Sunday, September 28, 2014

Blog Post #6

What do you learn from these conversations with Anthony Capps?

Project Based Learning synonyms     Anthony Capps has a great knowledge of the project based learning techniques and is someone I have learned a lot from this week.  As a third grade teacher in Baldwin County School systems, he has a lot of experience that is more viable to me because this is closer to home.  I enjoyed Project Based Learning Part 1 in that Capps talks about how projects must be interesting to the students before they will be worth anything to the program.  Students focus on content before they do anything else, and if a project seems boring to them, they will put in very little effort.  Capps discusses how project based learning takes a lot of effort and planning on the teacher's part, but it is well worth the involvement from the students and their learning during the projects.

       In Strange Tips for Teachers Part 1, Capps talks about how teachers develop their craft during their free time.  They do not get the chance to learn new techniques and methods during the day, they are too busy actually working.  Free time must be used to better themselves as teachers-just like personal hobbies.  I have seen this in my mom, she works her booty off every night and weekend to make things better for her student, and she does not get paid for time off the clock!  Capps offers the suggestion to "start with the end in mind".  As teachers, we must be flexible in our time.  As long as we get the end of our goal, which is to get a lesson across and learned by the student, we should not get flustered if that takes longer to come about.


C4K's for September

Picture depicting the world september

For the almost the entire month of September, I was assigned the blog of Taeshell, a student in the PT England School in New Zealand.  Taeshell is a big fan of Math and Science and often post about them in her blog.  The other student I was assigned is Toliver, a fourth grade student in Nebraska. Toliver's blog is found here.

      Taeshell's blog post was about a Popplet she made to describe synonyms for the words 'lots'.  Prior to seeing Taeshell's post, I had never heard of Popplet and I told her so.  I described EDM310 to Taeshell and thanked her for the opportunity to use her wealth of knowledge in technology to better my understanding of its use in the classroom.  I also learned some new words for lots, I never knew there were so many synonyms!

Cartoon of child and dad talking about blogging      Toliver is a fascinating student.  He is very passionate about his love of fall.  He enjoys football, pumpkin pie, and spending time with family.  Also, jumping in leaves.  Who doesn't enjoy a good time in the leaves? I told Toliver about Mobile, and its still feels like summer here most days.  I also agreed with him on his love of football and gave him the reason I love fall-which is because I can wear cool scarves and hats.

      Taeshell's most recent post is a video she made for her assignment titled "Game On".  I can honestly say that I know nothing about the sport of tennis.  Taeshell managed to change that for me.  Her short movie about the history and mechanics of tennis left me with the knowledge to go a few rounds and not make a complete fool of myself.  She used hand drawn pictures and animations in her video, something I have not thought to do.  Her video has inspired me to do even better on my videos and presentations.

Commenting on Taeshell's and Toliver's blogs this past month has made me realize how adept children are at using technology.  In order to keep up with them in the classroom, teachers are going to have their work cut out for them.  I am going to work harder to understand these technologies and better myself as a modern day teacher so I can give students the best education, just like they deserve!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

C4T #1

I was assigned Lisa Thumann as my teacher for the week.  Thumann works with teachers to help them with innovative technology in the classroom.  Thumann's blog can be found here,Thumannresources.  I commented on her latest post, which was on August 22, 2013.

    Let's Talk About Attrition Rates at unConferences is about Thumann being concerned because accepting only 50% of participation at the unConference events is acceptable.  Thumman does not believe this is acceptable because she hates to see wasted food and the wasted effort of the organizers who planned for so long only to have half the registered amount of people show up.  Thumman discusses how attrition rates have continued to drop during these free events she is involved with, the last of which only 25% of the people that said they were coming actually showed up.  Thumann questions if event planners should continue to guesstimate or if they should require people to RSVP according to specific rules only if they are definitely going to attend.
     My Comment: Hi, Ms. Thumann.  My name is Kathryn Ortmann and I am a student at the University of South Alabama enrolled in a technology class. I am studying to be a teacher.  Reading your blog post disturbed me and had me thinking.  I don't know if there are really any rules you could apply to those registering if it is a free event.  There will always be rule breakers and those that do not appreciate the planning that has gone into an event, especially when they do not even bother to show up for the event.  I'm sorry you are having problems with this, and I hope things will be resolved soon.

      Untapped Apps on Google Drive is Thumann's article post about the hidden features of Google Drive.  I quite enjoyed this post and learned many new features about Google Drive that I previously did not know.  Thumman describes apps such as HelloFax which allows users to sign and send documents easily online.  WeVideo is a simple way of editing and creating video footage by adding transitions, music, and graphics.  GeoGebra is a mathematics software package that assists in the learning of algebra, geometry, graphing, and calculus.  TwistedWave lets you edit audio files in your Google Drive.  RightSignature allows you to send contracts, proposals, forms, and applications when using Google Drive on a mobile device.  Pixlr Editor is an online picture editing program.
     My Comment: Hello, Ms. Thumann.  Thank you so much for this post! I am a student in an educational media class at the University of South Alabama and we are learning to use Google Drive.  I myself am not that competent in the system yet, but your post has made things so much easier! I love these features that are hidden like Easter eggs in the multitude of options in Google Drive.  Thanks again!

Project #15

Search Engines
LinkedIn icon
  1. LinkedIn is a search engine used to make business connections.  It allows users to find job openings with any criteria the seeker may want to narrow down.  I have personally used this search engine, and I found my job at Best Buy by entering in specific things I was looking for in a job.  I will continue to use LinkedIn as a means of finding jobs in the teaching community when I am ready throughout my career. 
  2. Addict-o-Matic allows its users to create tags and continuously come back to its site to check up on those tags.  Each one shows up on the engine's home page, so users may view multiple results at once.  I like that the site allows users to sort the results by sources and users can ignore certain types of sources they chose.  Visit Addict-o-Matic  
Addict-o-matic icon
logo for WolframAlpha       3. Wolfram Alpha is a search engine geared towards calculations and general information.  You can ask it a range of questions and get back unique answers.  I love that the same search engine can answer a complicated math problem at the same time it is telling me what the highest mountain in the world is.  Visit Wolfram Alpha 
      4. BoardReader is a site I use often.  This search engine allows its users to search through forum posts according to subject and dates.  I love this site.  It lets me search through various recipes and sets of instructions to make daily life easier.  I also use it to see if anyone has come up with a home remedy for the common cold-like that will ever happen haha! Visit Boardreader 

      5. Regator is a search engine for blogs.  It allows its users to search through all of the blogs on the internet and narrow the blogs down by dates, if the post has video or audio, and other criteria.  I personally have used this site before, when I blog on my personal blog outside of this class.  I like being nosy and finding out what others are posting and talking about! Visit Regator

Regator logo
      6. Flickr is a search engine funded by Yahoo! This site allows users to search through a variety of images posted to the internet.  These images may be screenshots, illustrations, photos, or videos.  I have had great success with Flickr as it is simply based on images and I do not have to worry about any of the text that may me involved with the site.  Visit Flickr

Clipblast logo      7. Clipblast is how I stay up to date on what is going around the world.  Clipblast is a search engine for videos.  It allows you to find professional videos such a news broadcasts, podcasts, and commercials.  Some sources include ESPN, BBC, and CNN.  I like this engine because it allows me to have the latest news and videos about any topic I want.  I can narrow the videos down by popular topics, a topic I wish to watch videos about, or the channel I am looking for something from.  Visit Clipblast 

      8. Sleedo is a search engine I have bookmarked and as my homepage on my laptop.  Sleedo is powered by Google, but for every search you complete with them they will donate 10 grains of rice to the poor.  At first I thought, well that's not very many.  But then I got to thinking, I probably complete 1,000-1,500 web searches every week.  That's at least 10,000 grains of rice donated each week.  Please use this web page as you would use the usually Google search engine-this one just does good for the world! Visit Sleedo 
sleedo logo

Blog post #4

Asking Questions: What questions do we ask? How do we ask?

Students's hands raised to ask a question

     Teachers are always going to struggle to get every one of their students to engage and participate in discussion in class.  Asking questions of the students is an excellent way to get students to open up in class and participate with their other classmates.  However, asking questions can be just as ineffective as it is effective.  Asking only a closed ended question can be extremely detrimental to a classroom sitting.  A closed ended question only has a yes or a no answer and does not provoke anymore discussion in the classroom.  Example: Did you complete your homework last night? This type of question presents a choice between two answers, yes or no.  Now, these questions may be useful in the classroom by following them with another question.  Using the example above, if the student replied that they did not complete their homework, the teacher could follow up with an open ended question such as: Well, why didn't you do your homework?  Open ended questions invoke responses and do not offer only a choice between few answers.
     Open ended questions are some of the most important in a teacher's array of weapons in teaching.  According to the article, Asking Questions to Improve Learning, open ended questions are often the most effective in encouraging discussion and active learning in the classroom.  The article gives some good examples for some open ended questions for teachers to use in their classrooms.  Some of these are:
  • Can you explain what you mean?
  • How do you know that?
  • What is your initial reaction to this argument?
  • How does that concept apply to this problem?
Ben Johnson's post, The Right Way to Ask Questions in the Classroom, says that students will split themselves into three categories: those who are smart, those who are not, and those that simply do not care.  Students that are in the smart category will be the first to answer a question, correctly or incorrectly.  Students in the not smart category will not answer questions and simply go the whole day with saying anything.  Students that do not care will let others answer or not answer, but they will never be bothered either way.  Johnson offers a solution to this problem.  Teachers ask a question, wait a few seconds, and then call on a specific student.  Once the students get used to the teacher using this method, they will all start to formulate an answer because they do not know if they will be the one called on to answer.  I think this method has great potential in getting students to participate and actually think about the content of lessons-not just skate by with the minimum of understanding needed to pass the class.
     Asking questions is and will always be the most effective tool for a teacher to use in the classroom.  Without asking questions, a teacher has no idea of what their students are actually learning and if they are truly retaining any information.  Effective questions encourage class participation and help the students to become involved in the material.  Involvement will make the information memorable instead of just something for them to keep in the short term memory and forget after the exam.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blog Post #3

How Can You Provide Meaningful Feedback to Your Peers?

picture of Yoda encouraging to check yourself

     After watching the What is Peer Editing video, I learned that peer editing is "working with someone your own age to improve, revise, and edit his or her writing".  I think the most important part to take away from that definition is "to improve" the writing.  In no way is peer editing supposed to hinder the writing or make the writer feel bad about his or her labors. In fact, the video stresses that compliments are a very important step in the peer editing process and it is important to stay positive. Complimenting and pointing out what a person has done well seems to make them more likely to listen to what you are about to suggest for them to correct.  This is true in other situations besides peer editing, and helps in those scenarios too!
     The Peer Edit with Perfection Tutorial  slideshow really stuck the three rules of peer editing into my head. The steps are:
                1. Compliments
                2. Suggestions
                3. Corrections
encouraging message to be positive using a smiley faceI talked about complimenting in the above paragraph, so now I will discuss suggestions and corrections.  Both can easily be taken as insults by the writer, so it is best to remember to stay positive! I really liked how the tutorial says to make suggestions on word choice, using details, organization, sentences, and topic.  The tutorial also reminds me to be specific when making suggestions.  I should never post something like "Your word choice is nice".  Instead, I should say something along the lines of "Your use of the words exceptional and egotistical really impressed me and gave me a sense of your feelings on the matter".  The last step in the peer editing process is to make corrections.  These corrections may involve grammar mistakes, improper punctuation, and incorrect spelling.  Again, always remember to be positive and helpful to your peer!
     I loved, loved, loved Writing Peer Review (Peer Critique) TOP 10 Mistakes.  The students in this video obviously have some very hands on experience with peer editing and the dos and don'ts.  I particularly enjoyed the section about Whatever William.  This shows how both students should participate in peer reviews, it is not just about the reviewer, but the one being reviewed must be responsive to feedback given.  Feedback is only meaningful if you take something away from it.  The reviewer must work to be positive and helpful, making the feedback meaningful for the writer.  At the same time, the one being reviewed must be open the the feedback and want it to help them-that makes the feedback meaningful for them.