Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Global Learning's Effect on Education

World Education Rankings
Dr. Z went to Jordan for a conference and held a class session while he was in his hotel room. This was absolutely fascinating. Without doing anything we got to meet a man from Jordan and one from Australia and talk to them for a little bit. We shared with them what we had been working on in class and they shared a little bit about themselves with us.

It just goes to show how easy it could be for teachers to collaborate with teachers from around the world. We all have different specialties and I can only imagine if we could find people that specialized in different topic from around the world and had those people present those topics to our classroom how well they would be received.

I think Global Learning has the ability to bring the United States on top of the achievement board. If our teachers would get in touch with the teachers from, for example, North Korea and Finland and observe how it is what they do and how they do it and maybe discover ideas that we are missing here. It is no secret that we are falling further behind and our students are struggling so any help we can get from other countries we should take.

Reading Brigade Labels

During class today we created this video about what makes us special. Just by looking at us you wouldn't be able to tell what it is that we care the most about. We created this video so that you could learn more about us and what we love.

Using Problem-Based Learning

PBL occurs when the teacher’s role is that of a facilitator. S/he models what should happen, scaffolds, and monitors the students’ learning. The students work in groups to learn about real-life problems. The goals of PBL are to help the students develop flexible knowledge, effective problem solving skills, self-directed learning, effective collaboration skills and intrinsic motivation. *

Flickr- Josie Fraser
I think that this is a great way to encourage collaboration and interest by having students learn about topics that most likely affect them or someone that they know. We don’t always want to learn about topics that we will never have to deal with in life and knowing that what you’re doing affects someone is a great motivator.

Here is an example of a list of PBLs.

* Hmelo-Silver, C.E. (2004). Problem-based learning: What and How Do Students Learn?. Educational Psychology Review, 16(3)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Aha Blog 5

While working on our final project Lauren suggested an activity for us to do called Theatre of the Oppressed. It was a big eye opener to me that when we face situations we have many scenes playing out in our heads which is a big part of visual literacy. I struggled a little bit at first trying to figure out how the two fit in, but since visual literacy is the ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image. When we think and are presented with situations we visualize them in some way and from there take further action.

I came across this website that’s a periodic table of visualization methods. It has examples of data, information, concept, strategy, metaphor, and compound visualizations. It would be a great tool for someone to use when trying to figure out how to best represent an idea. By scrolling over each ‘element’ an example would come up with a short overview.

Monday, April 30, 2012

First Time Felon Review

1. What do you feel is the message the director is trying to express in this movie?  Support your answer with examples.

The message that the director tried to express in the movie is that minority men are discriminated against for any possible reason that one can dig up. The main actor, Greg, tried so hard to get a job to stay off the streets and even though no experience was necessary for one of the positions and he was completely honest with the lady hiring, she still told him that she would not be able to hire him. The crime that he was imprisoned for was not the same as some other people, but because he was black and had served some time he was immediately disqualified. Another message that the director might have tried to express is how scary the streets are. There were several times that I was so disturbed by what I was seeing and what made it even scarier is that many people live their lives like that. Greg’s best friend who sold drugs was very happy with what he was doing because he was making a lot of money without having to struggle to find a job like Greg. The unfortunate thing is that he ended up getting murdered for “snitching.” It’s a shame how some people can make so much money and be so happy by doing illegal things and the honest, hard-working people struggle so much to make a living.

2. If applicable, discuss if you think this movie has accurate depictions of minorities or if they are situational? Why or why not?

The depictions of minorities are situational. The sergeant was a black man who was ashamed of the black men at the camp. He was so rude to them and treated them very poorly because he didn’t consider them to be men like he was. A white soldier refused to work with the mostly black prisoners while the people of the town were more than grateful to have their help. All of the ruckus that happened was all caused by the African Americans and the white people were always considered to be the good people. The Latino female Captain was extremely kind and understanding with the prisoners which to me seems like it would be an accurate depiction since she could probably relate to them being a minority herself.

3. Explain if you think the director’s ethnic/cultural/professional background played a role in directing this film?

Charles S. Dutton’s background played a huge role in directing this film. He is a black man that was born to a laborer, served time in jail, and ended up at Yale. “I used to be hardcore, hardhearted guy. Once you make the decision to change, all kinds of things happen,” Dutton once said. I think he created the movie to show young men who are struggling like he once did that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that as long as they set their minds to change and do better for themselves that things will start changing and getting better for them.

4. What groups (people of color, nationality, culture, class, gender etc.) may be offended or misinterpret this movie and why?

If everyone that watches this move knows who the director is and the life that he has lived, then I don’t think that anyone would be offended by the movie. It depicts a little bit of how his life was and what he saw growing up.

5. What the movie added to your visual literacy?

I was amazed as to how much meaning tattoos had. The prisoners knew immediately who belonged to what gang based on the drawings on their bodies. They used that as a weapon and it caused much controversy in the movie. The gangs also used their artistic skills to claim their territories. The most important and memorable thing I learned is how where we come from has so much to do with who society thinks wecan become.

6. What kind of artistic and/or visual means did the director use in the movie to focus our attention?

To focus our attention the director made all of the scenes look very realistic. The storm scene was so powerful and all of the emotions could be seen from how well they portrayed it. The darkness of the building where Greg lived at the end was so powerful in that it showed how scary the place was and how one can never know what is behind the corner or a closed door.

Using Interactive Whiteboards

Anything that a teacher does on a computer can be transferred over to the whiteboard. Instructions can be recorded so that teachers can go back to them when it comes time for reflection or just to go over it with a student who was absent the day of a particular lesson. Some other benefits of interactive whiteboards are: built-in maps, digital storytelling, brainstorming, notes taken directly into PowerPoint presentations, project calendars, helps in the writing process, use it with Kidspiration or Inspiration, illustrate and write books, diagramming activities, electronic word wall, and sharing projects during conferences.
In the field experiences I’ve had I saw one teacher use the interactive whiteboard with her first graders and they seemed to greatly enjoy it. They had an opportunity to participate and go to the front of the class to ‘teach’ their classmates. A kindergarten room that I was in had an interactive whiteboard that had never been used. The teacher didn’t know how to use it, so she just simply didn’t. Another classroom that I have visited had the whiteboard, but I only saw the teacher using it. The students sat and watched just as if the teacher had been using a projector.

The interactive whiteboards can be very helpful to the teacher and beneficial to the students if they are used correctly. Students have to be able to have hands-on experience with them and teachers have to know how to use them.

Creating/Using Podcasts in Education

Wikimedia Commons
Since my group was called the Reading Brigade everything we did had to do with literacy in some way. So, when it came to creating a Podcast I, initially, thought that we could read a book and discuss it on the Podcast. That obviously wouldn’t have been all that interesting so my group members and I decided that we would try to get in touch with authors and see if anyone would be willing to Skype with us so that we could transfer it over to a Podcast and share it with our classmates. I emailed Nathaniel P. Jensen and he emailed be back the next day saying that he would be happy to Skype with me and my group. We were thrilled! Also, Jenna’s aunt is an author so she agreed to help us as well. The world that we are in is so fascinating! With a few clicks we were talking to people that I never thought that I’d have the opportunity to speak to.

It was such a simple task to create the Podcast and be able to share it with our classmates. This is something that any teacher can do to make lessons more interesting.

Scholastic has many Podcasts of books and also tips on how to use them in the classroom.