Thursday, April 28, 2011

C4T#4 Summary Post

Keeping Kids First

kids sitting in a circle reading a book

For this C4T's assignment, I was assigned the blog page "Keeping Kids First." Kelly Hines is the author of this blog. She is a fourth grade teacher in Washington, North Carolina. The blog that I commented on was Read Across America Day. In this post, Kelly talks about Read Across America Day (March 2), which celebrates Dr. Seuss's birthday. In order to celebrate this day, Kelly decided to allow her students to "read across America." She did this by inviting classes from around the U.S. to join in by Skype to talk about, and read, their favorite books.

The response was astounding! Several classes were interested and Kelly set up intervals of thirty minutes to talk to each class. The next thing Kelly did was to get her students prepared. She helped her "tudents to prepare for their conversations with writing book talks, practicing read-alouds and honing our skills on being respectful listeners." "Over the course of the day, we shared favorite books with Dan Callahan and Sarah Hayes’ class in Burlington, MA. Eric Biederbeck’s 6th grade class in Essex, Vermont read us a favorite picture book, Bigger, Better, Best, that tied into our current study of Geometry. We read a favorite Cherokee cultural story, The First Strawberries, to a third grade class in Verona, New Jersey. A high school class in Sterling, Kansas, led by Carol Prather and Dean Mantz, even read a few of their favorite books to us." Here is what I had to say in response:

Hey Kelly, my name is Jenna and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am taking Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class in which we get to comment on other teacher’s blogs. I was assigned to follow your blog and a summary of my comments will be posted to my blog by May 1.
First of all, let me say thank you for allowing me to follow and comment on your blog and congratulations on the addition to your family! I think your idea of using Skype to allow students to talk with other classes from around the U.S. is amazing! What at great way to celebrate such a wonderful day as Read Across America. Keeping students interested in reading is a wonderful way of assuring a lifetime of learning. What better way to get students interested in reading, then allowing them to use technology to reach people from other classes. It seems like you are doing a great job of introducing technology into the classroom. Keep up the great work and I look forward to using this idea in my classroom!

The Sum of the Parts

Since I commented on the only recent post left by Kelly Hines for the last part of this assignment, I had to go further back to find a post to comment on. The last post that Kelly left was from November and it was titled "The Sum of the Parts." In this post, Kelly talks about having to temporarily take a break from part of her PLN. As part of her PLN, Kelly has a group of friends and colleagues that she does a group chat with. She knew she would miss talking to the group as a whole, but she still planned to keep in contact with them individually.

What Kelly did not plan on is how much she would learn during her break. While Kelly did keep in contact with most of her group individually, it was not the same without the group dynamic. For the first time Kelly realized that “The value of the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” Kelly saw that ealized that "the power of this group wasn’t in the individuals that composed it. It was in the collaboration that stemmed from the group interaction." This is truly what a PLN is all about. Here is what I had to say in response to her post:

Hey Kelly, my name is Jenna Baxter and I am in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. I was assigned to read and comment on your blog and my summary will be posted to my blog.
Let me say that reading about your PLN really helped me understand the whole concept behind establishing a PLN as an educator. Another assignment in Dr. Strange’s class was for us to create our own PLN. I know see how important they are and want to strive to make my PLN just as instrumental in my life, as yours seems to be in your life. I liked how you said that the collaboration between your group members is what made the conversation so important. What people can do as a group has so much more impact than someone working alone. Thanks again for the great post!

paper cut out of people holding hands

Project #16: Final Project

This project was a collaborative effort with Kenneth Nelson, Ashleigh Skelton, Miranda Tidikis, Jennifer Hackney, Kristan Steele, and Jenna Baxter. In this video we talk about the importance of using the EDM 310 lab.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Blog Assignment 13


screen shot of the Alabama Learning Exchange homepage

The Alabama Learning Exchange(ALEX) is just one of many web sites geared to help teachers and students alike. When you get to the home page of ALEX you see several hyper-links that you can click on: Courses of Study, Web Sites, Lesson Plans, Search, Personal Workspace, Professional Learning, Podcast Treasury, and ALEXville. I will give you a little insight to what you will find when you click on these hyper-links. Then I will give my opinion on how well I think these tools will help in the classroom.

The first two hyper-links that I will discuss are "Courses of Study" and "Lesson Plans." The "Courses of Study" link allows you to select a subject and see the content standards for said course. After clicking on a subject, you select a grade level and you are given the different standards that the students are supposed to learn. I tried this out by selecting the English Language Arts tab and selecting kindergarten. Several standards appeared and I could then click on a specific standard and find lessons plans that fit that standard. The "Lesson Plans" link was much the same. You select a subject, grade level, and then several lesson plans pop up to chose from. ALEX lesson plans and Thinkfinity lesson plans popped up when I entered my criteria.

The next few links that I would like to discuss are the "Web Sites" link, the "Search" link, and the "Podcast Treasury" link. The "Web Sites" link brings you to a page with links to Teacher, Administrator, and Student Web Resources. You can also recommend or search for more related web sites. Clicking on any of these links allows you to find websites for almost everything education related. The "Search" link allows you to search the entire ALEX website for anything you might want to know. The "Podcast Treasury" allows you to find podcasts done by different groups for almost any topic. One of the podcasts that I watched was done by a sixth grader at Evans Elementary School. The podcast was about the accomplishments of Teddy Roosevelt. These are some really great resources for the classroom.

The last links that I want to discuss are the "Personal Workspace", "Professional Learning", and "ALEXville" links. The "Personal Workspace" link allows you to create a login that is used on ALEX. By creating a login, you can store and submit lesson plans and teacher web pages. The "Professional Learning" link allows you to do many things. Some of the things you can do are find out how to learn more about ALEX, look for grants, and gives you additional links to websites where you can find out about "professional development opportunities, teaching and learning tools, the latest news, best practices and more." There are also links that give you more information about using technology in the classroom. The "ALEXville" link allows you "to communicate with your colleagues, keep up with the latest ALEX news, and follow various ALEX Professional Learning Communities." By clicking on one of the "houses" on the page, such as "Learn more about GEMS-U", you can be directed to another webpage with more information on that topic.

I believe the ALEX website will be invaluable in the classroom. This website can answer pretty much any question that a teacher might need to ask. It is also helpful to students as well. I think the most useful links will be the "Lesson Plans" link, the "Professional Learning" link, and the "ALEXville" link. The "Lesson Plans" link can give me great ideas on ways to teach my students, which will be very helpful in my first few years. The "Professional Learning" link will give me access to even more learning opportunities, and the "ALEXville" link will keep me connected to other professional educators from around the world. I look forward to learning more about this site and using it in the future!

Another website that I found quite interesting was the ACCESS website. This is a website that is dedicated to furthering the use of technology in the classroom. Through the ACCESS program, students take web based courses that use highly trained teachers to teach from a distance. They incorporate video conferencing and other tools to help enhance the learning experience. So far the system is doing well and they hope to expand the program to all high schools. This is a great way to keep students interested in learning and offers them better opportunities to succeed. I highly recommend checking out this website. Some other websites that I recommend are the Alabama Department of Education and the Alabama Education website. All of these sites seem like they will be quite helpful in my quest to become an educator.

Monday, April 18, 2011

C4K Summary Post 3

C4K #7
8th grader covers a Weezer song

For this week's C4K's assignment we had the privilege of viewing Mr. McClung's blog page and commenting on his student's work. Mr. McClung is an 8th grade teacher at Woodland Jr. High in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Mr. McClung uses this blog for his social studies and computer applications class. The post that I commented on was a video done at a talent show in which one 8th grade student covered a Wheezer song. Here is what I had to say about the video.

Hey, my name is Jenna Baxter and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. As I am sure you have guessed, I am in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class and am commenting on this blog for part of my assignment. I will post my response to this blog post in my blog. You can also follow me on Twitter @jennabaxter1988.

First of all, let me say that I am thoroughly impressed with this whole blog page. While I don’t have much experience with blogs, I do believe this is the most organized and informational blog page I have seen. I like how you have the different links for more information about you, your class rules, student work, and class syllabus. Now on to my comment on the talent show video. I watched the video of the 8th grader who covered the Wheezer song. I think this really showed courage because the student was not afraid to get up there and sing a song by himself. I think he did a great job and this song seemed to be something he really enjoyed singing. I also thought his guitar playing was quite good. I have a brother who loves to play guitar so I know how difficult it can be to learn. I hope to continue following your blog and good luck to all of your students! Thank you for letting us view and comment on your students wonderful work!

C4K #8

Week in Review

For this week's C4K, I commented on a blog of 6 year students in Egypt. All of the students are ten and eleven year olds, and they use this blog for their class. The blog that I commented on was a review of what they did the week of March 31. The first thing the student talked about was Trade Day. Trade Day is where two students are given a country and they have to trade with other "countries." They are only given a certain amount of money to trade with. The student that wrote this blog was paired up with KH, and they were Libya. They said they had a hard time keeping all of their money because they had to trade with Mexico and they wanted to buy a lot of things. The next thing that was talked about was the PE class. In the class they are doing what is called a PE Sport Module. They will be learning about football this week and will have a tournament in five weeks. They are going to play against another school and all of the students are very excited! Here is what I had to say in response:

Hey, my name is Jenna and I am an Elementary Education major at the University of South Alabama. I am taking a class called EDM310 in which we get to comment on student's blogs from around the world. This week I was given your blog post to comment on. I will post a summary of your blog along with my comments on my blog by April 24.

I really enjoyed reading this blog post. I like that you have a Trade Day to learn about other countries. Knowing about the world around you is very important. What are some of the things that you got to learn? Also, how are you liking football? Being in the United States, football is very important to us. I am a fan of college football more than professional, but watching any game is exciting. Good luck on your game and I hope you have fun! Thank you for letting me read your blog!

Earth surrounded by kids from around the world

C4K #9

Mrs. Yollis' Class Blog

Mrs. Yollis' blog is quite like Mr. McClung's blog in that it is very educational. I think Mrs. Yollis is doing a great job teaching her students how to use the internet effectively and how to blog effectively. There were several parts of the blog that I enjoyed the best. They were the "Meet Mrs. Yollis" tab, the "Learn HTML code" tab, and the blog posts.

I really enjoyed getting to know Mrs. Yollis. I think it is important for teachers to let their students (and parents) learn a little bit about them. This kind of sharing really builds a strong relationship. It is neat how much Mrs. Yollis gets to travel. She has been all over the world, and has even taught in Spain! I also liked how Mrs. Yollis added links to different web sites in her blog. This really allows anyone who visits her site to learn more about these fascinating topics.

The next thing that I thought was good about Mrs. Yollis' blog was the "HTML" tab and the video about how to comment. Both of these tools are indispensable in the world of blogging. As someone who is new to blogging, Mrs. Yollis' suggestions really helped. By teaching these students these techniques at such early ages, Mrs. Yollis is truly preparing her students for the technological world.

I also liked reading several of the blog posts left by Mrs. Yollis and her class. I thought all of the content was great for the third grade level. The students did really good with their grammar, and really left knowledgeable posts. I especially liked the post talking about Drop Everything And Read Day. I love to read and I think it is great to allow students to pick out any book they like and read it during class for that one day. Opening students to the world of books really allows them to expand their knowledge. I also think it is great that parents and grandparents can comment on the student's blogs. To get a conversation going between the students and their parents is wonderful and really makes the students feel like their voices are being heard.

The post that we were assigned to comment on this week is titled April is Family Blogging Month. This post talked about Mrs. Yollis' efforts to get family members to comment on the student's blogs. Each student had to make a list of family members and then assigned them blogs that fit their interests. Mrs. Yollis encouraged everyone to participate. Here is what I had to say in response to the blog:

Dear Mrs. Yollis and class,

My name is Jenna and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am taking Dr. Strange's EDM310 class and have been assigned to comment on this blog post. First of all, let me say what an honor it is to be able to comment on such a wonderful blog page. I will be leaving a summary of what I thought about this blog, which can be found on my blog.

I think Family Blogging Month is a great idea! It is wonderful to be able to get parents and other family members so involved in their children's learning. I hope to include blogging in my classroom when I become a teacher and would love to do something similar. What made you decide to start Family Blogging Month?

I also wanted to let you know that your blog is truly educational. The video on how to comment and the HTML codes were especially helpful. Good luck in the rest of the school year and keep up the great blogging!

Thanks again,

C4K #10

For this week's C4Ks, I was assigned to Victoria's (a.k.a Miriam) blog post. Miriam is a third grader in Mrs. Yollis' class. She is one of a few students who get to have their own blog page. Her blog page is titled Miriam's Magical Moments. The post that I commented on was titled "Hawaiian Volcanoes."

In her blog, Miriam talked about a trip she took to visit a volcano in Hawaii. She visited a volcano called Kīlauea (kiːlɑːuːˈeɪə). It is one of the most active volcanoes. The first place they went when they arrived at the volcano was the museum. After leaving the museum, they had to hike through the rain forest to get to the volcano. Miriam included a lot of pictures from her trip and also had several links to important websites. Here is what I had to say in response to her blog post.

Volcano Kilauea erupting

Dear Miriam,

I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. Congratulations on being one of the students who gets to have their own blog page! Your blog is really interesting and I loved getting to read some of your posts for my EDM310 assignment.

I thought you did a great job telling about your trip to Hawaii. Was this your first time visiting there? Your talk got me interested in finding out a little more about the volcanoes in Hawaii and a went to to find out more. Did you know that Kīlauea has been continuously erupting since 1983?! Anyway, I liked how you included pictures and links to go along with your post. This really shows that you care about your work.

To answer your questions from the bottom of the post: I have never been to a volcano, but would love to go! I love to explore new places, but I do not get to explore as much as I would like. The only places that I have really been are New York (which was amazing) and Tennessee (which I love!). Thanks for letting me read and comment on your post! A summary of your post, along with my comments, will be available on my blog. Good luck in the rest of your schooling!

Thanks again,

Blog Assignment 12

Blog Post 12 Due 4/17

1. Read the following article, Laptops Completely Replace Books in Manhattan High School written by Adam Balkin of NY1. Do you think this will be how all classrooms are taught in the next few years? How do you feel about the change from textbooks to laptops? What are some of the advantages/disadvantages? Give your answer in two to three paragraphs.

A school without textbooks? Yeah right! That is what I thought before reading the article about the Hudson High School of Learning Technologies in Manhattan. This school, which currently teaches only ninth graders, only uses laptops to do all school work. When the students get to school, they log in to their teacher's webpage, get their assignments, and set straight to work. According to MOUSE Executive Director Carole Wacey, this prepares the students for today's technological world, where they will have to much of their work online.

So, do I think this will catch on to schools all over the nation in the next few years? Of course I do! With the proper training and the financial support, schools all over the U.S can stop using textbooks and start utilizing the internet. The advantages are numerous. Trees will be saved, with no more paper being used. Classes can collaborate with other professionals from around the world through video conferencing. If a student has to miss class, they will no longer be behind. They can still get on the class webpage and do all of their work. Textbooks also need to be updated constantly. These are just a few of the reasons that it is important to integrate technology into the classroom and get rid of textbooks.

There are also some disadvantages. Cost is biggest problem. Can every school afford to buy laptops for their students, or put thirty computers in every classroom? Probably not. Security is yet another issue. Many parents are nervous about their children spending so much time on computers. What if your computer crashes and all of your work is lost?

While these disadvantages seem to outweigh the advantages, I think the computers do need to replace the textbooks over time. The disadvantages can be taken care of with a little work and the advantages are too great to ignore. Our students deserve the best education possible, and integrating technology into the classroom will help prepare them for their future careers. Let's do away with textbooks and switch to computers!

two children using a laptop in the classroom

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Project #15: Book Trailer

For this project, I chose to do a book trailer on Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!.

Project #16: Progress Report

Since Project 16 is a collaborative project, I have joined with five other students from EDM310 to work on this project. We made sure to get special permission from Dr. Strange since our group had so many members. The six people in our group are Miranda Tidikis, Ashleigh Skelton, Jennifer Hackney, Kenneth Nelson, Kristan Steele, and me (Jenna Baxter). The group decided to go with my idea of creating a video of how beneficial the lab can be in EDM310. We will have one member dress up as Dr. Strange, two members dress up as lab assistants, two people be the students in need of help, and then of course have someone filming. I am really exciting about creating this video and hope that it will be very beneficial to future students in EDM310!

people putting together puzzle pieces that say team work

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Special Assignment 3

Mr. McClung's World

For this special assignment, we got to take an in depth look at Mr.McClung's blog page. Mr. McClung is an eighth grade teacher at Woodland Jr. High in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He teaches social studies, computer application, and coaches cross country. Mr. McClung definitely thinks outside of the box and really cares about his students. He wants to make sure they learn, instead of simply passing his class. Mr. McClung advocates for the use of technology in the classroom, and he believes it can truly help in his student's learning.

Two of the things that Mr. McClung talks about on his post are his expectations and rules for his classes. I loved Mr. McClung's expectations! He encourages his students to come to class full of energy, he expects his students to talk in class, and he also expects everyone to come to class and be ready to listen. This last expectation seems to be the most important to Mr. McClung. He says that anyone can talk, but not everyone can listen. Along with these expectations, he also lists his five class rules. These rules are follow directions quickly, raise your hand for permission to speak, raise your hand for permission to leave your seat, make smart choices, and keep your dear teacher happy. While a few of these rules are common to the classroom, making smart choices and keeping your dear teacher happy are definitely new. The rule about making smart choices shows that Mr. McClung clearly thinks of his students as individuals and wants to make sure they succeed, not only in his classroom, but in life. The last rule seems to make him more relate-able to his students. By throwing in "keep your dear teacher happy," he shows that is okay to have a little fun in the educational system. Everything does not have to be strict and serious all of the time.

Some other interesting things about Mr. McClung's blog are his "Everyone Needs" list and his homework penalties. The first thing listed under "Everyone Needs" is a daily planner. This is clearly important in today's busy world. Teaching students how to stay organized is something that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Mr. McClung also hopes to teach his students responsibility by keeping strict homework grading policies. I believe the loss of one letter grade per day late is a very reasonable penalty. This is very generous considering he could not accept any late work at all. It is very important to instill a sense of responsibility into these students as early as possible.

Mr. McClung says that his blog is the "vehicle that drives the majority of technology in our classroom." He uses the blog to keep students and parents updated on current assignments, projects, and deadlines on future assignments. I think this is a great idea. This saves both the teacher and the parents a lot of time because with just a few clicks, parents can know exactly what is going on in the classroom. This will cut down on teacher-parent conferences and will be more environmentally friendly. I would like to use a similar system in my classroom when I become a teacher. It will be nice to have everything in one place, instead of being spread out over numerous pages.

While visiting Mr. McClung's blog page, I also went to two sites he had listed under "Useful Links." One of the links that I looked into was the "Plagiarism Checker." This website seems very similar to the Turn it in website that South uses. You simply cut and paste the student's homework or paper into the text box and click "check the paper." The Plagiarism Checker will then give you a line by line detail of anything that may be plagiarized. The website is free to use. The other website that I looked into was Convince Me. This is a website which shows debates on numerous topics. You can read all of the arguments for and against the topic and then you vote on which side you chose. It is a great site to visit in order to see the different sides of a question and can even help you pick a side. I found both of these sites interesting and look forward to visiting them again.

The next thing that I looked at on Mr. McClung's blog was his internet safety rules. I thoroughly agree with all of his rules. With the use of technology in the classroom, comes the added danger of people misusing that technology. We must always strive to keep our students safe, and Mr. McClung clearly does that. I cannot really think of any bases that he did not cover. He talked about everything from not using both your first and last name together, to not responding to threatening emails of messages. I also liked that Mr. McClung added the rules about not meeting with someone you meet over the internet in person. All of his rules seem to keep his students as safe as they can be.

For my C4K's assignment, I commented on a video of a student performing a Wheezer song at the school talent show. This post was categorized under "videos", so I also looked at some of the other videos that were posted. The video I looked at was under the heading "The End is Near." This video was a student talking about the end of the Civil War and the Freedman's Bureau. According to the student, the Freedman's Bureau was a group of volunteers funded by the federal government to deal with the large number of displaced former slaves. There were also more videos under this title that talked about other aspects of the Civil War. I think making these videos really helped the students learn the information.

Mr. McClung's blog post definitely looked different than some of the other blogs that I have seen. I liked how it had a category button in which you could easily narrow down your search. I also liked how it had the different links at the top for the class rules, syllabus, student work, etc. Mr. McClung really does make his blog useful for anyone that visits it including parents, administrators, and students like us. Everything has clear labels and you can find out anything you want to know with a few clicks. If a parent wants to see some of the work their student is doing, all they have to do is click on "Student Work." I also like how Mr. McClung talks a little about himself and what he hopes to accomplish with his blog. Not many other blogs that I have visited really discussed that. I really enjoyed taking an in depth look at this blog!

poster with power teachers manual

Project #14: Teach Someone Something

For this project, I chose to show my friend Morgan how to create a timeline using Timetoast. We created a timeline of her and her husband's life together. This is how it turned out!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Blog Assignment 11

Ms. Cassidy's Class

Ms. Cassidy's first grade class in Canada

This video is a must see for all aspiring teachers! Who would have thought that first graders could effectively use technology in the classroom? As someone who wants to teach kindergarten or first grade, I find the information Ms. Cassidy has to offer very important. She really does a great job of introducing these students to blogs, wikis, Skype, and all sorts of other great technology! I thought there would be no way to incorporate what I am learning in EDM310 to a classroom full of students so young. I was clearly wrong.

The thing that I liked most that Ms. Cassidy did with her students was the blogging. As she said, why would students want to write with pencil and paper for one person to see when they can use a blog for hundreds to see. It is very important for students to get feedback on their work and what a great way to do that! I was truly astounded at how well the students did with the blogging also. They seemed as if they were born knowing how to use computers. I find this great because I did not even own a computer until I was in middle school, and did not really use one until high school. In a changing world, it is great to be able to keep our students up to date.

I also liked the use of Skype in the classroom and this is something I would like to incorporate when I become a teacher. Children really like to interact with people from around the world, and what a great way to do that. The possibilities are endless. Your students can talk to authors of their favorite books or other students in another country. This is a great way to keep young students interested in education.

One of the difficulties I may run into when incorporating technology in the classroom is parents disapproving. While Ms. Cassidy said that most of her student's parents were excited about technology being used, I think the ideas may be different here. With all of the recent problems with teachers crossing the line when using technology, parents may be a little harder to convince. If the parents can know that there children will be safe, they may be a bit more open minded. I would do this by using some of the suggestions by Ms. Cassidy. She says that she only uses her students first names and does not let the pictures correspond to the names. This may help comfort some of the unsure parents. Also letting the parents know that the blogs and other tools will only be used for educational purposes is important.

The benefits of using technology in the classroom, even at such a young age, are numerous. First, students are learning how to correctly use computers in order to learn. They no longer see them as just things to play video games on or watch cartoons. Another important benefit is building professional relationships with people around the world. While most people have had pen pals or talked to people from all over through the phone, now you can see these people and know who you are talking to. You can build relationships with other students or teachers, which expands the field of learning. These are just a few of the ways that using technology in the classroom can benefit our students. I truly enjoyed hearing Ms. Cassidy's views on technology in the classroom, and look forward to using them in my classroom!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Blog Assignment 10

An Open Letter to Educators
Morgan Bayda

blackboard with 'open letter to educators' written on it

After reading Morgan Bayda's blog post and watching Dan Brown's video I can really see where they are coming from with regards to their beliefs of our educational system. Both Morgan and Dan believe that something needs to change in our way of teaching if we expect to prepare our students for today's world. We are stuck in a way of teaching that only presents facts and asks students to regurgitate them. This is not the way to learn.

In Morgan's blog post she compares two classes that she took at her university in Canada. The first type of class Morgan talked about was the typical lecture class in which you sit listening to the professor talk and are not encouraged to participate at all. She says that these classes are hard to stay awake through, much less stay focused on. What does this mean? Is there any real learning going on? Answer: probably not! We can get the same information presented by the professor from the book or internet (and probably with a lot less errors!). The second class Morgan talked about was her computer class. In this class the students were encouraged to collaborate with one another, as well as other sources through their PLN. This type of teaching promotes learning by forcing the student to take initiative and seek out information for themselves. I believe Morgan is trying to say that more of our classes should be taught this way if we expect our students to succeed in today's society, and I agree with her.

In the video Morgan included with her blog post, Dan Brown talks about his problems with our educational system and his decision to drop out of college. Dan talks about the transition of the availability of knowledge over time. He starts with monarchies, in which only a select few people had the opportunity to seek information. He then moves through time and shows how much easier it has become to seek out this information. In today's society if you can afford to go to college you have access to this information, if you can't afford it too bad. This is slowly changing. With the amount of information available through the internet, anyone who can access websites can find nearly all of the information available in the universities. Dan Brown believes that the educational system needs to be changed to reflect this ease of accessing information. Dan also discussed how he sat through the same type of classes as Morgan and did not learn anything he could not find on his own. This is what made him decide to drop out of school: his education was interfering with his learning!

Will all students some day reach this decision? The sad truth is that this may become a reality if our way of teaching does not change. In a world that is constantly changing, education should not be any different. We have had the same system for far too long and something needs to be done. We have all sat in those classrooms where we are asked to simply regurgitate information and we know that this is not the best way to learn. The change starts with us and we must all be ready!

Don't Let Them Take the Pencils Home
Tom Johnson

This was quite an interesting blog post. When I first saw the name I had to laugh a little. While the post is humorous, it does have a really good point. Instead of blaming lower test scores on students "taking home pencils", we should be focused on the way we teach them. If students are not performing up to par, maybe we should reevaluate the way we are teaching them. I liked how Tom refused to argue over whether students should take the pencils home. He simply gave facts as to what he believed caused the lower test scores and how he planned on changing them. This is a much better approach to problem solving. I really enjoyed reading this post!

pencils lined up with a picture of a bog drawn on them