Thursday, December 5, 2013

Blog #16 Part 1

At the beginning of the semester, in the If I Built a School blog, I said I saw my classroom having Smartboards and interactive technology for both students and teachers attention. My classroom would influence positivity with hip motivational signs and posters. I also said that I would rather take the roles out of the classroom, while still being the authoritative figure. I would want to learn as much from them as they learn from me. I want my students to learn efficiently rather than quickly, to understand concepts of different subjects and life itself rather than unnecessary repetition and memorization that most people forget in weeks or even days.One of my main points was that
"the theme of the school and my classroom would be respect, communication and character while teaching each student that those are the three things most needed with interaction in life. Testing is realistic and necessary, but I would bring back learning the joy of school and how it doesn't have to be a fearful scary or overwhelming environment. I want my students to know this joy and know that while the journey through school can get tiring and frustrating, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The joy that one would receive as they accomplish each level of education is greater than the trying times of the process."

After watching videos on Ted Talks and The Teaching Channel and doing some observations in a real life classroom, I think I now know what I want out of mine. Ted Talks and The Teaching Channel have shown me videos regarding behavior, group activities, classroom tone, and common core lessons. I have learned so much from both of these education websites. I see a few changes and additions I would make.

Tools and Methods
First,I would add a few tools to implement. With the use of SmartBoards, I would make those available for them to use. In a lot of the classrooms I have been in, the SmartBoards are only being used by the teacher. Students seem to enjoy board work so I would give them an opportunity to use the SmartBoards themselves. In my middle school math class, I feel like this would be a great way to use this technological tool. It exposes the students to technology they have never used before while grasping the content and material at hand. I would also start recording group work and activities and start a class blog where their work can be showcased to various classrooms, teachers parents and other students. I think recording the group work gives the students a chance to show off their work and see themselves in action. This way, they can see their mistakes and things they need to improve on. Even from EDM 310 I have seen where the class blog can be a great tool for the classroom. One method I would change is the burp-back education. I think a lot of us revert back to that when it comes time for testing. I would try to present all content and material to my students in real world situations so that they can apply it to more than just a test. I would change the paper/pencil theory in my classroom. I would try to use more technology and move away from lecturing from a textbook. Using technology gives an alternative way for students to learn without lecture or memorization.

Classroom and Activities
In school, one thing I hated was desks in rows. When I walked in and saw rows of desks I felt like, "oh here comes another lecture...boring." Since Common Core calls for a lot of group work, I would arrange my desks that way. This might cause me to circulate more for classroom control and management, but I think it would be a great way for students to learn more efficiently in a more welcoming, less overwhelming classroom. Therefore, I would create as many group work activities as possible to give the students a chance to build teamwork and communication skills. I also want my classroom to be an open space for discussion. I want my students to stay updated with what is going on in the world and I to stay updated with what is going on with them. In the small amount of free time we might have I would try to open the floor for class discussion. I want them to feel open enough to tell and discuss with me what is going on with them and trust me while I trust them. This would be something I implement during Guided Study, making it an assignment. In our free time I would also play some videos from Ted Talks and The Teaching Channel. Both of these websites provide videos on behavior, material and content, and lesson ideas.
I have learned so many things to include in my classroom from the assignments in this EDM 310 class. I really can not wait to start using some of these tools and ideas in my classroom.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blog #15


There are many great assistive technologies available for teachers. Two important aspects of assistive technology are understanding students’ disabilities and selecting the appropriate assistive technology that is available for those students. These two concepts go hand in hand. If a teacher has a solid grasp on the disabilities in his or her classroom, then selecting the right assistive technology becomes much easier. Also, having extensive knowledge on the available assistive technologies leads to accurate pairings between programs and students.

The first assistive technological program I would like to mention is JAWS screen reader. JAWS screen reader is a computer program that allows students with blindness to use a computer. The program reads text on a computer screen and allows for easy navigation on the computer. This program is perfect for any classroom that uses technology. Throughout this semester many educational technologies have been discussed, and it has become evident how some of these technologies can be a game changer in the classroom. Unfortunately, disabilities can sometimes hinder the use on all available technology. Programs like JAWS fill the void that certain disabilities create and enable disabled students to benefit from technology. A simple example would be iCurio. iCurio is an amazing resource for students to research specific topics and gain an abundance of knowledge. Now, insert JAWS and students who are suffering from blindness can immediately benefit from this great resource.

Many schools are now utilizing iPads for their students, so it makes sense to use application programs as a form of assistive technology. Dragon Dictation is a great application for students with little or no use of their hands. Just like Jaws, Dragon Dictation bridges the gap for students who are not able to use a computer without assistance. Dragon Dictation allows one to use their voice to type text on a computer. There are a lot of educational systems that use computer programs as an intricate part of the curriculum. Dragon Dictation is a great assistive technology that allows schools to integrate more computer related education.

Having a disability should never be a catalyst to second rate education. Using programs like JAWS and Dragon Dictation are good ways to put assistive technology to use. As a teacher, one should be aware and have a good understanding of the assistive technologies that are available. Having a solid knowledge of these things can be the difference between a disabled student getting the education they need and rightly deserve and being left out in the cold fighting with their disability.


While trying to be a math teacher, I never realized that the blind would have the issue stated in this video from Professor Art Karshmer. He stated that blind students would have problems visualizing how to set up problems to solve, by unable to see how to line them up. Braille is unable to help as well because it doesn’t line up the problems in the proper way. My personal belief is that anyone can learn math if taught the right way, and in the case of blind students, the right way involves assistive technology.

Professor Art Karshmer in the video uses a talking computer with a matrix grid that has pieces that are registered as numbers. This reminds me of a digital talking chess board, similar layout, it says where you put the piece, just it is with flat pieces that have braille on them to say what number the piece is. This is rather ingenious, it is difficult to tell a blind person what to see on paper, but with assistive technology, it can help them see the concept of math that is on their paper.

Math-to-speech is an important tool for blind students and teachers of blind students alike. However it is limited, according to Design Science and Educational Testing Service. Does the speech of certain mathematical expressions, in the case of fractions, sound like one-third or one-over-three? Design Science and ETS are both working hard to improve on the tech, which is good, improvements can always be made. Making the lives easier for students that have a hard time learning is important. Everyone, no matter what disability they have, have the right to an education, and we as teachers must do what we can to make it possible.


In an English classroom setting, I feel that direct feedback about understanding is necessary to adapt to every student’s learning capabilities. Using the Mountbatten Braille Writer allows for this feedback in the classroom. It allows for both audio and tactile feedback which I think provides a wide range of ways for the teacher to efficiently meet the needs of that particular student. The program is very advanced, doing things a computer would and being a learning tool itself for those who do not know braille. I love this because it gives the student an opportunity to work in peer groups and not feel excluded or different from others in the classroom. For an English class, I think this could be a very useful tool for both me and the student. For the student, it gives them a way to be on the same accord with the rest of the class, not having separate less challenging work. For the teacher, I can understand the students needs a bit more and become a more efficient teacher for them.

I also came across the Special 2 Me blog. I really loved this blog because it really hit home for me. I have worked in a lot of low income, inner city schools. People sometimes seem to think that the students who attend these schools are only troublemakers who simply do not care about their education. Well I beg to differ. I love these students and they are the only ones who I would really want to work with. This blog talks about a fairly new teacher taking over a new classroom. She let her students set their physical boundaries and she respected their wishes. She was not scared of her students. She let them know who’s classroom it was and that she sets the tone and rules each and every time they walk in the door. With this attitude she was able to change one student who was starting to cause problems from the start. It seems like instead of walking into this inner city school thinking the kids it possesses are a problem, she walked in with an attitude knowing that they are students who want to learn like everyone else. In my own personal experience, some of these students just want to know that their teachers care.

School has become an outlet for some of the trouble-making students and with them maybe not having the proper support from home, we have to take on the role of supporter, parent, friend and teacher. I loved this blog because it shows us future first year teachers that we can not have attitudes about our students before we even meet them. Also that the classroom period is all about progress: progress of our students, of our classroom and importantly of ourselves as growing teachers.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

C4T Summary Post

In Project Based Learning via Javascript this 7th grade math teacher talks about incorporating programming into her common-core-based seventh-grade math class this year. She stated she wanted to integrate the common core standards and teach programming with a purpose. To do that she used a lesson on congruence transformations. She gave her students the task of creating a computer program that created a design with symmetry. The program she used was Khan Academy’s Javascript. She said she chose Javascript because of Khan Academy’s easy integration with Google accounts and the class management tools given to teachers.

Here are some of her students work:

She encourages everyone to incorporate computer science in math. She says the key isto hold on to the mathematical purpose behind it. I really found this idea very interesting and something I could do in my own classroom.

My reply was:
Hi there! Im Cameron Hall, a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I really enjoyed your blog post! I think that this project is an excellent way to incorporate computer sciences into mathematics classes. And programming is something I think kids would get interested in easily, for class and something they might be interested in later on in life. I love this idea!

The next post I commented on was One Good Thing where the prompt was to talk about one good thing that had happened at the start of the school year. She thought of many different things she could talk about and came up with a few good ideas. That Friday something tragic happened in her community. They had a big flood, one that hadn't been so severe since 1976. She felt helpless and unmotivated to do anything since she couldn't go anywhere or help anyone else in need. She made a map that explained her location and what the different icons meant on the map.

My reply was:
Hi there! I am Cameron Hall a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. Sorry to hear about this tragedy in your community. I experience somewhat of the same thing here in Mobile having gone through Hurricanes Ivan, that hit us directly, and Katrina where we suffered a lot of damage. When we returned back to school after both hurricanes, one thing my teachers did was have us write about our experiences and have a class discussion about what happened. We did this in our homeroom classes. I think this is a great icebreaker to kind of get everyone to relax a little and get the elephant out of the room. After this everyone was a little more comfortable with continuing our academic day.

C4K November Summary

The student I had for November's C4K was Sisilia. Sisilia talked about her first day of school. She described her feelings and actions on the way to school and when leaving her mom. She spoke about being excited about meeting her teacher and what they did in class. She talked with excitement about lunchtime and recess and how she thought that was the best time of the day. When the bell rang she said said goodbye to her teacher, ran to the car and told her mom about her day.

My reply to Sislisia was:
Hey Sisilia! Im Cameron H. a student in EDM 310 at USA. I loved your blog post! Sounds like your first day of school was very exciting and filled with fun things to do! Practice working on your punctuation though, Good Work!!

Project #2: Final Report on PLN

Since my last Personal Learning Report, I have added a few more resources to my list of tiles. I have added iCurio. iCurio gives access to content of the curriculum to teachers, parents, and students. It provides examples for students to work on, content for parents to stay updated with, and engaging lessons for teachers to use in their classrooms. I have also added The Learning Network which is a blog done by the NYtimes about different topics in today's education. I chose this tile because I think it gives us teachers a way to comment and give our own opinion from experiences in our own classrooms. The next tile, Discovery Education gives access to resources for administrators, teachers, parents and students. I chose this tile because it would be a great tool for my classroom and for my students to use. At the beginning of the year, I can introduce Discovery Ed to the parents just to give them a resource that they can turn to when helping their children at home. The last tile I have added is TED talks. We have used TED talks a lot in EDM 310. I love the videos that are offered on this site. Recently I watched a video on bullying on TED talks and I loved it. Ted talks can be a great tool to use in the classroom for not only academics, but different social topics that arise in the classroom.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Project #2: PLN

For my PLN I chose to use Symbaloo. So far I have about 8 tiles. The first 2 tiles are my blog for EDM 310 and the EDM 310 class blog. I chose to list these 2 blogs because this gives me an easier way to access my own blog and the resources it entails for future endeavors in my classroom. I chose the EDM class blog because of the access to class announcements, links and resources that I might need now and in my future classroom. The next 3 tiles I have are my Gmail, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. These both give me access to my email accounts, both personal and school related. These give me access to contacting my instructors, classmates and even other teachers who can give me pointers to having a successful classroom. The next tiles I have are Pinterest and YouTube. I love Pinterest. They are both social networking sites where people can post their ideas through text and videos about projects done in their own classrooms and the classrooms of others. My next tile is Google search. I have this for information purposes for questions of my own and questions asked in the classroom. Google Search provides many different results from different sources about the question or topic asked.