Thursday, September 23, 2010


I created a project for a graduate classes where I was able to use ning. I really liked what it had to offer for in terms of this project. I had it so students had to, in groups of four, research one of four enlightenment thinkers. Create a ning for one thinker each and then they would have to join a group that I created called enlightened thinkers and then act as if they were their enlightenment thinkers discussing their ideas. I like the idea of ning as something you can use in your classroom for students. Here is a link to my fake ning I created but it no longer works. Enlightenment Thinkers

I also ning as a tool for teachers to stay connected I really like the classroom 2.0 ning. Anywhere where teachers can go to discuss, question and post ideas for education is beneficial to both teachers and students. I remember when I first began student teaching and being stuck trying to find other ideas on how to better connect Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin and design a lesson for my students. I remember sitting at my computer trying to google different ideas. If I at the time had ning and maybe a social studies teachers ning I could have asked and looked more easily for ideas. I also like the idea of UB English Department has a ning, I think all departments should have something similar to this.

A Learner is Like A ........

I always like the idea of a learner is like a can soak up just about anything and thus you can also squeeze anything out of it with a little pressure.

I always liked the analogy of a learner as a sponge because it represents so much of what a learner can do. I see a student as one who can absorb vast amounts of knowledge. And when you pressure (challenge) that student they can release that knowledge. Where I see constructivism fitting with my sponge analogy is that the sponge already contains substance (knowledge) and we are just adding to it and making meaning out of it. Think of the hand holding the sponge, it sees something and wants to wipe (absorb) it up. The hand is our brain and like
George Siemens (click here for article) says; "learners are actively attempting to create meaning. Learners often select and pursue their own learning. Constructivist principles acknowledge that real-life learning is messy and complex.'' This quote has a lot to do with what I see education as, a space for students to create meaning. I feel assessments need to provide students with the opportunity to create. The sponge should not just dump the water into the sink but use the water to water the plant.

In the video The Impact of Social Learning (click here for video) the idea of social networking and the use of flicker in the classroom is something that is directly connected with the idea of constructivism in that but post an image and having other people comment on that image you are creating and learning in a way that is not just feeding one facts. Technology and websites like flicker are like providing the sponges with an upgrade, like instead of using a sponge we are using a shamwow (sorry about the overuse of the analogy). By using technology like flicker, like facebook, like myspace as the video states we are taking something that the students are already familiar with and giving them an opportunity to construct meaning. I can just see an assignment where I put up a picture on flicker of Andrew Jackson dressed like a king and let students discuss what they see. The possibilities are endless. Students are connected on so many levels that they need to be connected. "
Learning is a process that occurs within nebulous environments of shifting core elements – not entirely under the control of the individual." The closest we can to staying connected is through these social networks and as educators why not take advantage of them? I would rather see my students comment on a picture online and enjoy themselves than sitting there staring at an overhead thinking about the next Twilight movie. Lets let students take control of their environment and their learning.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Vision of K-12 Students Today

Watching this video made me thankful for the past two education classes here at UB. I feel that students need to create, they need to DO and they need to be the teachers too. I have become experienced in teaching students how to make digital videos using IMoive. I know I have mentioned this several times but I can't say enough at how excited I am to do this with my own students (when I get my own classroom). Being a Social Studies teacher I have seen the value of having my future students make videos. The value of having students do this is endless in my eyes.

One you are having students work with hardware they are either already familiar with or can become familiar with minimal help. Having students create a video on the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire for example with get them the opportunity to make decisions, explore for material, decide how to present the material, create an opening, middle and end (not unlike an essay). Then if you want you can even have students write the essay or create an essay question off of this project another way the value is endless. When students write the typical thematic essay for example how many decisions do students make? Maybe twenty? With making a digital video the decisions are over 500 I would argue.

How else can creating a digital video be helpful besides the vast amounts of inquiry students will partake in? Well I think it gives students better ideas for job possibilities. For example maybe a students doesn't like to be in front of the camera but likes to be behind it. Who knows maybe we have a future channel 4 news camera operator or the next camera man at a Sabres game? Two careers I would not mind having if I knew more about them.

My last point is students will no longer be sitting in desks all the time like they are in this video it gets them up, making decisions, creating and producing something I hope they can be proud of!

Here are some examples of projects I have created click on the links if you want an example.

My Page

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mod 2 Safety Blog

Mr. Goff's Guide To Being Safe and Respectful

1. Never give your password to anyone (except mom/dad/guardian).
2. Use only your first name only, a pseudonym or a teacher (that's me) given number.
3. Do not tell people you don't know where you live.
4. Be respectful when commenting on fellow students' work. For example use school appropriate language when commenting on other students' blogs.
5. Check with your parents that your computer as some sort of filter and abide by that filter.
6. Stay away from website you may be unfamiliar to avoid catching an unknown virus.

Remember I will be viewing all of your blogs so be appropriate what you post.

Mod 2 - Blog Post 1

Over the past year I have become more familiar with blogger and its uses in the classroom. Richardson covered three of the ways I see myself using blogger in my future classroom. The most practical use of blogger for myself is as a tool to create a classroom/school website. As a teacher I can easily post pictures, information, links, or whatever my heart desires on my blogger. I have two websites I have created for graduate classes and I plan on using them as templates for my future classroom website. I can then use my website to as Richardson puts it "expand the walls of the classroom (p.27)." I can post all of my classroom materials using blogger, I can post assignments, and I can create links using google docs. As far as standards are concerned a classroom website can cover all five social studies learning standards and key ideas. For example I can create a geography lesson using blogger where I can link various types of maps in a webquest that would cover the world in spatial terms, places and regions, physical settings (including natural resources), human systems, environment and society, and the use of geography. (Adapted from The National Geography Standards, 1994: Geography for Life). I can have students explore these different elements and fill out some type of questionnaire or write an essay. This is just a start.

A second and third use that I see blogger being used in my classroom as an e-portfolio and collaborative space. I group the two together because I see my students posting their work on blogger than as part of an assignment have to edit, help, provide resources to their fellow students work. This can really cover any standard and any key idea for social studies. For example if a student is working on an essay he can post it on his/her blogger where 1 or 2 of his/her fellow students will be required to do some sort of peer review, editing and offer useful references or information on that student's work. If a student were working a project/paper on American History about the Industrial Revolution this type of work would cover Social Studies Standard 1 and Key Idea 2 : investigate key events and developments and major turning points in world history to identify the factors that brought about change and the long-term effects of these changes. Not to mention it might help on that regents exam at the end of the year.