Saturday, April 25, 2015

Blog Post #5 Part B

What can I say? Wow. It has been such an interesting and fulfilling semester in this class. I have gained so much knowledge and experience in just 15 short weeks. As I look back on the first part to this blog post, I realize how much more skilled I have become in organizing and utilizing my PLN. I use my personalized Symbaloo everyday to maneuver through my PLN. I rarely use the search bar to find crucial websites to my network such as Twitter and Alex, even my Google drives and Sakai online courses. Even though it has taken me some time and dedication to organize and build my PLN, I can find resources, save important information, and share ideas more easily than I have ever be able to before. I have added all of my C4T blogs to my PLN as well. I have found videos, programs, and websites through those teacher blogs that I have actually incorporated into this class. For example, I found this great website called Sway from Denise Krause's blog. My group is using Sway for our final project 16 presentation. Sway is a simple and unique way to create clean presentations for work, school, or for fun. Not only have I benefited from the content of these teachers blogs, but also by following them on Twitter. I have been able to be actively involved in educational conversations with these teachers through Twitter. One assignment during this semester, required our group to answer the question, "what is the new role of the teacher?". Using Twitter, I was able to get immediate feedback from other educators who had joined the conversation:

Join the conversation on Twitter at #educhat. 

I plan to use Twitter more and more frequently so that I can find and learn more about my content area, build meaningful professional relationships, and grow my PLN. I believe in a PLN because it makes your life easier as an educator. By putting forth the time and effort to cultivate your PLN, you can save yourself frustration in the classroom. Through my PLN, I have gained confidence, experience, and support through peers and experienced teachers that will carry on far into my future classrooms. 

C4T for April

For my final C4T, I was assigned to comment on Ms. Ferguson's blog. I commented on her most recent post, "Infowhelm and Information Fluency." In this blog post, Ms. Ferguson shares a video that gives mind blowing information about the overflow of information and technology in today's society. Ms. Ferguson was truly astonished at the exponential growth of our world's digital output.
I honestly didn't realize how much information and digital output. In 2009, we had reached 500 exabytes of digital output, that's 13 stacks of books that could reach from Earth, all the way to Pluto!
In my comment, I introduced myself to Ms. Ferguson. She had many comments from previous EDM310 students here at South Alabama. I explained to her that I could not believe that our digital output had increased by 10,000% in the last six years! I also told her that we had been discussing our technological uses and advantages in EDM310 frequently this semester and that I have learned a lot about how I can utilize this technology in my future classroom.
 This was my comment to her blog post:
"Ms. Ferguson,
I am another student from the University of South Alabama in EDM310. This video completely astounded me. I knew our digital output was very large, but an increase of 10,000% in the last six years is unimaginable. I agree with this video. With the outstanding amount of information made available to students 24/7, our job as educators should be  that of a tour guide. Asking questions, using appropriate sources, and finding the best answers are all apart of what makes a great 21st century educator. We talk a lot about this in our EDM310 class. If you would like to see some of the things we have learned and created this semester, please feel free to take a look at my blog. Happy blogging! I hope to hear from you soon."

This is the video in Ms. Ferguson's post about infowhelm and today's digital output.

C4K for April

I was assigned to comment on Kyah's blog for one of my last C4K. Kyah is a student in Mr. Webbauro's class in New Zealand. I left a comment on her blog post about the Weetbix Triathlon which Kyah and her classmates her apart of on the first of April. She included a great video in her post which showed the highlights from their participation in the triathlon. Kyah's blog was also very well organized and had a lot of information and resources. She also had a animated dog on her side bar that was very tempting to play with. In my comment, I told Kyah about the puppy I just brought home, and how much fun I have had taking care of him.
This is my comment to Kyah:

Hello, my name is Corinne Shirley and I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I really like your blog! I enjoyed playing with your little virtual puppy, Baxter. I have a real puppy at home, and his name is Bailor. He looks a lot like Baxter. It looks like you and your classmates had a load of fun at the triathlon. Was it exhausting? Did you just run, or did you have to do other physical activities? I have been in a few Color Me Rad runs, but never a triathlon. I hope to participate in one some day. If you want to check out my blog you, you can just visit by clicking here. I loved your video! Keep posting and happy blogging. 

-Corinne Shirley" 

weet -bix2015 kyah jayden caro from Myles Webb on Vimeo.
This is the video Kyah shared of her participating in the triathlon.

For my final C4K, I was assigned to comment on Jinlay's blog in Mr. Gardner's class. Jinlay had an interesting blog post entitled "Lunch For My Teacher". This post was full of descriptive language and was also very fun and creative. Jinlay created a "recipe" of what would be a great lunch for her teacher. Instead of a lunch for her teacher, Jinlay made her teacher apart of the recipe...literally!
She received some comments from skeptical readers but I thought her post was entertaining.
In my comment I introduced myself, the class, and our school. I asked her how she came up with her lunch recipe and if maybe the teacher had given her too much homework and that's how he became apart of her revenge lunch. It was not to be taken seriously at all, I actually thought it was a creative way for her to use descriptive language and create her own recipe.

This was Jinlay's recipe:

"Salad: Seaweed with Saliva.
Soup: Gushed out Eyeballs soup With blood All over!!!.
Main Cours: A 10 Feet long Sandwich With Mr.Gardner’s Feet In It.
Drinks: A Blood Thirsty Drink With Mr.Gardner’s Eyeballs On The Side!!.
Dessert: A Jelly Mold Of Mr.Gardner’s Butt!!!!.
#.#<OH NOO!)"
This was my comment to her silly recipe:
"Hello Jinlay, my name is Corinne Shirley and I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL. I am here to leave a comment on your blog post. This sounds like an interesting lunch! How did you come up with this recipe? Did your teacher give you a lot of homework to make you mad so you made him apart of your lunch meal? This is such a great and funny post. You should check out my blog sometime: Corinne Shirley EDM310. Happy blogging! Keep up the good work." 
Lunch time is play time! 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Blog Post #14

For this week's blog post, we were assigned to read an article by Joel Klein entitled "Teaching Our Children Can Be a Profession". This article discusses many of the major problems within our public schools, and also the radical changes it would take to solve these problems.

Problem: Many teachers have been hired simply because they have a college degree.
Solution: Recruit teachers who graduated in the top third of their class

I totally agree that this problem exist in public schools across the nation. I think the solution presented for this problem is ideal but not entirely realistic. I also believe that many people stray away from the idea of teaching because it does not pay as well as other jobs that these third-top-of-their-class recruits could have. I believe that many teachers today are also apart of that mentioned "top third" and still do not get paid well or respected for their hard work and dedication. This is a real problem but the proposed solution is not obtainable. My solution to this problem would be to increase the average salary of a teacher, and then those teachers who graduated in the top third of their class won't have to be recruited, they will come willingly.

Problem: Teachers who have had more experience than new teachers will always be chosen first, simply because of seniority.
Solution: To make teaching a profession by treating all teachers as equals, and allowing teachers to earn their levels of achievement.

This problem was evident even to me as a student in high school. I believe that the solution to this problem is a real and applicable solution. According to Klein, teachers would  develop a "formal set of peer relationships"  as well as a "national teaching exam" that gives teachers the opportunity to earn their raises and achievements through "knowledge-based"testing, similar to entry exams for doctors and lawyers. This accompanied with a "one to three year internship" as Klein mentions, would also help to recreate teaching as a profession.

Problem: Teaching has not been treated or respected as if it is a profession, even by educators themselves.
Solution: Teachers will have a self established board to "police the profession" by making standards and "providing mechanisms to remove incompetent teachers".

I agree that this is also a problem in our nation. I also agree with the solution that teachers should have a self established board  because not only would this board be able to remove incapable teachers, but would create a more professional atmosphere for teaching's reputation. I think that teachers would also feel more empowered to speak out about their opinions toward state standards, and public school policies because they would know that they have someone in their corner to vouch for them and to give respect and support.

I really enjoyed this article because I feel relieved that there are other people speaking out and sharing their opinions about the problems in our nations public school system and what solutions are going to benefit not only students, but teachers as well. Happy, motivated teachers excite, engage and encourage happy students.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Technology and Teaching: My Philosophy

In EDM310, I have learned so much about technology and how it can be used in the classroom to create, engage, connect, and even at times, amaze students and educators. My philosophy for teaching and technology is that as a future educator, I cannot be a good teacher and ignore the digital age that we live in. Technology coexists with learning and teaching. Technology gives students and teachers the ability to learn more, and open our minds even greater than before because any information that we need to know can now be found at the click of a button. Why would we not want to take advantage of that wonderful tool? By having such incredible access to facts, concepts, and real life information, educators can now focus on the "why" and "how" rather than just "who" and "when". Asking in depth questions, incorporating creativity, and building real-world skills is apart of being able to efficiently use technology in the classroom. In my opinion, educators would be doing a disservice to their students if they chose to not incorporate technology into their classrooms and lesson plans. I will take away so much valuable information away from EDM310, and all of the technological tools I have gained will carry on into every classroom and student's mind that I have.

This video is a glance into a future classroom. Look at all the opportunities education has with continuing and growing technology!

Blog Post #13: What Did I Leave Out?

I think every student throughout any school should have the opportunity to learn at their level, be engaged and excited through the learning process, as well as retain all the concepts and skills they learn throughout the school year. I believe that it is important to consider all types of students when we reach for these education goals, whether it be special education, remedial students, and even gifted students. My focus for this blog post is about how educators can challenge and excite their gifted students, in a way that does not isolate them from the rest of the class.
I believe that challenging gifted students is very important because I was considered a gifted student through out my education. I always made great grades, and answered all the questions in class that other students did not want to. I would always complete my work early, and even have my homework completed in class as well. I would become a distraction to other students, as I would try to find some  form of entertainment by chatting away with my friends, who unfortunately were not finished with their class work.  I became frustrated often when I would get in trouble for talking, even though I knew I was a good student. This continued on until after high school. Now that I am in college, I can say that this is the first time in my career as a student that I have ever felt challenged and excited about the knew things I am learning. I am now able to share my ideas, stretch my creative muscles, and not feel uncomfortable with my good grades or my excitement to learn. 
I have found some great videos that help identify gifted students, myths about gifted students, and different ways to challenge your gifted students in the classroom. In the video, Characteristic of Gifted Students, Betsy Weigle shares her own personal experiences with some of her gifted students. Weigle gives tips and characteristics that helped her identify her own gifted students such as enjoying adult conversation, large vocabularies, and sometimes even social awkwardness. She even spoke of an instance where she had to pull one of her gifted students aside because that student was "bragging" about her intelligence to other students. Once Weigle pulled her to the side to explain to her how her behavior made other classmates feel, that student was able to change her attitude and help encourage other students to learn and achieve their goals.
Another video that was absolutely awesome in exposing myths and truths about gifted learners was a student-created video called Top 10 Myths in Gifted Education. These students came together to help destroy the myths that teachers, parents, counselors, principals, and board members have about gifted students. I loved this video because the message conveyed came straight from gifted students and the struggles they deal with through stereotypes. It really is a testament to how create and important these gifted students are.
The last video entitled Six Ways to Meet Bright and Gifted Kids' Needs Without Much Extra Work, is such a simple and effective way for teachers to help their gifted students. Marty Nemko discusses very effective strategies for getting gifted students excited and challenged in the midst of remedial students. I think this video is important for all teachers to have as a tool to refer to when dealing with learning diversities in the classroom. As an educator, I will never have the "ideal" classroom, and I will always be accommodating to every students' needs in my class. This is why these simple approaches, such as dividing students into groups by ability, having students suggest alternate assignments, and letting gifted students be a "roving assistant" to other struggling classmates, can be so effective and such an easy to fix problems for teachers.
I feel extremely passionate about not only getting remedial students the help they need, but also challenging gifted students to receive the education that will benefit their future. "Begin to believe in gifted students. Just begin!"