Thursday, March 25, 2010

Week Ten

I really enjoyed Morgan Bayda's blog post "An Open Letter to Educators". I can absolutely identify with the sentiments she shared.

The thing that I most identify with is the encouragement to communicate factor. Although in most of my classes, we do cooperative activities and things like that, it is not near like what we do here in EDM 310. The entirety of the class hinges on communicating with others and sharing our knowledge. In other classes, cooperative learning is only an element of the class. I enjoy the element of EDM 310 that allows us to share what we have learned with other people and to take in what others have learned.

I also really identify with her sentiment about sitting for hours listening to lectures on things that you never read. A lot of my freshman and sophomore year classes were like that. A few of my teachers made them interesting, enjoyable, and relevant, but most were your typical, boring college lecture class. I would love to see teachers make things more relevant in their lectures...maybe not a full on technology style, but more interactive and fun. I enjoy EDM in that the things we cover in this class are completely relevant to our future in the world of education.

I also got the chance to do some commenting on other people's blogs this week. I got to comment on a video done by a group of 10-12 year olds...these guys are seriously creative! I got to comment on a teacher's blog in CANADA as well as my classmates! I love reading what others have to say and show!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Week Nine

Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX)
Prior to this post, I was pretty familiar with ALEX, but was not entirely familiar with the things that were all a part of the website. This website is useful because in one website, you can view the course of study standards for any grade and subject, see sample lesson plans, find websites for professional development, and podcasts. They really have so many good resources available to teachers on this site.

I can definitely see myself referring to ALEX as a resource when I become a teacher. Between the sample lesson plans, podcasts, and State Department of Education websites and resources, there is so much to be learned here. I think it is good that they have all of the course of study standards listed in one comprehensive place. This makes it easier to see what is what and browse the standards to see what we are getting ourselves into!

Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators, & Students Statewide (ACCESS)
When you go to the ACCESS website (, you will find all manner of information about the program. The entire website has to do with distance learning in the public schools and it seeks to make opportunities equally available to all students, regardless of location. There are sections for students, educators, a list of courses offered, and additional resources. All in all, it looks like an appealing program.

Having been a part of a class in high school that was the base classroom for a distance learning program, I have mixed opinions about this. I think that distance learning is a really good thing, but there are also some issues that arise with it. This especially is prevalent with the technology associated with distance learning. Being in the base classroom, I don't think you get as much out of it. However, it is very beneficial to the ones on the other end who are receiving your signals and your directions.

I could not access the power point mentioned in the blog assignment at the time of posting this, but I will check back and keep trying.

Comments for Kids, Teachers, and Classmates
I get the unique privilege each week of commenting on my classmates' blog posts from the previous week. It's always entertaining and inspiring to hear what my classmates have to say. I also get to comment on blogs done by students and teachers each week. This week, I got to comment on a video presentation made by a group of 10 and 11 year olds. This was some good acting even for their young age. I have also been following a teacher's blog called "Don't Waste Your Time", and I have thoroughly enjoyed it as well. The writer gives a lot of helpful tips on technology and it is neat to see what all is out there.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Week Eight

I really enjoyed watching the YouTube video of Randy Pausch's "last lecture" entitled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams". His own dreams, his life story, and his humor really combined to make it a fun video to watch and listen to. Our assignment dealt with his teaching methods and how he used them. I had a hard time pulling these out of the video, but I did find several things that he talked about that are definitely worth noting. They are things I will definitely carry into my future classroom.

One of the things he emphasized was having fun and breaking the mold of the 'book learning' that so many programs are built around. He used this in his classroom by making all of his classes entirely project based. While in the elementary classroom, this may not be pulled off as easily, the theme definitely can be. We as 21st century teachers (and teachers to be!) have access to so many things that can make learning so much more fun for our students, but still help them learn. I think the students would enjoy that, and the teachers might enjoy not having so many loose papers floating around to grade! I know I would!

With the project emphasis also came working in teams. This is one of the most valuable skills that elementary school students and really people of any age can learn. At the elementary level, however, it is an especially important skill. I also liked his idea of rating how well the other people in your group did. I wouldn't use this in an elementary classroom, though. With middle and high school age students, that is definitely a good way to go! Mix the groups up and let the students experience working with other students. This can even be done at the elementary level. Giving them a variety of experiences lets them learn about other people and gain valuable social skills.

The last and most important thing that I really got out of this is to always push your students to do better. Pausch mentioned that the first time his students did a project they all did really well and he was stumped how to keep going with it. After some counsel, he walked into his classroom and told his students that what they had done was really good, but he knew they could do better. I think it is SO vitally important as teachers that we continually push our students to excel. When they do well, praise them and then help them figure out how they could improve the next time. Help them to learn to "reach for the stars" and do the best they can do.