Friday, February 1, 2013

Blog Post #3


Paige Ellis's Blog Assignment #12

The beginning of the definition of peer editing made me laugh.  According to the video, peer is someone your own age.  I am one of the oldest people in this class so that is not quite true. However, we are peers because we are fellow classmates.  In the realm of K-12 education, hopefully every one considered peers are relatively the same age.

I enjoyed learning the 3 steps of peer-editing:  compliment, suggest, and correct.  Throughout the process it is important to stay positive and be specific.  This could be considered the Golden Rule of peer-editing.  Peer-edit unto others as you would have them peer-edit unto you.

The best part of this assignment was the video Writing Peer Review Top 10 Mistakes.  I love that there was not a single adult.  These students were so funny yet they perfectly conveyed the "do's and don't's" of peer-editing.  They not only showed how not to do the criticizing but how not to be defensive or unreceptive.  So far the classmates' blog posts I have read have been good.  What is funny is that I think my comment on peer-editing for my classmate may need some editing. Fragment sentences may be my downfall.

Assistive Technologies

When the first video, Assistive Technologies for Vision and Hearing Impaired Children, began, I turned up the sound.  Then I realized there was no sound.  And it was a perfect thing to experience because it was dead silent in my house as well.  I am continually curious about how a deaf person goes about their day in absolute silence.  It is easy to wear a blindfold, but I have never found a pair of earplugs that completely block out noise.  The video gave statistics for "sensory impaired" (I like that term) children in Australia.  It was a good video for awareness.

The next short video, The Mountbatten, is also the name of a special Braille writer.  It saves files, as well as transfers and receives files from a computer.  When a student "types" on the Braille writer, a voice also speaks what letter has been entered.  This machine has endless possibilities.  It would be so useful to a teacher that doesn't know how to read Braille.  The student's work can be saved on the machine as well as sent to a computer for the teacher's use.  The teacher could also send the student things like notes and assignments for use at home.  When I was in high school, there was a blind student named Brad.  I remember him lugging around a Braille writer to each class.  The Mountbatten would have made his experience so much better.  I wonder what path his life has taken and what  technology he has access to.

The next video, Teaching Math to the Blind, was my favorite.  I did not know the limitations of a Braille writer regarding math in that the machine only writes left to right.  Much of math must be computed top to bottom, right to left, because of our base ten number system.  These blocks and grid would revolutionize a blind student's understanding of math.  I have a fear of special education because I usually picture mentally challenged students.  However, I would love to teach math all day to blind students with a tool like this electronic grid.  This is so fascinating.

The last video, iPad Usage for the Blind, drove me nuts.  I suppose if I were blind I would love what an  iPad could do for me.  Right off the bat the electronic voice that spoke unnaturally fast and choppy made me want to climb the walls.  The video right after that, Teaching Mom What Her Deaf/Blind Child is Learning on the iPad, gave me a similar feeling, so I immediately turned it off when the person using it was supposed to drag all four fingers across the screen but wasn't doing it right.  The only way I would allow that in my classroom is if the student had earphones.

Because I am not geared toward special education, yet I know there is a lot of mainstreaming now, I know I need a lot of training in this area.  At this point, I do not know how to balance the needs of a special needs student with the needs of the rest of the class.

Vicki Davis is harnessing her students' digital smarts.

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts, is a good video to me, but not just in regard to teaching technology but rather Davis' methods.  It looked like her students are in middle school or older.  I expect to teach fourth or fifth grade.  Regardless of the subject matter, I think she is an effective teacher because she has assessed her students' interests and engaged the students.  They want to learn.  She does not spoon feed them.  She has empowered them to find the answers to their questions.  Similar to math, it is not just the answer but how you arrive at the answer.  She asks open ended questions to make her students explore a little further.  This is the same way I help my own children with their homework, which is not often because they have developed skills to figure it out.

Davis is not only a good teacher, but also a continual learner.  On the day of filming the video, her students taught her something new she did not know.  It was about technology, the very subject she is teaching.  I have no interest in ever teaching a technology class like Vicki Davis, however she is the type of teacher I would love to imitate.


  1. "...I do not know how to balance the needs of a special needs student with the needs of the rest of the class. " You are not the only one!

    Thorough, Thoughtful, Well Done!

  2. I enjoyed reading your post. It was very insightful. I am a father of a special needs child, but I also would not be able to balance needs of a special needs student. I also would like to imitate Mrs. Davis's teaching style. You also used very good grammar in your blog post and made it very clear and easy to follow.