Sunday, January 30, 2011

Neat Video About Domestication of Silver Foxes!

Blog Post #3

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  University of ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife1. Discrepancies between what we think and what we know happen every day. College is no different. The harsh reality exists and the video A Vision of Students Today shows that reality quite poignantly. Books that we never use cost us a fortune and we can only sell them back for about half-price. Meal plans we barely use are required. Price hikes in tuition, but no increase in the scholarships. Here's an article I found about the tuition bubble.   Something doesn't seem right about those things. Maybe it's just me. Yeah, sure, I'm lazy at times. Sometimes, I don't pay attention in class. I spend most of my time either writing, reading, or on the internet. But I get stuff done and do I get any credit for that? No.

But the real problem I believe lies in the way things are arranged. Education has slacked to the point where we, the students, are waiting for it catch up. The lack of technology and innovation is holding us hostage in the past. We still have chalkboards in every room. Some rooms have a smart board, but the only times I've seen it used as anything other than a projector for a PowerPoint was in Dr. Strange's class. We want to move to the brighter future, but we can't if we aren't given the chance. That video is almost an anthem of our generation. It's a testament to how things will continue if we don't change. Personally, I don't know how to make the video more of an impact than it already is. I felt an instant connection to the message with just the simple texts and subtle music. Maybe if they had some people saying their messages? I don't know. I like it the way it is. Sometimes simpler is better. You don't get swept up in the special effects and completely miss the point.

2. In her blog post, It's Not about the Technology, Kelly Hines makes a valid point. Without solid teaching skills and a desire to learn as well as teach kids to learn, technology would be a useless tool. It's like giving a toad a computer. Well, maybe not a toad, but you get my point. And Mrs. Hines' as well. Technology isn't the solution to every problem. It can't "fix" anything without first breaking a few old habits. And you know what they say about those: they die hard.

Yeah, it's going to be difficult, but I think if the learning community can step up and work as a unit, we can devise some methods of implementing a new way of teaching. A way of teaching that will be viable in the years to come, and not outdated as the current way has proven to be. Here's the link that Mrs. Hines also included in her post to 21st Century site. It's very interesting, I've already briefly checked it out.

3.  "If a teacher today is not technologically literate - and is unwilling to make the effort to learn more - it's equivalent to a teacher 30 years ago who didn't know how to read and write." Karl Fisch
That quote, while he disclaims it to be slightly "extreme", is something that should be considered heavily. What does the future hold for teachers who aren't technologically literate? Will they even be able to teach? Fisch discusses these questions very succinctly in his blog post Is It Okay To Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher? I found his approach to be quite insightful and his comment that I listed at the beginning of my response is central to his stance. With the way society is advancing toward a hands-free and plugged-in future, it is nearly impossible for a teacher to remain on the outside of advancement. Doing so will result in a major imbalance in the classroom, with students knowing more about how the world really works than the teacher. Is that something that is desirable? I think not.

Teachers are supposed to be on the cutting edge of education, and to be willing to update their own methods to incorporate new ideas and ways of teaching. If not, such a teacher that refuses to run with the rest of the pack will die out and find that they no longer become applicable or needed at their post. We are past the age where the only tools a teacher needs are his chalk, books, and knowledge. These days require a substantial widening of experience and tools that, quite frankly, I feel will make the learning experience not only more enjoyable for the students who are accustomed to the new technology, but also for the teacher, who will find that using the things available to them opens many more doors of actually reaching the students.

4. Wow. That's all I could say while I watched the numbers increase without bound. How can there even be that many people doing all of that? How can the internet be so vast? I just can't wrap my brain around it. The massiveness of technology is overwhelming. I could almost picture a small percent--maybe only 0.0000001%--of those downloads, uploads, calls, texts, messages, emails, posts, videos, and comments being my future students or the siblings of my future students or the parents. How can what I have to teach them compete with all of that? It can't. I don't see how.

I think though, that if I could somehow incorporate all of those things, or at least a small percentage, I could make my lessons more applicable in a way. But again, how? At this point, I haven't a clue, but I'm going to figure out a way. I have to. I don't want to become one of those teachers that Fisch mentioned and in that way become outdated. That won't be my fate.

5. The video, Technology in the Classroom, that Brooke Broadus posted was interesting and brought up some good points about why technology is important and should be considered when teaching. It's not good to be afraid to use technology, because that just leads to a deficiency in the classroom. Students are already using it at home and with friends, and when they come to school, it is somewhat disconcerting for them to be thrust into an environment that does not implement technology to its fullest.     

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wordle Created from My First Post

A Wordle consisting of my first blog post.

Perhaps one of my guilty pleasures, other than drinking three White Chocolate Mochas a day, is my habit of perusing blogs. It's fun. It just so happens that I found a blog today, The Last Word, and in doing so, I also found a contest to win autographed copies of some of my favorite books! Lili St. Crow is an awesome writer (I have a copy of her book Steelflower and I've read it maybe a half-dozen times), but her book and the series following it, Strange Angels, really caught my attention. Anyway, here's the link to the blog and contest. Don't even think about entering because I'm totally going to win. I have to. Contest Link, just because I'm nice.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Blog Post #2

1. I didn't know. I didn't know that technology had such a massive impact on our day to day lives. Sure, I suspected as much, but suspecting and knowing are two different species all-together. The truth is, Did You Know? 3.0 may be only 4:56 (that's less than five minutes), but it scared me to death. I had a sudden flash-forward to a vision of the future. We're all wearing suits made of metal and in our faces we have a screen. It's through that screen that we live our lives. Either that, or the computers run things for us. I don't know which is scarier to me personally.

Media, internet, technology as a whole, is booming and this whole time I've just been sitting idly by, content to do the technological minimum. I'm awake now. I've seen the light. I guess my main message in response to that video is that while technology is growing at such a rapid rate, we can't forget that behind the wires, signals, and SIM cards, there are people. And people should be our main concerns. We can't neglect humanity in favor of the shiny computer screens and keyboards.

2. Mr. Winkle Wakes (2:51) offers a somewhat comical reflection on the status of schools today.Technology is set to the wayside in favor of traditional approaches to learning, and even when it is used, the teachers often lack the skills to use it effectively in order to foster learning. Looking back, I can count on one hand the number of times I was taught using some form of technology. Maybe even on two fingers. That shouldn't be something I take away from my high school experience.

Instead of staying stuck in the dark ages, our schools should equip the teachers to expand their curriculum to more up-to-date methods of teaching. As the video showed, the world outside of school has already made the leap into the technological world. Everything has a USB port these days (figuratively speaking, of course), and we can't keep teaching children using the same tried and true methods of our grandparents. Hello! We've been to the moon, and for months at a time, humans live in space while orbiting Earth! That's about as high-tech as you can get. If we can send people to space, then I think we can expend a little time and energy updating classroom methodologies.
Mission: STS-41-B Film Type: 70mm Title: Views...Image via Wikipedia

3. Sir Ken Robinson is my newest hero. Not only is he hilarious, but his message is one I personally believe in with all of my heart. As educators, we need to educate children completely and learn to use our imaginations wisely. He lists the hierarchy of subjects in schools today as being Math/Languages first, Humanities second, and Arts last. For many students, the very idea of math is enough to give them cold sweats. I know it is for me, but thankfully I found my niche in English. If I had been a musical, dramatic, or otherwise art-minded student, then I might not have had the same opportunities as I do now.

Sir Robinson describes creativity as "the process of having original ideas that have value." This distinction is important because in order for our society to keep advancing, we need to come up with solutions that will work not just in the present, but in the future as well. We can't expect students to automatically know what to do if we don't give them some training first.

4. I think it is fantastic that Cecelia Gault has found a way to pursue her passion. In getting to meet Sir Ken Robinson and asking him questions regarding education and creativity, she was able to apply her own creative license. I think it is interesting that she asked Sir Robinson what he defined "intelligence" as being, because his response was one that has been niggling at my mind for a while. Intelligence has no real definition. In order to be able to define intelligence, we would first have to decide what the most important determining factors of intelligence are. Is it being able to read very quickly? Is it being able to solve riddles or math problems? Is is an unquenchable ability to memorize random facts? Is it a combination of all of these things?

No one really knows. I think the best we can hope for intelligence-wise is an open mind. We have to stay open to new ideas and to providing opportunities of discovery and growth to our children, like Cecelia Gault. If, as educators ,we don't limit the creativity of our students and we give them a chance to grow naturally into what they were designed to be, then I think we'll be on the right path.They might even get to interview Sir Robinson, if they want to. We just have to be willing to spend the time to nurture their individual intelligences, because no one person learns the same. Intelligence is highly unpredictable and individualized.

5. Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts (4:49) provided me with a look into the existence of a fully technological classroom. The students were doing things I didn't even know existed. Basically, they created their own little cyber world. They collaborated with students across the globe, and in doing so, stepped out of their local spheres and broke down those barriers to new ideas and education.

Mrs. Davis is someone that I think is deserving of an award, and I'm glad she received one. What she has managed to do in her classroom is something that most schools today would never dream of doing. The work involved may be a deterrent, or maybe the technicality of it, or perhaps it isn't in the budget. But I think we need to do it anyway and make space for a program of that kind. It would be beneficial to kids now and for their futures. 

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Monday, January 24, 2011

C4T#1 Summary

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseFor my first C4T post, I commented on Mr. Robbo's blog post The Facebook Page
I introduced myself and gave my reasons for commenting. His post was perhaps the most revolutionary thing I have ever read about Physical Education. I would never have considered using technology in a PE class, but Mr. Robbo has managed not only to do that, but to do it with a flair. I told him that his idea of using Facebook as a tool for further connecting students to his class was a great idea. I wish my teachers had thought of that.

For my second post on Mr. Robbo's blog, I chose his newest post about an iPhone app (Wow.) that allows you take your heart rate with a great deal of accuracy. Being an iPhone user myself, I was naturally drawn to the topic and since I have an inability to take my own heart rate, this app was tailored to suit my needs to a T. My comment ran something along those lines and I thanked him for the heads up on the Instant Heart Rate application for iPhone and android phones. Perhaps another great part of his post included his ideas for using the app in PE classes to facilitate student's learning and perceptions of heart rate and health. He also provided a video--with a delightful heartbeat audio track--that shows how the application is used and how the information generated can be posted and tracked on Twitter or other sites. Neat!

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's All About Me--Not Really

Hello, fellow EDM310 peeps! I suppose y'all are wanting to know a bit more about me, and I'm not one to be shy about things so here I go. Buckle your seat-belts. Ever since I was a little girl, I've been obsessed with reading books. Some people might not think too much about that fact, but for me, it's the essence of who I am. I have a book with me at all times and because of this...passion, if you will, I've decided to become a high school English teacher so that I can instill the same love of reading in others. Hey, don't laugh. I think I can knock some sense into those hormone-filled noggins. Wanna know I dream of mine? Okay, I'll tell y'all. I want to be a published author. I've been writing as long as I've been able to form sentences and quite recently it's come to the point where I've managed to stay on topic long enough to finish a novel. My family doesn't share my "passion" for literature, and that's okay. I don't expect everyone to understand. It is just enough that my parents and my younger siblings (brother and sister) allow me to write in peace.

I chose USA because, quite frankly, they gave me the best scholarship. And I've stayed because I enjoy it here. I live on campus, but my family is only forty-five minutes away in Fairhope, so I usually end up going home every weekend. Mostly to wash laundry. If you're having a hard time remembering who I am from our first class, the best clue I can give you is that I was having a heatstroke and I was fanning myself like a fiend. I can't stand being hot. It makes me ill. But we won't talk about that any more.

I'm not exactly new to blogging, but this is the first time I've used Blogger, so it's definitely a new experience for me. I'm very involved with Young Writers Society. It's a great website for teens to get together and share what they've written and give each other advice. If you are at all interested in writing I would suggest that you check it out. You don't have to be a teenager, there are a pretty good number of us that are in our twenties and we are the ones who really provide some order and backbone to the site. You don't have to join in order to read some of the works, but you do have to join if you would like to review or post. Now that I've made my little YWS plug, I suppose I will get back to the real topic of this blog post: Me.

I like warm-blooded animals. I don't like to get wet. My favorite author is J.K. Rowling and I'm obsessed with Harry Potter so if you want to make me mad, all you have to do is insinuate in some way that Harry Potter sucks. If you want to be my friend, all you have to do is smile and exist. I don't believe in judging people by their covers. Same goes for books. My favorite foods are parmesan couscous, chicken pot-pie, and Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips (the kind with the crinkly, loud bags). I hate being hot, so odds are if it's hot again in the computer lab, you'll see me fanning myself or possibly passing out. Hopefully that won't happen. (I can't seem to let this go, can I?) I've had many pets, some normal, some odd--opossums, anyone?--but I've loved them all. At this moment I am in possession of a very fat chocolate lab named Cocoa--I know, very original. Perhaps I'll post a picture of her sometime in the future.

Well, I think I've rambled long enough. You probably have learned all kinds of things you wish you never knew about me. In any case, I bid you adieu.