Sunday, November 30, 2014

Blog Post #5 Part 2

My Updated PLN
Personal Learning Network words

      Well, in looking back at my previous posts, somehow my original #5 post wasn't ever published.  In fact, I can not find it anywhere.  So I guess that, in a way, this is my first and only description of my PLN.  I started off with a very limited PLN.  As I was going through high school, my network was completely different because I wanted to be an engineer.  The people I met and make connections with were not really the ones I needed when I decided to instead become a teacher.  Throughout this class, I have really been driven to connect with other teachers and people associated with teachers.  I am quite pleased and proud with the progress I have made! I now communicate frequently with teachers at different school, a couple of principals, and have even had some meetings with members of the Mobile County Public School Board.  It has been an enlightening and interesting semester for sure! 

C4T #4

      David Mulder currently serves as Instructor of Education at Dordt College. Previously he served Christian schools in California and Iowa teaching a variety of subjects, mostly in grades 5-8. His most recent position prior to Dordt was Technology Coordinator at Sioux Center Christian School.

11/16: Reflecting on Social Presence is about Mulder finally meeting up with the people he has an online class with.  He discusses how important communication is and how we should strive to do so, no matter what methods must be used.

My Comment:
      My name is Kathryn Ortmann and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am studying to be an English teacher and am currently taking a class on how to use technology in a classroom. I have been keeping up with your blog for a while now and I really appreciate this post. I know that as a teacher, I am going to have to remember that my fellow staff is there to help me, and I am going to have to communicate with them. I can imagine how difficult it is to take online classes and talk virtually to people, but never end up meeting them. I'm so glad you finally did and were able to put a face to a name! I love your blog, and thanks for talking about what you do. 

      Bored in Class is about keeping students engaged during lectures and how to avoid the "glowing screen" of their technology that is used when they are bored.  He also posted this picture:
Keeping students engaged in the classroom while lecturing

My comment:
      This picture really had me thinking and considering my role as a teacher. I have spent the past semester learning how to be a teacher, and not many of those classes have stressed engaging the students and keeping them involved in the lesson. I know, as a student myself, that glowing screen is going to be waaaaaay more interesting to students then what I am talking about. I hope I can use technology to keep them engaged, instead of them using technology to pass the time during my class. Thanks for the post!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Blog Post #14

By: Joel Klein

    Problems and Solutions
  • Unqualified Teachers
  • Rewarding the Educator
  • Job Security Based on Seniority
  • Raising the qualifications for a teaching degree and making selections from the top of the class
  • Reward based on performance instead of seniority 
  • Eliminate the least effective teacher instead of the newest hire

      I agree that this is a major problem in our education system today.  I like the solution suggested to fix the problem.  I recently took the AECTP test that will qualify me as capable and ready to enter candidacy.  That was the easiest test I have taken throughout my college career.  After I finished, I was thinking that even if you pass that test, you still should not consider yourself capable of teaching another person.  I think colleges and facilities should make their own examinations, and focus on what the subject matter is that the person wishes to teach.  One general knowledge test is not enough.  I also think potential employers should look at grades before hey hire someone.  Just because they finished a degree does not mean that they are fully qualified.  

      Rewarding a teacher is a weird thing.  They all would sure enjoy raises and things like that, but how are you suppose to judge that?  A teacher is only as good as their class, if they absolutely have no drive or interest in learning, it's only going to reflect poorly on the teacher.  My mom, a first grade teacher, will have a super hard working class one year and the next year she will have all of the kids that are only in school to provide a free babysitting service for the parents.   So yes, I agree there should be some type of rewards involved, but I do not think it is a good idea to base it off seniority or performance.  Reward the school as a whole when something goes well, that way everyone will help each other out and there will be no hard feelings between any of the teachers.  

      This rule is the silliest thing.  I work a part-time job at Best Buy.  We are expected to preform to cooperate expectation on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis.  If we do not, we are on our way out of the door before you can even add 2 and 2.  It doesn't matter how long you've been there, only how much money you're making for the company.  Teaching is the same way.  If you cannot effectively teach a class, why should you deserve to stay when there is someone who was hired a year ago that has improved a child's test scores or reading level in such a short time?  I am very much supportive of this suggestion as a solution to the problem regarding seniority in the school system.  

      Sure, the school system has problems.  However, that does not mean the community should not just give up on it.  Problems are great because they bring about solutions.  I think its great that these issues are getting out there and known about, now there will be a stronger push for changes in the system.  All of this is for the kids, the students that will eventually be the ones in our places.  My goal is to mold them and make them better people, I want to be a role model.  Even with problems, I believe teachers can fix them and continue to do what we have learned to do: make a difference and teach others! 
I've got ninety nine problems but failure ain't one

C4Ks for November

November logo

      Harvin's blog post is about his grandfather and all of the experiences they have had together.  Harvin remembers playing with his grandfather and receiving gifts from him.  HArvin is also sad because his grandfather is ill and is in the hospital, but looks forward to when he will be released so they can continue their fun times together.

My comment:
      My name is Kathryn Ortmann. I am a student at the University of South Alabama in the United States. I really like your post about your grandfather. I’m sorry to read that he’s in the hospital, I hope he gets better super quick so you can have more fun with him! Keep up the great blogging! 

      Dez J's blog post is a nifty post about a compare and contrast activity they did with their class.  Dez J compared a PB&J sandwich to a turkey sandwich! How awesome is that? Dez J also made a good point about not calling people names just because you don't understand what they are doing.

My comment:
      My name is Kathryn Ortmann and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in the United States. For one, I love that your user icon is Sonic the Hegehog, he’s my favorite Sega character! Second, I love your blog post about comparing and contrasting a PB&J sandwich to a Turkey sandwich. Very interesting and informative, while keeping it fun at the same time! Good job.

      Matt's blog post is about how much he is enjoying his school year.  Matt really likes his teachers and the subject matter he is learning about.  He's also really looking forward to the next school year, especially so he can play many sports on his school's teams.

My comment:
      My name is Kathryn Ortmann and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I loved your post! I’m glad you’re liking school and looking forward to what’s going to happen in the years to come. I think my favorite subject is reading, and I love National Cat Day and National Sibling Day. I hope you continue to enjoy your semester!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blog Post #13

Social Media in the Classroom

      While we had a lot of assignments this semester about using technology to further the classroom, we never really talked about what most of that technology actually does for the classroom.  The basics, that every person with internet is on a lot of the time.  Social Media. Now, I have a twitter jut for this class.  I have learned so many tips and tricks about the classroom from Twitter, and I think it could be very helpful for classroom activities.  I think that while we are studying to be teachers, we should learn how to use social media in our classroom-encourage the use and not avoid it.  

      Facebook offers some really good informational sources, while allowing communications with people directly involved in certain subjects the class may be studying at the time.  Some specific examples are:

    Facebook logo
  • If your class is studying the current election, use Facebook to follow politicians on the local, state, and national scale. You can even ask students to interact with the candidates, posting questions and getting feedback.
  •  Plenty of games are on Facebook, and many of them are actually educational. Adopt Facebook crosswords, math games, and more as a reward in your classroom.
  • Your classroom can follow journalists and media outlets on social networks, gathering past and current news clips relevant to your latest classroom discussions.
  • Parents can follow along as kids post their projects, and even highlight any insightful resources they may know about.

      Twitter is something I have always thought I would never take a part of.  Just constant updates of your life, no matter how uneventful they may be.  Twitter can be used to share so many important things though, with several different people: parents, students, and other teachers.  

    Twitter logo
  • Set up an interesting assignment requesting that students set up Twitter for education lists following feeds relevant to their career goals and keep a daily journal on any trends that crop up along the way.
  • Rather than keeping up with an e-mail train, students can use Twitter to collaborate on different projects and keep a quick reference on any changes.
  • Classrooms with enough resources can allow students to tweet their own notes during lessons and share with their peers – perhaps even printing them out for home use if they do not have internet access.
  • Teachers and students from around the world can collaborate on projects using Twitter as a communication tool that simultaneously educates students in different classroom and cultural protocols.
Here's how Twitter can help in the classroom!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Project #10

Blog Post #12

Collaborative Blog Post
by: Kathryn Ortmann, Noah Armstrong, Chelsea Power, Tori Hudson, and Melissa Keeler

Kathryn-AT for the Blind and the Visually Impaired

      Students that are blind or have visual impairments are going to be vulnerable to falling behind in a classroom setting. Meet Mason.  He's a first grader and suffers from a vision impairment.  Mason's parents were worried when he first started school that he would not be able to keep up with others and he wouldn't be able to go to a normal school.

Mountbatten Brailler      To help solve some of Mason's complications, his school purchased a Mountbatten Brailler for him to use during class so that he can learn to write and read Braille.  The Mountbatten Brailler is the complete Braille learning center for children and their teachers. As a professional resource, the Mountbatten Brailler offers exceptional connectivity and software to support flexible teaching and educational needs.  The Mountbatten is a simple tool that can be used to develop awareness of Braille symbols and characters. The clear audio response reinforces learning and tells the student which commands are being entered.  The Mountbatten is the first and only Bluetooth Smart hard-copy Braille device that communicates wirelessly with iOS Bluetooth Smart Ready devices. Mason is able to learn Braille at an early age, so as the grade level increases and the difficulty of subject matter increases, Mason can keep up with his fellow classmates.  

      Mason uses an iPad and the Smart Board to increase his learning.  The iPad allows Mason to participate in fun games and learning exercises that teach him how to read and spell.  There are many apps that allow students to listen to words and spell using the sounds, so that they do not really have to see what is happening to learn.  The Smart Board, since it is so big, allows a visually impaired student like Mason to be able to participate and actually know what is happening on the screen.
Girl using a smartboard
Noah- Speech recognition software

In my research I came across a few technologies that are designed to help physically handicapped students, but one stuck out because it is something that would help people like me with forms of dyslexia. Speech recognition software was designed to help use a computer without using the traditional mouse and keyboard. Software like “Dragon” can recognize sounds spoken by the user and convert them into commands for the computer. This allows someone with limited use of their hands to operate a computer with their voice. This allows people with limb abnormalities or amputations to be free of the need for an aid to do the typing for them.
Using this software one can also dictate to the computer what they wish to type. This can help not only the people who find it hard or impossible to type but also those that have problems spelling, like those with Dyslexia. These programs are almost 100% accurate when it comes to spelling and recognizing speech. This allows them to make up for their handicaps.
Speech recognition may not be in itself a learning tool but it levels the playing field so that those with the inability to use a computer normally can have a way to do it on their own without help. This is not only a tool for school work but also for the real world that is now run by computers.

Melissa- AT for the Deaf and Hearing impaired student. 
During my search for assistive technologies available for the hearing impaired or Deaf this disability was often paired with blindness as well. It was explained that both of these disabilities account for the smaller part of the disabled population so maybe that is why they were often paired together. Another reason could be that a lot of times when a person has one disability it can be accompanied by another or sometimes multiple disabilities reside within one person. At any rate I concentrated on the Deaf. The Deaf community and members within consider it offensive to call them hearing impaired or to say that they have suffered a loss of hearing. They consider ASL (American Sign Language) to be their native language and English their second language. Some do not speak by choice however most of the Deaf learn to speak in order to effectively communicate with the general public.

I will move from older to newer technologies as some of the older ones will still be in use but not for long I am sure as smartphones are getting smarter every day.

In the classroom setting the interpreter was at one time the only way a teacher could communicate effectively with a Deaf or hearing impaired student. The interpreter stands to the left and a little bit behind the teacher and signs what the teacher says in sign language for the Deaf student to see and understand.

Hearing aids can be used by some students with hearing impairment however, do know that the aids amplify ALL of the sound including background noise which could still make it difficult for the student to hear the teacher. Use of FM systems (the same kind as presidential security or McDonald's drive through) where the teacher wears a mini microphone and the student wears a pair of headphones is extremely useful in these cases because the student hears ONLY the teacher.

Sidekick is a mobile communication device that allows the user to receive Instant Messages (IM) and Email. Of course this device is being replaced by the cellphone.

Video instruction and televised announcements with closed captioning can be effective tools. The student can pause or review any forgotten or missed parts of the video instruction avoiding misunderstood questions or answers due to language/communication barriers.

Photo experience books created by the student offer a visual tool to communicate personal experiences with a hearing person without the use of spoken language.

Power point presentations are great for the hearing impaired and Deaf students. It is a computer program that is offered through Microsoft. The program allows the teacher to add pictures and text to slides eliminating the need for the student to hear what is being said.
my computer

A vocalization to visualization tool is available for free through a computer program called Winamp media player. A microphone is used and auditory sound is turned into visual fireworks on the computer monitor. This is used to represent the sound that is going on in the room as well as to teach the Deaf student how to speak.

The top assistive technology by far within the Deaf community is the smartphone and texting. The junior high and high schoolers especially like this because it completely eliminates the need to speak. They can communicate clearly and just as quickly with text as their hearing peers.

All of these technologies can and are used in real world situations and like I said earlier the smartphone is quickly replacing a lot of these technologies as I type.

Tori - Today I am going to share with you an app called Proloquo2Go that is available on iTunes. This is an app that gives a voice to people who can not speak through the use of symbols. This is an amazing tool for kids who have trouble with verbal communication. Instead of trying to guess what they want or need, they can click on the appropriate symbols to tell you exactly what they want. When a symbol is clicked, it says the words out loud on the app as well. In this video, you will meet a 10 year-old boy named Nick. He was diagnosed with Autism and has trouble with his verbal communication. The video shows his mother and other people who work with Nick through out the day using Proloquo2Go and they talk about how it has drastically changed the ease in which they communicate. Nick will often try to verbalize what he wants but when/if it does not happen he uses his iPad to press the symbols which make sentences stating what it is he wants, needs, or feels. Most of the time he will also repeat what the app says which is strengthening his verbal communication skills. The app is availiable on the app store for $219.99. That may seem like a lot of money for one app but when it comes to being able to communicate with a child and the child better communicating with the world, I believe it is worth every penny. If you visit Proloquo2Go, read the reviews from people who have bought it. They all have touching stories about having children or students with disabilities of all kinds whose lives have been made so much easier because of this amazing app that enables them to communicate more effectively.
iPhone Screenshot 2

Assistive Technology for Students with ADHD By: Chelsea Power
In todays classroom there is a growing rate for children with ADHD. This can be very difficult for a teacher, parent, and other classmates. It also requires a lot of patience, I say this speaking as a mother with a child that struggles with ADHD. I chose to find assistive technology for students with ADHD. I also use some of the programs and strategies at home to help with his homework. There are a bunch of resources for students and teachers in the classroom that I have listed below. A word-prediction program that requires a few keystrokes to generate word lists can help students with severe spelling problems, who do not benefit from spell-checkers. Graphic organizers, on the other hand, can be helpful to students who can't generate ideas and organize their thoughts. Such as this website Aurora Systems
Clickers Clickers are remote control looking items that record student’s answers to questions. They can be multiple choice questions or polls. It is a great way to get immediate feedback and data on student’s knowledge of the material. Clickers are engaging for all students especially those with learning disabilities. They provide instant feedback for the student and involves technology It engages the student while maintaining focus on the lesson and task at hand. Text to speech programs The programs and tools that create text to speech are great for students who are auditory learners, struggling readers, or have visual impairments. This allows the students to listen to the text while following along with the reading. The student is no longer focused solely on word recognition but now focused on the content and main ideas. WordQ is another program that helps students proofread their work.

C4T #3

Twenty-seven ways to make the year betterThe Library Girl

     Jennifer LaGarde (aka library girl!) is a Librarian Ambassador and Education Road Warrior!  As an Educator on Loan for the NC Department of Public Instruction, she travels across the land working with school librarians, classroom teachers, principals, superintendents - literally ANYONE who needs help building or making the most of a 21st century school library.

10/26: 27 Ways to Make This the Best Year Ever
      Ms. LaGarde's post this week is all about how to enjoy teaching and keep it fun for you and the students.  LaGarde gives tips and tricks on how to make the year enjoyable and how not to get burned out on doing the same thing semester after semester, year after year.  My comment is, I'm assuming, still under moderation.  I simply told Ms. LaGards how much I am liking her blog and that I really got a lot of knowledge and encouragement out of her post.  As a future teacher, I worry about what will happen if I am to get tired of it, or just plain fed up with it.  She, however, has given me courage to move along and not worry about it to much, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it!

11/9: The Art of Listening
      Ms. LaGarde's post is about listening and learning about what other teachers have to say.  LaGarde discusses how she had a meeting with the other teachers and asked, as the librarian, how she could get teachers to believe that coming to the library is a good use of instruction time.  She got back very good and thoughtful answers, but she was surprised to see that so many of them started off by thanking her for asking their opinion.  People just want to be listened to, and teachers are people too!  My comment stated that I appreciated The Library Girl's acknowledgment that teachers really and truly appreciate being listened to.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Blog Post #11

What Can We Learn About Teaching and Learning from These Teachers?
Teach and Learn Reflection

      Brain Crosby, in his TEDx Talk, mentions several times about his students "thinking outside of the box".  This is something I struggled with throughout my school career.  Not many of my teachers encouraged me to think outside of the box, just to get good grades and stay in school.  As a result, I did not enjoy school too much.  I want that to be different for my students.  I want them to look forward to my class and be excited when they come in the door, ready to learn.  I will have to spend some time coming up with fun and creative activities so my students can think outside of the box more.  I think having the capabilities that technology gives will be a great way to spark interest and excitement in students.

      In Paul Anderson's video, Blended Learning Cycle, I learned that it is always a good thing to be able to stay on track with teaching.  My greatest fear is that I will come up with a lesson plan, and then take forever and a day to actually execute it with my students.  I am going to have to become a better time manager so I can teach in an accurate manner, in the most time efficient way possible.  Mr. Anderson gives a good acronym to help stay on track.  He uses the word :QUIVER.

      Mark Church has some good ideas about group learning and group work in his Making Thinking Visible video.  I like that he split his students up into small groups and let them discuss what they wanted their banners to say.  Everyone is going to have different theories and ideas, and combinations of those differences sometimes come up with the best responses. I am going to incorporate group learning into my classroom, definitely.  Also, displaying student's work makes them try harder on the assignment because they know others will be looking at it.  It will also show students that I approve of their work and they will get a sense of accomplishment to see their work displayed in the room or in the hallway.

Digital Citizenship and quote from the Spider Man movie      Sam Pane teaches his students about digital safety in his video, Super Digital Citizen.  I tend to take for granted that students are going to come to school knowing how to safely use the internet.  I realize now that is not so, and they will more than likely need some assistance in that matter.  What better way to learn than to make a comic about a Digital Citizen superhero?  No matter how old or how young a student is, superheroes are always a huge hit.  Then we are having fun as well as learning important subject in the classroom.  If I am going to require my students to use technology in our classroom, I need to teach them how to be safe while they use it before we do anything involving technology.

      Dean Shareski's video, Project Based Learning, is a great example of how different subjects can be easily blended together.  I would love to partner with different teachers and complete projects that involve everyone.  I think the students will get more learning and understanding out of the project and as teachers, we will gain some team working skills as we go along.  It will be so fun to combine English (my subject matter) with that of History, Math, Science, and any other subjects.

      After watching Roosevelt Elementary's PBL Learning I have picked up on a theme that I will now remember throughout my teaching career.  That theme is: Always make sure that the students are engaged.  Now that I know this and realize it, I am going to use it, Engaging students is going to make sure they enjoy what they are learning and will retain what they have learned.  If they are engaged and participating, I will know that I am doing my job correctly.  PBL makes it possible for students to become fully involved in the lesson and the teacher is not just simply standing in front of them and lecturing information for them to just spit back out for a test and then forget it.  PBL lets students apply what they have found out to real-life situations, showing them value in what they are learning.  I now see the extreme worth in PBL and look forward to basing my teaching off of it.  

Quote from Dr. Kevin Maxwell

Project #14, Project Based Learning Plan #2


      With this Lesson Plan the students will learn about different types of weather, how to observe the sky and nature to pick up on some clues, and the seasons. They will also learn how to protect themselves from inclement weather.  This will be accomplished through guided self observations along with videos and guest speakers.  The students will also be collaborating with each other and discussing daily weather changes.  Art will also play an exclusive and very important role of the learning experience along with fun, engaging games to help the students remember key points.

Visit our lessons plan, calendar, and rubric by clicking right here! 

Common weather elements