My Activity as a Learner and More to Come

Throughout this semester I was constantly getting introduced to new things and ways to work with technology in the classroom. I am not one to stray from what I normally use and have heard about, but as we went along with this course I really started to realize all that was available to me online and could even make life a little easier for me as I finish my education. Many of the techniques that were brought to my attention could actually interest students and help them to learn as well. Because the students we teach live in a digital age, it’s only right that we learn along with them and try to teach them to our fullest capabilities.

Something that made me really appreciate this class was our Independent Learning Projects. We all had to do research on our topic of choice and then continued on with that research each week. I chose to do baking because it was something I enjoyed doing, but instead of baking something from a box I chose to make each good by scratch. Doing this I spent a lot of time looking up different recipes and comparing them to others. And even when my ILP was complete I still had the chance to learn more when I went back through and read my classmates. I won’t say I’m the greatest baker, that’s for sure, but I now know how much patience and time goes into what I researched and baked.

We should always strive to be constant learners, even when we are out of college. As future educators, we should want this for our students as well. Our parents don’t send us to school just so they can get away for awhile, they want their children to learn to the best of their abilities and expect the teachers to do the same in order to teach the students. And I’m sure even out of school a day doesn’t go by where you didn’t learn something new, you probably did without even realizing it. I know some teachers that are teaching something new this year and have to do research on how to they will teach it and find different videos to entertain and draw in their students. Overall, I learned way more in this class than I ever expected to and am grateful for the opportunity to learn and also share my thoughts with everyone.

9 Elephants in the (Class)Room

When we were told to read the article 9 Elephants in the (Class)Room that Should “Unsettle” Us I didn’t expect to get much out of it. After reading these 9 elephants, I now see the issues school systems are having. It’s hard to cram everything that needs to be taught to students in just a whole year, so some things stay out of the curriculum entirely. And just like the title says, we should be unsettled by the fact that when your really think about it, students are not really gaining anything from school but memorization skills and a grade for doing so. We need to acknowledge these elephants in order to make school truly worth ours and the students time.

I think the hardest one for teachers and future teachers to read would probably be number 4: We know that we’re not assessing many of the things that really matter for future success. Personally, this sucked to read because I knew as I was finishing high school back then that I wasn’t ready for college with the skills and techniques I had been taught. But reading that I was true is even harder. You can’t measure everything in school (even though we try) and I think that’s what hurts the students most. When we assume the get it and move on to the next or a student shows creativity that differs than those listed in the book it’s frowned upon.

Number 1 says that students will forget most of the content that they are taught. I know this on a personal level. When it came to test I would just try to memorize the content given to me in the review and then I would go into the test hoping I remembered it all. Right when I handed in my test the information was gone and probably wouldn’t return unless I had a refresher course. I don’t know how teachers will change their teaching techniques so that the content sticks better. Number 3 Deep, lasting learning requires conditions that schools and classrooms are not built for, could be the answer that to number 1 if we chose to acknowledge it. If we have interest or passion in what we are learning and get choices, students will remember the content. Instead students are told to sit there and listen to lectures that disinterest us. Some classroom teachers have figured out a technique that works for their room. The day we figure out a way to reach every student we encounter, school will continue to be a struggle and a bore to many.

‘A’ Assignment- Teens and Social Media

Before I even started reading I had already formed an opinion about teens and social media. My opinion was that it seems like they are addicted to all the different types of social media we have out there. Of course, addicted may not be the right term to use but it’s the first word that pops in mind when someone brings up this topic. Maybe drawn to social media would be better phrasing. But I don’t know if it’s just with teens. I find myself drawn to my phone quite often. Either way, I read through the articles provided to find out more!

This first article I read that was given to us is called How Does Social Media Affect Teens. I found this particular article interesting because it seemed to be in the perspective of a parent. The article was filled with information, including a pros and cons list of the internet. Before reading the list I assumed there would be more negatives about the internet than positives, but from what I read they were about even. Some of the cons were ones we here often like, losing face- to- face interaction with people so they struggle having a conversation that isn’t online. Most were similar to this previous con, that we are coming to an era that will struggle socially and is causing different forms of behavior, such as cyber bullying and peer pressure. I would agree that the internet makes it easier to communicate with someone rather than a personal conversation. I’m not sure how peer pressure is completely involved but I’m sure it can be an issue. For the pros, I didn’t think of many of the items that were listed. Like having answers to almost anything at your finger tips, which is super convenient if you ask me. Another thing that was listed is that the internet is building confidence and fighting depression. I found thta hard to believe because all you hear about is how the internet and ruining lives. I found it refreshing to read that it was benefiting people all across the world that struggle with depression and the likes.

The other article I read was completely opposite of the first one. In this article called Social Media Is Fueling a Scary Trend for Teen Anxiety, talked about how the internet is making teen insecurity even worse. This is what I have always heard about social media and the affects it has on all users, but mostly teens. After reading this article I can see how it can make teens feel “unworthy”, but I also agree that it can boost your confidence as well. So for those who step out of their comfort zone and it ends up paying off, it’s probably an awesome feeling. Others may regret the decision to post something entirely, but can’t really take it back. So making smart choices online is always the best option.

The other article I read talked about how social media is affecting your brain Teens: Th is How Social Media Affects Your Brain. I was not expecting to gain the information that I did from this article. I figured it would be like every other article that talks about the internet and how it doesn’t “hurt” your brain completely, but still isn’t good for you. (It does talk about the brain in a paragraph, but not much) Instead, the talked about how receiving a certain amount of likes online shows greater activity in parts of the brain. I would assume this is because we are happy to be getting likes in general. They even discussed peer pressuring, which above I didn’t see how that could happen online, well after reading I see that people may be likely to click something or like it because their friends did or like that stuff too. I now see how that can be a problem for parents with children who participate in social media.

I know science says that the brain is changing and adapting to technology and the internet, which in turn causes positives and negatives, there always will be. I think that the users are more to blame for how teens’ anxiety, etc. are increasing. We blame it on the internet when it’s actually us typing the comment and sharing it for everyone to see. Maybe when we figure out how to use the internet in a positive way that benefits the user and those around them it won’t be as big of an issue.

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My Digital Story

Building a digital story, at first I didn’t think much of it. As I was looking more closely at them I became extremely stressed when I began trying to create one. I remember a couple I had read and listened to when we were assigned podcasts and digital stories. The first couple of digital stories I listened to were informational. They talked about a specific topic and elaborated on it. So when we were told to make a metaphor of ourselves as a learner or teacher I was a bit worried. I looked at many websites for digital stories and was not impressed with many of them. But it could just be me and not the actual websites.

I chose to decide between two websites: Powtoon or Biteable. My aunt had told me that her students love watching the videos created from Powtoon, but she had never created one herself. So with that knowledge I looked more closely at this website at first. I had my script all ready and was excited to plug it in, but I had to follow what they had already had somewhat scripted. So after finding this out I went onto Biteable. My metaphor that I chose to use in my script is more of me being a tour guide than an actual teacher. In my script I had “if you look to your left, you’ll see an interesting and engaging math curriculum filled with hands on learning experiences.” and a couple more tour guide sayings to go along with that. The only part about Biteable was that they had a word count. So kind of like Twitter with less words.. This was annoying because then I would just have to add another slide on to make them all fit. And since I was using a tour guide as my main idea, of course, I thought it would be a good idea to have like nature things in the background. Well that didn’t turn out quite as planned.

My Biteable took roughly 25 minutes to load the preview, yes just the preview. So after waiting that long for a sneak peek I knew there was no way I was turning back now. I’m sure there might have been better websites to create a digital story, but I found this one the easiest to maneuver and work with. With that being said, I hope you enjoy my (what seemed like it took forever) digital story!

https://app.biteable.com/watch/your-educational-journey-1848994/

My Final Baking ILP!

I really thought about talking a pie for my final ILP, but still haven’t gathered the courage to give it another go. Also, I had to make a dessert for my brother to take for his after- prom this weekend. I couldn’t see kids eating pie at the after- prom so I went with a classic: cookies. I knew they would get demolished by the hungry growing teenagers in no time. I baked roughly 60+ cookies for that night and was surprised when I came how with enough to fit in a decent sized container. The picture below is not all the cookies I came home with. Once again, my family snagged some before I could get a decent picture. it’s my last ILP and it looks like I still haven’t learned anything about taking pictures right when I get the product I want.

I baked 5 different types of cookies for that night: chocolate chip, M&M, white chocolate, snicker doodle, and macadamia nut. I have never baked this many cookies before and I don’t have to worry about eating any leftovers because I am “cookied out”. The cookies I was unfamiliar with baking were the snicker doodle and macadamia nut. The snicker doodle was different than most recipes so I really had to focus. At one point you have to add two teaspoons of cream of tart, which I had never even hear of so I was nervous to  use it. I would say that that they turned out alright. They looked like most snicker doodle cookies I have seen so I was pretty pumped about that.

For the white chocolate chip cookies, I used the same recipe as the chocolate chip ones, but substituted the white chips in for the chocolate. In the macadamia nut cookies, there was actually a lot to this recipe I found. Maybe it was just that particular recipe, but since I had never made them before I just went with it. I add white chocolate chips to these cookies as well as the macadamia nuts.

Overall, baking all of these cookies from scratch was exhausting but I was so proud of myself with the outcome. I have been proud of myself through the entire journey of my ILP. I am so use to baking from boxes that it’s not even a challenge anymore. When I chose to do baking as my ILP, I told myself it would be all from scratch. Baking from scratch was a lot harder than going off of what boxed ingredients say, but it was well worth the attempts. And thanks for following along as I worked my way through different recipes!

cookies- prom

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‘A’ Assignment- Children and Technology

I could only get 3 of the 5 websites to work for me sadly. But besides that issue I learned a lot about technology and the effects it has on our youth. The first article I read was titled: How Technology is Changing the Way Children Think and Focus. I’m glad this article actually opened for me because I was interested in reading how technology could affect students and possibly cause issues at school and in other areas.

The second paragraph is when I really started to take interest in what the article was talking about. At one point in the article the say, “Because the brains are still developing and malleable, frequent exposure by so- called digital natives to technology is actually wiring the brain in ways very different than in previous generations.”. After reading this I was somewhat shook. It didn’t state that the new brain wiring was bad or good, so I continued on with my reading. From what I read it wasn’t a bad thing that our brains our becoming “re-wired” It’s just how we are now a days. But how does it affect their attention?

Technology is training our brains to pay attention differently than reading a book would. They explained how facial recognition, memory, language, etc. all become affected, which in turn affects how we focus. We didn’t really need to hear about a study to know that reading is better for you than technology, but I bet if parents read this article, they might not have their children sit in front of the TV or IPad as much. But it’s not like technology is killing our brains or anything. The study actually found that video games improve visual capabilities and increase reaction time. I found that interesting, because you hear people say all the time how video games are helping with their reflexes, but I never thought it to be true.

The other article I read called: Is Technology Good for Little Kids? stated astonishing  fact that children spend at least 7 1/2 hours a day in front of some type of technology. This blew my mind! But I can see it being true. I feel like I am constantly checking my phone and I’m sure the time I spend actually on it can add up to roughly that number. It says in this article that they recommend children under the ages of 2 to not using any technology or have it in front of them. I didn’t know how I felt about this one. I have many cousins who now have children. And while they cook, clean, etc. they will put an IPad or even their phone in front of them to keep them entertained. I thought it was a great idea until I read through these articles. Now I’m back to being just as unsure as I was before.

The Impact of Technology on the Developing Child was the final article I could open. By this time I was starting to get an idea about how technology is really affecting children and young adults. This article states that the use of technology is not helping to challenge their creativity and imagination. This was one article I didn’t really agree with. Maybe just staring blankly at a TV is not good for you, but I don’t think that all technology has killed creativity. We just had the chance to design and create poster online and it was way easier than making one by hand would ever be. There are even video games that let you start from scratch and create an entire world. Now does that sound like the killing of youths’ imagination? I think they are just using different types of creativity.  And if you read the first article I listed, you can see all the ways technology is helping with motor skills and such.

Overall, I don’t think that technology is horrible on our youth, but I do think we should try and limit technology usage as much as possible. Reading is important and parents should try and make it more of a priority. I said how my cousins set an IPad in front of their kids to keep them entertained while they do adult things, I think that this is okay. I just wouldn’t want my not even one year old kid to already become addicted to it. These articles were very informational and I enjoyed this ‘A’ Assignment!

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Graphic and Visual

So this was my first time using the website http://www.piktochart.com and I was extremely frustrated with it. I created one poster but as I was working on the second poster (which was going to be for a garage sale), it froze on me. And because I hadn’t finished or saved it, my master piece was gone. I found this to be frustrating because I was finally figuring out how everything works and had tried really hard on it, only to have it not get saved. I heard a lot of great reviews for this website so I wasn’t too worried about using it. Maybe it was the operator (sadly me), but I was ready to call it quits after the first poster I designed. And when I finally was gaining confidence in using piktochart…BOOM! My hard work was no where to be found. I tried to recreate that poster but felt like it was not turning out how I had originally had it and was getting even more upset.

Bellow is a fake poster I created for inter mural sports, but it’s nothing fancy and I don’t really know if anyone would truly take interest in it. I made it for college students on campus to see and want to attend. I think the background and the big words make it stand out so if I were to walk by it I would probably take a look at it to see what it’s about. After I put the poster onto WordPress, I now see that most of the lettering looks small and I think people might struggle reading it.

Overall, for my first visual I wasn’t too disappointed with it. I now understand the frustration that people can get from doing this for a living. I knew I wouldn’t do well in advertising before, but now I know for sure that it is not my calling. Maybe using and IPad and a pen to design the posters would have been easier, but I only have my laptop (not even touch screen to help out a little). Working with what I had and the annoyance of what felt like too much time wasted, I figured out how to use the website and now know a little bit more when it comes to operating  it. If I had to create another poster or design for others I might try a different website now that I have experienced Piktochart.

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‘A’ Assigment #2- Language in the Digital Age

It’s obvious that the English language is constantly evolving (fun fact, the word “selfie” is now in the dictionary). But just how much? I was drawn to the article #language: Evolution in the Digital Age https://bit.ly/2HfQbvv, mostly because the hashtag is such a phenom and a worldwide trend, but why? What made it become the hit it is today?

In the article, they state that children under 13 were using hashtag to add emphasis or to signal a comment in their story- writing. Some examples the article gives for using hashtags are: “This a wonderful day, #sunny” and “I have the best family, #fantasticfamily”. The hashtag was developed to be used on twitter! So why is it now crossing over from an app and digital form of communication, into our daily way of speaking and talking to those around us in such a new way? Does this mean technology is giving rise to new types of language?

Unlike emojis, the hashtag symbol doesn’t resemble what it is standing for. So instead of showing a little face to represent how you are feeling, you just have to know and understand what the hashtag is representing. With that being said, it seems as if the hashtag is more linguistic than those ever so popular emojis. Human communication has deep evolutionary roots. It emerges, changes and continues to evolve in contexts of use. This is a natural process, new technology is advancing the range and means available for interpersonal interaction, extending the envelope of the human communication potential. And children under 13 are among the most prodigious of linguistic innovators.

I would say yes to the question the article asked, “Does this mean technology is giving rise to new types of language?”. You hear people who are having a face- to- face conversation use the term hashtag in whatever they are talking about. And we now have emojis that we can use while texting to show our emotions, instead of the reader having to interpret how the sender is currently feeling. And like the article stated, people 13 years old and under are some what the starters of the new and popular things to use for language. So as technology continues to evolve, I’m positive that language will continue along with it. And I would not be surprised if there were a new form of communication created, if the hashtag can bring new meaning to words, then I can’t wait to see what else the future holds.

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‘A’ Assignment #1- Digital Age Teaching

The article I read and chose to talk about is titled 6 Recommendations for Learning in the Digital Age https://bit.ly/1uXct46 . In the article the writer talks about how the shift towards competency- based education will also take a lot of work because it requires a change in thinking and policy. Another challenge is continuing to make sure that student data is secure and private. With that being said, the 6 recommendations for learning in the digital age I found to be very helpful and informational.

  1. Redesign learning environments so that students can learn anywhere, any time, at any place and at any pace: So instead of learning being tracked on a bell schedule, they want students to feel as if the can learn whenever and wherever. Blended- and competency- based learning allows students to learn online and offline on their own schedules and measure learning progress by competencies rather than seat time. Some examples they give are internships, visits to museums, experience other real- world opportunities to help them learn competencies https://bit.ly/1uXct46 .
  2. Enhance the ability of educators to support and guide learners in a networked learning environment: Increase funding for professional development and matching up this funding with teacher quality policies. This way, educators have the tools and knowledge to lead students into digital learning.
  3. Build an infrastructure that will connect students no matter where they learn: Putting emphasize on the importance of students having enough broadband access, along with mobile devices, online content and applications. An E- Rate program doesn’t give access outside of schools or libraries, but there are members that believe students need coverage at home and elsewhere, along with school.
  4. Ensure that digital resources can work together: Because of all the educational technologies out there currently, schools struggle with getting them to talk to each other. They recommended open standard and protocol adoption, as well as tying technology development funding to open standard support. The system that is designed needs to be fluid, open to learners, and flow among institutions, individuals and data systems.
  5. Adopt policies that rank digital, media and social- emotional literacies as basic skills in the digital age: The task force wants to see digital literacy skills become a requirement for students and educators. Some of the options that can make literacy in the digital age a priority could come from the creation of credential system to recognize digital literacy, funding online programs and researching state curricula that includes digital literacy.
  6. Create trusted learning environments: Student safety, data privacy and regulatory revisions to open up learning for younger students becomes a priority. Blocking sites like YouTube actually can hurt students. With YouTube, students can have access to many videos, such as Khan Academy, that can help them further and better understand lessons.

I gained a lot of insight from this article, but numbers 5 and 6 were the ones that stuck out to me most of all. In number 5, they suggest making digital literacy a requirement among schools. I would agree that this could benefit future students, especially because we live in a world full of technology that continues to grow. So sooner or later I can see this become a new standard for teachers. With site regulations being talked about in number 6, I know my school had a bunch of things blocked when I was growing up and then a new principal took over and had a lot of things unblocked. Like the article stated though, many sites that are blocked actually hurt the students learning. There’s tons of websites out there that benefit online learning. I know for a fact that teachers use YouTube videos to draw in their students on a lesson or to help give more of an insight on what is going to be taught.

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Podcasts and Digital Stories

From the hour I spent listening to podcasts, which I have never done before, I found myself drawn more to the criminal stories rather than any other ones. My first podcast I chose to go with was titled Criminal and the episode I chose to listen to was called Casper, Wyoming. I would say this podcast stuck out to me at first because Casper is a common trek for me and my family because we have friends that live there. It’s almost a 6 and a half hour drive to Casper. This podcast was only roughly 20 minutes long and was very descriptive in scenes. It’s nice that at the beginning of the podcast they gave a discretion warning before you listen to it. The podcast starts with two females needing to change their tire on their car. Two men stop and tell them that they can help them change it. Instead of helping, one of the men takes out a knife and it’s all downhill from then on. It even explains the trials and what took place there after.

For my 3 digital stories, I first chose Me and Coaching Story. I chose this story to read first because I am currently a coach and I always want to learn more and new ways when it comes to coaching. It turns out this coaching was not like the type of coaching I was thinking of. It was more like life coaching. The lady narrating the story was from South Korea and talked about how she accomplished her goals in the U.S.A. and wanted to return home to work with young people. She began photography and met a life coach and gained interest in it and started a list of goals and went on a journey to answer questions about herself. And then she became a certified life coach.

My second story was titled Symbols of Texas. It sounds like it a high schooler did this as an assignment. She first talks about what makes Texas such a great state and why it’s so unique. I really enjoyed this story. I learned a lot about Texas from a four minute video. She even added one of her favorite songs about Texas: Deep in the Heart of Texas. The flower named Blue Bonnet, is a flower that grows every spring, but you’re not allowed to pick. There are many interesting facts. It was a cute little video that I enjoyed very much.

The third story is called A Surgeon’s Perspective on Medical Television Shows. I was interested in this story because I have a love for medical shows, such as Grey’s Anatomy, ER, General Hospital, etc. The narrator brings up the first medical show she ever watched, M.A.S.H. She became a vet until her father became ill. She realized then that taking care of people would be more fulfilling. Also, the series ER had a main character that influenced her into becoming a surgeon. She even used a female surgeon on the show to help better explain her job to her family members. She brings up the ever popular Grey’s Anatomy. Stating that she enjoys it, but the story lines are not as believable and focuses more on the romantic parts rather than the medical. (I would agree with this). She overall likes the series because of the fact that it shows just how tight nit of a family you become and how the women are represented very well.

For this being my first time listening to podcasts and reading digital stories, I really enjoyed it. Maybe next time I will try a different podcast that isn’t as morbid. For the digital stories, I liked how short they really were and were all different. My first choice of stories was not my favorite, because it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. The second story was full of facts and entertaining. And my third story was more of my style because it deals with something I was interested in.

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