Chapter 8 Reflection and Application

Some of the important take aways from this chapter, for me, came in the copyright section.  Knowing that educators and students are protected for all of their original content is important.  I also think that it is important to discuss with students that material found on the web cannot be reused without permission from the creator.  Because so much information can be found easily in Google searches, the value of that data seems to diminish.  It is important for educator to help students understand that digital versions content have just as much value as physical versions of content.  Copyright is one way to help students begin to understand the value of digital information.

Another important part of this chapter is the health related concerns as they relate to technology.  The more time we spend in front of computers and tablets, the more important it is to understand the best ways to do that without hurting our bodies.  Starting early students should be taught not just to sit up straight while typing, not only for good form, but also for body health.  When need to ensure we are not simply parking students in front of computers for long periods of time.

The last part that spoke to me from this chapter was the internet security portion.  I do believe that it is important, but I think sometimes we go a bit overboard and it creates people who are uncomfortable in an online environment.  It is important that we protect identity and private information, but going too far to the other side can also be detrimental.  Many computer viruses these days hide themselves as service to clear your computer from viruses or programs that will clear out bad data and make your computer run faster.  The best way for people to protect themselves and their identity online is to be informed exactly what people are looking for, and exactly how people actually get their information.  Otherwise people are simply taking steps that don’t so any good and not protecting themselves where they should.

Chapter 7 reflection

Another blog post for Education Technology class:

When looking at the evaluation of educational materials, I think it is important to keep in mind that adding technology just for technology sake to other content areas is not good practice.  Just using a computer program or app because it is easy or looks interesting does not help students.  To me, this is a good argument for having specific technology time/class in the curriculum.  With time to specifically focus on the use of technology by itself, you are asking other teachers to teach content that is outside their area, and give up instructional time to learn technology skills.  This also goes along with a conversation I was having at my LEA/RN group this week about new instructional methods.  The leader of the group was giving advice about starting a new instructional method with non-complex content to learn the strategy, and then proceeding to use it for more complex content later.  To me, this is directly applicable to technology, my impressions has been that there is an attitude of learning technology right alongside content, but that often leads to shallow or no understanding of either the content or the technology.  Planning how you are going to teach students to use a new technology resource, is as important as planning how they will use it to learn new content.

My 3 Favorite Educational Apps

This post is also being posted for an assignment in my educational technology class:

When I was teaching in the middle school, I was lucky enough to have the school provide me with an iPad to help me in the classroom.  I used quite a few apps for many different activities, but my three favorites were these:

Desmos: This app is wonderful.  It is not just a graphing program, but it will also solve quite a few complicated problems, and the user interface is very student friendly.  I used this heavily with my algebra 1 students, but I also got a lot of use with my pre-algebra students as well when we were learning geometry.  I particularly enjoyed letting them learn about the coordinate plane by putting in points to draw objects.  I still remember one of them drew a duck.

My Script Calculator: There are a ton of calculators for any number of different purposes in app form.  I particularly liked this one because the input was simply written mathematics, as opposed to punching button like other calculators.  This one would read when you wrote, and try to solve the equations for you.  It would even do algebra.

Five Dice: This was my favorite “game” I ever found for working with numbers.  Order of operations was never my favorite thing to teach (when we are apply mathematics, we mostly know what order we want to do operations), but I really enjoyed this app because it gave students an open middle of the problem to work.  They rolled 5 (or 3,4, or 6, I think) and then they used the four operation signs and the numbers on their dice to create an answer that was given by the app.  I think this forced them to do a little more computing, as them may have not gotten the correct number sentence right away, and they started to learn a little more about being strategic with numbers (like knowing multiplication was involved if the numbers got significantly bigger).

Blog Post for Class 3: Who’s your edu-hero?

I think it is important that we have heroes, not only overall in life, but specifically in our field.  If you had asked me when I started teaching, I would have said my heroes were many, Helen Brcka, my 6th grade teacher who made me realize some of my idiosyncrasies were really my strengths, my clarinet teacher Joyce Wheeler who taught me about being your best and the real meaning of hard work, and Beth Wilson, my drum corps teacher that push me beyond anything I ever thought I could accomplish.

Since starting to interact with the #MTBoS, I found that it isn’t a hero you need, but strong traits of great people.  I was actually going to list some here, but then I felt overwhelmed by all of the great people I have met, and I felt bad about leaving anyone out.  Finding a great community, whether it is in your direct working location or electronically, can be such a great help.  Twitter math camp gave me such a great opportunity to see this people first hand, and find out what I wanted to become in a teacher.  I don’t think it’s important that we measure ourselves against others, but striving toward the great traits you see in others can really help everyone grow.

Think about the great teachers in your life, and what you want to emulate in their practice, and it will always push you to be better.

Blog Post for Class 2: The Importance of Passion and a Good Team

I have learned a lot this year.  I work with an instructor in my department who talks about how you need passion, commitment, and hard work to stick in construction engineering, and I think this is true of any field.  I find that I do not lack in the commitment, and I am willing to work hard, but often that doesn’t seem required in my current position.  But I can tell from my own analysis of myself over the last year that I lack the passion for this.  I just don’t buy into everything that academic advising is selling, and I can’t keep trying to make myself.  I do always find it a little interesting that his emphasis on passion may be the very thing that pushes me away from staying with his department.

Throughout my working life I have been apart of some great workplaces.  I think everyone you talk to will tell you that no matter the field you will have your ups and downs, which I would agree with, but I have found that the best jobs are ones that you can feel good about what you are doing AND get to share those experiences with a great team.  Working in Ryle and Missouri Halls at Truman State gave me that feeling, and so did working in 1505 at the Illinois Math and Science Academy.  I think I felt it most at Florida State while I was Mapping Coordinator, but also with some great people when I was directing the advising office, and I definitely felt it at Trinity Catholic School.  Those students and teachers were great to work with.  But I don’t get those same feelings where I am now.

And I think that is what scares me about getting recertified in Iowa.  I read about the struggles of a lot of teachers on Twitter, and I also read about their positive moments.  I am afraid I won’t end up with a great team again.  I worry that the lack of support and the things that I beat myself up about when I left Trinity will come around again, and I will have spent a lot of time and money to get back into the profession to simply not want it when I get there.  I know I have the passion.  I know I have the commitment.  And pretty much anyone who I have worked with will tell you that I will work hard.  I just hope that’s really all I need…

Blog Post 1 for Online Class

For those of you who have read my blog before, these next three blog posts are for an assignment in my online educational technology class.  They will definitely still be education related, but may be of a different flavor than the things I have thought might be my next blog post over the last 8 months or so.

If you are here because of the EDU 255 Technology in the Classroom class, welcome to my teaching blog!

The first teaching topic I have been thinking about lately is Robert Gagne.  I am currently teaching introductory college level orientation courses for an engineering department at Iowa State University.  It has been a very enlightening teaching experience with interesting topics, which are sometimes hard to build great learning activities for.  It is also tough to get students motivated for their orientation class once Calculus and Physics classes start getting really tough.

What does that have to do with Gagne?  I keep having experiences where I feel that the content is very quickly being forgotten or not sinking in in the first place.  Then I was reminded of Gagne’s 9 events while reading the textbook for this class:

  1. Gain attention
  2. Inform learners of objectives
  3. Stimulate recall of prior learning
  4. Present the content
  5. Provide “learning guidance”
  6. Elicit performance (practice)
  7. Provide feedback
  8. Assess performance
  9. Enhance retention and transfer to the job

and it made me realize how much I focus on the “present content” above all of the rest.  I do spend quite a bit of time planning how I want to present content, but once I have that figured out, I just don’t focus on the rest.  And I think this was true in my teaching in the middle school as well.  It’s like I have this idea that if I present the perfect lesson, everyone will just magically understand because of how the concepts was presented.  This has caused me to set a goal to develop habits and tools to help me plan all aspects of the learning.  I know this is what lesson planning in school was for, but I think I got complacent about the pre-presenting content and the post-presenting content aspects of the teaching, particularly in the classes I am currently teaching.  I’m going to try to attend to the other aspects in Gagne’s events, as see if I get better results.

Finally Know What’s Next and Some Other Stuff #Fridayblog

So, I saw Julie being her “pushy self” (her words not mine) and encouraging people to blog by Friday, so I thought I would join in with some updates.

For those that haven’t read for a bit, or don’t remember, I don’t live in Florida anymore.  I moved to Iowa about 6 months ago.  This brought it it another large change: I’m not teaching.  Iowa has some of the toughest teaching certification standards in the country, and surprise, surprise, I don’t meet them.  I am lucky enough to have a previous career to fall back on, so I am an academic adviser at Iowa State University, for now.

But enough recap, I actually have some plan and direction that I thought I would share.  I met with Dr. Anne Foegen, who is in charge of the PhD in Math Education at Iowa State, to devise a plan for how I could join that program.  After a wonderful conversation about my background, interests, and goals, we finally hatched a plan.   She didn’t think starting PhD with only a year and a half of actual teaching experience was a good idea, which I understood entirely.  But because I am more interested in K-6 and Middle School math in the long run, we both agreed that tackling the pile of requirements that it would take to get Math 6-12 certification in Iowa would be mostly a waste of time.  She also told me that if I want to work in K-8 research and/or teaching, having taught at the elementary school level would be incredibly useful experience.  So, now I am starting the process of getting certified K-6.  I actually have a decent leg-up in this area, because I was originally an Elementary Ed grad student many years ago, and I was only 1-2 classes short of finishing my degree in that when I switched to Math Ed.  First big hurdle is taking the two required Praxis exams, which I am going to do by the end of this Summer.  Then I will just start the application process and get moving on making up the “deficiencies” in my certification and work toward getting a teaching job from there.

I did want to thank those who have reached out and offered support or wondered how I was doing.  I have been up and down, and not everything is rainbows and unicorns yet, but I’m getting there.  I am excited to have a plan, but also very nervous about everything coming up.

Also, thanks for dealing with me being a little in and out of things in the #MTBOS universe.  Wonky internet issues along with tough personal stuff has made getting hooked into the community really hard.  I actively avoided Twitter for a while because it just didn’t make me feel good.  But I am trying to get back in and share as I can.  Also, you guys are killing me with the TMC15 stuff.  Bummed that I am not going, but I do hope you guys have a blast.  I just haven’t figure out whether I am going to be following along with the TMC15 hashtag or muting it next week… 😉

On another note, I just started reading Mindset the other day, because it seemed to have great reviews from the #MTBOS.  I have had some reactions to it that I didn’t fully expect, and that I feel would be tough to get through in 140 Characters.  Would anyone be interested in Google Hangoutting (is that a word?) just to talk about it a little?