Monday, February 28, 2011
THE BENEFITS OF PODCASTING
I really enjoyed the video by Joe Dale. Many of the benefits of podcasting he listed on his page, my group came up with even before we watched the video. I will admit that I didn't watch the video until after I had already recorded a sample podcast and put together our video. This was not a smart move on my part because the video by Mr. Dale had some wonderful ideas and it would have made the process much more smooth.
THE PRACTICAL PRINCIPALS
I had no idea about what to expect when I was looking over the page and the links for the podcasts. It took me a minute to understand that Melinda Miller and Scott Elias were principals because when I read the title of the podcast channel, I thought it read, The Practical Principles. Now, the episode I listened to was very long, but they discuss everything under the sun, including technology in the schools. I thought this was a wonderful way to reach staff, parents, and possibly older students (lets face it, most high schoolers would not want to listen to a conversation between two principals). All of the main topics that were discussed were listed with links up underneath the episode title. Each one of those took you to a link that can provide additional information in regard to that subject. Awesome! I think that this channel should be subscribed to by all educators!
"Sharing what one is doing, sharing what one is learning along the way, will not only allow for reflection, but it also will create a ripple effect. A ripple effect that in turn will touch the lives and the future of others." These two sentences jumped out at me from Ms. Tolisano's blog. This is what EDM 310 is about; this is what our classrooms should be about. Ms. Tolisano tracked one teacher's journey into opening her classroom to technology and while the process played out over the course of more than a year, it is a testament that it can be done. Teachers only need to be willing to step outside of the box, try something new and great, unexpected benefits will come. I absolutely enjoyed Ms. Tolisano approach to sharing literature with the students!
Sunday, February 20, 2011
DON'T TEACH YOUR KIDS THIS STUFF. PLEASE?
I really laughed out loud at this post. This put into mind how technology was treated years ago; radio and tv were immoral and would lead to our downfall, heavy metal and rap was music straight from the devil and now the internet is going to corrupt or dumb down our children. Do we ever learn from our mistakes? There are risks in everything that we do. Wouldn’t we rather take a risk that our students will learn something new and innovative or do we want to hold them back? Dr. McLeod has made the choice to let his students learn and grow, let us make the same choice! Dr. McLeod is an accomplished educator who is a professor at Iowa State University. Reading his bio is mind boggling! He has his hands in so many projects and he has received numerous awards for his work. You know what they say, when there is smoke there is fire...Dr. McLeod is definitely one to watch!
THE iSCHOOL INITIATIVE
A young student, Travis, wants to create an iSchool using the iTouch. The idea is save schools money and help them to go green. No books, no paper, no pens or pencils. It would allow communication between the teacher, students, AND the parents. I LOVE this idea! While I am attached to traditional books and sometimes prefer to write things out before I type them (like poetry or essays), going paperless and bookless (for the most part) make soooo much sense (and will save a lot of cents)! Our government is constantly telling us that there is not enough money for education. This is a very straight forward solution. I know that it would probably take some time to get all the kinks worked out but usually something worth having takes a little work. I really liked the idea of student, teacher and parent accountability. Dr. Strange is always talking about the intellectual trail that we are leaving and the iSchool would enable us to have access to that trail for each and every student. I would love to see the iSchool initiative brought here!
THE LOST GENERATION
To my recollection, I have never seen a read and reverse style poem like this one, and it is very powerful. It is also refreshing to see someone of the younger generation acknowlege some of the negative trends in society while empowering that generation with the ability to reverse those things.
ERIC WHITACRE'S VIRTUAL CHOIR
This video was mindblowing. I have sung in many choirs who didn't sound like that and we were standing right next to eachother. Mr. Whitacre is a visionary...I would have NEVER thought something like this was possible. The music was so ethereal and transcendant it made it hard for me to grasp how this was all done. And to think this all began by one young girl sending a video of herself singing to one of Mr. Whitacre's pieces. Technology is amazing. I am intrigued by the virtual choir and how it is all put together. If anyone is interested in participating in the next virtual choir, please visit his website http://ericwhitacre.com/.
TEACHING IN THE 21st CENTURY
What does it mean to teach? To my shame, most of the answers that I came up with immediately, fell into the category of teaching theories and information, etc. My first thought SHOULD have been to teach critical thinking. I think that the video is largely correct in that the teacher's job is obsolete. If our only job is to transfer information, then there is no need for a teacher. Without equiping students with these skills, we fail. Like the video says, in order to engage the students, we have to make the information we give them and the tools we use relevant. That means we have to integrate technology into our classrooms.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
I have been following David Hopkins' blog, Don't Waste Your Time. In week one, Mr. Hopkins wrote about QR Codes. What are those, you may ask. Mr. Hopkins explains that QR Codes are two dimensional bar codes that can be scanned by smart phones. The codes can contain simple text, contact information or an URL. There are websites that can generate your own codes. Mr. Hopkins gives ideas for how QR Codes can be used in education. I too, was unfamiliar with what QR Codes were. After reading his blog, I felt like I had a basic understanding of what the codes were and I was impressed with his ideas about how to use them in education. In the second post of Mr. Hopkins', He was discussing the institutional use of Twitter and Facebook. The Russel Group Universities in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales were used for a survey to gather information in regard to the way the Universities utlized Twitter and Facebook. Mr. Hopkins' wanted to know if we thought the Universities used Facebook and Twitter to seem progressive and modern or if we thought there was a strategy behind the use. This was my response: I attend University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama (U.S.) and I really enjoyed reading this and the question that you raise is an interesting one. There really is no uniformity in how Facebook and Twitter is used among this group of Universities. I found that pretty surprising and it made me wonder about my own University and others in the area. Neither my school nor others in the area (with the exception of one) really maintain or seriously utilize these social networks. Seeing this makes me proud and grateful to be a part of EDM 310 and the class blog that we have. In addition to our class blog, each student maintains their own blog, facebook, and twitter (there is also an EDM 310 Alumni blog). We would be honored for you to visit us there to see how we utilize social networks and for you to see some of the other things we do. Thank you for everything that you do, it makes a difference!
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
I would have to say that my collegiate experience is frighteningly similar to these students. On a positive note, my class sizes have been considerably smaller than the 115 average that these students have and I believe that more than 18% of my teachers have bothered to learn my name. Of course, that could be because they have had smaller classes. This semester I have so much reading to do, I feel like I get less than 49% of the readings done. For me, going from a small high school, to a small community college was an easy transition because they were both very much the same. Last semester was my first here at USA and I was completely blown away by the work load and the expectations of the professors. I know that I will read WAY more than 8 books this year. Between my two History classes this semester, I have 10 books that are assigned for me to read! Until now, I didn't really know what it meant to be a multi-tasker, but they are right, we have to be. Multi-tasking well is not my forte! The most depressing thought off all is the amount of debt I will face when I am done. I will have more than the $20,000 they had as an average. Some of the things that I would have added to the story board would have been in regard to how many full time students are also full time workers or single parents or English language learners or how many students have a language besides English, as their home language.
IT'S NOT ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY
I found this to be a very thoughtful and well thought out post. Ms. Hines is correct; it is not about the technology. If teachers aren't life long learners; how can they effectively teach our students? If teachers don't want to be learners; why would students want to be learners? If teachers don't know how learn new things; what kind of example does that set for students. I think Ms. Hines hit an important point in that technology is useless without good teaching. What good is a tool if you don't know how to use it? I have seen, with my own eyes, how computers and Smart Boards are being wasted in the class room because teachers haven't been trained properly and feel intimidated by technology. A teacher can reach students effectively without technology but having the technology can only add to and enhance the classroom.
IS IT OK TO BE A TECHNOLOGICALLY ILLITERATE TEACHER
I initially felt defensive towards the many teachers I know that are technologically illiterate (namely my mother). Most of the teachers that I know in this position are wonderful educators; they love their students and they are fun and creative in the classroom. They try to always give 100% to their students. But I do understand what Mr. Fisch is trying to say. Our children do deserve the best. They deserve to have a teacher that can introduce them to new technologies and to help prepare them for the future. Therein lies the problem. Are the teachers who are not literate in technology unfit to teach? I think there is no cut and dried answer. What I do think is that teachers should be willing to learn and that more training should be available to teachers who want it and need it. To me, there are more alarming things than a technologically illiterate teacher. Such as teachers who no longer like to teach or those teachers who no longer like students but they continue to teach for a paycheck or so they can get a full retirement.
GARY HAYES' SOCIAL MEDIA COUNT
The changes that I observed on the count progressed at an absolutely mind blowing rate. As a future educator, I wonder if I can keep up. It reminds me of the video, Did You Know 3.0. The video stated that when a student starts a four year technical degree, by their third year of study, what they learned in their first year of the program is already outdated. That means that my classroom has to continually evolve and progress. While it will be good to introduce new things and implement the use of different technologies, I will not be able to be satisfied with the way things are. I will always have to look forward.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
DID YOU KNOW 3.0
So what does it all mean? The information this presentation gave us means many things. To me, it says that technology is progressing at a mind blowing pace and our education system is lagging far behind. The presentation points out that we are supposed to be preparing students to step into this technologically advanced world. Our students should be prepared to be the inventors and innovators of new technologies but how can they do that if our education system is lacking? Besides that frightening and depressing thought, I was mesmerized by the video and each fact seemed more unbelievable than the one before. This is definitely something everyone should see.
MR. WINKLE WAKES
Mr. Winkle, poor man, slept too long and upon waking up, does not recognize the world he is in. The message that I got from this video was similar to the Did You Know 3.0 video. With all the technology we have today, why do we not see this in our schools? Mr Winkle had been asleep for 100 years and yet the classroom he visited made him feel comfortable because it was a familiar place. The grain of truth that this video is based on is a sad one. I had not given much thought about the fact that our styles and methods of teaching have not changed very much over the years, until I began taking Education classes. I want to have the kind of classroom that Mr. Winkle would be uncomfortable in.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CREATIVITY
Sir Robinson talks about creativity, the unpredictability of the future, education and the capacity of children to grasp innovations. His belief that creativity is as important as literacy would be considered heretical to some but I believe that here is something to it. Instead of giving our children structure, we stifle them. The system we have doesn't allow or foster true creativity in students. When Sir Robinson said that we teach our children to be afraid of being wrong, I immediately thought of myself and how I grew up terrified to mess up or make a mistake. I never thought of myself as a creative person. As I think about it now, I don't ever want my son or any other child to feel that way. We have to find a way to encourage creativity and show our children that learning can be fun.
For being so young, Cecelia Gault asked some very important and meaningful questions. Her article on the Scholastic website gets right to the point, to the heart of the matter. The United States is sadly lacking in the education department despite millions of dollars and many laws, rules, and guidelines being passed by Congress and our individual states. I believe that in order for our education system to be successful at educating, we need to start from scratch. In order to make a difference in the classroom, it will be important for me to continually learn new things to pass on to my students and to find new ways of reaching my students.
When I watched the video, all I could think of was WOW! I wish I had a class like this in high school (or college, for that matter). She is giving her students a great education, teaching them to think for themselves and exposing them to the world through technology. It made me smile to hear Ms. Davis say that she didn't need to know everything in order to teach her class.(Doesn't this sound familiar to one of our class motos?) She is not afraid to admit to her students that she doesn't know the answers to everything and shows them by example that you can either look up the answer to a question or learn how to figure it out on your own or in a group. This is a great model for future educators. Ms. Davis' class will serve as a great example for us and give us a goal to shoot for.