06 May 2012

Final Reflection Video

Project 16 - Final Project

27 April 2012

Blog post #12

10 Ways to Differentiate Learning
Follow the link above and read the blog post presented by Ms. Edna Sackson.

As a country, the United States is well behind global education leaders such as Korea, Canada, and Norway. We have to make a change. We have to get away from the standardized, cookie cutter, one size fits all education system. It just doesn't work very well. Ms. Sackson gives her list of 10 ways to differentiate learning. Do you agree with her list? Is there anything you would add or take out of the list? How would you as a teacher implement some of these methods?
Chinese Proverb

26 April 2012

Project #15

Creativity and Curiosity: My Thoughts - Special Post #12A


Do our schools destroy the curiosity and creativity in our children?
     That is a very profound question. I think the depth comes from the fact that we all know the answer is yes and the implications of that answer are serious and difficult to resolve. The curriculum is so standardized and regimented that students hardly need to think for themselves. They are told what to do and how to do it in every aspect of their educational day. Every child is taught the exact same thing in the exact same fashon. That makes no sense.  How have we allowed this to happen? If it were not the educational system, but cable television or some other entity that was the culprit, it would have been shut down, turned off, and never heard from again. Why on earth don't we do something to correct this flaw?
     In the business world, employers want their employees to be quick thinkers, problem solvers, and outside the box thinkers. That is absolutely the opposite way those same people have been educated for almost two decades of their lives. It doesn't take a very intelligent person to figure out that if those methods were taught from childhood the individuals would be so much more adapted to real world work environments. The transition from school house to work place would be much more seamless and the employees would be more productive.

I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.
– Albert Einstein 1952.


22 April 2012

C4K Summary

15 April 2012
This week, Dr. Strange had to give me a new student's blog to comment on. The most recent blog post from this new student, 18EMCO, was published on 10 April. Unfortunately, there really isn't any biographical information that I could find for this student. I can only guess that the student is a male and by reading through his blog, I found some references to where he lives. From his 3 April post, He says he lives in Fairfax and that the closest hospital is in a city named St. Albans. I did a Google search and found out that he lives in a very small town in Vermont. I supposed that 18EMCO is a middle school student or younger by the content of his blog posts, so I didn't want to criticize the quality of his blog post. I just told him to tell us some more about himself and to keep blogging. You have to start somewhere!
Fairfax Vermont

22 April 2012
I had the pleasure of watching a video posting from a third grade student, Angelo, who lives in Auckland, New Zealand. I absolutely love being able to read blogs from people out side of the United States. It is always interesting to look into their world, if only for a moment, and see how it compares to ours. In most cases, it is surprisingly similar. Angelo enjoys riding his bike and rollerblading, two things that many American children enjoy as well. He says he wishes to be an author when he grows up. Good luck to Angelo in his future endeavours!
Auckland New Zealand

15 April 2012

Blog post #11

Kathy Cassidy

Ms. Kathy Cassidy's first grade class video, "Little Kids...Big Potential", was impressive. If anyone has a question about weather or not technology in the class room works a simple hyperlink to this video would dispel any doubts. Her students absolutely love their technological journey in her classroom. They are learning skills that 10 years ago wouldn't have even been introduced as a subject matter until high school, if they were lucky. My daughter is in 7th grade and she has never had a class that even scratched the surface of what these 1st graders are learning about technology. Ms. Cassidy is right, it is the future, but it is also the present. Ms. Cassidy seems to have her students leaps and bounds ahead of their peers. She is lucky to have had administrations that did not limit her technological education program. I thought it was interesting to hear that some of her coworkers have the mind set of "that is how it has always been and it works so why change it". That is a very lazy frame of mind. One of my pet peeves is when someone answers a question with the answer: Because that is how we have always done it. That tells me that there has been no thought about something different, better, more efficient. They just do what has always been done because that is the easy way to do it. As educators, we have to think outside the box. Find new, more luring ways to educate our students. Once the mentality of "it is good enough" sets in, innovation ceases and we will never progress as a civilization. What a terrible thought...

It seems like every week in this EDM 310 class, I get more and more frustrated with the current state of our school system. My children go to school in rural Mississippi, so the technological deficit here is exacerbated. The most frustrating fact is that the problem is not one in which a single educator can fix. It has to be the focus of the entire administration, from the local school to the federal Department of Education, for the technological infiltration to take place. I just don't think, as a nation, we are ready to commit the tax dollars needed to right this wrong. The money is there, it just has to be allocated. At one point, America was spending $1billion per day in Afghanistan. Just imagine if that amount of money was spent on the education system...

Just saying...

Cassidy's Kids

08 April 2012

Blog post #10

education equals future

Do you Teach or Do you Educate?
This is an excellent video created by Joshua Bloom. It really puts the relationship of teacher and educator into perspective.
I am pursuing a degree in Physical Education. I can teach my students how to exercise and eat correctly, but with out educating them on why a healthy lifestyle is important, it would all just be a waste of time. Childhood obesity is growing to epidemic proportions and it is due in large part to the lack of education on the reasons why obesity occurs, what is so bad about excess body fat, and how crucial it is to begin a health lifestyle at a young age. Children are the future of our country. We are failing them. The children of our nation are fat and it is our fault. Type II diabetes rates are exploding and heart disease is the number one killer of Americans. All of this because of our poor diets and lack of physical exercise. It starts in the schools. We give the students unhealthy choices in the lunch line and cut the physical education budgets every time the district needs more money. P.E. "teachers" become frustrated or complacent and their students shoot hoops for 180 days a year. The school boards see this and think the P.E. programs are a waste of time and cut more funding. It is a viscous cycle and it has to end. As Physical Educators, we have to do just that; Educate our students about their physical selves. I am all in, are you?

Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home
This is an excellent post (and blog) about trying to remove objects of distraction instead of finding alternate sources for their attention. A good example of why this mentality is flawed was in the California prison system. The weights were taken out of the yards because some found it disturbing that their criminals were coming out of prison looking like body builders. What the inmates did was switch to calisthenics. By using only their body weight, the inmates became bigger, stronger, and more athletic than they were before.
This may be a little off topic, but I recently had a discussion with one of my past professors about what is called "testing". Personally, I find that label absurd. Weather it is a standardized state test or a 9 weeks exam, calling them "tests" couldn't be more ridiculous.

Test(n) - something (as a series of questions or exercises) for measuring the skill, knowledge, intelligence, capacities, or aptitudes of an individual or group.

About the only thing we test for is the ability of the students to regurgitate facts that are crammed into their short term memory. In the week leading up to, or even the class period prior to a scheduled "test" the students are given a "study guide" which, in most cases, is just a list of the answers to the questions that will be given on the upcoming "test". If a student's memorization skills are keen and they put fourth a modest effort, they will do just fine on the "test". This couldn't be more true with standardized state testing in our public schools. For two weeks, at our local school, the administration puts everything else on hold and drills the state test's materials in to the students heads with repetitive fury until they can puke out the information when the test is given, even then, they don't do that well. I wonder why... Something has to change...

I recently read an article, from 2010, on usatoday.com. Here is an excerpt:

"Scores from the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment to be released Tuesday show 15-year-old students in the U.S. performing about average in reading and science, and below average in math. Out of 34 countries, the U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math."

The United States was given an "average" rating... How sad is it that the most powerful country in the world has an "average" education system? It is embarrassing to say the least.

An article I read in the Washington Post titled "U.S. falls in global ranking of young adults who finish college", may be even more gloomy. Here is an excerpt from that article:

"Instead of gaining ground, the United States has fallen from 12th to 16th in the share of adults age 25 to 34 holding degrees, according to the report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It trails global leaders South Korea, Canada and Japan and is mired in the middle of the pack among developed nations."


If this kind of educational decline continues, our economy continues to tank, and our dependency on foreign goods continues to increase, what kind of future are the citizens of this great nation going to have? Our children and their children deserve more and it is up to us to give it to them.

02 April 2012

C4T #3 Summary

Ms. White

20 March 2012
C4T #3
I was assigned to comment on Ms. Paula White's Reflections of the TZSTeacher blog. This is a very well put together blog with a large number of posts that are very robust.
Ms. White is an out side the box teacher. She constantly trying to find new, better, ways to approach her students' learning.

1 Apr 2012
When Is Listening Not Enough?
Ms. White says, "We’ve simply got to find ways to validate their feelings, empower them to act, and not just listen to what they say." I couldn't agree with her more. I have had some expirences with middle school aged athletes when I coached 7th grade football last year at my kid's middle school. I saw something that kid of disturbed me. The coaches seemed to have a "I am better than you" attitude. I guess it comes from the position of power these men hold over the kids. I can't say for a fact that they act the same way in their classrooms, but if they do, I feel sorry for their students. You have to be able to connect and relate to your students on their level. I know I am an adult and I know I have a position of authority, but that isn't what is important, they are! I am there to teach them, to help mold them in to adults. Treating them like they are less than I am is not a very productive technique, in my opinion.

01 April 2012

C4K Summary

25 March 2012
C4K #6
I was assigned to comment on the Class 12 blog. This is a 4th grade class from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK. This blog post was a movie that gave facts about the Titanic tragedy. I thought the movie's use of chalk on the pavement/concrete was interesting, but a little hard to read.
Bamboo Bridge, Bamboo bridge, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK

C4K #7
This week's Comments for Kids was for a 7th grade student from Comox Valley on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Her name is Kayla. She loves to dance! I have a 13 year old daughter who is a cheerleader for her middle school, so I know a thing or two about a teenager and their love of dancing!
Her most recent post, "7 Things That You Don't Know About Me", is a great way to connect with your blog audience. For most of us bloggers, we only have our "about me" section which gets filled in at the beginning of our blog and our blogs become filled with everything but stuff about who we are. I think it is essential to know who the person is while you are reading a blogging contribution. It helps with perspective.
Kayla's home

Blog post #9

Mr. McClung

At the Teacher's Desk
Joe McClung started teaching in the fall of 2008. His first job was in Noel, Missouri where he taught 6th grade science. After his first year of teaching, he moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas, and began teaching Social Studies and History on the 8th grade level. Mr. McClung started a blog post about what he had learned over the course of the school year. He has taught for three years and each one of the blog post are a great read. It is excellent to be able to read about the experiences and lessons learned from a teacher just starting out.
Mr. McClung was experiencing some difficulties with his school change and subject change. His experiences from his first year of teaching, the year prior, were of tremendous help with this huge change, but is some regards, he had to teach himself how to teach all over again. With new students, new subjects, and new administration, the proverbial deck was stacked against him. Through out the year, he learned a great deal about himself, his students, and his strengths and weaknesses. I think the most important lesson of all was to not loose sight of what is important: The students.
This year, Mr. McClung experienced a few more firsts. This was the first time he had taught at the same school for two consecutive years, he began coaching the cross country team, and taught computer applications.
I especially liked the "Don't be Afraid to be an Outsider" topic.

"I play my music way too loud, I eat my lunch with students and not in the teacher's lounge, I enjoy being connected to my students through blogging and social media, and I enjoy being immature."

That is how I see my self as an educator. I thihk there is, at times, too much of a disconnect between teachers and their students. Almost like an "I am better than you" attitude because of the position of authority an educator or sports coach has. I enjoy evolving myself in the daily goings on with my teen aged children and their friends. I coached middle school football last year and seemed to have the respect and admiration of the kids more so than the rest of the coaching staff simply because I made a stronger connection with them by carrying on conversations with the kids and showing them that I cared about what they had going on in their lives. I believe that connecting with students at a personal level is absolutely critical.
It seems as though Mr. McClung is coming in to his own. Every year he finds out more about himself and adds additional tools to his teaching repertoire. I will definitely bookmark his blog for future reading as his "What I Learned This Year" series continues.

Mr. McClung also has another, very good, blog here. This blog is more a "daily goings on" for his Social Studies and AVID classes as well as the cross country and track teams. Good stuff.

26 March 2012

Blog Post #8

21st century communication

This is How We Dream Part 1&2
"We can now communicate globally, instantly." This quote, at the beginning of Richard E. Miller's This is How we Dream pt. 1, really caught my attention. I don't think I ever realized that fact. When something is posted on the internet, not only can it be seen in our community, city, county, state, country, continent, hemisphere, but WORLD WIDE, instantly! Dr. Miller is right when he said that we are living at the moment of the greatest change in communication in human history. When he said this, I thought about the telegraph and telephone. While these two inventions were world changing, the impact of the World Wide Web on mankind has only begun to be realized. It wont be long and print will be totally obsolete. I don't mean that printed materials will be limited, I mean they will no longer exist. Everything will be published digitally and will be accessed by a few key strokes. This is a possibility with in my lifetime and it is exciting!


Carly Pugh's EDM310 Blog Post #12
Wow... Talk about going above and beyond! Carly really took this assignment seriously and put her heart into it. I think she is getting very close to Dr. Miller's ideas about writing with multimedia. This blog post is what it is all about. Spreading your ideas, sharing your thoughts with the whole world.
Carly's "Six Questions for Every Day" video made think about a video we watched in blog post #2 from Sir Ken Robinson about how schools kill creativity. I absolutely, whole heartily, believe this. Students today are not allowed to explore their creativity because of all the emphasis placed on state testing. The public schools are more interested in their funding than teaching their students. I realize that with out funding, there will be no education, but something has to be done. It may have to start with the teachers, but due to the fact that teachers make their living by doing what they are told to by the school district, that may be a tough proposition.

The Chipper Series and EDM310 for Dummies
These two videos by Jamie Lynn Miller are well designed and delivered. I would enjoy doing a video on the statistics of the technology used in the education system of Mississippi. I don't know if there would be very much content, but I guess that is half of the point.

the future we don't know

Learn to Change, Change to Learn
Why am I not surprised that the education system ranked last in the Department of Commerce report of IT intensiveness? The only thing that surprised me was that the coal industry was ranked higher! I guess that has to do with funding more than anything else. Industries, like the coal mining industry, make a product and turn a monetary profit. They have the funds to make their businesses run more efficiently. The education system is funded by the national government and the $1,000,000,000 per day that was being spent in Afghanistan was way more important than the futures of the future tax payers, right? It sure does seem that way...
The "nearly now" time frame that the second orator, Greg Whitby, mentioned is fascinating. The social world is no longer dominated by telephone conversations or face to face time, which requires both parties to answer immediately. Now, each person involved in the conversation has time to perform the "Rs" as the man said. People are not pressured. They can reflect, retract, research, and repeat before answering. I agree with him that this "time" or "space" is an excellent place to learn.
The next to last orator, Ken Kay, really hit the nail on the head for me. He said, "...it is not memorizing the facts that they are going to need to know for the rest of their lives... ...it will be: Do you know how to find information, do you know how to validate it, do you know how to synthesize it, do you know how to leverage it, do you know how to communicate it, do you know how to collaborate with it, do you know how to problem solve with it. That is the new 21st century set of literacies." In my opinion, he is exactly correct.

Scavenger Hunt 2.0

google plus

#1 I think google+ is not only a social tool like twitter.com and facebook.com that teachers, students, and parents could use, I think it is a better platform with WAY more options and tools to make the environment easier to use and a much more effective sharing device.
The google docs tool is a web based word processing tool at it's base, but can be used for document storage and so much more.
The google+ hangout is a video chat tool that could be used for parent/teacher conferences or whatever is needed between the student or parent and teacher.
The fact that google+ allows the user to place their "followers" in circles and can choose which circle or circles can see certain posts is great! The teacher can communicate to just the students/parents or even certain students/parents.
With google+, the options are limitless.


#2 Prezi - For the general public, a Prezi account has two different pricing options. The "enjoy" option is $59 for a year subscription. The "pro" option is $159 annually. Both of the options are free to try for 30 days. The Prezi website also offers a discount for students and teachers. The discount is huge. For students and teachers the "enjoy" option is absolutely free and Prezi knocks off $100 for the pro version at $59 for a yearly account. With the "enjoy" version being free, Prezi really hits home with the student base. It is good to see web based tech tool companies making an effort to keep their programs affordable for teachers and students.

#5 blogpolls.com is a great, free, tool to create a poll anywhere at any time.

16 March 2012

My Personal Learning Network

My Symbaloo
I chose to use Symbaloo as the tool in which I will display my Personal Learning Network. A PLN is something that everyone has, but something few of us will have ever thought about. How do we learn out side of the classroom? Friends, family, television, and social media are all ways we can find answers. Using a tool like Symbaloo can really put your network into perspective. I see it as a bookmarking tool for knowledge. My Symbaloo webmix is not complete yet, and may never be "complete", but I am adding additional resources as I find them. We must never stop exploring the vastness of the internet.

Blog post #7

Networked Student

This video by Wendy Drexler really shows the importance of a PLN, or personal learning network, for today's students. The Internet is the most powerful resource we have. The amount of information and misinformation is enormous. A well developed PLN is the key to sorting through all of the information and ensuring the quality of information that you need. a PLN is not only important while a person is in the educational setting, but is something that will be used throughout their entire life. We never stop learning. We never stop asking questions.

In this video, the question, "Why does the networked student even need a teacher?", is posed. The same could be asked in a time with only text books... If a student could read everything on their own, why are teachers needed? Teachers provide the student with guidance. Effectively, teachers are educators. Educators teach the student how to learn and what to learn. Educators build foundations of education for the students to build upon. There is no way to teach anyone everything. The goal is to provide the necessary skills and information to facilitate a person's self education. Relate this to a golfer. The golf coach can teach the mechanics of the golf swing and the finer points of the game of golf, but the golfer has to swing the club, learn to hit the ball, and play the game on their own.

Welcome to My PLE!
In this video, a 7th grade student takes you on a tour of her Symbaloo Webmix that displays her personal learning network. I have started my own Symbaloo Webmix and love it! My Webmix is no where near as full as her's is, but I will be adding to it periodically. I think this tool is a great way to keep track of the resources you use to self educate.
symbaloo icon

14 March 2012

C4T #2 Summary

Ms. Sackson

What Ed Said
What Ed Said is a wonderful blog from Melburn, Australia. Ms. Edna Sackson is the author as well as the teaching and learning coordinator for the International Baccalaureate PYP school.

19 February 2012
I commented on Ms. Edna Sackson's blog "What Ed Said". I had to double take on the first sentence... I then realized that she taught at a school in Australia that goes year round. Their school year corresponds to the actual calender year. Better than ours? I thinks so, but that is a whole other discussion. Her post was about the number of different people one can find when participating in a group activity. If you have ever taken part in something along the same lines, you can relate.

27 February 2012
Ms. Sackson posted a blog about teaching media literacy. Ms. Sackson is part of a group of teachers and students that are exploring 21st century learning. This week, the students had to go to a number of media sites and comment on what they saw there. The team of teachers, named Year 5, met to discuss the comments and discover where the students interests lie. One comment, by a student named Mia, really caught their attention: Why was YouTube invented? The Year 5 group then posed questions to the students based on Mia's comment: What is the purpose of You Tube? How is it used? How has it evolved? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Why is it blocked in some places? This question was also posted on the What Ed Said blog for other people to join in the inquiry. Here is my comment:
In response to the YouTube question:
Obviously YouTube was created for a place to share media, but I think the historical aspect of YouTube is interesting. I know that the website is cluttered with ridiculousness, the video with the most views is a music video from Lady Gaga, and as Ms. Sackson stated above, there are plenty of obscenities, but if you think about it, how cool it will be to have our grandchildren not only be able to read about the events that shaped our lives, but be able to watch the events that shaped our lives. YouTube is a virtual historical library of film. I think that is neat!
What Ed Said's blog award

04 March 2012

Timetoast Timeline Project #9a


Podcast Project

C4K Summary

I commented on Kenneth's blog in Mr. Chamberlain's Noel Elementary class. The blog was somewhat sparse, but one post caught my attention.
"I walk in and I smell blood in the the cabin.I hear a howl in one of the rooms, suddenly I hear the click of the door locking behind me! In the dark room my blood is racing through my veins."
What a suspenseful piece! From an eighth grader! I think there may be some potential there...

Special C4K
I commented on Lauren's class blog about her amazing video. I expressed how much I was impressed by the quality and how creative her video was.

C4K #2
I commented on Samantha J's wonderful blog relating to the why and how of Zebra stripes. Samantha is a high school student, but contributes to her blog like a seasoned adult blogger. She is very interested in nature and desires to help keep the planet clean by educating the readers of her blog.

I commented on Sam's Story. I presume Sam is a female student. She is in the 6th grade class taught by Mr. Avery in Plympton, Mass. She has only had her blog up for about 24 days, but she seems to be on the right track.
I commented on Shakeem's blog. He is a student at Ferry Lane Primary School in Tottenham, London, England. There was only one blog post, but it was an excellent poem.
blog wordle

Blog post #6

Randy's Family

Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture

Randy Pausch should be the measuring stick in everyone's life. Having been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, he never stopped having fun. He had a desire to enable others to accomplish their dreams and worked very hard to succeed. On July 25, 2008, the world lost a great man.

Self reflection is one of the topics in Randy's lecture. Not necessarily personal self reflection, although very important, but teaching your students, or athletes, to be self reflective. Some on can tell you that you need to take a shower, but actually knowing how bad you smell is a much more powerful motivator. As teachers, we should never just tell a student what they have not done correctly, it is imperative that we show them the mistake as well as show them how to correct that mistake. For me, learning is knowing my errors and making sure I take the necessary steps to not make the same mistake twice.
Randy also says it is important to tell the truth and I couldn't agree with him more. Trust is earned, not given. Trust is a difficult thing to acquire, but one of the easiest things to lose. Honesty is the only way to gain someone's trust. As an educator, we have to gain the trust of our students or we will never be able to teach them anything. If your student cannot trust that what your are teaching them is legitimate, then you have failed.
Along with telling the truth, Randy says we must also be earnest in everything we do. To be earnest means to be sincere. As an educator, earnestly approaching education of your students is very important. I have seen plenty of people doing a job just to earn a pay check. While this attitude may not be a serious detriment in a large number of professions, if the attitude is presented in the world of education, it could have serious consequences on a students future. In most cases, teachers play a very important supporting role in the development of a child, second only to that of their parents. The responsibility is huge! A teacher who is not sincerely trying to facilitate the empowerment of their students through education is wasted space.
Focus on others, not yourself. Randy embodies this piece of advice about as well as anyone could hope to. As teachers, coaches, just educators in general, the focus should be on the students and no where else. Our purpose is not to be teacher of the year or coach of the century, it is to give our students the best possible tools to be successful in life.

We will miss you Randy

29 February 2012

Blog post #5

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?
Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens).
The blog post "Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?" is challenging the "old" way of thinking in regards to teaching practices. This is exactly what I blogged about in my Blog Post #3 below. The way students are taught as well as the way teachers are taught to teach, has not significantly changed in over 100 years. The ideas and methods of education need to be revamped and retooled - quickly! Dr. McLeod couldn't have hit the nail any squarer on the head with this blog post. The last section in his post is particularly moving:


'cause I'm doing all of it with my kids

can't wait to see who has a leg up in a decade or two

can you?"

We need to challenge the old way. "Because it has always been done that way" thinking needs to be changed. We are the future of education in this country. It is our responsibility.

The iSchool Initiative and ZeitgeistYoungMinds
Travis Allen was just 17 years old in 2009, when the first video "The iSchool Initiative" was made. He received an iPod Touch for Christmas that school year and saw then how powerful it could be if used in the classroom. He now is President and CEO of iSchool Initiative, a group of 25 college students that travels the country and shares their ideas of a technologically advanced classroom. Travis claims that if schools went paperless by way of the iPod Touch, the savings would be around $450 per student per year. That is not pocket change when you consider even a school with 500 enrolled students would be saving at least $250,000 every year!
The monetary benefits are only scratching the surface when it comes to this idea. I have school aged children, and I know how hard it is to keep up with their homework and out of class assignments. We all remember being in elementary, middle, and high school. For the majority of students, keeping up with their assignments is not the first on their list of priorities, even if it should be. As a parent, I would love to be able to access a data base through my phone or computer that would allow me to see exactly, up to the minute (maybe hour depending on the teacher), how my child is doing in their classes and what work they have to do when they get home.

Just saw this on the nbc nightly news this is amazing

This is the most incredible thing I've ever seen.

this is just marvelous...


Is this what Heaven will sound like ........... what a sweet sound all of you make. Perhaps there is hope for us.

I'm a composer. I am humbled. That is all.

I think they did a pretty good job summing that up....

Teaching 21st Century Students

This is an absolutely awesome slideshow presented by Kevin Roberts. I took a mental step back when I read the slide that said "teachers are not the number one source of information any longer. They are the filter." I never thought about it in that respect, but the world is at our fingertips now, and students are using the internet to learn. Everything you could ever want to know is right there. The problems is, everything that is out there is not necessarily the truth. Anyone can find the answer to a question in Google, or any other search engine, online encyclopedia, or YouTube, but how do they know if the answer they received was the correct one? That is where educators fit in to the circle. It is our responsibility to ensure the data that is absorbed by our students is factual. Not an easy task to say the least...

Reading Rockets

This is a one stop site for all of your educational resources when it comes to teaching a child to read. Weather you are a parent that needs to help your child at home or a principal that would like some extra insight on how to raise your school's reading level, Reading Rockets is the place to go.

For teachers, there is an abundance of information. The ABCs of Teaching Reading is a great place to start looking. Here are two topics that are discussed in this section:

Top 10 Things You Should Know About Reading: What it takes to learn to read, the achievement gap in the U.S., and how we can help struggling readers.

Reading 101: What you should know about print awareness, the sounds of speech, phonemic awareness, phonics, informal assessment, fluency, vocabulary, spelling, writing, and text comprehension.

Go to the site and take a look around. You will not be disappointed.
student reading a book

19 February 2012

Blog post #4

iPod in the classroom

100 Ways to Use Your iPod to Learn and Study Better
This is a very good article showing 100 ways for students to use their apple device as a learning tool. The mobility of the iPod and iPad makes them the perfect accessory for studying on the go. The ever growing App Store allows the Apple device owner to have a seemingly endless array of tools for everyday life.

rss podcast

Judy Scharf Podcast Collection
This article is, as far as I can tell, a complete guide to podcasting. Weather you are doing a podcast individually or for your entire class, there is a wealth of information on how to get started, what works, and the tools you can use to simplify the process. A must read for those starting to podcast.

podcasting for children

The benefits of podcasting in the classroom
Joe Dale has a very informative post and video in his blog about the benefits of using podcasts in an education setting. I loved the idea about students using podcast while home sick from school so the day's lectures aren't missed, brilliant! I'm sure some children won't see that as a plus, but it can benefit the proactive student and not allow them to fall behind or miss valuable reviews for tests due to illness or unpreventable absences.

12 February 2012

My Presentation

Due to the animations in my slides, the auto play feature does not work properly. Please click the "open in new window" button and move through the slides with the space bar. The videos are kind of cool too... Thanks!

11 February 2012

Blog post #3

Fulfilling the needs of special needs
Technology in Special Education

Technology in a Special Education class room. There is a thought! I don't know why it seems like these things take so long to come to fruition, but making it easier for a student with special needs to communicate and complete tasks is a no brainer. I can only imagine the frustration involved with trying to complete a written assignment for a child with a physical disability that makes it difficult to use a pen or a pencil. Let them type, use a mouse to select letters, speak to text, or any number of others programs that allow them to share their ideas and most importantly, learn.
Instead of doing things the same way, just because it is the way it has always been done, we as future educators need to think outside the box and use this great technology that is now at our finger tips. Make the class room more enjoyable. Make the education system more inviting. Allow students to enjoy and look forward to coming to school. We are the future of education. It is our responsibility to continue this transition and wire the classrooms.

iPad Works with Autism

This video shows just the tip of the ice burg when it comes to the advantages of using the iPad or other tablet devices in education. The immediate verbal and visual feedback of the Toddler Counting application is what keeps the child's attention and seems to stimulate him to continue with the assignment. Awesome learning tool!
The ground is just being broken on the technological revolution in the education system. I would imagine that in the next 10 years, we will be wondering how in the world did me make it through school with out the electronic devices we will have in the classrooms then. This is a much needed change, and I cannot wait to watch it explode!

The Apple.com App Store has a myriad of applications that can assist the educator in the class room. One that I found interesting was the Math Board application. What a great way to visualize the math problems and receive instantaneous feed back in the safety of your own desk.

Here is a link to an article that I found in the New York Times about iPads in the class rooms... It has begun!
New York Times

Garys Social Media Count

I absolutely love these types of counters. It really puts the technology explosion into perspective. Far too often, Americans do not think about the vast numbers of people that are on this planet of ours that live outside the United States. According to the CIA, the United States is the third largest country (313 million+) but only 4% of the total world population. The website, internetworldstats.com, has the U.S. listed as the country with the second most internet users (78% of population, 245 million people), but only contributing to 11% of the world internet users. From 2000 until now, the U.S. has had a 206% growth in internet users. Sounds like a lot, right? Guess again. Nigeria had one of the largest percentage increases at around 21,000%. India had a 2000% increase in users, but even more impressive was the number of new users in the last 10 years: 95,000,000! The world as a whole saw a 500% internet user growth rate over that same span. There are now more than 2 billion internet users world wide. These numbers are just remarkable! Gary's counter, in the link above, shows the daily increase of new internet users to be more people than the United States has in population. Never before has it been as easy as it is today for people to close the gap in communication and education around the world.

The following image is a 3D representation of the World Wide Web. It can be found at vilb.us

The World Wide Web
"The Internet is not a thing, a place, a single technology, or a mode of governance.
It is an agreement. "
John Gage, Director of Science, Sun Microsystems, Inc.

This illustrates in 3-D the actual domains and connections of the world wide web. Colors have been added to represent .edu, .gov, .com, etc. domains. I've always seen the web as bubbles - some large, some small - and vectors - thick or thin. This is the best graphic device I've seen to show that connectivity. - George Laughead

Michael Wesch: A Vision of Students Today

Michael Wesch, and his anthropology students from Kansas State University, have shared a very powerful video about how today's college student actually lives day to day. I thought the video was very well made and believe it will leave an impression on all of those who watch it who have no real experience with current college aged students. Having children that are college age and currently attending college myself, this video didn't tell me anything I didn't already know, but I am not a part of the target audience. This video is aimed at the current educational leaders in the United States. I wonder how many university deans, superintendents of education, senior professors, or department chairs have watched this video? All I can say is that if I were in their position and watched this video, I would be embarrassed. Embarrassed that I was so far detached from the current state of America's collegiate student. Embarrassed that I haven't done more with the technology that is at our disposal. Embarrassed that I sit in an office that smells of old books and rich mahogany and my students sit in desks while their professor writes on a chalk board and lectures in the same style that was delivered over one hundred years ago. Why?

Class room from 1911:
Classroom from 1911

07 February 2012

First mobile post...

So, I'm sitting at my kids soccer practice and found out that Blogger had an app for my phone... not too shabby... might take me a while to figure out all of the nuances, but cool nonetheless.

31 January 2012

Blog post #2

Did You Know?
I absolutely love this video. It really puts the current technology "situation" into perspective. Being 32 years old, I remember when the internet was just in it's infancy for the general public. Almost worthless for anything other than chat rooms, it was accessed by 28k dial up modem in our house. When the 56k modems came on the market, everyone was talking about how much faster it was than 28k... The wireless DSL in my house claims it has an 8mb service... That is 7000 times faster! Our hard drive on that same computer was 32 gigabyte, loud, large, heavy, and slow. We thought that we would never fill it up. My cell phone has a 16 gigabyte data card in it now that is the size of my thumb nail, has no moving pieces, and supplies the data almost instantly... They have recently released a 32 gigabyte data card that is the same size as the one I have. The only problem is there are very few devices made that can even accept a card with that large of a capacity.
I have children that are in there early teens, and like most kids that age, they are right on top of the technological innovations, but it is starting to even overwhelm them. You almost have to be devoted to following technology to be able to stay step for step with the rapid changes. And it is only getting faster... As the old saying goes - get in, sit down, shut up, and hold on! I imagine the next 20 years will be interesting to say the least!

Mr. Winkle Wakes
This video really hits the nail on the head. All around the world, we are experiencing a technology explosion that seems never to slow down, and yet America's class rooms are about as untechnological as they could be. In our local high school and middle school, they have started to install smart boards, but most of the teachers either don't know how or don't want to know how to use them. They still use the overhead projectors... Really? It is 2012!! School is boring, dull. Just ask some middle school students, they would be happy to tell you what is wrong...
My child is asked to calibrate one of his teacher's smart boards on a daily basis because she is ignorant of how it works... How ridiculous is that? She IS the educator! That is her profession!  How does someone earn the respect of their class when the students have to show their instructor how to instruct them... There absolutely needs to be a technology revolution in the schools... But with what money??

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity
Ken Robinson's speech really hit home with me. I have some of the same thoughts about our current education system and medical diagnosis of ADHD and ADD. For starters, there is way too much emphasis placed on state testing in the Mississippi public schools. It seems like that is the main focus of the curriculum. I understand that is how the schools receive money, but at what cost to our children's education? I absolutely agree that the current education system is almost brainwashing the creativity out of our children. It doesn't matter if little Johnnie has a beautiful imagination and story telling, if he can't write a five paragraph essay following the grammatical laws, he fails his English class and can not continue on to the next grade. Humans are exceptionally unique at birth all the way to school age. At that point, we try to mold all of them in to this preconceived idea of what a successful academic should be. It is all way to standardized in my opinion.

A Vision for 21st Century Learning
"If you applied yourself to your school work like you do those video games, I bet you would have straight A's". Words spoken by my Grand Father about 16 years ago. He figured this all out then... The major hurdle would be making the video game competitively entertaining. Could this be done? I think so, but it would take some trial and error and a company not afraid of going bankrupt if it didn't work out as well as planned...

Video games and the class room. I have heard this kind of talk for years... The only difference now is that there is no doubt we have the ability to make happen, but I don't think the country is ready to invest the tax dollars needed to make something like this a reality. The United States of America - The name used to be synonymous with being a world leader, a mold breaker, a nation on the cutting edge of technology, but we aren't willing to bring our education settings into the 21st century? Those children are the future of our great country. They should have everything at their disposal. What is invested now will be returned multiple times over in the future.

it is a small world after all

26 January 2012

Project #2

this is my wordle

Blog Post #1

Hello! Thank you for visiting my blog! My name is Robert Freeland. I am a resident of Hurley, MS and attend the University of South Alabama in pursuit of a Physical Education Undergraduate Degree. I plan on working at the high school level and coaching football. I have been married for 9 years to Dana Freeland and have five children: Courtney Marshall, Caitlyn Marshall, Joshua, Jacob, and Jessica Freeland.

As a young child, my mother and I moved around a whole bunch. I attended 7 different schools through 6th grade and lived in Louisiana, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina. I moved to live with my Grandparents in Hurley, Mississippi shortly after I turned 12 and attended East Central Middle and High School through graduation. I attended Mississippi State University for two years before moving to Atlanta Georgia to pursue a career in the golf course maintenance industry. Towards the end of 2003, I had the call to serve my country and enlisted in the Army. I separated from the Army on 31 July 2010 and moved back home to Hurley, MS and started classes at USA.

Randy Pausch on Time Management
I found Mr. Pausch's ideas on time management to be right on point. I especially enjoyed the part about not focusing on doing things right but rather focus on doing the right things and his advise on starting on the more difficult or less favorable tasks first. Too many times people chose to do the easiest things first and when they get around to the difficult task they don't have the energy or motivation left to accomplish it.
I felt that there was one idea left out in Mr. Pausch's seminar. In my time in the Army, we were taught to finish each task we start before moving on to the next one. This is extremely important when managing time. Having multiple tasks that are only partially completed is very confusing and too frequently most are never completed.