Wednesday, February 23, 2011

C4K Summary: #1, 2 & 3

Getting the chance to comment on these blogs was actually a really great chance to learn about children from around the world. I found that, for the most part, the kids that I commented on were the same! I really like this idea and I think I might have to find a way to include it in my future classroom!

Below you will find the blog post and comments from each blog I visited! I look forward to the next set of C4K's that I get to take part in!

C4K #1: Kelly's Blog

skiing at asessippi was shocking because I skied very well shocker and my mom skied pretty well. But she then twisted her leg or spranded it . My brother keenan also broke his arm. I had a lot of fun with my friends and brother’s plus my parent’s . I went with my friends all day. Over all the day was ok but my mom and keenan got hurt and had to go home early so sad but I had a lot of fun. It was scary but still fun and I was worried for my brother and mom.

My Response:

Hi Kelly!

I have only been skiing once, and I fell maybe 100 times! I am not very good at skiing, but I am great at water skiing! There isn’t a lot of snow here in Alabama, but we always go to the beach to water ski!

I hope that your mom and brother get well soon!

C4K #2: Subika's Blog

Today I am absent  because my scratchy throat and my nack.Yesterday I was just fooling sround and I just flipped over on my bed and now when I move my neck closer to my left shoulder it hurts a lot.My sister had it once form her back pack and she said it would go away soon.In the mean time I can barley move my head,I have to keep having tablets,and my mom irons a peics=e os cloth and it is very hot and sshe rests it on my shoulder again and again.I hope I get better soon.

My Response
Hi Subika,
My name is Brandon and I am a college student in Mobile, Alabama studying music education! We have been assigned to comment on you and your classmates blogs!
I really hope that your neck starts to feel better! It sounds like you might have a pulled muscle. I’ve danced most of my life, and whenever I pull a muscle, it takes a few weeks to start feeling better, but your mom has the right idea! Adding heat to the muscle will make it feel much better! Just take it easy for now!
Get better soon Subika!

C4K #3: Tyla-Marie's Blog

Earthquakes Strike Again in Christchurch

Devastating news has been confirmed that Christchurch suffered from another bad earthquake.

Although the earthquake measured 6.3 magnitude, the damages were worse than before.The last earthquake was deeper down in the ground but this one was shallower and that’s what caused most of the damage. Since September Christchurch has been having little after shocks until this big one .

I feel so sad and sorry for the kids in Christchurch who have had to suffer through this kind of stuff.Especially for the people who have lost their loved ones and homes. May luck and hope be with them.

My Response:
Hi Tyla-Marie!
My name is Brandon and I am a college student at The University of South Alabama in Alabama, USA. I am studying Music Education to become a choir director for high school or college. I am in a class this year called EDM310 where we learn about technology for the classroom, and I have been assigned to read your blog and comment!
Your blog is great! I love that you have designed your background to fit your personality! It is nice to see a blog that isn't just plain white and black!
This blog post caught my eye though! Earthquakes are scary things! My best friend lives in Santiago, Chile and last year they had horrible earthquakes. I flew down to be with her right when they started to happen! Here in Alabama, we do not have earthquakes... just hurricanes! So when I felt an earthquake for the first time, I was scared!
You did a great job writing about what happened in Christchurch! It is very professionally written! Maybe next time you write something like this, insert a link to a news article that people like me who aren't from New Zealand can read! But again, great job Tyla-Marie!
You can view my blog if you would like too! The address for it is:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Project #11

Short Story Movie - Curious George and the Pizza
Book by Margret & H.A. Rey
Music by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx
Story Read by Brandon M. Caten

Project #10 - My PNL on Symbaloo

After looking into the different websites in which I could start and manage my PLN, I decided to go with Symbaloo because of the easy interface and because I just liked it more than Netvibes.

So far, I've added essential websites that I seem to visit daily: facebook, twitter, blogspot, youtube and gmail. I also added websites that I thought I visit at least a few times a week: USouthAl,, pandora, flickr, foursquare and IMDB. Symbaloo came loaded with several colorful tiles that were of a broad spectrum of topics and uses, so I went through and kept a few and deleted even a few! I even decided to add a few of my favorite news sources just to make things easier to access!

I can completely see the use of Symbaloo in the classroom and even outside of the classroom in order to provide easier access for students and parents.

I will keep adding tiles to my PLN and see just how fast I can fill it up with things that I use daily!

Project #9b - Classical Composer Timeline

Classical Composer Birthdays

Obama, Intel & Education

"If we want to win the global competition for new jobs and industry we've got to win the global competition to educate our people." - Barack Obama

In his weekly address, President Obama visits Intel in Oregon (my uncle works there!) and speaks to the nation on how we need to up education in order to keep jobs here in America. He also talks in a way that makes me believe he has faith in the American education system:

"We have everything we need to compete: bold entrepreneurs, bright new ideas and world class colleges and universities. Most of all, we have young people just brimming with promise and ready to succeed. All we have to do is tap that potential."

I've given President Obama grief every since he began running for office, but if he continues to talk about improving the education system in America, I might just have to start liking him... a little bit. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mr. Whitacre Is Up To It Again!

Eric Whitacre's Earth View Virtual Choir

Eric Whitacre has done it again: Another Virtual Choir! And this time, it includes a new feature. He has enabled Google Earth with a mapping feature that shows where submissions for the newest virtual choir are coming from!

According to his website, "See where and when videos are being created live on our Virtual Choir Earth View. Watch this world record breaking attempt grow in front of your eyes and view clips submitted by users from all across the globe."

I think it is fantastic that Mr. Whitacre is using this technology to help his followers understand the extent that music reaches across the world!

Blog Post #6

The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler

A very important and interesting question is asked during this video: "Why does the networked student even need a teacher?" As a teacher, we have to teach them how to build their network to find their answers. Teachers are the sifter that helps the student learn what a relevant source is and what might just be fluff! I like to think teachers are what keep the students on track! Without the teacher, students might just find the easy shortcut, but because of the teacher, students will learn while finding the best route to the finish line!

This is the first time I have heard of this method actually having a real name : Connectivism. To me, EDM310 and Dr. Strange is part of the theory of connectivism. I know that if I were sitting in a classroom, with a book in front of me and my laptop out on my desk, I would more than likely just be sitting on facebook and not paying attention in class. However, knowing that I must complete all of the assignments on my own with little guidance makes me search out answers and find the best and most efficient ways to complete my tasks!

Am I prepared to be a teacher of the networked student? Thanks to EDM310, I feel more ready than ever. It helps knowing how to use technology and what works for each situation. The learning isn't over though! Technology is always changing and students are usually the first to know about these changes! Learning is never over and teaching has just begun when it comes to educational technology!

A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment

I am very much impressed that a 7th grader is using a PLE (PLN) the way this young lady is using it! If I were to think of how a 7th grader might be using a PLE, I would expect to see ridiculous websites that are far from scholarly, however, she has done a great job creating a PLE that adapts to her educational needs!

I did notice that we had a few of the same tiles like facebook, google and youtube, and I even think I might go as far as to watch the video again and "steal" some of her tiles for my own use in my PLN!

Critiques of Smartboards

Why Smartboards are A Dumb Initiative - Michael Staton
The main argument in this post is that a Smartboard is just a more attractive whiteboard that doesn't really help accomplish anything except for creating a larger dent in the ever-increasing debt of education.

Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards - Bill Ferriter
(At first, I thought this was a short little post without much substance, but then I realized that I needed to register for the site! It's a two-for-one deal: I can now read the article and have access to a legit education website!)

This article states "that without time and training, they quickly become nothing more than really expensive overhead projectors." It also goes on to say that Smartboards just help reinforce the ever-hated "stand-and-deliver" approach to teaching.

Smart Boards are hands-on, minds-on! - Gary Huffenberger
This article makes the point that Smartboards are bringing a much-needed refreshment of learning to the classroom. At this particular school, students are driving the power behind Smartboards!

One part of me says that Smartboards are just a waste of tax-payer money, but another part of me says that we should try anything we can to rekindle a love for education in the classroom and that no amount of money can replace learning! I agree that without proper training a Smartboard is just an expensive overhead projector, but the training should be included. I can also see teachers not wanting the training due to fear or an illiteracy in education. Smartboards are here, and instead of complaining about them and in turn wasting money already spent, we should just buckle down and learn to use them and make the best of this technology we are fortunate enough to have been given!

Hashable - Networking with Hashtags

I ran across this website while looking for things to add to my PLN and thought I should not only bring it to EDM310's attention, but try it myself!

Hashable is an application that helps your manage your personal and professional connections through your smartphone! It utilizes the idea of hashtags brought to us by twitter through means of communication.

I'm going to check it out and see if there might be some use for it in EDM310 or education in general!

If you happen to check it out, post a comment and let me know what you think about this new application!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Project #8 - Podcast

Blog Post #5

Eagles' Nest Radio & Class Blog

I decided to listen to The Eagles' Nest Class Blog on Ancient Rome. I learned more from this kids than I think I would have ever learned from a book. I never knew that Cleopatra was the 7th queen with the name! And every word spoken was understandable!

This is a very impressive blog page for 3rd graders! It is hard to believe that 3rd graders are doing such amazing podcasts that are high quality. Listening to this podcast, I got a few ideas from the kids! Mrs. Edmison is doing a great job by teachings these children how to create podcasts!

Upon first click of the video, I found that this podcast might have the most annoying intro music that I have ever heard! But once I got over the idea of this absurd music, I started to learn some great benefits to having podcasts in classrooms! (I also learned a new term: "Millenial"!) I really like the idea of using podcasting for a sick child. While I might not be the type of teacher that will utilize podcasts daily, this is one great way to use a podcast! If I don't even upload every lecture or lesson, I can get lectures to students when I know they need them!

Another use of podcasts that interests me is the fact of parents being able to see or hear that their children are learning at school. Parents always want to make sure that their children are making the best of their education, and podcasts give them a new way to "check-in" on their children. It also helps by bringing the information home to the parents, that way they can turn around and help translate the information to their kids! Parents can listen to the podcasts on the way to school to pick up their children, thus giving them a topic of conversation for the drive home!

This blog discusses the most important ideas behind blogging and teaching students how to use tools such as podcasts and wikis. Not only are we teaching children how to use the technology that they will more than likely be required to use in their future jobs, but we are also teaching them amazing skills that they need to know!

Today's workforce is extremely competitive, and in my mind, education is a preparation to the workforce "audition"... the interview that lands you your job! Children learn things such as speaking and presentation skills and fluency in technology and communication. These are essential things that students should learn in addition to the traditional "reading, writing and arithmetic." Why can we not teach students in new ways such as blogging and podcasts while helping them create real-world skills too?

My Sentence Movie

This is My Sentence:

I help children and students from all races and backgrounds learn that there is no "me" in "choir" but instead an "us" in "chorus"

Monday, February 14, 2011

Project #5

Blog Post #4

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?

I was scared at first that Dr. McLeod was being completely serious when posting such things as "since when do kids need an audience" and "don't you know collaboration is just another word for cheating?" Reading the post, I would assume that Dr. McLeod has heard these comments before and that might be where the basis for some of the sentences comes from. I think that Dr. McLeod does believe in the power of technology for students.

Dr. Scott McLeod is an Associate Professor at Iowa State University and is also the director of a program called the Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE). In addition to CASTLE, he was the co-creator of the "Did You Know? (Shift Happens)" video.

Travis Allen, a 17 year old high school student, has proposed the iSchool Initiative. This initiative would have all students in a school using an iTouch instead of the traditional books, paper and other school supplies. It would allow students to access syllabi, grades, lunch menus and textbooks through the use of their iTouch.

I think that it is a very interesting concept, but I am not sure that it would work that well. Students are smart these days, sometimes smarter than the teachers that are teaching them! Travis claims that schools will block websites, but I know form experience that there is always a way around blocked websites! Only a few clicks and then a student will be surfing facebook instead of learning about chemistry. And imagine if just one student learns how to do it and then decides to sell the information to other students?!? Teachers won't have to worry about drug deals, they will have to be trying to stop iSchool deals!

It is a great idea, but in my mind, I'm not convinced that it would work in a high school! I think it would work amazingly in a college setting. We are mostly all here because we want to learn. If a college were to try the program, I think the results would be greater and it would give The iSchool Initiative a chance to get setup before potentially hurting the education of a high school student.

This presentation seems to use a form of reverse psychology and a play on words. Reading it and listening to it the way it was written made it sound the same exact way that our generation is being told we are going to be. We are constantly told that we are going to create nothing of substance for the world and that we are the end of the Earth as we know it.

But reverse the video and look at it from a different perspective and we realize that not everything can be taken for face value. It is completely up to us to decide what will happen with the Earth and our world. It is our decisions that will change life as we know it. No longer can we listen to the negativity that is shoved down our throats and just stand there and take it. It is up to each and every one of us to show society that we can change the world for the better!

Being a Music Education major with an emphasis in Choral Conducting, this video really hits home with me for two reasons: one because Eric Whitacre happens to be my favorite composer of all time and two because I've actually sung this piece and I know just how hard it is to perform this piece correctly!

Eric Whitacre was the composer who helped me make it through some hard times. There are nights that I couldn't fall asleep unless I had Whitacre playing. Everything that he writes for choirs is stunning.

I love the idea of virtual choirs! It brings together students that might have never had a chance to sing with other students and creates something that might have never been created! The idea is just genius to me! I'd love to see what type of talent we have in EDM310 and create something like this for us!

The first thing I found that caught my attention in this video was the statement of "Teachers are no longer the source of information, we are the filter." This is extremely true! No longer are we the only source of information that children learn from. If they have questions once they leave a classroom, all they need to do is sit down a their computer and "google" the answer! Then they have to make up their mind as to which answer provided to them is correct!

To teach, to me, is not just to provide information, but to also provide how to use such information in day to day life! We need to be teaching our students information, but also how to use it based on the current circumstances. A student should be able to leave our classroom and take something with them that can be applied to any given moment and situation and feel comfortable with the decisions they are making. I believe that learning about the past is a great start, but students now need to learn about their future and how to make sure to be ahead of the game once they hit "the real world" and start their adult lives. There will always be someone who is one step ahead of them, and we do not prepare students to take the two steps necessary to jump ahead of the competition, they are surely going to fall behind!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

USA Show Choir Concert - Monday, February 7 at 7:30 PM!!!

Wanna see some sweet moves like this?

USA Show Choir GIF 1

Or how about these?

USA Show Choir GIF 2

Well, if you aren't at The USA Show Choir's concert on Monday night, February 7 in the Laidlaw Performing Arts Recital Hall, then you might never seen these great moves again!

So you ask what The USA Show Choir is all about? Well, we were formed in Fall 2009 in order to help musicians around campus perform music that might not be found in the more classical classrooms. In other words, we love pop songs and show tunes and it's not every day that music majors get to perform songs from RENT or Lady GaGa!

We are a diverse group of students with majors in more than just music and drama: we have students who are Biomedical, International Studies, Biology, Nursing and even a Political Science major! We share one common thing though: a love for show choir!

Our first appearance on campus was at the Chi Omega songfest where we won our category! It was a great deal to beat last year's winners AED, but we weren't ready to stop there! Being part of The Board of Directors for The Miss University of South Alabama pageant, I secured us a spot in the pageant as a performer and that just set off the excitement even more! We've even been booked as the main act for a high-budget fashion show and South's Relay of Life!

So come out Monday night as help support this new organization on campus as we perform our first full-length show! This is only the beginning to something great!

 The show starts at 7:30 but the doors open at 7! Come early to guarantee a great seat in the 240-person recital hall! Hopefully it will sell out, but that cannot happen without a great group of fans and supporters!

Tickets are just $3 for students and $5 for general admission!

For more information, check out the facebook event here!

Blog Post #3

Michael Wesch: A Vision of Students Today
This vision couldn't be any truer or any clearer! I spend more time on facebook than I spend working on homework! I spend more time in class than I do sleeping!!! If technology is the answer, then why haven't invented a way to technologically help with sleep?

Most students feel this way about their classes! They feel as is they won't take anything out of the class and would be learning much more if they weren't in the class and learning on their own! As educators, we need find create w more inviting class and make sure that students feel like they are not wasting their time that they could spending doing other things!

Kelly Hilnes: It's Not About The Technology
Kelly Hines has some great ideas about technology and when not to use it! I really enjoy that she thinks it isn't always about technology! Her statement of "learning will not look the same to all students or all teachers, but it must be the goal." I think this says it all!

We as teachers have to make sure that we aren't just feeding the students the information and hoping that they can absorb it, but in reality not all students are comprehending! We have to make sure that we are adapting our teaching strategies for each student and the way they learn!

Karl Fisch: Is It Ok To Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?
I somewhat understand where Mr. Fisch is coming from but I must refer to the above comments on the post above. He says that he believes that technology is not the end all and be all of education, but I believe he thinks technology is is extremely essential!

While I do believe that technology in education is extremely important, it is just another layer of education that we need to work on! Him comparing a teacher today without technology to a teach 30 years ago is extreme and just ridiculous, but that's just me!

Gary Hayes - Social Media Count
If students are spending that much time online, there has to be some way that we can make them use that time towards educational ideals. Should me make things more interesting in the hopes that we will get their attention with the risk of losing part of the educational value?

Children are spending countless hours on youtube and somehow grades are falling lower than ever! What is the missing link that we are missing? How are we falling short and not catching what we should be doing to help our students? There has to be something more that we can do!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Foursquare: It's not just a PE game anymore!

foursquare's small logo

Have you seen this logo around lately? If you haven't, then I am surprised! Foursquare is one of the newest technological "games" to be spreading the social media world! But what is it? Foursquare is a location-based application for smart phones that allows users to explore cities and find new venues via their cell phones.

With foursquare (and yes, it it spelled with a lowercase f) you can view venues around you, see who frequents there the most, read tips from other users, and even sometimes get discounts from the businesses you visit!

Now, I know you might be thinking "What does this have to do with educational media and technology?" but I think it actually have a LOT to do with education, at least at South for me! I mentioned discounts above and every college student could use an extra penny. The Daily Grind in the student center offers a free cup of coffee to the mayor (the person who checks-in the most) each day that they stay on top of the check-in grid! I even found myself going to the music building and practicing over the break because I wanted the chance to check-in and become mayor, if for nothing else, for bragging rights!

Foursquare might not be the best invention when it comes to technology in the classroom, but I think it could have some place. The Accredited Online Colleges blog lists 30+ ways to use foursquare in education and I can see some of them actually having relevance in a classroom setting!

If all of that doesn't help you understand foursquare, watch this video I found on youtube about foursquare and its many uses (Warning! This video is super cheesy!) :

With all of that being said, don't you think it is time that you got yourself a foursquare account and started experiencing all the fun! And hey, you might even come up with a few ideas for your classroom that involve foursquare! Not to mention that with over 6 million users, there is bound to be somebody you know that uses foursquare already!

Foursquare currently has applications for iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Palm and a few other smart phones!  It's simple to get an account with foursquare! Just click on the image below to get started! It's as easy as that! See you around campus with your check-ins... and don't you dare try to steal my mayorship of The College of Education!!!

Click Below To Get Started:

Friday, February 4, 2011

PBS to broadcast upcoming documentary on 21st-Century Digital Media and Learning

Premiering February 13 is a new documentary titled Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century on PBS. After watching the promo videos and short clips found here, I have determined that this is actually something that I think I would enjoy watching ever I were not in EDM310 this semester!

After exploring YouTube in hopes of finding some more clips of the show, I found the following video that looks as if I could be from the documentary. Either way, PBS (or whoever produced this short movie) really did their research and found some great people... except they forgot to add Dr. Strange to the video!

Check your local listing to find out what time PBS will be showing this documentary in your area!