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Mobile, Alabama, United States

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