Sunday, December 8, 2013

Blog Assignment #16

Final Reflection for Fall 2013 EDM 310 Course - Brian Orr

As a final reflection of the course, we were asked to reread our very first blog assignment about our dream classroom or school. The topics covered could be how you want your future class structured (or not at all!) or in what manner you would teach your students, in general. I mentioned a few points pertaining to my dream mathematics classroom, but as I have had a semester to grow and even teach a math classroom for an internship, I would change a few points. I might want to use pre-written Smartboard lessons after having used them this semester, rather than chalkboard/projector. I still agree with my own self though! Writing or speaking at the slow/steady pace students can learn at is vital! Teachers that speed along not taking questions or reviewing the material at the end, they still and probably always will frustrate me.

I mentioned in the last section of my original post that class discussion would not only allowed, but encouraged! I won't go against my own thinking, but rather the method or rules; students should remember to be respectful to the teacher and also to other students around them! Speaking freely and discussing the material is great, but if goes too far (as it did in my internship a few times ironically) then I would now ask them to quiet down. Other than these few points, I will agree with all my past ideas! I think I did a great job on this post. And looking at what I wrote...I would say this described very well the class my mentor teacher created, where students are free to ask questions, correct each other's work, do problems on the board (Smartboard too) together, and in general think about the math rather than just computate it day and night. Great job past Brian! I wholeheartedly agree!

My Final Reflection Video:

Image Source:,_Auguste_Rodin.jpg

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blog Assignment #15

How Assistive Technologies Transform Learning

By Sally Gajewski:

The first video iPad usage for the blind is a video showing Wesley Majerus, a blind person, using motion tools on an iPad to navigate all of its menus and programs. He demonstrates how to navigate around the iPad using two or three finger swipes and rotations along with other techniques. He can access iBooks to listen to audio books and search through webpages with a few complicated sets of movements. It is beyond amazing what he can do on the iPad and I wonder if other machines can do the same thing. If I had not seen this video, I would have thought it impossible for the blind to use technology is such a way, or at all. Really, it is great the world is researching tools and methods to help disabled persons, for they are people too just like us.

The Mountbatten - Assistive Technology for the Blind is a video demonstrating the braille typewriter of sorts, that blind persons may type with braille keys to produce braille text on paper. Other uses of the machine are saving these braille texts as a file on a computer and receiving such files to be oriented in braille. Lastly, the braille typewriter may translate braille to English letters on the computer, as a user of the typewriter inputs braille the computer writes the passage in Roman letters for the general public to see. This makes it all more accessible to disabled students to communicate with each other and the other students that can read the common letters.

By Brian Orr:

The video Teaching Math to The Blind is the single most innovative story I have heard, with respect to assistive technology. I had no more words after that video than "Wow! What next?" Technology is shaping our era to be the most influential for cultures, ever. We will change how the world works, thinks, feels for a long time into the future I believe. Being blind and able to keep up in at least simple math is revolutionary I'm sure. And the disabled are given tools to make them feel equal to the unafflicted we all can rejoice. And I do like the comment by the professor near the end. "Math is a hard subject, even for the sighted." I couldn't agree more. I have been through 4 levels of calculus and various physics courses, I still feel this way and always will and one reason I love Math for the struggle and eventual success!

The last research I did was on how we came to having assistive technologies for the disabled or impaired citizens beside us. And as Helen Keller is probably the most influential person to help disabled people, I thought I could introduce her. She was a deafblind child that was trained to be able to live independently, to do what no one thought was possible for people like her. Her mentor and "companion" was a woman named Anne Sullivan, who trained her to communicate in spite of Keller being both deaf and blind. Mastery of braille must have been essential to her education, as hearing and sight were of no help to Keller to educate herself. Beyond learning to read braille and execute sign language, Keller was taught to and mainly seemed to teach herself how to read lips with her sense of touch. She also was taught by teachers, among them Sarah Fuller, to speak herself with Keller feeling the way the mouth moves as someone speaks and the position of the tongue with various accents, vowels, and consonants. The inspiring methods Keller used and her enthusiasm to learn to be sufficient on her own give a great example to disabled children and people of all age. From her time forward, the disabled community can have hope for fulfilling their desires, and for the rest of the community to sympathize with their situation and aid them.

Image Sources:,,, &

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blog Assignment #14

Blog Post by Brian Orr: How Streamlined Has Learning Become? "Khan Academy - Education for Anyone, Anywhere"

For this blog assignment, we were to create our own instructions in the form of a blog assignment in our area of study, for future EDM students to complete. Then we were to do them ourselves. This is my blog post assignment for EDM 310.

Visit the site Khan Academy, and browse the lessons under the tab Learn and under the section Math. Khan Academy contains lessons in many fields, but today's focus will be with Mathematics. Choose a grade level and watch 2 lessons at least. Then report on what you learned, how you like learning in this style, and what you think the future holds for education that is streamlined over the internet, where even users can create lessons for the world to see.

I completed this assignment myself and chose to view the following lessons, as I had an interest in how Khan presented the subject matter of Calculus: Lesson 1 on L'Hôpital's rule and Lesson 2 on Explaining Integration by Parts.

First off, the site is beautiful. It's easy to navigate and every lesson seems to be in its proper place. Determining where you would like to learn first is a little tricky though. I wouldn't know where to begin if I had not had mathematics just last week, and for people wanting to pick up math again after a long time it can be daunting to skim through the videos to find where you left off. If the site would include a quick math assessment quiz, I think more users would feel comfortable starting out in Khan Academy's web of lessons. Beyond that point, the site works magnificently!

The lessons I watched were very well executed and in my opinion, show that the people creating Khan Academy know thoroughly the subject matter and have improved their presentation style to the point that I like these lessons better than most of my teachers! It was on point, easy to follow all the way through, had multiple examples and gave the reader the ability to pause the lesson and continue whenever they had the desire. The style of Khan Academy being video based makes the lessons not only accessible but acceptable, to a wide variety of learners. Quick students, slow students, visual students, auditory students, all seem to be represented in this virtual classroom. I thought to myself throughout both lessons, this is the way of the future. We might all be attending an online course with video chat or lessons, or even text based lessons to go through ourselves.

No more school buildings, and necessity on physical books and materials. And the wide variety of available lessons and ability to edit these lessons on the internet gives power to education that it has not had previously. The lack of social interaction would be one of my biggest negative points on Internet based education, but the step forward to having something like Khan Academy as a supplement to school is great. If you miss school, if you weren't paying attention, or just need more guidance and instruction, Khan Academy and likewise groups are creating lessons for all of us. I applaud this move of humanity and hope more innovations such as this sprout in the future.

Image Source:

C4K Summary for November

College Students Revisiting Years of Childhood

The 1st Post by Rory:

The 1st child's blog I visited was Rory's amazingly colorful blog. They had responded to a book read out loud in their classroom, Out Of My Mind. It was a story about a girl named Melody who is in a special needs school. Rory says Melody finds school too easy, and as Melody started to grow up she had many ideas to share with others but was held back because of her disability. Rory stated "I think at the end of the story Melody is going to understand that she is just like everyone else even though she has a disability."

I wanted to make Rory feel that she did a great job on her blog, and I said that it is always fun to read young children's blogs because they are refreshingly honest. One of the most enjoyable activities we did in this class was reading elementary students blogs and remembering how a child's mind works once again. Rory responded very well to the story and understand the intricate plot that the author was trying to tell. Even the topic of disabilities is one most children can understand. I feel this to be an important type of story to let children hear, one that inspires gratitude for what we are given in life.

The 2nd Post by Shoal:

The next blog was of a slightly older student, a 7th grader of New Zealand! And what better topic to discuss than...One Direction! I could immediately tell that Shoal was extremely excited to talk about her favorite band, and how they are becoming more and more popular nowadays. She briefly introduced the band and told One Direction's history of winning X Factor in the UK in 2010. Only 3 years later, Shoal writes of how the band will be creating a full length movie about the history of the band. Beyond the intense fan reaction, Shoal mentions the British Invasion of American music, yet many invasions seem to be happening nowadays with South Korea and Japan being others. As the post was about something she loved dearly, I'm glad to have seen such passion in a student of that age group.

I first introduced myself to Shoal, then told here my opinion that I think One Direction is pretty good for pop singing standards, and that there songs are definitely catchy. I went on to say that I'm not a fan of their music per se, yet I cannot deny they are extremely popular and for good reasons. They might compose some of their own music, but I doubt their hits are actually produced by the band mates. The talent they have in performance though are well developed and helped place them as the global sensation that they are. I agreed with Shoal that their story of coming from being confident contestants on X Factor to becoming the biggest band in the world was down to earth and relatable.

The 3rd Post by Sage:

Sage was a little bit younger than the other two, so her blog was fairly straightforward. Sage had made a video about the natives to Canada, where she is from. She stated "First ones in Canada. Their buffalos were made for tipis. And they made tipis and a treaty is a promise." I was prompted to smile after this, for quite a long time. Afterwards, I thought this was what I thought like very long ago and I should appreciate this stage in my life. So thank you Sage for helping me be a better person! Her second post as we were asked to read two instead of one this assignment, was a picture she had drawn or painted of her house and the word Hope. She seemed to be wanting to represent that her home makes her hopeful and happy, and her family keeps Sage safe for the future.

My first response was how I cannot wait to be an uncle and see something so cute every day! Children can be quite adorable and being a parent to those children is a wonderful job to have. I think Sage was quite an intelligent girl for her age and that she has quite a creative mind to create such ideas! Sage is learning the history of her country and exploring the realm of art and creativity. She seems to be a universal learner, of many subjects being interesting to her. I hope my children are like Sage and have an interest in learning in general and keep that through their lives. Thank you Sage for giving myself Hope!

Image Sources:,, &

C4T #4

C4T#4 Comment 1:

Summary of Sara's Post:

The teacher's blog that I visited was Sara Allen's blog, and the first post I read was about her attending a new workshop to learn to be a better teacher. She included what she didn't like and how she engaged in conversation with many people to find a new passion in her teaching. Along with some new tricks and ideas, Sara found herself maturing I would say as a teacher. In retrospect, I think I would say Sara is a very talented teacher and I would love to have learned from someone like her in my school years.

Summary of My 1st Comment:

I started my comment stating that I really enjoyed her writing, and her blog in general. I think this was the first, and the last coincidentally, teacher blog that felt pensive, calming. All the blogs beforehand seem now elementary and Sara's makes me think there are eons more growing up to do as a teacher than what most think! My teachers sometimes come across thinking they are Gods among Men, that they know all. Sara is different and I made a point to praise how she presented her thoughts of maturing as a human being. The most pressing point I found was Sara needing to reevaluate how she treats her students, that she gives care to each one. Especially in times of need, students need someone to teach them sometimes how to be a student, how to learn. The basics never go away and learning is everywhere in life; what better to teach than how to essentially learn anything. Sara you are a great teacher, I just want to say.

C4T#2 Comment 2:

Summary of Sara's Post:

Sara's 2nd post was a homerun in her blog, it really showed how caring of a person she is to her students, to probably everyone she meets in life. It touched on her leaving her class at the end of the scheduled school year, how she dreads never seeing her students again. It is very difficult for teachers I assume to give so much to students, time and energy, and then repeat for a new classroom the same amount of attention. You build a foundation and then it moves on to another stage in life. Then you must help construct new ones for each new generation that springs up. Wow, and really people like Sara that care about each person on that parental level show these other teachers who think they are educators are just kidding themselves. People like that haven't experienced a teacher like Sara, crying at each students failures and jumping with joy at their successes.

Summary of My 2nd Comment:

My reply to Sara was mostly of praise, as she deserves all of it! She seemed to have a tough year with some of her students, but instead of putting those students down and bringing up their faults, she reassessed her own! She was the bigger person to love the other person more than they deserved, letting go of her frustration at the students not willing to learn and trying to encourage them in brand new ways. It takes a loving person, and not to mention extremely bright, to find passion enough to love each student especially the least motivated or slowest. Sara gave some excellent points of how to give attention to students that need help yet not to belittle the responsibility of the students to take their learning personally. Sara did a great job in her class it seems and I thank her for giving a good example for me to remember, let alone aspire to be.

Image Source:,

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blog Assignment #13

Brian Orr's Talk: The El Sistema Music Revolution given by Jose Antonio Abreu

The TED Talk I chose was a story of the Venezuelan youth symphony, "El Sistema." The orchestra won the Ted Prize for 2009 for making a symphony that is acclaimed around the world, and ranked 5th on the greatest symphonies around the world by the London Times. The program's main focus is developing a Venezuelan music presence around the globe and providing music opportunities for impoverished youth in Venezuela.

The director of the program, Jose Antonio Abreu, always wanted to become a musician and reached his goal by the help of his family, and God. Frequently throughout the talk, Abreu states God has guided his life and program to its success. He brings to light the spiritual hole in most people's lives, that the world is in a spiritual crisis and his program is doing its part to mend this wound. Abreu is a very strong minded character, a person that knows what he is and what he wants and uses his abilities to help others. This story is less about a good music program than it is a charity for children, this one man's vision to contribute to God a healing solution for Venezuelan society.

I found this talk amazingly inspired, that this man could produce this world wide acclaimed orchestra, with enormous support along the way of course, that has a fairly large statement that people need God and need the arts to heal what is missing in their lives. He reminds me of great spiritual leaders, honestly, like Jesus and Muhammad that preach their values to the world with no fear, only conviction.

From the 1st rehearsal to today, Adreu has this vision of creating a great youth orchestra, and he feeds on his own vision to succeed. His demands more from himself, probably even when he thought he could go no further. This man looks like a person who went beyond his body's capabilities and used his spirit to accomplish his great personal goal. He really is a father to these children, and I'm sure this thought or mindset helped him strive to better each of their lives with music and some purpose to their lives, not just poverty and a lack of self identity in Venezuela. As he states, Mother Teresa thought the most miserable aspect of poverty is not the lack of food or shelter, but of identity and purpose, and I think Adreu has managed to give that to his children.

Sally Gajewski's Talk: Teaching One Child at a Time given by Shukla Bose

She started the Parikrma Humanity Foundation from her kitchen table. They walked the slums of Bangalore. After several days of visiting with the parents and the children they started a school on a rooftop in June with only a half ceiling and in India it rains in June. They spent a lot of time under the half ceiling which turned out to be a very bonding experience.

In six years they have four schools, 1 junior college, one thousand one hundred students coming from twenty-eight slums and four orphanages. Their dream is to educate children and give them a better living. They are all English driven schools using the ICS curriculum.

There is a myth that parents from the slums don't want their children to be educated that is untrue. They want them to be educated to lead a better life than themselves but they need to believe. They have any where from 80 to 100% turnout for parent teacher meeting.Fathers are attending as well. When this first started the parents used thumb prints to sign in but now they can sign their names they was taught by their children. They have had mothers come to them asking if they would teach them how to read and write so they started an after school program for the parents. 98% of fathers are alcoholics so they are sent to detox centers and then they help them gets jobs. Three fathers have been taught to cook, and nutrition, they helped them set up kitchens. They now supply the food in the schools and it has helped the fathers get respect and a sense of pride.

Another myth is that children from the slums cannot integrate with the main stream students. That too is untrue every year they hold a sports event where over five thousand students from around Bangalore compete. For the last three years the Parikrma Humanity Foundation has won the event with there students bringing home lots of medals. They have even had several students from the other schools ask if they could attend the foundations schools.

Image Sources: &

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Blog Assignment #12

What Can We Learn from Sir Ken Robinson?

From the following three videos: Changing Education Paradigms, How to Escape Education’s Death Valley, The Importance of Creativity.

Changing Education Paradigms commented on by Brian Orr:

I will give a quick summary of the main points and dive into what I think. The main point of Changing Paradigms: think differently, mainly about our education system we have today. It's vitally important, the narrator says, that we redesign how we education our children for this changing economy, evolving work space, and growing (and shrinking) world.

The video is excellently produced, and I have to say even beyond the inspiring message, I was entertained. The entire time. As a 21st Century student, I am not going to lie and say I don't have a short attention span. Well, I do, and this video kept me listening all 11 amazing minutes. But back to the video, we have to educate students to be two main things, the global citizens of tomorrow and the "torch-bearers" of our country's culture. A big task, but something all countries are beginning to strive for.

I would say the first point I disagreed, or questioned, was the education system of America being flawed because of its origins being of the 18th century. Many things can be said to be obsolete in the modern world, but also many aspects of life remain mostly unchanged. Words in books still stimulate people to read them, music of the classical period currently fills my playlist, but the education system does not teach the correct way? I immediately was prompted to think...and that's great! I would say the video is onto something, but I would halt when making a sweeping generalization like it does here.

Onto the meat and potatoes of the message: how to make education more interesting for children and for adults, who have been asked to learn very "boring" subjects in an extremely institutionalized method. Education feels like prison is a common way to describe education in America, at least in my era. And being shepherded from one classroom to the next, among other norms of the education system like required general education for even college students, do not foster extremely useful learning in the video makers' opinion. Another huge point given I hadn't thought of is education is somewhat linear in its approach, that one right answer is what students search for. Rather, the narrator gives support to teaching divergent thinking, something younger children are taught more than when they grow to adulthood. Learning to find multiple answers to a central question (not so much in strict mathematics and science but in other subjects) is important to direct student thinking to finding their own best solution. Breaking out of the mold is a big theme in the video, even the manner in which the content is presented with graphics and animation is out of the norm...and I just like that. It's creative.

The last side note the video goes on about is ADHD and the supposed epidemic that is "hitting" American children. That the technology available today is so stimulating and fun to interact with, and the opposite being true for the school system, medication has been given to even the playing field so to say. Children would love to play games, watch movies, and search the internet for Knowledge (key point is knowledge can be found anywhere, yes even the internet), but the school system does little to compete with such a stimulating task as these technologies provide. Instead, the video points out ADHD medication is on the rise in America, and that parents are giving their children these pills to level down their excitement and make them close to brain dead. We limit the potential of their learning, possibly, or at least are first turning to chemical supplement (replacements in other words) rather than first turning to giving excitement back to the children and reinvigorating their want to learn! Make school fun. A cliché phrase no doubt but something to make as a goal in each school! And large doses of medication can't be good for our children....can it? I say a good portion of oranges, a math textbook with pictures and a narrator like the one in this video, and voilà: Education Fixed (or getting close).

How to Escape Education’s Death Valley commented on by Sally Gajewski:

After watching How to escape educations death valley. I find myself agreeing with everything Ken Robinson had to say. He says there is three principals that drives human life flourish.

The first being different and diverse: He says each child is different, and under the topic of no child left behind he says that its based on confirmatory not diversity school are encouraged to find out what students can do across a narrow spectrum of achievement. One effect " No child left behind" has been to narrow the focus on stem disciplines and tells us how they are not sufficient. Real education has to give equal weight to art humanities and physical education.

The second principal to help drive human life flourish is curiosity. If you can light the spark of curiosity in a child they will learn without anymore assistance. Children are natural learners. Its a real achievement to put that particular ability out or stifle it. Its and engine of achievement. An effect of that has been to deprofessionalize teachers. There is no school in any state or around the world that is more important than its teachers. They are the life blood of the school.

The third of the three principals to help human life flourish is being inherently creative. Everyone has their own way of being creative. Its what makes individuals and why we do our own thing and why we are so interesting, diverse and dynamic. Other animals may have an imagination and such but its not as evident as ours. We all create our lives through imaginative turnouts and such. One role of education is that to awaken and develop powers of creativity instead of using standardization.

Finland does well in Math, Science, and Reading. We only know this because this what we test for. Which one of the problems with the test is they don't look for other problems just as much. But Finland doesn't obsess about them disciplines. They have a very broad approach which includes humanities. physical education, the arts. Finland does no standardized testing, they do but it is not what they base their teaching platform on. They individualize teaching and learning and recognize that its the students who are learning and the system has to engage them, their curiosity, individuality, and creativity that's how they learn. They teach the student they don't dictate stuff the child already know instead they focus on their skills as a student. They put teaching on a higher status along with the realization of picking great teachers and giving them constant support in their professional development. Investing in the professional development is not a cost it is an investment and every country that is succeeding well knows that. people either don't want to learn or they do want to learn.

Every student that has ever dropped out of school has had a reason which is rooted in their own biography. It might be boredom, irrelevant, or at odds with the life they are living outside of school. There's trends but there is always unique stories.

The Importance of Creativity commented on by Laura Hamilton:

Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.Creativity expert Ken Robinson challenges the way we are educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.

To be honest, there will always be people who will put you down because you think of things that they don't or because you see things in a different way, but at the same time, in college, I have yet to run into a single instructor who has put me down for being creative. The instructors at my college South Alabama are always pushing their students to think outside the box and do their best no matter what the goal is. I'd have to say that college is a much better experience than high school ever was.

Image Sources:,, &

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blog Assignment #10

Lessons on Life and The Journey of Randy Pausch

From the "Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams": Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

The speaker of the video is Randy Pausch, a professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. He also taught human-computer interaction, one of which uses would be virtual reality interaction like the Aladdin ride he helped design for Disney. He gave this talk entitled "The Last Lecture" to mainly immortalize his personality and life stories for his children to watch as they grew up. To my knowledge, his children were quite young when their father, Dr. Pausch, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He wanted to be able to tell his children his life stories, some meaningful life lessons, and give guidance to them for a later period of their lives. So he created this lecture with the hope that they would appreciate their father, I believe, and see what he was like if he would pass away from his illness. Dr. Pausch did die from pancreatic cancer approximately 1 year after being diagnosed.

Right out of the door, I will say I did not enjoy this lecture nearly as much as most commenters on the video or readers of his book seemed to. I found the direction of the talk to be geared to his family, his children as I have said. It felt awkward at times to be listening, thinking to myself I don't know this man personally, I honestly don't care what he did in his elementary school years. I thought his humor was lack luster, that he shouldn't have even attempted to use it in his lecture. I laughed only one of his jokes, the ninja story of his student committing seppuku when his ninja Virtual Reality world crashed during a presentation.

His stories could be quite interesting, if I knew the multitude of people he was talking about! The endless professors mentioned, the projects I had no connection to, the various terms of CS or VR (computer science or virtual reality) that I never had heard before, all made the lecture slow to a crawl for me. All said and done, he did a service to his children for creating such an experience for them to have as they grow up. He will be remembered at his latest age, with his previous experiences and adventures documented for his children to see and hear their dad comment on. I especially appreciated that he gave his wife attention by celebrating her birthday with 500 other people during his lecture. He is dying of cancer, his wife is obviously feeling distress at some level that he will be dying soon in the future, so giving her the attention and love will be forever memorialized.

I will try to list points that would help me become a better educator, or a more accomplished learner. Dr. Pausch's stories and lessons can be broken down and good advice garnered from them, which is what I attempted to do while watching the video. He starts by stating his childhood dreams: zero gravity, in NFL, article in World Book encyclopedia, being Captain Kirk, winning stuffed animals, & being a Disney "Imagineer" (grouping engineers and artists together, VR Aladdin ride). All of these he accomplished in one way or another, and it is the fact he attempted to reach them that is most important. He emphasizes near the end of his talk the so called "head fake" of his lecture, the entire point being it was not to ask you to achieve your dreams, but how to lead your life. He details his life, his strife in reaching each of his goals, to showcase to you how you could live yourself and what benefit it would give you to, for example, be more courteous, more loving, and more aware of others.

Dr. Pausch states repeatedly, nearly 10 times throughout the talk, of not being stopped by brick walls or barriers to accomplishing a goal. Instead, let others be stopped by them who do not want to reach the goal as much as you do. Use the height, the strength of the wall to encourage you to become better at the skills needed to reach your goal. He gives much advice like this, that can be used to most events in life. But it is helpful he gives specific examples of him accomplishing something in this manner, such as his creation of a Master's Degree program at Carnegie Mellon University about mixing computer science and drama in his and Don Marinelli's Entertainment Technology Center. Dr. Pausch taught me quite a profound teaching, to learn from those around you that impress you, but not just that, but make you happy about yourself as well. Those people are more skilled than you in some aspect and have the talent to lift your spirits up to bring you to their level. Be it in your profession, schooling, or elsewhere such people can be angels when wanting to develop your character.

He also stated you should try to be humble and give praise to those around you, that endearing qualities allow others to want to listen to you and work with you. He told his story of two professors being asked by Dr. Pausch for permission to work on the Aladdin ride at Disney, and their responses being quite different in tone yet similar in content. The more gracious the answer, usually the more willing the listener is to regard it as important I might say. Dr. Pausch states he is a man who lived his life according to principles that he believed in, and that he believed others would benefit from hearing of how he lived his life with such principles.

Nearing the end of this lecture, Dr. Pausch gives sound advice for teachers in his telling of student projects in his virtual reality course, along with various stories sprinkled in. His advice to shuffle teams per project during the semester is quite sound, being that group work is usually frustrating to one member or more. By asking the teams to gain and lose members, they should blame the team less for the work produced, and more see which members they work with best and focus on recruiting those types of people. I have to say, the VR project of the happy sunny world deteriorating in front of the audience was a very cool spectacle, and to give the students an opportunity to showcase their work in such a way builds their passion. I think examples such as Dr. Pausch's VR presentations are great to see how math and computer science have real world applications that are extremely exciting to work with. Dr. Pausch tried to teach his students how to make other people happy, giving them a chance with working with other students and showing their work in front of an eager audience.

These last tidbits of advice come from Dr. Pausch, and are more life lessons or mottos educators can take home. The best gift an educator can give, according to Dr. Pausch, is to teach them to be "self reflective," to notice that they need to be more courteous to fellow group mates, to have better time management skills, to listen more closely to others, anything that could help improve their personal characters. Another bit of advice he gives is "the best way to teach someone something, is to make them think they are learning something else." Either teaching a student curriculum that underneath allows them to learn social or interpersonal skills, or teaching math/science to supplement a student's personal study habits are both examples of giving students the opportunity to learn something bigger than the sum of their work. Dr. Pausch believes everyone ought to be helping others, giving to communities, helping underdeveloped countries to grow as a country. He says to question your bosses but remain respecting them throughout all they make you do. He gives some general advice for having fun, for enjoying life to the fullest: to never lose your "childlike wonder," to help others, and that loyalty is a two way street so trust whoever trust you. People will show you there good side, just wait. Everyone will show you that side that surprises and silences you. His last point of the lecture states what I started with in this post. That the lecture was for his children, and that makes the tone of this lecture quite different for the general public. I didn't learn so much how to be a teacher, more how to "live my life," as Randy Pausch states.

Image Sources:,,

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Blog Assignment #9

This was a Collaborative assignment done by: Laura Hamilton, Brian Orr, Sally Gajewski

Videos of Teaching Teachers How to Teach and How to Learn

Videos Watched: TEDxDenverEd - Brian Crosby, Making Thinking Visible, and Blended Learning Cycle

Video 1 Commentary by Brian Orr: TEDxDenverED - Brian Crosby

Mr. Crosby created this presentation to help convince teachers to use projects as a teaching tool, as well as inspiring students to learn through breaking through a “narrow curriculum.” He uses projects in his classroom to inspire students to learn the content of a chapter/lesson instead of lecturing the concepts as normal. His class consists of mainly 2nd language learners, poorer students, and all his students stay with him from 4th grade to 6th grade. His most impressive project and the one he focuses on the most is his hot Air balloon project, of his students learning ballooning and propulsion. The students created a “payload” for the balloon, for when it would be sent into the air, which was stacked with stories made by the students in the perspective of the balloon and what it would be like to fly. The payload consisted of various other objects like student created playing cards of their basic information. Before the class started, the students did not know their address, home state, country.

I don’t think I agree with project based learning in general, as teaching a concept through requesting students to do projects leads to a slow paced learning, uninspired students not learning as much as inspired children, and group difficulties arising in having to work together to learn the material. In the comments and forums I have read about project based learning classrooms, the students mostly did not like PBL. Most found their groups to be difficult to work with, with one students picking up the slack for the rest, and this slowing down the learning of everyone and lowering their grades. The funding seem out of place as well, as the balloon project would cost quite a bit of money I would assume to build and set off. And for this project to based around only 1 classroom full of students, I would question implementing such projects in every class in every school of all the states. I might be wrong on this point, but for this example, learning by working on a project seems like the worst way to teach a student. The last point is is good and point, in that the teacher tries to educate his students on using proper internet etiquette. To be polite and use good grammar are useful lessons to teach, but not so much in a forum of communication which is widely hostile and mainly chaotic, which the internet is. Mr. Crosby and other teachers emphasize this in the 21st century classroom, but the internet probably is the worst environment to inspire children to be polite to one another, and especially not great for teaching grammatical rules.

Video 2 Commentary by Sally Gajewski: Making Thinking Visible

In the video Making Thinking Visible Mark Church a 6th grade teacher from the International School. He has his students get into groups and has them think about a video they watched cally Early Human Beginnings : Origins of Human Society.
In it he has them get into groups so they can think of a headline. The students discuss what they need to say to get others to understand what it is they are trying to say with this headline. In the video he has one group read their headline which is " Why do mysteries begin and why are they important?"
After they make the headlines they put them on the class bulletin board. Then after two units he has them check and see if the headlines are still the same.

Video 3 Commentary by Laura Hamilton: Blended Learning Cycle

Paul Anderson's Blog Mr. Paul Andersen is a high school AP Biology teacher in Bozeman, Montana. Paul Andersen has been teaching high school science for the last nineteen years. He has been teaching science on YouTube for the last three years. Paul spent the first seven years teaching all of the science classes at a small rural school in northern Montana. Paul is currently a science teacher and technology specialist at Bozeman High School.

Questions In one of his blog or podcasts he talks about questions in education and in the classroom. Paul Andersen discusses the importance of questions in education. He briefly discusses the evolution of Wikipedia and the problem of evolution of textbooks. He discusses the importance of questions and the problems posed by creating enough good questions. He really believes in question changing and evolving instead of the textbooks. Even with using the ipads with the textbooks, he says it is still just a textbook and nothing has changed. He believes learning videos, and interactive videos in school standards should be brought more into the classroom, or even at home with homework. But questions is what his main influences is on. He talks about how hard finding and coming up with good questions is for teachers. And how much work really goes into having a good questions and great lessons.

Image Sources:,,

Sunday, October 13, 2013

C4T #2

C4T#2 comment 1:

Summary of Mr. Rice's Post:

Mr. Rice's 1st post on his science educator's blog was a synopsis of an experiment he conducted with his classroom, asking his students to take a quiz on their own and compare their results to their collaborative efforts afterwards with 2-3 other students. The results of the experiment were good in that they agreed with Mr. Rice's hypothesis that group quizzes should have higher numerical grades, and help students learn more effectively. The aspect of having both experiences side-by-side let the students experience the different aspects of learning during test taking, the benefit of teamwork, and general strategies how to solve the problems. Mr. Rice's class discussion in the end, when all the class could comment on how to best find the solutions and which manner of learning they preferred, was in his opinion the best part of the experiment.

Summary of My Comment:

My comment consisted of my reflection on Mr. Rice's experiment and a little on his teaching style and his personal blog. The experiment was an idea I had definitely thought of in the past, yet never implemented or experienced myself, I believe. In having both personal test taking and group testing beside each other, the students could compare their methods with others', ask informed questions after they had thought of the test questions, and narrow their struggles down from the entire test to specific questions. On Mr. Rice's blog, I made sure to comment that his writing is very well composed and is quite eloquent for his personal blog. The overall design and feel to his blog was comforting, organized, and he had an inspiring teacher's oath that he shared. His oath stated he would put his family before his teaching, that no task is more important or greater than giving his wife and children the best experiences and most happiness possible. I thought it admirable that he say this and I wanted to encourage myself and others to act, to think in the same manner.

The last note I want to make is that Mr. Rice responded back to me, stating "the greatest benefit, [he] thought, was the students' immediate feedback from their peers." Students could learn how to correct their mistakes immediately, without having to research the material further or ask a "lofty" teacher their advice. The horizontal relationship between peers allows for otherwise "dumb" question to be answered in a positive environment and for multiple viewpoints of the material to be available around you.

C4T#2 comment 2:

Summary of Mr. Rice's Post:

The science educator posted next week that his students almost all failed a quiz on, you guessed, Natural Selection. A hot topic indeed in most schools and something that Mr. Rice thought important to reinforce, not only for the students' grades to rise but their understanding of this vital theory to solidify. He went on to reteach Darwin's theory in lecture based form, and asked as the students to present examples of natural selection from nature to the class the next day. The student all did so in groups, and were allowed to ask questions to one another for clarification and curiosity. The students were, lastly, evaluated the following day to how much they improved from their 1st quiz on natural selection. As Mr. Rice predicted, they all did better as they had "more time to [process]" the concepts and its applications.

Summary of My Comment:

This idea was intriguing to me for this occurred quite little in my education thus far. And as my years in school are coming close to 15 years, I could say the sample size of quiz/exam reviews is sufficient enough. Teachers need to reinforce material if students don't understand, especially if they ask for it! My professors never quite grasped that students love reviews, love more material that isn't graded to be given and reviewed with the professor or class. More discussion and frankly more opportunity for peers to ask "dumb" questions to one another is great! Mr. Rice asks the students to find examples in nature of natural selection. As the students researched and then later presented their findings, they could read more into what they misunderstood. Most importantly, they were given a platform to ask questions on. This is vital to student learning: students feel free to ask questions, to ponder on the implications and details of an idea, and to try out their thoughts on other people! I wrote to Mr. Rice that only a few teachers of mine did something of this nature, and mostly they spent less than a class period doing so. The one 2 week endeavor a teacher made in my career helped immensely! It allowed the basic concepts to seep further into our minds, and sincerely taught us how to learn this type of material for the future.

Image Source:,

Project #9 Podcast (video)

Education for Tomorrow!
By: Laura Hamilton, Sally Gajewski, Brian Orr

Marc Prensky's book Teaching Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning.

Blog Assignment #8

21st Century Learning and Communicating Tools

Tools Researched: iCurio, Teaching Channel, and Common Core Lesson Plans.


My class has researched iCurio in the past, and reported on it being a magnificent search engine for school age children to use. In this post, I will go into some detail about how I might use it in a Mathematics course to help students learn outside the classroom. The website work quite seamlessly when searching for a topic, reading articles about that concept, and storing those articles in your personalized folders for later reading. I think most children older than 7 or 8 will be able to use the website fluently on their own with little hiccups. In mathematics especially, a student can research a concept that is universal to all people on the globe; what a powerful tool the internet is! Derivatives, basic algebra, quadratic functions, graphs of 3-D shapes, all of these ideas and lessons can be found on iCurio and learned by a student at their own pace. No deadlines, no homework! Students have the freedom to research to their hearts content.

I found a few lessons on Algebra II concepts such synthetic division, logarithmic functions, and simplifying exponents. Each search result brought 5-20 pages of content that would introduce each concept or develop how to use it in various cases. I could assign one of the webpages for my students to use, if they would like, to reinforce material taught in class. Or direct them generally to the iCurio database and let them choose which result they think personally best. In short, iCurio contains a lot of information, and lessons are based on meeting common core standards. Students can learn from home, quite well, and on their own initiative. Teaching Channel

Teaching channel is a website dedicated to hosting videos that teachers or schools create, to highlight different lessons plans, styles, and common core standards. The site is particularly useful for teachers wanting to improve meeting common core standards with their own lessons, and more so, feed off of a multitude of other teachers for lesson ideas. Each teacher will have some nuance or way to explain a concept different from another. These quirks and even tricks can be helpful to be passed on to other educators around the country. And with common core standards being the basis for about 1/8th of the videos hosted on the website, Teaching Channel becomes a great source to learn how these standards guide and impact a lesson plan. Common Core Lesson Plans

The final tool I researched were examples of common core standard lesson plans. The examples were of lesson plan sources, such as Inspiration, would provide ideas on how to fulfill common core standards in one's classroom. There also was included a list of standards for certain grade levels and courses like Algebra 1, which detail the expectations of the state on what teachers include in their curriculum. I found it a good source for clearing up what the common core standards are and how one might incorporate their requirements and new style of thinking into some of our lessons. The idea of the common core standards system is great for it provides students with the opportunity to be prepared for nationwide jobs, universities, and styles of work that they could experience or interview to be a part of. The program sets lofty goals which teachers aim to commit to, and this website among others is helping ease the transition to this type of thinking in our education.

Laura Hamilton's Research:

Websites: Edutopia, PBL Workshop, and Youtube/education


Edutopia is a website published by the George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF). Founded in 1991 by filmmaker George Lucas and venture capitalist Steve Arnold, the Foundation "celebrates and encourages innovation" in K-12 schools. Edutopia is a place where students and parents, teachers and administrators, policy makers and the people they serve are all empowered to change education for the better; a place where schools provide rigorous project-based learning, social-emotional learning, and access to new technology. Where we can develop 21st-century skills, especially three fundamental skills: how to find information; how to assess the quality of information; how to creatively and effectively use information to accomplish a goals.

I think what many people forget is that Physical Education is not a gym where it is the teachers job to get kids into great shape. That is not possible with the amount of time they see students. They are teaching students how to be physically active for a lifetime; introducing students to a variety of activities that they can do once they are out of school. While we want to be active in our classes and get them up and moving and we do a variety of cardio activities, it is also important to teach the other aspects of physical activity such as recreational activities that may turn students on to being active adults. We also teach current trends in technology so students have the tools needed to stay active in their world. We are teaching for the future not just for today!

PBL Workshop

First let’s talk about what PBL is? Project Based Learning! In Project Based Learning (PBL), students go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge. Rigorous projects help students learn key academic content and practice 21st Century Skills; such as collaboration, communication & critical thinking.
Within the PBL website they offer services, including a Workshop. - PBL Workshop Service
Here they offer a Workshop Menu including:
Three-day PBL 101 workshop- This onsite workshop engages participants in learning the principles for designing, assessing and managing standards-focused projects as well as using performance assessments to judge the relevant work generated by 21st Century learners. Through a combination of direct instruction, video analysis and hands-on collaborative work, participants have the opportunity to plan, design and receive peer feedback on an engaging and rigorous project using the Buck Institute for Education model and tools. Every participant (no more than 35 in any one session) receives a free copy of our PBL 101 Workbook, which includes rubrics, planning forms, activities, readings, etc.
One-day PBL Instructional Coaching follow-ups- We conduct onsite instructional coaching visits as a required element of our sustained support. The content and process of these sessions are based on the needs of the participating teachers. The follow-ups could include additional training, classroom observation, teacher coaching, curriculum review, or a review of student work. We require a minimum of two in the school year following the PBL 101 workshop.
One-day PBL 201- Advanced Practices workshops.These onsite workshops are designed as follow-ups for educators who have taken our PBL 101 workshop and had an opportunity to implement their project. The topics range from PBL and Web 2.0, PBL and RtI, PBL and Differentiated Instruction, PBL and Special Needs Students, etc.
One-day PBL For Leaders workshops- These onsite workshops are designed to provide educational leaders with a toolkit of ideas and best practices that will enable them to create a teaching and learning environment that allows PBL to flourish in their school. Our National Faculty members who currently work as principals in PBL schools facilitate these sessions.
PBL Workshop can even be used in the physical educational field as well. Physical education can be a place where relevant and authentic learning can occur. I think project-based learning (PBL) is one way to not only create this, but to also show others how valuable PE can be. When done well, PBL gives students a relevant and authentic task that they, as a team and as individuals, must explore and solve. Instead of a project that is a curriculum or completed at the end, the standards-based instruction is filtered through this authentic task, which creates a need to know in students. They see why they are learning what they are learning. The students learn and complete the project concurrently, continually revising and producing a product that they will present publicly.


YouTube came out with a program with schools that will redirect all YouTube links to educational content on Youtube/education. In addition, comments will be disabled and related videos will only be educational, both of which are a source of anxiety around exposing kids to inappropriate content. Each school and district has a different kind of filtering system, but this allows schools that block YouTube at the domain level to access it through Educational videos can be very interactive for kids in learning. Also teaching them to read is key as a parent and teacher. So finding ways to incorporate that in with your technology use is important and very easy to do today in our society.
YouTube/education is a great tool that can even be used in the physical education field. It can not only be available for students to go home and learn more about the lesson that day, teachers can even use it as a tool to teach that lesson of the day.

Sally Gajewski's Research:

Websites: Discovery Ed, Envision Schools, and Ted Talks Education

Discovery Ed

Discovery Ed is a website/tool than can transform classrooms, empower teachers, and captivate students, by leading them in a way of providing high-quality dynamic digital content to school districts of large and small sizes, rural and suburban areas, and everywhere in between.
They believe that by capturing the minds and imaginations of students you can accelerate student achievements. Tapping into students natural curiosity and desire to learn. Since Discovery Ed has been around it has impacted the way educators teach providing them with with digital content and professional developments. Transforming classroom instructions into an impressive experience that sparks the natural curiosity of the student.

Envision Schools

Their mission is simple. It is to transform the lives of students-especially those who will be the first in their family to attend college-by preparing them for success in college,careers,and life.
They started as a 501(c)(3) charter school management organization in June of 2002. Today they run three small high performing urban public schools in the Bay Area of San Francisco. It integrates a challenging curriculum that requires all students to complete the A-G Common Core coursework ensuring them to be eligible and prepared to attend a four year university.
The educators use project-based assignments that challenge students to use the 21st Century Skills of critical thinking,solving problems resourcefully, and collaborating productively. Which are needed to thrive in college, future careers, and life. Students then have the opportunity to use these skills and show what they know through the use of a portfolio presentation and defenses, similar to a dissertation. These presentations are required to graduate and are invaluable to the preparations of the students life after high school.
Building on the success of the schools they created a consultancy division in 2010. It also works with progressive teachers and leaders throughout the U.S. to create vibrant schools and engage students deeply in their learning.

Ted Talks Education

TedTalks was started in 1984, as a conference to bring people together from three groups: Technology, Entertainment, and Design. It's free and has over fifteen hundred TedTalks videos with more being added every week. The conference is held in spring on the West Coast of North America. Lasting four days it is breadth contents include: Science, Business, Art, Technology,and Global issues facing our world. Its has fifty plus speaker each of whom get an eighteen minute slot interspersed with short presentations including music and comedy. There are no breakout groups, everyone gets the same experience because all knowledge is connected.

Image Sources:,,,,,,,, and

Sunday, October 6, 2013

C4K Summary of Posts: October 2013

C4K: Where University Students Comment on School Childrens' Blogs Around the Globe

My 1st Post:

The first blog I was to visit and comment on was hosted by a 10th grade student, of whose post contained a story on homosexuality. He wrote about his cousin's hardshps accepting this occurence in his life and being accepted by his family and close friend. The post was, to say the least, emotional and to the point. I took it upon myself to comment on his cousin's story, but not to give any advice as that was not my position as just a bystander per se.
My response consisted of my general thoughts about the story, how each person reacted and what I think will happen in the future. I wanted to warn the original blogger that such a tough issue cannot be thoroughly communicated on in a short amount of time. Each person in the family needs to decide how to relate with this situation, to be opposed, supportive, or in some sense neutral. I gave my stance on how I would react and what I think about homosexuality in my own life. In the end, I wished him and his family the best in continuing to love each member uniquelly, that each person is vitally important to the family as a whole. That a person's lifestyle, or what some people think as their given direction, disables us from giving joy to that person is a lie, and personally I will attempt to continue a supportive friendship with people who oppose my ideals as a chance to understand another's perspective in life.

2nd Post:

The second blog assigned to me was much more active and bright. Even though we must think about the difficult choices we must make in life, there needs to be some time to enjoy the moment and to appreciate the things around you. This was somewhat of a painful story actually, as the third grader who posted this blog had broken her arm when her brother ran into her on a bike! (I'm not sure how she typed the post so quickly afterwards, though) Her recount of the occasion was quite quick on its feet, with tons of action and drama! Her writing was extremely fluent too for her age, and she had riveting diction that made the story really pop. I was just amazed at how good she was at writing, that I had to reread the story, as it seemed I read from the beginning to the end in a flash. Overall, she was on point, and as I stated on her blog, will be a great writer in the future.

3rd Post:

The third and last post for September was by a 5th grade student from New Zealand! We really have a connection to the entire globe with the internet, and these assignments have really shown its power and influence. The student wrote about a very intricate presentation by a group of film makers. They were asking the students to be invovled in a film creation competition, where anyone <21 years of age can submit a video from any device on hand. The video can be about anything, granted it is of a certain length of time. Her classmates and her were able to practice making short films that day!
And with their practice, they created a video about saving the environment and producing green products to conserve resources. That is a very important topic indeed! I made sure to point out that her blog definitely looked better than mine, with all sorts of designs, watermarks, colors, themes that demonstrated her colorful interests in life. She inspired me quite a bit to improve my own blog's look and feel. Her blog post enlightened me also to the fact that kids learn so much differently than I did! They use technology 10x more than us, and more so, to create new products and projects rather than memorizing material. It is a different way of teaching, however I would not throw away the lecture based style but combine the two. I told her that creative assignments and informational assignments can go hand in hand, that learning a topic then building something with that knowledge is a great way to learn.

Thank you for reading my post and look forward to more come October!

Image Sources:,,

Blog Assignment #7

Discussion of Project Based Learning and Various Teaching Tools

Videos by Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps

1. Project Based Learning Part 1: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher
Project Based Learning Part 1

In Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps' video, they talk about how Anthony approaches being a Project Based Learning teacher. Normally when people think about Project Based Learning, they think of projects being something you do after the lesson to show that you've learned what you’re supposed to learn. But the goal of Project Based Learning in Anthony’s opinion is that it’s not only a means to show what they have learned, but a means to get them to learn something. Also he believes strongly in getting students excited about learning and being in control of their own learning. The goal of good projects includes having a authentic audience, student interest, community involvement, and students that are driven by content. So what kind of project can I create that will give my students an opportunity to want to know the material I need them to know?

2. Project Based Learning Part 2: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher
Project Based Learning Part 2

In Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps' second conversation, Anthony talked about a project that ended up being is favorite project so far. His class was studying cultures, and his country was Afghanistan. And his goal for his students was for them to write a narrative script, as if they were a child in Afghanistan. They could also record their narrations on their Ipads and then pull pictures from students safe search engines like Discovery Ed to use in their videos. The outcome he says is that students took this project above and beyond. Some students without instruction even did a blend of topics, or even the food and the religions. Well one parent had served in Afghanistan and felt very uncomfortable with the idea that his child was learning about this culture. So as the teacher he had to modify to respect the parents feelings for this one student. This child did a different Science project to replace this certain project. Project Based Learning involves a method to help students learn and take learning to another level. But there is a lot of work and preparation in these projects that take time. Anthony talks about how students really enjoy Project Based Learning projects, because there not trapped in say work sheets, or busy work. Everything they do in the classroom is meaningful and matters.

3. iCurio
iCurio Anthony 070113

In the third conversation between Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps, they talk about iCurio. Anthony talks about iCurio being a safe search engine for students to use in the learning aspect. But he also talks about iCurio being a storage capacity for students and teachers to save information and keeping them organized. iCurio allows students to get practice to organize different videos, websites, information and even pictures in the virtual world. Its kid friendly!

4. Discovery Education
Discovery Ed Anthony070113

Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps fourth video talks about Discovery Ed and its uses. Anthony talks about Discovery Ed being a very helpful tool in the classroom because it gives students a visual tool. And the great part about Discovery Ed is they have information about every subject, from math to science, history or even technology. Discovery Ed can bring professionals or experts on that certain subject into the classroom via video. Anthony uses Discovery Ed to bring different text to life. People remember far more what they hear, but even more when they can see and watch. Dr. Strange believes that students are now listener watchers, they listen and watch far more than they listen and write.

Summary of Video #5 (Strange Tips for Teachers)
by: Brian Orr

The Anthony - Strange Tips for Teachers Part 1

The teaching tips made by Anthony and Dr. Strange are the 4 tips, as follows: to be interested in learning yourself in general, to be flexible in the planning and delivery of your lessons, to find a way to motivate students with relevant applications of lesson content or otherwise, and to emphasize how to deliver a presentation or results of one's work. Anthony's point about learning on your own, making learning a hobby of yours, speaks to me more than anything else in the video. He stated that he became a better educator as he researched in his down time some successful techniques or ideas. Teachers, he said, need to be excellent learners before they can be excellent teachers, as that is the #1 skill teachers teach, how to learn effectively. The point about being able to teach in multiple manners is what only some of my teachers understand fully. If one student does not connect with a way you deliver the content, then the teacher needs to explain the concept in another way with various examples or terms to help the student relate. As well as this, Anthony and Dr. Strange suggested teachers to be flexible with techniques used in the classroom, as the environment changes with visitors walking in or students questions changing the pace or direction of the classroom. I thoroughly enjoyed their talk, and I think the last point made about having a student's content available for the world to see is how the classroom is most evolving. Not only the students' work will be available to the globe, but fully developed lectures, explanations, and examples will be free to any student willing to invest time to learn.

Summary of Video #6 (Don't Teach Tech - Use It)
by: Sally Gajewski

UseTech Don'tTeachIt Anthony070113

Think about this: Both of you state it takes Mr. Anthony's third grade class no time at all to learn how to use Imovie I believe is what you both said. Of coarse it is easy for them with the age or era of technology they live in. Compared to how or where some of your students live Mr. Strange. I know from experience that I didn't grow up with with any of this new technology. You know with the new apps that come out every hour or programs every month. But you both talk like its easy for anyone to just pick it up and go with it. I'm here to tell you mot everyone learns at the same rate or the same way there are people who have to be shown step by step how to do something. Not everyone can read the instructions and do it. But instead of spending time with the student to help them they just get over looked and are told to figure it out. How can the student learn anything if they are struggling. Let me ask you both this group of questions. What is society going to do if the system or systems ever crash? What good will this technological teaching do? How will we as teachers be able to teach if the book we are teaching from is on a tablet or something that has crashed? I do agree technology technology is good and it does make things easier, but i don't think we need to depend on it to help us teach ours students. Let them use it, but not depend on it.

Summary of Video #7 (Additional Thought About Lessons)
by: Laura Hamilton

Additional Thought About Lessons Anthony 070113

Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps Additional conversation talks about lessons. Anthony says that a lesson is at least four layers thick. The first being the year, and how the lesson fits in within your year. In the year you have to think of how all standards will be covered. The second is the unit, how you will unfold the unit and how it will be spaced out. The third is the week, how are you setting up and planning your week, and how to get everything done. And the fourth is the daily lesson. In the daily lesson you need to plan how will you deliver to your students and the information they need to know. And in the end you will have to have something to measure your students on what they’ve learned that day to know how and where to pick up at the next lesson.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

C4T #1

C4T#1 comment 1:

Summary of Mr. Sladkey's Post:

Class participation was the theme of Mr. Sladkey's post, in his blog "Reflections of a High School Math Teacher." He quoted from a book entitled "Energizing Teaching Tools," which in this section introduced the Student Engagement Wheel. This wheel contained 10 examples of how students may participate in class to build a better learning environment for themselves. Mr. Sladkey focused on 1 part of the wheel in particular, stating that students teaching other students is a vital strategy for successful teaching. In a mathematics course, one can solve a problem in front of his/her peers or introduce a new strain of ideas such as derivatives/integrals. The wheel can be seen as a starting point to encourage teachers and students to engage in more give and take about the subject at hand.

Summary of My Comment:

I agreed with Mr. Sladkey's post mostly, that class participation can help students learn effectively. I have had difficulty in the past with group projects, though. His emphasis on the Student Engagement Wheel was an idea I was not wholly comfortable with, as it included points that are not relevant to math courses or that I think are not helpful for some students to learn through. In groups that do not work well together, much frustration and lack of learning can be seen from my experience. That said, group work can be very helpful. In math courses in the past, a collective worksheet or problem can give the opportunity to work with the teacher and fellow students to learn from their thinking. I also stated that I am an advocate of group tables to encourage discussion among students; I had a wonderful Calculus class in part because the students at my table were willing to aid each other and work with them throughout the class period.

C4T#1 comment 2:

Summary of Mr. Sladkey's Post:

The theme for Mr. Sladkey's post was "Flipping" his classroom, specifically whether or not to do so. Flipping the classroom can be defined as having no class lectures and meetings teaching the material. Rather, students learn at home online from a video lecture or otherwise, then attend class to complete their homework assignments or supplemental material. Mr. Sladkey listed a few pros and cons of flipping the classroom, and decided to wait and keep his normal setup for now. He sees, though, good aspects in flipping the classroom that are not available to students at the present. I believe the negative aspect that is holding him back most, is the lack of group discussions/presentations/questions/activities, the peer interaction that lends to better learning.

Summary of My Comment:

I commended Mr. Sladkey for his forward thinking, in his endeavor to improve his classroom teaching. His style would have to change in his approach to teaching the students, as well as the classroom being more individualized I would say. The questions asked in the physical class would be catered to problems or questions assigned as work; the students would be addressing their direct and personal problems with the material, and have the opportunity to discuss one-on-one with the professor. I would say this experience is similar to attending office hours or asking questions after class, but your fellow students being also in attendance, makes flipping the classroom even more beneficial. I would hesitate myself to flip the classroom, but as I said to Mr. Sladkey, the benefits of partially flipping the classroom, some days on and some not, outweigh the negative of more practice with using the material learned, solving problems especially in math classes.

Image Source: