Sunday, May 29, 2011

Wk 4 Publishing_Leadership Project

When I started my leadership project, I didn’t feel I had everything organized. After working on my PowerPoint presentation, I feel much more organized. Here is a brief explanation of my AR project.

The purpose of my action research is to investigate how gaming can enhance secondary education. I found articles on simulation games and their use in education. The military, business, and universities use gaming. In my school some teachers use computer games for reviewing material, but they are not using simulation games. I found a simulation game called Immune Attack that was developed by the Federation of American Scientists. I used the game in an Occupational Health class. The teacher and the students completed a survey before and after they played the game. The results show that both students and teachers will accept simulation games in education. But there are other considerations that make using these games difficult.

You can follow this link to my leadership presentation. I think you must download it to see my speaker notes.

Now I must look for a venue to present my project. I will try to present locally, but I also need a larger group to present to. Here are two possibilities. I will also check out some others.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Week 4 Blog 3 Reply to Tricia Atkinson

Response to Tricia Atkinson

I really liked the phrase “Downward Spiral.” We see that in almost everything. I see it in the news and the way my students talk to each other. I see it in the way we as teachers talk when we get together. I hope I can keep this phrase in my mind whenever I talk to colleagues or students. You are right in saying that The Art of Possibility is not second nature in the world of modern education, but maybe we can make it second nature to us.

As easy as it is to get into a downward negative spiral towards my students, blaming them for their negative, rude, and apathetic actions. But what about what I have done to contribute? What about my negative sarcasm or mediocre effort? Not to mention what they have eaten lately or when the last time is that they got a hug or “good job” from a parent? Trying to remember myself in each other person’s shoes will help me to react with a more enlightened attitude, just as Ben did when his students partied in South America. What would it have helped to “go off” like so many of us teachers are expected to do. Instead, the kids understood, felt enabled, apologetic, regretful, and still valued. Amazing. This Art of Possibility stuff is definitely not second nature in the world of modern education, but I feel like a breath of fresh air, a reminder of options and how to go with the flow, giving students and others in my life the benefit of the doubt, has been given to me…I am inspired and grateful.

week 4 Blog 2 Reply to Jessica Goodenow

To Jessica Goodenow.

I think we always question whether or not we are helping others. At some time or another, everyone needs encouragement to go on. It is always uplifting when someone tells you that you helped him or her along the way. Good job!

One circumstance where I looked outside of myself to uplift a colleague was with a para-professional. She is fantastic para. She has the presence of a teacher in the classroom. When she comes into the room, with a one-minute prep, she could co-teach the classroom. She is one in a million in the realm of para-professionals. One day I asked her if she had every considered being a teacher. She looked at me like that thought had never entered her brain. After explaining to her how wonderful she is with the students and in the classroom, she opened up to me about a disappointment she had had when trying to get her degree in education. She had gotten pregnant with her now 20 year old daughter and never thought she could be a mom and finish a degree. Life got crazy, but now is settling down again. I told her about how universities are trying to make degrees more accessible to older students and gave her a couple universities to look into. A couple weeks went by. She surprised me one day by saying she signed up for an art class to go towards her general requirements. I was so happy. She told me that I had been the bug in her ear. She needed to get back to her passion. She loves kids. Anyone could see that. It was all about honesty and appreciation.

Week 4b Blog 1 - Weekly Reading

Chapter 9 – Lighting a Spark

I liked the idea of enrollment. Sometimes you’ve got to be crazy and find other people that are crazy too. Only crazy people want to change what sane people say is unchangeable. I also liked the idea of the downward spiral thinking. I can see that in my minds eye and how it works. We see and hear so much downward spiral thinking especially in education.

Chapter 10 – Being the board

This chapter is about not loosing control of your life. I think this is the hardest area to control. There are so many things that happen to us that we cannot control. For example, I have students that do not turn work in on time. I could refuse to accept late work, but that doesn’t help them or me. I come away with a feeling of not being a good teacher. They decide that since it won’t count, they don’t have to do it. Then the next time they are late, they don’t have to do that project either. By telling them that their grade will suffer when they are late, but they still have to do the work, I am giving control to both of us.

Chapter 11 – Creating frameworks for Possibility

This chapter sums up the art of possibilities. It tells us to put our beliefs to the test and break the downward spiral. I can’t say if I am up to the challenge. Only time will tell. I firmly believe that the meaning behind this book can change my life and the lives of those I touch. I already have decided to buy three copies of this book, one for me, one for my principal and one for our professional library. Maybe other teachers will enjoy this book as much as I did..

For years I have been contemplating a video I want to make on creativity. But defining creativity is difficult. I think I have my theme now. It is “ Creativity – The Vision of possibility.”

Chapter 12 – Telling the We Story

The author starts this chapter with a story about the Arabs and the Jews as told by his father. The audience, high school students, remark what a wonderful opportunity exists between the two factions. Yet there has been nothing but war between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The “We” is missing. My classes often feel like the “I/You” situation that chapter 12 talks about. Next year, I need to develop a “We” feeling in class. I think it will be worth the effort.

Week 4b Blog 4 - Free Choice

I recently had to make a decision on how I was going to present my action research. I could write an article or present. I looked at the subject of my AR and decided that a presentation is more fitting. My AR is on gaming in education. I know this is a big subject, so I narrowed it to Educational simulation games.

I like presentations better because it is usually live, which promotes questions from the audience. I prefer this over articles with very little feedback. Presentations are easy to change when new discoveries or information is acquired. It encourages my AR to be an on-going project. Now my next big project is to investigate where to present my AR project.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Week 3 Blog 4 Free Choice

I have been in this program at Full Sail for 11 months now. It has been exciting and very tiring. Teaching full time, trying to have a personal life and being what has become a full time student has been difficult. But I have enjoyed it tremendously. One aspect I found interesting is the interaction among the students in the program. I have gotten to know a few. I am also a Face book friend with some. I enjoy the fact that we are constantly trading ideas. I am the only photography and Digital Media teacher in my school. My professional interaction is limited to only a few teachers, so it is great that I find out what other teachers in other parts of the country are doing. I wish I could continue this type of interaction after the program is over. I would also like other teachers in my school to find their own “Family of Educators.” Thank you all for sharing your ideas with me.

Week 3 , blog 2 Response to Tricia Atkinson

I totally agree with you. We don’t know what is going on with the students in our class. My 4th period was probably the worst class I ever had. I was getting frustrated and hated to see them come in. Then I followed rule 6. Now they may not know as much about photography as some of my other classes, but we do get along. I am also understanding more about them. I won’t go into their problems, but suffice it to say that I am now more sympathetic and they appreciate it. Next year, I am posting Rule 6 in my room. The sign will say, “Don’t Forget Rule #6”. I shall see who will ask what rule 6 is.

Chapter 6, and rule number 6, is extraordinary. That idea has been my motto this school year in order to survive. I have found myself so frustrated with certain students’ behaviors that I want to correct them every single time they say something inappropriate, instead of picking and choosing my battles. When I refrain, I feel resentful towards them. I realize from reading this chapter that I need to remind myself that I am a teacher, not a parent of 162 children. I am not physically or mentally able to project my personal value set in the discipline of my classes. I must remember that position and attention are central to my students, and they do not intentionally mean to offend me with most of their actions. They are surviving in a competitive environment. I must focus on finding my central self rather than the calculating, judgmental, angry, resentful self. I can’t judge rude children without considering the whole person=who knows what is going on in their life or how they were raised.If we don’t follow rule 6, we are bound to fail in the classroom.

Week 3 , blog 2 Response to Anna Dooley

Reply to Anna Dooley

Your response on “Leading from Any Chair” was interesting. It is one thing to lead a section of the orchestra from any chair, but that person doesn’t lead the orchestra without preparation. In your case, you could help within your department or grade, but you couldn’t be expected to lead the school. I also think it is not possible for an interim principal to take over and lead with just a few months left to go in the year. It makes me wonder if the new principal ignores what has been done in the past, or if no one is telling him/her. To make matters worse, the old principal is still close by to watch what is going on. You are facing a very difficult situation. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen very often.

This weeks reading was a little funky, and not as enjoyable as last week but I got the point. Chapter 5 "Leading from Any Chair" hit home more than any other chapter this week. My school is currently in a state of flux right now. The principal that has been there for over 13 years was moved our i late February 2011 to prepare for the next school year where she will be taking over a school with test scores under 20% proficiency. Since her last day at our school, we have had an interim principal that takes no leadership. We teachers have had to step up and lead. For some this was very easy but for others, it was very difficult and uncomfortable. With the principal that just left, instructions were given out like a drill sargent and everyone knew what they were to do from day 1. Now, nobody knows what to do or where to begin closing out the school year. It has been very interesting watching the leaders make way though the crowd of wanderers. The students have also felt the disjointness of the school and have begun asking much more if there is anything they can help with. Though it will be a bumpy road to June 20 when we finish the year, it has been a great experience for the students (who got to see their teacher transform from follower to leader) and for the teachers who found new skills and leadership qualities that I feel have made our school stronger...I wonder who will be hired in July to join the Mineral Springs adventure.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Week 3 Blog 1 - Weekly Reading

Week 3 reading from The Art of Possibility, by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander

Leading from any chair

This chapter dealt with giving everyone the power to make a contribution to the team effort. People often loose interest in what they are doing because they feel disenfranchised. But a good leader leads by involving the group. I have tried this with some of my lessons with mixed results. Sometimes, the student appreciates that they can voice their opinion and will even suggest alternative ways of doing things. More often with teenagers, they become suspicious and worry that I am trying to trick them. They are not used to being encouraged to do an assignment their way. They are worried about their grade and want me to take them through each step the way I think it should be done. When this new approach fails, I am not disappointed, since I know that even one success is worth the effort. I am convinced that students want to contribute their ideas. They just need to be encouraged.

Rule 6

I want to write this down before the thought passes. I teach photography to a variety of teenagers. Rule 6 is probably the hardest for them. After all they are still in the childhood stage of the calculating self. Usually I give photo assignments ahead of time. I tell them to take 20 to 30 photos, they edit them to six that they turn in and one of those is picked for a grade. I show them examples from past classes and tell them my grading rubric. What they must do is figure out what will give them the best grade. When the picture is presented to the class, they are required to tell the class what is good, what is bad and how they would improve on the picture.

I want to try a new assignment. Next door to our school is an arboretum of sorts maintained by the senior citizens. What I plan to do is not tell them what the assignment is until we get there. Then I will tell them that they are allowed to take only one picture. They must think of it this way; there is no grade to worry about but only that you take a photo that expresses you at this time, one photo to express your life at this point, in this place. I am hoping that this could be a step from the calculating self to the central self that rule 6 is about.

The Way Things Are

This chapter is not so much accepting things the way they are, but accepting reality and working with it to create a positive experience. All my classes are different. What I have to do is work with them. Some classes go along and get all the work done while other classes disrupt my plans. I just have to work with what I have been given.

Giving Way to Passion

This was an interesting chapter. At first I thought that this is fine, but one could not go through life giving way to passion. It would be too exhausting. Then I kept reading. What I think they really meant was that one must use passion to see the connection between and among the things we do in life. If we let go, then we can connect the dots. I really liked the last paragraph…BTFI.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wk2 blog 3 – Reply to Jessica Goodenow

I wish I had a dollar (inflation from a penny) for every time I felt I wasn’t making a positive contribution to my class. My children are all grown up, but I still have those days when they come home and I am at school. So I know how you feel. I must tell you that I don’t know how you are handling a new child, teaching, and working on your Master’s all at the same time. You deserve a few less than perfect days.

I don’t know what grade level you teach. I teach high school. I have found that even on my bad days, I have contributed positively to some of my students. It amazes me how much baggage they bring to school. Sometimes, the best thing I can do all day is listen to their problems or tell them; “Just turn it in tomorrow.” I’m sure you do the same for your students.

As for your statement about your parents, I think we had a very similar upbringing. I know now that my parents had worries as I grew up, but all I knew was happiness and security. I tried to give that to my children too. To my thinking, if we can make our children and students feel a little more secure and give them helpful critical feedback about their efforts, we are contributing.

Jessica Goodenow: How will I be a contribution today?

Sometimes I feel like I contribute to the world just by showing up for school every day. I am an educator who molds the minds of the future generations. But when I read this chapter, the way I show up is not always a contribution. I am a new mother and find that I do not get the most restful nights of sleep anymore. That means that the next morning, I show up to work with an air of impatience and tiredness. Did I contribute that day? No. The Art of Possibility has made me examine the attitude I put forth every day. It is not just about showing up. It is about making a difference every moment you have. There are some days that I do not want to make a difference. I want to be at home with my adorable 6 month old. I feel that it is on those days that I can make the most of the time I have with students. The days where I don’t want to be there are the days where I have great learning discovered. That makes it all worth it.

How are your thoughts and actions a reflection of the measurement world?

Another reaction I had to the reading was in the belief of the world. How I feel towards certain events in my life have shaped my belief on the world and what it can give me. My parents worked very hard when I was growing up. We always had food on the table and clothes on our back. It might not have been name brand food or clothing, but we were nourished and clothed. Seeing that model of devotion and sacrifice has lead me to try to do the same for my family and for my students. Sacrificing my personal needs for the needs of my daughter is like second nature. In the classroom, I try my best to teach my students work ethic and responsibility. I know that with my students, it will ultimately come down to their home life instilling the values, but I will try to get the ball rolling!

Week 2 Blog 2 – response to LeVonda Vickery

I agree with you about chapters 3 & 4. I have often thought about telling the students to assign themselves a grade. I think this would actually scare them more than when I grade them. Students stress themselves out on grades. they will often get upset over a bad grade on homework (5% of the total grade) and not bother to turn in a paper that is worth 20% of their grade. As a compromise, I have started giving them stress free assignments for part of each unit. This is something I picked up from Full Sail. I tell them that if they do a project according to the instructions, they will receive a 100 for that assignment. I have had good results so far. They turn in the assignments and I don't have to grade them. I can sit back and enjoy whatever they turned in and give them verbal feedback.

Levonda Vickery: Wk2 reading – Art of Possibility

As I read our reading assignment this week in the book, "The Art of Possibility" by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander, I was particularly struck by chapters 3 and 4 on "Giving an A" and "Be a Contribution". Wouldn't it be something if every educator just started giving A's to students to watch how their perspectives changed and/or evolved? Personally I feel that would be easier said than done, but in courses where you can use project-based or game-based learning I feel that it is an easy fit. It is more the creative based course like Music, Art, Graphic Design, Photography, etc... that allow for the actual effort put in to the work to show in the final result of the project and therefore to allow for that feeling of accomplishment. I know that most of us are used to tying that letter grade to our sense of achievement to show others and tell ourselves that we did a great job, but I have learned a lot through my time here at Full Sail in the EMDT program that while yes it is wonderful to see that letter grade it is not what defines me or my work. That is a very hard concept to get across to students who are used to always being judged by others on the work they do. I loved working on my Action Research project because it involved using a game to teach social skills, which allowed for the participants to not receive a "grade" for the work they did, but instead to have that sense of accomplishment on a job well done whenever they successfully completed a quest/mission in the game no matter how many times they had to do it over again to get it right. After all isn't that what we should want to instill in students is that no matter how many times they have to do something to get it right that once they have that "aha" moment and it finally clicks it teaches them that they can do it and they feel as if they actually accomplished something in the process.

As far as the fourth chapter on being a contribution I feel that everyone should strive to do this in their life. As teachers I would hope that all of us are a contribution not only to our students, but to our colleagues as well. I feel that it is important to be a contribution to society, our friends and family, and others around us and I try to live my life thinking in that manner. I know it is hard when we always seem to be so busy with our daily lives to just take a minute and try to help others with theirs, but it is what makes us different and better people. I have been unemployed since last February and believe me it has been very tough over the past year, but I still try to contribute to those around me. I would rather help others than sit and dwell on how miserable I can and would be if all I did was think about how worthless I felt for being unemployed and not supporting my family. Life is funny that way, on the differences a positive versus a negative outlook can have on a persons life.

This book just helped me affirm what we could and should be teaching our children, our future, to help them be a better person as reflected in their contributions to society and the actual pride they get from a job well done versus what grade they may be given on it. I feel more people should have that outlook on life. What did I do today? I made a birthday cake for a friend who was down because no one at work remembered her birthday yesterday. I contributed! What have you done today?

Week 2 – Blog 1 – The Art Of Possibility

The Art of Possibility, by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander

Chapter 1 – It’s all invented

As a photographer, I have been so trained to look at photographs and interpret

them that it came as quite a curiosity that people who have never seen a photo cannot read or understand what they are looking at. Our experiences and training create what we see as well as what we think. I must remember this when I teach. Instead of showing frustration or impatience, I should take the time to understand what my students are thinking and seeing.

Chapter 2 – Stepping into a Universe of Possibilities

I teach photography. I teach theory and I teach composition or how to look at the world. Some students do well in theory, but have difficulty with looking at the world. Others can’t handle theory, but make great pictures. My problem has always been how to grade fairly. I wish that I could just give them a acceptable or unacceptable grade for the entire course, but my school will not let me do that. After all, I have to assign a grade that will give them a class standing. They are, after all competing against their fellow students. The possibility of helping them learn to see is what keeps me excited about my class. I only wish the grades weren’t more important to everyone else.

Chapter 3 – Giving an A

I had a meeting with a parent. It seems his daughter; my student received a low grade from me. It was a trend with her that every grading period, her grade went down. I knew that he came down hard on her and in defense; she blamed me for all her problems. The truth was, as the class got more involved, she spent less time on the assignments. I really felt sorry for the girl. All her father wanted was a high grade. He could care less if she learned anything. I have often wished I could get my students to worry less about a grade and more about what they are learning. They just don’t seem to understand that good grades will follow learning.

Chapter 4 – Being a Contribution

This was my favorite chapter so far. I really want my students to feel that if they contribute to my class, then right or wrong, they are doing what I want them to do. It is much more difficult to contribute, than to hide in the wings and watch others. Working with teenagers has proven that the most difficult thing to do is to make them understand the value of contributing.

Week 2 - Blog 4 Missed winba

I missed Monday’s Wimba, so I will post my comments now. I watched all the videos on copyright and I find it interesting how something that started out so simple has become very complicated due to today’s technology. I find it interesting that the concept of original and copy has become part of the gray area. In fact, something that sounds simple has become very complicated due to how we can view, copy and change things. Fair use and creative commons both helps and confuses the issue at the same time.

My take on fair use is that this gray area can change from use to use. It was brought up that fair use is not a right, but a legally defensible position. This keeps the lawyers happy, but could have very detrimental implications for educators.

The thing I like about creative commons is that it gives the copyright holder some flexibility in the way they want copyright to be used. I believe that before creative commons, you either had to enforce copyright or not enforce it, but there was no in between.

I’m also glad to heart that some companies are trying to make copyright more palatable, especially for educators. Considering that most educators use their own money, or school money to purchase media, it would be nice to get a break on copyright payments.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Blog 4 - Week 1 - Free Choice

Blog 4 – Free Choice How teaching has changed.

I had to take a month off from my Full Sail classes last month. So I am starting up again. I am anxious to get back to work on my research documentation. It has been a very interesting and extremely busy year. I must say that if I could do it over again, I would have to make a decision of not participating in this Master’s program, or do much more to divest myself of some of the duties that I am currently doing at school. The Full Sail Masters is a very intense program, which requires many hours of work each week.

I have been talking to some of my fellow teachers about the workload we face in teaching and how it has changed over the years. At first I thought it was just me and the fact that I am getting old and slowing down. But younger teachers also feel like they can’t keep up. Every year, we are required to do more. Many of the things we do are not directly related to teaching. There is more paperwork, more forms to justify what we teach, and more information about our students that may help them in their future classes. My school is requiring many of us that teach electives to teach two or more levels or classes during one period. Even though I am only supposed to teach four classes a day, this year I am teaching six different classes.

I wish I could find a way to get back to teaching where I spent more time getting to know my students and less time filling out reports and forms about my students

Blog3 - wek 1 reply to Bruce Kramer

@ Bruce Kramer

I have to agree with you about the greed balancing the need. It has been my limited experience that large companies are quicker to enforce copyright that the artist that created the work involved. to be exact, I look at how my students use creative commons in their projects. They will often take copyrighted material and incorporate it into their own work. Now if they do this for a class, it is usually not a problem. but if they show their work publicly, it could fall under copyright infringement even though they are not selling their work. For them to use copyrighted material in their projects allows them to create things that they could not create any other way. It allows them to use some really good pieces of music or art to help them in their learning and understanding. To deny them this opportunity because some company feels they are loosing a few dollars is just not right.

Blog 2 - reply to Jessica Goodenow

@ Jessica Goodenow

I can see what you are saying about creating mixes. If you buy music, why shouldn't you be allowed to use it in a different way? I guess the real question is are you depriving the artist from making money. so if you do a remix for yourself, should that be considered OK as long as you don't sell it to someone else or give it to someone who will not buy the original artist's music. The Grey album you mentioned is aptly named. I think it is a "Grey" area in the copyright law.

I am overwhelmed by the topic of copyright. We are living in a world where creativity is valuable and should be protected. We are also living in a world where people will cheat and steal others creativity and claim it as their own. In a world where plagiarism is as common as a Starbucks drink on college campuses, laws are being put into place to try to protect those individuals that have worked hard to get their ideas declared as their own.

The videos Good Copy/Bady Copy really got me thinking. Sampling is a music style that I enjoy. I even use samplings of music when I make movies for my classroom or for my own personal uses. Does that mean that I need to go through court proceedings to give those artists their due? No! I pay for that song that I sample with my own money. I remember when “The Grey Album” came out and all the controversy that surrounded it. I was surprised to find out that the artist never made any money off of his “art project.” For his creativity, he deserved SOMETHING. I may be na├»ve, but creativity should be rewarded and protected.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Week 1 Blog 1 Copyright Readings

Blog 1 copyright readings

I teach a three-class mini unit on copyright, censorship, and the law. I am also, or I was a professional photographer. I can approach copyright from both sides. On the one side, I want to protect my investment. If I spend thousands of dollars to take a series of pictures, I certainly don’t want to give them away and I certainly don’t want someone else taking credit for their creation. If I write and produce music, then I want to gain fame or wealth for their creation. But as an educator, the value of using or showing copyrighted material in the classroom can be a vital addition to my teaching. But budgets being what they are, I cannot pay to use many of these materials. So I break the very laws I teach in order to give my students a more meaningful education. The fair use clause is one of the gray areas of the copyright act. I find myself bending the law to fit my own uses. But I guess I’m not the only one that does this. In the ars technica article, it seems that industry data on financial losses due to copyright infringement could itself be copyrighted under creative fiction. Copyright laws are necessary. They are difficult to enforce. They can also serve as a deterrent in the creation of derivative pieces. It is important for my students to know and understand the law. After that, they must decide what they will do.

We must be thankful for the concept of Fair Use. Without it, we could not use anything that is copyrighted. It is one thing to make money on someone else’s idea, but we should be allowed to share their ideas. The law also kept it a little ambiguous so that each case can be decided on its own merits. I think this keeps copyright holders from suing every time a portion of their material is used. I agree that Fair use has helped prevent private censorship from interfering with freedom of speech.

Another concept that my students can use is creative commons. I think this has become necessary because of the change in the way we use the Internet. People want to share the things they create. They use Face Book, You Tube, and blogs to distribute what they make. Sometimes we use items that are copy righted in these creations. Creative commons allows us to use certain works under specific circumstances that “bends” the copyright laws.