SA #4: Technology in the Classroom

Our nation’s educational system is falling behind that of other developed countries. The United States needs some type of reform to improve our school systems. Luckily, with the rapid development of technology, there are ways in which teachers can educate more effectively! Technology should be introduced into the classrooms more and more so that students can get the most out of their education! As a result of new technology being more efficient, higher student interest with newer technology, and the improvement that our educational system needs, all teachers need to ditch traditional ways and embrace new, educational innovations!

My first point that I would like to make is how advanced technology can improve teacher efficacy within classrooms. As I stated before, technology is advancing faster than ever before. If teachers ditch the old, traditional ways and embrace these new innovations effectively, their quality of teaching will improve drastically. According to the University of Cincinnati, 74% of teachers say that not only does technology in the classroom reinforce and expand on content, but it also motivates their students to learn the curriculum! Those are some impressive statistics, if you ask me. Even though it can prove to be difficult to change our educational practices, it is something that must be done to see academic growth within our schools.

https://mastersed.uc.edu/news-resources/infographics/how-technology-is-transforming-homework-and-classrooms/

The second point I would like to touch on is the student interest that is associated with newer technology. With higher student interest comes motivation to learn educational content. Education World states that, “Real world, useful applications are key to having students utilizing technology in a positive manner, especially if it pertains to their future careers.” Laura Devaney, Director of News for ESchoolNews, mentions, “Students are beginning to connect classroom learning with real-world outcomes and careers with 92% of student respondents saying it is true technology that teaches them skills that they will later use within their workforce.” Technological innovations bring forth higher student interest. Higher student interest produces increased motivation to learn and be involved within the classroom. It is essential that our educators realize this!

https://www.educationworld.com/a_news/students-interest-educational-technology-rise-954034220

My last point that I would like to make involves the quality of our nation’s educational system. There needs to be reform somewhere in order to compete educationally from an international standpoint. The Pew Research Center expresses our subpar educational scoring compared to other countries around the world. “The most recent Programme for International Student Assessment results placed the United States an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math, and 24th out of 71 countries in science.” With how much revenue our country produces and how developed we are compared to other countries, these numbers are not up to scratch. Teachers and our educational system as a whole needs to embrace new ways to improve these statistics. Technology can help us accomplish this.

For the reasons that advanced technology improves teacher efficacy, higher student interest with newer technology, and the changes that our educational system yearns for, teachers need to do away with the old, traditional classroom practices and embrace everything that the latest technology has to offer. Our school system needs a change. Technology is a part of the solution!

My Role as a Learner

I can truthfully say that this class has opened my mind immensely when it comes to learning and education. My role as a learner, and soon to be educator, is vital. Being mindful that, as human beings, we should constantly be learning throughout the course of our lives is essential. We, as a people, need to maximize what we are given to be the best possible versions of ourselves as possible! Not only will this help in our individual lives, but our friends, family, workforce, community, nation, and world will benefit from it too!

The opportunity of carrying out my independent learning project was not only enjoyable, but it also helped me to grow as a person. Faith and sport are two of my top interests, and finding ways to fuse them together has been nothing short of amazing. As a future teacher and coach, I have found that upon completing this project, I will utilize a lot of the information and practices that I came across. I firmly believe that the principles that I went over will help push me to be the best instructor that I can be!

This week, and this class in general, has made me reflect upon my past, present, and future as a learner. I have found that with every week, every course, every semester, and every year, I am slowly becoming a wiser and more effective learner. This is crucial. No matter who we are or what profession we pursue, we should always be looking for ways to improve ourselves and make the most out of any situation. Learning plays a significant role in this. Learning brings about freedom, curiosity, innovation, inspiration, and power amongst many, many other benefits! Knowing the potential of growth that is present whilst consistently learning can be the key to living your best life!

Looking forward, I will take this vital piece of information wherever I go. In my future, there is a chance that I will play several significant roles as an adult, parent, teacher, and a coach. Staying stagnant and unwilling to grow as an individual could be catastrophic. Personally, not only do I want to be the best person that I can be, but I look to impact the lives of many other people with whatever platform I am given. Doing this through love, faith, and truth is how I plan to tackle this.

Learning can be one of the most powerful tools a human being can come into contact with. “Learning” how to capitalize on this could quite possibly be one of the best things someone could do for themselves!

Here is the article in which I got the most out of in terms of this blog!

Elephants in the (Class)Room

Are we really preparing our children for their futures? Are our children really learning worthwhile material while in school? Do their educations even apply to the career field in which they so choose?

There are a ton of questions that surface when it comes to our nation’s education system. These questions even tend to unsettle me a bit as a student who is planning on becoming a teacher in the near future.

Whilst reading through some articles on education, innovation, and unlearning, one really caught my eye. The title of that article is, “9 Elephants in the (Class)Room That Should “Unsettle” Us.” As the title explains, it gives nine ideas on education that should be taken into serious consideration. There were two specific “elephants” that particularly “unsettled” me.

The first of the elephants I would like to touch on is the material that the students actually “learn.” A man from UCLA named Matthew Lieberman, mentions that, “For more than seventy-five years, studies have consistently found that only a small fraction of what is learned in the classroom is retained even a year after learning.” This unsettles me. If what we are teaching our students doesn’t even stick, then what is the point of teaching it to them? As an educational system, we need to find ways to teach information to our students so that they can actually learn it and apply it to their everyday lives! Acknowledging that true learning is unforgettable and shifting our content to portray this should be a high priority!

The second elephant that I would like to elaborate on has to do with grades. Are our students, or even parents, more concerned about getting a high quality education, or about the marks that come on a report card at the end of the year? In my experience as a student, we prioritized good grades over actually taking the time to learn new ideas. Too much rides on good grades and high test scores to abandon them and actually make the most out of our education. We learn to earn high marks, then tend to forget what we learned a week later because there is another assignment or assessment coming up that takes the forefront of our minds. It’s a vicious cycle. Putting more emphasis on learning valuable material that will help us in our futures is something that needs to be done!

As a future educator, the articles given this week has really opened my eyes. They unsettled me, but also opened my mind to new ideas as to what type of teacher I want to be down the road. Teaching our students information that interest them, will help them, and impact their future should be of high importance. Our educational system needs some changes. Change can start right here, right now, with one person. You!

Here is the article:

ILP Week 14: God the Holy Spirit

Wow, I cannot believe it. Here we are. It’s the fourteenth week of this semester and I am writing my final independent learning project blog. I can truthfully say that this task has been more of a blessing than a burden!

As I promised previously, I would dedicate this last and final blog post to concluding my series on the Holy Trinity with none other than God the Holy Spirit. Also known as the third person of the Holy Trinity, God the Holy Spirit is known as God’s presence that is spiritually active in the world today.

Within the Nicene Creed, which depicts the beliefs of many Christian denominations, the Holy Spirit is known as, “…the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son He is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets…”

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Nicene-Creed

The Holy Spirit also goes by a number of different names. Comforter, teacher, revealer, protector, guide, giver, counselor, reminder, intercessor, helper, servant, witness, companion, and advocate are a few of the names that He is associated with. He also strengthens, consoles, heals, convicts, sanctifies, encourages, anoints, and provides truth, wisdom, hope, grace, peace, understanding, faith, prophesy, life, and mercy.

(John 14, 15, 16)

To add to this, there are nine fruits mentioned in the Bible that the Spirit of God provides, along with seven gifts. The nine fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, understanding, piety, and fear of the Lord.

(Galatians 5:22-23, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11)

Within the Bible, the Holy Spirit is symbolized in many ways. He can be portrayed as a dove, a spirit, a wind, a breath, fire, water, oil, or light. He can also be referred to as the Spirit of God or the Spirit of Jesus. There is a mountain-load of information about this third Person in the Holy Trinity, and remembering that He is alive, active, present, and God within the world today is essential!

(Mark 1:10, Acts 2:3-4)

After some reading and research, I found some ways in which one could integrate the power of the Holy Spirit into the scope of sports! Acknowledging His presence, asking for guidance, and doing one’s best to walk step-for-step with Him are some great ways to bring Him into competition. It takes a lot of practice, but it will be well worth it to have the Spirit of God with and within you during sporting events! He can provide numerous gifts from above. Who wouldn’t want this at work in their lives?

With that being said, I am saddened to say that this concludes my series on the Holy Trinity as well as my independent learning project as a whole. I have thoroughly enjoyed this assignment and learned an abundance of information this semester. I plan on taking this with me in both my future as an athlete and as a coach! I hope I was able to shed a bit of light on some of the best news ever, the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! I appreciate all of you that have been tuning in and will catch you on the flip side!

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” –Matthew 28:19

Graphic/Visuals – Piktochart

For this thirteenth week of class, we were asked to create a graphic/visual via online tech tools. Lucky for me, I have more of a visual learning style, and creating material like this is enjoyable! Needless to say, I had fun with this assignment, and I definitely think that I will be using tools like this in my future as an educator. Now I will go into detail the process I went through to create my particular infographic.

I chose to use the online creation tool called Piktochart. An online description of Piktochart stated that it is a web-based infographic application which allows users without intensive experience as graphic designers to easily create infographics and visuals using themed templates. Even though the options are a bit more limited, there is also a free option in which you can still sign up and create visuals without cost! For my assignment, I decided that I wanted to create something that I could potentially use in my future teaching profession.

https://piktochart.com/

Using Piktochart was a slower process at first, like with anything, but once I got the hang of the application, it was quite easy to use! In my opinion, the set-up of Piktochart is very well-done. It is pretty easy to maneuver around, and, in my experience, it provided everything I needed to create the infographic that I wanted! I would have to fiddle with it a little bit more to figure out what needs to be improved. I can truthfully say that it has all of the basic needs and that I thoroughly enjoyed the process!

As stated above, I wanted to create something along the lines of math education. I took five of the top high school mathematical concepts and created an infographic briefly explaining these concepts. From templates provided, I selected one that would work best for the idea that I had in mind. After that, it took about one, short hour to complete my visual project.

In my future career as a teacher and a coach, I can certainly see myself using online creation tools such as this. Providing graphic visuals like this will help my students and athletes to learn and visualize important aspects that I cover. Every individual learns in a unique way. Providing materials such as these will help to maximize learning in educational and athletic settings!

I learned a number of things from this week’s assignment. Online creation tools such as Piktochart will surely be a resource that I utilize in my ensuing career as an educator!

SA #3: The “Moment” App

Thesis: Everyone needs to download the Moment application to monitor their mobile phone usage.

More and more, we are seeing technology become a part of our everyday lives in this digital age. This can prove to be both a positive aspect as well as a negative one. According to CNN.com, the average American now spends about eleven hours a day behind a screen.(https://www.cnn.com/2016/06/30/health/americans-screen-time-nielsen/index.html) That is absolutely mind-blowing if you ask me! The Statistics Portal also informs us that the average person now spends more than two hours per day on social media alone. (https://www.statista.com/statistics/433871/daily-social-media-usage-worldwide/)  

I have a solution. Everyone needs to download the Moment application to monitor their daily mobile phone usage! Getting back time lost, keeping our minds in check, and being fully present in the moment are the three main reasons why everyone needs to do this!

Time is such a valuable resource. Once it is lost, it cannot be brought back! Downloading the Moment app will help us to reclaim the time lost every day navigating the never-ending sea of information that we call the Internet. Spending two hours on social media and eleven hours behind a screen in general adds up to over half of our twenty-four-hour day! The Moment app will aid in getting some of this precious time back. It will help you to set daily goals to decrease the amount of time spent on our cellular devices. Moment states that, “So far, we have given time back to over 7 million users. Those who subscribe to Moment Coach gain an hour back each day by following simple strategies designed to help them reimagine their relationship with their phone.” (https://inthemoment.io/) Time is of the essence. This life goes by faster than we think. Redeem time lost from looking at your phone and download this app!

 Our mental health is also affected from the heavy usage of our phones. It is becoming more and more common for people to develop mental illnesses like anxiety and depression from ill-advised use of mobile phones. Psycom, a mental health resource, states that focusing on likes, cyberbullying, making comparisons, having too many fake friends, and less physical interactions can all contribute to symptoms of anxiety or depression. (https://www.psycom.net/social-media-teen-mental-health)  Deciding to make use of an app like Moment will help us to keep our mental states in check!

One last reason why everyone should use the Moment app is to help with being fully present in the situations that we find ourselves in! Its website also tells us that, “Through short, daily exercises provided through Moment Coach, we help you use your phone in a healthy way so that you can be present for the parts of life that matter most.” It is all too easy to get distracted by our cellular devices and not devote our full attention to the present moment. Our relationships with ourselves, family members, friends, and others are suffering because of this! Reconnect with others and disconnect from the power of our phones by acquiring this application!

For the reasons of reclaiming time lost, retaining mental health, and being fully present, everyone needs to download the Moment application! Don’t let the power of your phone completely consume you! Take back the things that you value, download Moment, put your phone down, and see how much your life changes for the better!

“It is ironic that cell phones, originally designed as a communication tool, may actually hinder rather than foster interpersonal connectedness”

Meredith David and James Roberts

Podcasts & Digital Stories

Podcasts and digital stories have taken the world by storm in recent years. With the booming advancement of technology, we as humans are able to create and consume high quality material at a very high rate. With seemingly endless information at our fingertips, virtually anything is possible with the right technology!

With the convenience of podcasts nowadays, anyone can listen to almost anything at any time of the day! If you were wondering what podcasts exactly are, they are digital audio files made available through the usage of the internet for downloading to a computer or portable media players, typically available as a series, of which can be received by subscribers automatically.

This type of media can be extremely beneficial within classrooms! Not only is it a convenient source for both students and teachers, but its users can also show an exceptional amount of interest, depending upon what they listen to! I am for certain that I will incorporate podcasts into my educational career, both to listen to and possibly even creating some!

Digital stories are another form of technology that can be exceedingly advantageous if used effectively within classrooms! A description of digital stories is multimedia creations that combine photographs, videos, animations, sounds, music, text, and narrative voice that can be utilized as an expressive medium within the classroom to integrate subject matter with an extent of knowledge and skills from across the subject curriculum.

This form of technological creation can allow students to express their knowledge and character through the medium of storytelling! Being a future educator, I also plan on implementing digital stories into my curriculum in one way or another! There are just too many positive learning opportunities present not to utilize them! It might prove to be difficult to fit them in as a future math teacher, but where there’s a will, there’s a way!

There are a few disadvantages that I will have to be mindful of with incorporating podcasts and digital stories too. Distractions, time requirements, technological knowledge demands, and negative information exposure are a few of the major downsides that come to mind when using technology such as this. Being aware of these pitfalls and guiding my students along the right path will prove to be essential when I become a teacher!

Within the readings and viewings that I completed this week, there were a number of things that I will take away! Technological efficiency, high student interest, and potential educational benefits are the top three ideas that make podcasts and digital stories educationally appealing! The rapid rate of advancement of technology is inevitable. Capitalizing on these advantages as a teacher will certainly make a substantial impact!

Here are some links to some articles if you want to learn more!

https://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2017/09/teaching_the_art_of_listening_how_to_use_podcasts_in_the_classroom.html

https://www.edutopia.org/digital-storytelling-classroom

https://online.purdue.edu/ldt/learning-design-technology/resources/evolution-technology-classroom

ILP Week 12: God the Son

In this twelfth week of my Independent Learning Project, I wanted to share about someone you might know. He is a major historical figure that has changed the lives of many. He may or may not have heroically saved the world and every human being to ever live. His life was perfect, yet He sacrificed it for not-so-perfect people like me and you. He is fully God, yet fully man. What is His name, you ask? He is the Son of the living God, and He goes by the name of Jesus Christ.

This week, I wanted to take a specific look at who Jesus is, what He did, and how I can implement my faith in Him into my sport!

So, who exactly is this Jesus dude? Well, let’s take a look at some Bible verses to clear some things up.

In Saint Paul’s letter to the Philippians, (Philippians 2:6-8), he says, “Jesus, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

John 1:14 states, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Isaiah 9:6 foretells of this Jesus and says, “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

In John 14:6, Jesus explains to us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.”

By just looking at a few verses such as these, I feel that Jesus was kind of a big deal.

In short, Jesus left His Father in Heaven, came down to earth, lived a blameless life, performed countless miracles, suffered grueling torcher, was crucified on the cross, died, conquered death three days later, ascended into Heaven, and now sits at the right hand of our God, the Father Almighty. He did all of this so we can be saved from our sins and have a relationship with our perfect Father in Heaven! It is said that Christ Jesus will come again to judge both the living and the dead and that His kingdom will have no end!

It is absolutely mind-blowing that a power such as this works with us, within us, and through us! With this knowledge, truth, love, power, and faith in Christ Jesus, we are equipped to take on anything this life has to throw at us, in the name of our Lord!

I don’t know about you, but this gives me confidence in any circumstance that I find myself in, especially within the scope of sport!

Faith in Jesus and conforming to His image and likeness will give you true success, both in this life, and in the life to come! Jesus was a humble beast, a savage of truth. Making our attitudes that of Christ can unleash all-powerful waves of impact, both on and off the field of competition!

“Christ is in me, I am enough.” – Helen Maroulis, World and Olympic Champion (Wrestling)

ILP Week 11: God the Father

For this eleventh week of our Independent Learning Project, I wanted to continue my series of taking a look at the Holy Trinity. Last time I looked at the Holy Trinity as a whole. This week I wanted to take a good look at who God the Father is and how one could incorporate His divinity into sport!

So, who exactly is God the Father? He is the first person of the Holy Trinity and is also known as our Creator and supreme authority. Our Heavenly Father is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent, which means all-present, all-knowing, and all-powerful. Ever hear of the saying that God is love? Yeah, He’s that too.

What better way to take a look at God the Father than through true and sacred scripture, of which He spoke through His people?

Ephesians 4:6 states that there is but, “One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Saint Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 8:6 that, “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist.”

In 2 Corinthians 1:3, Paul states, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.”

As mentioned previously, God is also love! 1 John 4:16 says that, “And so we rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in them.”

King David writes in Psalm 121:1-2, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

God is just, yet full of grace and mercy. He is sovereign, which means that He is always in complete control over everything. His divine will always triumphs over humankind.

He also gave His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that whoever believes in Him will not suffer eternal death, rather, live an everlasting life with Him! (John 3:16)

How can one incorporate our Heavenly Father into sport and into life as a whole? One simple answer could be to look at the way His only Son lived His life upon this earth! Reflecting Christ in the way that we live, love, and compete is a great way to bring God the Father into any situation! He is very well-pleased and glorified through this!

Being obedient to His law and His will for our lives is another way to bring about His glory in this world! Seeking His strength, power, love, grace, wisdom, and righteousness in everything that we do is a surefire way to make sure that we do what He wants us to do!

I could go on and on about who the Father is and what He has done in the lives of everyone that ever lived, but I am going to have to wrap up here. I have given some of the main things that God the Father is known as and is known to do, but if you want to learn more, do not hesitate to pick up a Bible and start reading! His Word is a true, alive, and breathing sharp, two-edged sword that provides invaluable information about His Son and how we should live our lives!

Even if I kept going, my words could not fully grasp, or even come close in that matter, who God truly is and what plans He has for each and every one of us! “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9