Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Meta Blogg

After teaching this class for four weeks, teaching grad students at USC and spending most of my life instructing others in some fashion or another I feel I have a good understanding of teaching styles.  When reading back over my blogs I noticed that I am not used to teaching children how to do things.  I have spent most of my life teaching people my own age or older so teaching in an environment where the kids are young and immature was difficult for me.  I also only teach people who want to learn about what I am teaching and most of these kids could have cared less and were simply forced to be there.  This was a good experience for me and I feel it has broadened my horizons in teaching greatly and will let me teach in different styles for the different environments I may come across.

Final day of teaching

This is the final day of teaching for me.  I will not be continuing on to the next two modules as I have other commitments to attend to.

We spent the entire week working on the kids games that they would present to their parents tonight.  It was disastrous in my opinion.  The kids did not learn as much as they could have because of a lack of attention.  They had a lot of trouble staying focused and there were a lot of behavior problems.  This is mostly due to the fact that the kids are cooped up inside all day instead of getting to play outside and get out their energy.  If they had some time to exerciser they would have been much better.

The final projects eventaly worked after lots of help from Dakota, Marcus and my help.

June 24th Teaching

Since last post we covered all the basics of Scratch.  We covered objects hitting the walls, objects hitting other objects, objects moving on their own and controlling objects using keyboard and mouse control.  We went over variables both local and global as well as display of variables and scoring.  We covered how to make objects change their costume to make them look more realistic when moving or doing something instead of staying a static image.

We worked on broadcast commands and receive commands to the objects could interact with one another better but the kids are not understanding these commands very well.  Also the duplicate would save the kids a lot of time if only they would take the time to learn it.

This software is proving to be very limiting in what it can do and how it can be used.  This is putting a damper on how the kids like it.  A lot of them want to have things jump and use gravity but this is very complex with this software.  There are a few more things like that that the kids want but the software cannot deliver.

June 20th Teaching

Today we started Scratch.  Scratch is an open source software designed for teaching kids programing using visual objects.  It was developed at MIT for this purpose.

For the most part all that was accomplished today was introducing the kids to the concept of programming a computer to make it do things and drawing pictures to have something that could be seen doing something.  We spent half the class working on sprite creation and the tools used to modify them.  The rest of class we worked on movement of sprites to show the computer doing something that they told it to do.

These concepts are very abstract for the kids and already looks like it will be difficult to convey to them.  It is also a very precise software unlike SketchUp.  In Sketchup you can make a house that is 1000 miles tall and 2000 miles long and as long as you keep proper aspect ratios it looks just about the same.  In Scratch you must do things in the right order and a lot of thinking goes into every step.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Research 3

This article discusses the challenges of teaching a course online as opposed to in a traditional classroom. A new challenge is presented to the instructor when he/she no longer has control over the learning environment. The article gives ten successful traditional classroom strategies and tells how they can be modified to also be successful in the online learning environment. A key strategy for adult learners is discussion, because it allows them to enhance their critical thinking skills and “explore their own experiences.” Projects are also a key strategy. They allow the students to apply what they learn in a way that interests them.

Research 2

This article discusses how the responsibilities of teachers extend further than just the subject material. Teaching requires a great deal of commitment and observational learning. The article says they must also be knowledgeable in the types of learning/teaching and how to use them to their advantage. Effective teachers not only teach their students but learn from them as well. They must know how to cater to each different learning style since students fall in different learning categories. Teachers have a very high impact on society; according to this article they are expected to “develop students’ cognitive capacity…and foster students’ self-esteem, motivation, civic responsibility, and their respect for individual, cultural, religious, and racial differences.”

Research 1

Dr. Stephen Pew says that using the incorrect learning style can be detrimental to learners by inhibiting motivation. He also discusses Abraham Maslow’s theory of needs, which says if students have their basic needs met, they will be motivated to also achieve their higher needs such as belongingness, self esteem, and self-actualization. I found it interesting when the author discussed the difference between high and low achievers. Low achievers tend to blame failure on a lack of good luck whereas high achievers associate failure to a lack of effort. I feel I have observed this trend in the people around me.
                The idea that culture can influence “buying” motivation was also discussed. Success is the ultimate goal for many people and a market has been created to cater to this desire. Pew believes that older people are more likely to  have a desire to learn on their own instead of from other people or programs.