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Mobile, Alabama, United States

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I have completed all of my blog assignments.

I hope all of you got as much out of this class as I did. It was great meeting all of you. I hope you all have a wonderful summer and I will see some of you next Fall. Thanks for a great semester everyone!

End of the Semester Reflection

I can't believe the things we have covered in such a short time. I have to say, it was stressful trying to keep up. I think the reason it was stressful is that there is so much new information for technology. It literally changes EVERYDAY. I learned so much. My favorite activities were: researching ALEX, Google forms, Google docs, Google Reader, iGoogle pages, discovering who I want to be as a professional and discovering networking.
I love Google tools (you can probably tell). I now use them on my home computers and I am trying to teach my parents and younger brother how to utilize these valuable, FREE resources. Although I enjoyed some things more than others, all of the information given in the class can be applied to my future as a teacher. I am sure by the time that I become a teacher, Google will have invented much more spectacular tools. Google docs is a great tool because you can pull up a paper on any computer without having to keep up with a portable memory device. It is also universal, which means no changing file types and whatnot.
My iGoogle page has been the most fun tool this year. I have put countdowns and quote tools on my personal tab. On my Language Arts tab, I have a very useful grammar tool; you can click on any rule of grammar and it will give you examples.
ALEX is a great resource for all teachers. The lesson plans and ideas will help me create my own plan for my classes.
Out of everything I have learned in EDM 310, the most important thing I found was the real teacher in me. I have taken all of my other pre-requisites and this is the first class that has made me mold my original ideas and make them better. I have had to think about how I will teach MY class, not just study how other people teach theirs.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Reponse to Sir Ken Robinson

In Sir Ken Robinson's lecture, he primarily focused on the creativity of children being oppressed by the educational system. "Education is about personal growth." - Sir Ken Robinson. I agree strongly with this quote. His video had many interesting points that I will a remember as an educator. He says that being naturally good at something does not make you passionate about it. He spoke about the hierarchy of education and how it is not linear with the best interests of children. He says that anywhere you go in the world, the arts will be at the bottom of the hierarchy. Children who paint, dance or sing are encouraged to stop playing and do their math homework. I do agree that math is important but it is more important to keep ALL children on their individual paths to finding their rightful place in the world. He says that splitting education between vocational and academic, then prioritizing academic over vocational, makes children leave their talents behind. He also says that talent creates opportunities and we make the decisions to reach out for those opportunities.
Click Here to view the first video
Click Here to view the second video

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Twitter - Uh Oh

I must confess, I do not like anything about Twitter. I followed Mr. C, he had not let me down this far. I have to say, he did not drop the ball with Twitter but I did. Mr. C and Dr. Strange "get" Twitter but I do not see an absolute necessity. Blogging is a very useful tool and I feel that I can network well enough through Blogs and Facebook, without having to use Twitter at this time. Twitter may one day become the one way to network with other teachers one day and if it does, I may reconsider my stance. Besides teacher networking, I do not see a place for Twitter in the classroom. I understand the best ways to navigate Twitter through: Twitter Tips, following Mr. C and everyone else Dr. Strange told me to follow. I still have no appreciation for it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Class Podcasts

There were several common denominators in the podcasts that I listened to. First, the volume level that everyone speaks at is different. This means I had to turn it down when I was listening to myself on my groups podcast (I am very loud) and turn it up when Jessica Courville started speaking because she is soft spoken. We did not know how much the microphone picked up and I think all the groups could have done better volume control.
Another problem I found with some of the podcasts was that you could here paper shuffling and there were a lot of "ums". I think this is something that could only be dealt with through practice and preparedness. The information given in all four of these podcasts was very helpful and I do not think it needs much improvement.
Helpful Links for Teachers
Using Blogs for Education
Facebook in the Classroom?
Burp Back Education

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The use of blogging in the classroom and Katie Vadakin's Blog

I viewed Katie Vadakin's Blog because I liked the way she answered my survey questions on google docs. She seems laid back but passionate and caring and I saw things in her that I would want to exemplify in my classroom. That being said, there were some things that Katie and I don't agree on. In her blog on Fisch Bowl, she disagreed with the comment that computer illiterate teachers would compare to illiterate teachers in the early 1900s. I think this comment is harsh and leaves a lot of anxiety with teachers today, but it is true. With all of the resources to be found online now, there is no excuse for teachers not to be educated in current technology. This will be important in my class because of plagiarism. Katie and I did agree that blogging definitely has it's place in the classroom.
When we started the blog assignment, I was overwhelmed and, honestly, I still am. I have a much better understanding of it now though.
Assuming that my class will have access to a computer lab so that each student will have a fair chance to participate, I will implement blogs to record reading journals and possibly assign bonus assignments. Blogs are such a useful way of communicating. The way Dr. Strange posted our assignments and used links was very convenient and they could be looked at anywhere the internet is available. Everything is together on one page available at all times, how could that not be seen as a good idea? I also loved that we could just link our blogs to foliotek and the standards would be there. Through posting text, pictures, video and links, a person can give a very thorough explanation of almost any subject.
I also found it useful to follow the blogs of other teachers. Mr. William Chamberlain's class blog and blog, "From the Teacher's Desk" will remain on my bookmarked pages long after EDM 310 is over. For me, reading his helpful suggestions, constant updates and challenges is encouraging.
I appreciate someone so dedicated to education and so helpful to others. That is what blogging allows; an endless opportunity to network with others and learn from others at a much faster rate. Mr. C also introduced our class to many other teachers who offer support and help and they are across the country from us. Technology is amazing.
Blogging helped me organize my thoughts and visualize my goals. I hope that it will do that for my students in the future. I learned how to first make a slide show, then post it to my wall. I am proud of myself for learning something new and I hope to continue my knowledge of it. I fear it will be more difficult without the help of Dr. Strange, but there again blogging saves the day. I will always be able to pull up our class blog and revisit helpful links and instruction pages made and posted by Dr. Strange. Blogging puts a great light on what you can learn from others.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Growth vs. Fixed Mindset

In the Podcast video "Growth vs. Fixed Mindset", they discuss research done on a group of students at a seminar. Half of the students were sent to a study tips workshop and the other half received study tips and growth mindset classes. The studies showed a greater achievement rate in the students who were told that their minds would grow if they exercised them. The video covers how important it is to tell children that their minds can grow if they try to learn new things.
Basically, she says that if you have a fixed mindset you believe that you have a certain amount of intelligence and you conform to your preconceived notions by not pursuing endeavors that you consider beyond your intelligence. If a person has a growth mindset they see their mind as a muscle that can be flexed and grown with use. They tackle tasks that offer a chance for their minds to be pushed.
The video also talked about race car drivers being better drivers if they let their minds grow after a failure. I really found this part completely irrelevant, to be honest.
I think, however, that this idea and experiment was right. Students should be told that they need to harvest their intelligence. They need to know that if they take time to study and practice that they can increase their learning capabilities and understanding over time. I will encourage my students to stretch their minds and I will not set a bar, I will push them to set their own bar and continue to have higher expectations of themselves.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Grade School on iTunes U

For this blog post, I viewed videos by WGBH for grades 9-12. These videos were science videos. I viewed a video on Mirror Neurons and a video called What is a Planet. These videos were short and very interesting. I appreciate that none were longer than 10 minutes because I have Adult ADD and find it hard to concentrate.
In the video titled "What is a Planet" scientists explained why Pluto is not considered a planet. They used visual examples of planets and comets. The video was to the point and held valuable information.
In the video titled "Mirror Neurons" they explained what a mirror neuron was and why we use them. Mirror neurons are what makes us feel emotional and empathetic when viewing another person's actions. For example, when you are watching a movie and cry for the main character, it is because your mind empathizes with their facial cues and body language. The scientists on the video explained this. When you do and action and view an action, the same neurons fire off. They are on both sides of the brain and react to stored emotions. They hypothesize that people with autism may have a deficiency of mirror neurons.

If these videos extend to grammar function or literature, it would be a very useful tool in my classroom. I could use the videos as a warm up tool to get my students thinking about our topic for the day. I want to use reflection journals in my classroom and short videos could be used as topics for some of them. I am a visual learner and I remember examples like these videos helping me make vital connections.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The edible schoolyard and A Night in The Global Village

I watched two videos on iTunes University. I found the videos in Edutopia under integrated studies and social and emotional learning.
The first video was The Edible Schoolyard. Students at a school in California spent their first period of the day in a garden outside. The students grow organic fruits and vegetables and then, in a kitchen set-up beside the garden, they cook what they grow and eat their crops. This is supposed to educate the students on much more than just how to work in a garden or cook. Firstly, the students learn how to communicate and work with others. The next lesson is not found immediately. Teachers who are specially trained to educate students in this environment guide the students and use every opportunity to make the garden an academic setting. While the students garden, they learn about everything from water cycles to the surface tension of dew drops. The teachers make time for reflection and thought about the obstacles they overcome daily in the garden. The project gives children a life experience to connect with academia.

The second video was A Night in The Global Village. Students are brought to the Heifer Ranch in Paradou, Arkansas. For one night the students live like they are citizens of a third world country. They are given limited resources to get through the night and must bargain with other villages of their peers around them. They do chores and cook like they are a poverty stricken village. The adult chaperones step back and let the students find their own authority in the situation. The students form alliances and can choose wether they want to help another village or not. They feed livestock and chop wood for fires. The students then have a reflection time. One student stated that even though they were hungry the night before, they knew they could go home soon and use lights and have food again. He reflected that if they were really poor, they couldn't have gone home the next day and it was hard to think about. Students leave with ideas for what they can do to improve the world they live in today.

After watching these videos, I can see how field trips or projects like this would help students see the "idea" of true education. The point of education is to make students excel in today's world. Without an idea of what the "World" really consists of, students couldn't truly understand that. Although I plan to teach in public education and may not have opportunities like this, I could use these videos as a catalyst in my classroom. A hands on experience is one of the best ways to teach a lesson. Videos of this type would be useful in showing students what opportunities are out there and what students their age are learning about all over the world. I realize that teaching Language Arts I may not be able to use these specific videos but iTunes U has a database that is nearing the status of "unlimited information tool".

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Constructivist : Learning from Dr. Alice Christie

Dr. Alice Christie's website is a helpful encouragement. She was devoted to becoming a life long learner and encouraged others to do so through her work. Her website is extremely thorough and has many helpful links and ideas. Click Here to view Dr. Alice Christie's page on the learning theory: Constructivism. This theory's focus is on creative thinking and self reflection. Teachers give students opportunities to self reflect and make their own adjustments.
Here, teachers are "Co-Learners". I love this idea. I want to learn something every single day from my students. I know some days the lesson may only be that some days are better than others but that IS a lesson. Teachers and Students learn together through trial and error and learning is collaborative. Collaborative learning is sometimes frowned upon by the educational systems because they see lazy teachers who depend on students to teach one another. If this is done correctly, teachers guide students and are actively participating in the collaboration.

Can Wikipedia be trusted?

I think that Wikipedia can be trusted as a starting point for information. To gain basic understanding of a subject, Wikipedia could be very useful. Wikipedia should not be used as a main source of information because anyone could edit the information. This information is checked but not often enough to make Wikipedia a reliable source for research. I believe that it should remain exactly the way it is but users should be wary of how much they rely on the information they find there. If Wikipedia ever registered who gives the information, they would have to pay people to publish this information. This would mean that Wikipedia would no longer be "the free encyclopedia". When more reliable research is needed, users should look to another site.


To view the first article I found on using iPods for education Click Here.
To view the second article I found on using iPods for eduction Click Here 2.

The first website I looked at for the use of iPods in the classroom was http://www.principalspartnership.com/iPods.pdf - This website discussed both the positive and negative effects of using iPods for educational purposes in a high school setting.
iPods are digital media devices that allow file downloads (audio, video or text) to be played anywhere. They range from 2 GB of memory to 120 GB, which this article points out; is like having a tiny laptop of storage. That is where the true attraction lies. When Apple made 120 GB of memory portable,(this is enough memory to hold 30,000 songs!) it set the wheels in motion for digitally enhanced learning. Administration and faculty can upload files on the iPods and kids can review lessons anywhere. Some say that this will encourage students not to participate in class and become reclusive. This is argued by the fact that the iPod would only be supplemental to the learning experience in the classroom. Teachers would upload information to enhance their classroom lessons. Students may download other media on their iPods but if a decent amount of the storage was used for educational purposes teachers would be validated. It would be like a student choosing to do homework over watching TV; the choice to use their resources wisely is ultimately the students choice. Apple has decided to make a little cash in on this deal and create iTunes U. (More about that later) With resources and software multiplying over night, iPods definitely have a place in the educational setting in the years to come.

The second website was about using iPod as an educational tool on a collegiate level. This was mainly focusing on the strides Duke University is taking with technology. It covers some of the pros and cons found by teachers and users alike. Duke was the first University to give each new incoming Freshmen a 20 GB iPod. They downloaded orientation information and the Duke fight song. Students could have lectures in the palm of their hands. Like any new technology, I believe the more we explore the possibilities the better the practice of digital lecture will be. Of course, some hitches in the system were found. Some concentrations used the iPod more productively than others. In the future Duke will only give iPods to students in departments that directly benefit; i.e. arts and foreign languages. Duke has started the long process of sorting through the information on iPod learning. I believe, as with all technology, that once guidelines and standards are set the iPod will be an amazing tool for students.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

Randy Pausch's first strong statement in this video was within the first 3 minutes of the lecture. "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." This is true for anyone's life. In public education, nearly every educator will cross paths with a child who has been dealt a bad hand. I believe that it is the responsibility of an educator, or any person with influence, to show the student that life is what you make it. Overcoming obstacles and fears makes a person stronger and every student should be shown that there are many paths to achieving your goals.
Another point that Pausch made was, "When you're screwing up and nobody is saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up." Pausch used this to make the point that our critics are the ones who care. I found another point in this; If teachers are not saying anything to students who are falling behind, we are giving up. If we as educators critique with the love and concern each human deserves, there may be one less child that gives up because no one cared enough to push them. He points out that brick walls are not there to keep us out, they are there to show us how badly we want something. Each student should know this before graduating high school, really before ever entering high school. Another point in Randy Pausch's lecture was to respect authority while questioning it. I LOVE THIS STATEMENT. I never put the two together as a child. I simply questioned authority but questions get answered more readily when they are asked with respect.
Overall, Randy Pausch's lecture could be educational for any walk of life.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Best of Fisch - May- Customer Service

I randomly chose May's Blog because my birthday is in May. It must have been fate. How many times have I ranted about a customer service call to AT&T? Thousands. However, when the table is turned, what do I have to show for evidence of my good customer service? Not enough to justify ripping apart another person's or company's customer service. This blog is one of the most insightful blogs I have read in months. How true. We should serve our "customer", whoever that customer be at the time, to the best of our ability.
When you look at your students as your customer, it makes teaching them seem like a much larger task. This reminds me of RateMyProfessor.com in the worst way. Would your students recommend you to other "users". Are you a good customer service representative in the office of education? Those are some loaded questions to have to answer. I think all educators should be confronted with that question every morning when they wake up to teach. What kind of helpful service are you providing to your "customers". I think this would improve the way some educators view their jobs on a daily basis.

Views and Improvements on Student Podcasts

I listened to three podcasts: College of Education Classes and Technology used in them, Facebook as an Educational Tool and YouTube for Educational Purposes. These three Podcasts all contained useful and interesting information. Each podcast had a different layout to present the information. None of the Podcasts were conducted in conversation format like the Podcasts I listened to on itunes. I enjoyed listening to the lecture pattern more than the conversation pattern. It was easier to follow the information being given.
There were things about the students' Podcasts that I found distracting. I will be sure to use a script and lay the information I am using out in front of me, however, I will not let the paper rusling be heard on my podcast. That is highly distracting and sounds unprofessional. I will also try to cut down on the amount of dead air or "Ums" I use. I think it would be easier to cut out dead air while using the conversational layout but I am sure the lecture format can be made to flow more smoothly between speakers. I would also hope to be more precise and direct in my speech. If I had not known what the statements in the middle of the Podcast were refering to something vaguely mentioned in the begining of the Podcast, I might have been lost. This seems forgivable in text but when a speaker loses a listener, the listener begins to hear jiberish. Ambiguous language must be cut down to a minimum.

Technological Literacy

Knowing the amount of trouble I have with posting a simple picture to a blog, angers me. Reading this post from Karl Fisch gave validation to my anger. It is 2009, everyone should know what a blog is and how to post pictures. Technology has been advanced in such a way that if everyone knew how to use it to its full extent, our limitations on communication, education and general media use would be non-existent. It is amazing that I can pull up a blog that a 9 year old student has posted a video on. I, at 21, am just tapping into this knowledge. Times have changed and teaching methods must change too.
My generation needs to move fast to take the lead in educational roles. We are the next generation of teachers and with the endless amount of techno help offered, we need to be the ones to help young minds navigate it and put it to the best use. It is disheartening to know that teachers could possibly be less informed about the wealth of resources than the students we are supposed to educate. This post was a wake up call for me. The need to know how to use these new technological tools is greater than most people imagine.

Podcasts- Views from Listening

While listening to the podcasts, I found it extremely hard to stay focused on the conversation. I think this may be because it was, essentially, a conversation. It was a conversation that the listener is not a part of. Although the participants in the podcasts seem very knowledgeable about the subjects on which they speak, the monotony of a lecture could not be escaped. This form of information would not be useful to a visual learner. However, class lectures on podcasts would be helpful for students who may need to go back and hear things a second time.
The podcasts, as a group, are organized like a day time talk show. You have different personalities giving an input on the topic. Some of the podcasts visited links or interviewed guests who were knowledgeable in the area of discussion. It reminded me of radio shows or anchor people on a news show. The information is in lecture form then discussed between the numerous personalities. Many of the podcasts seemed relaxed and informal. This was one upside to the podcasts.
The MacBreak podcast that I listened to was talking about the new medium in reading, The Kindle. Kindle is an electronic device that you can upload text files on for reading. Entire books can be stored on the Kindle and more and more books are being sold in electronic format because of it. I do not like the idea of text becoming mainly electronic. Being an English Major, I collect books. I love to open a hard-back book and inhale the aroma of a new book. With Kindle, people will lose the nostalgia of owning the books they read and passing the collections down through generation. This is much like forgoing the purchase of a CD and its song book for an MP3 of one song from the album. You will miss the "feel" of it. That being said, the podcasts on the advancements of Kindle was very informative.
While listening to the podcasts I thought of things I could do to make mine acceptable. Keeping your voice controlled is very important and laughing into the microphone seems almost rude. I will remember in my podcasts not to talk over the current speaker. Listening to several podcasts was a help in preparing myself for my assignment.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

International Blog 2

This is a photo of a newspaper clipping posted on my second International blog from Australia. The teacher has the students post their thoughts on the books they are reading to the blog. The blog attracted attention from one of the authors they were covering and they were able to do an interview with that author! The teacher seems to be really involved in this blog and every measure is taken to insure the students' safety. The multiple tabs and links on the home page take the viewer easily through the environment that this class has created. To view this blog and read more about their adventures in literature CLICK HERE.

International Blog 1

My International Blog of choice was "Room 12, Mellons Bay School, Auckland, New Zealand" This blog is made up of students work and videos. Homework is posted along with other class blogs as learning tools. The children are ages 8-9 and make posts and reflections about things they learned in class that week. The children have learned how to do podcasts and slideshows online. They post their work on the blog. To view the class blog CLICK HERE.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Today's Classroom - Blogs

The first classroom blog I chose to give a closer look was "Mrs. Hopkins' American Literature Class Blog". The blog idea is very creative and fun. Mrs. Hopkins assigned each student a character who's point of view they will blog from. It is a day journal kept by the students who are writing from the perspectives of their assigned characters. The students must use the names assigned and write things that are relevant to the characters time period. This is a great way to teach the students by using a hands on tool. If you would like to see the blog for yourself CLICK HERE

The second blog I chose was "Mr. C's Class Blog". It blew me out of the water. This blog is so in depth. It has numerous videos of classroom activities. The blog also interacts with blogs of other classrooms who may be studying the same material or posting items that the class may find useful. The information that can be attained on Mr. C's blog is an encouragement to me as a future educator. You can view a live stream of his classroom and lab. This would be an amazing tool for parents who wanted to be active in their child's education. To view Mr. C's Class Blog and check out the classroom's live feed CLICK HERE

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Picture on a Blog

Water Lilies
This is my picture in a Blog.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A closer look at ACCESS

When viewing ACCESS a second time, I looked at the subjects offered. I am pleased to see all the different foreign languages offered. Many times, public schools do not offer more than two different languages. This tool will give any willing student such a substantial jump start on their college education! It is so exciting to see all of this unfolding as I am achieving my Secondary Education Diploma. The goals and standards presented give students and teachers alike great opportunities to expand their impact and knowledge. Technology is presented at your finger tips. I will be sure to encourage any student to take hold of the offer and use it to its full potential.

Did you know?

I have viewed the Fisch Bowl Blog before. I found the information about today's technology to be very interesting and hopeful. To think that that blog was made more than a year ago, the current technology has probably doubled or tripled. Students today have many more resources for learning and networking than students did just 5 to 10 years ago. The impact that the internet has on the world can not be ignored with those statistics.
The only problem I see is that all this technology can easily fly under grade school student's radar. With standards to be met on state and national tests, teachers may let this plethora of information fall to the way-side. When I am teaching in a classroom, I will remember the vast amount of technological short cuts that are offered by our worlds expanding knowledge. I am sure, by the time I am in a classroom setting, that computers will have a much bigger place in the classroom than they did when I was in grade school.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I viewed the ACCESS website first and found out some very interesting things. I feel like I was robbed of a better education because I didn't know about this website. This offers students the opportunity to enroll in classes that they can't take at school. It offers distance learning and opens up thousands more doors for students who care to look. I will be sure to tell my students about this website and program when I am teaching. Students will be able to go much further at earlier ages with this program.

Last, I browsed the ALEX website. I have viewed the website before and absolutely love the idea of it. It is exciting to see all the resources I will have at my fingertips when I am in my own classroom. ALEX offers lesson plan ideas and tips throughout the website to better assist you in the classroom. ALEX also has a handy key telling you which objectives in the courses of study are frequently tested on. I love the organization of it and will frequently use this tool.

About Me

Hello everyone! My name is Jessica Nicole White. I am a Junior at USA. When I am not doing school work or at my job, I go out with my friends. We like to go to places like Bumpers or Corner Bar in Mobile. I enjoy my friends but I have to have my quiet time. For this, I read anything I can get my hands on. Over winter break I read the entire Harry Potter series and a book titled "The Time Traveler's Wife". I also do crosswords or anything to keep my mind working because it needs all the help it can get. Hope I get to know some of you better. Have a great weekend.

Creating a Link

If you would like to go to the University of South Alabama's Website CLICK HERE

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My First Post- A little late on the up-take

Hi Everyone!
This is my first post. Hope this goes along more smoothly in the future.