Sunday, February 24, 2013

Project #10

Finding the Right Tool

I plan on teaching kindergarten when I become a teacher. Since kids knowledge of computers will vary I will definitely start off by teaching them how to practice using a mouse. So I googled "mouse practice" and found this site MiniMouse. This is a site where children can choose which game they would like to play by clicking a picture. Then an animated activity will come up and they can click and drag on the screen where the arrow points to play the game. The instructions on what to do to the picture are below the animation screen on each activity. So this allows them to practice their reading skills as well. This is a cute little site. Screenshot

I then googled "useful technology in kindergarten" and came across the site. On this page a kindergarten teacher, Chris Gathers, describes another software program that he uses in his classroom. This program is called Kid Pix Studio Deluxe. I would definitely use this with my children. The site itself looks way cool and it makes me want to use it at age 31 so I know my little kindergarten children would love it. Mr. Gathers uses this software to teach his kids to use the following tools: "color, pencil, line, paint can, eraser, alphabet text, rubber stamps, moving van, and undo guy". With pencil children can learn how to write their name and edit their name with different fonts and colors. They can also learn how to save and print whatever activity they did that day. Another lesson Mr. Gathers teaches his students with this software is to draw shapes. He gets them to choose a bigger line to draw the shape. Once the shape is drawn he instructs them to use spray paint to fill in the shape with different colors and it also teaches them to stay in line with the shape. The undo guy let's them undo mistakes. These are lessons I would also teach my students.

You can also create little short animated movies on this site. Which is great to teach children how to make, record, and upload learning videos with animation. They can create their own lessons and let their fellow classmates learn from them. It looks like this site does a lot but I did not download the free trial yet, so I do not have full access to everything it has to offer. He has been teaching for 30 years and has seen the evolution of technology in the classroom. And if he thinks Kid Pix is great for his students, I think I will take his advice and use it for mine.

Kid Pix Studio Deluxe Screenshot

The last tool that I would like to use in my classroom is one that I have seen advertised on the Disney channel. Now that I am a mom, I watch Disney 24/7. This tool is called the ABC Mouse Early Learning Center. It is an online early learning academy created by Disney. ABC Mouse Logo

It has over 450 different lessons with over 3000 learning activities for kids to try. Kids can pick their lesson from the top picture bar in which ever subject they want to learn. In each subject there are activities to help them learn to read, do math, listen to music, record music, learn to count, learn their ABC's, and the list goes on and on. The side picture buttons are like virtual field trips. When clicking on these images the kids can take a trip to the zoo or the library or where ever they want to go. The white board guides the children step by step through which ever curriculum you choose to teach the children. You can choose one they have set up or pick one of your own for what best fits your students needs. This section also keeps up with each child's progress with the activities. You can access ABC Mouse Early Learning Center through any computer any where at any time. This tool is for ages 2-6 and can be used by teachers or parents. ABC Mouse will definitely be used in my classroom as well as, with my daughter. I can not wait to learn more about it when my daughter is of age to use it.

Blog Post Assignment #6

The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler

Wendy Drexler's video The Networked Student was very informative video about Connectivism. Connectivism is where learning occurs as a learning connection as part of social networking through many diverse learning connections and ties. The connection of course, is more important than the network. The teacher in this video encourages students to connect with others who can make their learning connection grow. This is called a Personal Learning Network. This is where you use a social bookmarking account to save URL's of sites you have visited and share them with others. So "why does the networked student need a teacher?" The teacher is the one to teach him or her about the network and how to use it and take advantage of the opportunities that networking provides.

Social Networking Image

I was curious as to what a Personal Learning Network or PLN was but now that I have watched Mrs. Drexler's video, I know. This will be something that is very useful to me as I continue my education and become a teacher. It will also help me in my career as a teacher. It is very helpful to get ideas and advice about teaching from the ones who are doing it now. I will need all the help I can get setting up and starting up my first classroom so I definitely intend on keeping up with the PLN I create for this class.

I am actually glad that all this work I am doing in EDM 310 will actually be knowledge that I can take with me and use further in my career. Teachers are always looking for new ideas and ways of doing things because I see a lot of my teacher friends pinning ideas and activities for their students on Pinterest. Pinterest will also be a big part of my PLN.

A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment

This video shows an example of a 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment or as we call it, PLN. This is a great example for me to go by. I have a lot more work to do on PLN after watching this video but I am glad I watched it because just reading the assignments about it in this class does not give me a good enough description of how to use Symbaloo. This video A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment by Mrs. Drexler's student gives me a better idea of how to use Symbaloo. It also gives me a better ideas of where I want my PLN to go. Thanks for the lesson and the video.

Symbaloo Screenshot

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Blog Post Assignment #5

If I built a School

Mrs. Krissy Venosdale the author of the blog,Venspired, has taught for 11 years. She has been teaching gifted education for the past 4 years at the Hillsboro R-3 School District in Hillsboro, Missouri. She loves technology, science, space, and running with her dog Lucy. She also enjoys photography and traveling with her family. Mrs. Venosdale explains that her biggest hobby is talking and learning about education.

Mrs. Venosdale's post, If I Built a School was very interesting. She starts off by explaining this post as a Willy Wonka Moment, a chance to build her own school. I have not been a blog reader very long but this is definitely one of the most vividly entertaining posts I have ever read. Full of excitement for education; learning, teaching, and exploring. She really does depict a dream school in this post. A place where students were encouraged to explore their talents and differences while learning. I wish all children could go to a school like this. I really liked the "IdeaPaint" project. How great would it be for students to express their ideas about learning or what they would like to learn for everyone to see plus it is "Art in Motion". I also like the idea that Grade Levels would be rooms that students passed through based on readiness and ability rather than passing through based on age alone. It is so important that our children grasp and understand the concepts we are teaching them and move at a pace that is good for them based on their needs. And how fun would it be to have a tree in the Library? Awesome! This would definitely make kids want to read more. The idea I love the most is the 20% Time. A time period when teachers teach what they are most passionate about and students get to follow their passions. What a fun school this would be!

Fantasy Classroom by Todd Berman

If I had a chance to build a school I would want mine to be just like Mrs. Venosdale's. I would want my students to come to a place of creativity and innovation. A place where they want to go instead of where they have to go. I would probably have a tree house in every classroom as a learning nook. I would also create a 10% Time where the students can teach their peers and their teachers about what they are passionate about. I would encourage and promote children to explore their talents, no matter what it is, because every child has a talent and they need to know that is unique and special to them. I would have all kinds of different fantastical setups where kids did not even know they were studying and learning while they were exploring the room. I think you learn more and remember more of what you learn if you are hands on and have a chance to figure things out for yourself. Yes, my school would be just like Mrs. Venosdale's. A place where children can learn and grow while expressing themselves in a fun and entertaining setting.

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

Wow! Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir video was amazing! I enjoyed watching it. I am glad Jennifer Chamber's shared this with the rest of us. It truly incredible that 185 complete strangers created such a work of art having never met in person to do it. This truly shows the power of technology. I think using the Internet in this way is a great idea. It brings people together from all around the world to express and explore their mutual talents and passions. I think this also shows how collaborative learning is a tool that needs to be taught and learned in classrooms every where. This video may also be a look in to what future classrooms may be like. Distant learning through technology. At least Whitacre's video shows it can be done. It shows that people from all walks of life can come together to create a masterpiece.

Teaching in the 21st Century

After watching Teaching in the 21st Century several times, I am still not real clear on what Kevin Roberts is trying to say. It seems like he is saying that if teachers can only teach students facts in the classroom then they will never learn or have the skill required to apply this knowledge in the real world. If this is the case then I agree with what Mr. Roberts is saying. Students have to learn somehow, through someone, how to apply what they have learned in their everyday life in the future. He also seems to be suggesting that students can learn just about anything and everything they want through technology. Sure you can learn a lot through technology but you can not learn everything. I think technology is great. I think it enhances every one's life in some way or another and I think we need it to teach our children to be prepared for the future but I do not think it needs to be the one to teach our children. I for one, would never want my child to learn through technology alone. I think it takes away human interaction with others and children need human interaction with other people besides their parents, especially at a young age.

All children are hands on learners. They use all 5 senses to learn about and explore their environments. They need to be able to touch and feel what they are learning about sometimes. You can not touch and feel the differences between hot and cold, or wet and dry through technology. Sure you can describe it and show a video that they can watch to demonstrate it but it is not allowing them to experience it for themselves. And tell me how technology is supposed to make your child be physically active? I mean sure they can watch a video to learn how to do an activity but that does not mean they are actually doing it and getting the daily exercise they need to even be a little bit healthy. I think technology is great and it is here to stay for sure, and it will, without a doubt be integral to our children's learning environment in the future. But teachers will never be obsolete in my opinion.

I am a new mom and while I was pregnant I learned and read and watched everything I could to prepare myself for the birth of my daughter and my role as her mother, but none of that prepared me for her birth. It was the once a month check-ups with my doctor that prepared me for her birth not what I read or watched because every birth is different, just like every child is different. And nothing I have read or watched or "googled" on a computer or device has taught me how to be a good mother, care giver, and provider for my daughter, that is something that is learned by trial and error and real life experience. I'm still learning and will continue to learn until my child is grown. I know giving birth or being a mother is not the same as teaching but it is the only example I have to explain that every child is different. They progress and learn different and need to be comforted differently and those things can not be learned or taught through technology alone. How can technology comfort a child? There's just no way.

Flipping the Classroom

Math Applications Cartoon

Flipping the classroom allows students to have direct instructional videos from their teachers while at home to prepare them for the next day's lesson. This allows students to come to school with prepared questions and back ground knowledge on the content being taught. Flipping also allows the students the opportunity to re-watch the videos in preparation for tests. This project for flipping classrooms is called Fizz, and it was created by Dr. Lodge McCammon, who is a curriculum specialist at The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation. According the videos Fizz is only being applied in Math classes.

I actually think Fizz is a great idea, especially in Math. Math can be difficult to understand for some students. I know it was really difficult for me. I had a Math tutor for middle and high school and I still struggled. I would take good notes and I asked questions to better understand but by the time I got home to complete my homework I would forget how to do it. The Math I was taking was way more advanced than when my parents were on school so they were no help either. I knew if I could see my teacher work the problem one more time I could remember how to do it and Fizz allows for this to happen. I would definitely use this in my classroom. I think Math is a subject you understand better with repetition and practice, so being able to go back and review the teacher work and teach the lessons multiple times allows more repetition and practice, which leads to a better Math student.

Project #6 My Sentence Movie

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Blog Post Assignment #4

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom by Joe Dale

Podcasting allows for differentiation in the classroom. It also focuses on the higher levels of Blooms Taxonomy; Evaluation, Synthesis, and Analysis. Podcasting also allows students to explore their creativity. One of the really great benefits of podcasting is if a student is out sick before a test or an assignment is due they can see what they have missed or what they need to review for their assignment or exam through their teacher’s podcast. Podcasts allow for more project based learning in the classroom. They are also beneficial to parents who want to know what is going on in their child’s classroom.

RSS Feed Symbol with Headphones-Podcasting
I will definitely use this podcasting video in the future for my assignment in EDM310 and in my future classroom. I think podcasting can help with a student’s pronunciation and reading skills. It also makes learning more fun which is really important in today’s education environment. When learning is boring and monotone you do not retain the information being taught to you. Mr. Dale’s video also included links to the podcasting sites Garage Band and Audacity, which will help when making my own.

Project #4 C4T Assignment #1

My first C4T assignment is on Mrs. Edna Sackson’s blog, She has been a teacher in Australia for the past 30 years and this is the first year she has not had a class to teach. She now works with teachers more than students.

Owl Teacher Image
10 Ways to Create a Learning Culture

The first blog of hers I read was, 10 Ways to Create a Learning Culture. In this blog she reflects on all the things she used to think about teaching. She explained what she thought she knew about how her fist day would be and then what she now knew was true about the first day after experiencing it for 30 years. Here is Mrs. Sackson’s list of 10 Ways to Create a Learning Culture:

1. Ask about their expectations.

2. Create an essential agreement.

3. Know everyone’s story.

4. Arrange learning spaces to encourage collaboration.

5. Demonstrate that you value thinking.

6. Talk about learning.

7. Ensure they know that they own their learning.

8. Make sure you listen.

9. Show you’re a part of the learning community.

10. Laugh…

Here is my response to Mrs. Sackson’s post:

Hi Ms. Edna Sackson! My name is Jamie Barbour and I am in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class. This is my first education class so I am very eager to learn anything and everything I can from other educators to prepare me for my career in education. I plan to teach kindergarten or first grade because I love little children and their creativity and eagerness to learn when they first go to school. I really enjoyed reading your blog and how you compared the lists of the things "I Used to Think" and "Now I think" after your 30 years of experience. I especially like the idea of seating children in groups that promote and encourage collaboration among students. I believe we can sometimes understand and learn better from our peers than our teacher sometimes because it is less intimidating and we are not scared to make the wrong choice and be original. I also think it is really important to "know everyone's story". Sometimes we do not understand why or how some children progress and understand faster than others, but we do know that where they come from and what affects their environment can have on their ability to learn. Thanks so much for sharing this information. I look forward to reading more of your posts and using them in my class room one day.

Thanks, Jamie Lynn Barbour

Exploring Issues Blog by Edna Sackson

Mrs. Sackson’s Exploring Issues blog post is about using drama to “explore issues and deepen understanding in [the] classroom”. This is the same kind of drama used as in play acting but using it in this way is called the Playback style of theater, which is like on the spot improvisation. The key points Mrs. Sackson listed in her blog about the benefits of this type of teaching tool are:

• Collaborating in groups to explore issues and develop ideas.

• Using newspaper stories, articles and powerful images to stimulate thinking.

• Writing four sentence stories to encapsulate the big ideas.

• Considering social inequity from other perspectives.

• Empathising with others and portraying different aspects of their emotions.

• Using voices and bodies to express feelings and communicate ideas.

• Experimenting with symbolism and metaphor to invoke emotion and provoke thinking.

• Giving constructive feedback to peers on how to make their performances more effective.

• Reflecting individually and collaboratively to refine their techniques.

My response to Mrs. Sackson’s Exploring Issues Post was:

Hi Mrs. Sackson! I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama from the University of South Alabama. I love drama but I have never actually thought of using it in this way in the classroom with young children. I am working on my second undergraduate degree in elementary education and I am in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 class this semester. I think that drama is a great way to encourage discussion in the classroom, especially for little ones because they are so physical in their learning and exploring new things. I think this allows them a chance to be more creative and innovative in the classroom and interact with their fellow students. I also think this is a great way for children to get to know each other better and find out what their peers find important in today’s world. Thanks for the post and I will definitely keep this in mind for my future students.

Thank you-Jamie Lynn Barbour


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Special Blog Post Assignment #1

Did You Know 3.0? Wolfram/Alpha Search

The Wolfram/Alpha search revealed that the population of India is 1.21 billion. The population of China is 1.35 billion, and the United States' population is 309 million people. So this data shows the differences in a their population size as the reason for the differences in IQ's between the three countries as referred to in the Did You Know 3.0 video by Dr. Strange. Also the reason why there would be more people in China speaking English than in America is because 318 million Chinese speaking Enghlish is more than the entire US population which is only 309 million people. I did several more Wolfram/Alpha searches with similar questions. I asked, "What age do children start school in China?" The search revealed children start at age 7 for primary school and age 12 for secondary school. I asked the same question for India and the data revealed that children start primary school at age 6 and secondary school at age 12. Again I asked the same question for the US and the search showed that children start primary school at age 6 and start secondary school at age 12.

Wolfram/Alpha Benefits in the Classroom

Wolfram/Alpha Logo
I really like the Wolfram/Alpha search engine and I will definitely use it in my classroom one day. I clicked on the Examples tab and went through the different subject categories and the possible searches that could be done. I found the math section really useful. When doing basic arithmetic you can input the numbers of a problem and it will give you the answer to the problem. It will also show your students where the answer is located on the real number line. This is especially helpful for young children when learning number placement. It is also great for showing students how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions. This is really useful because I found fractions to be very intimidating as a child. This site will show you step by step how to complete each function. Wolfram/Alpha also has little pop-up questions that appear on the bottom left of the screen and when you click on the box it will give you the answer to the question. I think this is a great way for students to learn new little facts about other subjects while searching for answers to their own questions.

Gary Hayes Social Media Counts

Mr. Gary Hayes is an award winning producer, director, author, and educator who created the blog In his blog he created a social media count tab that keeps up with how many people are posting on social media sights such as facebook, pinterest, and twitter. It tallies what kind of device these posts are being made from. This count fluctuates every day down to the most current seconds. It also keeps up with how much information is being sent through mobile devices and games. It even includes data for how many papers are printed, and the data on recent films being made around the world on the "heritage" tab.

Gary Hayes' Social Media Count
The social media count Mr. Gary Hayes provides is really amazing. I think this data gives insight in to what future classrooms may be like. And by this I mean that classrooms will be even more involved with social media and technology than what they already are. I really think it should be a requirement for all schools to focus on technology more than what they do now because it is our children's future. I think facebook and twitter is great for educational purposes and showing students what other children their age are doing and learning around the world but I do not think children should be using it for social purposes until their parents think it is age appropriate for them.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Blog Assignment #3

Peer Editing

I learned a lot about Peer Editing after watching the assigned Peer Editing videos, slide, and reading Paige Ellis's blog. Let me be the fist to say that receiving constructive criticism is really hard. When I was an actor in plays constructive criticism was just standard, everyday practice. It was very difficult not to take it as a personal attack sometimes, especially when receiving it from my peers. After a while you just get used to it and learn who is trying to help you become better and who is just trying to tear you down. The most important thing to remember in Peer Editing is to stay positive. Constructive criticism is hard to take sometimes, especially when it is done so in a mean or offensive way. The first step in peer editing is to begin the criticism with compliments, pointing out the things they did well in their blog. The second step is to offer suggestions on ways your peer can make their blog better. And finally, make specific corrections to help make their blog better. Actually I would add a step four, end your editing on a positive note as well. This will reinforce the idea that you are only trying to help improve their writing.

I was assigned to read Samantha Wesson's Blog Assignment #2 for this post and I chose to give my constructive criticism publicly because I feel like if my suggestions were incorrect then maybe someone else, like Dr. Strange, could correct them. Sam's blog was written really well and my criticism was minor. Here is what I suggested:

Hi Samantha! I really enjoyed reading your blog post assignment #2. I thought it was very thought provoking. You brought up some really great points about technology in our classrooms. I agree that we as teachers need to keep up with the newest of technologies so we can grow and learn as educators to be the best we can be for our students. Technology is now and will always be in our classrooms. Overall I thought your blog post was written really well. I only noticed a few things that you could do to improve your blog and make it even better. Try to make your sentences a little shorter because long sentences can sometimes confuse the reader. Watch out for using the word "that" too much in your sentences. When I use "that" in a sentence I like to re-read the sentence out loud and see if "that" can be replaced with another word or just taken out altogether. In most cases it can be. And lastly I would try not to use contractions so much when writing. Most of my professors in the past have always told me to break down contractions when writing papers or when writing professionally because they are used mostly for informal everyday speech. Like I said, you are doing a great job on your blog. Keep it up! And good luck on your future coaching career. My younger brother has been coaching for two years now and he really enjoys it!

Editing Cartoon

Assistive Technologies

The Mountbatten Braille Writer is an advanced form of technology that allows blind children to participate in classroom activities, discussions, and group collaborations with fellow students. This machine can also send and receive information and data from computers. I would definitely use this in my classroom for my students who are seeing impaired and also for my students who are not. I think it is a great way to teach children who are not blind how to read braille and use their sense of touch to read. It is our job as teachers to teach our children how to read and reading braille counts. I would love how to do it myself. I also think sign language should be taught in classrooms so our children will be prepared to communicate with those who are hearing impaired. I only know how to sign a few words but I can sign the alphabet so I do know how to communicate with the deaf and have had to several times at my job. I plan to learn how to sign words so I can teach sign language to my daughter and we can communicate with each other before she knows how to speak.

After watching Teaching Math to the Blind I am really surprised to know that a device like the one Art Karshmer is helping to create does not already exist. I would think as advanced as our technology is in 2013 we would have the capability of teaching math to the blind. They should not be limited in their education or careers because of a handicap. The video on iPad Usage for the Blind was really insightful as well. I think it is great that the iPad is user friendly for the seeing impaired. I think it is unfortunate that it costs so much because if it offers something as great as this it should be more affordable. I would love to have iPads in my classroom for my students because I think they are a great teaching tool. They make learning fun! And now that I know how user friendly they are for the seeing impaired I will definitely try to have at least one to help me communicate better with all my students.

Vicki Davis: Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts

Ms. Vicki Davis is a teacher in Georgia who is teaching her students exactly what we are learning in EDM 310. Her Cool Cat Teacher blog just won an award for best teacher blog in the world which is saying a lot about her. She teaches her students through every form of technology there is. I hope to one day teach my students as much through and about technology as Ms. Davis and Dr. Strange. I am learning a lot through this course already and I am hoping to learn a lot more. I want to help my students teach themselves about technology because I think that is the only way to really learn it.