Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Blog Post #2

Did You Know?

Two must see horror flicks every educator should see are "Did You Know? 3.0 - A John Strange Version" and the original "Did You Know 3.0" by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod. Both videos can be viewed at . I refer to these videos as horror flicks because the statistics covered in each are frightening! Technology has advanced throughout the world in every aspect of our lives. Evidently, other countries, like China and India, are surpassing the United States in intellect and technology use. The solution in bridging this gap would appear to be in education; beginning in the classrooms. If you are majoring in education, intimidated by technology, and afraid of using technology in the classroom, you may want to watch both of these videos with the lights on!

It is amazing to me that 8 minutes and 57 seconds of video could open my eyes to a an aspect of teaching that I had never before realized. I have always pictured myself in the classroom responsible for teaching my students the required curriculum. The future of my students would be dependent upon their success in school. I now understand the importance of my students' success in technology as well as state required curriculum.

The technological advances already made within my lifetime are astounding. I recall classrooms with blackboards, over-head projectors, type writers, and computers with floppy disks. Jeff Dunn posted a fascinating visual perspective of the evolution of technology. Mr. Dunn's post can be accessed at the Site. You may be surprised at what you see!

It is apparent that in order to be the best educator possible, my education will continue beyond my graduation from the University of South Alabama. It will be necessary for me to remain abreast of the latest technology. An informative website which could serve as an extremely beneficial resource to anyone interested in using technology in the classroom is While I found Jeff Dunn's post entertaining and informative, I also read many posts containing technology lesson plans, interactive learning games, and more. You may also find this site on facebook or follow on twitter @edudemic.
Computer Terror

Mr. Winkle 

Mr. Winkle had a lot to absorb when he woke up! I'm sure he was fascinated by all of the technology he experienced in the office, hospital, and highway. Unfortunately, he visited the wrong school. For anyone who hasn't seen Mr. Winkle Wakes, it's a must see!

If Mr. Winkle had visited Hutchens or Dawes Elementary in West Mobile, he would have found students taking A.R. tests or playing interactive learning games on the Smart Board in classrooms. He may have passed students in the hallway as they excitedly proceeded to the computer lab for a lesson in photosynthesis. I have been fortunate enough to frequently substitute at both of these schools. Their technology programs are inspirational. 

It would be nice to invite Mr. Winkle into my classroom someday and have him observe young students using technology as a learning tool. Perhaps before he left, Mr. Winkle  could Skype Dr. Strange to give a report of all that I, and my students, were able to teach him in our technologically advanced learning environment!
Computer Lab Fun

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity

Raise your hand if you have been in a classroom with at least one child who seems to have a problem focusing on a lesson. Even if you are doing a group activity on the Smart Board and you choose that student to be your special helper; a positive approach has not helped, a consequence for disruption will probably make things worse. So what do you do?

Sir Ken Robinson gives some good advice. You need to stand back, observe, and evaluate the child (or children) who have an issue with focus and productivity of direct instruction. As a substitute teacher, I have seen some of the cutest, rambunctious students in classes that I have taught in. Some respond well with a little attention. Sir Ken Robinson is right; if you can find something they enjoy doing, shape that to the lesson, they become productive and extremely proud of themselves. 

I know that even as an adult student, I grow tired of sitting still and listening to a lecture. It's hard enough for some adults to do this, but what happens when we expect this of young students? Everyone learns in different ways. I believe this lecture has helped me realize that a problem may not be a problem; it may be an opportunity. The prescription needed may not be Adderall or Ritalin, but an art class, sports, or dancing. 

As teachers, we may need to be prepared to think outside of the box that society is painting around these children and evaluate  behaviors and performances in a different way. Watching Sir Ken Robinson's Lecture has taught me that not all children learn by sitting still and being quiet. I will need to consider different teaching approaches in order to accommodate the learning experience of some students.  

Classroom Disruption

Wow! Talk about two totally different learning environments! While watching the Classroom Disruption Video  I had horrible flashbacks to lectures of feeling like I was in a foreign language class, except I wasn't, and feelings of fatigue imposed by tremendous boredom to the point of holding my eyelids open. It's obvious that any student would rather be in the interactive, computer based classroom.

Watching this video gave me many visual examples of what I know I should and should not do in order to be an effective teacher. 
  • Engage with students: The teacher who interacted with students, extended different communication methods using technology, and incorporated technology into lessons while stopping to ask and answer questions as needed was able to maintain the interest and participation of his students.
  • Be excited: The teacher using technology seemed excited about what he was teaching his students. His attitude was obviously infectious, as you saw students asking questions, smiling, and a majority participating in activities outside of class which were not required. 
  • Be prepared: The "technology challenged" teacher came into class after students were already seated.  He entered the classroom in a disruptive and domineering manner and proceeded to prepare to give his presentation. This did not seem to impress students.
  • Dress Professionally:  While it may be cute or funny to wear that red reindeer sweater, it makes you look like a goof-ball and will not earn the respect of your students. When a teacher dresses professionally, it shows they take their job seriously and place value in their profession. 
In closing, I would like to share a personal teaching experience. I was teaching a 4th grade Alabama History lesson, and the only resource I had to work with that day was, you guessed it, a text book. Rather than just have the students read to themselves, we read as a group. I encouraged the students to think about the people they were reading about and incorporate accents and emotion as they read. We stopped on occasion to discuss the unfolding story. Students became interested and excited with the lesson. I can only imagine what they would have been able to comprehend if I had access to a video and interactive exercise on the smartboard or a program on classroom computers.

It is my goal to be the kind of teacher shown on the video who brought excitement and technology into the classroom. I will most certainly have to put forth extra effort in order to find useful technology based lessons for my students. As a teacher, I believe that extra effort will always be a win-win situation; students will enjoy learning and obtain more information and I will enjoy teaching. "It makes total sense when you just think about it."


  1. Christie,

    I could not agree with you more about "Did You Know" by Dr. Strange and "Did You Know" by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod. It makes you wonder what technology in China and India are using in their classrooms. We need to fill the gap in America to prepare our students for their futures. This video was an eye opener and the statistics prove that technology is needed in the classroom and is forever changing.

    You made some great points about "Mr. Winkle's Wakes" video. I have never visited Hutchens Elementary or Dawes Intermediate, but from reading your blog it sounds like a great place to do my student teaching. I do have to say even though you feel this way there are several schools that are just like the one Mr. Winkle visited. I believe there are several schools all across the country that are stuck in the past. Of course, I am sure you know that but it is encouraging to know there are schools like Hutchens Elementary and Dawes Intermediate out there making a difference.

    "The Importance of Creativity" by Sir Ken Robinson is a great learning tool. I agree with you that Sir Ken Robinson makes great points about other types of learners. I agree several times society is quick to judge that because a child is acting out there is something "wrong" with that child. I think you are correct, we need to step back and take time to observed the child(ren).

    I agree with you it is pretty obvious which classroom is making a positive difference in the students learning experience. As future educators, we should all strive to have the technology based classroom. This video would be a great tool to show to educators now to get a refresher from time to time. I love how you said " order to be an effective teacher." That is the key and what I am striving for the most in my future career. I want to be an effective teacher making a difference in my students lives.

    Thank you for sharing you opinions and passions on your blog!

  2. Thanks for your kind words Makenzie! I believe that we will begin to bridge gaps in education when we have a lot of educators striving to be effective teachers. So many people enter this field to have summers and holidays off. With teachers like you and I wanting to make a difference in the lives of students, we can begin to turn the education system around in a positive direction. Good luck and thanks for reading my blog!

  3. Great post, Christie! You are passionate about teaching, a clever and creative writer, and related the parts of the post well to your personal experience. I am very proud! Keep up the amazing work!

  4. Thank you so much Carly! I appreciate your compliments and encouragement! Blogging has been a bit intimidating, but I have really enjoyed it. Perfecting my skills and learning as much as I can from you all will definitely help me have an effective blog for my own classroom someday.