Podcast Reflection #11 Reinventing Education

Watch this video first:
Okay, this isn't actually a podcast, its a video, and I thought it was awesome, and I would really like to use this program in my classroom. Although he didn’t detail how it works for English, I imagine the Kahn Company found a way. I loved this idea of flipping the classroom. I wonder why more people haven’t thought of it. Even the smartest kid or the fastest writers can’t keep up with everything a teacher says. And even if you could, it is nice to be able to re-listen and review. The only down side stems from the fact students can’t ask questions right away, but since when was lecturing interactive? Students can ask questions the next day in class or email their teacher. I particularly like how the program shows teachers where each students pauses, what they focus on, what problems they miss, how long they spend on a problem. That way a teacher can identify what problems a student has because sometimes a student doesn’t know why he or she is struggling. This is what Kahn calls humanizing education. This gives even students in large classes more one-on-one time with their teacher, since the teacher isn’t lecturing.
I particularly like how it allows students to pace themselves. I personally either was on the class level or ready to move on. If I could have continued working when others were either a head of or behind me, I could have learned or accomplished more. Some concepts are just harder to grasp for sometimes; this structure gives them that time. It doesn’t allow for the “swiss cheese” style learning that Kahn mentions. Students aren’t expected to master all the information, just 70-95 percent. Through this program, they do master it.
I also think it will be helpful for teachers with an incoming class to view their progress. The teacher will know before class starts where they might need more review, where the classes’ (and individuals’) strength lies. This will save teachers time getting a feel for this class (at least in this respect) and allow them to get into their subject matter quickly.
I am looking forward to more wide-spread use of this system, and I hope to see it in my classroom one day (soon).


Podcast Reflection #10

Tech Chick Tips 3/7
This episode of the Tech Chick Tips was short and sweet. They hit on several good resources to use in the classroom. They mentioned there are going to be a lot of changes to Wikispaces. They are adding the “extras” that teachers use the most. This means the sites will be even more teacher friendly. And they are now allowing college professors apply for free wikis that use to only be available for K-12 educators. (Or as the Tech Chicks pointed out, now these professors won’t have to lie or their application!)
The girls mentioned a cool alternative to Google Docs, Type With Me. It is the same concept—share the document and every can edit at the same time—but it doesn’t require a user name or password, like Google Docs does. It even has a “time slider” that allows viewers to see all the changes made to the document. You slide a bar and it shows all the edits and changes.
A neat resource made directly for teachers is an interactive Bloom’s Taxonomy Chart. It has each level, and in the level, it has different resources that support that level of learning. It’s a good place to go to when you need your class do move to more advanced assignments.
The other resource I thought was neat, especially as a future English teacher, was Weboworm. This site uses visuals and words to help students understand vocab words. They draw a picture and use the word in a sentence. At the bottom of the image, they give the definition, and below this they provide some history and the correct usage. These aren’t pithy little words; they could legitimately be used as high school vocabulary.


Classroom 2.0 Reflection

I was a bit unsure about having to manage another social media site, but this one seems like a good combination of worthwhile information. The parts I liked best were the discussion features, the groups and the shows/podcasts. I really like discussion forums because they allows for far more in depth questions and responses. On the site, someone could pose a question and anyone could respond or ask related questions. It is a place to ask very specific questions or pose theoretical idea and garner reactions. People ask anything from how to use a specific technology to what are good ways to reward effort for Kindergarteners. I learned a lot during my general search—including how more and more teachers were having students make movie trailers for novels (which I did and enjoyed during high school). The teachers gave examples of good ones and had recommendations about facilitating the endeavor.
When I explored the groups aspect of the website, I realized this was a great way to find specific discussions, instead of filtering through over 700 pages. This option lets you join a very specific group for a topic and ask questions. For example, there is a group for beginning Classroom 2.0 users. People ask more “beginner” questions about blogging or how to protect students when they do a lot of online work. I found this very helpful; I found better ways to use this website and learned a few things to mention during this blog!
The last aspect, that I am glad I finally found, is the podcast/show portion. I had looked before to do podcast reflections over them but was unsuccessful. It linked to their own podcasts and those of related sites, like The Future of Education and their archives of podcasts. As you can tell from my other entries, these podcasts are excellent ways to learn about new technology (I often multitask and clean my room, so they are doubly productive. I think it is very interesting that Classroom 2.0 has live shows. Unfortunately, I don’t think I will be able to listen to their shows, but they seem like very productive and helpful ways to get instant access to information and ask questions to the people running the show.
All things considered, I think this website will be useful while I am in school learning, but will be even better once I know what issues I am facing in the classroom and need to seek answers.


EduTecher Reflections


Something I haven’t looked into very much yet is ESL students. One website I found on EduTecher was Breaking News English. This provides simple articles each day that provide very in-depth lesson plans for ESL students. It provides pre-reading activities that deal with ideas and words. It help student understand words that might be more difficult and understand them better. It will also help prepare them to understand the article. It then has worksheets ands activities to fill out during/after reading. It gives suggestions for discussions among students. Then it gives options for homework and extension. It can be the lesson plan for the day or part of the day. They also have many lessons that are based on themes. The style of the lesson is very similar for all the articles, but there are so many options it should be easy to vary or alter.
Another resource I had heard of but not explored is Books Should Be Free. It is an excellent resource to find classic books free. This can be an excellent resource for people who simply enjoy audiobooks or for people who don’t have time to read. In the classroom this could be extremely helpful for students who need some help reading—for whatever reason. The website is easy to navigate and downloading is simple. The only draw back is the books available are older, but they have “the classics” that are often read in high school. Probably most of the books would be too difficult to use with elementary or middle school kids—though there are some suitable books. And for a website giving away books, they have a large selection.
FunnelBrain is a website that allows students and teachers to create flashcards about any subject. These can be used for the obvious study methods—vocab words, plot details, characters. Anyone with an account has access to the note cards created by others, so you might just have to add a few to an existing deck, instead of creating all new ones. Students and teachers can also create quizzes either for practice or for real testing. The cool part is all of this website is all these resources can be shared with a study group. Study groups can create flashcards, quizzes, slideshows and blogs. It is a resource that encourages cooperative learning and preparation.

Podcast Reflections #9

I find the open-source conversation very interesting because I don’t know a lot about it, but I know that I probably won’t buy Microsoft Office anymore. There are so many great open source programs available. I just worry that they won’t be compatible with Macs and moving files from Macs to PCs. I occasionally have difficulties with Microsoft. I guess I will just have to do some exploring when that time comes. On the Driving Podcast, Steve Hargadon talks about the open source world he has created. He said schools are clamoring for free software and resources because Kansas’ debt is huge. One place they are turning is open source. He says many schools are reluctant to change from already existing software because they have something established. Schools that are using this type of software didn’t use the original version, so they aren’t replacing anything. Steve noticed a lack of support of teachers/schools using or looking to use this software. So he created resources to help. The website is http://wiki.k12opensource.com/. On this site, there is information from the basics (what is open source) to success stories and lessons to go along with the software. It is designed to be a community supporting each other using open source. There is also a discussion forum to ask questions and talk to other educators. They also have a blog where different resources are highlighted, the entries are old, but the website says they are working on it again.

Kan-Ed Reflection

When I arrived at the Kan-Ed site, I started playing around with NetTrekker. It is awesome. I took a “two birds, one stone” approach and searched for information for my Unit plan for my Middle Level Education class. I am doing a unit on mythology from different ancient cultures (Greek, Egyptian etc…) to tie with the Social Studies standards for 6th grade. When I searched Greek mythology, so many excellent resources came up. After deciphering the “readability code” I was able to instantly judge whether this would be appropriate for a 6th grade class. It was great to be able to see what was “teacher approved and “student approved.” It helped me sort through all the resources. I have already bookmarked some resources and will definitely be back to explore even more.
I then moved to Thinkfinity, and I repeated my same search. It brought up equally interesting results. I enjoyed how this website gave you entire lesson plans/ unit plans. I will definitely be able to incorporate these into my unit plans for school and when I am really teaching. This is a great resource for any looking for ideas for a lesson or help mapping out an entire unit.
Thinkfinity also had great professional development ideas broken down by grade level. I like how it didn’t lump “high school” all together. It had 9, 10, 11 and 12th grade. Sure, there is a lot of overlap, but Freshman and Seniors need different academic challenges and lessons. It has advice on everything from how to figure out what your students are really interested in to explanations of how online and print readings differ. Many of the resources will be helpful to new teachers looking for effective ways to talk to students.
There are so many great resources available on Kan-Ed. I don’t have time to look at all of them yet. But the website is definitely worth a visit.