Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"This I believe.." Reflection

While doing "This I believe.." project I discovered how easy it is to recall all the events of that time in my life that has created the want for me to teach. It was an important and rough time in my life. Those memories are still very easy to recall and have burned images into my brain. It was fun looking for pictures to put into my video. I don't have any of my house fire, so i had to look online for one that was very similar to mine. Also I barely had any of my mentally challenged uncle, so I also had to go online and look for photos to put into the video. I enjoyed looking for photos that best resembled what I was talking about. What I found difficult was using PhotoStory. I thought I could record myself and let it play and have the pictures be like a slide show, but that wasn't the case. It was a pain to have to click on each photo and record a segment of my belief statement. In the end it all worked out. Lastly, I could use video in my classroom by providing pictures of things the young children may not know what they are such as animals or even letters. Instead of doing it the traditional way with  pictures around the classroom. This way I have a larger variety to pick from.

Monday, April 30, 2012


I found this article about open educational resources very interesting.  The scenario about Dr. Bartlett was very insightful. It gave a good introduction to OER's and was easy to follow. The first thing that really stuck out to me was that OER's are a collection of different sources and different types of sources such as textbooks, simulations, syllabi, and many other things. Colleges, libraries, to commercial organizations such as publishers create these open educational resources and allow them to be shared for free or at little cost. The second thing I found interesting was how MIT has the largest OER and other colleges and universities have replicated it. It is accessible to anyone, not just people who are part of the school's community. The third was the radical idea that someday OER's could lead to people getting a college education online or a "degree" online for free. That seems a little far fetched for me but we will see i guess. Lastly, it is continuing to grow and it is a way to address the rising costs of education, and they have the potential to facilitate new styles of teaching and learning.

What surprised me about all this and going to the website in Mr. Smith's blog is how easy they can be to find and how helpful this one is. Another thing is that it is all free. Some of the the collections I was looking at were really easy to follow and read. The one about assigning homework and how we as future educators should be courteous of the students and what may be coming up and not overloading them. The article gives a lot of good information. Another one was just the collection on online textbooks that maybe as a student I can go and look at and it may be of some use to me for a class or just general knowledge. With all of this great stuff available to me at the click of the mouse makes me wonder how much technology will continue to grow and how scary it could be to see it grow to where a need for teachers isn't really important anymore. People can go online and access information and get a "degree" from that. Technology is limitless. It will continue to grow and break new barriers we can't even think of today. To me its scary but also exciting at the same time.

When I went off and did some research on my own by looking up OER's i found a couple that were interesting. The first one was MERLOT. This site is like the Commons OER in the regard that it has arts, science, and other topics to look into but more professional if that makes sense. This site seems like it is more for college range students than younger people. It would benifit me as a student going and looking up information on here. They also give reviews on things you'd be viewing. Another OER was PBS Teachers. This site is designed for teachers obviously and allows teachers to look up lessons or activities for grade levels preK-12. I could definitely see myself using this site as a teacher. Finally, as a learner i could see myself using the Smithsonian website. I mean I don't know if it is fair to use it, but as a learner what is better to use than this website that is attractive and very knowledgeable. It very well organized and just so much interesting information to explore that I can sit at my laptop and do it for hours.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My belief Statement

I believe that you need to be disability/color blind when looking at your students; who a student is is from what is in the inside.

My whole life I have grown up with a Mentally Challanged Uncle and have listened to what some people say about Students with disabilities. I take it to heart when people say “Don’t be retarded” or “You are so retarded”. Things like that aren’t cool. Another things that makes me upset is when people say distinguish “normal” people from mentally handicapped or anybody with a disability as “them” or “they”. We are all human beings and deserve to be treated with respect and equal.

All of my strong feelings about my uncle came when I had a house fire during my Junior year of high school. Our house was partially destroyed and took over half a year to build it back to norma. We went to live with my grandparents, on my mothers side, and across the street lived my great grandmother her son Jeff, my mentally challanged uncle. He would always come over to clean my grandparents house, especially to arrange the newspapers a certain way in a stand. In the beginning he was a pain in the ass. He would turn off the lights when i was trying to study, shut doors when i told him to keep them open, turn off the t.v. when i was watching it, and many more other things. As time went by though I began to sit and talk to him. He is very hard to understand when he talks everyone says, but I can clearly understand what he tries to say. We would talk about Elvis, wrestling, his mom, and other things and our bond became very strong. My grandmother and mom started to say I should go into teaching especially teaching students with disabilities and I really started to consider it. Then one day that year while i was still living at my grandparents, my great grandmother died. My uncle was so devastated by this and it was so painful to watch him have to go through that. For me seeing him upset just like any “normal” person would be if their mother died sold me on becoming a teacher and from this day forward.

 Everyone can achieve great things in life no matter their race, mental or physical disability, ethnicity, or whatever else the barrier may be. All people need is guidance and help. People cannot be judged on what they can achieve by a first glance, that is why I believe in being disability/color blind when teaching my students.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cool Tool for School

For my "Cool Tool for School" I typed in "Top 10 Educational Resources" and came across a tool named Teachade. I picked this one because it said it was a social networking type of website. You have to create a username and password to get on it, but I think it would be worth the hassle of doing it all. When you create a username and such it asks what school district you are from and from there you are able to find other colleagues from the district or even other districts, and it allows you interact with them. The site allows you to look for lesson plans made by other teachers for certain grade levels and different subjects. The one thing that really caught my eye was Adopt a Classroom. This allows you to put your classroom online where member in the community can help support your classroom by donating supplies, books, even money for certain materials. It goes through a registration process that allows this all to be safe and make sure only you receive the needed materials or more. Teachade even allows you to create a blog so other professionals on the site can see what you have to see or you can look at what others are saying and their ideas. The website seems pretty cool so why not check it out? Teachade!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

State Budget Cuts for Higher Education

The governor of PA Tom Corbett plans to cut the budget for higher education in Pennsylvania. He plans to cut 30% of the 3 of 4 state-related universities budget, and cut 20% of the 14 colleges in the state system. Here are the proposal outlines. At Pittsburgh university, tuition would go up around 4,000 more dollars next year, so it won't be as much here at Edinboro but last year budget cuts were taken from education and now it my happen again this year? What about next year? How about in 2014? Tuition will go up so high that all the college mine as well turn into private ran colleges. Corbett also talked about how he doesn't want people to get educated in PA and then get jobs out of state. He wants people to get educated in Pennsylvania but to also "give back" to PA and work here. How can people that may not be in a situation where they don't have much money get an education with tuition going up and up every year? Even teacher salaries and jobs are in jeopardy with this proposal. Enough about this part of the article though. The other part of the article talked about things on the other side of the Deleware Rive, New Jersey. The governor there, Gov. Christie, is raising the funding for higher education and other school systems in the state. Now my question is if he can raise the funding by a couple millions of dollars how come PA cannot raise it too? Isn't there other places we can reduce the budget in than education? I'm not fully educated on this topic as a whole but to me this all seems very unfair for our state to do this. America is always complaining about how we don't match those people in Japan, China, Finland, and other countries in math and science, but how are we going to be able to when the costs for education keeps going up. Now i'm not sure if it is going up in many other states but I believe that myself and other people really need to start getting involved and fight back because this is our education. When we leave college we will be in such debt that we will probably be 70 by the time we pay off our college loans. I hope this doesn't past or else PA students will really be hurting from it.

NEA members standing up

Monday, February 20, 2012


I personally love Twitter. I've had one for about a year. I didn't use it much in the early stages but over the summer i started to really get into it.It is completely different from Facebook, and in my opinion that's a good thing. I like how you can retweet things and with the click of the button. You can go back and see what you retweeted a month or a year ago. That is where it can be beneficial for a teacher like me to use. When I go through my twitter feed I can see who is tweeting what, and now that I follow quite a few educators i can retweet what they say and go back and look at it when I have more time. I can apply techniques or the activities that some of them are tweeting into my classroom. Also there are many educator or educator pages that people can follow that will give you many ideas for classroom activities, and lessons.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

PowerPoint presentation

We had to create a PowerPoint on a standard for a lesson plan in a class we would be teaching after college. I chose to create it on 1st grade math a parking cars technique. It really helped me learn more about PowerPoint and gave me ideas of how i could use it in my classroom once I have one. The best thing is that it we learned how to make it interactive which is very beneficial when it comes to younger kids. This way they are able to go up to the smart board or work with other people communicating ideas and possible solutions. There were many benefits to this activity.

 I learned how to hyperlink from one slide to another. With this concept I had two answers to a math question, one right the other wrong obviously, and asked the students which one to pick. Whatever answer they picked it would take them to a slide where the right answer was shown to them and how to do the equation and get the right answer. After they saw that then I put an action button, telling them to click on it once they were done taking them to the next slide. I never knew how to do that before, but now I do.

With the hyperlink and the action button being new things I learned and really took away from this it was an area I struggled in obviously because it was new, but also really starting the whole thing was difficult. When it comes to creative things like this I tend to sit and start at the computer for a long time before getting an idea. I guess i'm just not very creative? I eventually started to think of some ideas and it all worked out. It took awhile though. I thought the assignment wasn't explained very thoroughly, but it allowed us to struggle and figure things out for ourselves and I do like this about this class and I liked it with this assingment. We aren't told how to do things exactly. We are given something, maybe given a few instructions, then we go out and do whatever it is we need to do.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chapter 1 response blog

In chapter one of our book we read about the power of PLN’s or personal networks. The chapter discussed how technology is changing the way we learn things outside of a standard classroom and how students or educators can learn from other educators across the globe on the internet or other offline resources. It also discussed how teaching styles need to be changed in order to meet the children’s needs of learning about the positive outcomes of PLN’S. Doing this will expose students to the dangers of the World Wide Web or other offline resources, but us educators need to guide them into the right direction to be able use these PLN’s as useful, knowledgeable, tools. I looked at this text and found many things to be interesting, but I want to focus on the negative outcomes that all of this could bring about. That brings me to my first problem with this. I believe that giving the students freedom in the classroom to use the internet can create more problems than it being beneficial for students. If the students have laptops or tablets and the class is supposed to do an assignment or research a topic, I wonder how many people would actually do that thoroughly rather than being on Twitter or Facebook or etc. They discussed this problem in a section in the chapter how the memory is affected by having multiple tabs open and switching back and forth while trying to complete and assignment. I understand the benefits though, and they this could be a big step for schools around the U.S. or even the world but it will take a lot of time and effort for it to be successful.
            The second issue I have with this chapter is how they failed to bring up the negative health results that we have seen due to advances in technology. If we teach the students about all of these cool things about the internet and how to research this and that it seems to me as if they will spend even more time in front of the computer rather than exercising. I don’t think many of the things that will be done in most of the classrooms will be active exercises, but in most schools today they aren't active either. What I am saying is that when the students go home from school where they have spent all day learning about the powers of the internet, I believe they will want to spend more time of the internet to learn more about it. I’m not saying every student will do this, but I believe many will.
            Lastly, if educators can be accessible online then what is the point of me going to school to spend all this money and competing online with other educators all around the world? Teaching is already a competitive field and then a class from Erie, Pennsylvania is able to connect with a teacher somewhere in South Africa teaching biology, it seems it will get even more competitive than what it is now and that scares me. I know they said that there will still be schools because teachers need to teach the students about the positive and negative things from the internet but I am going to school to teach first graders about math, handwriting, and more, not about the benefits of the internet so they can connect with a teacher a couple states over or half way across the globe to learn about something I’m qualified to teach. It seems unfair to me and makes me really question if being a teacher is worth all the time and money. I know that there are a lot of steps that need to be taken before things will start to change, but we have seen how fast technology has jumped in the past half century, so it will be sooner than later I believe.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I'm Tyler Helffrich. I am currently a sophomore at Edinboro University. I'm currently studying Early Childhood/Special Education. I want to become a teacher because my mom is a teacher and I spend a lot of time in her classroom. I also have a downsyndrome uncle who I lived with for a six month spand in my junior year of high school. I just want to help special need students continue in their education and help them grow into adults. I hope to share information about myself and knowledge I know about education and other things.

Mila Kunis

Information about Mila Kunis.

Tyler Helffrich

Mila Kunis is sexy. The End :)