Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012

See You When I See You...

Well, it's all over. Class is out! For the teachers I will restate it like this, class is out???? :(
I'm just having fun, summer was not all that bad besides the extreme amount of stress. I met cool new people who are fun and got great instruction from the instructors.
            The last class on Friday seemed appropriate and worthwhile to me. We got to meet real teachers and get their opinions on technology. From what I heard I remember thinking that the different teachers all had different access and requirements with technology, and therefore I suggest flexibility! One must be flexible with technology to survive in different environments. If you act like a stubborn old person and you get put in a high tech school you are going to have some troubles. On the other hand if you are a high tech individual and you are at a low income school that doesn't have good access to technology you are going to have to find a way to continue without the technology.
            I liked that we didn't really have to do anything that day. We were very stressed out from the exams on Thursday and we still had big projects due on Sunday and Monday. So it was nice to just sit, relax, and listen.
            After listening to these four we went into the biggest available room in the social work building...which wasn't big enough (I got a seat though, so I'm not complaining). It was very disheartening to hear how so many people have down talked the instructors. I personally have thought that this class was always fun to listen to, and enjoyed the interesting topics that came up from it... BE MORE POSITIVE PEOPLE!!! I did mention that the librarian lesson went on a bit too long a couple weeks ago, but I meant nothing bad by that and in retrospect I should have tried to find more relations from it to teaching. I have learned from this class that I need to be more flexible. If certain technology will benefit myself or my students and it is available then I should use it despite my own fear of technology.
            I think I closed out this summer with a much better attitude towards technology, and can't wait until we get back to class again (In a sense, because in the other sense I hope this vacation lasts for forever.) So, I'll see you guys when I see you.


            So the edublogger I looked at was Mr. Benson, an eight grade teacher at Marietai Beach school. His blog seemed sort of opinionated, but had ideas that I agreed with mostly. The ideas were logical and interesting as were the graphics that he used. that is the edublog link. I decided to look outside the box of recommended edubloggers provided by the instructors to see what more mediocre edubloggers looked like, as I do not see myself being one who would get his blog referenced to have students look at.
            I also looked at this blog seemed to be focused on connecting with the students. I mean, what student would not be interested in "Tree Houses Harry Potter Would Love"? Though certainly less educational it is a good way to interact with your students and let them know that you too are human.
            These edublogs were interesting. They show students that you are human, and you can really have fun with them. Teachers may use these to post ideas about class and expand students knowledge in a unique interesting way. I think that these blogs are just another example of being creative with technology and trying to reach your students.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Best Class Reflection Ever

            Today's class was fairly interesting. I surprisingly had very little trouble finding North Quad and the specific room in it. I should mention that I had no idea how to use Evernote, Diigo, or Dropbox before today. I also had no idea what they were, or that they even existed. In that sense today's class was useful in helping me learn new useful online tools. My group consisted of myself, Rachel, Rachael, and Mikolaj. We finished decently fast, but that doesn't mean we didn't learn anything or that our presentations were bad. Everybody gave in depth looks into their subjects, and we all learned a lot from everyone's individual presentations.
            My presentation was about Skype. I personally had never used Skype before setting up my account last night. My groups seemed to find it strange that I had never used Skype, and they all had previous accounts. Since they all had Skype already my presentation was shortened, because I didn't have to give them an in depth look at how to set up Skype. I felt as though my explanations of how to use it were also kind of useless to the others, because they all had prior in depth knowledge on Skype. I still did my presentation, but there's no way it was of any use to those who I was presenting to because they already were familiar with Skype.
            We all emailed each other our paper explanations so that we could view what the others were saying as they said it. Again, everyone was well prepared to discuss their topic amongst the group. I ended up downloading and making an Evernote account, a Diigo account, and Dropbox as well.
            To end class the teacher talked for about 45 minutes. She discussed the importance of the subjects that we covered. Also, she had us join a secondary mac group on Diigo. Also Google + was briefly mentioned and after class the other Matt mentioned that there was something strange about my google +. If you end up reading this could you comment on what was up with my goolge + account and blog, other Matt? It was kind of hard to understand but what I gathered was that there was another persons stuff, with pumpkin drawings and stuff, linked to me and my blog through google + somehow. Though I'm not good with technology so I do not quite understand exactly what he was talking about. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Class Reflection

            I could not make the class, but I have talked with fellow students to see what I missed. From what I understand the class met at the Duderstadt center where they split into two groups. One group met with a speaker who discussed how he used angry birds in the classroom, by having students set up catapults and do a real life version for trajectory in math. This got me wondering, how useful is this in teaching the students? Did they actually learn the content? Well, either way I'm sure it was fun.
            The student I was talking to also told me that a  paper was handed out with certain symbols on it and asked for them to try and figure out what it meant. This student showed me the paper itself to help me understand, and I had no idea what it meant. I take it that this activity was meant to show us how sometimes students might not be able to understand our own content area, it's essentially like a foreign language to them so we should be understanding
            From what I understand in the other part of class they set up a sort of profile, though I do not remember the actual name of the website itself. I think this would be useful for looking for a job, based on what I saw (the student showed me the website). This day sounded like it was fun and it's too bad that I could not make it.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Video Games and Teaching?

            I myself am a gamer, to a certain extent, so naturally the subject of gaming as it relates to the world was interesting to me. If I get a day off I love nothing more than to sit around and play video games for hours on end. Though I have a very narrow selection of games, I love to play them as often as possible still. My wife currently does not allow me to play very many video games though, and I can see why. They do take you away from the real world and as an adult I need to be responsible about real life things. I agree with Gee in the sense that video gaming does help you escape the real world, because the life in the game is structured so that you are doing something extraordinary, and the game is structured to make you struggle to reach that point. Shouldn't school be set up more like this though? Shouldn't school push students to extraordinary measures and help them to accomplish their goals in a sense where they enjoy it and can take pride in their work? The schooling I was involved in never did so, but it's an intriguing concept. I have no idea how you could set it up, but I'm definitely interested and think it could be applied to class.
            I had never thought of the possible implications that gaming has. Once the thought was put out there for me to see though an invisible barrier broke in my mind and I was all like, "Whoa". I actually went and got my wife(who restricts my video game time) and said something around the lines of "You see, I need to play the video games. So that I can be prepared to save the world in real life". To which she responded with a quick "no". From what I said there though you can see the struggle with this concept. How do you relate the want to learn and save the world in video games to real life?
            Gee's reading and McGonical's talk at Ted were both very interesting. I agreed with almost everything Gee and McGonical were saying. For instance Gee talked about how in the video games if we fail we can just try again, but there are harsher consequences in the real world. These games really do push young people to try hard to build knowledge, if only we could translate that to the real world. McGonical talked about blissful meaning, social fabric, urgent optimism, and epic meaning. If we could apply these concepts to schooling it would be a much more enjoyable place, and we may get better results from students. However, I do not think the solution is to use games but rather to take principles from games and apply them to how you set up your class. For instance, McGonical talked about games that students could use to learn... As a young person and a gamer myself I can tell you that nobody is interested in playing an environmental saving video game. You can force them to in the classroom, but the majority of kids would much rather be having fun playing mario or call of duty. (This blog is being weird and I can't see the bottom of the screen where I am typing now.. so I am typing blind and if I make spelling errors I apologize.) Of course I'm sure they could make educational games that are interesting, but they won't be interesting to the level that a real game is.
            I believe that you can use this information to set up your class modeled after video games. The 16 learning principles provided in the Gee article are what you should look to in how to relate video games to the classroom. Though I'm not sure how I would do this or set it up, I did find this topic to be very interesting and would love to see if this develops more in the future.

Monday, July 16, 2012

July 13th Class Reflections

            I very much so enjoyed class last week. Though I'll admit that when I first look at the syllabus and saw that class went until 5 I was a little bit uneasy. I though the variety of approaches that we took to looking at teaching with tech this week kept the class interesting and helped time flow by painlessly.
            It was pretty cool to see the Scarlett kids in the beginning, and to see the courage of the young students who were brave enough to stand up and talk in front of their classmates, as well as the University of Michigan students, and the professors. I enjoyed working in the Brandon center and thought that the librarian talk was useful. We discussed how we would use the soda ban in our science group with a librarian who I think was named Pam? I'm not sure anymore, it's been a few days and I'm bad with names (Though I call John "Rob" on purpose, and you all should too). If you want to see our results they are here
            I think that I may be the only person to post a negative thought on this blog from what I've seen so far. So excuse my lack of rainbows and butterflies but I thought that our conversation with Pam lasted a bit too long, and by the end of it we were going too far in depth about stuff I will never use. I did enjoy it at first, but by the end it was hard to pay attention because I felt like there was no apparent reason to pay attention. I, being human, have trouble paying attention to irrelevant subjects. My other group members that I talked to did not feel this way though, so this could just be me.
            To end the day we did podcasts. Now excuse my re-emergence of rainbows and butterflies, but I loved this! The atmosphere was positive even though we were there late on a Friday night. It seemed like most people were having lots of fun with this(I certainly had fun, even though my best podcast ever didn't save. I proceeded to make up a tribute song to that podcast on the spot, which was fun.), and it was just a good way to mix it up on us. Overall I enjoyed the class, loved the variety of approaches and how we switched to the Brandon center in the beginning. Looking forward to next class, hopefully they can keep things interesting as they did this week.
Peace out, Pierson.