Close Community

I am now amazed at the fact how all sorts of people can connect with one another. Yes, this is a realization that I think I’ve made a while ago but this recent incident made this concrete.

An educator blogger named Shane from New York mentioned me in a post and linked my “About” page to it. See the article here. He talked about me and what I taught in my internship and mentioned my interest in technology in the classroom. It’s so neat to have my blog mentioned in another person’s — and for an amazing reason! Reading his post made me realize that through technology and blogging, we are closer than we think to others around the world. We can share ideas and thoughts.

I thought it would be nice to mention him in a post, too. And he expanded my professional community by mentioning two other unique edubloggers in his post! Thanks, Shane!

This has been another thought process from Helyn.

Advertisements

Coding

For one of our tech tasks we were required to check out some coding sites and play around with some of the codes and think about how it would work in a classroom setting.

First, I did the Flappy Bird one where you had to try and figure out what codes to put in. I was confused at first because it was more difficult. Then I tried a simpler coding exercise and below is a screenshot of what I started working on:

Image

This program was much easier to work with (and especially so because I’m just a beginner with no experience at all).

I think something like these exercises will help students with problem solving and give them a chance to understand how games work — especially the Flappy Bird coding exercise. It is also relevant for high school students who are thinking of going on to major in something like Computer Science. This would be a way for them to get a feel of the program and what it all encompasses.

If students have computers at home, their parents can become involved in helping the students solve some of these problems of coding and help their children understand how games are created. Programs like these would work well in a math class because they require problem solving skills — just like the Angry Birds game simulation I did above. You needed to look at the situation and figure out how you were going to get the Angry Bird to the pig.

Coding is a neat way to bring something new to the students. An almost “behind the scenes” look at how games are made. Maybe having your students code could be a way to introduce them to the field of Computer Science. So many possibilities.

Blogging in the Classroom

In my Education English class today one teacher-to-be brought up the discussion of using blogs in a high school classroom. She was talking about how we need to teach students what to post on the internet. This would be a step to teach students that they need to be aware of what they are posting on the internet. And that whatever they choose to post could affect them if future employees are looking for them. They need to be aware of what they are posting on the internet — especially on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Blogging is a great way to incorporate internet and get students thinking about their image in the online world. Instead of writing in a journal, they could blog.

One disadvantage to having students blog would be for some homes that don’t have the money for internet or computers/laptops. In my internship, I had a student in grade 10 who had a phone but it didn’t have data on it so he could only connect to WIFI. I’m not sure if he had internet at home but if I would have incorporated daily blogging into the class, he would have fallen behind if I didn’t give him class time.

However, I think if it’s possible, blogging should be incorporated into a high school classroom — especially English. I think it would be a great tool to utilize if you are able to as a teacher. You could give students topics to write about just like we’ve had in my ECMP 355 class this semester.

What’s in a Name?

My first name, Helyn, is a different version from my grandma’s name, Helen. My parents thought it was a beautiful name (and yes, I think it is) but it has created some irritation with me over the years. Why? Well, both ways are not pronounced the same. Ah ha! Yes, that’s the trick. You might think it’s like Helen but no. It’s actually, “Hel-lyn”, if you will. Just think of “Lynn”. Close enough.

I’m becoming more amused when I tell people my name and it takes them several times to find the right pronunciation. I still have some friends who pronounce it wrong. I’ve received all sorts of name variations from “Helain,” to “Helene” (a French version).

And then there’s the spelling of my name. I would say my name over the phone of for another person and they would stare at me with a blank stare, “Um, what?” Really, though, it’s not that hard to spell. H-E-L-Y-N. One time I had someone who put an “i” where the “y” is supposed to go. Close, but not quite.

When I’ve gone on first dates I usually ask them how to pronounce my name. I’ve become more amused with it over the years as they try to look like they know how it’s pronounced. But they usually get it wrong.

Anybody else have funky name problems? I could tell you about my long last name and the spelling of that but that might be for another post.

______________________________________________________

This was an assignment for the DS106 (Digital Storytelling) assignment in Writing. http://assignments.ds106.us/assignments/whats-in-a-name/

It is a really simple assignment that can be used in the classroom as an ice breaker for students. It’s a great way to let them write about themselves and talk about their name and the experiences they’ve had with it. As I kept writing the ideas and stories just kept flowing. This would work really well for a high school ELA classroom and would work well for a prompt to a character — the students could write about a certain character’s name and see what type of story comes from just doing that.

Tech Survey Results

So it’s been roughly a week since I posted my New Tech Survey and I decided to do the results today and talk about them a bit. 

I had 8 responses total including my own response. 

My first question – Have you heard of Prezi? I had 7 Yes and 1 No. That’s interesting to me that the one person hasn’t heard about Prezi. I figured it was a pretty common thing for teachers like me to know and be somewhat familiar with. 

2nd – Do you like using a powerpoint program? There were 7 Yes and 1 No. I figured that in a world where technology in the classroom is being pushed, there might be all “Yes” answers to this question. Apparently I was wrong. I’d be willing to ask this person why they don’t like using powerpoint. For me, I find it really easy to just whip up a powerpoint and have it ready to go for my lesson. I don’t have to bother writing on the board or anything. 

3rd – Have you heard of Hootcourse (Twitter-based program)? I had 1 Yes and 7 No. The one yes was from me. As for the rest that don’t know about the program. I find it really useful for if you are using Twitter in the classroom and want a way to send out a tweet to everyone. So what you would do is you would have students sign in to Hootcourse with their Twitter account. It’s essentially like a little community that brings Tweets to one place and where you, as the teacher, can fire out questions and assignments without having to get everyone’s Twitter names in the question. Very handy. 

Number 4 – Would you use Twitter in the classroom? 6 people said Yes and 2 said No. I think that’s a fair answer. Twitter definitely isn’t for everyone. I’m not a huge twitter person myself but I think for something like an ELA class or Drama class it would come in real handy. 

5 – Would you use YouTube in the classroom? All 8 people said Yes they would. I believe it’s a great tool to use for Educational purposes. There is so much on YouTube that it make teaching and learning so much easier. You can give the students visuals to what you are trying to teach them. 

My final one – Do you care if students have their cellphones in the classroom? 

These were the answers: – No, as long as they are participating.  – No, doesn’t matter.  – I don’t mind. – Depending on how they were using it. – No, as long as the students are not using them inappropriately or at the wrong times. – I don’t think students should use their cellphones in class. – Not at all! I love to have mine! – Yes. – Not if they are using them appropriately.

Very different responses. I suppose it would be the individual’s opinion on them. I think that as long as you have some firm rules on them, then you should give them the choice whether they let it affect their learning or not. I would try to use it positively in my classroom but I don’t think I would ban them out of my room completely. 

Overall, very interesting responses from my survey. I realized that there is lots that people don’t know about! I’m eager to learn more about different ways of incorporating technology into the classroom in a positive way. 

Virtual World

After I just read another post about technology I had an inspiration to write my own in relation to how one can feel “naked” when they forget their phone. I know I do. I’m always constantly reaching for my phone or digging through my purse to find it. If I can’t locate the device, I have someone call it. I just have to find it. It’s so crazy how one, small device can run my world essentially. Phones are so controlling. 

When I’m walking through the university and I’m staring at my phone and scrolling through Facebook, I’m in my own virtual world and not paying attention to people around me. When I do look up, I notice that others are in their own world and not looking around, either. We are all immersed in our own virtual worlds. 

Are we able to break free of this virtual world? Is it going to get worse? What about students in our classrooms and their cellphones? I will try and do my best to look up from my phone and enjoy the real world that is around me. The world that I’m living on.