tagxedo

EDUCATIONAL BLOGS

The first aspect of this blog is reviewing some different blogs and thinking about: 1) the credentials and qualifications of the bloggers, and 2) the three things I learned from the blogs I read (link to the blog is attached).

I think that the credentials or qualifications of blogs is just that they are a person that talks about content with facts. Whether they site books, studies, bring in speakers, or personal experience, they can blog. Both Vicki Davis and Dr. Will Devamport III include videos or podcasts with other professionals. Others such as Judy O’Connel cite other blogs or credible books. And Nicholas Provenazo sites his own personal experiences, including projects he has done (almost like a diary) and student work. Therefore, anyone can blog. The key to it being successful is if the information is 1) easy to read/listen to, 2) credible or new topics, and 3) applicable to the audience. Here are some blogs I read and looked into.

 Dr. Will Devamport III

I thought this was neat because he has videos about his talks with different professionals. One video was about Donna Luetjen, who talks about staying healthy living. This is something I need to work more on this myself because I spend more time on lesson plans and things for students more than taking care of myself personally. She said how it is important to being a good example to my students, so being inshape will help show to students what a healthy lifestyle is (physically, emotionally, and psychologically).

Vicki Davis

I enjoyed her blog site even more because Vicki has a bi-weekly Internet radio show called Every Classroom Matters which can be played on BAM Radio network. I listened to the podcast about 7 Tips for Teachers Who Have No Interest in Coding. He mentions that you can incorporate math or other areas into the classroom, such as having 1st graders code a play that they have been reading in class. The video is not as long as the one from Dr. Will Devamport III, and it was easy to follow. His point is being confidence in the classroom and confidence in learning and trying new things and confident in learning coding! They mention the book, Help Your Kids With Computer Coding and the site http://www.dk.com/uk1/computercoding/index.html.

Judy O’Connell

Judy O’Connell has some created her blog on WordPress, and has included many references to books in her post about E-learning in Higher Education. Her blog is different from the other educators because she doesn’t have podcasts with others but is more reflective on content she is looking into. Some of the books/blogs references that I am interested in looking at in the future are:

Thinking Collaboratively: Learning in a Community of Inquiry

The Other End of the Scale: Rethinking the Digital Experience in Higher Education, from the Educause Review.

Nicholas Provenzano

This teacher’s blog, dubed the “Nerdy  Teacher” has promoted himself for professional development use, as well as has some interesting posts. One was about “Are Study Guides Extinct?” This aspect was interesting for myself and I might do this (italicized section below)  myself in classrooms because I had this problem as a student myself.

I started off slow and started to use the Discussion Board with my Honors students only. I placed a few questions for the students to answer and allowed them a week to answer. One of the requirements for each question I posted was that they answer my question in 5-6 sentences and that they respond to a fellow student in 3-4 sentences. The biggest problem I encountered was that many students waited to the last minute to respond to the question and forced the most proactive students to wait until other responded. To remedy this, I offered extra points to those first two students that would answer the question to encourage those to start early. That solved the problem quickly. The improvement in recall has been amazing. Students are taking the question I post and answering it fully, but the comments they are making on other students’ remarks are incredible. The act of synthesis is a tough one for many students. DB’s offer students a chance to create their own answers based on the answers of others. No longer to they feel compelled to spit out the same thing I talked about in class.

Mainly, his point was that Study Guides might now be replaced with discussion boards, which is a fair and valid way to study more over time than all at once craming!

WATCHING THE VIDEOS:

The second aspect of this blog is watching videos and seeing what concerns or surprises I had with the information brought up, as well as the impact it has on me as a prospective teacher.

A Vision of K-12 Students Today

This video, created in 2007, was interesting because it was honing to the point that teachers do not have knowledge of technologies such as podcasts, wikis, blogs (1:30). They also had the quote, by “2016, the largest English speaking country will be China!” Interestingly, this is actually not true, but was a good prediction. According to Maps of the World, China is not in the top 10 (“Map of the World”, 2014, 1). I struggled to find a current 2016 amount, but I am sure with the population of Chinese, that could be the top speaking country.

http://www.mapsofworld.com/world-top-ten/countries-with-most-english-language-speaker-map.html

They also mentioned the parts of bloom’s taxonomy, such as evaluate, create, all leading to the idea of “THINK”.

Rethinking Learning: The 21st Century Learner | MacArthur Foundation

This video was much more professional and was created by the MacArthur Foundation and Pearson. John Seely Brown, Co-Chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge, said that “hard core gamers want to be measured because they want to see how much they are improving”. Interestingly, he says that if they aren’t learning, then it isn’t fun. I think this can be linked to school because if students are gamers, and they aren’t learning, the won’t see school as beneficial and will give up or stop trying. Mimi Ito, Associate Researcher, UC Irvine; Lead Researcher, The Digital Youth Project, had some interesting points as well. She said it is important to have opportunities for students to not just be immersed in new concepts all the time but actually able to reflect on what they are learning and aspects of their everyday life; therefore, not abandoning formal learning, but coordinating it together with informal learning to help students achieve at their best. This connects with Blooms Taxonomy as students are not just regurgitating facts, but reflecting upon what they know and see and creating connections between ideas.

Reimagining Classrooms: Teachers as Learners and Students as Leaders | Kayla Delzer | TEDxFargo

This last video was one that interested me the most because she started the time talking about how she designed a classroom differently than the normal desks all in a forward direction. I am interested in doing this myself when I have my own classroom. She also had some interesting points, some that I agreed with and others that somewhat concerned me.

Release the power – Student teaching student model. This is switching the learning to constructivist learning, where students are more student-centered. Genius Hour– where they study what they are passionate about and teach it to others. I looked it up and found it as a positive source for future instruction for students who are older.

Embrace purposeful technology – “If something is boring on paper, it will be boring on an iPad.” Students need to be doing project-based technology. This is a fact that has been encouraged by Dr. Parker and by other professors I have had as well. It makes 100% sense, but I wonder when you decide when you use technology to make a product look professional and when you use technology to do different learning ideas.

Don’t feed the fears – She focuses a lot of cell-phones and how that we need to use it. She also focuses on the fact that YouTube should be used. However, I think it is important to make sure that the technology being used is purposeful. She seemed to somewhat counteract what she said just a minute ago as she said that technology needed to be purposeful but she did not give any examples of how YouTube or cell-phones could be used. Also, unless teachers use Safe Share or TubeChop.  the YouTube videos will show other videos and advertisements.

Make Global Connections – You can know do a virtual field trip to locations such as the Smithsonian or even to the stratosphere. She talks about how we should use technology to get our kids out of their box. I agree with this, especially when I have seen classrooms do geography “Where are you?” true or false questions with another classroom to discover where they are located.

Reinvent the skills of today – Work on communication and grit skills and finding their success through failures. This is so important because when you have troubles, it depends on how you overcome them, not how you always do the best job at it.

Finally, I agree with her last point, “technology, laws, standards” will change, but “relationships between students and passionate teachers will always be the foundation of successful classrooms.” This is what I firmly believe in, relationships with the students. Hearing this from her made me encouraged that this should always be the focus of our classroom, not all the rigid standards, laws, and requirements.

TAGEXDO & WORDLES

The third aspect of this assignment is exploring Wordle & Tagxedo and connecting to how I would use it in the classroom to communicate information about the subject I am teaching.

Wordle is neat but it can be somewhat problematic when you have words that are associated together that have two parts. Therefore, I had to make dashes on the states such as New York or New Hampshire. I don’t think I would usually use wordle, but a student who likes words more disorganized might enjoy this format more.

Tagxedo is a bit more interesting in my opinion because you can pick different shapes out the words. This one would be a bit easier to connect to the ideas in the pictures, as you could have students make connections between the design of their tagxedo and the words used in their creation. It also has a lot more editing capabilities, so this would allow students to be more creative and take more time personalizing the tagxedo to the format of their interest. Students could use this when thinking about graphic designing and how to capture the interests of the people they are selling a product or item to. This site has more of a changeable algorithm, so students could be asked to calculate the ratio between the words shown, their size, length of words, and differentiation in color. This could be checked on the tagxedo site under the area “Word-Layout Options”.

WRAP UP & REFLECTION:

Genius Hour is a new site that I had not heard of before, so I am thankful for the Ted Talk video shown. I think the most recent videos that are professionally done are better with the information and they often lead to other YouTube videos of content that are beneficial.  When I looked up their website, I found a blogger, Chris Kesler, an 8th-grade science teacher that blogged multiple posts that are beneficial to myself implementing this type of project into the classroom:

Making Time for Genius Hour

Approaching Your Administrator about Genius Hour

How to Introduce Genius Hour to Your Students

Genius Hour Ideas (for brainstorming  8-10 week project topics , I might make it shorter after trying it once myself).

Setting Expectations During Genius Hour

This technology is more of a concept than an actual product, but they could use tagxedo or wordle as part of the display of their findings of their project.

Also, I learned about coding technology through searching blogs myself! Scratch is a program I would be interested in using with my students, especially when we are learning about x and y lines, and 45, 90, and 180 degrees.

Finally, I have done Tagxedo and Wordle beforehand, but I forgot what they were called and did not remember where they were till we were given the assignment, so I thought it was helpful to revisit them so I could add them to my Symbaloo of teacher sites!

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