Monday, July 16, 2012

Wedding Photos!

I will be creating a personal blog soon, but I wanted to get this out there. I married this amazing dude back in December 2011 and I FINALLY received my wedding pictures last month. I sat down with the hubby, we picked out some of our favorites among the 1500+ pictures, and made a photo book via Shutterfly. They have some great ideas, products, and offers so go check them out!

Click here to view this photo book larger

Visit to create your own personalized photobook.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Blog Post 14

Jose Picardo's educational blog

Educational Box of Tricks

Mr. Picardo believes in the effective use of technology to meet the needs of our students today and in the future. His blog proves to be very valuable for teachers who want to meet that expectation. His A-Z list of resources is just what most of us need. He did the "dirty work" of trying and testing these sites and tools. This is a relief because there's just so much out there. It can be very time consuming trying to figure out what is a reliable resource and what is not. Oh, by the way, these resources he found? They're all free!

Mr. Picardo created a video depicting his Top Ten Tips for Using Technology in the Classroom. EDM 310 introduced us to a majority of those he mentioned. We have been required to use tools like Skype, Smartboards, Podcasts, Blogs, and Social Networks. Something that caught me off guard was using music, and I'm still not exactly sure how I would incorporate that in my classroom. I'm pursuing health education though, so I think it would be very valuable to have a lot of interactive exercises. It'd be great to have visuals on human anatomy, the body's processes, nutrition/exercise and it's effects, drug/alcohol abuse and it's effects, and so much more! I think all of Mr. Picardo's tips will contribute to a more interactive and creative environment, and I can't wait to begin using them.

Blog Post 13

E-Media Fast

I didn't fool myself into thinking this assignment was going to be easy. I remember one day last semester I accidentally left my cell phone at home and even though I was on campus and could communicate via the internet, I felt lost. How sad...hah! So it took some careful planning for me to prepare myself for this endeavor. I timed it so that the day of my fast fell on a day I was most busy with classes and work. I wanted as little down time as possible so that I was the least tempted for distractions. I managed to get it done in the first attempt, only because I'm a perfectionist and reviewed every detail a thousand times over so that I felt ready enough to get it right the first time. But as "ready" as I was for this, there were still plenty of temptations.

I'm an avid texter, and I have at least one friend that I must text every day. She's my best friend (more like a sister) from Maryland. We tell each other everything that goes on or crosses our mind throughout the day...and I mean everything. I told her about this task I was facing. She laughed and said she could never do it. Although there were numerous occasions throughout the day that I wanted to share something random, I managed to refrain from communicating that to her. I just made a mental note and saved it for the next day.

At work, I tend to catch up on homework or just kill time by surfing the internet. One day, my shift was from 1-6. My intention was to complete a couple of online assignments and study for an upcoming test. That was a bust. I spent five hours on my laptop looking through photo albums, choosing the right photos, uploading and editing said photos on BeFunky, creating a collage, and posting them on Tumblr. REALLY?! It is so easy to get lost on the internet. Because of that incident, I decided it was crucial not to bring my laptop to work with me during my fast. That meant I had to get any homework out of the way. I brought a book with me that I previously started and never finished. I actually found a lot of satisfaction in that. I'll admit there were moments that I wished I could just quickly check my Facebook or the latest tweets, but I put my nose right back in my book. I had to constantly remind myself, "It's only for a day."

At the end of the day, it's typical of me to crash on the couch and turn on the tube. Because of this assignment, I had to make other use of my time. The bathroom was cleaned. The living room was straightened up. The floors were swept and vacuumed. The dishes were washed, dried, and put away in the cupboards. The bed was made. Paperwork was shredded or filed. Talk about exhausted.

life used to be easy
What I learned from this assignment is how connected I feel to the world through technology; however, I hate that I feel so dependent on it sometimes just to get through the day. I'd rather incorporate other productive hobbies into my day. I used to read a lot. I used to crochet, draw, go out and take photos. I still respect the use of technology. It's just the aimless browsing for countless hours that I would like to find an alternative for. Considering my life right now seems to revolve around it, I don't think my future students could grasp the concept of even just one day without electronic entertainment or communication devices.

Final Report on PLN

Having a PLN on has helped a lot. All of my most visited sites are organized right in front of me. I still have some empty tiles on my grids, but I don't think a PLN is ever complete. New tools and resources are discovered on nearly a daily basis. Since my first report, I added a few more tiles. I also learned how to create my own tiles. I'm working on adding the URLs to sites and blogs we visited during this class. There's no doubt that they will prove to be useful in the future.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Project 16 - Final Project

A little lesson on time management...

I'd like to thank Gina, Bonnie, and Jeni. It's been fun working with you. :)

C4K Summary - November

Game of the Week - Simon

Mr. McCafferty's year 4 class seems to have a lot of fun. I was assigned to the Game of the Week, which was the game of Simon. If you aren't familiar with the game, you are supposed to follow and repeat a sequence of lights and sounds for as long as you can. I love memory games! I scored a 19 on my first try, beating the previous record of 17 held by Mr. McCafferty. One month later the record still stands at 19. I think I might go try to beat my own score now!

Halloween Stories - The Mean Witch

I was assigned to read Emily's story called "The Mean Witch." One night a werewolf named Bob and a ghost named Joe found a magic wand. All of a sudden a mean witch swooped in on her broom and stole the wand. Bob and Joe had to think quickly before the witch used the wand for something bad. Thankfully they had some magic cheese which, when eaten, brings the wand back.

Emily did a great job developing the characters, and it was a very amusing story.

Mosa @ Pt England School

Mosa is a year 5 student at Pt England School in Auckland, NZ. His latest post was about Don Clarke, a New Zealand rugby player "best known for his phenomenal goal kicking ability that earned him the nickname 'The Boot'" (Wikipedia). Mosa provided a few facts, such as Clarke's date and place of birth, date and place of death, height, and weight. He also included a video of Don Clarke playing in the 1950s. I told Mosa I just recently discovered what the sport of rugby was and how similar it is to American football and soccer.

C4T Summary 4

Physics Teaching 2.Uh-Oh

Frank Noschese is a physics teacher from New York. He gave a talk cleverly titled "Physics Teaching 2.Uh-Oh." At the beginning of his presentation, Noschese quoted Richard Feynman who is known for "assisting in the development of the atomic bomb, expanding the understanding of quantum electrodynamics, translating Mayan hieroglyphics, and cutting to the heart of the Challenger disaster" ( Feynman once said, "What I cannot create, I do not understand." This is very true. It’s hard to learn the law of inertia by viewing a PowerPoint. If we create interactive lessons that keep the students engaged, however, the lessons will be much more effective. As proof of that, Noschese presented a graph depicting the test results from interactive learning versus traditional lecturing.

I also think our class follows a similar “grading system” as Mr. Noschese's. We don’t get letter grades on every assignment. Rather, we are evaluated on how well we understood the assignment (usually determined by whether or not we wrote a quality blog post about it), what level of mastery we displayed on certain activities, and so on. We are critiqued not only by Dr. Strange, but also by our peers. I think I find this style of grading more encouraging and effective as well.

Newton's cradle

Meet a Modeler: Fran Poodry

Fran Poodry is a high school physics teacher from Pennsylvania. She uses a method of teaching called "Modeling Instruction." This method does not rely on lectures and textbooks for instruction. Rather, it focuses on students constructing "conceptual and mathematical models in an interactive learning community." They are becoming engaged with real-life scenarios to model the physical world.

In this post, Mrs. Poodry mapped out her road to discovering this method. She is currently the president-elect of the American Modeling Teachers Association. She feels very strongly that the work of AMTA is vital for keeping Modeling Instruction alive. It seems like her goal for the near future is to spread awareness for this type of instruction with hopes that it catches on.

This post and the video on Modeling Instruction also made me realize I was close to succumbing to teaching the way I have always been taught, through lectures and textbooks. As we get older, we are conditioned to this style of "learning" and eventually lose a lot of our creativity. However, after watching the video and learning how the brain works and how it best retains information, the MI seems to be a good approach. Although I'm not going to be a physics teacher, this skill could be useful in many other subject areas, and I hope to use it as well.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Blog Post 12

For this assignment, you are to create an instructional video using a screen recorder.

Obviously you will need to know how to do a screen recording. Here is a list of screen recorders for PCs and Macs that are fairly easily to use:
Screenr A free screen capture program
AVS Video Editor Another free screen capture program (with other useful functions)
ScreenFlow is available on all the Macs in the lab. For this class, you can download a free trial on your own Mac. It costs $89 for students and educators, but you have to request that price from Telestream; here is the ScreenFlow Instruction Manual
Screenium Available for $29
You may also want to review some other programs found on

Plan the video so that it is interesting, informative, and less than 10 minutes in length.

You will have to post it to YouTube.

You will have to embed it in your blog.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

C4K 10 - Part 1

Mrs. Yollis' Classroom Blog

I'll begin by saying Mrs. Yollis' blog definitely helped me out at the beginning of the semester. I was brand new to blogging and the "How To" videos and posts made it very easy for me. In one particular video, Mrs. Yollis involved her students by having them explain how to write a quality comment. There are actually several parts to it. As a result of following those tips, I've managed to get a couple of conversations going. :)

Mrs. Yollis and her students love to blog about what they're learning. In order to encourage family members to get involved in the online community, Mrs. Yollis declared the month of November Family Blogging Month. Students invited their family and friends to leave comments on the blog. This is a great way to stay connected with what the kids are learning in class.

Mrs. Yollis also created a Wiki as a resource for teachers interested in starting a blog. In addition to some of the videos found on her classroom blog, you can also find information on why you should have a class blog, what students write about, and things to consider when blogging. Mrs. Yollis also shares a lot of links to other classrooms that blog as well. She says it's very valuable to find like-minded teachers to share and collaborate with. Mrs. Yollis offers a lot of insight in this wiki space.

I checked out the ClustrMap for Mrs. Yollis' class blog, as well as EDM 310's. At the moment, Mrs. Yollis' class blog has been visited 24,371 more times than EDM 310's. WOW! I read on the wiki space that her students actually learn about geography by tracking their visitors and sharing comments with them. Skyping with them also "brings geography to life." Recently the class Skyped with some students in Australia. What a great way to learn firsthand about each other and the countries they come from.

One thing that caught my attention was Mrs. Yollis' 365 Project. Each day a different picture is posted with a little caption or some background information. This blog has so many great and interesting pictures. Each post generates a lot of comments and reactions. I'm trying to figure out where the pictures come from (Mrs. Yollis, her students, subscribers, etc.). I may end up asking if I can't figure it out on my own. But I think this is something I would like to do for my own enjoyment.

Progress Report on Final Project

Our group has been discussing ideas for our final project. After exploring the suggested videos, we think we'd like to plan lessons incorporating technology which are appropriate for each of our classrooms. We are working out the details, but I already think this will be a fun project that will give a little glimpse into our future classrooms.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Blog Post 11

Skype Interview with Ms. Cassidy

Ms. Kathy Cassidy, first grade teacher

Ms. Cassidy seems like a very caring, enthusiastic educator. She recognizes children are starting to use technology in their daily lives at a much younger age than before. Ms. Cassidy urges the use of technology in the classroom; if you're not using it, she feels you're only "handicapping" you're students.

In the midst of using technology, she understands the importance of her student's safety and takes necessary precautions to maintain that. She stresses to her students that they should never reveal their last name on the internet. Also, they should never post their pictures alongside their names. Keeping the students' identities safe in this manner will put a lot of parents' minds at ease.

Another factor that might please parents is the maintenance of an online portfolio. Instead of waiting for a parent-teacher conference to be brought up to speed with the child's progress, parents can monitor everything online. If they have a question or concern about a particular lesson or assignment, it can be addressed a lot sooner.

Ms. Cassidy also touches on commenting. She tells her students that if they are to leave a comment on someone's blog, they should post something nice. As the old saying goes, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." After all, these kids are just starting out and they need encouragement more than anything, not criticism.

Towards the end of the interview, an EDM 310 student asked Ms. Cassidy if she was ever concerned about current students copying work from students in the past. I thought this was a legitimate question. It's true that so much is accessible through the internet, and many may take a shortcut and "borrow" the ideas of others. I think Ms. Cassidy has a great solution to that. She understands that information is becoming more collaborative, therefore the professor should become more creative in the way they ask to present information so that it's not possible to take just someone else's work and claim it as your own. It's a little reminder that, as educators, we shouldn't become passive in our work. Our job is to stimulate the minds of our students, so we need to be creative ourselves.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

C4K Summary - October

Holland reads Superfudge

Holland is a student in Mrs. Dahl's second grade class. He wrote a blog on a book he was reading called Superfudge by Judy Blume. He was in the middle of reading the book and predicted that it would just get more interesting. Holland found the book to be funny so far, too. I told him that I never read Superfudge before. I left my comment a few days after his post, so I asked if he happened to finish the story yet, and if the story got more interesting like he predicted. Holland has not responded yet.

Kids With a View - Room 3

surf boards on the beach
In this class, I was assigned to Jack. What stood out to me was Jack's avatar. I was curious if he liked surfing since his avatar was on the beach with two surf boards in the background. I told him a good place to go surfing here in the United States would probably be in California. However, the waves are nowhere near as nice as the waves where he lives. I found it a little confusing to navigate through Room 3's site though. I was hoping to view everyone's comments to the kids, but I couldn't figure out how. Is it even supposed to be viewable?

Brynne Michelle

I was assigned to comment on Brynne's blog, which at the time concerned fingernails and what they're made of. She knew they were made of a protein, and in my comment I specified that that protein is known as Keratin. I also confirmed that she was right in that Keratin is the same protein found in cow's hooves and horns.

I also read her "All about me" post, so I went further to say I noticed she plays the trumpet. I told her I played the trumpet as well for four years and that I loved being part of a band. I truly wish I never stopped playing because making music is a lot of fun. I told her that I'm trying to pick up the piano right now. She also mentioned she has a drum set and would like to learn how to play. I hope she figures out how to play the drums very soon.

Peyton's Procedures

Peyton was chosen at random by the Fruit Machine. In his blog, he defined what "procedures" were. He also mentioned his group in science class created an experiment listing all of the procedures involved. His experiment included Pull-Ups, diapers, water bottles, and buckets. The experiment tested whether the Pull-Ups or diapers held the most water. I thought the procedures he listed were great. I asked if he already conducted the experiment, and if so, what the results were. He said they did, and the result was the diaper held more water.

Dr. Decimal: Removing Decimals from the Divisor

In Mr. Avery's math class, his students have been learning all about decimals. They’ve learned how to add and subtract with decimals, multiply decimals, and divide decimals. The main concern of this blog was how to solve problems that had decimals in the divisor. Thanks to the talents of Dr. Decimal and Nurse Negative, solving these problems was made a lot easier. Check out their public service announcement that shows us how to deal with such decimals.

I honestly forgot what to do if there was a decimal in the divisor. It's been quite a while since I tackled a division problem like that by hand. Before the video, I probably would have just reached for a calculator and have it solve the problem for me. Now I know it's as simple as moving the decimals over, and I should be able to solve it on my own!

The Maple Leaf of Canada

Canadian flag
In this short video, one of the students, Faith, spoke of the maple leaf. She said it is found on the Canadian flag. She also mentioned syrup is made from the maple tree, and the syrup is typically eaten with pancakes. It was kind of ironic that I happened to have this blog. Canada is our very own "neighbor," and the same day I read the blog, I fixed pancakes with syrup for breakfast! I thought Faith did a good job with her description, and she spoke very clearly so that I could understand every word.

Blog Post 10

Do You Teach or Do You Educate?

Before this class, I honestly never considered the difference between teaching and educating. I now see how significant that difference really is. I looked up the words "teach" and "educate" in the dictionary. To teach is "to impart knowledge or skill to." And to impart is simply "to make known, tell, relate, disclose." On the other hand, to educate is "to develop the faculties and powers of a person." I think we can agree that the latter seems the most powerful and effective of the two.

In my very first post, I gave a brief description of myself and why I entered the field of education. Although I used the phrases "I've always wanted to teach" and "I think teaching would be a very rewarding experience for me," I did conclude the thought with "I'm entering the field of health education with hopes that I can influence young adults to make informed decisions among all of the pressures in society today." So perhaps I did grasp the concept of teaching versus educating, but I didn't realize it. In any event, I'm surely aware now that educating is the key to success. I don't want to just "tell" them what I know from what I read in books. I may only be 26 years old, but I have some experience in the world, and I want to be able to use those experiences to help guide my students towards happier, healthier lives.

Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home

Along with Dr. McLeod's post, Don't teach your kids this stuff. Please?, I thought this was another clever way to address the "issue" of technology in the classroom. It's a shame, however, that so many people missed the message again. If you think about it, we're in a class emphasizing the use of technology to aid in the learning experience. Is it really as simple as where we should use our pencils and how? Or is the pencil just an object used to represent something else? Something more relevant to the purpose of our class? We need to think outside of the box a little.

The excuses for not allowing the use of "pencils" could be endless. This post mentions the paradigm of the poor. That the "pencil" would be used for entertainment purposes. While it is true that "clever marketers tailor 'pencil' use in poor areas toward entertainment," it is up to us to change that outlook. And it's certainly not solved by taking away the "pencil." As educators, we must explain the different ways the "pencil" could be used for learning. Not only that, but give the students assignments that will keep their interest. And if they stray from that, and use the "pencil" in other ways, that's okay! There's no limit to where or how learning can take place. Let's not fall in that trap of limiting our students and taking away their creativity. Let them explore and see where their "pencils" take them.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

C4T Summary 3

Critical Issue: Teacher-Student Interaction Via Technology

In this post, Aaron Eyler expressed his views on interaction between students and teachers outside of school via technology. There were three specific sites that he focused on: Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging. He has a Facebook page, but he doesn't like it. He also mentioned it reminded him "more of a giant 'water cooler' than anything else." Even so, he will not friend request you, nor accept your friend request, no matter who you are. He loves Twitter, and sees it as a very valuable way to communicate; however, even if you choose to follow him, he will not follow you back. I assume that's because he'd rather keep his feed professional. And he understands that people today communicate more through text messages than with e-mail, so he set up a Google Voice number. He did this "so that parents, students, and staff members can text message [him] with relevant information or ask questions." What's nice about this is it operates like an e-mail address and text messages can be saved to folders. Mr. Eyler just asks that you keep the conversation professional, and he'll be happy to respond. He ends the post stating that "teachers are role models, and part of being a role model is modeling appropriate use of these technologies." This statement is a running theme for this class.
definition of communication from the dictionary

In response, I said I wasn't sure how open I would be. It made me think of a recent friend request I received from a counselor of mine, which seemed awkward and maybe even unprofessional? Then I pondered the question, "Would I feel the same if the request was from a student?" Mr. Chamberlain actually commented on this post and said he has no restrictions on communication. He is from a small community it was normal to be around teachers from the school. So having no restrictions seems to work for him. I do want my students to know that I care for them and want to be available for help, but I'm not sure at this point where I'd draw the line. So I guess that's where modeling appropriate use would come into play if I chose to allow many different forms of communication.

What People Say about You...

Mr. Eyler opened his post with this lesson: "always monitor what you say about people and what people say about you in a digital learning platform." He was in the midst of reading a new book by Lawrence Lessig when he came across a book talk online. He loved the Lessig's presentation style, but couldn't figure out the program he was using. Mr. Eyler tweeted about it, asking if anyone knew what it could be. Sure enough, he received a response from Lessig himself. Mr. Eyler didn't know what was "cooler." The fact that Lessig (with over 155,000 followers) monitors his stream and knows what everyone says about him, or that he took the time to respond. Mr. Eyler was very thankful. Later on, a similar situation came up where Mr. Eyler's students had a conversation about him, and he let them know he knew. He said it was "super valuable learning experience."

I told Mr. Eyler that I just recently started blogging, tweeting, etc. I mentioned that it can be a little disconcerting if one of my comments goes unnoticed (as far as I know). But I have to understand that sometimes, like in cases of having over 155,000 followers, it might be a bit challenging to keep up with everyone’s questions or comments. But when they do respond, it can make a big impact. It’s nice to be acknowledged.

Blog Post 9

What I've Learned This Year by Mr. Joe McClung

In his post for the 2008-2009 school year, Mr. McClung had some great advice for first year school teachers. We anticipate a lot when we decide to become teachers, but there's still much to learn. A few of his points really hit home. I think I will be referring back to this post a lot when I have a class of my own.

Mr. McClung first mentions "How to Read the Crowd." I'll admit that sometimes I get so caught up in all of the little details, making sure the finished product is above and beyond what was expected. I mean, I just wanted to make a great impression on whoever was in charge. But no matter how much effort I put into that whole process, I would inevitably fail if my audience can't comprehend it.

Another lesson for me is to "Be Flexible." I have to break from the habit of making sure everything is done perfectly. Life isn't perfect, nor is any lesson I will ever plan. I'm only setting myself up for disappointment. If I go in with the attitude that the lesson can change and it's okay, the days will go much smoother.

"Communication is the best medicine." If we have a problem that needs to be resolved, how is anyone going to know unless we communicate it? No one can read minds. If there is something that needs attention, and we say nothing, then we have no right to complain about it. If we talk about it, however, we have the chance to build stronger, meaningful relationships with other teachers and students.

As educators, we must "Be Reasonable." When we hold high expectations for our students and they fail to meet those expectations, we may become upset. No one in this world, however, is perfect. If a students falls shy of our expectations, we must "simply pick them up after they fail, dust them off, and encourage them to try again."

"Don't Be Afraid of Technology." Technology really is essential to our way of life. But like Mr. McClung said, we shouldn't become so overwhelmed by technology that we give up before we start. As with most things we learn, it may take a little time and practice to get used to. It's important to embrace technology, though, considering it's effects on all that we do today.

Another important lesson is to "Listen to Your Students." Our students will feel much more at ease with us if we build a genuine relationship with them. They want to know we care, so we should try to understand their wants and needs. This will help make for a more wholesome classroom experience.

"Lastly...Never Stop Learning." It's impossible to think that one day we will have learned enough. The world is always changing and we constantly have to adapt to it. So why not let that filter into our classrooms? We will expect our students to learn on a daily basis. It would seem a little hypocritical of us to be unwilling to the same.

After his third year of teaching, Mr. McClung experienced many changes that added to his career. He began by mentioning "Know Who Your Boss Is." I think this applies to a lot of areas, but it's very easy to get wrapped up in what people think of you. As a teacher, it's just as easy to get so consumed that you forget about your own students; however, the students are the whole reason we get into teaching. With that in mind, we should keep our focus on them rather than how we appear to the administrators. Mr. McClung also made sure to mention that we shouldn't let our personal life affect our professional life. The students deserve our undivided attention and we need to avoid letting anything personal adversely affect our performance at school.

Sometimes it's hard being an optimist and maintaining a positive outlook, especially if you're surrounded by those that aren't quite as positive. So another thing Mr. McClung learned was "Don't Expect Others to be as Excited About Change as You Are." I share the same view as Mr. McClung in that I love new ideas and challenges. And although I may be very ready and willing to undertake those challenges while others may not, I can't let them discourage me. I will reap whatever benefits from that experience that I can and apply it to my life and my profession. I want the best for my students, so I need to be open to go to any length to get there... Which kind of leads into his next thought, "Don't Be Afraid To Be An Outsider." I'm not getting into this profession to show off and gain the approval of my colleagues. Again, my focus should be on the students. If my practices aren't falling in line with everyone else's, but they're to the benefit of my students, then so what?

"Don't Touch the Keyboard." If I learned anything growing up, it was by making mistakes. My parents believed that I would never learn for myself if they kept intervening. That lesson stayed with me my whole life, and I can very well relate it to teaching. If we truly want our students to succeed, we have to accept that they need to struggle a little to get there. The experience will be so much more valuable and stay with them a lot longer in life than if we were to do it all for them.

Finally, "Don't Get Comfortable." Something that might be very easy to do in this profession. But, like Mr. McCLung mentioned, "we cannot afford to be passive in education; we need to be willing to be 'movers and shakers' and be advocates for the changes that need to happen in our schools." Imagine how much more of an asset we would seem to be if we were constantly seeking new ways to improve ourselves and the education system. The world needs more people like that.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Blog Post 8

This Is How We Dream

Richard Miller recognizes that we have made the greatest change in communicating our ideas. We have moved away from print based works found in libraries and onto something more readily available. Something more widespread. Global, in fact. We are now part of a digital environment. We have all of the information we could ever want or need at our disposal. We don't have to leave our house because our work space is our desktop. We are not just limited to our university library, but we can "research the riches of the world as they're stored on the web." Better yet, it's free!

We are not limited anymore to compose with text alone either. We can incorporate images, videos, and sound. This adds life to our work and makes it more appealing. And although we are moving very quickly through this digital age, that doesn't mean what we publish will ever go outdated and become useless. We have the ability to update the information instantly. It can happen right before our eyes. This shows the power and the pragmatics of composing material digitally because our world and its ways are ever-changing.

Am I prepared to write with multimedia? The thought never really crossed my mind until I began EDM 310. This class opened my eyes to countless, useful methods to do so. I may not fully understand everything just yet, but it takes curiosity and dedication to want to expand my realm of knowledge. That is something I cannot risk either because future students will be counting on me to guide them. Who knows, they may even have something to teach me.

Blog Post 12 by Carly Pugh

I really appreciate Carly for creating this post. I think she is a very good example for Richard Miller's idea of learning through the internet. I agree with Carly that visuals are a great help. Depending on the subject, I may learn better with videos or some other digital aid. There are many resources that can help us incorporate these tools, and we should because we need "to keep the attention of our digital learners."

Carly created an extensive playlist on YouTube that included inspirational videos, videos on diversity, and videos on student teaching to name a few. It was all very inspiring. One video on her playlist that touched me was disability meets possibilty. I'm currently taking a class for exceptional children and youth and it made me realize that although kids with disabilities have special needs, they are more like other kids than they are different. A quote from our text by William L. Heward says, "It is important for speak, write, and think about exceptional children and adults in ways that respect each person's individuality and to recognize strengths and abilities instead of focusing only on disabilities." People with disabilities deserve the same quality of life as we would expect for ourselves, and it's not our place to judge them and deny them of that.

Six Questions for Every Day was a great way to wrap up the post. It was yet another video that I've come across this semester that was cause for self-reflection. A little disappointed after answering "no" to some of the questions, it made me realize how much we complicate life. How much we over think and try to control it. At least, that's how I tend to function sometimes. I think if we live a little more simply, lovingly, and with that child-like wonder, life would be a little more fulfilling.

The Chipper Series and EDM310 for Dummies

These videos were quite amusing, but they really portray what it feels like to be an EDM 310 student. In this class, it's important to be an active participant and stay on top of your work because we are part of a learning community. I'm always looking at my classmate's blogs outside of the assigned C4C, so I just assume others are looking at mine. It's encouraging when I find inspiration from my peers, or to see something in a different light. This class gives me a deeper appreciation for online learning.

If I were to create a video, I might focus on time management for these assignments. I was actually told by a classmate today that he was assigned to my blog once, but I didn't have anything new for him to comment on so he had to find another classmate's blog. I felt like I let him down. As I said before, we are part of a learning community. What we post isn't just busy work. It's there to show our development, and hopefully to inspire others.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

student in front of chalkboard looking for icons to click

The United States Department of Commerce ranked 55 industry sectors by their level of IT intensiveness and education ranked last, below coal mining. This piece of news is quite discouraging. "Technology is not a choice." Technology today is advancing at exponential rates, and we need to advance right along with it. Another quote that stood out to me was that "every turned off device is potentially a turned off child." In the classroom, children are told to put away their cell phones and forbidden from logging onto social networking sites. I once thought that they would be distracting from the lesson as well, but surprisingly you can learn a lot. After seeing the benefits from networking, these technologies could enhance the classroom experience. Let's use what the student's know in a way that's appropriate for the classroom and show them how much more productive they can be.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blog Post 7

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

image of Randy Pausch
After watching this video, I was amazed at how much Mr. Pausch accomplished in his life. This goes to show that we can do anything we put our minds to. And although there may be many obstacles along the way, we should never give up.

Mr. Pausch had a lot of dreams as a child and one them was to play in the NFL. He never made it that far, but he said he learned a lot more from not accomplishing that dream than he did from any other dream he had. An important lesson he took away from playing football was the "head-fake." The concept here is that most of what we learn, we learn in directly. We get our kids involved with sports not just because it's fun and a great way to help them stay active, but we hope they learn more important things like teamwork, sportsmanship, and perseverance. And those things will help get them further in life.

Mr. Pausch also pointed out that brick walls were there for a reason. He said they let us prove how badly we want things. I never thought of it that way, but it makes so much sense. A lot of times when things get hard, people just give up. But if we are really determined to get what we want and worked so hard to get there, giving up should not be an option. Where there's a will, there's a way.

Later on Mr. Pausch recalls asking the question, "How can I enable the childhood dreams of others?" He said that he was glad he became a professor because that seemed to be the perfect profession to do so. At his university, he set up a course that involved building virtual worlds. Mr. Pausch said he was was blown away by his students just after the first assignment. He honestly wasn't sure how well they would do because he modeled the projects after his experience at Imagineering, and they were undergraduates and didn't have the best tools to work with. Mr. Pausch wasn't sure how to proceed after this. He decided to call his mentor and was told to tell the students, "That was good, but I know you can do better." And this was the perfect advice because Mr. Pausch obviously had the bar set too low, which is the worst thing to do to students. Everyone has the ability to create great works, and if we set limits they will never reach their full potential.

At the very end of the video, Mr. Pausch asked if we figured out the "head-fake" behind his lecture. The lecture wasn't about achieving your childhood dreams, but it was about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, everything will fall into place. There was a second "head-fake," and although the video ended abruptly when he revealed it, it was actually very touching. Mr. Pausch stated the lecture wasn't for us, but it was for his children. This whole lecture documented his life, his dreams, his achievements, and the lessons he learned along the way. Mr. Pausch can't physically be with his children anymore as they chase their own dreams. I believe he recorded this video to show them that, in addition to how you interact with people, nothing is impossible if you stay focused and determined.

This was a very powerful video, and Mr. Pausch is remarkably inspirational. There are a lot of other lessons included in this video that I didn't mention, but they are all equally important. After watching the video, I don't think it would hurt to evaluate ourselves and our own outlook on life. I know there are a few things I could work on.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

C4T Summary 2

Lost in the Documentation Abyss

Stephanie Shouldis has spent the last five years as an Intervention Specialist. She wrote a blog about her concerns with all of the time she spends on paperwork and documentation, more time than she spends with teaching. Not only that, but no one ever really looked at the documents. A former special education director told her to "keep it for seven years in case the school was audited." This bothered Stephanie because she feels the purpose of documenting is to help guide our teaching.

When looking at comments on twitter one day, she noticed a lot of people mentioning the site She dismissed the tool at first, but then read an article that explains "the use of portfolios to collect records, accomplishments or reveal areas of needed growth within the student’s work." She decided it was the perfect tool for her purpose after all, and began creating ePortfolios through LiveBinders to document student’s progress on their IEP goals and objectives.

This tool made a world of a difference in her documentation process. She can upload recordings of students reading, of her talking to them, or follow a SMARTboard recording of a student completing a problem. This saves her a lot of hassle from actually writing notes, and she finds she is more involved with the students now. Parents can even follow their child's progress through the use of ePortfolios.

It is kind of convenient that I am taking EDM310 as well as a course for exceptional children and youth. The latter course really opened my eyes to the challenges educators face when dealing with children with learning disabilities. The process of trying to take as many detailed notes about a particular student(s) can really take away from teaching the class. I commented that with the live documentation she must be relieved and also have a better detailed record of the student's needs.

She also feels there is more authenticity to her work now. She is not just taking notes for the purpose of being audited, but this process is helping the quality of work that follows. I thanked her for sharing this tool because it seems like it could be helpful in all classroom situations.

Unpleasant realities from your theory

This blog was written by LaRon Carter, a former K-12 special education teacher. He introduced the blog with a short message of a teacher being chastised for his student's failures:
angry boss pointing his finger

"Our students suffer from your insecurities, your lack of integrity, and your lacking courage to fight for what’s right when the odds are stacked against you."

Needless to say, this is very unprofessional. Not only that, but no one likes to be singled out. Then Carter posed the question, "Would you be willing to accept accountability for your student’s failures more easily if it were a team effort – If it were written to address behavioral flaws instead of a character issue?"

In my response I said I would have been very discouraged if I received that type of message. Maybe I felt like I was doing my best to create a caring, encouraging environment. If the message was written as if it was a team effort, however, I would be more inclined to accept accountability. I feel that there is strength in numbers. When addressing a problem, there is no doubt that more than one person can benefit from its solution. And the more people working together towards the same goals, the more successful we could be.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Timetoast Instructional Project 9b

I chose to make a timeline of wars that America has been involved in since the American Revolution. All of the information and photos were found on

Thursday, October 6, 2011

PLN Progress Report 1

screenshot of my first Symbaloo webmix

I chose to use Symbaloo for my PLN and it's slowly coming along. I like how you can create a number of different webmixes. That appeals to me because I like to organize things by categories, or its relevancy to each other. I could have a "social networking" mix, a "travel" mix, a "music" mix, and so on. I'm still in the process of customizing it all. I added the "EDU Tools" webmix as well. I haven't explored each tile in that mix just yet. There appears to be a lot of useful tools on this grid though.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blog Post 6

The Networked Student

In this video, Wendy Drexler illustrates the life of a 21st century student. The school week is modified to 3 days a week in the classroom and 2 days online, there are no textbooks, and his teacher almost never lectures. Drexler then presents the theory of Connectivism. The idea here is that "learning occurs as part of a social network of many diverse connections and ties." Networking is possible through many technological tools that are available. It's important to note, however, that the tools are not as important as the connections made possible by them. In other words, the student is taking control of their own learning by building connections with others.

students connected by networks
So why does the networked student even need a teacher? This video actually assures teachers that they still play a vital role in the learning process. The teacher will be acting as a guide. They will be there to help students build their network, show students how to communicate effectively, and how to respectfully ask questions of professionals. The teacher will help the student distinguish good information from that which would mislead them, and also help to organize the information they find.

But am I ready to be a teacher of the networked student? Well, now I'm not so sure. I never really considered the impact of technology in the classroom, but I thought I had a good foundation with technology today. The introduction to EDM 310, however, was a huge wake up call. We are fortunate to have this class because of the direction teaching is heading. I look forward to expanding my knowledge base and sharing what I have learned.

A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment

This 7th grader is extremely organized. I can tell she uses her PLE to its full potential by how easily she navigated through it and how she provided such detailed descriptions for each tool. A few of them peaked my interest. My PLE hardly touches hers though. I like the concept of Symbaloo and would like to begin incorporating that in my PLE.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

C4K Summary - September

Meghan's History

For my first C4K, I was assigned to Meghan and I commented on her "History" post. Her class had an assignment similar to our Timetoast project. She had to choose 10 significant events that affected her life so far and then create a timeline. That inspired me to write my own list of significant events. Some of the things on my list made me happy, and other things not so much. I shared that thought with Meghan, but I told her it's good to reflect on all of these things because what happens in our past makes us who we are today.

She also brought in a few objects to represent each event and made a little museum. I noticed a basketball and softball. I told her we have softball in common and that it's my favorite sport to play, but I'm not so good at basketball. She also had a medal and trophy for basketball, so I commended her on that.

Vietnam War protester
At the end of her blog, she mentioned her class had to decide what was important to learn about in American History. They could decide what was important by what has changed our lives today. Meghan said she would like to learn about the wars. I asked her if there was a specific war she'd like to learn about more than others. She replied with the Vietnam War. I told her that is definitely worth learning about. Not only was it the longest war in American history, but it was also a very unpopular war. It affected our culture in many ways, so I hope she learns as much as she can about it.

I asked Meghan a few more questions about basketball season and if she will play, how her school year is going, and if there is a subject that really interests her right now. So I hope we keep in contact.

Cruz @ PT England School

Cruz is part of Room 19 in Mr. Harris' class, and they had to research different Auckland town centres that have adopted rugby teams. Cruz found out information for a place called Mangere Bridge. It is a very friendly area, and a great way to "acclimatize to New Zealand culture."

I noticed Cruz's favorite sport is rugby, but I really had no idea what it was about. So I did a little research and looked up a few rugby videos on YouTube. I told him it seems like a very intense sport. It appears to be a cross between soccer and American football. I also asked him how long he has been playing the sport. I'm awaiting his response.

Interview Book Report on Satchel Paige

Elise, Cade, and Danielle did a wonderful job conducting and recording their interview. I was very impressed because they did not have any time to rehearse. I would have been a nervous wreck in front of the camera, especially without practicing beforehand. It was cool to see them using the iPad, too. I hope they continue use the iPad and other similar tools to help enhance their learning experience.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Project 8 - Podcast

picture of Rafe Esquith's book There Are No Shortcuts

Esquith is not your conventional teacher. He has an immeasurable amount of passion for what he does. He creates such a caring, compassionate atmosphere through all of the extra time he is willing to spend with his students; however, he still sets high expectations for them. Not because he can, but because he knows they have the ability to reach beyond their limitations.

The one chapter I read alone is very inspiring. After hearing what my group members had to say about their readings, it encouraged me to read the entire book. I can't wait to get my hands on my own copy. I think it would be beneficial for any future teacher.

The Learning Leos (made up of Bonnie Gaudet, Gina Phillips, and myself) created a podcast discussing Chapters 1, 2, 4, and the Epilogue of Rafe Esquith's book There Are No Shortcuts. You can listen to our "talk radio" style podcast by clicking the play button below.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Blog Post 5

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?

I thought this was a clever approach to address the importance of engaging children in the use of technology. I've said it in previous blogs, and I'll say it again, but we would be doing more harm than good if we were to keep children from using these tools. This day and age revolves around the use of technology, and it's advancing every day. Today's employers expect prospective employees to be technologically literate. If we really have the students' best interest at heart, we should be preparing them for this technology-based future.

I also think it's a shame that parents have become so fearful of these internet tools. Yes, you can find anything on the internet these days, good and bad things. You can also find these things every day through other sources like television, radio, and magazines. Parents can't be so protective that they take away their child's opportunity to use technology for growth and development. There are such things as parental controls if a parent is wary of their child's use (or misuse) of the internet.

I remembered Dr. McLeod contributed to a video we recently watched, Did You Know? 3.0. Apparently he is also one of the nation's leading academic experts on K-12 school technology leadership issues, and he blogs regularly about these issues. He has won awards and has many big supporters of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education, which is the nation's only center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators. Dr. McLeod seems very dedicated to this "cause," offering consultations and workshops in addition to his blogs to help move schools into the 21st century.

The iSchool Initiative

Travis Allen had an idea that we could incorporate the use of iPods in the classroom and eliminate the use of pencil, paper, and textbooks. This seems like a great idea considering so many people are concerned with "going green" these days. Not only that, but the monetary savings in textbooks and other items like graphing calculators makes it so much more appealing. And think about all of the information you could retrieve instantly right in the palm of your hands.

While this seems revolutionary, I'm not sure I agree completely with a pencil-less, paperless environment. While EDM 310 opened my eyes to the benefits of using technology in the classroom, I'm starting to think there are some situations where I'd rather learn by hand-written assignments and read with text in hand. Now, this may be because that's the style of learning I've been used to my whole life. Then again, before the internet was popular people still became successful by using "old school" methods of studying. While this is an interesting concept, I just don't think we should transition entirely to the use of iPods as the basis for learning.

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

This video really blew my mind. I was so impressed that all of these people, who have never met before, could create something so beautiful via submissions through the internet. Mr. Whitacre is incredibly creative. I can only imagine how much time it took to collect everyone's video and edit it so that it was this fluent.

I also viewed his Introduction to the Virtual Choir. This was touching because he described how the Virtual Choir connected a total of 185 people from 12 different countries. I agree with Mr. Whitacre that singing together and making music together is a "fundamental human experience." These videos are prime examples of the power of the internet and how unlimited we are with what we can create through technology.

Teaching in the 21st Century

comic beginning twenty-first century teaching ten years into the twenty-first century

The first thing that stood out to me in this video was Kevin Roberts' claim that teachers are not the main source of knowledge, that they have become "filters." This appears to be very true today. Students have the ability now to look up anything, anytime, anywhere. With information so readily available through the internet, why not eliminate the middle man?

Since a student can "Google" just about anything on their own, a fear is that the "lecture style" of teaching won't hold their attention anymore. I think Roberts' message is that teachers need to adapt their style of teaching to the types of resources students are used to now. From there, teachers should show the students how to use the technology appropriately and in a way that will benefit their classroom experience. This all goes back to the idea of teachers being technologically literate. If we want to reach the students, we have to get on their level.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blog Post 4

100 Ways to Use Your iPod to Learn and Study Better

I will admit, I definitely do not use this device to it's full potential. The most I use my iPod for is music and a game or two. I was amazed at the list of study accessories that was provided, and I'm sure there are hundreds more.

Just as it's nice to have music on the go, it's also nice to have study guides, tutorials, and much more on the go as well. Even nicer is the fact that an iPod is small and much more portable than a laptop. Laptops can be heavy and bulky, and they are not always convenient to carry with you everywhere you go. An iPod is an easy fix for that.

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom

Podcasting appears to be a very useful tool, especially outside of the classroom. In a case where a student is sick/absent, they have the ability to stay caught up by listening to a lecture or study material via podcasts. Or even if the student was present and they just want a "refresher," they can access the material just as easily.

Podcasting seems to add a little excitement to the learning experience as well. Students can be creative with it and take on different roles, which would definitely make it more memorable. Also, I remember I was incredibly intimidated every time I had to present in front of the classroom. With podcasting, I think it would help those that are just too shy to speak to the whole class.

Judy Scharf's Benefits of Podcasting

Although this list was short, it made me think of the other podcasts I listened to from our list of resources. Judy Scharf mentions the benefit of enhancing the students' communication skills. One thing that stood out to me while listening to the different podcasts was how well the students spoke. They spoke at a pace that was easy to follow. They projected their voice so that we could hear them well enough. They also enunciated their words distinctly. I can't tell you how many adults I speak to that I have to constantly ask to repeat themselves because they either spoke too fast or I simply couldn't understand them. So these are a few tips I will definitely be conscious of when I produce my own podcasts.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blog Assignment 3

It's Not About the Technology

Since our world is flooded with technology, of course it's the first thing to come to mind regarding learning and teaching. However, Mrs. Hines states that although the technological tools today are very innovative, they are not necessarily what we need to initiate change in the classroom.

I think she makes a good point: teachers must be lifelong learners. It's the "practice what you preach" principle. If we expect our students to keep learning, why shouldn't we? I plan on teaching health education and there always seems to be new developments in that field. So I agree that if teachers are truly invested in their profession, they must stay current not only on "tools," but on trends and research as well.

Is It Okay To Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?

Mr. Fisch also makes a valid point that teachers should be technologically literate. The generation we are teaching today lives in a world that revolves around technology (gaming and social networking are a couple of biggies). They probably can't remember a time when technology didn't influence their lives in some way. So if we want to reach them in our classrooms, maybe we should adapt to them. And that is done by incorporating technology in the classroom.

Keyboard with a key for success

Mr. Fisch compared technological literacy and the level of success over time. There is no doubt in my mind that it is getting harder to be successful without technological literacy. Since our future is becoming based more and more on technology, it's our job to prepare our students for that.

This made me think of my first semester at USA. I had been out of school for three years before I arrived here. My math class was the first class I ever had that used an online tool (USA Online). I was thinking what on earth could be done online with math? Although it was something as simple as weekly homework assignments, I didn't care for that system because I was so used to submitting my work on paper in person. But over time, I began to appreciate the efficiency of submitting these assignments online. I got my grade instantly, I'm sure it was much more organized for the professor, and we weren't wasting trees! This was my first glimpse at the practical importance of technology use in the classroom. And it held true for every other class I had that utilized online tools. It makes me more willing to adapt to different tools and methods of teaching in the future.

Social Media Counts

Wow! I could barely keep up with all of these figures because they were changing so rapidly. This goes to show how popular technology is and how often it's being used. In our society, there is no doubt these numbers will continue to rise. Educators need to be on the same level as kids today if they expect to reach them. Figures like this should encourage educators to take the time to learn how to use some of these tools.

Technologies are being discovered and improved upon every day, and we should do the same. We should have the desire to improve not only for ourselves, but for our students. They are relying on us to prepare them for the real world and we shouldn't shortchange them. So if this means we have to invest our time to learn how to use technological tools, then so be it.

A Vision of Students Today

Fortunately I haven't had the experience of being in a class so large it requires auditorium type seating. I can only imagine how impersonal that must feel. In the past, my professors have at least attempted to learn our names and most of them practically beg us to come to them if we ever have any questions. I could tell how much they care about our success in the class by stressing their availability outside of it.

I think students in such large classes should have a little sympathy for the professor as well though. I'm sure they're not the only large class the professor has each day. It must be stressful for the professor to keep track of everyone's progress. The student has to take a little responsibility in their education, too. They need to reach out to the professor if they had any concerns or felt like they weren't getting the most out of the class.

Also, I have noticed some students taking advantage of bringing laptops to class, or having smart phones. They're usually browsing the web, social networking sites, or texting instead of taking notes and following the professor. It seems like a waste to have come to class. But then there are those students that don't come at all and I consider that even more of a waste. I'm not paying all of this money, going into debt, just to skip class. I want my money's worth.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Project 3 C4T Summary

C4T #1

"Workin on the Chain Gang"

Mrs. Goerend is a fifth grade teacher from Iowa. In her blog, she mentioned the importance of building community in the classroom. She stated it may be one classroom, but it's filled with many people, each of them with different strengths. And because of these differences, it makes for a very accomplished classroom.

To emphasize this, she presented her class with the "chain gang" activity. Basically, students are given a few strips of paper and are asked to write down a few things they do well. Then the students proceed to build a chain out of all the "strips of strength," and it serves as a reminder to the students that they all have their own unique abilities. They will also begin to see the benefits they can reap from teamwork.

I thought this activity was ingenious, and I hope to use it in my own classroom one day. In their own ways, students contribute to the success of their class. I remember as I got older, I realized the importance of listening to other people. Because other people offered different opinions and ideas and techniques and so much more that I never would have thought of in a million years! Now, it may or may not have changed my own views at the time, but at least it opened my mind to the possibilities.

I asked Mrs. Goerend if she thought this type of activity would be too "elementary" in a secondary school setting. She simply stated kids would probably appreciate listing things they're good at no matter how old they were. She also said the teacher's attitude toward it makes the difference. And I believe she is right. A little boost in our confidence/self-esteem is good once in awhile. It gives us a sense of worth.

Building Community

In this blog post, Mrs. Goerend again talks about the importance of community in the classroom. She is a new teacher at the school and other teachers in her grade level made her aware of a tradition they had. This tradition involved students bringing a grocery bag filled with a few items about themselves. They would then share those items with the class. She learned a lot about her students over the two days they held the activity.

In response, I told Mrs. Goerend that I thought the bag sharing was another great idea. It shows the students that she cares about them and their interests, and that's definitely important in building community. It was nice that Mrs. Goerend also shared a few items of her own. I think by sharing some of her items she appears to be more of a person than just being labeled as "the teacher." This will bring them all much closer as a unit.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Blog Assignment 2

Did You Know?

Did You Know? graphic

I love statistics. I actually stumbled upon this video about a month ago. It amazes me how much technology has changed over the years and how it continues to do so. Not only that, but the rate at which everything is advancing is exponential. I'm interested in how these statistics have changed since the video was produced.

At approximately 3:38, the video reveals that for a 4 year degree, half of what a student learns in the first year of study will already be outdated by the third year. This may seem a little discouraging. At the same time though, it kind of makes you realize that we will never stop learning. There will always be new advancements and technologies, and if we want our lives to prosper we have to advance right along with them.

Mr. Winkle Wakes

After he awoke from his hundred year slumber, Mr. Winkle discovered a world full of new technologies. This new world was very overwhelming for him. However, Mr. Winkle came across a school with classrooms just as he remembered, and there he found solace away from this new, highly advanced world.
Mr. Winkle sitting in an empty classroom

This immediately grabbed my attention. Why, after 100 years, are we not incorporating the use of more technology in the classroom? When students graduate and enter the "real world," they are expected to be technologically literate. If they're not, there's usually plenty of other candidates to choose from. It's our duty as educators to help guide and prepare students for such competitive markets in today's society.

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity

Sir Ken Robinson quote

What really stood out to me was that children are so creative because they're not afraid to be wrong. As an adult, I'm horrified at the thought of being wrong. This led me to a few questions. When did I start to become so afraid? Was I influenced by my parents, peers, or teachers? Are we really "educating people out of their creative capacities?"

After high school, I was so focused on finding a major that would land me a great paying job and also make the parents happy. I mean, my mom's been working in a factory for as long as I can remember and in recent years my dad's just been picking up odd jobs here and there. So of course they want their child to do something better with her life. But I switched from major to major never finding any satisfaction in what I was learning. I took a break and worked the front desk at a credit union for three years. Then my days just became so routine. What a waste!

Although I originally came to USA for Meteorology, I'm glad I finally realized teaching is where it's at for me. I always left this option on the back burner because it doesn't generate big bucks. But no one gets into teaching for the pay. It's all about the kids. They are our future, and I think we need to embrace their creativity. It doesn't make sense to try to condition them into something they don't like or aren't good at. How does one excel at something they really have no passion for?

Cecelia Gault's Interview

Cecelia is a smart little girl, and it's very encouraging to see her interest in the direction education is going in. If I had students like her, I would try to entertain their questions and encourage their creativity as best as I could. And it's important to rid this notion that creativity is limited to the arts.

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts

I started to see everything tie together when Vicki Davis said if you only have pencil and paper, only certain students will succeed. I commend her for paying attention to each student and their strengths and interests, and then customizing the classroom according to that group of students. How ingenious! Because not every class is the same year after year.

I also noticed the students are being very interactive, learning for themselves and then teaching one another. That has to be a relief for them. It's hard to stay focused sometimes when you have an instructor that just lectures at the front of the classroom for the entire period. Some may learn that way, but others need to have that hands on experience, and a classroom setting like this really provides for that.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Blog Assignment 1

About Me

Hello! My name is Lana and I'm from Baltimore, Maryland. I just turned 26 on August 17. After graduating high school I spent four years attending community college and then three years working full time. Right around my second year of working full time I decided I need to go back to school. I came to USA beginning Fall 2010. I originally came for the Meteorology program, but after a year of classes I realized my heart wasn't in it. I thought about my other interests and I've always wanted to teach. I love to help people and I think teaching would be a very rewarding experience for me. I'm entering the field of health education with hopes that I can influence young adults to make informed decisions among all of the pressures in society today.

Now, when I left Baltimore, I left all of my family and friends behind. It was my first time being on my own, too. That was both exciting and scary to think about. I experienced some "culture shock" when I first got to Mobile. And I'm not going to lie, it was rough adjusting to life on my own. I was tempted to call it quits a few times and just go back home, but then I'd remind myself I'd never grow up if I did and so I stuck it out. I eventually made a few good friends, met my wonderful boyfriend, got a job on campus, and things got easier.

In Baltimore, I spent a lot of my free time with family. It could be doing something as simple as visiting my grandparents for a few hours after work or something as grueling as mixing and laying concrete for the new walkway alongside my dad in the blistering sun. Whatever it was, I loved it! Family is so important to me and I miss everyone immensely. Not to mention missing all of my crazy friends. Other than that, I love to go to the beach (and it's so much more convenient to get to a beach from Mobile than it is from Baltimore...yay!). I also enjoy reading. And oh how I love to bake! I think cheesecake is my favorite. :) As for something that's a little more random...during the summers of 2009 and 2010 I've taken flying trapeze lessons. It's such an amazing experience. If you ever have the opportunity, and aren't afraid of heights, I highly recommend it!

Dr. Pausch on Time Management

Dr. Pausch mentioned the importance of to do lists, and I cannot imagine my life without them. I have a lot to juggle in my life and the only way I can stay sane is to plan what I'm doing each day, each week, etc. Otherwise, things that may be really important may get overlooked. And there's a lot of truth in doing the "ugliest" thing first. It makes everything else on your list look like a piece of cake.

I get so much satisfaction at the end of the day when everything is complete; however, I'm learning that I can't get too discouraged if something was not done. Life happens. It can change the plan. I need to be flexible enough to realize that's okay. After all, there's always another to do list to be made.