Saturday, December 17, 2011

Final Reflection

So, for our FINAL blog post to end this class, we are supposed to basically grade ourselves and reflect on ourselves as a learner... So, what did I learn, did I do the required assignments for this class, and how do I see myself as a learner???

Let's start with what I learned... Really, I think this has been one of the best classes I have taken during my Graduate career at USD! I'm not just saying that because I want a good grade in the class, but it was a practical learning experience. Jeff taught us different tools to integrate technology in the classroom and we were VERY hands-on in actually using the tools. We were able to see the successes and difficulties of using technology in the classroom by actual classroom teachers (teacher panel class and visiting the Lindsay Community Day School). And best of all, we created our Personal Learning Network and REALLY networked with other people in the education field. We didn't necessarily talk sooooooo much about theories and "important" education people out there, which we get so much in all of our other classes... we were just in it in the sense that we really dove deep into the technology aspect and I LOVED IT!!! So, what can I say about what I learned??? I learned a lot! I now have a real understanding of what Twitter should be used for and it definitely is not what I thought it was! I learned about Prezi and how much cooler it is than PowerPoint!!! I learned about how we all learn differently, which is seen in our classrooms that we teach in. I learned how to create a symbaloo and how to add a voice-over using jing. And, I learned how to blog and how to manipulate and add cool things to your blog!! Now, that's not everything I learned, but bits and pieces!

Now for the technical part... did I do the required assignments for this class... YES!! (haha) I may have been a little late in a few posts or lagging on becoming a resident in the virtual world, but I got there. I think with the flexibility Jeff gave us this semester, this class was not only a learning experience, but it was stress-free and FUN!!!

How do I see myself as a learner??? From Pink's book, I would definitely see myself as right-brained, but I do have left-brained tendencies... Like I mentioned in a past blog, I'm a little bit of both, which is a great mix in our world today, since we are moving away from the left-brained world to more of the right-brained side! I think this class made me think a lot about my future students that I will have in the classroom. With technology, there are so many different aspects to bring to a curriculum that hit different learning styles, but it is important to know my students and how they learn and apply that to my curriculum. I really like what Natalie mentioned in our teacher panel about how she was using technology to help her with the different learning styles, but what she didn't realize is that she wasn't doing anything bodily kinesthetic. Her students were forced to sit in a chair and use their laptops, but they way they learned best was by moving around, so her curriculum had to change. I think this is such an important aspect in teaching that many teachers do not "get". They are so stuck in "their way", that change is impossible... I think as teachers we need to move out of the "well, that worked before, so why won't it work now?" attitude and more towards really getting to know our students as DIFFERENT learners.

So... with that said... what grade do I think I earned this semester??? or do grades even matter?!?! ;)  Well, if I would have to grade myself.. I'd say A is for Annie, and A is for Awesome (which I am), so I think A!! (haha) All in all, I really enjoyed this class, my classmates, and our professor. Jeff-- I really do hope you continue to teach this class at USD because this class was definitely one of those classes that I actually wanted to go to!!! and it was very informative!

I do plan on continuing to tweet and blog and hope to see my classmates on Twitter and Blogger as well!! Also, I plan on updating my personal blog with more recipes and more upcoming travels in the future (new post on our trip to Anguilla will be up in January!!!)

Thanks for reading!!! And Happy Holidays!!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Digital Reflection Part 2

Sorry that this had to be broken down into 2 parts... I actually didn't think I would go past 5 minutes with my reflections!!  Also, part 2 may sound a little rushed... I had a few technical difficulties with using jing and decided to press cancel not just once, but twice after recording my reflection, so if I sound tired, I was (since it was my 3rd time around!!)  Anyways, ENJOY!!!!

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Digital Reflection Part 1

This is Part 1! I actually didn't realize I was already at 5 minutes, so I'll finish the rest in another video!!!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Symbaloo Creation

Stay tuned... My Digital Reflection piece will be using this Symbaloo creation!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Teacher Panel & our last EDUC 578 class

First off, I would like to thank our teacher panel, Jen Roberts, Greg Ottinger, Natalie Priester, and Susan Glassett for taking the time to join our EDUC 578 class last night and share what you do with technology both inside and outside of the classroom!  The discussion was very insightful and helped me really pull together what we've learned in EDUC 578 from Professor Heil and what I can potentially do in my very own classroom when I finish my Credential and M.Ed. journey at USD.

Some things that put insight on using technology in the classroom was that integrating technology is not easy and takes time to show real progress.  Hearing our panel's journey throughout their careers is very motivating.  Like the saying goes, "what you get out of life, is what you put in" and it goes hand in hand with integrating a new innovation in the classroom.  I think it is very important as a new teacher or any teacher that is going outside of the "norm" is to know is that things won't change right then and there, it takes time, guidance, and development for that change to be really noticed.  With technology in the classroom, there will be those who are hesistant, but I think with our progress in obtaining our M.Ed's at USD, we are already taking a step forward with being prepared to implement this innovation.

From our EDUC 578 class, our main objectives are to looking at how we were learning as a student when we were in school, how we are learning now as professionals/M.Ed. students, and how our students learn.  What stuck with me from the panel was how important it is to have that individualized instruction for EVERY student in the classroom and how technology can make that possible.  Whether it be from programs that Natalie shares with us that allows her to individualize her lesson plan on the computer and hitting submit right there on the spot, to Susan talking about the ability to give her students to choose what they want to do.

Lastly, I think I resonated with our panel when they discussed how technology may be seen by some as alienating one another from face-to-face and critical social interactions, but in reality it is a way for those students who are shy or quiet or don't have as strong of a voice to really be able to express themselves.  This allows for our shy students to step forward in sharing and collaborating instead of forcing them to stand up in the front of the room and speak when they are not yet comfortable.  I know this, because I was that shy student all through grade school.  I absolutely hated speaking in the front of the class and I was hesitant to raise my hand and share my thoughts because of that fear of speaking in public.  I personally didn't get over this until my junior/senior year in high school, but it was a terrifying experience!

Again, thank you to our panel and it was a great close to a great semester with my fellow EDUC 578 classmates!!!

(If you want to check out some notes from the Teacher Panel, click on my Class Notes tab)

Monday, December 5, 2011

My New Year's Resolution...

So.. I know it's awhile til the new year, but I feel like 2011 has come and gone way too quickly!!  With finals (or in grad school... final presentations and final papers) here basically next week, I've been trying to keep myself sane by thinking about how much fun I am going to have with all of my family home for the holidays!  Then, I got to thinking about what I want to do for my new years resolution.  To be honest, I've NEVER kept my new years resolution past... maybe a month (and I think that's pushing it!).  So, this year, I REALLY want to knock completing my New Year's resolution off my bucket list...

Here are my ideas (in inspiration to some of my facebook friends who have kept their resolutions):
  • Complete some organized work-out/run/marathon (ie: Mud Run, Breast Cancer walk, Turkey Trot, Bike the Bridge, etc.) at least once a month. (I had a friend do some sort of 5k or more once a month and she truly was an inspiration!)
  • Become part of the 365 days picture group (talked about in my blog reflection for EC&I 831)... or maybe a 52 week picture group since once a week sounds a little more realistic... (but with today's technology of smart phones, why wouldn't I be able to take a picture with my cell phone and post it somewhere every day???)
Any one else have other inspirations for their New Years resolutions???

On a side note... I'm counting down the days til the 20th (15 more days) until I pick up my nieces and nephews (and bro and sis-in-law) and we meet the rest of the family + extended family and head to Disneyland!  I can't wait to have all of my nieces and nephews together for the first time since my youngest niece was born!! :)

My nephew Anthony (Aaron's brother)
Kaila, Andrew, and Karessa (My nieces and nephew in Seattle, WA)

My newest niece Elissa

My nephew Aaron on his 1st Birthday (Anthony's brother)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Technology in the Classroom: Lindsay Community Day School

For one of our actual "assigned assignments" for our EDUC 578 class, Professor Heil had required us to observe a classroom that integrates technology in their curriculum.  Now, I was actually kind of excited to do this outside of the classroom.  The reason?  I have yet to experience seeing a teacher use technology in their classrooms.  Not in my practicum experience, not in my community service learning experience, not in my volunteer experience, and not in my work experience!!!  (I've worked at a middle school in the LAUSD school district for 6 years, a high school in the GUHSD for a year, and currently work in a middle and high school in the SDUHSD).  I kind of expected something technology besides the use of a computer lab along my Credential and Master's journey, but it has yet to happen!

Now, what did I envision in my experience??  I expected to see SMART or Promethean Boards (since I've heard that many of my classmates in this class and other classes have them in their practicums), maybe some tools on the Internet, or even computer collaboration.  What I REALLY hoped for was to see a classroom that is integrating the use of iPad's, since this was my "focus" in EDUC 579 and I had written a grant for iPad's in the Science classroom for a curriculum innovations class I took this past summer at USD.  But since I procrastinated and waited last minute to research what schools in San Diego use the iPad (if there is even on), I instead was given the opportunity to accompany Professor Heil and Christina A. to the Lindsay Community Day School and I was VERY impressed with what I saw at this small school.
Students at Lindsay school share lunchtime with their children.
Photo: Sam Hodgson

Lindsay Community Day School "is a high school program for pregnant and parenting teens. Lindsay offers a comprehensive academic program including prenatal and parenting education classes. It has a staff of two fully credentialed teachers who are assisted by two teacher aides. It also offers childcare for babies and toddlers while students attend school. Our two major goals for pregnant students who do not wish to attend a regular school setting are as follows:
  • To help each student cope with her special needs because of early pregnancy and approaching parenthood.
  • To help each student continue her academic education.
(Excerpt from: Juvenile Court and Community Schools)

(Also, check out SDCOE's website that shows a video about best practices at Lindsay and also features Dawn Miller, who is a teacher at the site and past graduates of the school).

Honestly, I didn't really know what to expect, since all I knew about the school was that Professor Heil worked in conjunction with the site and that the school was focused for pregnant and parenting teenagers.  When we first arrived at the school, I had no idea that we were actually already there.  Lindsay is located on the corner of Ash and Union in Downtown San Diego which is not the ideal location for a high school.  From the outside, the building looked like a regular building you would see if you walked down the streets of Downtown San Diego.  We entered through a door on Union to see walls filled with art and work of the students.  We entered Dawn Miller's English classroom and immediately, my focus was on the babies!  Now, I don't have any of my own, but I have lots of nieces and nephews and I LOVE playing with babies!  We introduced ourselves to Dawn, then she went on to guide the class to their activity of blogging on their laptops.  The classroom was not filled, but had about 15 female students, most of who had their infants right alongside their desks.  Girls would come in at different times to sign-in and then proceeded to sit at their desks and catch up to their other peers.  Dawn went on to have other students help those who have not yet signed up for their blogger accounts and one student even went up on the SMART board and used the laptop to visually show how to sign up for blogger.

This definitely was not what I expected to see, since I've seen other programs for pregnant and parenting teens look like.  These girls were there to participate and learn.  They were open to helping one another out and most of all, they were using technology that I had not seen in the classrooms I have been in!  Walls along the building had pictures of the girls and showed their progress to graduating with a diploma.  The SDCOE's video explains how many of these girls pass the CAHSEE, get their diploma, and go on to college or a vocational school.  This truly was an environment that was student-centered.  It may not be a traditional school environment, but these girls were getting the attention that they needed to succeed and also were getting the help and resources they needed in their personal lives.  I very much enjoyed my visit to Lindsay and had a great tour guide who was a prior graduate of Lindsay and now works as a teacher's assistant at the school.

Lastly, check out the article about Lindsay Community Day School in my blog below!

*On a side note, I would appreciate any help with embedding the video on SDCOE's website to this blog post!!