Sunday, December 4, 2011

Blog Post #14

tiles that say tools

In our assgignment this week, we are reading the blog Box of Tricks by Jose Picardo.  In his blog he includes a substantial list of internet resources for teachers.  We were also assigned to watch his video, Top ten tips for using technology in the classroom.  These are the top ten tips that he listed:

  • Use streaming video
  •  Use music more often
  • Use teleconferencing tools such as Skype
  • Create your own interactive exercises
  • Use your interactive whiteboard more effectively.
  • Create your own podcasts
  • Start a blog or a wiki
  • Use social networks
  • Use internet tools
  • Make the most of your pupils' devices
Most of these tips are things that we have become familiar with in EDM310.  I hadn't given a lot of thought to using my student's music to enhance my lessons, but I think that is an awesome suggestion.  It will definitely help them to stay focused if all of their senses are engaged.  I also think I have a lot more to learn when it comes to creating my own interactive exercises. I love the idea of having my students use their own devices.  I think that will make their lessons more relevant,  as well as help them to realize that learning is not something that only takes place at school.  It is something that we should be doing constantly, in every area of our life.  After I am through with EDM310,  I am looking forward to learning even more about Smartboards and the other tools that we have been introduced to in this class.

C4K Summary #3

comments encouraged

For our first November C4K assignment, we were assigned to comment on Mr.  McClung's World.  In this post he had chsen a band called the Black Keys as his class' band of the week.  This was my comment:

Hi, my name is Kristie McNair and I am an EDM310 student at the University of South Alabama.  I really enjoyed your video.  I have never heard of the Black Keys before, but I thought they were great!  I will definitely be visiting itunes to check them out some more.  I love that your class has a band of the week, and I think your class blog is awesome.  It's awesome that you make it fun as well as educational.  I am definitely going to keep the band of the week in mind for my class one day.

For our second C4K assignment this month we I was instructed to comment on Mrs.  Yollis' Class Blog.  Her students had posted Halloween stories that they had written.  I was assigned to comment on Shane's post.  This was my comment:

Dear Shane, 
Hello! My name is Kristie McNair and I am an EDM310 student at the University of South Alabama. I read your story Halloween Olympics, and I thought it was great! I thought it was very funny that all of those scary things decided to play those games. My favorite was the rotten pumpkin dodging. Did Ghoster get a gold medal for winning the Halloween Olympics? I have a daughter who is in the 3rd grade, and she also likes to write stories. I am going to let her read these. Good job, Shane. You are a great writer!

For my final C4K assignment, I was assignet to comment on Ashley's blog.  Ashley is a student at the PT England School in Auckland, NZ.  Ashley's post was about the fireworks show at the Rugby World Cup.  This was my comment:

Hi Ashlee,
My name is Kristie Mcnair. I am an Edm310 student at The University of South Alabama. I thought you did a great job describing the excitement of the Rugby World Cup. Your video was very good, and I really liked how you described the lights exploding in the sky. Keep up the good work!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Final Post on PLN

This is the PLN that I created while in EDM310. It has many common sites, like Google and Facebook, as well as sites that I use often. These include the University of South Alabama site and our EDM310 blog. I have created tiles for some of the teachers we read from this semester as well as some that I have found myself on the web. There are tiles for the Mobile County Public School System as well as SchoolTube and Teacher Tube. I know this is only a beginning of what my PLN should become, but before I began EDM310, I didn't even know what a PLN was. I am very thankful that I have found these resources through this class, and I can't wait to find even more in the future.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blog Post 13

cartoon about an iphone app
In the article My Teacher is an App, Stephanie Banchero and Stephanie Simon discuss virtual schooling, which is when students complete all of their schooling online.  They are allowed to work from home, at their own pace, and they are never required to attend school.  Another option discussed in the article is the hybrid-school.  This school allows students to attend school, nut it blends the amount of time spent on schoolwork between online studies and school attendance.  This article talks about the advantages of these programs, and it gives examples of school districts that have implemented these programs.  One of the main advantages to these types of educational programs is the lower cost.  When students are either not coming to class, or coming to class less, the school systems are able to save money on their staffing.

I think that the hybrid schools are a good idea.  I would not have a problem with dividing a student's time between class time and online learning.  I think that the benefits of this would be allowing the student to become an independent learner, as well as being able to adapt to the special needs of students. However,  I do not like the idea of completely virtual schools.  I think that there is interaction within a classroom that students need.  They need the socialization with their peers, as well as the support that teachers provide.  Also, there are so many students who are in abusive situations who would never have any help or respite if they weren't able to come to school.  So many more children would fall through the cracks in the system if they weren't coming to school.  There are some kids who only get fed at school, and often for these same children, the only kind word or soft touch they receive is at school.  I think technology is wonderful.  The things that students today can and should learn online is invaluable.  But as important and vital as technology is to children today, it cannot take the place of school.

Additional Assignment: Metaphors

cartoon about a metaphor

This assignment was given based on our response to Tom Johnson's Don't Let Them Take the Pencils Home post. In his story Mr. Johnson used pencils as a metaphor for computers. I didn't put in my post that the pencils were a metaphor because I didn't realize that we needed to look for and point out a metaphor in the story. I knew that he was using the pencils as an example of how technology should be handled, because it was based on the study of how children who take computers home performed on tests. I think I just didn't make the connection in my blog post that it was a metaphor because I was trying not to make a mistake in my post. As for others in the class, maybe they were like me and just didn't communicate their thoughts well enough. Perhaps they are just the type of people who take things too literally. Also, I am sure that there are some people who scan the post and just write something down to get credit.

Some metaphors I have heard lately are, "raining cats and dogs", "you can't have your cake and eat it too", and, "cute as a button". I think that the best thing we can do for our students is to expose them to metaphors often and point them out when they are used. Also, we should encourage our students to use metaphors in their own writing. I think we use metaphors as a way to say what we mean in a different way. Metaphors are also a way to help you visualize the point you are trying to make.

Project 15: Smartboard Presentation Part 2

Sunday, November 13, 2011

C4K #10 Special Instructions

awesome blog
I think Mrs.  Yollis' Classroom Blog is a great example of what a class blog should be like.  I love that there are so many examples of her students work there, from videos to the blog posts themselves.  I also think that it's great that she has a "Meet Mrs.  Yollis" link included.  The site is full of links that are tutorials.  This includes learning HTML code, how to take digital photos, the State of California, as well as how to comment.  You can see on her blog that it has won numerous awards.  I love the link that includes educational blogging links for teachers.

Mrs.  Yollis has a Visitor Flag Counter  as well as a ClustrMap to keep tab on all of the visitors to her site.  When I wrote this post there had been 75,589 visitors.  EDM310 has 51,308. Her blog also includes a visitor log.  The class follows many educational blogs.

Mrs.  Yollis says on her blog that she is a lifelong learner.  This is obvious from her blog.  It is full of so many amazing links and resources that you can spend hours looking at it and learn so many things.  It is also a place for her students to be able to display their work.  Mrs.  Yollis' Classroom Blog is an awesome educational tool for both students and teachers.

Blog Post #12

In this assignment we are supposed to create a blog post that Dr.  Strange should have assigned.  My assignment is as follows:
think outside the box

Read John T.  Spencer's blog post Shift Happens: From Walls to Gates. Write a quality blog post of two paragraphs describing your reaction to this post.  Should classrooms have walls?  Is it even possible to create a classroom without walls?  What would a  classroom with "gates" look like?  What kind of classroom would YOU like to create?

Watch Sir Ken Robinson's video Bring on the Learning Revolution.  Write a quality blog post describing Sir Ken Robinson's message in this video and your reaction to it.   

Progress Report on Final Project

progress report cartoon

For the final project my group is going to do a project on how to convince parents to get on board with their children's use of technology. We are going to interview parents as well as teachers on this subject, and we are going to create something to present to parents to help them understand the benefits of technology in the classroom as well as our commitment to their child's privacy and safety.

C4T Summary #4

books with a mouse
The blog that I was assigned to this time was Life of an Educator... by Justin Tarte.  The theme of his blog is, "Helping Educators to grow both professionally and personally by sharing and collaborating. " The first blog post that I commented  on  was a review of a book.  The faculty of his school has a book club where they read and review books that help in their professional development.  The book in the first post was How Full is Your Bucket?  This book review listed the highlights and themes of the book, which included the difference between positive and negative thinking and the importance of being positive.  This was my comment to Mr.  Tarte:

Hi Mr. Tarte, 
My name is Kristie McNair, I am an EDM310 student at the University of South Alabama. I have been assigned to read and comment on your blog for the next two weeks. I will write a summary of what I have read and my responses to it, and I will post them on my blog November 13th. You can check it out at Also, feel free to take a look at our EDM310 class blog at

I love the idea of having a book club with your co-workers. That seems like a really good team building time as well as a great way to learn from the author as well as each other. Does your group read works of fiction as well, or only nonfiction books? "How Full Is Your Bucket?" sounds like a great book. The lessons on positive thinking could definitely be beneficial.

The second post on Mr.  Tarte's blog was a review of the book What Great Teachers Do Differently.  This is a book by Todd Whitaker.  In his review, Mr.  Tarte discusses how the book describes the qualities of great teachers.  He discusses the things that great teachers do differently, as well as how to become a better teacher.  This was my comment to Mr.  Tarte:
What great teachers do differently book cover

Mr. Tarte, 
Once again your book club selection sounds like an incredibly inspiring book. I agree that there is just something special about some teachers that make them great. I like that this book provides actions that all teachers can take to help them become great teachers, because every child deserves a great teacher! This book sounds like a must read for a future teacher like me.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

c4K summary 2

This month I got to comment on some awesome kids' blogs.  The C4K assignments are some of my favorites in this class. Reading them always reminds me that this is a great learning tool for students.  I hope my comments encourage them to keep blogging.
blog drawing

The first C4K blog assignment for October was Kayla.  Her blog post was titled, "Why do you burp".  In this post Kayla described what a burp is, and what makes a person do that.  She was very informative and talked about the gases and how they travel through the stomach and esophagus.  She also talked about how to use good manners and say excuse me.  This was my comment to Kayla: 
Hi Kayla!
My name is Kristie McNair. I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am studying there to become a teacher. I am taking a class there called EDM310. In this class we learn about technology and the way it is important for teachers and students. As part of our assignments for that class we get to comment on students’ blogs. My professor chose your blog for me to comment on.
Kayla, you are a really good writer! I read your blog and I was really impressed. First of all, your post on burping was really informative. It was also very funny. I really enjoyed reading your blog. When I am a teacher I am going to have my students blog too. Keep up the good work!

After I left Kayla's comment, she replied to me.  This is what Kayla wrote:
Thank you so much for the comment and i hope you read more when i post more. But can i ask you a question……. Is it hard to learn about how to teach?
This was my reply to Kayla:
Hi Kayla,
Sometimes it is hard. There is lots of work involved in becoming a teacher. But it is also lots of fun. I always want to do my best so that when I am a teacher I can help my students to learn all that they can. Reading blogs like yours is so helpful to me!

 The second assignment was to comment on Dalton's blog.  This blog was chosen by a random selector.  Dalton's blog post was titled, "The Human Esophagus".  His blog was about the human esophagus and how important it is to the human body. He talked about how his health teacher helped him to learn about the esophagus, and he included a picture of one in his blog post.  This was my comment to Dalton:
Hi Dalton,
My name is Kristie McNair. I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am studying there to become a teacher. I am in a class called EDM310. This class is helping me to become a good teacher and is teaching me how important it is for students to blog. Your name was chosen by the random selector. Your blog on the human esophagus is very interesting. I have never seen a picture of one before. I thought you did a really good job describing the way we use our esophagus. Keep up the good work!

My next assignment was to comment on Lakin's blog.  Her post was titled, "Why write???" In it Lakin talked about the reasons that she write.  She said that she writes to help her express her thoughts and feelings, or she writes a story about something that interests her.  This was how I responded to Lakin:
Hi Lakin, my name is Kristie McNair. I am a Student at the University of South Alabama, where I am studying to be a teacher. I am in a class called EDM310. This class teaches us about technology in education, and part of what we learn is how important it is for students to blog. I think that writing is a great way to express what we are thinking or feeling. What kind of places do you write about in your stories? I love to read and write too. I hope you keep up the good work!
My final C4K assignment for the month was PJ's blog.  PJ had drawn an animated picture of the New Zealand Sky Tower with Hyperstudio.  This was my comment to PJ:
Hi PJ, my name is Kristie Mcnair. I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am studying there to be a teacher. I am in a class called EDM310, where we learn about technology for teachers and how important it is for students to blog.

I thought your picture was really good. I have never seen the New Zealand Sky Tower before, so I Googled it. You did a really great job of making your picture look like the real thing. Keep up the good work

Blog Post #11

create plus share

I love Kathy Cassidy's approach to technology.  In her video, Little Kids...Big Potential,  the work her first graders do is amazing.  I love how she lets them use all of the technology that we have been using here in EDM310, and they are more comfortable on it than some of us!  Another thing that really impressed me in her video is that she allows her children to work together.  So often in classrooms, especially elementary classrooms, students are made to sit all day long and not talk to each other.  The only time students in my daughter's third grade class are encouraged to talk to each other is at recess.  That's so unrealistic in the real world, and Ms.  Cassidy's students are going to have a huge advantage when it comes to being able to collaborate, as they go through school and eventually into their careers.  I really want to be the kind of teacher who, like Ms.  Cassidy, uses technology to help her students reach outside their classroom and learn about the world. I hope that like her, I will have the support of my administrators as well. I love how she talks in her skype interview  about  students not having to "power down".  How can we expect them to be involved with and exposed to technology in every area of their lives and then suddenly completely dismiss it for school?  That's neither realistic nor fair to them.  Most of the only experience I have in schools so far  is with my daughter in the Mobile County Public School System.  I have never seen a great emphasis put on technology in the classroom there, but I hope that changes soon. I will definitely make it a part of mine. I can't wait to have my own classroom, and I will definitely have a class website and blog.  I think that that is an amazing way for parents to keep up with what is going on in the classrooms, as well as let students continue to learn when they aren't at school.  I wish my daughter's school had those available.  I will also use skype as a part of my class.  I love that students can include skyping with scientists, or artists, or musicians as part of  their lessons.  Honestly, before this class, it would have never occurred to me to use these technology tools in my classroom, and now I can't wait to do these things.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blog Post #10


For the first part of our blog assignment this week, we had to watch the video Do You Teach or Do You Educate?  In this video, we are presented with the question of what kind of teacher we will be.  We are asked whether we will be someone who teaches or someone who educates our students.  This is a very thoughtful video, and it really made me think about what the differences are between the verbs teach and educate.

The first term the video talks about is "teach".  It gives several definitions of the word, and the one that struck me as very surprising said, "induce by example or punishment to do or not to do something."  I never though about teaching in that manner, but now I see how that definition could apply.  I know that sometimes, rather than knowing why I am learning something, or understanding the context behind it, I have had to "learn" facts.  The teacher never explained why what I learned was the correct thing, but it was either learn what I was taught, or get a bad grade.

The second term covered in the video is "educate".  One of the definitions was, "one who gives intellectual, moral and social instruction".  I really like this definition.  I think that to be an educator you have to do so much more than present facts.  Educators give their students the knowledge and tools to take the information they are given and apply it to their lives.  They don't teach their student a fact, they teach them why something is and how it is relevant to them.  I hope to be more than just a teacher, I hope to be the kind of educator that does what the video says: mentors, guides, and inspires.  There is an amazing quote by Peter Brougham at the end of this video.  It says, "Education makes people easy to lead, but hard to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave."
no pencil sign

The second assignment for this week was Tom Johnson's Don't Let Them Take The Pencils Home.  In this post Mr.  Johnson tells the story of how he was told by Gertrude, a school administrator, that he should not letting his students take their pencils home.  They would likely misuse them, and it would probably lead to lower test scores.  This post is based on an article that Mr.  Johnson read by Larry Ferlazzo, which talked about the results of a study that said children who use computers at home will have lower test scores.  Tom's pencil analogy was very similar to the scenario of Mr.  Ferlazzo's study, in that these were low income students whose parents did not know how to use the tool the children were bringing home.  Mr.  Johnson and Mr.  Ferlazzo both gave arguments for giving parents training and teaching them how to help their children use their tools.

I am not a fan of standardized tests.  I think they are a horrible representation of student ability and having to "teach the test" really takes away teachers' freedom to teach "outside the box".  How sad that administrations are more worried about the reflections of those scores on their schools than they are about what their students are learning.  If done with the appropriate training, there could be enormous benefits to letting children use computers at home.  If not, at least let them take the pencils home.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

C4T Summary #3

education rethink logo

For my 3rd  C4T assignment, I was assigned the blog Education Rethink by John T. Spencer.  The first post that I read on his blog was titled, "Note to New Teachers", and that's exactly what it was.  It was full of encouragement and tips that basically tell new teachers to just hold on, it does get better.  He candidly writes about his first year teaching and how he struggled, and shares encouragement with new and future teachers that they too can make it.  This was my response:
"Hi Mr. Spencer, 
My name is Kristie McNair. I am an EDM310 student at the University of South Alabama. I have been assigned to follow and comment on your blog for two weeks. On October 30th I will write a summary on my blog about what I have read and posted here. If you would like to take a look at it, you can see my EDM310 blog at . Also, please feel free to check out our class blog at

I am so thankful to read posts like yours. As a pre-service teacher I sometimes get worried that when I finally do get to my classroom I will forget all of my training and be completely overwhelmed. I know that the first year will be difficult, but it's nice to know that it gets better. I hope I can learn from your advice and be patient with myself and humble enough to ask for help when I need it."

The second post I read from Mr.  Spencer was titled. "I'm Going to Write a Novel in November".  Mr.  Spencer writes about a novel that he is planning to write soon.  He tells us that November is National Novel Writing Month (which I did not know).  In honor of this he has decided to write a novel that he has been thinking of.  The title of his novel will be A Wall for Zombies.  He also talks about the plot for this novel.  This was my response:
"Hi Mr. Spencer,
I think that your idea for your novel sounds awesome. I didn't know that November is National Novel Writing Month. I will be watching for this when you make it available!"

I just wanted to add that Education Rethink is just one of the blogs that John T Spencer writes.  I really enjoyed reading his posts, and you can find even more at his website.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blog Post #9

chalkboard with writing

This weeks assignment was to read two posts by Joe McClung. The first post I chose was his What I Learned This Year (2008-2009).  This was a summary of Mr.  McClung's first year as a teacher.  I think his experience gives new teachers some very good advice as well as a good dose of reality.  His post begins by talking about not forgetting that we are there to teach our students, not perform for an audience.  This reminded me of the post that we read earlier in the semester by Kelly Hines.  In this post Ms.  Hines said that if a student has not learned the material, then a teacher has not really taught it.   Mr.  McClung reminds us that we should not become so enamored with hearing ourselves teach that we neglect to make sure that our students are grasping the material.  Another lesson in this first year assessment is to, "be flexible."  We have to remember that things will not always go the way we want them to, and that is ok.  We should remember that things come up, situations change, and as a teacher we should be prepared.  Just because the lesson doesn't go just the way I want it to, doesn't mean it wasn't successful, and if I do make a mistake it won't be the end of the world.  Mr.  McClung talks about the importance of communication and how important it is to develop a relationship with your fellow teachers.  They can provide valuable advice and support, and we have to remember that it's important to build that rapport.  We also need to remember to keep our expectations reasonable.  He reminds us that it is important to remember that just because we want a child to perform to a certain standard doesn't mean they will.  They are, after all, children, and when they make a mistake we have to help them learn from it and move on.  Mr.  McClung talks about how important it is to listen to our students.  It helps to let them know we care about them, and the relationship they have with us can help to shape the rest of their lives.  He also talks about the importance of embracing technology, which I think goes hand in hand with his last lesson, which is to "never stop learning."  How can we expect our students to be learners if we are not willing to be?
letter from student

Next, I chose Mr.  McClung's What I Learned This Year (2009-2010).  In this end of year summary post Mr.  McClung has spent the year teaching 8th grade in a different school.  He talks about the challenges he faced and the lessons he learned in the new school.  The first lesson Mr.  McClung talks about is how he had to adapt.  He had to change his teaching style from the 6th graders he had taught the year before, to learning how to teach 8th graders and allowing them to be more independent.  He also had to make adjustments when it came to his curriculum.  He had to adapt to teaching social studies in addition to the science that he was more comfortable with.  Another challenge that he faced was how to help his students become more independent learners.  To do so he had to change the way he taught and not worry about a schedule as much as making sure his students were really thinking.  Mr.  McClung made the suggestion that all new teachers should find a "school mom."  That is an older, more experienced teacher who can give you advice, help you learn how to handle situations that may arise, and be there when you have a question.  I think this is a great tip, and I will definitely keep this in mind.  He also reminds us not to get caught up in adult conflict and lose sight of why we are there.  I am sure that occasionally there will be issues with our coworkers or administrators, but we should not let this distract us from giving our students our best.

project #13 Smart Board Instruction

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blog Post #8

Richard Miller: This is How We Dream
In his video This Is How We Dream Part 1, Richard Miller talks about how teachers and scholars today can use multimedia to change the way we write.  He begins the video by talking about how he loves and appreciates books.  He has made a career with writing.  However, he realizes that in order to stay current, we must use more than the pen and paper that we are used to.  There is an entire world of images and video that we can use to write with.   Mr.  Miller doesn't say in his lecture that we should abandon the traditional writing.  He instead suggests that we use multimedia tools to enhance the writings that we create.

  In the video Part 1 he uses the example of research on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  He shows how much better the project is when videos of Dr.  King's speeches and footage of his life are used in addition to the information written.  Mr.  Miller also talks about how beneficial writing with multimedia can be for documenting the present.  He uses the last presidential election as an example.  On election night, multimedia was used to gauge the reaction of people as election results came in.  These tools give a much more powerful view of the information provided than if there had only been a traditionally written report.

Richard Miller's This is How We Dream Part 2 is a lecture in which he talks about how to use multimedia writing in our education systems.  He talks about how we have to change the way we view the humanities and sciences.  We have to find away to make them work together.  He has a very inspiring vision of what education should become.  I know that it will take a lot of work and a very fundamental change in the way education is today to make that happen.  I don't know how long  a shift like that could take.  I do believe that as a teacher I can help by taking small steps toward Mr.  Miller's goal within my classroom.  Dr.  Strange asked the question, "Are you prepared to write with multimedia?"  Honestly, I would have to say, not yet.  But videos like Dr.  Miller's and the other things I am learning in EDM310 are helping me to realize how important using multimedia is.  I think my students will be multimedia writers.  I am going to try my best to help them become that.   

Carly Pugh:  Blog Post 12
I found Carly Pugh's blog post to be one of my favorite things that I have read and watched this semester.  I thought her idea for an assignment was really good.  Even though it is time consuming to search for and bookmark all of those resources, what a treasure of knowledge are!  I thought her videos for inclusion and students with disabilities were awesome choices.  I am going to create tiles for those on my Symbaloo.  I think that I would start every term out with a character lesson using those videos and others that could go along with them.  The ideas for students in English class are also great.  I love literature, and tools like that to help students relate to and appreciate classic literature are amazing.  I know that Dr.  Strange didn't ask us to build a new assignment for EDM310, but Carly's got me thinking.  I think a  good assignment would be to create a sort of "emergency" list for teachers.  Imagine if you had a teacher who had no idea about multimedia or education technology and was suddenly unable to teach traditionally. Create a list of "must see" videos and links to help that teacher survive until they could learn to teach with multimedia.  That was just a thought.  But to answer Dr.  Strange's question of how close Carly comes to Dr.  Miller's idea of multimedia writing, I think Dr.  Miller would be very pleased with Carly's post. 

The Chipper Series
The Chipper Series was very funny.  Chipper and her cavalier attitude toward learning is a really good was to demonstrate what Dr.  Strange calls "burp back" learning.  The things that Chipper does (or doesn't do) in the video are quick ways to fail at EDM310.  However, until I took EDM310, I have to say I had never thought about education in any other way myself.  EDM310 is really an eye opener.  Honestly, I think there should be a version of it that's required for every undergraduate student, not just education majors.  What we learn about independent learning should not just apply to our future students, but to our own education as well.
does edm310 have you down
EDM310 for Dummies                
EDM310 for Dummies is a funny way to get across the secret to success in EDM310.  The first part of the video actually sounds like someone recorded me the first couple of weeks of my EDM310 experience.  I was completely overwhelmed, and often frustrated.  But like the students in the video, once I grasped the concept of using the resources provided to us, not just once or twice, but as may times as it took to understand, EDM310 completely changed.  Now instead of panic or dread at a new assignment, I can always be confident that if I don't understand what I'm doing, there is a resource or tool available for me to figure it out.  I think the main lesson of EDM310 for Dummies is HOLD ON!  It gets better!

Learn To Change, Change to Learn
change ahead sign
When I watched the video Learn to Change, Change to Learn, I thought they made some very valid points.  I don't know if it was so much an "attack" on education, as it was just a really matter of fact discussion on the parts that aren't relevant any more.  I believe that students would be much more engaged in their education if the tools that they use everywhere else in their lives was utilized in the classroom.  I absolutely agree that standardized tests are a horrible way to teach children.  I personally think they are a really poor indicator of student success.  Children are so much more than the dots that they can fill in on a piece of scantron paper.    How much would their view of themselves and the possibilities for their life change if they were taught using the multimedia tools that allowed them to connect with the whole world every day?  To see that outside of the walls of their classroom is an endless field of possibilities, and they have the tools to reach them.  Although the video is critical of the education system, I think it needs to be said.

Project #12 Book Trailer

Friday, October 14, 2011

Blog Post #2

Did You Know? 3.0
In the video Did You Know? 3.0, Karl Fisch and Scott Mcleod give some mind blowing statistics about technology and the way it is increasing.  In this video, Mr.  Fisch and Mcleod reveal that the United States is really not the leader in technology in the world.  They say in Did you Know? 3.0 that, "China will soon become the number one English speaking country in the world."  They also reveal that, "The 25% of India's population with the highest IQ' greater than the total population of the United States."   This video goes on to talk about how students today are learning for jobs that don't even exist yet.
technology perspecive

The next part of the video talks about how rapidly technology is changing.  The online world is growing at a breathtaking pace.  More and more people are using the internet, and social media is common. It's really disconcerting to think about how quickly the world has changed in the last few decades.  We have no idea yet what it will look like in the next few years.  This is mostly due to advances in technology.

Mr.  Winkle Wakes
In Mr. Winkle Wakes, Mr.  Winkle has just woken up from being asleep for a hundred years.  He goes out into the world and everything has changed.  He goes to office buildings and computers are making sounds and doing things that he never imagined.  He goes to a hospital and there are machines there that are saving peoples lives.  These are things that Mr.  Winkle has never experienced, and they frighten him.  He goes into a school, and everything there is exactly like Mr.  Winkle remembers.  Children are sitting in classrooms.  There is quiet.  It seems to Mr.  Winkle that of all the changes that have happened in the world, the school is one place he is at home.  That is the one place that hasn't advanced with the world.
Mr.  Winkle

I think Mr.  Winkle Wakes is very simple, but very powerful.  When Mr.  Winkle goes out into the world, we see all the progress that has been made in a hundred years.  There are people able to do business all around the world.  Hospitals are able to perform lifesaving procedures.  But when Mr.  Winkle gets to the school, nothing has changed.  Mr.  Winkle is completely comfortable there.  It is a scary thought that when our children leave their classrooms and go out into the world that they are going to be as unfamiliar with the technology of today as Mr.  Winkle was.  We have to make sure that when they leave our class that they are ready to enter the world as it is.  We can not keep them in Mr.  Winkle's world, we must teach them to be ready for ours.

Sir Ken Robinson:  The Importance of Creativity
In this video, Sir Ken Robinson talks about creativity, and its importance.  He begins by making the assertion  that all children are creative.  He also says that creativity should have as much value placed on it as literacy does.  He talks about how schools teach children to not be creative.  He says that schools as well as companies teach people that being wrong about something is the worst mistake that we can make.  He talks about how we don't know what the future looks like, so we must prepare students to be prepared to think differently, and that we must help them to keep the creativity that they are born with.
Sir Ken Robinson

He also talks about the public school system today, and how it is geared toward producing the same results in everyone.  He talks about how the way our children learn today only uses the top part of their bodies, and how as they go higher in their education, it gets even more so.  He talks about how this came about in the past, in an effort to educate during the industrial revolution.  However, since the world has changed, and is changing, we must change the way we teach.  This means that we need to start allowing children to use the talents and gifts that interest them, not just the ones that fit inside a traditional academic classroom. 

Cecelia Gault Interviews Sir Ken Robinson
lightbulb with candle inside
I thought Cecelia 's interview with Sir Ken Robinson and her article with Scholastic News was really good.  I thought she asked very thoughtful questions.  She asked a question in her article about why the United States was not ahead of smaller countries with fewer resources when it came to technology.  In her interview with Sir Ken Robinson, she questioned him about what he thought were the "three myths of creativity."  In his answer Sir Ken talked about how everyone is creative in some way.  Cecelia herself attends a performing arts schools, so she understands and agrees with Sir Ken about that.    I agree with both Cecelia and Sir Ken Robinson.  I think that every student has the ability to be creative in some way.  I think it is up to teachers and parents to help protect that quality in our children.  As a teacher I will try to make the arts integrated into the curriculum that I teach.  I will try to teach my children that it's ok to make a mistake.  When we do make a mistake we simply have to learn from it and try again.  Also, I will try to encourage children to use their talents, and if they are interested in the arts,  I will try to give them the opportunity to express that.

Vicki Davis: Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts
In this video Vicki Davis shows how she uses technology to teach students in her classroom.  She is really doing an amazing job with her class.  In this video she talks about how she is teaching her students technology and then allowing them to use the technology to learn the curriculum that they are assigned.  She allows them to blog, use wikis, and connect with students all over the world.  
Vicki Davis

I think that every teacher should learn to do what Ms.  Davis is doing.  I think that when her students leave that class, not only will they have a mastery of the technology that they have been learning, they will have  confidence in their own abilities.  They are learning to be independent learners, and as Ms.  Davis says, they are really empowered to  be in control of what they learn.  Watching what Ms.  Davis has done with her students helps me to realize the kind of teacher I want to be.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Blog Post #7

randy pausch

Randy Pausch was an inspiring man. Before his death from pancreatic cancer in 2008, he gave his last lecture at Carnegie Mellon University.  In this lecture, Mr.  Pausch talks about childhood dreams.  He begins by talking about his own childhood dreams.  The first one was to experience zero gravity.  The second was to play in the NFL.  He also wanted to write in an encyclopedia .  He wanted to be the Star Trek Captain Kirk, and he dreamt of winning large stuffed animals from amusement parks.  He dreamt of being a Disney Imagineer.  Mr. Pausch talks in the first part of this lecture about how he achieved his childhood dreams.  The most memorable part of this section was when he talks about brick walls.  He helps his listeners to understand that brick walls are not meant to stop us.  They are there to help us realize how badly we want our dream.  They are there to help us reach them before others do.

The next part of the lecture is when Mr.  Pausch talks about helping others achieve their dreams.  This is even more important than realizing our own.  He talks about students that he has had over the years, and he lists many of the accomplishments that his classes at Carnegie Mellon have achieved.  He talks about his idea of Alice, which uses "head fakes".  This allows children to learn valuable information while ding something fun. He shows examples of the groundbreaking work his students have done in the field of virtual reality.  He shows the video of the world they created, and then he shares some of his favorite memories.

Finally, Mr.  Pausch thanks the people that have been influential in his career.  He talks about the professors that have inspired and helped him decide which career path to take.  Mr.  Pausch talks about the team that will be moving forward with the programs that he has implemented.  He shares the lessons that were given to him, which included getting "dutch Uncle-d" by his mentor.  He talks about all the people who help and influence us along the way.  These include teachers, parents, and mentors.  He talks about loyalty, and how it is so important, and that it goes two ways.  He used a great example of a student that he vouched for, who eventually became a valuable member of his team.

The video was very touching and funny.  Mr.  Pausch handled the subject of his illness with amazing humor and grace.  My favorite part of the video was when he surprised his wife and sang happy birthday to her.  It was obvious that he meant what he said about having fun every day.  He was an inspiring speaker and a great man.  In the end Mr.  Pausch reveals that this speech was really for his children.  Of all the "head fakes" he ever did, his last lecture was the best.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

C4T #2

apps for teachers

For my second C4T assignment, I began following Lisa Thumann.  Her posts were very informative.  On each post that I commented on, I was introduced to new apps that I had not heard of.  I came away from this assignment with new tools to add to my PLN.

For the first blog post that I commented on Ms.  Thumann was talking about Google Chrome.  She was writing about some of the things that Google Chrome could be used for other than just a browser.  She talked about the Scratchpad, which is a note taking app.  I also did not know about the Screen Capture feature available at the Google Chrome Web Store.  This was my comment for this post:
Hi Ms. Thumann,
My name is Kristie McNair, and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. My major is elementary education. I am reading and commenting on your blog as part of an assignment for my EDM310 class. My professor, Dr. John Strange, believes that blogs are an excellent resource to us as teachers and he wants to help us create a network of educators to draw information from. On October 9, I will be writing a summary of your posts that I have read and the comments that I leave. You can view them if you like. My EDM310 class blog link is . My blog is at . I learned so much from your blog post on Google Chrome! I always use Google Chrome as my browser, but I had no idea that it has so many apps and things that you can do with it. I think that the Scratchpad and Chrome 2 phone sound like great tools. I am going to try them out immediately. Thank you"     
Flat Stanley

For the second post I commented on, Ms.  Thumann wrote about Flat Stanley.  This is a series of childern's books, in which Stanley goes on adventures in different locations.  Ms.  Thumann had helped her daughter's class do a Flat Stanley project, and she had found a Flat Stanley app that could be used to help teach geography.  This was my comment:
"Hi Ms. Thumann,
I had never heard of Flat Stanley until your blog post. I went to the Flat Stanley website after I read your post. What a great way to teach children geography! I think that Flat Stanley would be a great addition to most elementary classrooms as both a geography lesson and a safe way to introduce students to social networking. Also, I love the idea of students sharing their experiences with peers from many different places. I am going to install the app from itunes and check it out!"

Project #9b Timetoast Timeline

Project #10 PLN Update

symbaloo icon

For my PLN I am using Symbaloo.  I find that it is very easy to use and it keeps all the sites that I use on a regular basis, as well as my growing PLN, organized.  I know that I am only beginning my PLN.  So far I have sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Google Earth, and Delicious, among others.  I have the EDM310 class blog site, as well as the University of South Alabama website.  I am creating tiles for each of the teachers' blogs that I am following for C4T.  I am excited to watch my PLN continue to grow as I go through the rest of the semester.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

C4K Summary #1

a cat and dod saying you're awesome

C4K#1 Maranda
In my C4K assignment #1, I commented on Maranda's blog. In her blog Maranda's class had had a field day type of activity where they had been allowed to play games. Maranda talked about how much fun that day had been. I commented on her blog by telling her what a great job I thought she was doing by writing her blog, and how I was learning to be a teacher, and how important blogging is.
C4K#2 ka2011
In my C4K assignment, I commented on ka2011. I told ka2011 where I was from and that I was taking a class called EDM310 where we were learning to be teachers who let our students blog. I talked about what a great job ka2011 was doing, and I said that I have a daughter in the 3rd grade, and I would love for her to be able to blog too.
C4K#3 Kaleigh
For my C4K#3, I commented on Kaleigh. Her school had recieved a donation of ipads from Lucy Buffett, and the students had written Ms. Buffett thank you notes. I told Kaleigh that I had enjoyed her letter, and that I thought the things they were doing with their new ipads were awesome. I told Kaleigh that I thought Ms. Lucy Buffett would be very proud of how her class was putting her gifts to such good use.

Blog Post #6


In the Networked Student by Wendy Drexler, the question is asked,  "Why does the networked student even need a teacher?"  In this video Ms.  Drexler answers this question.  She helps us to understand that the networked student has to be taught how to create and then how to use their PLN.  These students have access to all the information in the world via the internet.  The amount of facts available to them is limitless.  But it takes a teacher to show these students how to put all of this information together and use their sources to find additional resources to create their network.  Then the networked student can use their information to become part of someone else's network.

Ms.  Drexler says that she is preparing to use this with a group of middle schoolers in the fall of this year.  I think that middle school is a perfect age to start this.  I plan on following Ms.  Drexler's blog to find out how her test goes.  As to the question, am I ready?  I think that I am well on my way to becoming ready.  Through the tools and resources I am learning in EDM310, I am going to help create networked students by being a networked teacher.

 A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment (or PLN)
In the video  A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment (or PLN ), the student describes why having a PLN, or personal learning network helps her to be a better student.  She shows some of the tools that she uses on her site, which include Google and a note taking application that she uses to collect her information.  I think that this type of PLN could be very beneficial to both a student and an educator.  Right now I am still building my PLN.  It includes social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.  It also includes blogs that I have been introduced to through EDM310.  I can use Delicious to pin all the resources that I find, and this allows me to keep them in one place.  I know that I have lots more to learn, and I know that as I continue through EDM310 that my PLN will grow.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Project 9a Timetoast

Blog Post #5

stop sign
Don't Teach Your Kid's This Stuff.  Please? 
I thought that the post by Scott Mcleod was really clever.  I learned that Mr.  Mcleod is professor at the University of Kentucky, and that he is considered by many to be an academic expert on K-12 technology issues.  He is also the Founding Director of CASTLE UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education , which is the only academic center in the country that is dedicated to aiding school administrators with their needs.  I really enjoyed Mr.  Mcleod's satire about the fears toward technology.  These can lead to another great danger, the lack of knowledge and skill in using technology. I agree with Mr.  Mcleod that there is a problem with being so afraid of technology that you keep the child from it. This can put a student at a serious disadvantage later when competing for jobs and positions against someone well schooled in technology. However, I do believe that it is the job of both the teacher and parent to supervise the child's use of the internet, as well as teach them to use it responsibly.  You would not give a person the keys to a car without teaching them to use it safely and responsibly.  You would monitor their progress until they reach a level of maturity that allows them to be safe.  Children, of course, do not drive cars. However,  the internet does allow them to "travel" and have access to the entire world in many ways.  Although the dangers that Mr.  Mcleod mentions in his post are highly unlikely, they are possible.  Do the benefits of the internet outweigh the risks?  Absolutely.  I think that as educators we can allow our students the advantage of being technologically savvy while being cautious.  We can teach them that with power and knowledge comes responsibility.  That is a great lesson all by itself.

The iSchool Initiative    
In Travis Allen's video The iSchool Initiative, he argues that he has found a solution to America's education budget crisis.  He says that the future of the American classroom is the iSchool.  The iSchool would be based on Apple's i touch technology and would be similar to an ipod touch or ipad.  He says that things like books, paper, copiers, and pencils would become obsolete.  This would save schools much needed money.  He shows that these devices already have many apps that could be used in the classroom.  Email, scientific calculators, and periodic tables are only a few of these apps that are available to users today, and could be utilized immediately in a classroom.  Travis adds up the cost of supplies to be over 600 dollars per student and compares it to the cost of the iSchool at 150 dollars per student.  This initiative also reduces the carbon footprint and improves the environment.
iSchool initiative logo
In Travis Allen's Zeitgeist Young Minds video, he issues a call to action to change the education system in America.  He and his team travel the country to try to revolutionize the system.  He believes that in order to prepare students to succeed in the information age that we live in, we must completely redesign the education that they receive.  He encourages everyone to join him and visit  The iSchool Initiative  I  love this idea!  I think that classrooms would be much more efficient if they utilized a technology like the iSchool.  There would be so many fewer wastes and things like textbooks would not become outdated and thrown away.  Also, that would be a way for students to become technologically proficient, as well as a method of cutting costs.

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir
When I began watching this video, I thought, how neat, that all of those people could get together via internet and create such a beautiful piece.  Then, I thought about how much work and coordination must go into the production of such a video.  It occurred to me then, that if someone could orchestrate a complex production of music with so many different people, who have never met, or even rehearsed, from all different places, what amazing things could be done in a classroom!  Why couldn't classes, from all different regions, collaborate when studying their school lessons?  Children from different parts of the country could work together to study geography, history, or any other subject. Imagine how much more interesting a science lesson would be if you were sharing the lesson with a class in the region where the theory was founded.  What if students could go on field trips via the internet?  This video was something I had never really considered before.  Really, with the connection the internet provides, almost anything is possible!

Teaching In the 21st Century by Kevin Roberts
In the video Teaching In the 21st Century  , Kevin Roberts discusses how the roles of teachers has changed. He talks about how, in the past, the role of a teacher was to provide students with information.  Now, however, with the ability of students to access any information they need online, a teacher's job is to teach students how to apply that information to  their situation.  He believes that a teacher is now supposed to teach students the skills they need to take all of the information at their disposal and use it in practical ways in their lives.  This will help students to be able problem solve in their future.  When a student is later faced with decisions about jobs, finances and other important issues, they will know how to gather information and use it to make the best decision.  I think Mr.  Roberts makes some very valid points. I know that memorizing information is how teachers traditionally teach their students, and I realize that is pointless. As an elementary school teacher, I will allow my students to discuss their reading assignments by blogging.  I will have them use their social studies lessons to create podcasts.  I will try to help them connect with their peers in other countries to help them understand that our world is so much more than what we can see from our own back door. Unless we are teaching students things that can be applied in a relevant way to their lives, we are wasting both of our times.  The world students are graduating into is not the world where the person who knows the most "things" is the best.  This 21st century world is a place where creative thinking and problem solving skills are sought after.  We must help our students take the information technology offers and use it to create success.