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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Blog Post #16

If I was to describe myself in the teaching environment. I would have to say I would be restrictive at first just until I got to know my students then after a little while I would open up more but I am also kinda shy so it is no big deal. My friends and family seem to think I will b very strict and disciplined because I expect that from my children but that is not the case. I have always been told I am very good with kids and I like to think I am as well.

I still think keeping it old school is the best way to do it with pens, pencils, and paper. To me there is nothing wrong with it I don't and wouldn't want my students in the middle of doing a project or an essay and their tablet or what ever crash on them or they don't get it done because they are too busy playing games.

I did like and enjoy doing the project based learning. I felt it gave the teacher more time with the student in the classroom instead of the other way around I believe its called flipping the classroom. I think I would incorporate that into my way of teaching when I did the research on it the students and the teacher seemed to enjoy it more than any other method I have seen used.

Out of all the new tools I have used in this class I like the Prezi. It is easy to use and understand and I think it's one of the better programs to use if you are gonna use project based learning in the classroom. I feel that it is a good thing to use even though I was against it this entire time I feel it would be very affective.

Lets see what can be said about the program Prezi. I had the easiest time figuring it out and operating it. Everything is right there at your finger tips. I had a blast with it did several experimentations with it to get use to it. It was fun even had my children do it a few times. They had lots of fun with it and could use it so easily after the first time I showed them.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blog Post #15

How Assistive Technologies Transform Learning

By Sally Gajewski:

The first video iPad usage for the blind is a video showing Wesley Majerus, a blind person, using motion tools on an iPad to navigate all of its menus and programs. He demonstrates how to navigate around the iPad using two or three finger swipes and rotations along with other techniques. He can access iBooks to listen to audio books and search through webpages with a few complicated sets of movements. It is beyond amazing what he can do on the iPad and I wonder if other machines can do the same thing. If I had not seen this video, I would have thought it impossible for the blind to use technology is such a way, or at all. Really, it is great the world is researching tools and methods to help disabled persons, for they are people too just like us.

The Mountbatten - Assistive Technology for the Blind is a video demonstrating the braille typewriter of sorts, that blind persons may type with braille keys to produce braille text on paper. Other uses of the machine are saving these braille texts as a file on a computer and receiving such files to be oriented in braille. Lastly, the braille typewriter may translate braille to English letters on the computer, as a user of the typewriter inputs braille the computer writes the passage in Roman letters for the general public to see. This makes it all more accessible to disabled students to communicate with each other and the other students that can read the common letters.

By Brian Orr:

The video Teaching Math to The Blind is the single most innovative story I have heard, with respect to assistive technology. I had no more words after that video than "Wow! What next?" Technology is shaping our era to be the most influential for cultures, ever. We will change how the world works, thinks, feels for a long time into the future I believe. Being blind and able to keep up in at least simple math is revolutionary I'm sure. And the disabled are given tools to make them feel equal to the unafflicted we all can rejoice. And I do like the comment by the professor near the end. "Math is a hard subject, even for the sighted." I couldn't agree more. I have been through 4 levels of calculus and various physics courses, I still feel this way and always will and one reason I love Math for the struggle and eventual success!

The last research I did was on how we came to having assistive technologies for the disabled or impaired citizens beside us. And as Helen Keller is probably the most influential person to help disabled people, I thought I could introduce her. She was a deafblind child that was trained to be able to live independently, to do what no one thought was possible for people like her. Her mentor and "companion" was a woman named Anne Sullivan, who trained her to communicate in spite of Keller being both deaf and blind. Mastery of braille must have been essential to her education, as hearing and sight were of no help to Keller to educate herself. Beyond learning to read braille and execute sign language, Keller was taught to and mainly seemed to teach herself how to read lips with her sense of touch. She also was taught by teachers, among them Sarah Fuller, to speak herself with Keller feeling the way the mouth moves as someone speaks and the position of the tongue with various accents, vowels, and consonants. The inspiring methods Keller used and her enthusiasm to learn to be sufficient on her own give a great example to disabled children and people of all age. From her time forward, the disabled community can have hope for fulfilling their desires, and for the rest of the community to sympathize with their situation and aid them.

Image Sources: http://www.globalcalendar.info/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/braille.jpg, http://images.businessweek.com/ss/09/10/1005_coolest_office_furniture/image/006_braille_writer.jpg, http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/b9/50/57/b95057f5bc1cb8c119f9afb7082ea2f8.jpg, & http://www2.lhric.org/pocantico/womenenc/keller3.jpg

Monday, November 25, 2013


I read several blogs by intelligent students and left very polite comments on their blogs. Telling them all to keep up the good work and to have fun with everything they did. I did enjoy some more than others but they was all very good.



She goes through and explains why she is switching to another blog site. She explains how she did it and gives step by step instructions which is really helpful. She also gave some wonderful insight to a few things on google. All in all it was a very informative blog and I really enjoyed reading it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blog post #14

Pick three star constellations from the hemisphere you live in. Give me the history or story behind it. With a picture.

Canis Major is known as the Great Dog. In Greek myth, it is said that this constellation, along with Canis Minor, are Orion's hunting dogs. Canis Major was one of the most important constellations in ancient times because the brightest star in the sky is part of it.

Sirius, the Dog Star, is one of the brightest objects in the night sky. Only the Moon, Venus, Jupiter and Mars are brighter. Those that lived near the Nile River used the star to signal the flooding of the Nile. This special occasion represented the return from the dead of the Sun god Osiris.

Canis Major is very easy to find during the months of November through March. First locate Orion the Hunter, and imagine a straight line through his belt. Follow the line to the southeast, and you will see Sirius perched right below it. Sirius is the nose of the dog. His body stretches to the southeast, and his front leg is to the west of Sirius.

I chose this constellation becuase there is nothing like a good hunting dog

Orion, the Hunter, is by far the most famous seasonal constellation. No other is more distinct or bright as this northern winter constellation. The famous Orion's Belt makes the hunter easy to find in the night sky.

Orion looks very much like a person. First, you should spot Orion's Belt, which is made of three bright stars in a straight line. One of Orion's legs is represented by the bright star Rigel, one of the brightest stars in the night sky. His two shoulders are made of the stars Bellatrix and Betelgeuse. You can see Betelgeuse's reddish color without a telescope. Other bright stars make up the two arms, one which holds a shield, and another that carries a club.

Many different civilizations saw this constellation in the sky. The most famous stories come from Greek and Roman myths. Orion was a famed hunter, and in one story boasted that no creature could kill him. Hera then sent a scorpion to sting the hunter. Orion smashed the animal with his club, but not before he was poisoned. Both are now on opposite sides of the sky. They cannot be seen at the same time.

A different story tells of the love between Orion and the goddess, Artemis. One day, Orion was swimming out in the sea. Apollo, who very much disliked the man, bet his sister that she couldn't hit the object in the sea with her bow. Artemis didn't realize it was her lover, and shot Orion with an arrow. When she later found out what she had done, she honored the hunter by putting him in the sky.

There are several clusters and nebulae to view in this awesome constellation. The famous Orion Nebula is located in Orion's sword, which hangs from the belt. It is so bright, that even the naked eye can see the fuzzy patch. It looks spectacular even with a small telescope or binoculars. There are numerous other objects in Orion, so scan the constellation with a telescope or binoculars on a clear night!

Taurus is commonly known as The Bull. It passes through the sky from November through March. Taurus was a very popular constellation in ancient times, so there are many myths about it.

The Greeks thought the stars represented Zeus in disguise as a white bull. He tricked Europa into climbing on his back. He then swam out to sea and carried her to Crete. In Egypt, the constellation was a reminder of Apis, the Bull of Memphis. He served as a servant to Osiris, god of the Sun.

Just as famous as Taurus is the group of stars within it. The Pleiades are a group of seven stars that lie on the Bull's shoulder. The Greeks believed these were the Seven Sisters, daughters of Atlas and Pleione. It was told that they asked Zeus to place them in the sky to escape Orion, who was desperately pursuing them. Little did they know that Orion would be placed right next to Taurus in the night sky!

The brightest star in Taurus is Aldebaran. It serves as the eye of the bull and is near the Hyades, a lesser known but still visible group of stars. The beautiful Crab Nebula is located above the tip of the bottom horn.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blog #13

Shukla Bose: Teaching One child at a Time. Teaching one child at a time

She started the Parikrma Humanity Foundation from her kitchen table. They walked the slums of Bangalore. After several days of visiting with the parents and the children they started a school on a rooftop in June with only a half ceiling and in India it rains in June. They spent a lot of time under the half ceiling which turned out to be a very bonding experience.

In six years they have four schools, 1 junior college, one thousand one hundred students coming from twenty-eight slums and four orphanages. Their dream is to educate children and give them a better living. They are all English driven schools using the ICS curriculum.

There is a myth that parents from the slums don't want their children to be educated that is untrue. They want them to be educated to lead a better life than themselves but they need to believe. They have any where from 80 to 100% turnout for parent teacher meeting.Fathers are attending as well. When this first started the parents used thumb prints to sign in but now they can sign their names they was taught by their children. They have had mothers come to them asking if they would teach them how to read and write so they started an after school program for the parents. 98% of fathers are alcoholics so they are sent to detox centers and then they help them gets jobs. Three fathers have been taught to cook, and nutrition, they helped them set up kitchens. They now supply the food in the schools and it has helped the fathers get respect and a sense of pride.

Another myth is that children from the slums cannot integrate with the main stream students. That too is untrue every year they hold a sports event where over five thousand students from around Bangalore compete. For the last three years the Parikrma Humanity Foundation has won the event with there students bringing home lots of medals. They have even had several students from the other schools ask if they could attend the foundations schools.

By Brian Orr
"Jose Antonio Abreu: The El Sistema Music Revolution"The El Sistema Music Revolution

The TED Talk I chose was a story of the Venezuela youth symphony, "El Sistema." The orchestra won the Ted Prize for 2009 for making a symphony that is acclaimed around the world, and ranked 5th on the greatest symphonies around the world by the London Times. The program's main focus is developing a Venezuelan music presence around the globe and providing music opportunities for impoverished youth in Venezuela.

The director of the program, Jose Antonio Abreu, always wanted to become a musician and reached his goal by the help of his family, and God. Frequently throughout the talk, Abreu states God has guided his life and program to its success. He brings to light the spiritual hole in most people's lives, that the world is in a spiritual crisis and his program is doing its part to mend this wound. Abreu is a very strong minded character, a person that knows what he is and what he wants and uses his abilities to help others. This story is less about a good music program than it is a charity for children, this one man's vision to contribute to God a healing solution for Venezuelan society.

I found this talk amazingly inspired, that this man could produce this world wide acclaimed orchestra, with enormous support along the way of course, that has a fairly large statement that people need God and need the arts to heal what is missing in their lives. He reminds me of great spiritual leaders, honestly, like Jesus and Muhammad that preach their values to the world with no fear, only conviction.

From the 1st rehearsal to today, Adreu has this vision of creating a great youth orchestra, and he feeds on his own vision to succeed. His demands more from himself, probably even when he thought he could go no further. This man looks like a person who went beyond his body's capabilities and used his spirit to accomplish his great personal goal. He really is a father to these children, and I'm sure this thought or mindset helped him strive to better each of their lives with music and some purpose to their lives, not just poverty and a lack of self identity in Venezuela. As he states, Mother Teresa thought the most miserable aspect of poverty is not the lack of food or shelter, but of identity and purpose, and I think Adreu has managed to give that to his children.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Blog post #12

After watching How to escape educations death valley. I find myself agreeing with everything Ken Robinson had to say. He says there is three principals that drives human life flourish.

The first being different and diverse: He says each child is different, and under the topic of no child left behind he says that its based on confirmatory not diversity school are encouraged to find out what students can do across a narrow spectrum of achievement. One effect " No child left behind" has been to narrow the focus on stem disciplines and tells us how they are not sufficient. Real education has to give equal weight to art humanities and physical education.

The second principal to help drive human life flourish is curiosity. If you can light the spark of curiosity in a child they will learn without anymore assistance. Children are natural learners. Its a real achievement to put that particular ability out or stifle it. Its and engine of achievement. An effect of that has been to deprofessionalize teachers. There is no school in any state or around the world that is more important than its teachers. They are the life blood of the school.

The third of the three principals to help human life flourish is being inherently creative. Everyone has their own way of being creative. Its what makes individuals and why we do our own thing and why we are so interesting, diverse and dynamic. Other animals may have an imagination and such but its not as evident as ours. We all create our lives through imaginative turnouts and such. One role of education is that to awaken and develop powers of creativity instead of using standardization.

Finland does well in Math, Science, and Reading. We only know this because this what we test for. Which one of the problems with the test is they don't look for other problems just as much. But Finland doesn't obsess about them disciplines. They have a very broad approach which includes humanities. physical education, the arts. Finland does no standardized testing, they do but it is not what they base their teaching platform on. They individualize teaching and learning and recognize that its the students who are learning and the system has to engage them, their curiosity, individuality, and creativity thats how they learn. They teach the student they don't dictate stuff the child already know instead they focus on their skills as a student. They put teaching on a higher status along with the realization of picking great teachers and giving them constant support in their professional development. Investing in the professional development is not a cost it is an investment and every country that is succeeding well knows that. people either don't want to learn or they do want to learn.

Every student that has ever dropped out of school has had a reason which is rooted in their own biography. It might be boredom, irrelevant, or at odds with the life they are living outside of school. Theres trends but there is always unique stories.

Ken Robinson's: Changing Education Paradigms
By Brian Orr

I will give a quick summary of the main points and dive into what I think. The main point of Changing Paradigms: think differently, mainly about our education system we have today. It's vitally important, the narrator says, that we redesign how we education our children for this changing economy, evolving work space, and growing (and shrinking) world.

The video is excellently produced, and I have to say even beyond the inspiring message, I was entertained. The entire time. As a 21st Century student, I am not going to lie and say I don't have a short attention span. Well, I do, and this video kept me listening all 11 amazing minutes. But back to the video, we have to educate students to be two main things, the global citizens of tomorrow and the "torch-bearers" of our country's culture. A big task, but something all countries are beginning to strive for.

I would say the first point I disagreed, or questioned, was the education system of America being flawed because of its origins being of the 18th century. Many things can be said to be obsolete in the modern world, but also many aspects of life remain mostly unchanged. Words in books still stimulate people to read them, music of the classical period currently fills my playlist, but the education system does not teach the correct way? I immediately was prompted to think...and that's great! I would say the video is onto something, but I would halt when making a sweeping generalization like it does here.

Onto the meat and potatoes of the message: how to make education more interesting for children and for adults, who have been asked to learn very "boring" subjects in an extremely institutionalized method. Education feels like prison is a common way to describe education in America, at least in my era. And being shepherded from one classroom to the next, among other norms of the education system like required general education for even college students, do not foster extremely useful learning in the video makers' opinion. Another huge point given I hadn't thought of is education is somewhat linear in its approach, that one right answer is what students search for. Rather, the narrator gives support to teaching divergent thinking, something younger children are taught more than when they grow to adulthood. Learning to find multiple answers to a central question (not so much in strict mathematics and science but in other subjects) is important to direct student thinking to finding their own best solution. Breaking out of the mold is a big theme in the video, even the manner in which the content is presented with graphics and animation is out of the norm...and I just like that. It's creative.

The last side note the video goes on about is ADHD and the supposed epidemic that is "hitting" American children. That the technology available today is so stimulating and fun to interact with, and the opposite being true for the school system, medication has been given to even the playing field so to say. Children would love to play games, watch movies, and search the internet for Knowledge (key point is knowledge can be found anywhere, yes even the internet), but the school system does little to compete with such a stimulating task as these technologies provide. Instead, the video points out ADHD medication is on the rise in America, and that parents are giving their children these pills to level down their excitement and make them close to brain dead. We limit the potential of their learning, possibly, or at least are first turning to chemical supplement (replacements in other words) rather than first turning to giving excitement back to the children and reinvigorating their want to learn! Make school fun. A cliché phrase no doubt but something to make as a goal in each school! And large doses of medication can't be good for our children....can it? I say a good portion of oranges, a math textbook with pictures and a narrator like the one in this video, and voilà: Education Fixed (or getting close).

The Importance of Creativity commented on by Laura Hamilton:

Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.Creativity expert Ken Robinson challenges the way we are educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.

To be honest, there will always be people who will put you down because you think of things that they don't or because you see things in a different way, but at the same time, in college, I have yet to run into a single instructor who has put me down for being creative. The instructors at my college South Alabama are always pushing their students to think outside the box and do their best no matter what the goal is. I'd have to say that college is a much better experience than high school ever was.

Image Sources: http://mikebougher.com/digital%20paintings/Paradigm%20Shift.jpg, http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6121/5917729691_f987df1dfc.jpg, & http://www.freefever.com/stock/creative-hummingbird-mac-os-mountain-lion-hd-wallpapers.jpg