. Mcleod tells parents, teachers, administrators and board members to not teach children how to benefit from technology because all they will do is misuse it. I agree with Mr. Mcleod in the fact that children should be exposed to the many uses of technology, however, I also think that age, maturity and responsibility play a huge role in a child's ability to learn through technology. I don't think it would be hard for a child to be misled in the uses of technology, but with correct guidance they can greatly benefit from it.

    The iSchool Initiative

    I'll be honest. At first I was a little skeptical of this idea. I viewed it as a way to replace teachers, classrooms and schools all together, but obviously that could never happen. Teachers are needed, and always will be needed, to guide students in learning. The role that technology should play in education is a "helping hand"; something that can make the process a little easier. That is exactly what the iSchool Initiative would do.

    This program involved a lot of applications that I liked. Some that I think would be more beneficial to a classroom, and school, are the graphing calculator, book library and Notes. I also like the idea of student's parents and teachers being able to get in touch with one another easily. Although I think it would take some time for the program to reach its full potential in a school, I think this idea would work in schools and save a lot of money in the long run while also helping engage students in a new form of learning.

    This was a nice perspective on the negative views of the world today. It's so easy to say that the future is not bright, and that we're all going nowhere fast. It's our job to make the changes needed to create a future full of hope, and prove that we will not be the "apathetic and lethargic" generation. I truly enjoyed this video, and believe in its message entirely. If we all started thinking like this a lot more would get accomplished and priorities would be set right again.

    This was absolutely amazing. Click on the link to check it out! The fact that these people have NEVER MET in one place to practice or have even SEEN each other is beyond belief. Just a small glimpse of how the internet and use of technology connects us all in a common way.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Additional Assignment # 1

    Google Squared and Wolf Ram

    Google Squared and WolframAlpha searches both give information in a very straight forward, "easy to digest" way. Searches produce all information concerning only what you type into the search box making it easy to compare and break down the statistics given such as when I searched for "country populations".
    I did not know about either of these search engines prior to this assignment, but I know that I will definitely be using them in the future. They both seem like a nice alternative to searching through links looking for specific information. I also like the "add on" feature of Google Squared which allows you to create a new column of information by simply labeling the top and it automatically fills in all the other categories for you. One thing I personally didn't like is that a majority of the information given comes from Wikipedia, which I try to shy away from using whenever possible. 
    Dr. Strange's comments on these search tools has not altered my thinking on the movie "Did You Know", but using the tools made me realize there are ways to deal with statistics when a lot seem to be thrown at you and can sometimes leave you feeling overwhelmed with information or wondering where they came from. Google Squared and WolframAlpha helped me put some of the facts from "Did You Know" into perspective. 

    Map showing Location of the Pitcairn Islands:

    Pitcairn Island Map


    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    Blog Assignment 3

    A Vision of Students Today

    Until this class, every college course I've had has been parallel to the classroom depicted in the movie. I walk in to an auditorium that seats 200 students, sit and listen to the instructor as he reads from a textbook and fills a chalkboard with 4 or 5 pages of notes. Meanwhile, people are falling asleep around me, talking about what they did last night or looking at facebook on their laptop.

    While I can say that I did well in these classes, I can't say I remember much of what I learned. I studied, took a test and forgot the information the next day. I've always been a "hand on" learner and believe that, as the movie says, "students learn what they do."

    It's Not About the Technology
    I would have to say I agree with Kelly Hines. I'm for technology and the benefits it can provide in the classroom, but, as Ms. Hines explains, "technology is useless without good teaching." Unless the technology is used in the best way possible to provide positive outcome it has no value to neither the teacher nor the students. It takes cooperation of teachers to fully reap the benefits that technology offers to students.

    Is It Okay to Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?

    Prior to enrolling in this class, I considered myself to be "technologically literate." I could send an email, type a research paper, produce a spreadsheet in Excel and create a pretty impressive Power Point presentation.

    Shortly after receiving Dr. Strange's email on how to prepare for the upcoming semester I realized I knew close to nothing about computers. Sure, the skills I knew would suit well if I were to work in an office building behind a desk entering data all day, but to benefit an entire class of students in learning through the use of technology? Absolutely not.

    I only viewed my computer as something to do work on, but as I complete projects for this class I am learning just how beneficial this tool can be to both me as an educator and my future students in learning.

    I agree with Mr. Fisch in that it is not okay to be a technologically illiterate teacher especially in today's educational systems. I also agree with him when he says that "technology is not the end all and be all of education...just a tool to help us teach." and when he states that when people are "unwilling to make any effort to learn new things" they are proving their own ignorance.

    Social Media Count

    Yet an even bigger realization of the vast expansion of the technological revolution. A lot of the numbers seem unreal. This was completely mind blowing to me.
    As far as my professional career as a teacher, I've come to the realization that technology is here, it's here to stay and it's advancing faster every second of the day. It influences everyone in some way or another globally, and although it will take work, I, along with all other educators should take the initiative to stay on top of it as much as possible.

    Comment for Teachers

    I was assigned to Aaron Eyler's blog. I read his post titled "That 'Let's Do More' Mentality" which talked about how people seem to make a fuss about doing more to improve on a current situation without first asking if what they were doing was even right in the first place. I agree with Mr. Eyler. We should take a moment to step back and reevaluate what we are doing in order to decided whether or not the next steps to take should build on, or take place of, whatever situation we are trying to make better.

    The second post I commented on was "Technology as the New Math".He starts his post by saying "we continue to perpetuate a culture that believes an individual is born with some inherent trait that allows them to be “good” at Math", and suggests that we are extending this mentality to include people's technological literacy. Mr. Eyler makes a valid point when he says that it is overlooked when someone says they just "aren't good with technology" and how we need to stop letting students, or anyone for that matter, put themselves down by believing they can't do something, and help them learn that everyone has to work hard at learning a new skill at some point in their life.