Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thank You Fellow Bloggers!

Over the semester I have followed the blogs of several of my classmates, and they never cease to amaze me with not only their intelligence, but also their loving nature. Maybe that’s why they will all make great teachers? These students have caught my attention in some way or another and I hope they catch yours too!

On February 20, 2016 Garreth focused on the use of art as a learning tool in the classroom, especially when it comes to special education or special needs students. He mentions that we often overlook its usefulness and similarly its necessity because we programmed to teach straightforward subjects in a one-way manner, when in reality there are many different ways for students to learn about the same topic. By not giving students the option to learn in their own way and express their understanding of it to their educators and cohorts, then we limit their ability to become educated people. We label them as incompetent or unintelligent when it is just a matter of changing up the lesson plan. I thought this was a very touching, and compassionate post and although I tend not to focus on special education due to my own conformities, it made me consider what I am missing.

For this post Caroline chose to write about formative assessment, which drew my attention because it is one thing I struggle with understanding. She mentions Kahoot!, which is a software in which teachers can create educational games or quizzes for students to engage in and in doing so the educator can track understanding and progress. I’ve enjoyed learning new ways to have students actively engage but I also like to learn about ways that teachers can also engage. One thing I find to be most important in a classroom is relevant and intentional information, which is possible when educators fully understand what their students are missing to understand the information themselves. Often times a student will not raise their hand to ask a question out of fear of being judged, so when an educator can provide a anonymous way to track understanding, the entire class can benefit.

LaStacia used her recent blog to discuss communication and collaboration. She specifically talked about Skype in the classroom and the various ways an educator or students could use it as a class resource. Some of the ways include visiting other classes, having a guest speaker, or going on a virtual field trip (which I think is super cool). LaStacia also mentioned that Skype in the Classroom is free to download for educators, students, and schools which I absolutely love. Being able to go outside of the classroom without the hassle of finances and permission gives students and teachers the opportunity to explore a world that is usually out of their reach. And let’s not forget the convenience. We all love when we can access things by the click of a button, and having a doctor or solider speak to your class without having to convince them to leave their home is quite convenient.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Flipping the Classroom!

Boy oh boy! Technology never ceases to amaze me, especially when it comes to education. Educators everywhere are steadily forming new creative and innovative ways to interact with their students and provide platforms for individual instructions. One way of doing this is by flipping their classrooms. But, what does flipping the classroom mean?
By definition, a flipping a classroom is an instructional strategy and a type of blended learning that reverses the traditional education arrangement by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom. It moves activities, including that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom (Educause). 

When creating a flipped classroom, you should think about these four recommended pillars.

Four Pillars of FLIP
Flexible Environment, allowing students a range of times to turn in assignments or being able to change the times because of additions or misunderstandings of the assignment. Having a flexible schedule makes an easier workspace for both students and teachers.
Learning Culture, typically students are bound to only learn what instructors can teach, but in a flipped classroom, students can explore past just the teachers’ knowledge. They can use links, watch videos, review power points, etc. to study other relevant information.
Intentional Content, this is probably my favorite pillar. When an instructor has easy access to intentional content, the students benefit greatly. Every class of students is different and although classes in the same grade level may need to understand the same information, they may have different ways of acquiring that knowledge and a flipped classroom gives them that opportunity. The teacher brings what the students need.
Professional Educator, although I love technology in the classroom, no classroom is complete without an educator. Educators are required to instruct, create, manage, and troubleshoot in and outside of the class. But most importantly, students need to feel as if there is someone still there that cares, watches, listens, and understands. Although the technology can give the student a vast majority of what they need to learn, it can never take the place of an educator that cares.
Flipped Learning Network (FLN). (2014) The Four Pillars of F-L-I-PTM

So, how do we flip a classroom?
He are a few tools for flipping a classroom…

TedEd provides a platform for educators to use videos via Ted Talk, TedEd, or YouTube and create a lesson for students. It also provides tabs that are on the side of the lesson for students to engage in conversations with each other and the teacher regarding the topic, for teachers to provide quizzes to test the students’ understanding, and for students to find more relevant information on the topic via links.

Most educators know how to make a PowerPoint presentation to lecture on a topic on a classroom or provide notes for students. But when it comes to flipping a classroom it can be very important for students to hear your voice to feel a connection with you and especially to provide help to auditory learners. It can also be helpful to use annotation functions to point to particular topics or pictures on your slides and use your voice to explain the importance of that slide or to present your entire lecture.

Well, I hope you all gained a little insight about flipped classrooms! I look forward to creating some myself!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

3-D Printing You Say ?! NO WAY!

Welcome back & thank you for continuing to keep up with my blog!

So, I'm pretty excited about this weeks topic, 3-D printing!
3-D printing is a imaginative and innovative way to create objects right from your home! Or from wherever you can access one, as they can be a bit pricey. There are many different versions and each one may have a few different features, and use different software, but they all pretty much have the same make magic happen!
But seriously, some of you may be wondering what in the world I'm talking about, don't worry, I was in that same boat when the topic first reached me. But to summarize just how awesome this new technology is, here's how it works. A person can either use a software to uploaded an object onto a computer or a 3-D scanner (crazy, huh?) to scan in an object to the computer, that would then go to the 3-D printer, where it would start creating this masterpiece. It does so by using  building and supporting material, similar to ink in a regular printer, that dispenses as needed in a layering form to build the object from the bottom to the top. These objects can range anywhere from a toy dinosaur to a globe, which is why I get so excited talking about 3-D printing.

Stay with me here. Imagine a classroom where anything you needed to teach a lesson, was at your fingertips. I mean, think about it. You want to do a lesson in geography but never thought to buy a globe, so you go on over to your 3-D printer, put in your design, and BAM! You have a globe! Think about how useful this could be in so many classrooms at so many levels. One scenario that comes to mind is a biology class. In both high school and college, how useful it would have been to be able to create cell structures or organs with a few clicks of a button. Kinesthetic learners would have the equal opportunities at learning as do visual and auditory learners. Teachers often instruct by speaking and giving examples or providing text and pointing out key notes both verbally and on a board or presentation, but not nearly as often are teachers able to provide the students with something they can hold to truly grasp the lesson.
I believe that having this technology on hand can greatly inspire both students and teachers to be creative, engaged, and assist in their learning and teaching experience. From counting blocks to the skeletal system, institutions would be able to provide access to some of the most useful and necessary learning tools at the drop of a hat!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Learning From Others...Guest Blogger!

Hey guys!
Welcome to Ashley's blog! My name is Sally Crouch and I am a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and the owner of Schueler's Personal Care home and I will be your guest blogger for today. A little bit about myself: I have 3 children (all grown and out of the house) and 4 step-children (also grown and out of the house). I started my business almost 20 years ago as a Certified Nursing Assistant and went back to school to become and LPN about 9 years ago. Since then I have ran my business, worked for Trinity Hospice Care, and I began my journey as a grandmother almost 3 years ago. In these 3 short years, my husband and I  have welcomed five grandchildren and we have one on the way! Time has gone by rather quickly and life has been full of joy. And although hectic, there is always some things that remain constant. As for my home, that is the importance of reading. Throughout my life, in all aspects, whether it be raising children, running a business, or just making a trip into the store, reading has proved to be the foundation to everything over and over again. When I look back and wonder what I would have done differently, the one thing I never regret is pushing my children to not only read, but to read well. Now that our grandchildren are here, we have the same goal for them. To be able to read means to have opportunities. When you can read, you can reach any goal you set. I grew up with a foreign mother, which  meant I had to depend on educators and myself to learn how to read and that is one thing I never wanted my children or my grandchildren to have to worry about. This is a fine example of just how important educators are. Sometimes it is not as simple as a child can't read because they do not want to, but it is possible they have parents that can't teach them. It is because of people like you all (educators, future educators, or simply individuals that care) that children are able to make all of their dreams come true. When we take the time to sit down and teach a child to read a word, guide them through a book, or use our technology to help them communicate, we are opening doors to their future. We are providing them with the essentials they do to make the next steps of their lives. We are impacting their forever. With many odds against me, I was able to become a successful woman and care for my mother in her elder years. It is because of educators that took the time to work with me and guide me that I am the person I am today and I hope one day, you to will make a similar impact on a child's life. Thank you for taking the time to read a little about me!


Monday, February 29, 2016

SAMR...What in the Web?

Educational Technology has rapidly advanced over the last decade or so. So fast actually, that teaching without it is almost unheard of. I mean, who wants to spend valuable class time writing on a board when they can prepare a lesson on a Flip Chart through Active Inspire that contains interactive learning tools and creative ways of teaching to keep the students engage. Why would someone waste paper and use a poster board to list goals of a lesson when they could use a PowerPoint with all the notes, pictures, and diagrams one could imagine?
Well if you’re like me and wouldn’t dream of taking up valuable class time with something as time consuming as writing on a board, than you would definitely be on board with this guy and his vision of how technology is a fundamental aspect to teaching.

Ruben R. Puentedura

Puentedura created the SAMR model, which explains the educational uses of integrating technology into the classroom. The model breaks down into two sections, each with two parts. In this post I am going to do my best to break down Puentendura’s model to help explain what it is and how it can be applied to our very own teaching practices.

You can find many different videos on YouTube and other useful sites to help you understand just what the SAMR is and how it works. Here is the link and my notes to the video I found most helpful.

The SAMR Explained by Students

·      Section One
o   Enhancement
§  (S)ubstitution
·      Technology acts as a direct stool substitute with no functional change
o   Example: Writing an essay vs. typing an essay

§  (A)ugmentation
·      Technology acts as a direct tool substitute with functional improvement
o   Example: Google Docs to share your essay with other students or teachers for feedback
·      Section Two
o   Transformation
§  (M)odification
·       Technology allows for significant tasks redesign
o   Example: Link outside text and videos in essay
§  (R)edefinition
·      Technology allows for the creation of new tasks that were previously inconceivable
o   Example: students can use multimedia to publish their story they created with the world

While watching the video on the SAMR model, I realized that although I agree and supported technology in the classroom, I never took the time to sit down and think about how vital it is to the students and their education.  In my elementary and on through some of my middle school years, computers weren’t used very much in education. We practiced typing on some little machines and played a few games here and there are desktops, but connecting to the Internet inside of school never happened until I entered high school. In high school, I took a computer applications class, and by the end of it I thought I was the smartest person I knew because no one in my family could do as much on a computer as I could. Now, I’d say I’m nothing above average when it comes to technology. I can do all the basics and catch on to things that are taught to me, but I have no extensive knowledge. However, being able to share files, documents, etc., with other classmates has made life so much easier in my college years. Technology has made everything easier in my college years…

We can use many different kinds of technology in teaching. Our options are almost infinite. For example if I wanted to teach students about the United States and where the states are located and maybe their capitals, populations, and the state flower, I could use a PowerPoint or a Flip Chart. I could include a picture of the entire nation to show what all the states look life together and then break it down state by state. Each slide or page to the chart could include an individual picture of the state; color coded by population in regions of the state with a key, and then a star and the name of the capital where it is located. I could then bring up a picture of the state flower and the history behind it. I could add a quiz at the end and leave blanks for students to fill in information about the state of their choice.  These are all things I can do in a reasonable amount of time, to bring to class to teach students. This is an activity that could hold the attention of the students and allow them to interact, and it could be changed easily if any mistakes were made or if students had their own ideas to add to it. I could also share this file with other educators so that they would be able to easily access it and use it as a tool to teach in their classroom. We would be teaching student the exact same thing they would learn in a basic American History class, but with the fun and exciting integrating of technology!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Is teaching and parenting related? I think yes!

If you have read the “About Me” section of my blog, it might stand out that I am currently a Psychology major that plans to acquire a Masters in Education. Throughout my college career I have found myself falling madly in love with these two opposite yet similar fields and I would like to use this post to explain just how they tend to mingle with one another.
In my current psychology research team, we are studying how teaching styles in the classroom are reflective of parenting styles at home and how they are equally influential on the education of the child as the parenting style is on the lifestyle of that child. Diana Baumrind was a developmental psychologist that identified three different types of parenting styles based on the characteristics of “demandingness” and “responsiveness” between the parent and child. These three styles include Permissive, Authoritative, and Authoritarian. Other researchers later discovered a fourth type, neglectful or indifferent, but for the sake of applying these concepts to teaching, we will stick to the original three. The idea is that a neglectful or indifferent teacher, is not a teacher. Permissive is a possibility but to be neglectful would mean to be absent and to be absent is to be out of a job, therefore it’s not really something we have to worry ourselves with when it comes to education. Permissive parents are usually described as indulgent in that they give in to their child’s every want and whim and typically do not set nor enforce rules or structure in their house. Authoritarian parents are on the opposite side of the spectrum in that they set strict rules and expect the children to abide by them out of fear of some form of punishment and they typically do not show any flexibility.  Lastly, authoritative parents, fall directly in the middle. They provide rules and structure and expect their children to abide by them, however they listen and reason with their children. There has been plenty of research over the past few decades to support authoritative parenting to be the “ideal” parenting style, but we now have research to also support it as the ideal teaching style.
Studies have shown that students with authoritative teachers find themselves to be more interested in the class and academically successful. Some researchers have done broad studies in just observing the teacher and class; others have gone as far as evaluating the teachers and the test scores of the students. Regardless of the method, they all had the same findings. Authoritative teaching styles are far more beneficial to the students than permissive or authoritarian. Studies have showed student scoring higher on test, being engaged and respectful in the classroom, and even having a liking of the teacher. All of these things make for an academically successful student, which is why this is something present and potential educators should take into consideration. When you are overly strict and instill fear in children, they tend to block you out to avoid contact. However, on the opposite end of that spectrum, when you allow them to do as they please, they tend to lose respect for the teacher and do not stay on task. The idea of the authoritative teaching style is that educators are able to enforce rules within reason and allow for some flexibility when it comes to special circumstances. Authoritative teachers are able to set a lesson plan and have students incorporate their own ideas into it. And there should be a level of respect where the students understand you are not their “friend” but you do care for their wellbeing.

Most past studies have focused on younger ages between preschool and fifth grade, but there has been recent research to support the same idea in a college setting. My research team is focusing on college professors and students’ class satisfaction as well as how well they liked that particular professor and comparing those results with the reported teaching style of the professor. It will be interesting to see these results in our own university and I’ll be sure to share them all with you! Or you can watch me and my team present it during Alumni Weekend on April 29th!