Thursday, April 26, 2012

Take my Survey!

I believe...

“This I believe” was one of the final projects in SEDU 183.  The assignment was to create a “visual essay” supporting our belief statement about education.   At first I was a little unsure and apprehensive about this assignment.  However, when I broke it down into manageable steps, I succeeded in creating a visual essay that reinforced my statement, “I believe the passion to teach is something you were born with.”  I experimented with several different tools including Garageband, iMovie, and Windows Live Movie Maker before deciding which tools I wanted to use.  My plan of action was first to record my voice and then visually represent my essay.  I decided to use Garageband to record my voice and then Windows Live Movie Maker to finish my visual essay.  I encountered some difficulties along the way, although overall this project was rewarding in many ways.  The greatest difficulty was learning how to use the new programs, but in the end I increased my knowledge in the use of these programs.  This assignment also helped me to discover the many experiences in my life that brought me to Edinboro University.  I do not foresee using video very often in my future classroom unless the production becomes more seamless.  I feel the process is too time-consuming, although I would consider using video for a large project or unit project.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Open Educational Resources

Open educational resources are a collection of teaching, learning, and research material that are available free online.  This is done through open license which allows a more lenient use of the material than under copyright only. This learning data contains courses, course material, content modules, learning objects, collections and journals.

The impact OER for me as a learner…
As a learner OER offers an endless supply of new material for me to take advantage of.  This opens the door to endless opportunities of enhancing my knowledge on a specific subject. Open Educational Resources on the ORE Commons site is a great resourse for teachers as well as students, which offers material in all grade levels and in all subject areas.  I found this site to be very informative and useful. 

The impact of OER for me as a student…
As a current college student ORE are a super resourse for supplemental material that can be used in courses or subject areas.  Since OER are free online this makes access available almost anywhere and at anytime and to anybody.  While searching for OER, I came across Community College Consortium for OpenEducational Resources  this site offers numerous open college textbooks.  This alone could possibly save me hundreds of dollars on textbooks for my classes each semester!

The impact of OER for me as a future teacher…
As a future early childhood education teacher, I can see the prospect of using these resources to supplement my future curriculum.  On  SlideShare I found several exciting presentations concerning the use of Twitter, Facebook, e-learning, social media and many others in the learning environment.  This would be a site I would use when introducing a new concept or as a reference for students to use as well as a good support resource for me as a teacher. I feel the availability of OER will transform the instructional practices of my future classroom.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I believe the passion to teach is something you were born with.

As long as I can remember I have wanted to teach! As a child going through the educational system myself I always loved school and looked forward to the day when I would be standing in front of my own classroom.  I could not wait to feel the satisfaction at the end of the day knowing I had made a difference in the life of my young students.  I come from a long line of teachers.  My mom is a teacher; several of my aunts, uncles, and cousins are currently teachers, and my great-grandmother was a teacher.  The passion of teaching is in my background and in my genes. 

My desire to teach was fueled by the numerous times I was given the opportunity to be a teacher’s helper as well as to teach children myself.   For several years I helped teach the children’s program at Peniel Holiness Camp.  Those ten days every summer were the best!   Not only did I love the teaching part but the relationships I developed with the kids were great.  I cannot help but think what it will be like to develop a teacher- student relationship over a 180 day period.   Over the years, teaching opportunities presented themselves.  I became involved in the children’s ministry at my church, where I have had the privilege to teach children 2 years-old through the 5th grade.  The best part about this experience is the feedback I receive from the kids.  There is no better feeling than to see the kids connect and learn something from the effort you have invested in your time and work into a lesson. 

My passion had just begun to grow.  When I was crowned the 2009-2010 Pennsylvania Alternate Maple Sweetheart I was given the opening to go into the public schools and educate the students about pure PA maple syrup.  Through numerous presentations at different area schools and at different grade levels opened my eyes to the life inside each classroom as each classrooms was different.  This experienced unlocked my passion for the younger elementary students.   After spending hours in high schools and elementary schools I discovered I felt a pull towards elementary students.  Something about their innocent and sweet spirit and their desire to learn and how they looked up to their teachers appealed to me.

I am presently leading the Cloverbuds Program within the 4-H Program of one of the local 4H Clubs.  The children range in age of 5 years-old to 8 years-old.  My journey to make my dream a reality has started at Edinboro University where I am pursuing a degree in Early childhood Education.   I know the impact education has played in my growth as a person and I am looking forward to having that same impact on a student’s life. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cool Tool for School

Check out Cosmeo!!  Cosmeo is powered by Discovery Channel and is a kid friendly safe website that is a great online homework help for students.   Cosmeo is a host to 30,000 educational videos, 40,000 math tutorials, 20,000 images, 150,000 reference articles, 10,000 interactive games, dictionary, biographies, and reference materials  organized  by grade level and mapped to state standards.  The goal of this site it to get student interested and excited about learning not only in the classroom but after classroom hours as well.  Cosmeo wants students to get their homework done fast, efficiently and be fun too. 
                As a future teacher I see many options in using this tool in my future classroom.  Numerous videos in all subjects and all grade levels provide an endless amount of opportunities.  I foresee Cosmeo being used when I’m  introducing a new concept or for reinforcement for assignments and homework.  This would be a great resource for all teachers!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bilingual Education

 A current issue in education is the increase of English language learners being integrated into the education system.  The term English language learners or ELLs, are students who are learning English as a second language.  The background of these students varies greatly.  Some are recent immigrants who are older and proficient in their own language but have limited or no English skills.  Younger immigrant students may not even hear English at home.  This causes ELL students to become frustrated in schools where the primary instruction is given in English. 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics the population of ELLs has increased greatly over the past years from 4.7 to 11.2 million between 1980 and 2009, or from 10 to 21 percent of the population in this age range. Enrollment of ELLs has also seen an increase from 90 to 93 percent between 1980 and 2009.  Therefore the educational system must redesign their instruction methods in order for all students to succeed.   

Educational experts conclude that the instructional practices need to change to be able to reach these students. In The BALANCED VIEW: Bilingual Education by Westchester Institute For Human Services studies have concluded that "...children learn English faster and are more likely to excel academically if they are given several years of instruction in their native language first."   Unfortunately the case is still torn between those for and those against bilingual education. Because of  the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States, bilingual education has been attacked at the federal and state level.  Statewide anti-bilingual initiatives have passed in states like California, Colorado, and Massachusetts. As seen in the following articles, The Case Against Bilingual Education  and Bilingual Education Is A Human and Civil Right, the people of America stand divided. Each article states specific reason for why they feel the way they do.  In the end the important question is, "What is best for the ELL student?"

 Check out this video as Jerome Socolovsky visits a bilingual school in a suburb of Washington, DC.

ELLs are still entering the schools in great numbers and need and deserve the opportunity to learn and succeed.  The issue of bilingual education in schools cannot be ignored and as seen in the video above the bilingual education program is working not only for ELLs but for native English speaking students as well.