Sunday, July 21, 2013

Blog Post #16

Never Stop Learning

Part One

At the beginning of the semester I imagined my elementary classroom as having a SMARTboard, iPads, and computers. I also imagined it to be colorful, creative, collaborative and fun. For the first two or three weeks, I didn’t’ really know how to incorporate technology in the classroom and I wasn’t very technologically literate. Throughout the semester in EDM310, Dr. Strange assigned us to use and discuss many tools for the classroom and when learning. In my future classroom, I want to use technology as much as possible. Technology changes constantly, which means we must change. I have learned that as a future educator, I must always be a lifelong learner.

After using the many tools encountered in EDM310, I know which tools I will continue using every day and in my future classroom. Technology is beneficial in the classroom for students and teachers. SMARTboards are a major tool in the classroom for teaching lessons, watching educational videos, etc. iPads apps are also a major tool. Students are able to learn and do activities on the iPads that are educational. There are also special needs apps to help accommodate special needs students. Another tool I will use in my classroom is Blogger. Blogging enables children to enhance their literacy skills and share their activities, pictures, and ideas all over the world. Parents, family members, other students and educators are able to comment on the student’s various activities they post on their blogs.

I also plan on using tools and resources such as Skype, iCurio, Discovery Ed., podcasts, Google Docs, Padlet and iMovie. I will use Skype so that my students can ask questions to other educators. I will use iCurio so that my students have the opportunity to use a safe search engine to search the web. Discovery Ed. Is also a useful tool to that gives text a visual aspect and brings the text to life. Podcasts, Padlet and Google Docs are also resources that I will use in my classroom. Another tool I will use is iMovie so that my students have the opportunity to make movies in collaborative projects, such as a green screen movie.

Technology plays an important role in the classrooms today. To be a successful teacher, you must be interested in learning. Therefore, you must be willing to be technologically literate because the technology is always changing. I have learned so much this semester that I will take with me throughout my education and future teaching career.

Part Two

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Blog Post #15


Anthony Capps is a former EDM 310 student and lab professional who excelled in Dr. Strange’s class. He has also become a great friend of Dr. Strange. Anthony Capps is a third grade teacher in Baldwin County and Dr. Strange sits down with him in these video calls discussing various different technology topics.

Lauren Macon

In the conversation with Dr. Strange, Anthony Capps describes his viewpoint of iCurio as a safe search engine that allows students to search websites that fit the Alabama State Standards. Not only does it allow you to search websites, it allows you to search images, videos, etc. that are pulled and filtered for educational uses. It also has two other components other than being a safe search engine for students. One component is a storage capacity for students and teachers. This is a great tool for teaching students organization so they can organize valuable content in files and folders. This is an advantage. If students have to leave iCurio to go to lunch, P.E., etc. they are able to save the website they were visiting so they can remember where they were. Another component is Timelines and Historical Features. Anthony talked about using Timelines in his classroom next year. You can search by criteria when using Historical Features. If a child is doing a project but they do not know much about it, they can simply search something like female, minority, astronaut. This is like a directory for historical figures which is important because students do not have background knowledge to know the names of all historical figures. iCurio also has an accessibility feature called Read Aloud. I thought it was interesting that Anthony said iCurio would be useful for any grade level that the teacher feels comfortable letting students search the web. In my future elementary classroom, I plan to use iCurio. It is not only a safe search engine, but it allows the students to search the web for websites and other media tools that fit the Alabama State Standards. I cannot wait to use this tool with my future students!

Discovery Ed-
Discovery Ed is a useful tool for project based learning that gives text a visual aspect. In the conversation, Dr. Strange talks to Anthony Capps about how he uses Discovery Ed in his classroom. Anthony says, “A picture is worth a thousand words, but a video must be worth a million.” Discovery Ed is worth that according to Anthony. He says that if a child has a visual text, they will retain a lot more. It is a great tool for social studies and science. For example, if they are doing a lesson on plants, the student can search “beautiful flowers” and it will give them a video to learn instead of just a picture. Discovery Ed gives the opportunity to bring experts into the classroom via video, which is crucial. Discovery Ed is beneficial for student searches so that they are able to enrich their research experience. It is also beneficial because it brings different texts to life and gives the opportunity of comparing and contrasting reading. Discovery Ed is a tool that I will use in my classroom. As Anthony said, the students will retain more when they are viewing something rather than just reading text.

The Anthony- Strange list of Tips for Teachers Part 1-
In the conversation between Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps, they discuss five things that every new teacher should think about and prepare for. This is a great list that I will keep in mind as I pursue my teaching career. The first five tips for teachers are:
1. BE A LEARNER- To be a successful educator, you must be interested in learning. Then, you must model it for others. This reminds me of what Dr. Strange says, “I don’t know, let’s find out.”
2. HARD WORK- Teaching is hard work, but there is no separation between playing and teaching. Teachers are still learning the craft of teaching in their free time. Teaching can be fun and fascinating if you let it be and in the end will be very rewarding.
3. FLEXIBILITY- When you are teaching, things will not always happen as planned, therefore you cannot be committed to one way of doing something. Teachers must be able to respond to unexpected events. For example, in Anthony Capps class, the servers were not working, so he had his students on the floor painting. Surprises like this always happen so we must be flexible.
“Start with the end in mind.” Start out with the end goal in mind, if it doesn’t look like what you intended, be flexible.
4. GET KIDS ENGAGED- Anthony Capps says you must have 100% engagement in your classroom. Teachers should not leave any child behind. To engage students, choose a content they are interested in, make it a process they want to use, let them discover something and get excited about it, and make it shareable so they have an audience to share their work with. There are many ways to get motivated. Each day, always think how you can get every one of your students involved in the learning process.
5. REFLECT- Self evaluation is important in the process of learning. Use audiences as a purpose to reflect and use critiques from the audience. Reflection needs to be the goal and an audience leads to reflection.

I learned five great tips that every teacher, including myself, should always remember when teaching. One fascinating thing Anthony Capps said was that, competition, pride, collaboration and purpose lead to more students reflecting and sharing their work as if it were gold. I enjoyed the conversations between Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps, especially the Strange list of Tips for Teachers-Part 1. I look forward to Part 2. Thank you Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps for sharing your knowledge and tips!

Caitlin Lankford

iCurio Baldwin County has started using iCurio in the schools. In the interview video of Dr. Strange and guest Anthony Capps, Capps describes what iCurio is and the many ways he uses the program in the classroom. Capps said that iCurio pulls safe websites for students to do research on for educational purposes. iCurio is also an easy way to store and organize virtual files and folders. Capps uses iCurio so that his students can get an early start on practicing organizational skills. Another way Capps uses iCurio in the classroom, is to make virtual timelines. For instance, if his classroom is studying historical figures, the students can look up the focus figure and find out what historical events were happening during their time. iCurio even allows read-alouds for students with reading disabilities. For my future classroom, I would love to use the timeline feature on iCurio so that my students can grasp a better understanding of what major historical facts happened.

Discovery Ed In another interview of Anthony Capps and Dr. Strange, Dr. Stange asks Capps to explain how he uses Discovery Ed in his classroom. Capps starts off by saying, “if a picture is worth a thousand words then a video must be worth a million and Discovery Ed is worth every bit of the million!” I love Capps’ quote!! Capps says that Discovery Ed is a great visual aid resource because students can use videos to enrich their research experience. The reason why is because, students using Discovery Ed don’t look up pictures relating to what they are learning, they look of videos to gain information. “Discovery Ed really brings text to life” says Capps, and that is so true!! Students won’t just read their text, but they will use visual aids to gain knowledge about their learning content. Capps’ students reacted to Discovery Ed in a positive way. They enjoy using Discovery Ed just as much as they love reading the actual text. They associate reading with visual aid learning. I would love to use Discovery Ed in my future classroom, so that my students will be able to expand their research experience!

An Additional Thought About Lessons- The last part of Anthony Capps’ and Dr. Stange’s interview video, Capps adding his thoughts on lesson plans. Capps said lesson plans are four layers thick with each layer meaning something different, but all of the same importance! the first layer is the year layer. In the year layer, where you question how the lesson plan fits into the year, and are you going to cover all of the content standards? The second layer is the unit and in the unit, the question that should be asked is are the unit projects devised in a way that is meaningful? The educator can not do all of the required activities and projects in one day, they should be spread over a time so that the student can understand and comprehend the learning content over a unit time which is usually six to eight weeks. For the third layer, the question that should be asked is how are you devising the projects so that they can be done weekly? The final layer is the daily lesson plan. For the daily lesson plan layer, the educator should think about how to deliver the material to the students so that they are hooked and engaged. The four components come together to make a lesson plan. I have never thought about seeing lesson plans as to having layers. After listening to Capps talk about the four components, I think I have a better understanding on lesson plans.

Melissa Canterbury

iCurio- iCurio ,according to Anthony Capps in his video call with Dr. Strange, is an online tool that allows students to not only search websites safely, but also other forms of media that has been filtered for educational purposes that adhere to the ACCRS and other State Standards. iCurio has two other major components as well as being a safe search engine for students. One great aspect of iCurio is that it has a storage capacity that not only allows teachers to store items, students can store content that they find valuable. iCurio allows students to start getting practice with virtual organization through the folders and files. Other great tools components of iCurio are features such as Timelines and Historical Figures. Anthony talks about how he plans to use Timelines more next year but that he has used a lot of the Historical Figures feature. iCurio has a directory feature with Historical Figures where what students do is type in keywords about a certain topic. For instance, if the students are doing a civil rights projects, they would type in “1960 African male”. This kind of directory is important because students do not have the background knowledge to know the names of historical features, that is what they are researching. What I found useful about what Anthony says about iCurio is that it can be used in any grade level! I will be teaching in the elementary classroom and plan to use it in my classroom because not only does it have safe text that has been filtered, there are a lot of other media that will engage the students! Great tool and I can’t wait to use it more and incorporate it into my classroom.

Discovery Education- One of the tools that Baldwin County has made accessible to educators now is Discovery Ed. Dr. Strange sits down with Anthony Capps in this YouTube video, to get Anthony’s thoughts on Discovery Ed in the classroom and why he thinks it’s a useful tool for Project Based Learning. “A picture’s worth a thousand words, and a video must be worth a million.” Discovery Ed is a great tool to backup a text with visual which helps the students retain more through visuals. Anthony talks about how he uses it with his students in their classroom. For instance, if they are doing a lesson on plants, Discovery Ed takes the students way farther than just a picture. Discovery Ed provides them with videos and brings in experts on topics via video. Anthony uses Discovery Ed in his classroom for student searches and he uses it to bring different texts to life. One fascinating fact that they talked about was that students retain more information when they are viewing something rather than just reading a text. The same goes as if students are engaged. I think Discovery Ed is a great tool to engage students in the lesson and a tool I can see myself incorporating in my future elementary classroom.

Don’t Teach Technology-Use It! - In Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps’ video, Use Tech, Don’t Teach It, Anthony talks about technology in his classroom. Our culture is so technologically based that there is no way to escape it. Whether adults are interested in technology or not, it just comes natural to children. An important way to incorporate technology into the classroom is to scaffold your tools and use different ones. Start with doing a small reflection on iMovie one week and then the next have them create a movie. Use technology to get your students excited about lessons, use it to let them share what they have created, and as a teacher, use different tools meaningfully. DON’T EXPECT PERFECTION! If you use a new tool, allow students time to reflect on what they have used and what they made mistakes on. I like how Dr. Strange’s class allows us to learn on our own, we actually learn it better and remember what we have done to master the skills. It will be the same way with elementary students, use technology with your students, don’t just teach it to them. I really enjoyed the talks with Anthony Capps, I like that he is a former EDM student and how far he has come in his career! Thank you Anthony for everything you have shared with us!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Blog Post #14- Marvelous Me!

Do you want to know about your classmates? Do you want to know about your teacher? I do! Dr. Strange asked us to create a blog post assignment titled "What Did I Leave Out?" At the beginning of the semester, our first practice blog post was to tell about ourselves. I was glad because then I could learn about my classmates and group members. But, I wanted a more creative and more visual aspect to it. When we were assigned this assignment, I thought of a great way to bring writing to life! If you were an elementary student, wouldn't you want that too? One of my teachers last semester, Mrs. Freeman, created a slideshow about her and showed it on our first day of class. I thought, I want to do this with my future students! I started thinking about a tool I discussed in one of my previous posts called PhotoPeach. PhotoPeach is an easy, engaging tool for creating slideshows.


1. Find images on Google or you can use images you already have that you would use to tell about yourself.
2. Save them for later use on PhotoPeach.
3. Create an account for PhotoPeach (FREE!)
4. Click Create New Slideshow: Upload Photos
5. You may upload as many photos as you would like by simply choosing them from a file.
6. Click Next.
7. Give your slideshow a title and a description.
8. Choose background music by scrolling through the music listed. If you don't like what they have, click on the Search YouTube tab and search music.
9. Click Finish.
10. Click the Edit tab to edit caption and photos, edit music and title, add photos, manage comments, delete show, or download the show.
11. Put your mouse over the right side of your slideshow and click the Embed in Blog button.
12. Copy and paste into your blog.
13. Be Creative! Have Fun! Tell about yourself!

Here is my slideshow!

Marvelous Me on PhotoPeach

C4T #4


In the post, "Transition Years" on Dorothy Burt's blog Manaiakalani, talks about the Manaiakalani Schools being in their fourth year of ensuring all year 5 to 13 students own their own digital device. I wish Mobile County was like this! This enables them to participate in a digital learning environment. The leaders of the junior class brainstormed ways they would like to experiment with such as starting individual blogging younger (great idea!), use desktops and tablets, have an older buddy class, having a Chromebook pod available, etc. Two schools reported back on the positive difference the Chromebooks were having in class. The children were confident in logging onto their Google apps. What an awesome opportunity these kids are getting! My comment was, "My name is Lauren Macon and I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. Dr. Strange has assigned us to visit educator's blogs and to leave comments. The leaders of the junior class have brainstormed a list of great ideas! Blogging is something I want to do in my future elementary classroom. Having the older students help out the younger students is a great idea. I think it is exciting that young children are able to interact and use technology at such a young age. Children having confidence in technology is AWESOME! My first time blogging was this summer in EDM310. I never knew there was so much technology that could be used in a classroom. I enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to reading more!"

In the second post I commented on, "Next Step: ChromeBooks" Dorothy Burt talks about the positive user experience Manaiakalani Schools are getting from the use of ChromeBooks. Manaiakalani Schools ordered 700 of these spread across 11 schools and bought by children ages eight to eighteen years old. Wouldn't it be great if Mobile County had this opportunity? The students were included on the decision of switching to Chromebooks. They chose the Samsung 500 (WiFi only) model. She said the experience the children and teachers experience was delightful. She says, "That 8 minute boot, the ‘switch it on and it connects with the wifi and logs you into your account’, no fuss and start learning was such a pleasure to be part of." Six months later, she says the experience is still positive. I love this quote that she quoted by Adam Naor, "The Internet is the platform for learning." This is a great quote for EDM310. She also post some links to experience other teachers and students have shared. I commented, "I have never heard of a ChromeBook until your post! Interesting! Hopefully I will have the opportunity to use ChromeBooks in my future classroom. So exciting that there is such positive user experience."

Project #9 PLN Final Report

My Personal Learning Network (PLN), Symbaloo, has been exceedingly useful throughout the semester. I have all of my education websites in one place in the color red. The rest of my tiles are color coordinated as well. I have frequently used websites in pink, etc. This is helpful for me because I like to be organized. When I first created my Symbaloo, I didn't think I would use it that much. Now, I use it daily! (Thank you EDM310.) When I first created it, I added the Teaching Channel and TeacherTube. Now, I have Edutopia, Langwitches, Teaching With Soul, our EDM310 blog, Edudemic, and MattBGomez's blog. I will definitely continue adding more websites throughout my schooling and teaching!

Project #12 Part B