Sunday, March 4, 2012

C4K Summary for February

Hannah’s post was about here recent field trip to San Buenaventura Mission in California. She very interested in with the history of the California Mission System. She wrote about the way she was able to experience how to weave using a loom which she found to be fun. She also explains that she is going to visit the San Juan Capistrano Mission soon. She has to write a report on the other mission. I commented on how her post was very well written and substancial. Her entire blog is well put together and includes gadgets. I was impressed with this students quality of work. The post can be visited by going to this link.
Kane’s blog included three posts. Two of them were housekeeping posts and the third appeared to be a poem. At first I thought that Kane wrote it himself. I realized later that at least a few of the lines came from another poem “The Highwayman.” Kane’s post was titled The Highwayman so I deduced that he was given an assignment to post part of a poem on his blog. I commented on the poem excerpt and noted that the post could be misleading because the title and author of the poem were not referenced.

Blog Post 6

In Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams he discusses his life, lessons he learned, and his boyhood dreams. One of the dreams he covered was being in zero gravity. In order to achieve his dream of being in zero gravity Randy Pausch had to quit being an advisor. He applied to be a journalist because only the students and local journalists and the crew could go on the flight. This was the first time that Randy Pausch put in extra work to achieve his goal. One lesson to take from his lecture is that you must do extra work to attain goals. That was how he achieved childhood dream number one.
His second dream of playing in the NFL did not come true. He did learn fundamentals through football. On the first day of practice there were no footballs because the coach said that out of the 22 people on the field only one touches the ball at a time. So they practiced what the other 21 people did. I found that to be an important lesson. There is more going on than meets the eye. Learning must not focus on one point instead it must be a process that starts from the ground up. Another thing Randy Pausch learned in football was that when he would mess up the coach would ride him harder. This was good because the coach did not give up on him. I will remember this lesson because it is true. When a coach or a teacher pushes a student they show the student they care. I will not forget that.
He achieved two more of his dreams by being an author in the World Book Encyclopedia and he met Captain Kirk. He described how it felt to achieve his goals. He described how “meeting his boyhood idol was not as good as having your idol come meet you to see the cool things you are doing.” I noticed at this point that having someone seek you out because of the work you are doing is a true reward. I will incorporate this into the classroom by rewarding the students with more than a grade.
Another goal he described was being an imagineer. He sent applications to become an imagineer for Disney but was rejected very politely. Through an opportunity addressing the Secretary of Defense Randy Pausch was able to work with a team from Disney Imagineering. First he had to work it out with the administration at his university. He spoke to two different deans and found that there is a good and a bad way to say “I don’t know.” I will remember to always try to say things in the best possible way because of the impact it has on the receiver. I never want to discourage, I only want to encourage others.
He attained many of his childhood dreams and asked “How can he enable childhood dreams of others?” He made a course Building Virtual Worlds. It gave students the opportunity to put on shows for people using virtual reality. The students bonded through the excitement of making others excited. This gave the students experience through exciting projects. I will remember this because I find it very important to have students excited. I think that would make them want to learn. Another thing Randy Pausch created was the Entertainment Technology Center where artists and technologists work together to build things. All they do is make things. This gives the students experience which is important for learning. Learning through experience is an idea that I will take away from this lecture. Randy Pausch stated more than once that he wanted to help lots of people. He helped many different people. He also attempted to help many people at one time. Through Building Virtual Worlds and the ETC he did accomplish that goal. I will remember to help others experience by working toward their dreams.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Blog Assignment 5

Don’t Teach Your Kid’s This Stuff. Please
Dr. Scott McLeod works at the University of Kentucky. In “Don’t Teach Your Kid’s This Stuff. Please?” he writes about all of the things people teach their kids about technology. Many people do not believe that technology is evil and kids should not use the internet but the ideas still remain. I have seen the way technology is pushed out of the classroom. It must stop. This humorous presentation of what not to do is a great way to spread knowledge.
The iSchool Initiative
In The iSchool Initiative Travis Allen shows how technology could be used to teach students. He goes through various apps that are around right now. In the future he believes that apps and iSchool could be in schools. I believe that the information in this video is important because it shows how easily some apps can be brought into the school. This could save schools money while integrating technology.
ZeitgeistYoungMind's Entry
In this short video Travis Allen shows what he is doing with the iSchool Initiative at age 20. Now with a team of 25 he travels to schools promoting mobile learning. He has gained national publicity which is helping us move forward. In the video he reemphasizes the importance of moving forward in our schools. This video shows that one person can make an impact.
Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir
In this video we see 185 who have never performed in person singing together. The song was very beautiful and shows what type of a coordinated effort we can have using the internet. My initial reaction to Jennifer Chamber’s blog post was of shock. I never thought about a virtual choir before and after listening to the music they created I was impressed.
Teaching 21st Century Students
In Teaching 21st Century Students Kevin Roberts he shows what could learning could be in the future. It shows there are possibilities through blogs, Facebook, cell phones, Twitter, Wikipedia, You Tube, iPods and Google. He wrote about how students do not need us to find information. Teachers should filter the information students find on their own. In the video he shows how independent students think more critically. In the video he asks the audience questions and provides information. One thing I took from this video is that learning needs to be relevant and engaging. I also understand how technology needs to be a part of learning to day because of all the possibilities.
Reading Rockets
At this site I found a lot of information. It included information for teachers, parents, principals, and others. It includes apps and video promoting literacy. Many of the apps were for reading and writing through various techniques. One of the popular techniques for spelling was through phonetics which many people say works. At that site there is information for new teachers regarding teaching strategies. There is a learning store provided by the site which provided resources for educators. There are videos and books to help facilitate learning. In the site there is a list of top 12 comprehension apps. One of the top 12 is a game called Professor Garfield Fact or Opinion where Garfield teaches the difference between fact and opinion. It is an interactive comic type of app which would be very engaging for students who like comics. It is available here through iTunes or through the Reading Rockets site.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Comments for Teachers 1

Becky Goerend is a fifth grade teacher from Iowa. In her blogs she discusses classroom issues, strengths, updates, activities, and more. In her latest post found here, she discussed a particular problem and solution in detail.
Putting in Their Words
In this post she questions why some instructions are not written in words the student can understand. In this particular instance the wording for a reading assignment was very difficult to understand. To overcome the problem the students worked as a class to translate the instructions into “student speak”. Then she asks if things should be written in words the students can comprehend. In the end the students were able to translate the instructions by using team work.
Building Community
In this post Becky Goerend discusses her success in building community in her class. The teachers at that school have a tradition of having all the students bring a bag with items about themselves. The students then share their items to the class. Becky Goerend was very pleased to see how quickly the students became familiar with each other. She was also excited about all of the things she had learned about her students. The emphasis is on how fast students can build community in the classroom.

Blog Assignment 3

Technology in Special Education
One way that technology has changed the way special education is taught is by facilitating communication. In the video I was thrilled to see how some students were able to use computers to communicate their thoughts. Not only could students communicate effectively but they also could complete their assignments in a fraction of the time.
Another way students benefit from technology is through the ability to magnify letters from text. This is a very important advancement in education. Even though there are books with large print they still may not meet the needs of the student. With magnification print can be made larger with the click of a mouse.
A third benefit to technology is in writing. In order to write before the use of computers students would have to physically move something over a piece of paper. This would not only be difficult but it would also be time consuming. Writing quicker gives the student the opportunity to complete more work at one time. This would make it easier to learn more.
I would use technology to teach in many of the same ways as shown in the video. I would definitely use it for communication. I may have the students watch a video or read then ask them questions. I would use technology to magnify text for the students. I would probably have interactive games. Having the ability to communicate would be useful in group projects. Although playing music in a classroom is not new I would like to see student listening to iPods to help make reading fun
After visiting Apple Education I found that a valuable teaching tool could be Simplex Spelling Phonics 1. The reviews for this application were very positive. I would use this tool to help students with their spelling. The app allows students to learn to spell by first hearing a word then attempting to click or drag letters into boxes. Words can be repeated by clicking a box on the right. With this app I believe that learning vocabulary can be made interesting. By making spelling more fun students will be encouraged to learn. In this video Simplex Spelling Phonics 1, it describes and shows the easy to use interface.
Gary Hayes Social Media Count
At Gary Hayes Social Media Count you see how many people are interacting through social networks. This number continues to grow each day. As an educator I could use social networks to gain ideas and be aware of new innovations in teaching. It also shows how many hours are uploaded onto YouTube. To think of YouTube videos for entertainment only would be a waste. I could upload videos to YouTube to help students on projects and also to allow them to see class lectures while they are away. This could be valuable for students because they can repeat a lecture.
I noticed the astounding number of apps being downloaded every second. Apps should be used in classrooms to make learning fun. Learning through taking notes and listening is not fun. I think it would be interesting to see how apps could be used for a loose competition. One app I have seen showed different levels of achievement for spelling words correctly depending on the number of attempts. It would be interesting to hold a virtual spelling bee.
A Vision of Students Today
It is astounding what students today consider normal. Spending all class sitting and taking notes while focusing on a black board. We have been working with this system so long that it has simply become “the way”. Technology is used often by so many of us that it is incredible to find such a place where it does not exist. I believe we are at the beginning of a change.
The video showed facts about students today. Students spend a considerable amount of time reading and writing on their computers. Students bring their computers to class but do not use them for school. It also showed that some students pay for class and do not show up. A final thing I noticed is how much money students spend on books they do not use. As a teacher I would look at this video and think about how I can make the class more interactive. I would use pictures and videos during class but I do not think it is enough. It should be a goal to get educators the resources to teach in the 21st century. I believe administrators will eventually find a way to accomplish that goal.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Blog Assignment 2

“Did You Know 3.0” by Dr. Strange
In this video, Did You Know? John Strange, concerned are brought up about the future of the U.S. population in the job market. It is shown that currently Indian students are performing better in school than U.S. students. The video shows how in the future it is likely that the 300 million English learning Chinese will outnumber the U.S. population. In the video we learn that the top paying jobs in the future are going to use technology that has not been invented yet.
All of this information brings about concerns for the future of the U.S. How can we keep up with changing technology? The way to keep up with changing technology is to master current technology and continue learning. We must not let student’s fall behind or many jobs will be lost to those who studied and used technology on a daily basis. Technology changes constantly and we need to encourage students to use technology every day.
“Mr. Winkle Wakes” by Mathew Needleman
The video, Mr. Winkle Wakes, is about a man who wakes up after one-hundred years to find a world filled with technology. He walks to a tall building to and finds computers. He thinks that they make funny foreign noises and leaves. Then he goes to a hospital to see that machines are used to keep people alive, lasers are used in surgery and more. All of the change is too much for Mr. Winkle. He finally finds a school where he feels so familiar. All the students sit in neat rows listening to lectures all day. Mr. Winkle likes it there all except the funny lab top machine in the back of the classroom.
I found the video to be humorous and troubling at the same time. It shows that one of the only areas where technology is not being used to its potential is school. School has been the same way for many years. One usually does not think about school and how it has been left behind in the changing world. How can we use technology to change the way student’s learn? It is important to recognize that the way we have been learning cannot be the best way. If it were so we would lead the world in education. Something must be done if we are to keep up with the changing world.
Ken Robinson’s “The Importance of Creativity”
In Ken Robinson’s, The Importance of Creativity, He claims that “creativity is as important as literacy”. One of the main points of the video is that the education systems of the world all act to teach the creativity out of students. Students eventually learn that being correct is more important than making a mistake. The video brought up how the education system today forces students to learn certain subjects in a set hierarchy of importance. The video shows that this cannot suffice in the future because of the inflation of degrees. A job that needed a Bachelors degree ten years ago probably requires a MBA now. The video talks about the need to nurture the development of creativity to help students thrive in the future.
Ken Robinson’s vision for the future has good points. One is that degrees are basically required most jobs that pay a reasonable wage. How can creativity help students become adults with jobs? It seems as though the world requires a complete overhaul in order to make creativity important for an adult’s future. It is important to be able to think outside the box, take risks, and not be afraid of being wrong. The future does seem to be on a track to be filled with doctors.
“A Vision for 21st Century Learning”
A Vision for 21'st Century Learning was an exciting video showing how technology can be used for learning. Video games are played by so many students in the world that it is best to incorporate them into learning. This video shows some of the same problems with classroom learning. In this video they show an alternative to the old systematic style of learning. There vision is to have video games where students can walk around and interact with characters in order to proceed and complete the game.
The main argument is that we have to get out of the teaching/learning system being used. They contend that video games are a step in the right direction. I agree to both of these arguments. One problem is that kids will not play boring video games. A non-exciting game is worse than no game. Once a child becomes bored of a game they will stop playing it. A game must have good graphics, some type of story, and exciting scenes where you must use your skills to proceed.
Vicki Davis: Harness Your Students’ Digital Smarts
In the video Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts, you are shown how students are using computers to create avatars and to learn by research. Even though they are in rural southern Georgia town they are working with others around the world through technology. They must complete blog posts and at times must teach their class. By interacting together the students become proactive learners while being capable independent researchers.
The way those students’ are learning will probably be seen more often in years to come. This class reminds of the old saying about teaching a man to fish. If you teach a student to learn they will continue to gain knowledge or you can tell them some information now and they will remember it for a day. This class is trying to teach students to learn not to lecture them and have them pass a test. This is one way to help students keep up with technology.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blog Assignment 1

About Me Hello my name is Robert Fisher. I was born in Tokyo and moved to Hawaii when I was three. I spent a total of fourteen years in Hawaii. I also lived in Puerto Rico for three years. I have lived here in Alabama since May of 2011. When I am not working or in school I enjoy playing video games and tennis. I have also been collecting U.S. coins for more than ten years. I have attended Leeward Community College, American Military University and the University of South Alabama. I transferred to USA because I recently moved here. I chose the University of South Alabama because of recommendations from friends and family. I have found that this university is my favorite.
I am happy to be living in this area because most of my close family lives within a hundred miles. When I used to live on islands it was very difficult to visit them. Not only was there a long flight involved but there was also the problem of money. Flying was so expensive I rarely saw my family. A real shock I find now is meeting relatives I do not know. They all seem to say the same things like, “remember me? I remember when you were this tall.” Then they use their hands to show a height of about three feet. I have a lot of catching up to do. I am happy to be here and I will be staying for a long time. Part II Response to the Randy Pausch Video After watching the video and reflecting I realized that I do not equate money with time at all. I do not feel that my time has a dollar value but I understand why he said it first. Time is valuable. I realize that my time is worth something. Procrastination is something that I need to work on. I know I will be happier. There have been times that I used things mentioned in the video. I have done the hardest work first before and noticed that the rest of the day felt like something I had earned. Inevitably I revert to doing work when the deadline approaches. This video is something I will remember and keep in mind especially if I start wasting time.