Month: February 2014

Assistive Technology

Looking for assistive technology (e.g. devices and applications) that may be considered for students with ADHD

Does anyone know of any type of resources or ideas that could lead me in the right direction?

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Taylor Hardys look at how Minecraft can be a tool in the classroom

Today I came across Taylor Hardy’s blog post about Minecraft. I was immediately attracted to it because a lot of  students I have had in the past have been into it. I first heard about it the beginning of 2012. I honestly thought it was MindCraft when I was in my pre-internship. I have created a a guessing game with different words on card and had written mind craft on one of the cards and my students let me know that it was in fact Minecraft.

I never considered it as a teaching tool. However, a huge part of teaching is keeping things interesting and relevant to the students.

Taylor has written a blog about how Minecraft can be useful in the classroom. I think teachers need to get to know there students and what things interest them. I think if lessons involved things such as mind craft you would have a good buy in for students.

Here is Taylor Hardy’s blog post:

Wow. So I never would have guessed I would be writing about this topic since I initially hated Minecraft and had never understood why my brother enjoyed playing such a pixelated game; however, my thoughts are changing. I had initially googled Youtube as a great teaching resource but was surprised when an article about “Minecraft being the ultimate teaching tool”  came up. After reading the article and watching the video I got to thinking that maybe my opinion about the game had been wrong this whole time.

To explain, Minecraft is like a huge online lego game. You have your character who can build, harvest, dig, swim, and many other things. There isn’t a particular object to the game besides stay alive and have fun. There are certain challenges you can take on (like defeating a dragon), but really the game centralizes around your own imagination. I had asked my brother once why he liked it so much and he had simply replied he enjoyed building whatever he wanted and playing with his friends to do so. I was amazed to see some of the houses, castles, and mines he created and how much time that went in to those.

Here’s a video I found on Youtube that helps show the game experience a little more and also show how creative the players can be. It’s a parody of the song “Wake me Up” done with Minecraft game play:

I was amazed with how much work and time that must have went in to this video. The combination of the lyrics, and videos, and putting it all together would be timely; however, the product is just so cool! Referring back to the article I had read, it had stated a few specific examples of how Minecraft is actually being used in the classroom by 20 000 students today:

1. Probability- build a random animal dropper

2. Physics- measure the time it takes a block to fall and then talk about gravity

3. You can build almost any historical architecture or build sets for Shakespearean plays

4. Use the block to talk about area and volume

5. Create art and put it in a gallery

6. Teach a different language with in-game signs (boards you post notes on)

One of the huge benefits to Minecraft is the flexibility is encompasses. It can literally be altered to fit so many different subjects and objectives while keeping students engaged and excited about learning. One of the main points the article had stated was the importance and benefits of the students being in charge of their own learning. Reaching out to students’ interests and teaching within those domains is always a positive teaching method and one I aspire to use.

While there are many regulations and lessons that need to come before the lessons with Minecraft can take place, there seems to be many benefits to using it in class. While it does not work for every subject, it is definitely interesting to think about how it could apply to my teaching. While I don’t find myself drawn to this video game to play in my spare time, I can now understand why so many kids enjoy it- the freedom to build and play however you imagine. This to me is a very interesting thought and possible teaching tool.

Google Search

Have you ever googled your name for fun? Just to see see what would come up? Well I have done this quite a bit before. Today I did it for my ECMP355 class. At first I just google my name my ‘teacher’ facebook page came up. Other than that nothing about the real Kylie Biggs came up.

Screenshot 2014-02-12 16.42.20

I then decided to look my name up with different cities I have lived in. A few different things came up from these searches. It was a rather nostalgic experience. These are the different things that came up:

1. My name with my the school and year I graduated high school from along with about 15 other classmates names

2. Two photographs of me in high school. One of these photos was surprising to see because it was taken by a friend I have not talked to in many years.

3. A note I wrote to my deceased friend’s family in grade 11 that I wrote at his funeral. This one came as a big shock to me.

4. My blog (this blog!)

5. My students art I have posted on my blog came up under the image search

I created an about.me page as suggested by Sue Waters. I googled my named after making my page but it did not come up on the google search.

http://about.me/kyliebiggs

Did anyone else see if their about.me page or any other recently created bio pages came up on there google search?

“Body Break”

Maintaining good health is very important in any profession. You need to be an example for your students and years down the road you need to be able to keep up with your students. Nutrition is part of he curriculum! So I felt like I needed to take a page out of my internship lesson plans and start eating healthier and exercising more. Soon I will be making a SMART goal for my university kinesiology class. I am not sure exactly what it will entail but I will make another post on my progress once I put it into place.

When you are feeling healthy you are better able to function and lately I have been feeling tired all day. I got sick last week and felt I needed to be able to do my best while in school and work, but that wouldn’t happen unless I made changes. I learned from a professor I had last year that you need to find a work-life balance and I have taken it to heart. Teaching may be my career and something I love, but I also need to be with family, friends, and myself.

This week I bought a blender and plan on making healthy smoothies/shakes. My main smoothie ingredients will be: almonds, plain Greek yogurt, frozen fruit, bananas, peanut butter, almond beverage, protein(whey), kale, spinach. I also hope to try some green smoothies with all green ingredients such as cucumber, mint, broccoli, etc

Here is my first smoothie I made tonight

Food

The Flipped Classroom

I recently had a discussion with a new friend in a university class about flipped classrooms. This was a concept I have never heard before. He explained to me his plan of having students watch assigned math videos/lectures at home and then have students working on math while in class instead of having him lecture. I had many thoughts and questions about this idea. I was unsure if it would work. I think it could work in certain classrooms/schools. I know in my internship the students would have many excuses/reasons as to why they couldn’t watch the video – one being that not all of them had access to a computer.

I came across a great Google Doc on Twitter about Flipped Classrooms Resources by Dan Spencer

Flipped Classroom Resources : https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IOI5-tXZvOEVCFhoN5hlsccnRa-8_77nx3GDdB6C-tE/edit