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.