Dan Meyer Ted Talk

I absolutely loved the Ted Talk by Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover. I have always had an interest in math but I think I am one of the few. Most students are forced to learn math even though they hate it. Teachers need to come up with a more engaging and fun ways to teach it.

Meyer talks about the 5 reasons students struggle with math:
1. lack of initiative
2. lack of perseverance
3. lack of retention
4. aversion to word problems
5. eagerness for formula

He shows samples of math problems from text books. He explains how there is too much information for each questions. Students don’t ever get hooked. He likes to create a discussion around just the picture at first. Sometimes he even makes a video for the word problem. For example: He asks the question “How long does it take to fill up this container with water?” Then he shows a video of a hose inside a clear container and the kids watch how painfully slow it fills up. He stops the video at some point and lets the kids discuss their predictions before any math is used. He then introduces the math content and formula needed for this type of problem. After the students have done the math, they watch the rest of the video to check their work! I think this is brilliant. It really gets the kids engaged.. and shows that math can be applied to everyday life.

His 5 tips for making math more enjoyable were:
1. use multimedia
2. encourage student intuition
3. ask the shortest questions possible
4. let students build the problem
5. be less helpful

I had never thought about teaching math in this way but i love it! Why should students dread learning about math? Meyer has done an excellent job showing how engaging a math lesson can be!


Blog Review

I came across an interesting blog by a first year teacher.. http://mmccabe449.wordpress.com/

I have really enjoyed reading her posts on how to deal with your first year of teaching. She talks about teaching, coaching, and life in general for a 20 something. Ms. Mac seems to enjoy integrated technology into her classroom. She believes that students will be on their phones whether its allowed or not.. so you might as well give them something productive to do on the phones.. and if they send a few texts while doing the assignment, who cares. She shares a bunch of different apps and resources that she uses.

One of the blog posts is the lack of censorship in this generation. I very much agree with what she has to say. Some of the things kids say these days, and music they listen to is so inappropriate. That is one of the negatives of so much technology and internet access. Children have access to a lot of things that are too mature for them. How do you find a balance?


Nearpod Review

Nearpod is a free app that allows teachers to use their iPads to manage content on students’ iPads, iPhones or iPods. It combines presentation, collaboration, and real-time assessment tools. The teacher signs into the presentation and gives students an access code. Once students sign into the session the teacher shares the presentation and resources with the student. The teacher has control of what the students see. The students can then participate in different activities and also be assessed.

I think this is a really cool app. I think it would keep students engaged. They would be less likely to zone out because the teacher would be sharing things directly with them rather than on the board. I also really like that the teachers control the pace because it would prevent students from flying through the lesson to get to the end. I also really like how the teachers get immediate feedback. Every student is forced to respond to the questions and the teacher can see if they are comprehending the information.

I think I will definitely try this out sometime in my classroom. It seems pretty neat!


Extracurricular Empowerment

I watched the Ted Talk Extracurricular Empowerment by Scott McLeod. I was amazed at the story of a “young foodie” named Martha. Martha was not particularly happy with the quality of food she was getting at school. She made a blog and started posting pictures of her lunches. She rated the meal on the “food-o-meter”, health rating, and pieces of hair. Before long she had thousands of followers. Other students from different countries sent her pictures of their lunches to compare. Shortly after that, Marthas blog got national attention. Her blog was shedding light on a huge problem- the quality of school lunches. I remember thinking that school lunches were pretty terrible all through elementary and middle school. I wish I had thought of a way to shed some light on the situation. Eventually the school board looked into the problem and worked to provide students with more appealing and healthier lunches.

The thing I found the most shocking was what happened right before the school board decided to review the quality of the lunches. They tried to shut Martha up by telling her she was no longer allowed to take pictures of the school lunches. Adults often seem to think that they can force a child into being quiet. Luckily, Martha had the internet followers backing her. Its amazing to me how as an elementary student she was able to use her followers and the internet to make them change their minds. and eventually change the quality of school lunches.

Although this Ted Talk discusses a number a children who have done amazing things with technology, I don’t think its the norm. Even with access to technology, most students would still not being making any huge contribution to society. I don’t think that’s a reason not to provide students with technology though. I do however think that if students are given the right tools and something meaningful to work on, they would learn a great deal from it. They may not actually make a huge contribution to their communities, but I do think they would personally benefit from it. and as long as they are learning I think thats great.

When I have my own classroom, I have a feeling that I will be learning a great deal about technology from my students. Im sure most of them will know much more about it then I do. I hope that I will still be open to lots of lessons that integrate technology, even though the students will be much more advanced in that area than I.


First Attempt at Pixlr

Today we practiced photo-shopping images during class using Pixlr. I had so much fun learning how to do this and can’t wait to get some more practice! This will be very helpful when creating my digital storyboard!

First Attempt at Pixlr


Generation Like

The PBS Frontline Documentary Generation Like was very shocking to me.  I never realized how much teenagers care about the number of likes, retweets, comments, etc. on social media.  It seems as if many (most?) teenagers self-esteem and self-confidence relies very heavily on how they are perceived by others through social media and therefore spend a ridiculous amount of time and thought into choosing the perfect  picture for facebook , instagram, etc.  This video showed me how distracted my future students might be..

I think teachers have a large role to play in teaching their students that there is more to life than the number of likes you receive on a picture.  Teachers need to put a focus on balance and remind students that there is more to them than their online profile.  I came across this video a few weeks ago and I thought it was a very powerful reminder to everyone to occasionally disconnect and have in-person interactions. http://sharepowered.com/this-is-a-video-everyone-needs-to-see-it-will-make-you-speechless/  Teachers should show a video like this to their students.

Teachers could feed off of this need for likes by making a class blog.  Students would post their work to the blog and other students could comment or like the posts/ pictures.  Students would get excited when classmates liked their work and might be driven to produce even better work the next time.  This would create a bit of a competitive spirit between classmates on who could turn in the best work and receive the most online attention in the class.

Teachers need to be prepared for students who are advanced in technology and enjoy using it.  I thought it was really neat in the video when they talked about different youtube stars collaborating and building their fan base. I think a fun activity would be making youtube videos for different assignments. Students would most likely get really into the project and would hope for youtube stardom!


2 cents worth

I looked at the blog 2 cents worth (http://2cents.onlearning.us/).  The first thing that stuck out was that I really liked the length of the blog posts. Most of them are short and straight to the point with an additional link or video if you want to learn more about the topic.   This is nice for blog followers who may only have a few spare minutes. It makes it easier to choose what to read more into. I also like that the blog has a wide variety of topics that usually lead back to education.  This blog has been around since 2004 and seems to cover any topic you could think of.  I looked at a lot of the more recent posts (2013 and 2014).  I found a cool post titled ” Finding New Planets- Exoplanets Explained”.  Attached was a neat animated video. I don’t know much about this topic at all and the video helped me understand some of the basics. Interesting stuff!