Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Belief Essay

For my sedu183 class I had to turn my belief essay into a visual essay. For my belief essay I chose to use the belief statement “I believe teachers should be enthusiastic and excited about shaping the minds of their students”. When I was first given this project I was very irritated, because I thought it was going to be hard and take a long time.  With the semester winding down, time wasn’t something I had a lot of. However, I would soon discover that previous notion was incorrect. Creating the project really wasn’t that difficult and didn’t take too much time. One thing I liked about this project was that we got to choose what tool we wanted to use; we weren’t tied down to using a certain tool. Due to this I was free to choose something I felt comfortable using and knew could create a decent project with.
While creating my project one part I did find difficult was adding my sound to my video. I had recorded myself reading my essay using garage band and did all the ending to it. That part was fine and went smoothly, but when I added it to my photostory I couldn’t control which part of the sound played when. To solve this I had to manually adjust the speed of each picture to make sure it lasted the entire time the sound lasted. On the other hand, finding pictures to use to cover the various point in my essay was a lot easier to do than I expected, thanks to googleJ!
After I finished my project, it was very rewarding to feel the stress of trying to get the project done leave my body. It was also fun and rewarding to see a piece of my art work come to life after all the hard work and dedication I put into it. In addition, after completing my visual essay, I discovered some value using video within my classroom could have. I could have my students use video for something similar to this project; to use their imagination and bring a project of theirs to life using video. This would allow them to be creative and fun while learning. Also, I could use video as learning tool where I could have my students watch videos to further assist them on material that they find challenging or confusing.
Overall, I found this project to be quite interesting and easy to do. I discovered what kind of teacher I want to be and how to incorporate technology in my classroom. Feel free to watch my completed project below!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources or OER. What does that mean? Well the name is pretty self-explanatory, OER are resources available on the internet for little to no cost. How do I feel about OER you ask? Well, personally I think they are FABULOUS. First of all, the resources displayed are provided by people with licenses, and even though this doesn’t insure complete accuracy, you can be pretty confident that the resource being viewed is legit. In addition, I like open educational resources because they have so many benefits for me as a student, learner, and future teacher. Say I have a physics class and am struggling with understanding the material the way my teacher explains it. I could use an OER to help find materials that would make it easier to understand, like these video lectures on physics. Also, as a student and learner you can find full course textbooks on line for free, which is super helpful when it comes to the financial aspect of getting a college degree. Furthermore, when using open educational resources you can find quizzes to help test your knowledge and skills to find out if you are really mastering the material.

On another note, OER can be very helpful for teachers as well. Teachers can scope out OER and see what other teachers are doing and integrate that into their lesson plan to make the lesson that much more effective. The only problem I see with open educational resources is that it might weaken the bond and connectivity created between teacher and pupil. If a student could go on the World Wide Web to teach themselves the material, then why would they want to pay attention in the class? The student may rely on the OER for answers to their questions instead of establishing that connection with the teacher, and asking the person supplying the work the questions. Other than that I truly believe open educational resources are extremely beneficial tools for both teachers and students. To learn more and discover what all the hype is about, click here to experience open educational resources yourself!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Belief Essay

I believe teachers should be enthusiastic and excited about shaping the minds of their students. If somebody isn’t willing to work hard and be an influential teacher, then he or she should choose a different career choice.
I still remember my first day of middle school. I had so many butterflies in my stomach, and was nervous to meet my teachers. My very first class of middle school was World Geography with Mr. Buona and I remember thinking great, a history-related class. I hated history. When I walked into the class I found a seat and was waiting for class to start. Mr. Buona began with telling a joke and going over the syllabus. We then dove into the lesson and went over the PowerPoint, and throughout the lesson Mr. Buona would pause and ask a question and offer gum to who could ever answer the question correctly. In addition to asking questions Mr. Buona would constantly crack a joke, and his jokes were actually really funny. Mr. Buona had a skill of pulling the focus of the entire class into what he was saying. He was approachable and enthusiastic, and even after one day of class I was in love with World Geography in room 33 with Mr. Buona.
My next class of the day was Pre-Algebra with Mrs. Brown. Seeing as math is my favorite subject, I was pretty excited to start class. I thought for sure this was going to be my favorite class of the semester. However, I would soon discover I was mistaken.  Mrs. Brown was an elderly woman who very much resembled a toad. When she walked across the room to her desk, it looked like she would rather be anywhere else in the world other than in room 15 of Corry Area Middle/High School. When she spoke she spat her words as if they left a disgusting taste in her mouth. She was very strict and made it clear that she would have order in the class room. Nobody dared to speak in her class for fear of the “death look” and being utterly embarrassed. Math was my favorite subject, and Mrs. Brown somehow managed to make me dread going to Pre-Algebra every day.
Unlike Mr. Buona, Mrs. Brown didn’t make learning enjoyable; actually, she did the opposite. She made learning a chore and something every student dreaded. When comparing the two different teaching styles of Mr. Buona and Mrs. Brown, I discovered something important about teaching, something that was a key ingredient in producing an effective teacher: enthusiasm. While Mr. Buona had a cheerful disposition and looked excited to be in class every day, Mrs. Brown acted like it would kill her to smile. I quickly learned the effect of having an enthusiastic teacher, compared to a dry teacher, could have on my education.  When I had a class with a teacher like Buona, happy to be there and eager to teach, I was willing to work harder and do better in the class. I think this is because the class was enjoyable, and fun to be in. I actually looked forward to going to school, so school work didn’t seem like such a hassle.
From the time I was in fourth grade I knew I wanted to be a teacher. There are no words to describe how I knew; it was one of those things where you just know. To me it was clear: I was born to be a teacher. Taking Mr. Buona’s World Geography class helped me realize exactly what kind of personality traits I want to have as a teacher. I want to be just as enthusiastic and excited about teaching as he was, and this is where my belief that teachers should be enthusiastic was born. Mr. Buona had such an impact on me that I ended up nominating him for Edinboro’s very own prestigious Golden Apple Award, and on June 2nd, 2008 he won! You can check out the video at !

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cool Tool for School: Top Ten

1. - educreations
2. - Glogster
3. - techade
4. -
5. -
6. - shmoop
7. - shmoop
8. - Library of Congress
9. - Edmondo
10. - google docs

These are my top ten because I thought they were the best, obviously, otherwise I wouldn't have selected them. Also, I chose these ten becuase they ARE the best, no denying it. If you think differently, I'm sorry to inform you but you are wrong. JK, but in all seriousness I found these tools to go above and beyond, not just be like practically every other tool, so congrats:)!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cool Tool for School

Greetings everyone! I was recently given the task to explore the internet for a “cool tool for school”, the next best tool to use in the classroom if you will. During my search I didn’t just want to find something that was interesting or useful, I wanted to find something that really wowed me, something that had the x-factor. After viewing some pretty cool and helpful tools I finally found the one tool I thought was perfect, a tool I would actually use. What is this AWESOME tool you ask? Well let me inform you, it’s called Glogster. Glogster is a form of social networking that allows its users to create FREE (everybody loves free stuff, and if you don’t you’re lying to yourself) interactive posters called glogs. Glogs look like posters, but readers can interact with the content. Creating a glog is super easy too. All you have to do is click and drag to add information to your glog. Users can add text, photos, videos, graphics, sounds, drawings, data attachments and more! You can view two example glogs for two different subject matters by clicking on this link and this link, which I highly suggest doing, so you can view the remarkable potential Glogster provides. Some of you may be thinking, why is Glogster beneficial and how can Glogster be used in the classroom? Luckily for you, I’m going to explain just that. Are you tired of constantly having to make hand-drawn posters—the ones that can easily look messy or get destroyed? Do you wish you could apply your 21st century technological knowledge to schooling? Then Glogster is the tool for you! Glogster is a great tool because it applies to any content area. It can be used for any subject! Glogster can be used in the classroom for collaboration and higher level thinking. Students would be able to create glogs on a topic they feel very comfortable and knowledge able in, and share what they know. Since different students would be making glogs on different topics, Glogster could be used as a search engine within the classroom. Students could go to a peer’s glog and learn new and exciting information they didn’t know before or didn’t quite understand. Glogster is also useful because it provides a way for students to get information in a different format. A fellow peer may be able to provide the information in a clear way so that a student struggling on something may be able to understand. Glogster turns students from passive learners to active learners and is very beneficial for students who are visual learners. Lastly, Glogster could be used as a source to get homework assignments and to check to see what is being asked of them. When it comes to setbacks, Glogster doesn’t really have any—if it did, I wouldn’t have picked it as a “cool tool for school”. The only setback Glogster may have is the same with any other multimedia tool, internet connection problems. Other than that Glogster is a wonderful tool that has so much potential to help students richen their knowledge!

Here is a pitcure of what a glog looks like:
A Basic Glog Example

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Standardized Tests: Good or Bad?

One immensely important issue in education to date is the use of standardized tests enacted by the No Child Left Behind Act. The act was passed in 2001 by President George W. Bush, and has reformed the education system greatly. The act has put more emphasis on what it takes to be considered a “highly qualified teacher” and incorporated standardized testing as a way to test students’ knowledge. While some praise the No Child Left Behind Act, there is also a great deal of criticism about it.
First of all, No Child Left Behind Act’s standardized testing is a damaging asset rather than beneficial, because it restricts students’ education instead of improving; just the opposite of what the purpose is suppose to be. The reason for this is that because of standardized testing teachers have transformed their style of teaching to “teach to the test” rather than teach kids the curriculum of the course. Teachers will spend the entire class teaching kids how to pass the test, instead of helping them develop critical thinking skills and understanding concepts to master the material. This creates students who just spit out the information they learned like robots, rather than making them problem-solvers and more educated people. Also, the test focuses strictly on the core subjects (math, reading, writing, etc.) and completely disregards the arts. Not all students excel in the core subjects, but are more in tuned with the arts. So does not fitting the model make one student more incompetent than another?  
Standardized testing doesn’t just hurt students either, it hurts teachers. Standardized tests are ways to reflect how well a teacher is doing his/her job. However, this is extremely unfair because one teacher wouldn’t be responsible for a student’s entire education. Conversely, multiple people would be involved including previous teachers, parents, and even the student his/herself.  Here is a quick video that perfectly summarizes how critics of standardized test feel:
There are a lot of larger implications that can occur if the issue of using standardized tests to determine the intelligence of student is ignored. As explained in this article, standardized tests could cause separation of students in a school district in order to improve the school’s test score as a whole. For example, the school could remove kids they think might perform poorly, such as the “developmentally disabled” and English as Second Language students, from having to take the test to ensure a high test score average. In addition, the test could produce self-doubt by labeling a student’s intelligence. Some students are just better test takers than others, and being able to get proficient on a standardized test doesn’t prove whether someone is more intelligent, it simply determines who is a better test taker. Lastly, the tests put a tremendous amount of stress on teachers. Teacher’s jobs are threatened by the performance of their students, solely based on one test. This could lead to the firing of many excellent educators because some students couldn’t answer all the questions in a specific amount of time, not because they didn’t know how to answer the questions. Overall, standardized test aren't helpful or necessary, the effects are more hurtful.

A cartoon depicting what standardized testing considers important.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wait, How Many Toes?!

In my SEDU 183 class, my instructor was attempting to learn all of our names before we left class. To help him, he asked us to say something interesting about ourselves when he called our names. When he called my name I said, "This isn't really about me, but my dad has six toes on each foot." My teacher replied by asking me to post a picture of it on my blog, so that's what I am doing. Enjoy gazing at my dad's extra phalange:)

My dad's six-toed foot.