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Mobile, Alabama, United States

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.