Posts Tagged ‘ASU’

My ASU Graduate Experience

June 7, 2011

Nearly two years ago I received an email advertising a quality graduate program in curriculum and instruction at an unbelievable price.  I spoke with an outsourced recruiter who promised me the world if I would start “today.”  She encouraged me to pay all the costs up front to ensure that tuition increases would not apply to me.  I was deeply concerned with the legitimacy of the program and how I would be perceived as a graduate of such an outfit.  “Nowhere on your transcript will it say that your program was all online,” she reassured me.  I was not reassured…

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A Few Things

April 28, 2010

Over the years I have received more than a few emails from our principal with the ambiguous subject, “A Few Things.”  I always knew there would be at least one item in there that I didn’t want to read.  That principal is retiring this year, and I will miss working for her.  Like those “few things” messages, this post consists of some items that need to be said but don’t really warrant an entire post.

Google Workshop Registration Closing
Registration for the Go Paperless with Free Google Tools workshop closes May 1.  Participants will receive 18 technology PD hours and a chance to visit scenic Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Win-Win!  Contact Kim Singleton <> to register.

BotBall Competition in Edwardsville, IL
I traveled with a colleague and 12 students to Edwardsville, IL, last weekend to participate in the regional BotBall competition at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.  This is the same competition I posted about last year.  If you are unfamiliar with BotBall, you should look into it.  Students are given a kit of parts, including Lego, servos, sensors, a Roomba optimized for robotics prototyping, and a pair of programmable “brains.”  They work for several weeks to design, refine, and optimize an autonomous robot to solve a particular problem.  This year’s problem was timely:  collect and clean ducks that were contaminated in an oil spill.  The students learned a lot about team work this year and took home an award for outstanding documentation.

Academic Partnerships at Arkansas State University
I enrolled in the Curriculum and Instruction program at ASU late last year.  I am happy to report that the model this program uses works well for me, and that I’m on track to graduate in May 2011!  I’m currently finishing up School and Community Relations.  I’ve completed School Law, Elementary Curriculum, and Philosophies of Education.  I particularly enjoyed the School Law class.  Do consider this program if you’re looking to continue your education in a program that is rigorous yet manageable.

You’ve probably heard of Twitter.  You might not know about PLNs.  The “in” thing to do is to create Professional Learning Networks by following educators on Twitter who post information and links that you find valuable as a professional educator.  I have been cultivating my PLN for more than a year now. Things have gotten hectic, though, and I haven’t had a lot of time to keep up with Twitter.  Anybody have strategies for taking away the immense value found in a PLN without investing hours each day?

John’s Blog Saved Networking
Teaching students in a lab environment is so rewarding, but sometimes things go wrong.  Without getting too techie, let’s just say that the students ran a command on our pet Linux machine that prevented us from running certain administrative commands.  The only way to repair this is to run administrative commands.  A Catch-22.  Through the directions found on John’s Blog, we were able to get things going again within the period.  Teaching students “stuff” is one thing.  Teaching students how to find “stuff” is another thing.  This only works with folks like John out there creating the content.  Thank you.

Cell Phone Crack-Down
Two media outlets ran stories about the Vilonia School District‘s battle against cell phones.

“Why can’t they just understand the rule that no cell phones are allowed at school?,” [School Board president Danny] Lawrence offered. It should be no different, he said, than the acceptance of the rule regarding the possession of drugs or  tobacco products. A rule is a rule, he said, made for a reason and to be enforced.

I agree that cell phones can be a distraction.  I concede that they can be used to cheat.  I admit that students can do all sorts of unethical or illegal things with these devices.  Drugs and tobacco products have no redeeming qualities.  Cell phones do.  Students can capture images, audio, and video with even the least expensive phones.  Those lacking the funds to spend on expensive clicker systems can instead channel student passion for these devices into class participation using free services like Poll Everywhere or Twitter.  Cheating, goofing off, and other abuses with cell phones should be regulated through classroom management techniques and supporting administration rather than sweeping policies that strip schools of resources they don’t even know they have.