Sunday, June 30, 2013

Project #12: SMARTboard

Blog Post #10: Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch giving his last lecture

Randy Pausch was a faculty member, researcher and mentor at Carnegie Mellon. He was involved in a number of university departments and initiatives including: School of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Entertainment Technology Center, and Alice. Pausch gave a very famous lecture in 2008 that soon became an internet sensation, called "Last Lecture." Pausch died a few months later due to health complications. His lecture objectives were, his childhood dreams, enabling dreams of others, and lessons learned: how to achieve dreams and the dreams of others. All throughout Pausch's lecture, he would wear something different, like put a jacket on or wear a silly hat to keep the audience's attention. Frequently, Pausch would tell a humorous story or unintended joke to also grasp the attention of the audience. One quote Pausch said that stood out to me the most was, "we learn from our students, not just the teacher." I completely agree with his quote! A classroom is not just for learning math or reading, but a classroom is also a place where a group of students and teachers get together and learn from each other. Over time, a teacher and his/her class become a team or a family. Everyone works together, and even though everyday is not rainbows and sunshine, we can learn that if "family" sticks together, there will be sunshine at the end of the storm.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Blog Post #8: Learning from Teachers

education written on a chalkboard with a hand clicking on it
"What can we learn about teaching and learning from these teachers?" -Dr. Strange

Back to the Future: Caitlin Lankford
In the video Back to the Future Brian Crosby, a fourth, fifth, and sixth grade science and technology teacher, was describing how he “runs” things in his classroom. Crosby talked about how all of his students have a computer, access to a web camera, and their own blog. Basically what Crosby was focusing on in his presentation, was that he does a learning activity with his students, and then to assess them, he makes the students write about it in their blog! How neat? Crosby’s class is very focused on technology activities, yet very hands-on. For instance, Crosby and his class, made a hot air balloon go into high altitudes of the sky and attached a camera to the balloon so that they may be able to receive information from where the balloon is. The children discussed the learned information on their blog and wrote a book about their findings. The children received numerous amounts of positive comments on their research and findings! I love what Crosby did with his class; he made learning fun! I hope that one day, I will have the means to do something special with my class just as Crosby did with his.

Making Thinking Visible: Melissa Canterbury In the video Making Thinking Visible. Mark Church, a sixth grade teacher at International School Amsterdam, asks his students to talk among their small groups about a video they watched in class the day before. He gives them time to discuss within their groups and asks them to come up with a headline to capture what the video was all about and what exactly did what they watch mean. Church gave his students a strip of paper to write their headline on after they decided on something as a group. I liked that he put the students into groups and asked them to work together to come up with a headline. By doing that, he is engaging the students and allowing them to learn from other students in their group. We can learn from Mark Church his way of engaging the students in the thinking process. Church gave the students an opportunity to share their own opinions and then showing them how to work in groups to come up with a final decision for the headline. I really like the idea of students working in small groups and I think that keeps them engaged in the lesson. From personal experience, I love working in groups and hearing what my classmates say because sometimes I can’t explain what I am thinking or put it in the right words and my group members help me get it out. I love learning from other educators and think it is only beneficial to us especially as young teachers with little or no experience in the classroom.

Blended Learning Cycle: Lauren Macon
In the video, Blended Learning Cycle Mr. Paul Anderson, a high school AP Biology teacher in Bozeman, Montana explains how he is using the blending learning cycle in his classroom. Blending Learning is taking the parts of online, mobile, and classroom learning and blending them together in a classroom. The Learning Cycle is composed of engaging questions, exploring experiments, explaining the phenomenon, expanding on it, and then evaluating. This is what inspired the Blended Learning Cycle. Mr. Anderson begins his class with a good question about a phenomenon. I think this is a great way to start your class off! It gets the students attention and gets their interest. Asking questions is something I will use in my future classroom. After the question, he explains we should be prepared for investigation/inquiry, video, elaboration, review, and a summary quiz. He uses different types of technology during this process. I also explored his blog, Bozemanscience. His blog has hundreds of science videos that he created. He is always learning new things and sharing them. I learned that you should let your students be in control of their learning, questions are important, and that you can learn with your students too. Watching Mr. Anderson’s video was very beneficial. I will use these skills in my future classroom!

Friday, June 21, 2013

C4T #2

Technology will not replace teachers, but teachers who will use technology will replace those who do not. Author Unknown
For my second C4T assignment, I commented on Ms. Lisa Thumann's blog. Ms. Thumann works with innovative learning technologies at The School for Global Education and Innovation at Kean University in New Jersey. she also works with educators to improve teaching and learning using technology. I found Ms. Thumann's blog posts superb, however there were not many posts. Her posts dealt with Common Core and Apps that could be used in the class room.

The first comment I left for Ms. Thumann, was discussing Common Core. Ms. Thumann discussed an upcoming Common Core conference that was to be held at Kean University. My comment is as follows:
"Ms. Thumann, my name is Caitlin Lankford. I am in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I will be visiting your blog as an assignment for class! For this particular blog post, I really enjoyed reading about collaborative onsite/virtual workspace for teachers! Being in EDM310, EVERYTHING is done on a computer. However, I am tech savvy so I was excited to be in the class. I cannot wait to use technology in my future classroom!"
The second comment I left, discussed a few Apps one can download to "Google Drive." I never knew you could download apps to Drive!! One app is called HelloFax, where you can sign documents and fax them online! How cool is that?! Another app is Ms. Thumann discussed is called TwistedWave. With TwistedWave, one can edit audio files. So awesome!! My comment was:
"Ms. Thumann, I love this post! Before I started EDM310, I never knew anything about "Google Drive." After reading this post, I never knew you could get apps on "Drive." That is so cool!! I cannot wait to get these apps so that I can use them in my future classroom!!"

I loved reading Ms. Thumann's blog! I learned new things and I hope one day, I will be able to apply them in my future classroom!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Blog Post #7: Apps in the Classroom

Apple logo with select app icons
For this week’s blog post assignment our group wanted to find assistive apps for iPads. Since iPads are becoming more common in the classroom, we decided this would be the most beneficial to us. Specialized apps for special needs children allow the students to still be connected with the other students using the iPads, however they have their personalized programs that help expand their own learning experience.

Dragon Dictation: Caitlin Lankford:
Dragon Dictation is an iPad app not only designed for children, but is for adults too. This app is similar to Siri on the iPhone, and just like Siri, Dragon Dictation records what you say and not only gives you the option of sending your words through text messaging, but also via email, Twitter, and/or Facebook. Therefore, when used in the classroom, the teacher can email, or text the child’s progress to himself, the parent, speech pathologist, and/or principal. Also, when used in the classroom, struggling speakers can record what they say, hear it read back to them, and see their words on the screen. For those who have a difficult time speaking certain letters in words, such as saying “w” instead of “l,” this app is an easy and effective way of correcting the speech. To make this app even better, it is FREE!!

iWriteWords: Melissa Canterbury:
iWriteWords is an app for the iPad that teaches students fine motor skills, handwriting and literacy through entertaining games. It is a perfect app for individual seat work for the special needs children who struggles with the traditional worksheet. After looking around on Pinterest and special education boards, iWriteWords caught my attention. The students help Mr. Crab collect numbers in sequence by dragging with their fingers and drawing the letter at the same time. After the student traces each letter, the program says the letter aloud and then says the word that the letters make. This app is designed for younger elementary students as they learn their sight words and handwriting. iWriteWords can be purchased in the app store on iTunes for only $2.99, which I think is great! The cheaper the better, although it isn’t the price I prefer, which is FREE, it is still very affordable.

ArtikPix: Lauren Macon:
ArtikPix is a FREE iPad app designed for children to receive speech practice and self-monitor their productions during flashcard and matching activities. More decks are available for purchase individually or in groups. When using this in the classroom, the teacher can create their own flashcards using illustrations or photos and share them. This is a great and fun way for students to practice his/her sounds in spelling words or individualized sentences. Then, share them with other ArtikPix users via an email attachment. This allows the teacher to customize the student learning experience when used in the flashcard and matching activities. If you have the full version of ArtikPIx, you can combine decks and configure sound groups. It also collects scores, which is great for the teacher to monitor the progress of the student. To facilitate speech practice, there are audio and visual options. There are also options to enable varying levels of students.

Project #9: PLN

To begin my personal learning network (PLN), I chose Symbaloo. Symbaloo is now my homepage for when I get on the internet and so far, there are quick link icons that direct me to websites that I frequently use such as, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, etc. I did add two educational sites to my PLN, including TeachingTube and Teaching Channel. I cannot wait to add more website links to my PLN throughout the rest of this semester. I have never heard of Symbaloo, but I truly enjoy it and find it interesting!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Blog Post #6: Questions

any questions? written on a chalkboard
"What do we need to know about asking questions to be an effective teacher?"
-Dr. Strange
One major thing that I have learned in EDM310, is that in order to get feedback from our future students, we as teachers should ask questions when answering students in a group discussion! By asking questions, the students HAVE to use their thinking skills and put their minds to the test!

Maryellen Weimer, author of the blog post Three Ways to Ask Better Questions in the Classroom, discovered three ways teachers can make improvements when asking their class questions. We as teachers, should prepare questions, play with questions, and preserve good questions. When preparing questions to ask, we should think about if the question(s) is relatable to the subject and if it should be asked, and when is the best time to ask the question(s) during the lesson. However, there are many other points to think about when preparing questions for the classroom. Playing with questions means, leaving the question unanswered for a certain amount of time and using some strategies that encourage students to think about it. On occasion, students will ask extremely good questions, and when they do, KEEP IT! Jot the question down and depending on if you teach high school or middle school, you can ask the next class coming in.

In the article, Asking Questions to Improve Learning many points are made about strategizing when improving questions. However, there was one tool that stood out to me more than any other information in the text, and that was "Bloom's Taxonomy."
The chart above, shows another way to think about when and how to use questions when teaching. Benjamin Bloom (1956) identified six types of cognitive processes and ordered them according to the level of complexity. The idea is to combine questions that require lower-order thinking to assess students’ knowledge and comprehension with questions that require higher-order thinking to assess students’ abilities to apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate.

Dr. Joanne Chelsey discusses the difference between open-ended questions and closed-ended questions in her video Asking Better Questions in the Classroom. Dr. Chelsey starts off with pointing out that a closed-ended question is asked for the student and can be answered in one word, such as "yes or no." A closed-ended question may even be answered with a brief phrase. Whereas an open-ended question is left "open" for response. Open-ended questions require more thinking than closed-ended questions.

I have learned so many different ways to make improvements when asking questions as a teacher. They have all been very informative and helpful! I cannot wait to start putting the suggestions to use in my classroom!!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Blog Post #5: Podcasts

drawing of podcast logo
Judy Scharf
The word podcast, as described by, Judy Scharf contributor of Podcast Collection, comes from the two words, "broadcast" and "iPod." Scharf also describes podcasts as being a "radio-style" talk show. Podcasts may be listened to, on any device that has internet capabilities, or the ability to store the "talk show" (i.e. MP3 players). Scharf shares a link to an instructional video found on TeacherTube: Podcast Instructions. The video was developed to tell what a podcast is, step by step instructions for creating a podcast, and other educational ways to take advantage of podcasts. Aside from the video, Scharf also included tips on creating a well developed podcast.
"1. Make sure you spend enough time learning Audacity (or the software you use) to feel comfortable with it.
2. Give students a choice of topics.
3. Let students pick the people they want to work with.
4. Have some exemplary podcasts for them to listen to.
5. Include a list of criteria for research.
6. Allow plenty of time to complete the project. Everything takes longer than you think it will!
7. Invite the principal, department chairperson, or some other person to come in and see the presentations. Students will be very proud of their work."
-Judy Scharf's Tips to Succeeding
Langwitches: Flat Stanley
A first grade class read a book by Jim Brown titled "Flat Stanley." The class was then given an assignment to prepare themselves for an upcoming, entire class podcast project:
"As their homework assignment, they were to pick a location of their choosing and to borrow a book from the library about that location. They could also use the internet to research their destination. Together with their parents they read the book and wrote a short script that needed to include: The location (City, State, Country, and/or Continent). How did they get there (transportation)? What did they do at that location? How did they get back home?"
-Langwitches Blog January 5, 2010
After an extensive brainstorming session, the class recorded the podcast on GarageBand. The podcast was posted on Langwitches Blog and the comments were nothing but positive! Educators from all over the world were astounded at the creativity of the assignment developed by the first graders, SIX YEAR OLD students! One blogger commented by saying, "you all did a wonderful job with this podcast! I think your reading is exceptional especially with your enthusiasm and expression! You kept my attention the whole time! I enjoyed listening to your travels!" -Sally Boone

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom
Joe Dale provides a clip that describes the benefits of podcasting in a classroom, on his blog. A few of Dale's main points provided in the video are:
-an effective way of interacting with students outside of the classroom "-a form of learning students of today are familiar with and therefore makes it relevant to them
-it allows for differentiation and project based learning
-it can offer distance learning opportunities for absent students
-students can record role plays in character making their learning more memorable
-parents can see and hear what their children are doing at school"
-Joe Dale
Dale also provides many links to instructional videos for using GarageBand, and how to set up a podcast. He even provided separate podcast tutorial videos for Mac and PC users!

After learning about how easy it is to use podcasting as a 21st century tool, I can honestly say that I am stoked to get the opportunity use podcasting in my future EDM310 assignments. Not only for EDM310, but I look forward to using podcasts in my future classroom for various reasons!

Project #3 Presentation

Blog Post #4: 21st Century Tools

21st century tools logos

Edmodo- Melissa Canterbury
Edmodo: Edmodo is a social media tool similar to Facebook and Twitter for educators, students and parents to communicate with each other. After creating an account and exploring the website more, I quickly became really interested in it. At first when creating your profile, it prompts you to select "communities" or categories you are interested in. For example, Mathematics, Computer Technology, Creative Arts, Science, Social Studies, etc. Other teachers who have selected these categories as their "communities" can then post lessons or resources for other teachers to access. Edmodo is also very organized. There is a library tab where the teacher can add links and files so that students or parents can locate them anywhere. When posting, the teacher has the object to title the post, whether it be "assignment", "poll", "quiz", or an "alert". I know from using Facebook and Twitter myself that the amount of users on those two social media is rapidly increasing. After researching on Wolframalpha the "daily visitors of Twitter and Facebook", WolframAlpha reported:
Daily visitors on 640 million visit/day
Daily visitors on 84 million visit/day.
These numbers show just how many people use social media today. I can only predict those numbers increasing in the next couple of years. In my classroom I wish to be as connected as my students and parents as possible. With Edmodo, it allows me to be connected with my students and parents through a social media, which they are used to using in their personal lives. However, Edmodo lets me keep the personal lives separate since it is strictly for educators and their students and parents. When using this tool in my elementary classroom, I can use Edmodo to keep in touch with my students as a whole when they are outside of my classroom. I will make sure to teach the importance of social media safety. This page will also allow students to communicate with each other. The teacher can also put her friends into groups, so with parents, I will put them in their own group. This way teachers can communicate with each other about what is going on in the classroom and keep it separate from the students. Edmodo was a very interesting site and I already have teachers sharing links and lessons with me. I am looking forward to exploring this site more throughout the semester and sharing with EDM how it works and how effective I think it will be in the classroom.

Prezi- Caitlin Lankford
Prezi is an online whiteboard that converts presentations from lectures into conversations: allowing people to see, distinguish, and remember thoughts. Randy Howder, the design strategist for Prezi said on the website that, “Prezi allows us to communicate design ideas with our clients in a highly engaging and dynamic way, liberating interesting conversations from the boredom of one-way presentations.” Prezi is designed to improve organization skills and make learning more engaging! This network system, is also available for easy access to share occurring and abundant ideas! Prezi is not just used for educators, but also used by businesses, conferences, and non-profit organizations. Prices for Prezi are also a steal! For public use, Prezi is free. However, if one would like to upgrade Prezi to the “Enjoy,” the price rises to $4.92 monthly, adding up to be $59.00 annually. There is one more upgrade, called “Pro” pricing at $13.25 a month, and $159.00 annually! Although, teachers and students do receive a discount with “Enjoy” being free and “Pro” pricing at $4.92 monthly and annually, $59.00. For a comparisons found on Wolframalpha about presentation website idea prices, SlideShare starts out free, then proceeds to Silver ($19.00 a month), Gold ($49.00 a month), and Platinum (call for details). Unfortunately, Picsviewr did not have a specific amount for using the presentation tool. Prezi is such an interesting tool for not only teachers, but for anyone who is required to deliver a presentation. This tool is quite easy to use and extremely beneficial! I am excited to become familiar with Prezi and use it in EDM310, and as well as in my future classroom!

PhotoPeach- Lauren Macon
PhotoPeach is a video tool where you can create a slideshow in three easy steps. It is used in hundreds of schools worldwide, but you do not have to be an educator to use it. Your slideshow can be shared on websites and via email. PhotoPeach is free, but you can upgrade to become a premium user for only three dollars a month, which allows you to download unlimited shows in burnable CD format, upload your own music, create unlimited photo albums, and customize the transition effects. The website states that “the combination of images, music, and text helps students learn about presentation, expression, writing, communication skills, art appreciation, and media literacy.” There are three advantages for PhotoPeach for educators. One, it is easy to create and can be easily started and stopped within class time. Second, teachers can control and manage student privacy. The slideshows can be kept private or can be shared with the parents and others in the community. Third, it is a great tool for collaborative group work. The students can answer quizzes and polls that the teacher created or the students can create their own. This is an easy tool for teachers and students to give a presentation to the class. PhotoPeach can also be used in the library, technology class, as an assessment tool, as a slideshow, international exchange between schools and much more. You can also follow other people’s accounts or view different slideshows in various categories. On Wolframalpha, Animoto, another video tool, receives 1.2 million daily views, whereas PhotoPeach receives only 92,000. PhotoPeach is a great tool to use in the classroom, or for anyone creating a slideshow. After creating my own account to experience PhotoPeach, I am looking forward to using this tool more and using it in my future classroom.

C4T: #1

MacBook keyboard

For my first C4T assignment, Dr. Strange assigned me to comment on a blog developed by Dr. Wesley Fryer, a digital learning consultant, author, digital storyteller, educator and change agent. Dr. Fryer is also the author of “Mapping Media to the Common Core” digital literacy framework and ebook “Playing with Media.” All while, he is a fervent advocate for immersed digital learning and student-created digital media projects. He has taught many technology courses at different school, including University of Montana, the University of Central Oklahoma, the University of North Texas, and Wayland Baptist University.

The first post commented on, Dr. Fryer wrote about the fifth graders at Independence Elementary School of Oklahoma, having the opportunity to intractably write on KidBlog. My comment is as follows:
"I enjoyed learning about the 5th grade students participating in KidBlog. As a future teacher, I believe using technology as a learning tool, is so beneficial. In a technology based world, it is so crutial to use technology being that we are surrounded by technology. On a personal level, my late high school is in a Technology Renaissance where every current student has a MacBook for learning reasons. In the past two years, the passing and graduating rates have inclined. As said before, because we are surrounded by technology, it is safe to say that technology is a good thing."
For Dr. Fryer's second blog post, Dr. Fryer explained his newly developed way of explaining how to use MacBooks. Dr. Fryer built a website entitled MacBook Maestro. Dr. Fryer has built MacBook Maestro specifically for educators who are required to use MacBooks in their classrooms, that do not have enough time to adapt to the changes of the Mac system.
Dr. Fryer, I truly appreciate the fact that you built a website to help educators learn how to use their MacBooks. For years, I have personally used a PC until I got into the EDM310 class, where I got a MacBook Pro. It took me a few days to adapt to the change, because the Mac system is so different compared to a PC. However, I do adapt quickly to new technology, but I assure you that educators are thankful for your services, in the new website, MacBook Maestro.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading both of Dr. Fryer's blog posts! By the way he reacts in his posts, one can truly tell that he is passionate about his work!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Blog Post #3: Peer Editing

everyone needs a good editor

Peer Editing
Often in grade school, teachers told their students to peer edit particular activities, worksheets, term papers, etc. Hearing the words, "pass your papers behind you so your peers can edit your work," always seemed to make me extremely nervous! I would think to myself, my work wasn't good enough and my peers will laugh at my hard work! However, when I got in high school, mainly the 11th and 12th grades, I wanted the teacher to say, "pass your papers behind you!" I would rather have a peer edit my work, and not a teacher. Peer editing, as described in the video "What is Peer Editing?" and the slideshow "Peer Edit With Perfection" means to work with someone your own age- usually someone in the same class as you- to help improve, revise, and edit his/her writing. This assignment suggested by Paige Ellis, a former EDM310 student, was very helpful. Paige Ellis demonstrated a situation involving errors in her peer's blog. Some of the errors in the blog were obvious, while some where not. Ellis personally asked Dr. Strange how she should address the situation. Dr. Strange told Ellis that the best way to approach it was her choice, whether publicly or privately, but it needed to be done. As future teachers, we will have to critique our students work constantly. So, when peer editing we should approach situations like Ellis demonstrated, in the same way we would as a teacher. There are three steps we should follow when editing our peer's work. Step 1: Compliments. We should compliment on our peers hard work, focusing on the main idea and structure. Step 2: Suggestions. After complimenting on the work, we are to make suggestions, if need be. For instance, if the work is not organized, suggest in a positive way, that the structure of the work is not properly built and the worker should rethink their way of organizing the work. Step 3: Corrections. If there should be grammatical errors, in a nice way, the editor should comment on how to correct the errors. For this step, the editor should pay close attention on how they word the needed corrections, don't be a Mean Margaret or a Picky Patty. We don't want to embarrass or humiliate the peer. In the video "Writing Peer Review Top 10 Mistakes," a class of elementary students explained in a humorous way, the top 10 mistakes when editing. When editing, we should stay positive and not be a Mean Margaret. We should also critique discretely, and not be a Loud Larry. This assignment, suggested by Ellis, has opened my eyes to new ways of critiquing, not only as a peer, but also as a future teacher! Using the previous suggestions from Ellis' blog, the two videos and the slide show, I will honestly critique my group member's blog posts! Both of my group members, have typed up very well written posts! I have not found major grammatical errors or spelling errors. If I do find an error, I plan to email my peer to suggest a change that should possibly be fixed. I choose to email my peers rather than in a comment, so that they will not feel humiliated or embarrassed in front of the rest of the class. (I hope that they do the same for me!!) Both my group members, have great organization skills when it comes to their blog posts. The posts are not scattered, they are uniformed. Making critiques on a peer's work, is potentially an amazing thing in the long run. When a student critiques a piece of work, they see things, the writer/worker does not. As said before, at first you may feel intimidated when having a piece of work edited by a peer. Therefore, I ask you this, would you rather a friend edit your work, or a teacher who gives the final grade?