Monday, September 27, 2010

Summary Post C4K #1 and #2

I posted on adriannav's Manifesto from Mr. Chamberlain's class.

My Learning Manifesto
  •  I PROMISE to ask questions about the subject when i don't get it.
  •  I PROMISE to show i want to learn.
  •  I PROMISE to have a good relationship with all teachers.
  •  I PROMISE to make my teachers proud of me and my work.
  •  I PROMISE to listen and do my work.
  •  I PROMISE to talk when I'm suppose to.
Hi Adriannav,
My name is Brittany Schneider and I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. Your manifesto is great! I think if you keep a positive attitude, your learning experience will be much better than some others who may not have the same zest for education as you do. Your manifesto expresses a student that every teacher would love to teach. Keep up the good work!

I also commented on Kyla's blog as well. She had posted a presentation on her treehouse.

My comment follows:
Hi Kyla,
My name is Brittany Schneider and I am also friends with your mom as well as in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class. I love your presentation! I know you are going to be so excited to get it finished! I look forward to seeing the rest of it! Thank you for sharing with us.

I can't help but wonder if adriannav was one of the children who lost their password, because there have been no other posts from him/her. However, I very much enjoyed reading all of Kyla's blog. She seems very eager to learn new tricks and skills to enhance her blog and her individual posts. She is very enthusiastic within her posts. I enjoyed it so much, I have started "following" her to stay up to date on her new postings. I don't have any doubt that her blogging skills will help her in the future.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blog Post #5

All about Podcasts

Prior to this class, I knew of the existence of a podcast, had even heard some, but did not know the details of how to make one or anything. Now, after reading and watching the required assignment for this blog post, I feel very enlightened.

To begin with, I am so glad to know that even 1st graders are making podcasts. As a mother, I am glad that this technology is so present in the classroom. While I do not consider myself a "techie", I feel like I can decently navigate my way around a computer, as well as have some proficiently in various programs. Knowing that the future generations are learning in elementary school is a great feeling. The future is in technology and I'm glad that many young children will be prepared.

Also new to me was what all I can do with my ipod to assist in my learning! I have spent so much time making sure I had all the music I could ever want, that I never gave thought to downloading things that were actually useful. The article about the 100 ways my ipod could be used for learning was very enlightening to me. I will continue to use it as a resource.

Each point listed in the benefit of podcasting was right on the money. Each element we continue to learn in EDM310 is beneficial in making the world smaller and making education more accessible. Also, I think it is helpful for different types of learners, who do not always benefit from a traditional classroom setting day in and day out. I am looking forward to putting these newly learned skills to work in my classroom. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blog Post #4

After reading Scott McLeod's post about technology, I appreciate his sarcasm on the subject, but also felt a little sad. I felt sad because there are probably more people out there that truly feel that was about technology than we realize. I agree with him to utilize technology in the education process. My main argument in the majority of my posts is why would we not utilize and embrace new technology to aid us? It is sad to think how many students out there that will not be prepared for the "real world" due to lacking knowledge about how to operate the technology that has become such a big part of life as we know it.

Scott McLeod is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Iowa State University.

I watched the iSchool Initiative and I was stuck by the sheer genius of it. I know the itouch and iphone are both great, but had not given thought as to how much it could save in schools. Just being able to go paperless or use less paper would be a great way to save in budgeting. The apps available would cover all subjects and it would be great to utilize at the high school level.

I have seen how technology assists in education primarily at the college level. E-Companion has helped many classes become paper-less, but being able to use a similar format in high school would be beneficial on so many levels. As a future high school teacher, it seems like a great route to go. If students were only required to purchase an itouch instead of paying all the fees associated with public education, it would be a savings for students as well as school budgets.

Lost Generation was a great video. The presentation of it was unlike any I had ever seen before. I loved the fact that when read backwards, it gave an entirely different message. I believe the message it sends too. Every generation can make a difference. No one has to accept the standard "norm" as the way life is.

The use of technology in Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir is truly amazing. Who would of thought a wonderful presentation like that could be orchestrated and broadcast strictly by internet alone? That is a great example of many things that can be done with the technology of today.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Additional Assignment #1

I had never heard of Google Squared or WolframAlpha before this assignment. I feel both are very beneficial as an aid in education. From my searching, I do favor WolframAlpha because it gives all factual data. I also like Google Squared, especially because you can add squares to gather more information. However, I found, and it may be because of what I searched, that a lot of the boxes didn't have the answer and said 4 possible values or something of the like. I was aware of the population gap between China, India, and the United States, though not the specific numbers. As for my previous comments about "Did You Know," I still feel the same as I did when I posted when I first watched it. However, it is important to consider population of a nation when statistic are submitted and published.

Pitcairn Islands

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Presentation About Me- Presentation Project #5

C4T#1- Do I Dare Disturb the Universe by Scott Elias

Meeting to Meet
by Scott
I know this will come as a huge shock, but most people despise meetings. When I ask staff about things that are holding them back, almost to a person they have said, “Too many meetings.”
When it comes right down to it, though, these are rituals that are deeply ingrained in the culture of our school. Most schools have a similar situation.
Long, low-energy meetings tend to distract and mute the day. – Martin Fowler
The trouble with throwing out meetings completely is that they do have some value. According to a few papers summarized here, meetings can help achieve the following:
* Shared commitment
* Communicate daily status, progress, and plans to the team and any observers
* Identify obstacles so that the team can take steps to remove them
* Set direction and focus
* Build a team
Being a new leader and getting to know my staff, I’m not willing to cut out all meetings. But what I am committed to doing is making sure that every minute we spend in some kind of meeting serves to move forward the school’s mission and agenda.
Zero-Based Meeting Budgeting
We’re going to get back to basics. At the first regular, monthly meeting of our leadership team, we will remove every meeting from our calendars and begin adding back in those meetings that make sense and will move us toward our goals. We will no longer meet four times per month if we can accomplish the same objective in two highly-productive, focused meetings.
Less meeting time focused on dissemination of information
Since my first day on the job, I’ve made some changes that I hope will whittle down the sheer volume of meeting time. Depending on the sensitivity, items that are “information only” in nature go into an email to team leaders or onto our school blog or wiki. Weening people off email has gone well so far, in no small part thanks to my very flexible group of teacher leaders who have been willing to jump into some new ways of doing business.
Two things I’ve learned in trying to bring this level of change to the day-to-day business of an organization are (1) stop trying to use the “inducement” approach to improving processes and systems (see letter B of Scott’s post on RSS for PD), and (2) stop asking questions like “Do you use Google Docs?” in favor of questions like, “To which email address should I send the invite for this document we’re working on?” It’s all about positive presuppositions. Of course we’re using Google Docs! I mean, who isn’t?
I’ll let you know how it goes, but it’s a start! Look for an upcoming post with more detail on the process of paper-reduction in a 40-year-old middle school.
Interesting reads I plan to share with the team:
* The 22-Minute Meeting
* It’s Not Just Standing Up: Patterns of Daily Stand-Up Meetings

Hi Scott. My name is Brittany Schneider and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. Our class blog is I will be reading and commenting on your blog every 2 weeks. I will also be posting a copy of your blog post, along with my summary on September 12.
I believe you are right on target on the idea of meetings. Long, boring meetings do not promote productivity. Having less meetings that give good information keeps things fresh and keeps people interested.

What We Do, What We Think by Scott on August 6th, 2010
Being a newly appointed principal has provided me with a short window of time during which I am doing a sort of “ethnography” of the school and culture. As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of my goals these first few weeks has been to try to gather an understanding of what staff is most proud of and what they’d like to see abandoned or, at least, reconsidered.
Like some other schools with diverse student populations, our students need a variety of supports – both academic and personal – to achieve “proficiency” on state tests. While I’m not a fan of this kind of assessment of our kids or our schools, as a new principal I believe that arguing about the merits of said tests is best left to the policy wonks. It’s the hand we’re dealt for now, and as a new principal I’m focusing first on those things within my control.
So my main objective in the near-term is to support my teachers in wrapping their heads around the idea that student success as measured on our state standardized tests and student success as measured by their ability to communicate, collaborate, and produce content in an interconnected, global community are not mutually exclusive.
When I first landed in the Big Chair, I ramped up my scouring of the blogs of other school leaders. What I found was an abundance of ideas, lists of tools and apps, advice on being a good Tweeter, and the like. I’m certainly guilty of posts like this…
What I’ve become increasingly focused on is moving from ideas and feel-good blog posts to action. One of my goals is to renew my use of this space and to spend time writing and reflecting about my actions in this first year as principal. I want to look at things that I actually do as a new principal that might improve systems, culture, and learning in my school with the goal of cultivating an environment that empowers students to learn and develop their identities as global citizens and world-class learners.
I’ll probably fall on my face. I might do that more than once. But at least I’ll try to maintain a good record of my thoughts and actions and how they play out in this organization. Maybe they’ll even help someone else who is entrusted with the exciting but very real responsibility of being a principal.
Some topics I will be addressing in upcoming posts:
  • Re-imagining a culture of meetings
  • Developing a manageable system of academic interventions that address students’ individual needs
  • Moving a 40-year-old school into the 21st century
  • Paring back “initiative bloat”
  • Doing my best not to reinforce the status quo
  • Quite frankly, anything else that comes to mind…
So stick around. This could get interesting.

Hi Scott,
I have just read your earlier blog post and I must say I feel you had the right idea in starting this new position. An attempt to utilize what policies are already in place, as well as implementing your own is a great tactic to truly understanding the current position, but also being able to make it your own. I applaud you for not just accepting the methods currently set in place or trying to totally disregard the system that had been used is a great balance. I also am interested to continue reading your blog to see what does and does not work, as you try different methods out. I am looking forward to seeing which methods you try out and the result of these things. Thank you for sharing your experience,
Brittany Schneider

Blog Post 3

I after watching Michael Wesch's "A Vision of Students Today", I see that it is a lot like my college experience. The majority of my time is spent either revolving around my schoolwork. Coincidentally,  I also spend the majority of my time using technology, such as my laptop or cell phone. My time invested in sitting in a college classroom does not compare to the amount of time I spend outside of that setting doing work related to school. However, this film seems to address the "traditional" college student, one who is under 20 years old and single. I feel this does not accurately cover many of students today. From my experience, many are over 25 years old and are married or have a family. Time spent caring for the family or working a full time job should be added in to how students spend their day.

I also read Kelly Hines' blog post "It's Not About the Technology."  She is absolutely correct about teachers needing to also be learners. For so many teachers, it seems that once their formal education ends, they do not feel the need to continue their education. Learning new technology and how to implement it in their teaching will greatly benefit the teacher and the students. It's not all about the technology, but in these times, it is greatly beneficial to utilize the technology available to you.
However, she is correct in saying that if a teacher does not know how to use it, it is a waste of money. Technology can also be beneficial as an aid to help students who do not benefit from a traditional lecture type setting. Just because a teacher may have been teaching for years with the same methods, that doesn't mean that their teaching style is the best way. Technology is a wonderful way to include different students with different learning styles.

After reading Karl Fisch: Is It Okay to Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?, I was surprised. I had never given thought to these points he made. While I knew it was beneficial to stay on top of technology, I guess I didn't realize how much of a disadvantage a teacher is put in. His statement saying "If a teacher today is not technologically literate - and is unwilling to make the effort to learn more - it's equivalent to a teacher 30 years ago who didn't know how to read and write" is very true. I had just never thought of it in those terms.
But he is absolutely correct. It is amazing how people almost boast about not having useful skills.To stay relevant and useful in your position, you must be willing to continue your education. It seems like people want to continue to make excuses for their lack of knowledge, but I feel what they  need to be doing is attempting to be proactive in their profession and their own learning. Our future is technology. The longer you wait to hop aboard, the harder it will be to catch up.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Blog Post 2

Did You Know 3.0 by Karl Fisch

While I knew that technology was ever changing and always advancing, I had no idea it was at this rate. It shocks me to know that if I began a 4 year technical degree today, by my third year, the first year would be obsolete.We have to stay educated on technology and the technological advances as they occur to be able to stay relevant in the future. If a computer is built that is more advanced than the human brain, it is impairative that we are able to understand and operate it, as to not become obsolete ourselves.

Population continues to grow each second of every day. Technological advancements are being made, but the population is growing at a very significant rate. Due to population growth, it is easier and less time consuming for the masses to stay up to date and knowledgeable about new technology. For example, the amount of time it takes for a certain number of people to use a new technology becomes less and less as we move into the future.

Mr. Winkle Wakes by Mathew Needleman

In Mr. Winkle wakes, it shows how the world is constantly changing due to technological advances. Once he goes to a hospital and a current workplace, he cannot understand all the machines he is seeing. However, when he enters a school, he feels at home. This is because schooling and education usually remains relatively unchanged.

Schools should not be the same as 100 years ago. While the basic idea of a teacher at the head of the classroom and students sitting in desk being educated is still there no matter what year it is, there should be technology utilized within the classroom. Advancements are made to help and assist, not to do harm. Why would a teacher not want to utilize tools to help them teach more efficiently? 

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity

I had never given much thought to how creativity is being squashed in schools today. But due to diagnoses of ADD and ADHD, it is very easy to write a child off who has a lot of energy.  Teaching and learning do not have to be synonymous with students in desks. Teaching a child can be done in multiple ways to facilitate a place for all students to be able to learn.

Additionally, teaching a child to hang on to their creativity and imagination is hard to do. Being wrong is something all adults are fearful of, but we should take more chances to be wrong and learn from it. We also need to be able to express a different idea without being chastised.  Creativity is something special and individual to each of it. It should be nurtured in education, not neglected.

Vicki Davis: Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts

In this video, we are able to see how students in rural Georgia are connected to people all over the world. The students were impressed by how cool it was to have their own blogs and have people from all over the world read and follow them. Not only that, but we are able to see how students are able to keep up to date and learn new technology. Their teacher states that she was teaching them things and before long, they were teaching her things. 

This video shows how beneficial it is to have technology in the classroom and to teach students how to use it. Having technology is useless if people do not learn how to use it. But by teaching students how to properly use the tools that are available to them will help them in school as well as in the marketplace. The more skills you possess, the more indispensable you are to a company.