Sunday, September 30, 2012

Blog Post #5

The iSchool Initiative

Travis Allen's iSchool Initiative is a call to arms for students and teachers to join iSchool, a teaching and learning resource used on the iDevice's itouch screens. With teachers being laid off and classroom sizes growing, the iSchool acts as a way to cut costs and keep students in the digital age interested in learning, and using technology to do so. The cost of supplies, books, and other fees can be crippling to some students and their families. The iSchool would remove the need for paper, printers, calculators, pens, and pencils, saving the family countless dollars. The iSchool itself will only run $150.00 per student. Because students would not have to buy as many disposable supplies and textbooks ( iSchool has a textbook app ), there would be far fewer resources used per student in their school career.

In the short video Zeitgeist YoungMinds Entry (Mobile Learning) iSchool Initiative Travis Allen informs us of the success he has had with the iSchool program. He and his team of twenty five other students travel the nation working with public schools helping them implement the program. This is a wildly important thing that needs to happen. I believe the youth of today are being born into a technological wonderland. It is very important that they are prepared, starting at a young age, to use these programs and products to better prepare themselves for the life that is ahead of them.

Virtual Choir

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 'Lux Aurumque' is a amazing video of 185 different people from twelve different countries singing together from around the world using the internet. With the use of video and audio capture, the composer, Eric Whitacre, was able to have people from around the world join in and lend their voice to his vision. This is a great showing of how the internet can keep everyone connected even across the world and that even so far away from each other we can still do great things.

Teaching in the 21st Century

In the video Teaching in the 21st Century Kevin Roberts talks about the way teaching needs to change in the technology age. Educators are no longer the only medium by which students come to find information, they are now using multimedia devices, social media, and the internet to learn on their own.

Living in the information age has opened endless ways to seek out and find knowledge, with things like Google and Wiki, people have more ways to find answers to their questions with out waiting until the next class. As educators, it has become important not only to impart knowledge, but to assist in the finding as well. Using iPads, podcasts,and different wikis in the class is a way for the teacher to not entertain their students, but to engage them in learning. As Kevin stated in his video, it is not the job of the teacher to entertain students, but to engage them. Engaging gets the students involved in learning, and that, in turn, should be fun.

<Flipping the Classroom

Flipping the classroom is essentially putting class material online for students to work at their own pace, giving you (the educator) more class time to apply and engage students in the lessons. In its application, it allows teachers to spend more time helping the struggling students, keeping the middle ground students on track, and letting the advanced students stay ahead of the game all by having as much material as needed/desired. This is a great tool to keep the teacher as the centerpiece of the class and having students stay involved in their learning and makes them responsible for their own learning.

Taking EDM310 has shown me that "flipping" the class can work. We have our assignments and all of the necessary learning tools online for us in an easy to find place in a blog format. I would like to implement this to a science course in the near future. To have all of the resources online in a blog would not only help facilitate the distribution of knowledge, but it would help me as a teacher keep track of my students' personal progress. room

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Blog Post # 4

Podcasting In the Class

Having never listened to a podcast before, I'm in awe of how many different ways they can be helpful in the classroom setting. It helps with students who have missed lectures due to illness, as well to be used as a study guide for those who want to keep up on their work. Auditory learners would find it useful as they could re-listen to lectures as many times as they liked, in the order of their choosing. A student in the video podcast The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom, by Joe Dale, explains that she listens to past lectures on car rides. Her parents are happy that it is not Beyonce` anymore.

Using Podcast can be a great way to get students more physically involved in the learning process as well. For example, instead of just hearing the lecture, the students in the video are asked to reenact the script given by the instructor. This is a interesting way to get more active learners to retain information by "doing" the material, rather than just having to sit through it.

Project 5

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Blog Post #3

Peer Editing

In the YouTube short Peer Editing the viewer is shown many tips and helpful hints that could make the process of editing a peer's assignment easier for the editor and more constructive for the peer.

The video helps the editor by creating an easy to use, three-step template for editing. The narrator of the video reminds the viewer to stay positive and to start with giving compliments about the elements within the assignment that are well done. The next step is giving specific suggestions about what could be improved as far as writing style, organization, etc. The third step is corrections- looking for any spelling and grammatical errors within the assignment.

The template outlined in Peer Editing assists the peer being edited in that it reminds the editor to stay positive, lessening the chances that the peer will become defensive and less receptive to the edits. The template also emphasizes the importance of being specific with what needs to be edited, as well as providing suggestions for how the writer can improve. This prevents to absolute frustration of such nonconstructive feedback as "Your blog post is bad."

Tutorial Peer Editing

This slide show reviews the suggested procedure for peer editing. It goes through the steps outlined in the Peer Editing video: compliments, suggestions, and corrections. The only real difference between the slide show and the YouTube video is that the slideshow gives suggestions on what say in the compliments step, such as "My favorite part was_______because..."

Technology in Special Needs Education

Watching Technology in Special Education has opened my eyes to a whole new way of using technology to help those with learning disabilities. It is wonderful to know that students who could not learn in more traditional environments are being set up to achieve beyond what was thought possible before. The testimonies of the children in the video are heart-warming. They are not only able to learn more effectively, but they are able to communicate more clearly with those around them and form connections. This is not only exciting for them in the short-term, but also opens up greater opportunities for independence later in life. To see them exclaim that what used to be difficult and isolating is now made easier for them is proof that technology has a rightful place in every classroom.

If I have the privilege of teaching a class with special needs children, I would love to incorporate as much of a variety of technology as possible. As discussed in another video, "Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts," when you only have one method available for students to learn, you are only teaching one type of student. Some examples of the tools available that I would like to incorporate would be laptop pcs with the program ZoomText installed for those who need assistance with the visual aspect of an assignment. Another creative use of technology shown in the video that I liked was audio books on an iPod for students who understand material better when it is read to them. This is also useful because it allows the student to pause and rewind sections as needed.

Writing Peer Review TOP 10 Mistakes

Writing Peer Review TOP 10 Mistakes is an adorable YouTube video with a group of fourth graders detailing the big mistakes and mishaps that can occur when we are peer editing. It is a reminder once again for those doing the editing to be kind and stay positive, and to be specific about what needs work. The kids also bring up the importance of staying on topic and not rushing the editing process. If the editor takes his or her time the final product will be much better. The kids also point out behaviors that the peers being edited should look out for. Being a "Whatever William" is not very conducive to the editing process, nor is being a "Defensive Dave." If you are not involved or interested in the editing, or unwilling to take criticism, you are wasting both your and the editor's time.

Super Why ABC Adventures

Super Why ABC Adventures is a game published by PBS Kids for the iOS platform. The game is based on a popular children's television show. It utilizes characters such as super heroes and princesses to help teach word recognition and pronunciation. I believe that using an already popular TV show with colorful, recognizable characters will help students get involved with learning using the app in the classroom setting. The show and app also make use of familiar storybook plots to assist in the retention of information learned.

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts

Vicky Davis is an award-winning blogger, and a pioneer in using technology as a teaching tool. She teaches a class in a small rural town in southern Georgia and manages to connect her students with other students around the world. Using a program called OpenSim , the students in her class are separated into groups and given a specific area of the program to learn and then teach to their classmates. Two interesting facets of her teaching style are that she actively learns right along with her students (she explains that even she did not know how to terraform in OpenSim until that team in her class did their presentation), and she does not feel that she should have to define every term for her students because they are capable of defining terms themselves. Her students are not "learning" because the teacher gave them information and they regurgitated it, they are learning because she taught them how to effectively use their resources to solve their own problems. In getting her students to collaborate with other students in such faraway places as Bangladesh and Qatar, Davis empowers them to learn about the world beyond their rural town. In an increasingly global society, the ability to communicate across cultural and geographic boundaries is a great skill to have.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Blog Post #2

Did You Know?
Having just watched Dr. Strange's "Did You Know" YouTube video, I have come to realize that the world is moving much faster than I ever imagined. The technology boom moving right along with the population. With a bigger, more globalized population, there is a need for better and more varied technology.

As the world grows so does the way we communicate and share media. Sites such as YouTube and Facebook are better connecting people and ideas from all around the world with out ever leaving the office chair. The internet as a whole is a vast and wonderful resource for learning and I do believe incorporating it into the class room will not only help students gain knowledge, but help educators find new and inventive ways to deliver that knowledge.

Mr. Winkle

"Mr Winkle Wakes" is a short video about a old man who wakes after a hundred year slumber to find how technology has changed the world. He visits a few places after he awakes to investigate the goings on, only to be scared and disappointed in what the world has become. At the end of the video, Mr. Winkle visits a school where a student has left a broken laptop on his desk and was writing notes by hand. He reflects "some things never change" This I disagree with.

As recently as six years ago , ( my first time through U.S.A. ) the way I'm learning is almost completely different. As more technology comes available, the education system adapts with it. I believe if the way we educate never changed, students would become bored and disillusioned with traditional schools completely.

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity

I have nothing but respect and admiration for Sir Ken Robinson. His speech in the video "The Importance of Creativity" hit very close to home for me. The ideas and concerns expressed in this video mirror what I went through as a young student myself.

When I was middle and high school student I was unable to sit still and was branded by my teachers as ADHD. My parents went along with it and tried various medications all to no avail. It was not till a wonderful teacher at ( the now closed ) Old Spanish Fort Christian School by the name of Julia Thomas took the time to see how I could learn but to push me to do so.

Being shut down like that as kid was what makes me want to be a teacher. Nurturing creativity is the most important thing for me as a individual and as a professorial. I want to help people that are going though what I did and help push them in a way that makes them want to learn and want to succeed in not only school but life.

The Future

With the technology changing day to day it is interesting to see what is in store for us. "A Day Made of Glass" showcases some interesting inventions that will keep the word connected and moving forward. Glass looks to be a great tool for the family and professorial alike.

Today my wife and I were on the phone discussing a funny situation she saw while on assignment for the Coast Guard. She said "I wish you could see this right now". With the Glass glasses shown in the "Project Glass: Live Demo at Google", this would be completely possible. I look forward to using this type of technology in the near future.

Wordle: me 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

. Chris Schank
. I was born November 29th, 1985, in Sacramento, California. Since then, I have lived in 6 states and one different country (Canada). Throughout all of their moving about, my parents have managed to leave each of their kids in different areas. My older brother lives in Virginia and little my sister in Illinois. I obviously ended up here in Alabama.
. I live in Daphne with my wonderful wife, Erin, who is currently working towards a master's in CS here at South. We have no human children, but have two cats, a pekingese, a snake , and 13 fish that we call our family. The cats and dog were rescued from the equine and canine rescue we volunteer at in Loxley, Alabama.
. This is my second time through the University of South Alabama. After a lot of praying and budgeting, my wife and I were both able to attend college again. I realized that a bachelor's in biology wasn't going to get me far by itself, especially if I wasn't planning on going to graduate school or working in a lab. I have chosen education as a second major for a number of reasons. In high school I found it hard to learn, not because I couldn't pay attention in class, because many teachers failed to present the material in a way that was interesting and engaging. I ended up being made to memorize large chunks of information without ever realizing the importance or applications of what I was learning. In high school, I had a science teacher that changed my perspective on learning entirely. I realized that a subject I had originally regarded as an impossibly tedious chore was not only fascinating, but fun. I would like to be that kind of teacher, the kind that gets kids excited about discovering the world around them.
. Randy Pausch
. Having never heard of Randy Pausch, I found this seminar very informative and helpful, not only in reference to school, but also in the professional world. Having been in retail management for 10 years, time management is always a big deal. The simplest things, such as tackling the hardest thing first (and if they're all hard, the hardest of the hard first), would definitely decrease stress in the long run if implemented properly.