One in Eighty-Eight

A few months ago I was sitting in the DMV, waiting for my number to be called.  Everyone know the feeling of sitting in the DMV, all you can think of is why there are only 2 windows open and there seemingly 800 people in line.  I was really hoping that the time would pass quickly since of course I had somewhere else to be, but everyone knows that’s never the case…

Then the gentleman next to me struck up a conversation with me, and coincidentally I believe it was about smart phones.  Our conversation encompassed many things but what will always stick out in my mind was the story of his son.

His son was non-verbal autistic.  Of course many people do not completely understand autism, which is really sad considering the number of children/people effected with it.  1 in 88 people are diagnosed with some type of autism.  I mean WOW.  Also, considering the ease of finding basic information just by Google surprises me that more people are not educating themselves about this disorder.  It is not like autism is a new concept. Hello…RAIN MAN!!

Anyways to continue with the story, the gentleman went on describing his sons personality and how it was a lot of work and took patience but was always so rewarding.  He told me about how he was able to use iPad apps to help his son with many of the daily activities as well as learning tool.  I thought this was so awesome, technology can really be beneficial to aid as learning tool and I had never looks at an iPad or tablet in that way until then.  Since my best friend is an aid for autistic children his age and I have learned a lot from her, I was able to hold a good conversation and I really enjoyed learning more about this little boy.  Then, there was the priceless picture of his son with the biggest smile on his face, because he had just used the iPad to order his own lunch at a restaurant!  I can’t imagine the feeling that little boy was feeling, but I could see it on his face!  He couldn’t talk, but the iPad could talk for him.  He knew all this stuff he just couldn’t put it into words himself, but the iPad could.

Then, I went to (yeah its that easy there is a website as simple as that to look up information).  When I got to the site the first thing I see is an article about how at the University of Utah they are focusing on helping change the way they teach children with autism!  Using SketchUp they can focus on the skills they are strong in, which will help them succeed in the classroom.  Also, it is not just about sitting in front of a computer or tablet, as Scott Wright said, “Look at what’s very unique here, the social interaction going on. This isn’t just sitting in front of a computer with tunnel vision. They are sharing and learning from each other.”  This is so key, autistic children usually have difficulty with the social interaction part.

I think there is much to learn from this…and that it is that you must pull from the strengths of the students you are teaching.  Whether they may be autistic, have down syndrome, other learning disabilities or not, they will all have different strengths, which is why you should be adaptive, still have structure, but understand that you are there to help your students succeed.  Technology can be a essential and significant tool in teaching, and it should be interactive and not tunnel vision, so instead of always handing over the tablet or computer, work together, learn together and teach together.


Posted in GEDI

Lent is for Renewal…giving back instead of giving up

For the past month I have seriously debated what to do about Lent. I grew up in a Christian family and very much believe in my faith. It is something that has helped me get through many things in life and has guided me thus far.

What Exactly is Lent?

According to Bible Gateways Blog on this topic they explain it as the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, which corresponds to the bible in Matthew when Jesus fasts for 40 days and is tempted by the devil and when he is resurrected from his grave.  Obviously being a Christian I knew this but I felt it was necessary to convey this to those of you who may not be exactly sure.

Also, since I am not a connoisseur of the Christian faith I did learn that it is not celebrated by every denomination and it is not on the Christian Calendar.  Therefore it is not a “requirement.”  Which brings me to the order, that as I grew up I never really understood Lent and honestly didn’t participate.  I would have felt hypocritical doing something for God without understanding it.  Now that I am an adult and understand what it is, to me it is about a lot more than just giving something up.

Lent is about renewing yourself in some way.   Whether it actually be something you give up or possibly even giving back it should be about more than just 40 days.  Yes, there are 40 days of Lent, but once those days are up it is my though that one should be able to reflect on Jesus throughout that time and see how what you are doing is betting yourself and your relationship with him and the Lord. And as I see everyone posting what they are “giving up” it is very disheartening to me.  Sometimes it makes me feel like they are just doing it to do it and do not really understand the benefit and renewal process that Lent is supposed to have.

As a sophomore in college I have come very much obsessed with Starbucks. And many other things like cupcakes and very unhealthy things.  In high school I did gain weight and it fluctuated a bit but after graduation and my freshman year I let the luxuries of college overwhelm me and I finally met the point where I was overweight.  So Lent rolled around that year and I gave up Starbucks, sweets and alcohol.  I completely changed my life.  I realized I needed to be healthy and Lent and Jesus were going to help me. It really was a Renewal for me and it honestly changed my life.  I lost 40 lbs and felt really great about myself and everything I had gone through and I could only thank Jesus.   And my healthy lifestyle has continued to this day, which is why I feel choosing something to commit to for Lent is more than just a second thought.

Me then and me now

This year instead of giving up something I am devoting time to reconstructing my relationship with God and Jesus.  I feel over the past few years I have been neglecting the one thing that has helped me through so much because I’ve been “too busy.” So this year I am going to make time to read the bible every day. I have already downloaded a Bible App by YouVersion on my computer and my windows phone, so I can access the bible anytime I want.  I am not one for going to church (because churched down here and in Craig County are not what I grew up going to…but that’s a different story) so I am going to watch Joel Osteen on Sundays (recommended by my mother who watches him is she cannot make it to Sunday church service).  But I do not plan to stop there, I’m all about going whole hearted in what I do, so I feel to really improve my relationship with God I need to find how to help in the community as well as make time for ME.  Life is about balance, and I will make time to renew this year.

I just wanted to post this sent to me on my facebook from one of my good friends in response to my Lent renewal this year…it really encompasses how I feel about Lent and this whole blog post.  I really hope that everyone really thinks about their Lent promises this year and it helps them renew themselves and remind them of Jesus along the way.

Posted in Scribbles

Challenge what was with what is

It is hard for me to believe that of all the places, the Universities are so behind in the technology spectrum.  I do understand that many of the professors are used to the traditional teaching theories, however shouldn’t one want to always further their skills by learning what is new and what is now? I would like to think so however, this is the first class I have been in that is “modernized.”  And personally, I feel that if many of the professors I had, used any form of technology other than a Powerpoint and scholar I would have been more engaged and driven to learn.  In all honesty what I have gathered from many students is that we feel as if the professors are there to be paid and we are just fed information in mass quantity, which we are forced to regurgitate in some form, which we then forget (or at least partially forget) after the semester is over.  So how is this learning? IT ISN’T!

Watch Full Show on PBS. See more from Digital Media – New Learners Of The 21st Century.

In the PBS film they discuss gaming and how important it is to problem solving, and that throughout our educational lives we are fed information that we may never use, BUT in gaming we learn to problem solve – WE PROBLEM SOLVE EVERY DAY!  Why are games not incorporated in more classrooms? We obviously need to know the basics of any curriculum, but instead of reinforcing with the constant quiz and exam that why not incorporate a game or a discussion using computers.  It is so evident that both the loquacious and silent have a voice online.  There are so many different forms of technology as shown in the video, that each classroom could incorporate what works best in each situation so that students are not left in the dust by other colleagues who have discovered the greatness of modernization in the classroom.

Last week during Dr. Campbell’s discussion, many of the questions were about what if students were not engaged and just doing this for a grade, or how is one supposed to assess a blog.  People honestly? Where is the thinking outside the box? where is the innovation this world is living on? This class is about leaning to be good teachers…but one cannot teach if one is putting up a wall to learn.  If one is to use such innovative processes for learning, why can one not think of a new way to assess or grade.  If a student is just writing to complete the assignment or requirement then that is the loss of the student.  If they do not want to engage and dive in head first then they are unlikely to do as well in all other aspects of the course and other courses.  Students want things handed to them, but instead of handing them what they want, CHALLENGE THEM!

Posted in GEDI

Beginner doesn’t even begin to explain it…

Here I am, sitting in front of my computer, with a big huge question mark in my mind.  I have never really been a fan of committing time to explain my life or the things I enjoy doing, to others over the web…when I can just do it with my mouth.  And I am essentially the definition of extrovert…I mean I have nothing to hide and love to share every bit of it with everyone! Also, I definitely do not consider myself someone who is particularly good with technology or an early adopter.  Yes, I have my smartphone and laptops and tablets…but by the time I learn how to actually do half the things on it, they are already out dated.  essentially I would much rather be cooking, cleaning, fishing, hunting or anything but sitting behind the glaring screen of a TV or computer.  Do not get me wrong, I LOVE technology, and all it offers, I just sometimes feel really dumb compared to everyone else when it comes to using what is available at my fingertips.

I’ve never blogged and never really planned to do so until now…

after hearing Dr. Gardner Campbell speak to us in class I had a completely different view on blogging and thought I might really like to give it a try. I also feel it may help me on my journey through this time in my life where I feel overwhelmed by the process of writing my thesis and being a 24 year old who wants to learn it all.  I know it will take a bit of learning and trial and error for me, so please bear with me throughout this process as I learn how to link and post and all that other fun stuff possible through the blogging world.




Posted in Scribbles