Thursday, March 15, 2012

TED Talk: Winning and Success

Teachers, we need inspiration from a pep talk. We need the drive to perform at our best.  We need a game face.  We need a "winning attitude."  We need support from those around us.  Who needs this the most?  Students need our collective best efforts.

"No written word.
No spoken plea.
Can teach our youth.
What they should be.
Nor all the books on all the shelves
It's what the teachers are themselves"

This was a quote from an inspirational TED Talk from Coach John Wooden.  He was a UCLA coach and he had many great thoughts that relate to teaching and learning.  In addition, I feel his words can inspire us, as teachers, to strive for success rather than winning.  Wooden (2001) stated that the final score didn't always determine the winner or the successful players. 

"Don't whine.
Don't complain.
Don't make excuses.
Just get out there and do your best."

Most people (including me) are guilty of whining, complaining, and making excuses; however, this merely impedes success.  I want to succeed, and I want my students to succeed.  Without adhering to the advice above, I don't know if it is possible to succeed fully or to notice your actual success. 

As a reflective practitioner, I have questions and I will continue to have questions. At the front of my mind, is how to boost student performance. However, I don't know if performance on a standardized test truely matters.  Yes, we are judged by these scores, but students can succeed without passing a norm-referenced testing.  Here are some questions on my mind:
  • What should constitute success for a teacher?
  • What is success in the education field?
  • Is success to leave no child "behind?"
  • Is success defined by American students to "winning" on their prescribed standardized tests?
  • Will that cause America to gain control of the unstable economic issues and the border-less globalization occurring?
  • Do all students have to succeed in school in order to succeed in life? 
  • How can we suceed? 
To end, I wanted to post John Wooden's pyramid for success, which was found on his website.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Web 2.0: URL Shortener

Like with Twitter, these web tools help shorten a long URL and make it easy on the eyes.  Twitter's micro-blogging made is necessary to cut down on the number of characters a URL would use.  Emailing or posting links can get a bit messy.  So, shortening a web address has become somewhat necessary.  Some of the services below allow for customizable URL's and tracking services determine the number of times it was used.
  1. Google URL Shortener 
  2. bitly
  3. TinyURL 
  4. Cligs
  5. SnipURL
If you perform a search for URL shorteners, you will soon notice that there are several services out there.  But these are some of the most popular and/or reliable.  After finding this to be a fairly necessary web tool for techie-teachers, I found a blog post on the 11 Tools to Shorten URLS by Lee Odden. So, if you want more information, find it on the web.  It's out there.  Then, share the ed-tech tools you locate with a tiny URL. 

Just Search It!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Web 2.0: PLN's and Why they Work

"Did you find the end of the Internet yet?" I have heard this question as I browse through various web-related teacher resources.  The answer to this question is always, "No!"  It's like a never-ending-yellow-brick road on the way to OZ. 

Today, I found a new website through one of my social networking accounts.  I saw a post from @plnaugle.  As it does so often, my Personal  Learning Network (PLN) worked for me today.  Connecting and plugging into these social sites encourages learning on so many levels.  An older post of discusses the concept of a PLN further.  Use PLNs to learn, link, and discover the your professional potential.
    Follow the hypermedia path and grow professionally.  Just today, I noticed a intriguing tweet by @plnaugle.  The tweet mentioned inforgraphic, which is something that has caught my interest recently. So, I clicked and found this great infographic on Connected Learning.
    Connected Learning

    From the Connected Learning website, I saw an interesting photo, title, and last a video by Jabiz Raisdana (aka Intrepid Teacher).  On his website I saw this graphic by Andrew Churches. 

    I will leave you with a video that I found on the Educational Origami Wikispace page--created by Andrew Churches.  the last resource I watched on my path.

    So,connect to others with similar interests and learn. School isn't the only time we learn. In fact, it is truly limited piece of the pie. Encourage outside of school and create lifelong learners.

    web 2.0: Prezi


    Presentations using Power Point can lull a crowd to sleep faster than a satisfied baby. Maybe that's what it is: we satisfy our expected "norm" (Power Point) associated with a presentation. We know what to expect. Several slides are displayed and even the more engaging presenter can lose a crowd if the visual aide is not dynamic enough.  Liven up your presentation and keep the audience in engaged like they were watching a $500,000 firework display.

     I think a presentation or speech should include:
    1. Videos, 
    2. Pictures, 
    3. Info-graphics,(check out The Cool Infographics Blog)
    4. Web-links, 
    5. Stopping points to interact throughout the presentation. 

    Prezi for Presentations

    So, what is Prezi?

    • It's a "game-changer!"  
    • It's dynamic!  
    • It's eye-candy!  
    Basically, it's not Power Point or Keynote!  For now, because it is different, it provides a much more engaging format than overused presentation tools.  Here is an image of features users receive from Prezi.  I pointed to two features with arrows.  The blue arrow answer a question I get a lot.  can I save the Prezi to my computer or do I have to use the Internet to access the slideshow.  Well, to still answer this question, you can save the presentation to your computer.  The second red arrow displays the collaborative efforts of Prezi.  Regardless of a colleagues location, you can work together on a Prezi.  

    Getting Started with Prezi

    The Prezi website is fairly user-friendly in regards to training and providing tutorials for beginners.  Well, if you want to learn about Prezi with video tutorials, then go to the Learn tab.   If you would like to learn with procedural-based picture tutorials, go to the Manual section of the Prezi site. The staff at Prezi really put together everything you need to learn about Prezi. 

    In terms of pricing, there are educational plans. To get a "Pro Account" it is only $59/year. However, my free account has provided me with sufficient features. If you want to go pro contact the Prezi sales team (  Here is a pic from their website from the edu-accounts.

    Create A Great Prezi

    Prezi's founder Adam Somlai-Fischer put together this Prezi to provide users with tips on How to Create a Great Prezi

    Overall, challenge yourself and change your presentations.  Don't be satisfied with amazing content.  Amazing content with a great visual aide can easily be overlooked.
    • Make it so learners can become more visually involved.  
    • Also, make them physically involved. 
    • While your at it, make them cognitively involved. 
    Anything to engage the audience.  How else can you engage an audience?  Get rid of the "Zzzzz's"

    ...and add some "Awwww's."