Sunday, April 28, 2013

Final Report on PLN

symbaloo.com

I am still using Symbaloo to organize my PLN. The above photo is of my personal webmix. This page is almost full and when it is I will probably reorganize it into a page of classroom tools, a page of the blogs I follow, and a page of items that are combined for professional and personal use. My webmix page is organized in this same order. On the left side of the page are blogs that I follow like F.I.T, MathForum.org, tech4mathed, and blog.mrmeyer.com.  It also contains sights that are specific tools for math since my major is Secondary Education-Math.  At the bottom center of the page are sights that I use on a regular basis such as University of South Alabama, MyMathLab, Moodle for bcbe.org, Twitter, and Facebook.  The top center are helpful links for all educational topics.  They include edutopia, Edudemic, Curriki, and Mentoring Minds.  On the right side of the page are sites that I will use in the future to enhance my lessons as I plan to be a teacher who uses technology in the classroom.  Symbaloo is a great tool for keeping all my resources organized and accessible in one location.

C4T#4

I was assigned the Middle School Matrix by Hadley Ferguson. Hadley Ferguson is a middle-school history teacher at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia. Ferguson is co-founder of edcamp philly and a board member of the edcamp Foundation. You can read her blog and follow her on Twitter at @hadleyjf.
student asleep at deskThe first blog I read by Hadley Ferguson was a SmartBlog on Education Article, which was called A cure for "those days!". By "those days", Ms. Ferguson is talking about the days when students could care less about what you are trying to teach them. For whatever reason, all the student wants to do is "put their heads on the desk and zone out." The question Ms. Ferguson presents is, "so what will it take to move students from passivity to engagement, from boredom to curiosity?" In her blog, Ms. Ferguson suggests combining movement with social interaction to re-engage students. She then gives examples of ways she has incorporated this into her classroom and how it benefits her students.
I commented on Ms. Ferguson's blog by introducing myself and stating my purpose. I told her I enjoyed reading her article on incorporating movement into the classroom.  I was glad to see that teachers do notice when students become glossy eyed or their heads start to bob.   I told her I've seen many teachers who walk in, start a lecture and not stop until the bell rings.  I agreed that students need to move, especially in situations where schools are using a block system and classes can last well over an hour.  I shared with her that I hope to incorporate ideas that will keep my classroom energized when I become a high school math teacher.  I thanked her for sharing tips on how to keep students moving and learning!

Projed Based LearningThe most recent blog I read by Ms. Ferguson was How I Spent My Weekend!. In this blog, she talks about the rapid approach of the end of the school year and how she wrestled with doing a big Project-Based Learning(PBL)project because she didn't feel there was enough time. She began planning an assignment where the students would create a museum exhibit. Once the project was planned, Ms. Ferguson took her idea to the Buck Institute's website and put it in their Project Planner to see how well it measured. It told her what she already knew; that she was only pretending she had designed an assignment that qualified as project-based learning. She knew what she had to do, even if it was Saturday. She started over, creating an assignment where the students would collaborate and learn together because that is the purpose of PBL. She talks about designing the assignment around what would "hook" her students. She spent her weekend building "the scaffolding that the project needed". Ms. Ferguson didn't write this article to whine about having to work all weekend. Instead, she expresses her excitement as Monday morning begins, the students enter the classroom, and a real PBL project begins.
Once again, I left a comment introducing myself. I then talked about how much I like the idea of project based learning. I think it's a great way to get students engaged and collaborating. As a future teacher, I appreciated the example she gave of what teachers need to do to provide a learning environment for students. I told her I would be following her blog to see how her students do on their project. I thought the best statement she made was "we dream and build for our students!" I thanked her for her commitment to education and to the students.

I've included links for additional insight into Project Based Learning:
http://www.edutopia.org/Ten Steps to Better Student Engagement/
http://www.bie.org/What is PBL?/
http://www.4teachers.org/projectbased/

Blog Post #14

Teacher Knows if You Have Done the E-Reading
ereader by David Streitfeld is an article that discusses new technology from CourseSmart that allows professors to track their students’ progress when reading digital textbooks. This technology is being tested by several professors at Texas A&M to see if there is a correlation between the amount of time a student spends reading and highlighting digital text and a student's success in a course. CourseSmart claims that they can provide a constant stream of data for faculty and administrators that will serve as an indicator of how well a student is doing. The article also states how this information will benefit publishers and authors because it will provide them with data to better plan and produce textbooks. After beginning with several good points, the article then presents some arguments against this type of technology. It states that there are concerns with software glitches, privacy issues, and data reliability. CourseSmart defends their technology and says this is just the beginning of their efforts to create a system that will "ultimately show how the student traverses the book".

How would I react to this technology if I was the teacher?
I would probably reject this technology. I don't think a student can learn just by reading and highlighting a textbook. There are some courses that don't even use a textbook. Although textbooks can be used to enhance lessons, teachers don't always cover every section of a textbook. I think it is important as a teacher to give suggested reading that will compliment the topics discussed in class. I also believe that there are current methods being used to gauge how well a student is comprehending the material. Student blogs are a great way to have students display their understanding and interpretation of assigned materials. Having an interactive classroom will also give a teacher a visual of how well a student is engaging in learning. As a teacher, I would like to have class time to encourage open discussion and allow group interaction. During group time, I would be free to walk around and observe what input individual students are contributing to the activity assigned. Having students fill out a reflection sheet or take a quiz can also help a teacher determine how well a student is learning the material. As a teacher, the biggest problem I see with using this CourseSmart technology, is that I don't want to judge a student's ability to learn on one, possibly unreliable, computer generated outcome.

How would I react to this technology from a student perspective?
I am not a robot. Every student does not learn the same way. I am a visual learner so I do like to see things in print and pictures, and I enjoy reading, but I believe I learn the most from experience and interaction. I enjoy hearing other people's insight. Besides, how much of the textbook is my professor going to use? Am I going to be judged on how much of the book I read, how long it takes me to read, how much I highlight? As a student, I like to find out what the professor expects of me and how he or she will be determining my success in the course. I would prefer not to have my success determined by a computer program. So overall, I'm not a big fan of the CourseSmart technology.

Questions I would ask the professors at Texas A&M
What specific area are you evaluating from the data collected by CourseSmart?
Do you feel they provide accurate and reliable information?
Do you see this information as a means to provide your students a better education? and how?
What do you personally see as the pros and cons of using this data?
I understand that this program measures who is reading/highlighting and how much, but how do you determine how much they are learning or comprehending?
Is this the only data or source you use to measure a student's study habits?
What other variables would you say affect a student's test score?
What tools are you using to evaluate how well they are able to apply what they are reading and what you are teaching?

Questions I would ask the students at Texas A&M
How much do you know about CourseSmart and the program that is being tested here at Texas A&M?
Do you feel this technology is enhancing the learning environment at Texas A&M?
Does this increase the level of pressure you feel as a student to perform?
Does your professor explain the importance of this data and how he or she will be using the results?
Have you made any changes to your study habits based on the data given to your professor by CourseSmart?
Have you experienced any discrepancies in the information that has been provided by CourseSmart?
Would you like the professors at Texas A&M to keep using this technology? Why or why not?

My Comments
nose in a bookWho stands to benefit the most from this technology?  If the answer is not the student, then what is the purpose?  I love to read, and it is a great way to learn, but it is not the only way.  My concern is that this software seems to be making a direct correlation between the amount of time a student spends in a digital textbook and their ability to learn. Although there may be a correlation, it is not as significant as CourseSmart makes it seem; it's not the only measure of success or failure.  To me, it's not a measure of whether or not, or how much a student reads the textbook; it's how much the student is comprehending.  Can a student take the material being taught and apply it to real life situations? How can I develop better student engagement in my classroom?  Incorporating more project-based activities will help create an active learning environment that will provide better opportunities for students to learn.  I believe reading is very important, but it's also important that teachers encourage students to get their noses out of the book and get them engaged in hands-on, collaborative, learning.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Project 16 Movie

ON Group Project #15 - Smartboard Lesson

Smartboard Lesson - Art Vocabulary
This lesson will help students review vocabulary words and definitions for an upcoming test.  It can be used with any grade or subject.

Monday, April 22, 2013

C4K Assignment for April

C4K#9 - I have been assigned Jacob C who is in Mrs. Geldes 4th grade class in Nebraska. He has written a blog about his state and has titled it Nebraska. He writes that he lives in Bellevue, Nebraska. He says the state motto is equality before the law and the state capital is Lincoln. He tells about several of the bodies of water; niobrara river, snake river, republican river and little blue river. He gives a list of the state seals; state tree - cottonwood, state bird - meadowlark, state flower - golden rod, state gemstone - blue agate and several more. He tells about the different landforms in Nebraska. They have badlands, high plains, till plains, great plains, and Sandhills. Some of their tourist attractions are Chimney Rock and Ashfall fossil beds. He also says that some people call Nebraska the elephant state. He concludes his blog with the question, "Where do you live?"
I introduced myself to Jacob and told him about this assignment. I told Jacob that all of the information he provided about Nebraska was very interesting. I also wondered why some people call it the elephant state? I told him that I attend school in Mobile, but I live in Fairhope, Alabama which is on the opposite side of Mobile Bay from the campus. I stated that the bodies of water that surround Fairhope are probably the biggest tourist attractions for our area. I explained that Fairhope is on Mobile Bay, which is great for boating, fishing, kayaking, and watching a sunset. I also said that we are also very close to the beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama and that we have amazing weather. It is warm and sunny most of the year. I then asked Jacob what the weather is like where he lives?

For C4K#10, I was assigned Millie who is in 4th grade at Leopold Primary School in Victoria, Australia. At the top of her blog she states, "Hi, my name is Millie(Amelia) and I am a passionate blogger and horse rider."
Her latest blog is titled, "Exciting News!". Millie's exciting news is that her Aunty Gyanmitra, who has been living in an ahsram in India for one and a half years, called to wish her a happy birthday. She said her aunt will live in the ashram for another year and a half, and then she will return to Australia. She says that Gyanmitra enjoys doing yoga. She also says that her aunt doesn’t have access to electronical devices, but was able to call because she is currently in Kolkata waiting to have gromets put in her ears. Then she asks if "you or any of your family members do yoga?" and "have you ever been to India?".
I commented by telling Millie that I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I also told her about the assignment. First, I wished her a wonderful birthday! Then I answered her first question by saying that I have a sister-in-law that has done yoga and she says it is very good for your body and your mind. I told her I would love to try it one day. My answer to her second question was that I have never been to India. I also said that I've never even traveled outside of the United States. I told her I would love to visit Australia some day. Then, I asked her what places she would like to visit?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Blog Post #13 - What Can You Learn From A Weather Balloon and Quivers?


Mr. Brian Crosby - Back to the Future
Mr. Crosby's weather balloon


As I watched Mr. Brian Crosby's TEDxDenver ED presentation, Back to the Future, I was amazed how one science experiment could "encompass a huge range of learning". At one point, Mr. Crosby, introduces a slide, and if it was the only thing you saw, you might believe this to be an English/Language class.
Mr. Crosby's class
The slide says...
Language Intense:
Read/Write to learn - content
Writing to clarify and share
Write to tell a story, creativity
Feedback
Articulate Orally
Connect globally / Aware globally
Authentic Audience
Remember the science, High Hopes, art?
He talks about how all of these language skills are very important for a class which includes mostly 2nd language learners. In addition to these skills and the science material, I also noticed that they experimented, reviewed history(hot air balloons), used photography, and read maps.
Mr. Crosby's class using technologyI was very impressed that Mr. Crosby is able to incorporate all of these learning experiences into one subject, but what was equally impressive, was how he engaged his students in learning. I couldn't help but pick up on how many different tools he uses with his class at Agnes Risley Elementary School. I heard Mr. Crosby mention laptops, interactive white board, digital cameras, individual blogs, collaboration with UNR professors, videos, Wiki, free online software for designing book covers and trading(strato)cards, a learning network, Skype, Flickr, Web 2.0, radiosonde, Google maps, and yes, he did mention they used the science book a little bit. Why do you need all of this for a weather balloon experiment?
Mr. Crosby uses all of these tools to engage his students in "active learning - empowering students to become learners". He believes learning should take place in a context that is both motivational and meaningful. As Mr. Crosby states, he wants to give every student the opportunity to "shine".

Mr. Andersen - The Blended Learning Cycle
Is this a picture of the Blended Learning Cycle?

Mr. Paul Andersen is a high school AP Biology teacher in Bozeman, Montana and he has made a YouTube video title Blended Learning Cycle. In this video he describes blended learning as taking the compelling parts of online, mobile, and classroom learning and blending them together to incorporate technology into the classroom. Then he talks about the Learning Cycle in which students first engage, then they explore, expand, explain, and evaluate. By putting these two types of learning together, you create a Blended Learning Cycle. Mr. Andersen created an acronym for this cycle and it is Quivers, which stands for...
quivers

Question

Investigate
Video
Elaboration
Review
Summary quiz

Mr. Andersen explains that you first need a good question because that's the hook in learning.  Students can't move to the other stages until they are first engaged in learning.  Once he has their interest in a subject, he then encourages students to investigate through assigned reading materials.  He enhances his instruction with videos.  After the first three stages, Mr. Andersen expects his students to be able to elaborate on the assigned topic.  The next part is my favorite; the review.  I was very impressed that Mr. Andersen takes the time to review with each student what they have learned before he allows them to take a quiz.  This tells me that Mr. Andersen has a personal interest in what his students are learning and he is not relying solely on testing to determine a student's success.  I think this is the ideal strategy because the focus is placed on the student and their level of learning.  He talks more about his teaching style in Reflections on the Flipped Classroom.  Mr. Andersen has set a goal of moving from a passive, teacher centered classroom to an active, student centered classroom. I believe we heard a similar message in the above TEDx video by Mr. Crosby. As teachers, we need to engage students in "active learning". Teachers like Mr. Crosby and Mr. Andersen are an inspiration because they illustrate how to take learning to a new level, to make it exciting, and to make the focus of education the student, not just the subject.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Progress Report on Final Project #16

The 310 Show with Dana Lettergrade!!!!

With Special Guest:   Teen Actress - Anita Makeasee
                                 Multi-platinum Recording Artist - Will I Repeat
                                 Award-winning Novelist - Ijuana Makeana

Dana Lettergrade's EDM310 Top Ten


video

Airing Tuesday, April 30th on
fendleytonyaedm310.blogspot.com and warrencatherineedm310.blogspot.com

Monday, April 8, 2013

Blog Post #12 - Having Fun with QR

scavenger hunt
For this assignment, you will need to install Red Laser or the i-nigma reader on your mobile device. Once you have done this, then you will be ready to begin a Scavenger Hunt for QR codes inside the College of Education building. Below are clues as to where you will find the codes. Once you locate a code, scan it with your mobile device (you do not have to open them after you scan them, it should save the list in History). Once you've scanned all of the codes, you will then have a collection of ten of the most popular tools being used on iPads in the classroom. List these ten tools in your blog and give a description of each one and how they can be used by the student and/or the teacher. This activity will also help you begin, or add to, your PLN.


QR Code Clues...Happy Hunting!
1) When you enter the building, go to the office on the left and for a code, ask the receptionist.
2) Back out into the lounge and look around, under a table the next code will be found.
3) Turn to the right and books are free and that's where your next code will be.
4) At the bulletin board, the code is near the top, this is where you should make your next stop.
5) Don't stray...don't go far, there might be a code where the vending machines are.
6) Another lounge is in the back, in a corner the code will be tacked.
7) At the water fountain you can get a drink and something more...I think.
8) In the classroom, behind the door, there will be a code for sure.
9) I spy something green and if you look behind it another code will be seen.
10)Now for the very last code, where could it be? Dr. Strange is the person to see!
(In addition to verbal clues, you could also include a map of the building layout)

The following are the codes you would print and place in the places mentioned above.
(I downloaded Red Laser to my iPhone and was able to scan all of the following codes)
barcodeToday's Meet
barcodeCorkboard.me
barcodeStudy Blue
barcodeFotobabble
barcodeSonic Pics
barcodeDoodle Buddy
barcodePoll Everywhere
barcodeEvernote
barcodeSocrative
barcodeFakebook
(Sonic Pics and Doodle Buddy are apps that would be used together)
These codes were made at QRstuff.com.

This is the link for 10 Popular Tools Being Used on iPads in the Classroom. On this page, you will get a brief description of how each tool is used in the classroom.
I found this link and many other great ideas for integrating technology into the classroom at F.I.T. - Fun Integrating Technology.
A QR code scavenger hunt can be used for any lesson and any subject. As a high school math teacher, I could have 10 Algebra problems and have the students work in pairs to find the codes, which are the answers. Once they are all found, they will return to the classroom and match the answer with the correct problem. First team to finish wins. In this situation, I would probably give them a time limit and keep the hunt confined to the hall where are classroom is located. I could use math vocabulary, math history, problems to be worked for an assignment, etc. There are many ways to use QR codes and I love that kids are moving and interacting with each other. Fun and learning are two words that go great together, so let's make learning fun!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Blog Post #11 - Power Up!

I enjoyed watching the YouTube video, Little Kids...Big Potential, about Ms. Cassidy's 1st grade class. I was amazed at how well spoken many of her students are at such a young age, including the ones she had do the voice overs from her previous class.
As I was watching the Skype interview with Ms. Cassidy, I was thinking about how much I knew, or really how little I knew, about technology before I took EDM310. I never would have put myself in a category of being ten to twenty years behind with using technology, but that's exactly where I was prior to this course. I'm catching up, but there is still so much more to learn.
I like the suggestions Ms. Cassidy made for getting started. Start with the category in which you are most interested. If you like photography, she suggested trying Flicker or other photo sharing sites, if it's video, then try YouTube, and if you like to write, then Blogger would be a great site to share ideas. These are the types of tools Ms. Cassidy uses to bring technology into her classroom. A great question Ms. Cassidy asked was, "why would a child want to write with pencil and paper for me to see it, when they can write on a blog and the whole world can see it?" That's the reason blogging is such a popular tool in her classroom; the kids have an audience. They use a class blog meister and a cluster map to keep a record of how many people visit their sites and from what locations they are visiting. This makes the students very excited about writing. Blogging also provides an online portfolio that students and parents can access at their convenience. Parents are able to stay informed of what their child is learning and they can see the progress their child is making.
Skype is a tool Ms. Cassidy's class uses to communicate with other students in order to build relationships and share ideas about writing.
Power Up, Your Dreams Start HereMs. Cassidy says that kids and technology go hand in hand. It's not strange or unusual; it's just part of their world. I love the thought that kids no longer have to "power down when they come to school" instead they power up!
According to Ms. Cassidy, "It's all about education and teaching them what to do. You are handicapping yourself and your students by not using the technology that is available."

So will students come to my classroom to power up, to get connected, and to be engaged in learning? I believe they will if I can use technology to enhance my lessons. I agree with Ms. Cassidy, kids today are very comfortable with technology and they want to use it. They think it's fun and exciting and I want that fun and excitement to carry over into learning. Yes, I will use technology in my classroom.
I plan to be a high school math teacher, so the idea of the "flipped classroom" is very appealing to me. I still need to do more research, but if I understand the basic concept, then I could use YouTube, or something of that nature, to broadcast my lessons. Then, instead of lecturing every day, we would use the class time to work in groups and have more time to work on concepts with which individual students are struggling. Instead of homework, it becomes classwork, and I am there to provide assistance and observe the needs of my students. The classroom becomes a place of interaction; of thinking, collaborating and problem solving. With the lectures being accessible online, students would not fall behind when they are out for several days due to illness, field trips, or athletic events. I would also recommend a few websites that are designed to help students understand math concepts, like Khan Academy and S.O.S Math.
Teaching students to connect with other students, either through Twitter or Facebook or both, is a great way to help them establish a support system or study group. If they are struggling with a concept or a particular homework problem, they could ask for assistance from their peers. I could also use these tools to post assignments, send out project ideas, and make announcements or schedule changes.
I will continue to use Blogger. I'm not sure how much blogging my math students will do. I'm following William Chamberlain's blog and have enjoyed his posts about the lunch project they are doing in his math class. I am also following other high school math teachers on Twitter. I think it is great to share project ideas and classroom ideas with other educators through these tools. I plan to look further into how much blogging the students actually do for math class and what information they share.
I won't be sure exactly what I will use or how I will use it until I actually have a classroom and see what works best with my students, but I am sure I will use technology. I am excited about the changes taking place in education and can't wait to see what happens when we all power up!

Friday, April 5, 2013

C4K Summary for March

C4K #5
For my C4K #5, I was assigned to Caleb Z in Mr. Boylen's 8th grade Language Arts class in Iowa. His most recent post is a response to the question, "What do you think you as a student gain from blogging with students and others outside of the school? Is it worth the time? Why/why not?" Caleb wrote, "I think it is great to work with other people out side this school. It is good to get opinions from people. You also meet new people. I think it is worth the time."
I responded by telling Caleb my name and that I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I then said that I was glad to see that he thought student blogging was important. I told him that I agree because I have made contacts with people in places I never would have imagined if it wasn't for these blogging assignments we are doing in EDM310. I also shared that I find it interesting to see what other students are learning and what their interests are. Blogging provides connections to others who can help us learn and expand on the information about which we are blogging. I thanked Caleb for sharing his opinions and wished him good luck in Mr. Boylen's class.

C4K #6
For C4K #6, I was assigned Jenna in Mr. Seyfert's 6th grade class in Waukesha, WI. Jenna's most recent post was titled Want to hang out???? Apparently their blog assignment was to comment on which character they would hang out with from the book Swindle by Grodon Korman. Jenna says that she "would hang out with my main character Griffin because he is very adventuress and funny and he is really smart and he comes up with many plans that work but I don‘t think I would won’t to do some plans because most of the time they get caught by the police and I don’t want to get in trouble by the police!"
I, of course, responded by telling Jenna my name and that I am a student at the University of south Alabama. I was glad her class read Swindle. It is a great book and I remember when my children read it in the 6th grade. I told her that Griffin probably would be a lot of fun to hang around, however, I was she glad she realized that some of his ideas weren't always good and they could get her in trouble. I told her I thought she was very wise and that if she kept sticking with good plans she could have great success. I complemented her on doing a great job posting to her blog and wished her good luck with 6th grade!

C4K #7
Kayla Guczek-Nasab is in 7th grade. She is in Mrs. Lentine's Harbor 7 group at Luella Middle School in Georgia. She has written a post titled, My Dog Templeton!:) Kayla begins her blog with, "Hello! I am going to me talking about my dog Templeton." She talks about how Templeton is a really fun dog to have. She says she thinks he is mostly German Shepherd and part Black Lab. She told about an event that had happened the night before where Templeton had tackled her in the snow. She enjoyed playing with her dog and watching him do a trick where he jumps straight in the air with all four paws off the ground. She said it was crazy!
I introduced myself to Kayla and told her I enjoyed reading through several of her blogs but I chose this one because I also love dogs. I said that Templeton sounds like he is a great dog. I think it's wonderful that they get to play in the snow. I shared with her that I live too far south to get any real snow. I asked her if Templeton could do any other tricks and if he has a favorite toy? I thanked her for sharing a story about her dog.

C4K #8
For the C4K #8, I was assigned Alex M., a student in Mr. Boylen's 8th grade Language Arts class in Iowa. His most recent post is Intro to Russian students. In his post he writes, "Hi, my name is Alex. I am 14 and in 8th grade. I have lived in Iowa, USA for 14 years. I enjoy working on cars, riding my dirt bike, playing baseball, and basketball. My favorite subject in school is math. I spend most of my time riding my dirt bike around my area. I live with my grandparents, but my dad lives up the road from our place. My mom lives a little ways away from us. I also have a pet turtle. Its name is molly. I live on a farm. When I grow up I would like to be a farmer or a mechanic. I like cars. What do you people do in Russia? Is Russia a fun place to live? Text Me (:"
I responded by telling Alex that I am not from Russia but I look forward to seeing what response he receives. I introduced myself and told him I would be sharing this post with other students in my class. I thought he gave a great description of his family and where they live. I told him that I live in Fairhope, Alabama and that we have a dog named Molly. I have a child who is 14 and also in the 8th grade but her school is not using computers yet. She will have a laptop next year in high school and I hope she will have classes that will encourage her to make global connections. I wished him a great 8th grade year!

C4T#3 - If it's a penny for your thoughts...What do you get for a "Pair-a-Dimes"?


For my C4T#3, I was assigned David Truss's blog, Pair-a-dimes For Your Thoughts.

Why Blog?His most recent post was called "Why Blog?" and it is a simple yet detailed presentation about the important aspects of blogging. David Truss begins by stating four questions, "what is the value to me?, what are some of the challenges?, where do I get inspiration from? and how do I make it easier for myself?" As a student in EDM310, I think these are four great questions to consider when being introduced to blogging and trying to learn how to write a quality blog.

David Truss responds to the first question, "what is the value to me?" by saying that the time he spends blogging is the time he spends learning. He has made meaningful connections with other educators, and through this, has found opportunities to challenge himself to improve. He finds inspiration from reading other blogs, Twitter, and following trends and events, whether local, community, or worldwide. Staying connected takes time and that is one of the biggest challenges one faces when blogging. It does take time to blog, so Mr. Truss has shared some tips on how to become a more efficient blogger. Warning, the first requirement may be disturbing to some readers:
1) Spend less time watching TV
2) Write about things you normally think about(as long as it's not disturbing)
3) If you enjoy writing, then it doesn't feel like work
4) Use tools to help you be more efficient (Blogsy, notepad memos, voice recorder, Flipboard, Twitter, email)
David Truss believes blogging is well worth the time. It is his journal, a record of his conversations, it is his "idea bank". I love the bank reference because it made me think about blogging as not only a place to make a withdrawal of ideas but where one must also make idea deposits. David Truss believes we all have something worth sharing. Start making contributions and connections. He encourages everyone to "loose the fear...take the leap".

Inquiry HubAs I revisit David Truss's site, a recent post, My 7th Blogiversary, catches my attention. After the assignment in which we read Mr. Joe McClung's reflections on his 4th year of teaching, What I Learned This Year-Volume 4, I was curious to see what reflections would be written by David Truss about his 7th year of blogging. What I discovered, was worth more than a pair of dimes. If you follow this one link, My 7th Blogiversary, you will have a collection of all the posts David Truss has written over the past year. By scrolling over each title, you can read a few more details about the post and then click on it if you want to know more. This is a great wealth of information for educators. It includes the five most under-watched TEDxEDU videos, points to consider about laptops vs. iPads/iPhones, a presentation about blogging, ways to transform your classroom, rethink learning, and a story about being connected. These are the posts I found most informative and thought provoking, but there are many others in the collection that may be of more interest to you. I will be storing this link in my PLN; one small withdrawal from David Truss's idea bank is one big deposit in mine. With a penny you get thoughts, but with a Pair-a-Dimes you get great insight and a wealth of information!

As I posted my comments to David Truss's blogs, I introduced myself and told him I thought his posts were a great resource to share with the rest of the EDM310 class. I felt that his presentation, "Why Blog?", provided information that helps reduce many of the fears about blogging and shows the value of the connections one can make as they properly use this tool. I thanked him for compiling all of his blogs from the past year into one spot. It's a ways to be more efficient as mentioned in the "Why Blog?" post; one stop shopping for resources. I shared that I look forward to reading his posts and welcomed any suggestions that will help enrich my journey towards becoming a future educator.