Sunday, October 20, 2013

Blog Post 9

By: Alex Hopson, Katlyn Lusker, Tarcela Kohn, and Jake Dukes

"Back To the Future" by Brian Crosby

Brian Crosby is a teacher from Agnes Risley Elementary School in Sparks, Nevada. In his video Back To the Future, he explains that 90 percent of his students are second language learners. His students are at risk because they qualify for free lunch, meaning they are students of poverty. On the second day of school, Mr. Crosby gave his twenty-four students a survey to find out where they stood. After gathering the results he found out when they were asked "Which city do you live in?", only nine children gave the correct answer. When they were asked "What state do you live in?", twelve gave the correct answer. When they were asked "What country do you live in?", only three students answered correctly. When they were asked "What is your address?", only seven students were able to answer correctly. Mr. Crosby then poses the question, "Why such a disconnect for these students?"

"We do not want to have a narrow curriculum for these students, but these students have had a narrow curriculum since they were born." Mr. Crosby also said, "They haven't had the experiences and the inputs to build the schema for the world." One of our favorite quotes from this video was when Mr. Crosby said, "It's hard to be able to imagine what could be if you don't know anything about what is. And if it's hard to imagine, where does your creativity spark from? If you don't have a lot of imagination and creativity, where do you build your passion from?" Those few sentences are very powerful. They make you think deeper and you start to ask questions.

In this video, Mr. Crosby's students did a balloon project where they created "high hopes" cards and then they created a place to put all of the cards, their pictures, and cameras for filming the process. Once they created a place for all of these objects they tied it to a balloon. After the balloon went out of site they went back in their room and tracked the balloon. They were able to watch the balloon in real time. The students were also instructed to come in and write about what they saw, what they did, and then they swapped pictures with each other. It didn't even stop when it landed because they were in a learning network. They are tied into other students from across the world, and they started getting messages about how some students wanted their own teachers to do some of the same projects as they had done.

They would Skype different classes and the students from Mr. Crosby's class (that had already articulated these projects in writing) showed the other students exactly how to do them. Mr. Crosby said, "When you're working/ dealing with second language learners, articulating it in speech is a whole different ball game, and by practicing, they are reviewing the material, and most importantly they get to shine. They get to show off what they know."

By doing projects like these, language is at focus. They learn to read and write to learn- content, they use writing to clarify and share, they write to tell a story, they use creativity, they learn to give and receive feedback, they learn to articulate orally, they connect globally, they become aware globally, and they have an authentic audience.

Mr. Crosby says, "This is active learning. This is empowering students to become learners. Now we are empowering kids to learn on their own. To use a lot of these 21st century tools like; connecting, empowering, being active, including, motivating, and collaborating, allows them to do just that." We agree with Mr. Crosby that by using these tools, we are connecting students to the world. He said it best when he said, "We can't just keep racing kids through school, it can't be a race. We have to keep making sure that we are giving them opportunities to build schema for the world."

"Blended Learning Cycle" by Mr. Paul Andersen

The Blended Learning Cycle video was made by Paul Andersen. Mr. Andersen's video was actually a podcast to discuss and inform others about the "Blending Learning Cycle". Mr. Andersen explained that last year he presented at TED Talk on "Classroom Game Design" and how he turned his classroom into a video game. He said last year " was a great year, however, it strayed a little from what he knew about the power of the question in his science class." Mr. Andersen depicted an image that we found humorous. The image below, is from the "Blended Learning Cycle" video. It is from 19th century France, predicting what students will look like in the year 2000. We agree with Mr. Andersen, our classrooms do not look like this, however, our classrooms have changed tremendously.

A 19th Century painting that predicting what students would have looked like in the year 2000

Mr. Andersen made a great point, he had a great year, but the class strayed. So over his summer, he assessed himself and became more inspired about his classroom. He then explains what he found during his rethinking process. He came up with a way to incorporate "The Blending Learning Cycle" into his Science Class.
The Blended Learning Cycle

Mr. Andersen defined Blended Learning as taking compelling parts of online, mobile, and the classroom, then blend them together using technology in a positive way. The next part of the cycle are the 5e's: Engaging, Explore, Expand, Explain, and Evaluate.

Blended Learning Cycle E's

When starting with "Engaging," you as the teacher want to engage the students with an opening question. Mr. Andersen explained it as the "hook." The second "e" is "Explore". After you have given the engaging question/opening question allow for the students to explore/investigate/inquire on their own with books, technology, etc. Next, is to "Expand." Here, Mr. Andersen uses videos or podcast. He says it allows to free up his time to assess his students. Now for the fourth "e," Mr. Andersen said his students "Explain" by elaboration with diagrams, reading, etc. Lastly, "Evaluation" was covered. Here Mr. Andersen assesses his student's understanding of the content. It is here that he will use a video or podcast that students can watch, so he is able to have individual time to ask questions to his students before his students have to take their Summary Quiz at the end of their lessons. Mr. Andersen then finishes his podcast by explaining that when you combine the Blended Learning and the Learning Cycle you get a "Blended Learning Cycle."

"Making Thinking Visible" by Mark Church

In the video Making Thinking Visible by Mark Church, Mr. Church has his students work in small groups to have a discussion about a video they had watched the day before, concerning the topic of early human beginnings and the origins of human society. In order for his students to capture the "heart" of what the unit was all about, he asked his students to talk about the "puzzles" in their small groups and to come up with a headline to capture what the "puzzle and challenge of the search for human origin" was all about.

One of Mr. Church's students asked her group, "How could we sum up everything that we have been talking about in one phrase?" We agree that through communication and collaboration, the thought process among these groups become visible. After discussing each groups headlines, Mr. Church then puts the headlines up on bulletin boards to be displayed. After two weeks more of the same unit and when the kids do a final project, Mr. Church is going to ask them "What's the headline now? How has the story changed? How has your thinking changed?"

This video was a great example of seeing thinking become visible. Communication and collaboration are some of the 21st century tools that we have been studying and to see children work and think together definitely proves that they are important tools needed all throughout life.

Making Thinking Visible the book

"Super Digital Citizen" - Building Comics by Sam Pane

The focus in the video "Super Digital Citizen- Building Comics by Sam Pane was "How to become a super digital citizen." Mr. Pane is a fifth grade teacher at Wilson Focus School in the Omaha Public School District in Nebraska. He teaches all curriculum's which include: reading, math, science, and social studies.

In this video, Mr. Pane asks his students "Who is really in charge of using the internet safely?" The video in this lesson is about how to be a good digital citizen and being able to evaluate when you go to websites, what kind of information they might be after. Mr. Pane brought up a quote from Spider-Man which was, "With great power comes great responsibility." He then asked his class, "What kind of power does the internet give us?" They had a class discussion and then they talked about what it means to be a digital citizen ("someone who chooses to act safely, responsibly, and respectfully, whenever they are online").

The project Mr. Pane gave his students was to build a comic showing safety, responsibility, and respect. They were to design a digital super hero that would step in, in order to save the day. The website that these students used is one that allows people to build their own super digital character. They were allowed to pick from three basic designs and then they were able to modify and customize it as much as they wanted. These students did their projects on Mac laptops.

A student creating a super digital citizen

Mr. Pane said, "Matching up with English, Language standards is a huge deal in this lesson because the students have to create their super digital citizen and then they have to actually take that and put them into a imagination situation." They are creating a narrative between themselves and their super hero. They also use pictures of themselves along with their super hero characters, which creates a sense of ownership for them. Mr. Pane said, "Building comics are a great way to do a visual presentation of learning and of text. We can also use this as a way to teach dialogue (text bubble)." When the students were finished creating their comic, they got up and walked to a different laptop to read someone else's comic. Then they had to determine if the person used examples of safety, respect, and responsibility. Mr. Pane said the bottom line is that "Students are going to be exposed online to all sorts of opportunities, and he wants his students to know that they're choices they will have to make, and that it's going to take a super digital citizen to make these choices."

We really liked this video because building comics is a great idea to use in classrooms. It used many of the 21st century skills including communication, creativity, collaboration, and it was also very engaging. The students looked like they really enjoyed this project and any project that promotes learning but is also fun at the same time, is always a great project.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Project 9 (PodCast)

For our podcast we discussed topic #8. We discussed how we should connect technology to the curriculum and how we can teach for the future. We used the book "Teaching Digital Natives" by Marc Prensky and Mrs. Kathleen Morris's blog as sources.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Blog Post 7

Interview Conversations with Anthony Capps summarized by Alex Hopson, Katlyn Lusker, Tarcela Kohn, and Jake Dukes

Project Based Learning Part 1: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher

We have learned a lot by listening to Anthony Capps. In this video, Anthony Capps said “A lot of people when we think about Project Based Learning, we think projects are what you do at the end of a lesson to show that you learned what you were supposed to learn. But now the goal of PBL and the shift that educators have to take is looking at PBL in a new way. That is, using PBL not only as a means to show that a student has achieved something but using it as a means to also get them to learn something.” We should get them excited about owning their own learning. We also have learned from listening to Anthony Capps in this video that the goal of a good project is “one that has an authentic audience so that the kids are rewarded for the work they do.” Good projects also “need to have student interest, it needs to be relevant to the kids lives.” Another goal of a good project is that it involves the community somehow. It should “show how it really relates to the real world experiences, and most importantly good projects should be driven by content.”

Project Based Learning Part 2: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher

In this video Anthony Capps said “Not everything is always going to go well.” During one of his favorite projects in which his class was studying different cultures, one of his student’s fathers did not like the fact they were studying Afghanistan culture. The student’s father had been deployed to Afghanistan and he didn’t think it was appropriate. Although Mr. Capps did not necessarily agree, it it still important to remember to respect your students parents. Anthony Capps also said “With Project Based Learning, never limit your students by giving them exactly what you want them to do. Create an opportunity for them to go beyond what you want them to do, and they will.” You are going to get more than what you expected.

Anthony Capps said “My students love projects because they are not trapped in worksheets and whenever he does give them a worksheet, they know it is meaningful and they know it is to help them gauge where they are.” We learned that student choice is another big aspect of PBL. When you give students the opportunity to chose, then you also give them more ownership and pride and they really understand what they are saying and what they are arguing. “On the kids aspect, they are really proud of what they do and they know what they are doing and why they are doing it, and that is what PBL allows for.

Kids at Work Sign


Out of all of these conversations with Anthony Capps, we think we learned the most about iCurio from him. iCurio is an online tool that allows students to safely search websites that have been pulled, (including websites, images, and videos) and others kinds of online media that have been pulled and filtered for educational use. We had no clue iCurio was filtered for educational use, and that is was designed for students to use safely. Another feature Anthony Capps discusses is that iCurio allows you to store content that students and teachers find valuable. “It also teaches virtual organization.” iCurio is kid friendly, created for student use, and it is safe. Anthony Capps said “Any teacher that feels comfortable letting their students search the web, I think iCurio is the best way to go.” Students just log on and use it like a search engine. iCurio is also great for accessibility, it has a read along feature so almost anyone can use it.

Discovery Education

Before we listened to Anthony Capps explain what Discovery Education was, we were kind of was clueless. We learned that Discovery Education takes students way beyond just pictures. It gives students videos from outside of you (the teacher) and it brings experts into the classroom via video. Discovery Education is used for “student searches so they can enrich their research experience and a teacher can also use it to bring different texts to life.”

The Anthony- Strange List of Tips for Teachers Part 1- By Tarcela Kohn

In this video, Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps discussed key things that any new teacher should think about. Dr. Strange asked Anthony Capps “What are some of the most important things that you should prepare yourself to do as a teacher?” Dr. Stange continued by saying, “Teachers have to really be interested in learning themselves.” “If you are not a learner then you will not be a successful educator because what we have to do ourselves is constantly learn and model that behavior.” Anthony Capps agreed and said this also leads to another key thing any new teacher should think about. He continued by saying “Teaching is hard. Let your work become a fun experience for you.” Dr. Strange added “Teaching is a constant process, it never ends but it can be very rewarding.” More key things both Anthony Capps and Dr. Stange agreed on that new teachers should think about are: teachers need to be creative, flexible, and we can’t be committed to one particular way of doing something. We have to respond to events that we don’t expect. Also students should be engaged, and they should have a reflection process. Having an audience is perfect for reflection. Dr. Strange said, “Self evaluation is really important in the whole process of learning.” I think they’re a lot of great tips in this video. I’m glad that we were reminded that we cannot be committed to one particular way of doing something. I feel as if sometimes we forget not everything works out as planned, so having a plan B is always a good idea.

Don't Teach Tech- Use It- By Katlyn Lusker

Like Anthony Capps put it, “We are immersed in technology whether we want to be or not.” Technology is natural for all kids, it is there in their lives. Anthony Capps said “They will really enjoy the opportunity to be able to use technology to prove their learning or to learn.” Anthony Capps said “One of the things about technology is that you should not teach it, you should not have technology as something that is a list of things for you to get done in the day. Use it alongside with your teaching.” He also suggested that you chose one technology at a time to focus on. Most of technology is free, so they’re many other advantages to using different forms of it. It lets students create, it is clean, it is shareable, and it is real. Anthony Capps said “Use technology to let it get your students excited about what they are doing. Use it to let them share what they are doing. And also do not expect perfection.” “Never teach technology, just introduce it smartly.” Mr. Capps said “If you are worried about anything, do it yourself first.”

Additional Thought About Lessons- By Jake Dukes

In this video chat Anthony Capps is explaining the four ways to plan for a school year. The four ways he would plan for his class is daily, weekly, yearly and into units. One, is daily which means something that you do everyday in your class with your students, he tells about having a hook which catches your students attention while you're teaching your lecture. Second, is weekly which means to plan out the week of what you're going to be lecturing your students about but if you can’t do it all in a week stretch it out so the students will still be able to understand the lecture, don’t have a set time when things have to be due. Third, is teaching by units. When he says teaching by units he is referring to teach where you can have enough time to teach everything you need to in the time you are with the students. Finally, is year plan, the year plan is what you expect to teach the student throughout the year in your class, and what he or she should learn leaving the class.

Project 13

In this lesson plan, for the project based learning, our 5th grade students will become familiar with inventors, from the 15th to the 18th century, their Ethnic or Cultural Heritage and how their inventions are still relevant today. This assignment will require iCurio to look up different inventors and what they invented, make models of their inventions, and create presentations for the class. Our students will have digital tools to establish and categorize the information collected. This lesson will meet the standards in; English Language Arts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, Writing: 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 and, Speaking and Listening: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Our driving question is who were the inventors of the 15th to the 18th century and are those inventions still relevant today? The link to our site.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Blog Post 2

Mr. Dancealot:

Katlyn, Alex, Tarcela, and Jake agree that: In this video, the class is enrolled in a dance class with Mr. Dancealot. We believe Mr. Dancealot is an inefficient teacher. The first reason we believe he is an inefficient teacher is because he looked as though he was unprepared; he often made references to the notes on the board. While Mr. Dancealot relied on his dance lesson notes to instruct how to perform the dance steps, it showed how Mr. Dancealot was unprepared and inefficient on the topic. A second reason we believe Mr. Dancealot is an inefficient teacher is because his students were unable to see the steps needed to master the dance, since Mr. Dancealot was behind his podium explaining the dance steps. Mr. Dancealot did not allow his students to practice. Many of the students in his class were bored, and we don’t blame them! He seemed to talk a lot and he did not encourage class participation. In one part of the video, a student stood up to practice the dance steps and the student was told by Mr. Dancealot “to sit down I am teaching.” We think an important part of dancing and how to learn different dances is by practicing. Although he used powerpoints to teach, we do not believe that is the proper way to teach a dance class. We do not think he should have relied solely on powerpoints to teach the different dances. He expected his students to dance each of the dances he taught for the final. We do not understand how that is fair! Learning dance is about practicing each move and rehearsing over and over. Those are the reasons we think Mr. Dancealot is an inefficient teacher.

Flipping the Classroom- 4th Grade STEM by Alex Hopson: Flipping the classroom could possibly be a good idea, but I do not believe it is necessary for 4th grade students. These young children have enough trouble paying attention for seven hours at school a day that they do not need the extra work this flipping will give them. These students would have a hard time sitting in front of a computer screen with a book and paper to take notes with, I just do not believe the attention span is there for these children. Now for older students at the high school and college level this could definitely be useful. It would give students a chance to understand more difficult materials instead of having to pay for tutors. So yes this is a good idea for furthering the education of students, but not for the younger students.

Teaching in the 21st Century by Katlyn Lusker : Kevin Roberts hit it dead on when he came up with “Teaching in the 21st Century.” This video was so powerful and I think every student wanting to be a teacher, especially an elementary teacher, should watch it. A part of the video that meant the most to me is, when I read that the “students do not need to be entertained, they need to be engaged.” I learned that entertainment is far from engagement and I am so glad to have realized the difference. “Entertainment is passive; it is for enjoyment; it is short-lived, it does not require relevance, it allows escape from problems, and it is using the creativity of others.” Engagement, on the other hand, is “active; it is for learning, it has long-term results, it is meaningful and applicable, it solves problems, and it uses the creativity of the participant.” Like the video said, “engagement can be fun and exciting, it is our responsibility as teachers to provide meaningful and powerful engagement.”

I think Kevin Roberts thinks teaching in the 21st century means to teach students using different tools than what we’ve ever had to teach with before. Technology is evolving faster than ever, and we are starting to realize that. Even the age at which we start using technology is seen at a younger age than ever before. Therefore, I believe he thinks we need to start teaching students on more relevant subject matters, and not just teach them new things, but we also need to teach them how to acquire the skills in order to learn the different things.

I strongly agree with all of the positions expressed in this video. It kind of goes along with why I think Roberts is correct when he wrote this. I agree with his statement, “If teachers can only provide facts, content, dates, information, and formulas, then our role in the lives of students is obsolete.” That is so true because if someone has a question, the Internet is so convenient and it has endless amounts of answers. It is true that “students can find information on anything, anytime, and anywhere.” “Information is virtually limitless, and teachers are no longer the source of information.” Unfortunately, this could be bad news for teachers. This is exactly why we need to change the way we teach and why we need to change what we teach. We need lessons that are “engaging, challenging, and most importantly relevant!”

Harness Your Students’ Digital Smarts by Jake Dukes: This teacher has a very different style of teaching, but I like the way she teaches her class. In her class, she doesn’t use any paper at all, everything they do in class is online. She believes that teaching on the computer gives the students a better chance to learn information about a certain subject. She also thinks that not everyone learns by writing stuff down on paper, and I believe that is true. Everyone has their own way of learning. Another thing that I like about her classroom is the ability for the students to teach the class for a day. She does not teach the class every day, and I think that helps the class. Listening to the same boring lectures every other day from a teacher can get old. I like when teachers switch it up and try something different with how they teach their class. The one thing that I did not like about everything being on a computer is, students tend to venture off, and they may go on some websites that are not class related such as Facebook and Twitter that may distract the class from learning.

The Networked Student by Tarcela Kohn: This video is very compelling and visual. I thought it was a different way of introducing and explaining what a networked student really is. What I gathered from the video is that a networked student is knowledge that is spread out among people and the network connections of other people. By informing and teaching students where to find reputable information on the internet,they can build personal learning networks. Through this, students can communicate using these tools.

I really like this method of a “Networked Student.” It teaches the students how to build networks and then gather information on different topics which we find unique or need to know. We then can converse within these networks and debate or reflect on the information that was discovered.

When it comes to needing a teacher for the networked student I would agree with the video. The teacher is there as a model. Without a teacher who knows the material and the ins and outs of the technology that their students will be using to make personal networks for learning. Who will the student go to and will the student’s even use this “Networked” as resource that will help them become lifelong learners?