Thursday, April 29, 2010

BF Skinner's Prediction

"The conspicuous signs of the new technology of teaching in 1984 will probably be the “teaching machines” used to arrange the necessary contingencies of reinforcement....There will be teachers in 1984. They will not be, as they now are, doing things which can be done by machines, but with the help of machines they will be teaching effectively, Because they will have more to offer society, both their morale and their economic status will be improved, They will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are important as people." 

"New methods and new aims in teaching" by Professor B. F. Skinner, Psychological Laboratories, Harvard University, May 20, 1964

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning Diagram

A chart similar to this one was used in my textbook, e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning.  What do you think? 

Establishing an E-Learning Foundation Prezi

Did You Know 2.0 & 4.0

Did You Know? 2.0 - Watch a funny movie here

EDU 648 Week 1 - Future of Learning and Education - My Response

The most interesting statistic is that 2.7 billion Google searches per month were performed in 2007(McLeod & Fisch, 2007).  Though this does not surprise me, it supports a question that I have heard floating around the edtech (educational technology) community over the past few months, "What can we teach students that cannot be Googled?"  In the past, educators and libraries controlled the answers to students' questions.  Teachers were expected to know the answers or know were to find the answers, which made students dependent on teachers.  Now, multiple answers to questions can be Googled faster than a student can raise his/her hand.

As a result, we must change our approach to education for future learners by acknowledging that students have access to the knowledge of the world literally in the palm of their hands.  In addition to using technology as a delivery platform, teachers need to teach students how to manage the overwhelming amounts of information available online.  Content on the web is created by a wide variety of people, so we need to teach students how to sort through this information.  As overwhelming as it seems, students should not stop at Wikipedia's 13 million articles or the first few feeds of a Google search (McLeod & Fisch, 2009).  Students need to be able to access and evaluate quality online information.

To develop as a more effective instructor, I need to focus my curriculum planning to incorporate the most effective technologies.  I model the usage of technology in the preparation, presentation, and implementation of all of my lessons.  As of last fall, I had access to 1,000,000,000,00 webpages and 65,000 iPhone apps (McLeod & Fisch, 2009).  I can become overwhelmed by the theories and tools I am continuously exposed to via Twitter, RSS feeds, Delicious, emails, and my own searches.  My brain is constantly swimming with possibilities.  I know the content I need to teach and how to access quality educational technology tools, but I need to further abilities of conducing performance analysis to evaluate my possibilities. 

In the future of education, technology will be the medium by which content is presented to the students.  At the 2010 Computer Using Educators conference, I heard David Thornburg, say, "2009 was the first year in which laptops became cheaper than textbooks."  Within the next few years, all lessons will become a synthesis of current resources, such as links to current information and biographies of famous people, recordings of famous speeches, interactive games, real videos, virtual experiments, and more.  Textbooks will become online interactive hosts to this information.  By learning with the most current technologies, students will be prepared to invent new ways to advance technology.     
The country that will have the most dominant base of well-educated learners in the future is whichever county's education system progresses near the same rate at the technology being produced.  In order for this to happen, teachers need to inspire students to not just use technology, but to create technology.  In order for this to happen, teachers must be able to model and teach technology use.  However, in the United States, many districts still struggle to get all teachers to check their school-issued email accounts.  
McLeod, S., & Fisch, K. (2007, June 22). Did You Know 2.0. YouTube. Retrieved April 22, 2010, from

McLeod, S., Fisch, K., & Bestler, L. (2009, September 14). Did You Know 4.0. YouTube. Retrieved April 22, 2010, from

Padres Teacher Appreciation Night

I just found my name in an article on SDCOE's website.  Sweet!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ashford Introduction Discussion Board Post

For my first Ashford University course, I just wrote an introduction of myself.  What do you think, kids?
When I was little, I used to run around pretending to be Miss Hannigan from Annie.  Now, I run around trying to create more Michael Oehrs and less Oliver Twists.  I teach Precious and A Child Called "It."

I teach English 9 and 10 at San Pasqual Academy, a residential school for foster youth in Escondido, California.  Most of my students have been placed in the foster care system as a result of abandonment, neglect, or abuse.  Many of their biological parents are incarcerated, deported, addicted to drugs, mentally disabled, or deceased.  Statistically, my students should not succeed.  But,my school was created to give them a stable home and quality education, so they can break the cycle they were born into.  In fact,if you blindly walked into my classroom, you would never know that most of them have lived through things the rest of us can hardly handle seeing in rated-R movies.  However, you would notice that they sometimes call themselves my "technology guinea pigs."

I have recently become a little obsessed with building as much technology as I can into my lessons.  Luckily, I work for San Diego County Office of Education's Juvenile Court and Community Schools.  (In a nutshell, we take all of the kids most school districts have exhausted their resources with: our kids are expelled, incarcerated, on probation, homeless, in the foster system, addicted, and even just teen moms.)  My district prides itself in filling classrooms with technology and training teachers in how to use it.  I am currently a member of the Technology Committee and Cyber Safety Pilot Program.  A few months ago, I was fortunate to attend a Computer Using Educators conference.  Since, then my classroom has become so technology entwined that I could go completely paperless.  I am very eager to begin my masters program as a way to continue this growth. 

Okay, enough about work!  When I'm not playing online, I enjoy attending Chargers games and country concerts or just spending time with my two dogs and friends.  I actually just retired from working at a Girl Scout summer camp for the past twelve years, so I am looking forward to many dog beach visits over the next few months. 

I also spend quite a bit of time with my family.  I was raised on a dirt road in Lake Morena, California, where my parents still live.  My dad is a woodshop teacher and my mom is a preschool teacher.  I have a younger brother who installs fire-safety sprinklers, a younger brother in the Coast Guard, and a younger sister who is also in the Coast Guard.  We all attended the high school where my dad still works, and I even taught and coached there for four years after college. 

So, college brings me back to now.  Today is my first day back to school since I graduated from Mount St. Mary's College, a women's college in Los Angeles, eight years ago.  At MSMC, I earned my teaching credential simultaneously with my bachelors--I even student taught while still living in the dorms!  So, it's been awhile, but I figure I can handle doing a little homework after years of just creating and grading my students'.  I am sincerely excited to be here.  

Well, that was wordy.  Oh!  I almost forgot to mention that I look an-awful-lot like Miss G from Freedom Writers.

Ashford Scholarship Application Essay

Nationally, forty to fifty percent of foster youth do not graduate high school and only two percent graduate from a college or university.  In choosing to work at San Pasqual Academy (SPA), a residential school for foster youth, I work to decrease these statistics.  About forty percent of students enter SPA with reading and writing skills below a sixth-grade level.  These students are on-track to become part of the national average.  However, after two years of standards-based, grade-level instruction and support classes, eighty-ninety percent of my students pass the tenth-grade California High School Exit Exam.  This is a significant improvement; however, I want to address the second statistic.  I want more of my students to graduate high school, and then succeed in college or the workplace.  By earning a Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning with Technology from Ashford University, I will increase the graduation rate among my students and better prepare them for success after graduation.

In my language arts classroom, I am currently using technology to raise student engagement.  I am amazed how well integrating technology works to increase student achievement.  Instead of simply using technology to find supportive resources for lessons, giving assessments, and communicating with students and guardians, I blend technology into standards-based lessons.  For example, while discussing character development in a novel, my students learned how to join and participate in a Google Groups discussion.  I expected that utilizing tools, such as web 2.0 sites, would entice more of my students to participate in class, but I have seen many more benefits.  By the third participation in a Google Groups discussion board, my students have begun to put an increased effort into writing using advanced grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary to share their analysis.  The collaborative nature of this technology forces my student to become more aware of their writing. When we returned to a traditional oral discussion about the novel, my students were more prepared to contribute as a result of the online discussion.  Additionally, my students utilize the Internet skills I demonstrate and employ them outside of the classroom.  For example, after I included creating online flashcards as part of review of literary terms, a few students created their own sets of flashcards for other courses.  Even though I am not explicitly stating technology standard expectations, my students are steadily improving and becoming confident technology users who are learning vocabulary such as “embed” simultaneously with literary concepts such as “implied metaphor.”  Creativity and resourcefulness have enabled me to improve my teaching, but I am now prepared to improve my practices in order to further my students’ achievement.

When I plan curriculum for my English nine and ten classes, I structure my lessons based on theories and best practices that I learned through the undergraduate credential program at Mount St. Mary’s College, in Los Angeles.  However, I have received very little instruction in the meaningful integration of educational technology in planning.  I generate my ideas of including technology into my curriculum based on what I think will work for my students.  Many times, I have taken a suggestion from a member of my district’s technology team or a trade magazine and figured out a way to implement it in my classroom.  For example, a systems technician showed me a form created in Google Docs.  I then began creating assignments, assessments, and communication tools by embedding these forms into my classroom blog.  But, if I were challenged to explain my reasons behind using these forms and spreadsheets, I would struggle to give an explanation beyond stating its simplicity and appeal to the students.  I want to explore why my usage of technology works, so that I will be better able to share theory and my enthusiasm in discussion with my peers.

By participating in coursework required of this master’s degree program, I will be able to better incorporate educational theory and learn about the practice of other educators.  I am eager to bring new ideas to my classroom.  I have already established a lab environment with my students, which allows me to reflect on my practice, but I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to better blend theory and practice.  When I discover a new tool that supports my content, I design a simple set of expectations, spend a class period in which my students and I learn how to use it, revise my lesson, create a rubric, and then teach another lesson in which we utilize the same tool for different content.  Often times, my students share in my excitement of figuring out how to improve learning. 

Outside of my classroom, I am eager to share the technology tools I integrate into lessons with colleagues.  By increasing the integration of educational technology in classes across campus, students will become more engaged while they apply their new skills across the curriculum.  However, I need to increase the depth of my knowledge of theories behind the techniques that I am preparing to share.  A Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning with Technology from Ashford University will increase my credibility as a leader on among my peers. 

Currently, my coworkers and I are struggling to change the culture of our school.  Even though over 90% of our students graduate from high school, we are not satisfied with our achievements.  The majority of our students struggle beyond graduation.  In addition to being foster youth, two-thirds of our students are minorities, which compounds the struggles they will face as young adults entering college and/or the workplace.  In combination with academic proficiency, strong technological skills will help our students to succeed once they leave SPA.  However, half my coworkers minimally utilize technology in lesson preparation and presentation.  Our residential campus has more computers than students; each student has a computer in his/her bedroom, a computer with Internet access in each living room, computers in classrooms, and two computer labs.  We are fortunate to have the means to become a model technology campus among the schools in our district.  I want to inspire and lead my coworkers into creating a plan that will use technology as a means to educate and prepare students for the future.

If I am selected to receive one of the Ashford University Teacher Scholarships, I will immediately apply and share my learning to increase student achievement.  The impact of this degree will exceed the boundaries of my physical classroom.  As a result of an education of academic standards-based lessons entwined with technology lessons, my students will become thoroughly prepared for college and the workplace. I, along with my students, will inspire my colleagues to utilize technology as a medium of instruction at SPA.  Earning a Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning with Technology at Ashford University will enable me to be a change agent who will collaboratively affect the success rate of foster youth in our school and beyond.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Playwrights - Session 1

Wordle: Playwrights
Today my students began the Playwrights Project with our guest teacher, Miss Katie.  I was able to just sit back and observe my students for the first time since my student teacher, Ms. Na'im, left before Christmas.

I heard my kids share a few very interesting comments in response to the scene that was presented by Miss Katie and the guest actors. 

Jessica spoke about how many people believe foster youth are not given necessary supplies.  She thinks a local business's commercials make it seem like all foster kids are poor, since they are constantly asking for donations of thing like shoes and school supplies for San Diego's foster children.  She pointed out all foster youth homes, from Polinsky to San Pasqual have plenty of clothing.  She said that the students on this campus actually have an abundance of supplies, thanks to people like Friends of San Pasqual.  I have seen these commercials and always though it strange that they are asking for supplies, when my students never go without.  I know that the county gives guardians of foster youth money for supplies, and the kids' judges are constantly making sure that the kids have everything they need.  I am sure that there are other kids in the county who really need these donations.  Besides, my kids don't need new shoes as much as they need mentors and other caring adults.  However, it is much easier to write a check than schedule time to actually talk to a teenager.  It frustrates me that our society so encourages philanthropy more than volunteerism.  I know the local business means well, but maybe their employees could encourage each other to become mentors or foster parents.  At least, they could have child-abuse prevention workshops for their employees.   

Jonathan also made an interesting observation.  He is frustrated that people think being a foster kid is a "one-in-a-million" thing.  I think he was taking about people seeing him as a foster youth before noticing all of his other character traits, but I also understood a deeper meaning of his comment.  Often, when I explain SPA to people I meet, they think that it must be the only home in the county for foster youth.  However, there are many more foster youth in San Diego than the 138 kids on our campus.  There are kids in group homes, foster homes, and institutions across the county.  I image that there are foster kids attending almost every school in San Diego.  I wish there were only 138 kids in need of loving and supportive homes.  I wish the kids in Precious and The Blind Side were unique.  But, my kids say that the abuse in these stories are typical of the abuse most of them have endured.  It's sad that foster kids are hidden from mainstream society.  People can't help fix the problems of child abuse and not enough homes for foster youth unless they know about it.  People would be more likely to become foster parents, mentors, CASAs, or staff at homes for foster youth, if they knew there was such a huge need.    

Robert K. made one of the most profound statements of the day.  He expressed concern of a system that places children who were never abused in homes filled with children who survived abusive childhoods.  Since he has been in the system since he was an infant, he says that he was never abused.  Yet, he has been raised surrounded by children who tend to demonstrate challenging behaviors as a result of the abuse they suffered.  It's like he was placed in an abusive family.  He even mentioned that he feels like adults have been unable to fully teach him how to respond to, or cope with, situations that arise as a result of the abuse others have suffered.  I had never thought of that!  I had noticed that many of my students who have been in the system since they were very young tend to have more gaps in their education than those who entered the system at a later age.  But, other than that, I hadn't really put much thought into the differences between my students based on how many years they have been in the system.  Robert's comment really seemed to make sense.  My kids' stories are all very different, and their needs are different--yet, they are all clumped together as "students at a residential school for foster youth."  I am very aware that the system is not perfect, but there has to be a better way.  This reminds me that I need to see the individuality in my students.  Hopefully, my efforts will lead them to become adults capable of creating the change necessary to change the foster youth system.  Well, at least I can hope that they at least begin to decrease need for the foster system.  Or, they can always dream big and earn enough money to buy some shoes for little Precious and Michael.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Earthquake Student Narratives Wordle

Wordle: San Pasqual Academy Easter Earthquake Responses

Today, all of my students wrote narrative paragraphs about their experiences during the Easter earthquake. At the end of the day, I created this Wordle by copying all of their writing.  My students' paragraphs are posted on their blogs

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Earthquake

Yesterday afternoon, my family came over to my house to celebrate Easter.  At around 3:45pm, my parents were getting ready to leave when I heard a low rumbling.  For a second, I thought the neighbor kids were banging on the wall.  Then, I realized it was an earthquake as I noticed the house beginning to slowly rock and sway.  I grabbed my dogs by their collars and headed out the back door.  I meet a friend and my parents outside.  We all stood in the street until it stopped.  As my parents were walking outside, I noticed that my neighbor had still not come out.  She was stuck inside of her gate and jiggling the handle.  I joking yelled, "Lisa, get out here, or you'll be a goner!"  Then, she flung the gate open.  I saw that she was shaking and completely terrified.  My mom ran over and gave her a hug.  When we went back into the house, I tried to turn on the news, but I didn't see anything.  I opened my laptop and tried to open a San Diego news site, but it wouldn't load.  Instead, I opened Facebook and instantly saw earthquake-related posts from my friends all over Southern California.  A few minutes later, I was able to view a map of the earthquake, located near Mexicali, Mexico.  Throughout the evening, I felt many aftershocks.  I became a little obsessed with checking the Mappity Quakes app on my iPhone, which shows recent earthquakes. Before I went to bed, I opened my medicine cabinet, and all of my little containers fell out--I guess they had shifted in the shake.  Otherwise, there was not any damage at my house.  However, I am worried about the people in Mexicali and Calexico who experienced a lot of damage.  

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jose is a Rockstar

I just found this on Jose G.'s Blog.  I was already amazed by his outstanding layout, then I found this.  I honestly cried a little and posted in on my Facebook for my friends to see.  I am so proud of my techy kids.