Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Blog Post Sixteen

Well, I guess it is true when they say the time flies when you are having fun! I cannot believe this is my final post for EDM310, but yet, I am so happy to be taking so much with me from this one class. I have learned so many things that have completely changed how I think about educating. I am very surprised going back and reading my first post, because I would not change much to it. Although this might seem like EDM310 did not change how I thought, it is quite the opposite. After watching Sugata Mitra’s “School in the Cloud” and reading Krissy Vendosdale’s blog, I was already thinking in a way that I have never been shown before in my life. By this first blog post, I was already thinking a whole new way of educating. I have always been taught in schools from a white board in a standard lecture setting, and as a future educator, I saw nothing wrong with this before EDM310. I know now that I would NEVER teach my students in this setting. Because of EDM310, I now want to change my future math classroom from what is typically expected in one. I want an energetic math learning experience for my children! I want to use project based learning and use what they learn to apply it to real life situations.

If I had to change things about my first blog post, I would add more project based learning and technology. Originally, when I started this class, I was an elementary education major, but EDM310 actually helped me realize that in order to help my students be the best learners they could be, I have to be the best teacher I can be. EDM310 has inspired me to become a wonderful math teacher and help children not to only learn what we are doing in math, but to maybe even enjoy math. So, as a future math teacher and not elementary, I would take out much of the art use as a tool in my classroom, and add technology instead. Throughout this course, I have seen the role technology plays in the classroom, and I think this would be essential for mine. Through my C4T’s and extending my PLN, I have found many math resources that I would have never been able to find before such as the math PBL resources I found in Michael Gorman's Blog. I also would add the Smart Board to my future classroom. Before my assignments in EDM310, I have not had much experience with smart boards, and now, I realize how useful they are. In my first blog post, I said “As Mitra, I would like my students to be the facilitators of their learning. They should be able excel beyond a curriculum, and take on the roles of researchers in order to continue interest in commonly “boring” subjects.” I think this is actually ironic, since I am becoming a math teacher now. If I had to rewrite my first post, most of what I said would stay. I still want my students to be active, confident learners, and I no longer want to play the strong head role as the traditional teacher. As a 21st century teacher, I want to be innovative, electric, and always a lifelong learner.
Life-long Learning

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Project Sixteen

Blog Post Fifteen

The Brail Writer and Other Assistive Technologies

Assistive technologies are a lifeline for some students who have disabilities. Like any other technology, assistive technology is advancing every day. Assistive technology is revolutionizing students’ lives by allowing them to learn, play, communicate and interact in ways that otherwise would not be possible.

A brail writer is an assistive technological tool for blind students. The machine allows the student to brail, then receive instant feedback from the machine as it verbally announces what is being brailed. This tool is very advanced and can save, transfer and receive files. The brail writer can also teach students who are not blind to read brail; as the student brails, print will display on a screen to show them what they are brailing. The brail writer helps to bridge the gap between the blind student and his or her peers. This machine gives students with disabilities the opportunity to participate more fully in class and peer groups.

Other assistive technologies include wheelchairs, laptops, onscreen keyboards, desks that raise and lower, voice activated software that allows student to complete school assignments on their computers, and cellphones to get help if needed. The Edutopia video below shows several students using different assistive technologies, from a wheel chair to a customized horn that allows a disabled boy to play in the marching band.

Ipad Use for the Blind

From videos such as Ipad Usage for the Blind and Teaching Mom What Her Deaf/Blind Child is Learning, we see the use of the Ipad and its voiceover capabilities as assistive technology. These sensory disabilities such as deafness or blindness could be present in our classroom, and we must know as educators what is available to us and our students. Having disabilities in a world without technology would leave this student in a very challenging learning environment. Education is for everyone, and assistive technologies make is possible for students with assistivetechnology disabilities to be able to enjoy all the benefits of education. As for the use of the voiceover capabilities of the Ipad, these videos focus on the disability of blindness. The voiceover for the ipad allows students to scroll their fingers over the screen and be able to hear what apps they are sliding over. If they want to click that app, they just double click anywhere, and the app will open. These instructions are the same when typing on the ipad. After going over each word as it is read aloud, the student can double tap to choose that letter. One important app used from the ipad for the blind is the ibook. The ibook is important for people with blindness, because no other kindle or nook are accessible for the blind right out of the box. Normally, a software of some sort has to be downloaded. With ibook, the student can flip two fingers up to start any story out loud, and some books even have the images described. Not all gone are the days when disabled students are isolated from others, but hopefully, by giving blind people this reading tool and use of the ipad is just one way out of many that we can assist in recreating a better world of education for all students.

Teaching Math To The Blind

Math is a difficult subject for anybody and especially for students that are blind. A professor at the University of San Francisco, Art Karshmer, made a computer based system to help teach math to the blind students. Art Karshmer discusses how difficult it is for blind students to learn math problems with being visually impaired. Karshmer created a 3 million touchpad. This device is designed to use braille and technology together to create a math learning experience. It uses a voice touchpad and a barcode scanner to recognize numbers being used. The touchpad is also labeled in braille so that students can still have the option of reading along with the voice. This is a wonderful technology to help students that are blind. We would love to use this technology in our classroom if we have a blind student. It is a great resource to help the students learn and to help the teachers teach the blind students.

We found a article News at Vanderbilt that explains this app that turns a device into a math aid to help students that are blind. Jenna Gorlewicz, a graduate from Vanderbilt University is who came up with this app. We think this app is wonderful idea especially since ipads are starting to be available in schools now. We would love to use this app as well to help teach math if we had a blind student in our classroom.

Assistive technology is progressing every day, but it is not implemented as much as it could be in schools. Unfortunately, not all teachers and parents are aware of these advancements, resulting in some students not receiving all of the opportunities available to them. This is yet another reason why it is so important for teachers to be technologically literate. Staying up to date on the assistive technologies available to students with disabilities is crucial. The sooner a disabled student is introduced to an assistive technology, the sooner they can master the tool, and focus on the regular curriculum. This will better prepare the student and increase their chances to move on to college, then a career.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Blog Post Fourteen

If You Built A 21st Century School, What Would It Be Like?

New Design for Education

How Can We Foster Creativity in the Classroom?

How Technology is Changing Education

Answer the question in a post that adheres to the standards found in the ACCRS and in Writing A Quality Blog Post.


Currently, our education system is draining the creativity of our students and teachers through our education system. We must connect learning to student’s passions and ultimately, to the technology of our time. If I were to create a 21st century school for my elementary students or really any student, I would incorporate many things from the A New Design for Education video. Students would have a progress system based on if the content met the standards versus the current system of standardized grades. In order to create a proper 21st century school, my two key focuses would be creativity and technology.

Creativity is extremely important for a 21st century school. Without creativity, we would never come up with anything original. The technologies we have now would not be around, if someone down the line was not creative. One thing I would incorporate into my school is the “What If” activities. This was something I never thought of incorporating into my classroom, until I watched the How Can We Foster Creativity video. I think it is incredibly important for my 21st century classroom to think outside of the box, and these “what if” activities do that. “What if our founding fathers did not end up creating America?” or “What if we could time travel?” These questions lead to more questions, and as we approach more questions, we start to really be inquisitive and creative.

Let’s face it, technology is not getting any smaller. I would try to incorporate as much of the 21st century technologies as I could in my school in order for it to be a true 21st century school. Tablets and other devices such as laptops will be used in my classroom to expand our school audience. Also, I would like each of my classrooms to have their own blog. This way all teachers, students, and parents will be able to access what is going on in the classroom. With a blog, students can receive feedback from anywhere! This is incredibly special to an elementary school child. I would promote virtual field trips for my school where classrooms have the opportunities to Skype with people from all around the world. I want my students to have a global school, not just what is in front of them.

Project Two Cont. Final Report

What is a PLN or Personal Learning Network?

A PLN is a connection that we, educators, make that goes past the four walls of our school. It is a way of asking questions globally through social networks and through the web. As Dr. Strange said, "your PLN is the set of PEOPLE and TOOLS that you can call upon for help, consultation, collaboration, or other assistance." We can make these connections through the use of different online tools such as Symbaloo or Twitter.

Who/What is in My PLN or Personal Learning Network?

My method for organizing my PLN is Symbaloo.

In Symbaloo, I have arranged different websites and connections that I can easily access all on one page. My main tool of use for creating a PLN is Twitter and my blog. Through twitter and my blog, I have established connections with other educators, schools, and pages of my educational interest.

Some of the people in my PLN:
Tom Vander Ark
Kathy Cassidy
Leonardo Effect
Heidi Siwak
Michael Gorman
Wesley Fryer
Dr. Joseph McCaleb

To see more, you can visit my following list on Twitter!
Kayla Christie's Twitter

My Reflection Initially: "Before this class, I would have never thought about a PLN. It may have crossed my mind a time or two, but I never engaged in extending a learning network for myself, as an educator. I have had Twitter and Facebook before, for personal use, and now it makes much sense to me why creating a PLN is so important. It is just as important as having these social media websites for personal use. They keep us updated and connected. We can ask strangers questions and receive meaningful feedback beyond our city or even state. I am really glad that I have now been introduced to the concept of PLN, and I am also glad for all of the resources that I have found because of my PLN!

Final Reflection: I know now what the purpose of our C4T and C4K was. The C4T and C4K assignments have truly helped me extend my PLN in encountering some great connections. I have came across some great influences in my C4T such as Heidi Siwak, who actually commented on my blog! She said,"Hi Kayla, I dropped in to see how your work is progressing and was surprised to find my students' and my work featured. It is very useful for me to see the impact of the work we do, as well as learn how teacher education is changing. You are very fortunate to begin your career with a blog and to have the opportunity to reflect, share and receive connected feedback from the start of your teaching practice. The learning goes both ways!" This, to me, is exactly what a PLN is all about. By using different tools, I am able to make connections that I would have never been able to make before.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Smartboard Part B

C4K Summary November

My first C4K of November was for Eleva from Pt. England. firstdayofschool She wrote about her first day of school when she was five and how nervous she was leaving her mom. She described how she looked in her new uniform such as wearing long, black pants and a t-shirt and going into Miss Gorge’s room 3. Although she was nervous, she said it was easy to make friends. I told her how I understood how she felt, even on my first day of college. I still wished my mom could have gone with me. I let her know that it is always scary to start something new, but just as she did, it is always not too hard to make friends.

“ I would like to start by saying that I completely understand how you feel about the first day of school. Even on my first day of college, I wished I could have had my mom by my side the whole time. It is very scary to start at school for the first time. Like you, it did not take long for me to make friends, despite my nervousness. It is so much easier to make friends than we think it will be. “

My second C4K was my first experience commenting on a class blog, instead of a particular student's blog. For this C4K, I was assigned to Mrs. Yollis' Classroom Blog to comment on her post, "Our First EdCamp." Usually when reading a title, you can almost prepare yourself for what you are about to read. I had absolutely no idea what an EdCamp was until I starting reading this post. I was still partially confused after reading, so I went back and checked out her first post about EdCamp, "EdCamp Online: A Personal Learning Opportunity." Now, I had it. EdCamp online was an event that Mrs. Yollis attended and shared with her students. edcamp EdCamp online is a personal learning opportunity for teachers. They meet together online in a "lobby" and wait for the instructor. When the instructor arrives, they can each submit ideas on what they want to talk about such as technology use in the classroom or Mrs.Yollis' idea, Educational Blogging. So, each person can join any session they choose, and if th.e session they chose is not one that they like, they are free to leave and join a different one. So, as for the post I was supposed to comment on, Mrs. Yollis demonstrated an EdCamp in her classroom. There were different sessions offered, and the students got to tally which ones they wanted to do. Just as the teachers, the students could leave a session if it was not fitting their needs and move to a different one. Overall, I think this is incredibly effective and useful to me as a future teacher. I told her how I loved her ending of the project, which was a "tradition slam" where each of the students stand up and share something they learned. I also told her I loved the freedom of choice promoted by being able to leave a session and choose another one. This seemed to me something that I would love to incorporate in my classroom.