Monday, February 9, 2015

EDM 310 C4T Post #1

My first teacher that I left comments for was Kathleen Morris on her blog Primary Tech. This blog is outdated by the way as the last post was on January 25th, 2014. The first post I commented on was her post about the creative commons license, Creative Commons Infographic. This post had an infographic about the creative commons license that she found on Twitter. The post started with her talking about the problems with people not knowing enough about, or at all, the rules with posting stuff off the internet and the creative commons license. She then told her readers where she got the infographic from and posted it. At the end she posted a link to a website for more information. My comment on her post was mostly about how this post was helpful as an aspiring teacher, and it further covered what we had talked about in class. I also talked about how I really liked the infographic because it was not just a bunch of typed up information, but a visual display that was much cleaner and easier to interpret than the alternative would have been.

The second post, There's Blogging and There's Blogging..., I commented on was about the importance of making a blog for students constructive and giving them direction and purpose with it, rather than setting them loose. The post went into detail on what a constructive blog was, for a student. She talked about how she really liked the idea of having student blog. Her post talks about her own experiences with implementing blogs in her classes and some of the mistakes she fixed. My comment then went on to talk about how I liked how well structured the post was. Also, I really enjoyed the post because ,even though this class is teaching us how to blog, we have not really learned how to orient the blog for students yet.
This picture was pulled from
This picture was pulled from

EDM 310 Project #15 Search Engines

What is a search engine? Well a search engine is a basically a database. A search engine can be really specific, as in a search engine for only medical things. The search engine can also give you information and they have cited their resources which will lead you to other websites, that are not search engines, or the search engine can bring up a list of websites that pertain to what you are searching for. Prior to popular belief there are more search engines than just Google, a lot of them. In this post I will provide a link to a search engine and give a short description on its use and my experience using it.

1. Wolfram Alpha- This search engine upon first inspection was basically Wikipedia. Whatever you searched for you got a description of it and sources were cited with links. However, if you click on examples right under the search bar on the right side you will see that Wolfram Alpha can be used for a lot of educational purposes. One main use I want to point out is that it will show you step-by-step how to solve math problems if you enter your math problem into the search bar. This website is great for school.

2. Bing- This search engine is essentially the same as Google, however its homepage is a lot more interactive than Google's homepage. The front page of Bing has a picture with a link, news stories on the bottom, and when you first click on the search bar it gives you a list of currently popular searches on Bing. This search engine is great for general use and I find it more interactive than Google.

3. Lycos- A little more basic of a search engine than Bing or Google it does not have as many features. One cool feature it did have was that it knows what city you are in and tells you the weather on the home page of the search engine. I would recommend using other search engines, unless you just really like knowing what the weather is before surfing the web.

4. indeed- This search engine is different from the others in a big way. The other search engines were general purpose. This search engine is used for a very specific reason though. It is a job search engine. You type in what city you live in and then what kind of job you want. When searching for a job the links will take you directly to that business's website to apply. If the job is already taken when you click on the link it will tell you. So this website is not updated at all times. One nice feature is that you can upload your resume so that employers can find you. Over all this is a great place to start if you are looking for a job.

5. WebMD- This is a search engine that is used for medical purposes. This website is great for everyone. It is not for doctors. This website is for your average person. You can either search by what exactly your problem is or by an interactive search feature that asks a bunch of questions about your symptoms and then gives you a list of possible medical issues. Once you click on one you have a description of what it is, what to expect, self-care, and even when you should probably go see a doctor. I really enjoyed this website.

6.  PriceGrabber- Another specialized search engine. This one specifically searches for consumer products. it then lists all the stores and websites that are selling the product and for how much. You  can find just about anything on this website to buy. However, when looking at the places they have listed for selling the product it varies greatly from product to product even if they are the same type of product. This leads me to believe that the website is listing only what the retailers give them not what they go out and find. It is still a great website to use.

7. Yahoo- This is another general purpose search engine. It has the most interactive home page of them all, though. It has a ton of news stories on the home page and a bunch of features like the weather in your area to the scores of recent sports games. I really enjoy this search engine. A lot of general purpose search engines will bring up the same websites when searching for stuff, but this has the best homepage by far.

8. This is about as specific as you can get for a search engine. It is a Disney search engine. this search engine is family oriented and is made specifically to search for anything Disney. It only searches for things that are Disney. I can find no purpose for this website, but it is great if you are looking up Disney stuff because all of this information comes from Disney itself.
Pulled from a post called "People Literally Surfing the Web" by Ronnie Scott from
Pulled from a post called "People Literally Surfing the Web" by Ronnie Scott from

Sunday, February 8, 2015

EDM 310 Blog Post #4

One of the most important things a teacher strives for is that their students will be able to answer any question they ask. Answers are great and all, but they are not as important as the question itself. Being able to ask a good question is important because it gets your brain thinking about other possibilities. Questions lead to constructive arguments and discussions in class. Also, an answer often leads to more questions. So what is considered a good question? Lets take a look.
Asking better questions in the classroom Pt. 1.wmv by Joanne Chesley on YouTube
Open Ended Questions by Andi Stix on YouTube 

These two videos workout really well together. The first video will explain to you what the difference between a close-ended and an open-ended question is. The second video helps go into detail what exactly an open-ended question is. To recap on what these videos explained is that first as a teacher you should ask open-ended questions whenever possible. They force the student to answer with more than a "yes" or "no." The student has to draw on all of his knowledge in the subject to answer the question and then explain and defend their answer. When asking an open-ended question you can make it so that the answer is specific or more generalized. An example being, "what is the direct cause of....," would lead to a specific answer that is not yes or no. A more generalized question would be, "what do you think caused.....," as that question would procure more than one answer from your student and multiple answers could be right. Another thing to think about is that a close-ended question could very easily lead into an open-ended question. When you ask a close-ended question and your student answers then just ask them why. Your parents hated that phrase when you were a kid and your students will not like it either, because they thought they were going to get away with a yes or no question and now they are not. The last thing to keep in mind is that close-ended questions are still vital. They give teachers a good, quick reference to what their students have actually learned. After all, if you want to have a discussion question on a topic that they know half the answers to you can not really do that and have to back track to teach them what they do need to know. Open-ended questions should be the bulk of your questions to get the gears really turning, but you still need to use close-ended questions to keep a quick gauge on how much your students are really learning. 
Pulled from a post called "Are You Asking the Right Questions?" by Karen Brinkley on The University of Tennessee Knoxville website
Picture was taken from a post called "Are You Asking the Right Questions?" by Karen Brinkley on The University of Tennessee Knoxville website

Monday, February 2, 2015

EDM 310 Blog Post #3

Peer Editing Posted on YouTube by nrpatric

Writing Peer Review (Peer Critique) TOP 10 Mistakes posted on YouTube by Tim Bedley

The two videos and slide show above are some great sources that can quickly explain what a peer review is. In my own words, though, a peer review/editing is simply the process by which an individual reviews and edits a peer's work. A peer being someone equal in status, like age, years in college, years in the company, etc. The best way to approach peer editing is with the attitude that the editing is to help you not pick apart your flaws. It is also better to use online programs so that you can edit anonymously and avoid having someone to directly confront if you have a problem with one of their edits. When editing my peers I find the method the above sources mention. You point out the positives so that your peer knows what they are doing wrong. You then make corrections to point out what they are doing wrong. Finally, you make suggestions on how to improve what they did wrong, or even what they did right. What the resources above do not mention is what exactly the importance of a peer review is. Everyone is biased. You can not help it. What a peer review does is it lets someone else who does not share your views edit your paper. Often they find a problem you did not think was one. Another reason is that you may know you have a weak conclusion but do not know what to do. With a peer review you get another opinion that can help you get past a writer's block you may have. The main goal of a peer review is for that second opinion to help you fix issues that you do not see or can not think of how to fix.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

EDM 310 Blog Post #2

This post will be about the changes in the classroom that are occurring in the 21st century. There will be six videos that will be the basis on my thoughts.

The first video is called Professor Dacnealot by Kari Johnson. The central idea that the author of this video is trying to portray is that classes in college are often nothing but PowerPoint slides in class and then have some unreasonable test with questions pulled from everywhere but the slides. The author portrays this with the dance class being instructed by PowerPoint and then when it comes final exam day the students are required to perform a dance they had to learn from notes and not practice. I agree with the author. This video poses a very real problem in schools around the country today. Too many classes are turning into nothing but death by PowerPoint. There are so many classes that need to be taught with more than just PowerPoint slides. This video also shows that a lot of classes are built around the idea that everyone can learn off of PowerPoint slides and the notes you derive from them. This, however, is not the case. We all know that a lot of people learn differently, and I prefer more hands-on work.


The second video is Teaching in 21st Century by Kevin Roberts(John Strange version). To start with I will outline the video. The video starts with presenting you with the question of what teaching in the 21st century is. Then moves on to claim that teachers are a filter. With all the access that technology gives students they do not need teachers to help them learn but to help them filter out the wrong information. The author then gives you the answer on how to do that. You simply give them the skills to use online information correctly. You teach them how to paraphrase, avoid plagiarism, and to filter out sketchy website with factual ones. From there you need to use technology in the classroom so you can engage your students. Do not just tell them how to use Google but show them and let them do it. I feel like the author is on to something here. Technology has changed everything. Including teaching. The problem is that teachers have not kept up, but students have. They use this technology that teachers shy from. The problem is that they have not been taught the skills to use it correctly. I feel that it is about time that teachers caught up with the students.

 The third video is Networked Student by Wendy Drexler. After watching this video a good question is raised. Why does this student even need a teacher? Well the video answers that at the end and the past two videos help substantiate this author's claim greatly. The video tells you that the teacher is there to guide the student. When he needs help with his learning network or discerning information and how to use technology to learn the teacher is there to show him. This video helped to clarify a lot of the questions the other videos posed. For example I understood what the other videos were getting at, but had nothing to really compare them to. This video was an example of what a teacher should be like in the 21st century. I liked this video for its simplicity and with how easy it was to follow. It did not try to convince you of anything it just showed you a rising style of teaching in the 21st century. It was very enlightening for me.

The fourth video is Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts by Edutopia The main idea that Vicki Davis is posing is that students should be encouraged to learn by themselves and share what they learn with others. Teachers are there to guide and assist them. You are not holding there hands and pulling them along. You are nudging them from behind and encouraging them to step forward on their own. I agree with Davis. You can not hold everyone's hand and pull them along as you teach them. It is the teacher's job to help the student learn in their own way. 

The above link will bring you to the fifth video which is a video blog by John Strange on the website Vimeo. To answer the question I would have to say that the Elementary students are ahead in the learning race. I myself am an undergraduate student. I can assure you that I did not have that kind of access to technology in my elementary days. The biggest reason for this outcome is fairly simple. Schools and teachers are just recently starting to catch up with the rest of the 21st century as far as utilizing technology goes. The simplest way to integrate is not to force the older kids into it but to start with the younger kids who are just starting to go to school and work your way up. This way you have an unfortunate gap in generations, but it is far simpler and more pragmatic. That is why the elementary kids are ahead and the rest of us must catch up. 

The last video is Flipping The Classroom- 4th Grade STEM posted by Lodge McCammon. This video teaches you about "flipping." This is a process where a student is given the material to study at night and the next day at school they can review and ask questions about the material. This is not new to me. Being an English major this is very common. We read the material before our class and then during class we review, clarify, and ask questions. I find this process to work out far better than learning the material in class and being unable to ask questions and review because the next class you can not waste time and must start learning the new material.

Note: All the videos, except #5, can be found on YouTube.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Practice Blog Post 1

Practice Blog Post

1. Alexander Brian Wells
2. I want to be an educator to serve m country further and to teach young kids english.
3. I am very passionate about a multitude of things such as......
4. I am attending USA due to its location.
5.  I am in the National Guard
6. My family lives in NC, my dad is in the USCG, my only sibling is my sister......
7. I believe that an educator's role in schools today is not only to educate kids but to support them...

Hello my name is Alexander Brian Wells. I want to be an educator so that I can teach kids in high schools and help them throughout school by supporting them and being that neutral third-party that is so hard to come by these days. I believe that an educator's job in schools today is to not only teach kids, but to help them in any way they can, as they have social contact with them everyday and are a big influence on that kid's life. I happen to be attending the University of South Alabama due to its location. I went to high school in Mobile and USA was an easily accessible, yet great, school to attend. I am attending to earn a bachelor's in English and Secondary Education. Later I hope to get a Master's in Creative Writing.

U.S. Soldiers walking with a HMMWV
Note: this picture was taken from
 I am 19 years old, but have lived in three different states in my short life. I have lived in Mobile, Alabama; Kodiak, Alaska; and Detroit Michigan. This is due to the fact that my father is a Rescue Swimmer in the United States Coast Guard. Throughout my life my mom has been your typical housewife. My sister is two years younger than me and currently in her senior year in high school. They live in Elizabeth City, North Carolina right now. I have many passions and hobbies that range and differ from each other greatly. I enjoy playing a lot of video games, such as World of Warcraft, League of Legends, and even Pokemon, I also enjoy going to the gym to workout and play racquetball with friends, another physical activity I enjoy is paintball in the summer. My passions that you could not really call a hobby would have to be watching anime and reading Star Wars books. Other than going to school at the University of South Alabama I am a Cavalry Scout, 19D, in the Alabama National Guard.