Monday, February 28, 2011

Blog Assignment 6

The Networked Student
By Wendy Drexler

This video truly shows the schools of tomorrow! Through this video Wendy Drexler gives us an insight to learning in the 21st Century and working with "networked" students. Teachers are no longer there to dole out fact after fact, but they are there to teach their students what they need to know in today's world. Wendy shows a student who, after being taught how to use the internet effectively, strives to learn on his own instead of relying on his teacher to do all of the work for him. How does this student "teach" himself? Read on to find the answer.

This student uses his knowledge of the internet and all it has to offer. I really liked all of the tools that Wendy included on this "networked" student of the 21st century's journey. He used scholarly journals found on Google Scholar, he read blogs posted by people from all around the world, and he used Skype to interview professors from top rated colleges. While these are just a few of the tools shown in the video, I believe they are quite impressive. This student has learned so much about the human psyche and created his own opinions to be shared with the world. All of this done with only a little help from his teacher.

While some people would fear that this type of learning would mean the end of teachers, I believe differently. Teachers will always be needed to give students the guidance necessary to form connections and build networks. I am truly excited about being able to give my students the skills necessary to survive in today's society and become life-long learners. I believe the idea of connectivism that is discussed in the video is important in the learning experience. One can never have enough connections in the world, especially if those connections help in the learning process. I can not wait to see the results of how the middle school students and teachers reacted to this type of learning! While I may not feel completely secure in my abilities to teach the "networked" student right now, I will not quit trying to learn everything I can about technology's role in the classroom. I want to make sure that I give my students the best opportunities I can- in the classroom and in life!

A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment

This 7th grader's PLN was really impressive! Everything was very well organized, with all of her school stuff grouped together at the bottom and all of her personal sited at the top. I am inspired to start working harder on my PLN and have got some great ideas on things to add. I also thought that this student was really responsible. Even though she had Facebook and other personal sites on her PLN, she understood that schoolwork comes first. Everything about her PLN looked professional, and I hope with some work mine will be as good as hers.

Why Smartboards are a Dumb Initiative & Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards
By Michael Staton & Bill Farriter

In Michael Staton's "Why Smartboards are a Dumb Initiative", he list two arguments for why he does not like Smartboards. His first argument is that Smartboards don't change the way a teacher teaches their students, it only makes it more expensive to teach. He also goes on to say that Smartboards do not allow for social interaction and allow for adaptive learning.His second argument says that teachers want to buy Smartboards, not for enhancing the way students learn in the classroom, but in order to tell their administrator exactly what they are planning to spend their money on. Staton believes it is just another way for teachers to waste school money, instead of spending that money on really helping the kids.

While Staton had a lot of good points, I found a website that went against many of his points. The website, , had an article titled "Why Use an Interactive Whiteboard? A Baker’s Dozen Reasons!" written by Dr. Mary Ann Bell. In Dr. Bell's article, she lists thirteen reasons for why Smartboards should be used in the classroom. One of her points is that the Smartboards really do get the students to become active in the lesson. Students can work at the board or the computer and change things from suggestions from other students. This work can then be saved and printed for the whole class. The students are no longer sitting bored at their desks, but are able to learn for themselves. Dr. Bell also discusses the cost of the Smartboard. She says that while Smartboards can be expensive, the pay off of being able to use one computer to incorporate the whole class is worth the expense. Dr. Bell gives even more great reasons for why Smartboards should be used in the classroom, and I encourage you to go to her page.

The next article I read was one written by Bill Farriter. In Mr. Farriter's article, he discusses his believe that IWBs are useless in the classroom. He goes on to say that you can do the same lessons with less expensive means and that even with proper instruction on how to use the IWBs, they still show no real use in the classroom. Farriter also believes that schools only incorporate the IWBs into the classroom so they do not seem behind other schools. If a school down the street has an IWB, then we should too!

I do believe that teachers need to be properly trained to use the IWBs and only then will they be effective in the classroom. In Amber Price's article, found by clicking , she discusses how teachers at her school were not to enthused about Smartboards until they learned how to use them. Once learning how to use the Smartboards in the classroom, the possibilities are endless. Price also gives many ways to use the Smartboards in the classroom. You can use the Smartboard for brainstorming and note taking, playing games to get the students involved, using click-and-drag activities, telling fairy tales to preschoolers, using interactive websites, and creating interactive Powerpoints. Amber Price does a great job of showing how beneficial Smartboards can be when teachers are given the right intsruction!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Project #9b Instructional Timeline

United States Presidents of the 19th century and their Accomplishments

The following sources were used in the making of this timeline:

Monday, February 21, 2011

C4K Summary Post 1

C4K #1

The first student I got the privilege of following is Aaron from Ms. Lugrin's class. Ms. Lugrin teaches 6th grade in Canada! I was very excited to be following a student from another country.

The first blog that I read by Aaron was about a skiing trip he took in Asessippi, Canada. He was there with his friend Jesse and they skied on several runs, including one called "Extreme Plunge!" This is what I had to comment on his first blog:

Hey Aaron, my name is Jenna Baxter and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am in a class called EDM310, and we get the privilege to read blogs from other students from around the world and comment on them. You are the first student that I get to comment on! I really enjoyed hearing about your skiing trip. It sounds like a lot of fun! I live in Alabama and we rarely ever get to see snow, much less go skiing! You seem really adventurous for going on a run called the "Extreme Plunge." Did you ever catch up with your friend Jesse? I hope he did not desert you for long! How often do you get to go on ski trips? I know it must be beautiful! I look forward to following your blog! You can follow my blog at
Snowbording in Asessippi


The next student that I was able to comment on was a girl named Yasmine in Mr. St. Pierre's class. Mr. St. Pierre teaches 5th grade at Terryville Elementary School in New York. In Yasmine's blog, "Take a look at this!, she is showing pictures of some animals she saw in her backyard. She took a picture of a blue jay, a raccoon, and a cat, which she posted to her blog. Here is what I had to say to Yasmine:

Hey Yasmine, my name is Jenna and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am taking a class called EDM310, and in this class we get to comment on student's blogs from around the world. You are one of the students I get to comment on. I really think you did a good job on your blog post. I thought it was cool how you added pictures to your blog so we could see the animals that you saw. Is that your cat in the last picture? I have a cat of my own, named Saban, but I am not sure how he would react to raccoons being in his yard! Well, good luck in your classes and continue to do a wonderful job blogging!


The third student that I got to comment on was Rauf. Rauf is a fifth grader at Pt. England School in Auckland, New Zealand. His teacher is Ms. Squires. Pt. England School's blog page was nominated for the best class blog by Edublog in 2009. The blog that I got to comment on was an acrostic poem. This is what it said:

Eats lots
Smiles most of the time
Rides his bike for fun
Always listens to his friends
Hides in lots of places

Here is what I had to say on his blog:

Hey Rauf, my name is Jenna Baxter and I am a student at the University of South Alabama majoring in Elementary Education. I live in Mobile, Alabama (United States). I am taking a class called EDM310, in which we get to comment on other students blogs from around the world. I am commenting on your blog and a summary will be posted to my blog, which you can view by clicking here. First of all, let me say you are the farthest person from the United States that I have been able to comment on, and I am very excited to be able to view and comment on your blog. I really enjoyed reading your poem and, believe it or not, it really relates to my life! I love to eat, smile a lot, ride bikes, and I try to always listen to my friends. Is this poem about you? Also, what does ESRAH stand for, is it someone's name? If that is a crazy question, I am sorry! Once again thank you for letting me view and comment on your blog!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Blog Assignment 5

Eagle Nest Radio and Class Blog

How cute and what a great way to learn! To hear those students doing a radio show about Ancient Rome was really great! These kids really seemed to know a lot about the architecture, gladiators, Cleopatra,and Caesar. I believe that students tend to learn better by doing things hands on, instead of just reading about it. This podcast was a great way to show that. I am sure these students learned so much more by having to do a radio show. It really takes effort and creativity to pull something like that off, and those kids really done it. I hope to be able to incorporate things like this podcast into my classroom when I become a teacher.

Since we had to do a podcast for Project 8, this audio was very useful. Many of the people in my group had never done a podcast before, so we needed some guidance. My group also incorporated the radio theme into our podcast. We also had a host like the kids on Eagle Nest Radio, and each member of our group had something different to report on. Once again way a great way to learn and incorporate technology into education!

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom
By Joe Dale

This video does a great job of showing the many benefits of podcasting. Being fairly new to the idea of podcasting, this video really showed me the wide range of things that can be done. Joe Dale really hit on a lot of things that I had never thought of. One thing that I found good about podcasts was that students who are sick no longer have to come to school and expose others to their germs. These students can stay at home until they feel better, but will not be missing out on important lectures. I think this is reason enough to use podcasts in the classroom, but there were also other things I found interesting.

The students in Mr. Dale's classroom seemed to really enjoy learning through the podcasts. They found that it kept them more interested in the lesson and they could relate better. I believe anything that gets the students more involved is beneficial to everyone. I also liked the creativity that is used in making the podcasts. By encouraging our students to create their own podcasts, we are putting creativity back where it belongs- in the classroom! These are just a few of the benefits of using podcasts in the classroom, but they are enough to convince me!

Podcast Collection
By Judy Scharf

This website was really helpful. In her Podcast Collection, Judy Scharf shows teachers how to incorporate podcasts into their classrooms. She also lists some very helpful tips including getting to know how to use Audacity and listening to other podcasts before creating your own. While I did not get used to Audacity as much as I would have liked to before doing my podcast, I did listen to how other people did their podcast and I thought it was useful.

Scharf also gives some very interesting podcast topics and shows you some ways to research those topics. Some other great things about the Podcast Collection are the links to YouTube and TeacherTube, which show you how to make a podcast. Scharf also gives reasons for why podcasts should be used in the classroom and leaves a rubric that can be used to grade the podcast. I believe this website was very useful and look forward to using it a lot when I become a teacher.

Dog recording a podcast

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Project #8 Podcast

Click here or the picture below to listen to our podcast about E-books in education.

This podcast was a collaborative effort by: Jenna Baxter, Woodie Holloway, Kristan Steele, and Kelsey Robinson.

picture of books going into a laptop

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Blog Assignment 4

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?
By Scott McLeod

First of all, a little bit of what I found out about Dr. McLeod. Dr. McLeod is an "Associate Professor in the Educational Administrative program at Iowa State University". He is also the "Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education." Dr. McLeod has really been as asset in advancing technology in education. I found all of this information, plus more, on

Now on to the blog! I really enjoyed Dr. McLeod's use of sarcasm to show the dangers and importance of technology. Sure the internet is a dangerous place, but please try to show me somewhere that is completely free of danger. Using technology responsibly can only lead to greater advances in education. I read the comment left by Dr. McLeod and agree that most teachers and parents do not know enough about this "new" technology to teach their kids to use it responsibly. As upcoming teachers, it is our job to learn as much as we can about using technology in the schools and show our students all of the benefits. By teaching our students some fundamentals of internet safety and the ways they can use these technological advances in the classrooms, the possibilities are endless!

The iSchool Initiative

While I am usually leery of technology taking over schools completely, I am really looking forward to the schools described in this video. In this video, Travis Allen lays out his plans for a better educational system- the iSchool! Allen showed all the apps that are already available to be used in the classroom and this blew me away. I wish that I would have been able to use this technology when I was in high school. Being able to look up information about the solar system, the presidents, using the calendar to keep track of assignments and due dates; this truly is the schools of tomorrow!

Allen also shows that using the iTouch in schools will not only enhance the learning system, it will also save the students and the schools money. With drastic budget cuts, our schools could definitely use something to help save money. According to the presentation, costs would go from $650 per student to $150 per student. This amount of money is tremendous. Students would also benefit. No longer would they have to carry around heavy book bags filled with four or five books, notebooks, pens, and pencils. Everything could be stored in one device! Also, talk about going green! All the trees that could be saved and all the other resources, this device could really save our planet. I sincerely hope that schools look into this initiative, and that one day all of our schools can be run this way!

The Lost Generation

The way this video was made was definitely different, but I enjoyed it. On first reading it I was scared, but when it was read in reverse it was inspiring. A video like this really catches one's eyes and makes you thing. I believe that everything said was true. We do live in a quick fix society, our jobs do tend to come before family, we are destroying our environment, and we do feel that there is nothing we can do to change this. But like what was said in the video, this is all a lie. We can chose to change the future, and we must. We must put our families first, we must start thinking about our impact on the environment, and we must believe that we "live in a society of our own making." The future is ours and we must decide what to do with it!

Virtual Choir
By Eric Whitacre

Wow! This video really shows how powerful the internet is. It is hard enough to get 185 singers who have never met to perform together, much less when it is all done on the internet. This shows how the internet has truly transformed communication. I have always believed that the internet takes away from that person to person contact, and this video proves me wrong. These singers come from 12 different countries, and without the internet they would have never met or sung together. The internet is a turning point in communication, and when used in the right way can really allow you to connect to the world!

Teaching in the 21st Century

So the question is "what does to teach mean in the 21st Century?" To teach in the 21st Century means you have to stop presenting only facts and statistics to your students, and start teaching them the skills they will need to be successful. I don't mean that we should totally abandon everything we know about teaching today, but we should add to that knowledge. We all realize how important technology has become in today's society and now it is time to incorporate that into our schools. Why not show our students how to use the internet, and all it has to offer, in a way that is actually conducive to learning. Instead of letting the students try to figure out how to use Google or other search engines on their own, let us give them the skills to perform a search that is going to give them the answers they actually need instead of a bunch of useless junk.

Since we know how important the internet is in today's society, why not incorporate it into our classroom. This is a wonderful way to get the students engaged in learning, instead of listening to boring lectures and not really learning anything. As the video shows, kids now days can get all of the information we give them in the classroom by just using the internet. While I used to think this seemed scary, I now think it can be useful. Instead of spending all of our time trying to teach our students all of these figures, we can teach them how to find this information on their own. This will empower them to try to learn even more on their own once they see how fun it can be. Technology is not going away and we must realize that, and see what we can do to add it to the educational experience!

Special Assignment 2

Watson vs. Jeopardy Stars

This article really concerns me. While I am glad that technology has advanced over the years, I am worried if there will ever be a stopping point. Sure it will be great for our students and children to be able to get an answer for any question with just a few key strokes, but if they are able to do this will there be any need for teachers or many other careers? I am not quite sure that I want a computer to be smarter than humans. While this is most likely a reality, with Watson possibly beating some of the best Jeopardy players, I think it is best to be prepared.

We need to continue learning everything we can about computers and how to use them. We must not allow ourselves to ever be that far behind technology. And this notion that computers will be inside our bodies! Please just count me out! I hope that we can find some kind of middle ground between technology being useful and dangerous. I think the next few years are going to be interesting, and I will just continue to expand my knowledge on technology in order to keep up.

Special Assignment 1

A Light Bulb Moment
By Dina Tillman

Watching "Piano Stairs" was a great special assignment! It really made me think how you can get almost anyone to do almost anything if you make it fun. This will be a really great tool to use in the classroom and I can't wait to watch more videos and get more ideas. Also, Dina Tillman is an Elementary major at the University of South Alabama and a former EDM310 student. The video was also sponsored by Volkswagon.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Blog Assignment 3

"A Vision of Students Today"
technology and education
By Michael Wesch

Okay, so this video was different. While I can agree with some of the experiences these students had, I have had some different ones also. I have been in several classes of more than 50 and sometimes more than 100. These sizes just are not as conducive to learning as smaller classes. Instead of being able to talk to the professor about a subject you use clickers to communicate. While this has its advantages, you are still missing out on the face to face time. Another point I agree on is how many professors actually know there students names. I would be surprised if 18% of my former professors knew my name. Once again, this goes back to class size. I can also relate to the multitasking that most college students have to do. I work full time, go to school part time, and have a family and house to take care of. Not to mention making time for friends, working out, eating, and sleeping. Students today have so much on their plates that it is a wonder anyone graduates! I would also have to agree with how much school work students have to do that will not even help them in their future career. It is crazy that a lot of what we learn has no bearing on our future!

Some of my different experiences include not spending time online during class. I don't have a laptop so I definitely don't get to browse Facebook or any other social networking sites during class time. I actually try to pay attention and learn something in the classes I am paying for. Another difference the students not reading assigned material. Maybe it's just me, but I always try to read materials assigned to me in class. I believe reading is very important in learning something new. One thing I would change to reflect these differences is to show the statistics of how many students can actually afford a laptop. Also, show the grade differences between people who read assigned materials and those who don't. I do believe that the educational system does need to be reformed, but I also do not believe it can be done overnight.

"It's Not About the Technology"
By Kelly Hines

This blog really tells it like it is. I could not agree more with Ms. Hines on all of her points. While integrating technology into the classrooms in important, if the teachers using the technology do not understand it how can that be useful? Also, education should not be solely about teaching students how to use technology in order to get ahead in life. Ms. Hines does a wonderful job drawing the line between technology being useful and technology being destructive to learning.

I thoroughly agreed with Ms. Hines' list of four things teachers need to realize.Teachers need to be able to relate to their students on some level if they are to be successful in teaching them. Knowing what interests your students can only make your life easier as a teacher. With this knowledge you can mold your lesson plans to teach these students in ways they can understand. I also agree with teaching and learning not being the same. If you are teaching your students and they are consistently not learning, then clearly you need to reevaluate your teaching skills. See what you can do to improve the learning experience for both you and your students. As stated earlier, technology is useless if teachers do not know how to incorporate it into their teaching. Ms. Hines' proves this point. It is our responsibility as educators ( and future educators) to keep up with technology and find new ways to use it in the classroom. Finally, I like the framework for learning provided by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
It does include technology, but it also includes creativity and innovation. These two things definitely need to be reincorporated into the curriculum. This blog was very informational and I really enjoyed reading it.

"Is It Okay to be a Technologically Illiterate Teacher"
By Karl Fisch

Reading this blog I am left with mixed opinions. First of all, I would like to discuss Terry Freedman's "list of standards for teachers." I do agree with the first statement that all teachers should be technologically literate, however, Freedman loses me afterwards. Teachers should not have to be embarrassed about being technologically illiterate, nor should they be proud. We should not judge these teachers until we have made an effort to enhance their knowledge on the matter. On to the next item on the list: digital natives and digital immigrants. I am not sure there should be a dividing line between "natives" and "immigrants", can't we all be people who are trying to expand our knowledge of technology and work together instead of being labeled. The last three items on the list just make me more aggravated! Why do we have to keep blaming people instead of helping them? Let's just throw principals and other high ranking officials to the wolves just because some teachers have not caught up to today's "standards"! We should all be working together to help the children in our classrooms instead of fighting over who is better with technology. I am sure most teachers need to be updated on the use of computers and other technology in the classrooms, but this does not mean we should scald them pets who have done something wrong. Let's help each other to help the children!

I am much more agreeing with Mr. Fisch's post on teacher illiteracy. He does not want to throw these teachers to the wolves, he only wants them to see how important technology can be in the classroom. The quote in this blog, "If a teacher today is not technology literate- and is unwilling to make the effort to learn more- it's equivalent to a teacher 30 years ago who didn't know how to read or write", really made me think. After reading further into the blog, I really think I can agree with Fisch. In today's society it is becoming increasingly difficult to succeed without knowing how to use today's technology. I can attest to this first hand. Before EDM310, the things I knew how to do on computers was severely limited. With this class I am learning how to do more and more, and I know this will help me when I reach the classroom. Mr. Fisch, along with several other bloggers that I have read, seem to have the same opinion as me: in order to teach our students something, we have to learn it with them. Teachers never truly stop learning!

Social Media Count

These changes are really scary! I mean, you never know what is going to happen in the next few seconds, much less the next two years while I am in school. While I don't believe teachers will ever be obsolete, it still frightens me to see how technology has changed everything. To see how much money and time are spent on computers is eye opening. I guess that I had better catch up with this technological literacy before I get left behind!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

C4T#1 Post Assignment 1

PhantomAsk the Google
Published by Liz Davis

In this blog Liz Davis discusses the importance of Google in today's society. She goes on to say that for any bit of information that we need, the first place we usually go is Google. The downside to Google, according to Liz, is that human-to-human communication is often lost. We may be missing out on connections and relationships that would be gained in the days before Google. Liz does not believe that we should totally abandon Google, but that we should find some middle ground between computers and people.
This is the comment I posted to the blog:
Hey, my name is Jenna Baxter and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am taking EDM310 and you have been assigned as my first teacher to comment on. I will have a post summarizing my visits available by Feb. 6. The link to my blog is and the link to the class blog is I thought that your blog made a lot of sense. Until a few years ago if you would have asked me what Google was, I would not have been able to tell you. Now I rely on this search engine on a daily basis. While I do rely on Google, I also believe it is important to form connections with other people. If you can find a person to give you the same information attained on Google, why not go to a person with real experience on the subject.

"My Educon Struggle"
By Liz Davis

In this blog, Liz Davis discusses her frustrations after returning from an Educon conference. She feels that the same topics are discussed every year, while nothing is done to solve the problems discussed. While she enjoys the conference, and believes everyone does a good job in their presentations, she still feels like more should be done. Davis also feels that some of her frustrations are in part because her expectations were so high. Davis attended her first Educon conference in 2008 and really learned a lot. She was introduced to a lot of new ideas, and also met several people that were influential to her. Davis says she is also tired of complaining about what schools are not doing right, and would rather focus on improving education for the children.

This is what I commented on the post:
This is Jenna again from EDM310. I will be commenting on this blog as well and will have my summary posted by February 6. My blog address is, and you can find me on Twitter @jennabaxter1988.

While I may only be an Elementary Education student, I was quite interested in this blog. After reading it I was interested in finding out what Educon was, so I did a little research. This seems like a great conference where you get to discuss a lot of great topics, especially the importance of technology in education. I understand how depressing it must be to feel like you discuss the same things every year, but maybe some good can come out of it. By discussing the same topics every year you hope to get new insight from teachers who may not have been at previous conferences. Also if the same topics are still being discussed then that means there must still be problems that need to be solved. While you may feel like you can do nothing to solve the problems, talking always helps. Maybe if we all continue to work together we can improve our education system and give our students the future they deserve. Thank you for letting me comment on your blog, it has truly been educational!