Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Additional Assignment

I recently did a post on Tom Johnson's post Don Let Them Take the Pencils Home. Pencils were a metaphor for computers, and I was informed that I missed it. I would not say I totally missed it. My mistake was failing to address it as a metaphor in my post. I understood it, I just did not say it right. I called it sarcasm. I probably said this because of the amount of sarcasm I have experienced in EDM310.

I do think metaphors are a comfortable way to explain and discuss certain topics. My Grandmother always referenced the Bible when giving her children advice. And just the other day my Dad told me I was "straining out gnats and swallowing camels" Matthew 23:24. He meant that I was worrying too much about petty stuff and ignoring important things.

As educators, we can help our students by using metaphors, but we should never assume that everyone is going to catch them. And when they don't, the student needs to know it is okay. We can then explain the metaphor, and give an assignment on metaphors, such as the on Dr. Strange has assigned to me. Metaphors are important, and they make good brain exercise.

Blog Post#13

My Teacher is an App:
The Article by Stephanie Banchero and Stephanie Simon is about the reality of online learning. Like it or not, we must acknowledge the internet’s daily role in the education of young people all over the world. However, the question remains, should all learning be done online?

The authors give great statistics from both sides the argument. Online learning is especially beneficial to the student that learns at a faster pace. Learning online allows that student to take classes at a higher grade level. Online learning is flexible, and allows a great deal of parental involvement. And finally, it is cheaper. But, have you ever heard the phrase “you get what you pay for?” Several statistics demonstrate low test scores among students of online schools. Those in charge say they are used to this. One reason is that many of the students enrolled are not the type of learner that online learning is built for. Banchero and Simon believe that the effectiveness of online learning depends on how we approach it, and students cannot do it all by themselves; in order to learn, they still need to be taught.

I believe that the authors are very open minded and present great evidence. They allow the reader to think about all possibilities. I feel that online learning is still evolving and should be monitored closely. With that being said, I would like to see more online learning incorporated into the traditional school. It would have helped me so much more if I had been given the opportunity to experiment with virtual learning in my younger years. My college professors expect me to be familiar with web enhanced classes. I do not care what it costs to educate a student. I dislike the argument that something is cheaper. You should not put a price on a child’s education. If we truly care about the student, then money should not even be part of the discussion. Bottom line, we need to do all we can to help students get ready for adulthood, whether it is more or less web enhanced learning.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

C4K November

THis week I visited Mrs. Yollis' Class Blog. She has a remarkable blog, and her students post great videos and projects they have done inn class. I commented on November is Family Blogging Month. The class has gone to great lengths to get their family members involved in their blogging. I told them that there is nothing better than having a loved one show interest in your work.

Dear Mrs. Yollis' class,
My name is Kevin Hutchinson, and I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. I think it is wonderful that you are involving family members with your blogging. I have found blogging as a great way to enhance writing skills and creativity. By involving your family members, they are able to see how hard you are working. Having parents tell you how proud they are of your hard work is the warmest feedback anyone can receive. As a veteran of the United States Navy, I really appreciated the Veterans Day post. It is great to know that our young people are learning about respect and dedication. It was a touching post, and you should be proud of it. I look forward to seeing future posts. Keep up the hard work.

Kevin Hutchinson

Today I post a comment on the blog of fifth grade student at Pt. England School Auckland, New Zealand Wyatt. Wyatt visited a local observatory, and took a close look at our solar system. Wyatt says really enjoyed this field trip because of his interest in our solar system. He asked if I could name the planets, and I listed them for him. I told him my shock of the news of Pluto's downgrade form planet to dwarf planet. Wyatt seems to really enjoy studying the solar system, and I encouraged Wyatt to never end educational journey through space.
Hey Wyatt,
My name is Kevin Hutchinson, and I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I think observatories are really neat. Unfortunately, I have never been able to visit one. I am sorry to hear about your injuries. I hope they did not ruin the entire experience for you. The planets were always one of my favorite science subjects. The eight planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Is this correct? I went to school my entire life believing Pluto was a planet, and I was very surprised at the news of it being demoted to a dwarf. It seems like you went on an awesome field trip, and you apparently learned a lot. Keep up your hard work studying our solar system.

C4K# Part One

Mrs. Yollis'class blog does a great job demonstrating the positive effects technology can have on students. Mrs. Yollis is a third grade teacher in a suburban area of Los Angeles, CA. Her students absolutely love blogging. Mrs. Yollis has given her students a voice which can be heard around the globe. Her class blog has been visited over 75,000 times. The students have been able to blog and post videos that receives global feedback and collaboration. Skyping with Australia is something I could have never imagined doing at seven years old. She has shown her dedication to being technologically willing to do anything for the benefit of her students by taking the time to attend the Google Geo Teachers'Institute at the Google home office. Her video on Google earth showed how her students could view 3D images of buildings right there in Los Angeles.

As a veteran, I really enjoyed the veterans video on her class blog. I think it is great that she is introducing her students to veterans of our nation's armed forces. In short, Mrs. Yollis' class blog offers students, parents, and teachers an opportunity to teach learn and evaluate to the maximum extent.

Final Project Progress Report

For a final project, my group has decided to ours on how to make good use of the different skills we have learned in EDM310. For example, we want students, parents, and teachers to see the advantages of using programs such as skype. This class has taught us to put aside our biases, and we want to spread the word to those that have not been fortunate enough to take a class like EDM310. We are planning on each person demonstrating the one thing they found the most useful in EDM310.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Blog Post#12

EDM 310 has been an interesting class thus far. It has also been a bit of an eye opener. I have spent the semester championing the term technologically “willing.” At the start of the semester I will admit to being technologically “unwilling.” However, I have really found blogging to be quite useful. As we have noticed throughout the semester, blogging gives the student and the class a worldwide audience. Blogging creates a never ending “wormhole” of learning. It enhances creativity and helps develop good writing skills.

But, I do believe the assignments were centered too much around elementary education majors. We watched a lot of videos and commented on many kids and teachers blogs. Most of it was elementary in nature or simply not very specific at all. I do not think they were bad assignments. In fact they were all very interesting; they gave me an opportunity to experience new things. But, I think there should be a blog assignment that is teacher specific. For example a secondary education history major should come up with a blog assignment they would assign their future students. This blog assignment should focus on giving us an opportunity to practice creating helpful tasks for our future students at whatever level we plan to teach.

As a secondary history major, I would like to make the study of primary historical documents the center of the high school history class. Primary documents are rarely studied in depth at the high school level, which leaves major firsthand accounts out of the lesson. The study of firsthand accounts throughout history is essential in understanding history instead of just memorizing names and dates to regurgitate later for an exam. I want my future students to use blogging to respond to a primary document they have been assigned.

Instructions for new EDM 310 assignment:
Think of a blog assignment for your future students. Create this assignment based on the level and subject you plan to teach. For example, if you plan on teaching high school history, come up with an assignment relevant to a subject you would discuss with your students.

The assignment I want my future students to do is a primary document analysis following these criterion:
Compare and contrast the following documents: Bacon's Declaration in the Name of the People, 30 July 1676 and Governor William Berkley on Bacon’s Rebellion, 19 May 1676.
1. Identify and explain both men’s methods of gaining support for their arguments.
2. Is this a political or social rebellion?
3. After reading and analyzing these two documents, who do you believe to be the victims, if there are any?


I visited the blog of Joe Bower, a teacher in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. Mr. Bower posted a paragraph from Pasi Sahlberg's book Finnish Lessons discussing how the Finnish education system has not become corrupted by a heavy emphasis on standardized testing. Heavy emphasis on standardized testing in Finland has not seemed relevant to student learning; thus it is not worth compromising an already effective curriculum.
Hi Mr. Bower,
My name is Kevin Hutchinson, and I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. I found this paragraph quite interesting. I have never been a fan of "high-stakes standardized testing." I do not believe it positively affects how a student learns. These tests turn educators into test teachers, and the students learn how to take tests instead of learning something relevant to actual education. Also, students who are not great test takers are left with a stigma of underachievement. Many of these test are timed and culturally biased. Students with great academic ability may be excluded from college opportunities. Point being, heavy emphasis on standardized test taking causes education systems to lose sight of the ultimate objective of student learning. This is a great post.

I visited Joe Bower's blog for a second time this month, and once again he had a great post about the flaws and inaccuracies of standardized testing. His post encourages educators and parents to grade their school system by the tangible learning being done rather than tallying the test scores each year.
Hello Mr. Bower,
My name is Kevin Hutchinson, and I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. I agree completely with your post. Standardized tests are a horrible measuring stick for student learning. Test scores prove how well a student can prepare for a test. After the test is over, the information is usually gone, and the student has learned nothing. Project based learning and writing exercises, such as blogging, are the way to go. It eliminates what Dr. Strange calls "burp-back" learning. I enjoyed reading your post.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Blog Post#11

Mrs. Cassidy’s Techniques
Mrs. Cassidy’s first graders did a wonderful job putting together a video of the many positives of using technology in the classroom. Through blogging the students are able to practice writing skills and receive feedback on their posts, and the wiki use seemed to really help with their research and collaboration as well.

As a history teacher, I have become a fan of blogging and reading blogs because of the amount analyzing and writing experience it gives a student. In the Mrs. Cassidy Skype Interview, she made a great point about the “audience” a student receives by blogging. I would love to do weekly blogging assignments in my history class; it would make in class discussions more engaging if the student has already had to give their own response to the reading. And with blogging having such a large audience, the discussion continues outside the classroom. I have always been a fan of guest speakers, but I realize the difficulty of scheduling. I would love to use Skype to have history professors speak to my class and answer their questions. This was a wonderful post and an educating interview.