Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Blog Post #6

The Networked Student- This video is a quick summary of how Connective Learning works, and how it can be implemented. I had never heard of Connective Learning before this video. My first impression is that it would be very effective. The reason for that, however, might have little to do with the method of teaching. This form requires a tremendous effort by the student. So the question is, given the same amount of effort in other teaching forms, could the student learn just as well. I think this would be an effective teaching style for  motivated students, but for those that are uninterested, it could be a liability. The teacher's job in this style is to provide direction. This limits the teacher's ability to focus instruction on students who are unmotivated, because the teacher is not the source of the information. This form would be great for teaching advanced courses because the student is not limited by their teacher's knowledge.

A Seventh Grader's Personal Learning Environment (PLE)- This video is a tour of a 7th grader's Personal Learning Environment. I like this style of instruction. She has been given the tools and resources to succeed in science along with the freedom and responsibility needed to achieve that success. I'm a proponent of giving students more responsibility. To me learning is more concrete when the student has real pride in their work. It's certainly hard to create this desire in all students, but, a P.L.E. is a good resource for  supporting this strategy. I also liked how all aspects of the students digital life are accessible on one page. I've strived to create this for myself and until now I thought the only way to attain this was to create my own webpage. This seems to be far simpler and more effective.

The Machine is Changing Us- I have to say that this was the most profound video I've seen yet. It's also the most difficult to respond to. In essence this video was about how the new media will use new forms of communication to shape our  society. The million dollar question The presenter provides great information on how our attitudes have changed through the years.
         -1960's I don't know. What do you think?
         -1990's Whatever. I don't care what you

The media we use has a great impact on our attitudes about life and community. Will the new media forms encourage each of us to take a greater interest in the future or will it encourage us to become more cynical. I think it depends on your beliefs and convictions. As with other tools, the media we use inflates our views. The concerned will have the information they seek. The hateful will have the anonymity they cherish. The involved will have the networking they require. The pessimistic will have the outlet they desire. I guess how media affects conversation will depend on who's talking...and who's listening.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Blog Post #5

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom- I think podcasting has merit especially for middle school and older. Being able to provide the days lesson to students outside of the classroom, and at a time and place of their choosing is key. After completing my first podcast this past week, I would be open to trying it with my students. I like the potential podcasting has for inspiring creativity and I also like how it can improve students communication skills.

100 Ways to Use Your iPod- Much like it says, this is a list of 100 ways iPods can be used for educational purposes. It's amazing that such a relatively young technology like the iPod touch can have so many uses in today's classroom. I've said previously, though, that I think the iPad will be the tool of choice for schools (most apps are available on both iPod touch and iPad). The potential for the iPad is in its ability to hold multiple books, podcasts, and videos, as well as to network with each other and the teacher.

The Education Podcast Network- This is a list of a wide range of podcast topics available as a resource for teachers. I found it very organized and easy to use. Topics are arranged by grade or by subject. I think its great someone took the time to put these podcasts in order and it makes finding what you're looking for possible.

My biggest surprise while recording my own podcast was how easy it is to use. I can't speak for any other software, but, Garageband made podcasting simple to record and edit. The most important aspect of the podcast is the script. Research your topic, practice, then record. Simple.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Blog Post #4

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?- This item was written by Dr. Scott Mcleod. He is an associate professor at Iowas State University in the Educational Administration Program. He wrote this satire in order to point out all of the things kids will miss out on if they aren't exposed to technology.

I agree with the most of what he is saying. I disagree on how he seems to marginalize some of technologies real danger. For example, it's easy for me as someone who knows how to maneuver on the web, to end up where I want to be. Someone who is new to the net, on the other hand, can end up somewhere they wish they weren't and with malware they didn't want. This is a real danger to novices. With the appropriate guidance from someone knowledgeable students can be taught how to search safely. And I agree with him that it is important that they learn how to use this technology.

I think that rather than address his post to everyone involved with the students education, he should have targeted those that are technologically literate. (Disclaimer: I'm sure Dr. Mcleod's purpose was to show that the benefits outweigh the costs on some level.)

The iSchool Initiative- A video by a high school student giving his ideas on how to fix the public education system in the U.S. Hw introduces the iSchool, which is an itouch with applications that will take the place of books, notebooks, pencils, etc. in the classroom. The apps that I think could be adopted seamlessly today, and provide utility, are the notes, the calendar, recorder, and scientific calculator. iHomework looks pormising but I don't know enough about it.
It seems like the iPad would be a more appropriate device for this. The larger screen is more appropriate, especially for reading textbooks. I think this is a great idea though, and I won't be surprised to see this transition occur quickly. In order for that to happen, though, higher education has to take the lead. Then once public school systems see the benefit, they'll be more willing to make the switch.

The Lost Generation- WOW! Great video! I'm a proud part of Generation Y and I do believe that our generation will do great things. The things that I find important are not the same things that my parents find important. I think its ignorant when people say that we are "overparented" and more appropriate to say that our parents were "underparented". This recession is a godd example of that! I believe we will discover what truly makes us happy, and it won't have anything to do with money. I'm not sure why AARP made this video, but, I'm glad they did.

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir- It's as amazing to me that someone could organize and set up this performance as the performance itself is. The technology that went into allowing this amalgamation of people to perform as a choir, and my ability to watch it anytime any place is mindboggling. If you look deeper, the music was only a small part of this performance, and the beauty lies in its implications. This video is proof that students from different backgrounds and locations can be taught in a digital classroom, and it can be a seamless experience.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Additional Assignment #1

Pitcairn Island Map
In this assignment we were required to experiment with two search engines that attempt to make a database or matrix using your search results.

I am new to both Google Squared and WolframAlpha, so I did a little investigating. Google Squared seems to be the preferred engine because it uses all of the information available on the internet to create the matrix. WolframAlpha, on the other hand, has an internal 10 terabyte database that it searches to find the data your looking for. Since 10 terabytes is only a fraction of the available data, we can assume that searches will be more accurate with Google Squared.

I can see both of these searches being useful in the classroom. Both engines present the data in an easy to read format, and both returned fairly similar results. I can see a class beginning their search with WolframAlpha due to the layout of its results, then, using Google Squared to search for more specific data.

Glancing back at my previous Did You Know Review, I have to say that my thoughts remain unchanged. I didn't have a particularly long review to begin with because I typically am fairly non reactive to statistics. Having had two business statistics and one market research class I realize how customizable statistics can be.

The Stable Boy and the IPad- The greatest part of this story is that it's true. As the proud owner of a new Macbook Pro, I have to say that it is just really easy to use. That's the genius behind any great tool, and a computer is after all just a tool. It's the reason why any kid who spends even a little time using one can master it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

C4T Summary #1

Keeping Kids First- This is a blog by Kelly Hines, a fourth grade teacher in Washington, NC.

Mrs. Hines first post that I reviewed examined the relationship between locals and tourists in relation to the web. She compares locals and tourists from her hometown on the beach, to locals and tourists on the web. I agreed with her analogy and offered a recent experience of my own to support her comparison.

In her next post, Mrs. Hines contemplates the importance that blogging plays in her career. She states the importance of putting her reflections into a tangible context, so that she can "better herself as a reflective teacher". She also sees the importance of sharing her experience with others so that they can learn from her experience or share their own. Again I agreed with Mrs. Hines. Though I have nowhere near the experience that she has, I've begun to utilize this blog for the same purpose. The blog provides a medium in which to organize your thoughts in a way that others may also understand them. This leads to a greater contemplation of your own thoughts.

I found Mrs. Hines blog to be very insightful. Her experiences as a teacher and blogger support everything that I am learning in EDM310.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Blog Post #3

A Vision of Students Today- The facts in this video describe the average college experience. Apparently my experience was about average. The issue that is stressed in this video is the rigidity of our education systems. I agree that they are rigid, but, I'm not sure that that's a bad thing. As someone with an interest in Economics, I find it mind boggling that our schools would not evolve if there was an incentive to do so. This means that either they are prevented from evolving, or, there is not enough incentive for them to do so. In either case, if the incentive is great enough, change will occur. It could be that with the rapid development of technology, the framework and the catalyst for more interactive learning is just being realized.

It's Not About the Technology- Mrs. Hines points out that recent attempts to upgrade our classrooms are putting the proverbial cart before the horse. If we are going to modernize our classrooms we have to start with teachers. Investing money into cutting edge products will not revolutionize the way our kids learn. Teachers have to be willing to learn and utilize new technologies.

Is It Okay to be a Technologically Illiterate Teacher- Mr. Fisch blogs about the need for each teacher to be technologically literate. I guess the only thing I disagree with is to what extent. What should a fifth grade math teacher know how to do on a computer? Use spreadsheets and word documents I would think would be the minimum. Is it acceptable for someone who specializes in teaching biology to not be able to upload a clip on youtube? This discussion interests me. I know a good deal about computers but I'm not sure what I would expect fellow teachers to know about them.

Social Media Counter- The Social Media Counter is an amazing device for putting technological growth into numbers. It's amazing to think about how much information will be available to us through blogs and other nontraditional means (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr). What will the classroom of the future teach, that can't be found using a simple google search? Who can students meet in school that they couldn't be more familiar with by friending on Facebook? (It's funny that both "friending" and "Facebook" fail this blogs spell-check) Will there be a place for traditional field trips or will we simply Skype the San Fransisco Zoo?

I know this post has more questions than answers. Hopefully, I can begin to resolve them as I get deeper into this class.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Blog Post #2

Did You Know-This is a video with different statistics about how rapidly the world as we know it is changing. I personally have never been afraid of change (frustrated maybe). This video introduces an interesting concept though.
How do I, as a prospective teacher, prepare myself to teach in a future that is so uncertain. Part of the answer is probably EDM310. If 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year were able to meet online; then it seems likely that educators are also capable of meeting and sharing (less personal) ideas online. How? Through blogs just like this.

Mr. Winkle Wakes- My first thought, after watching this video, was confusion. Obviously, I wasn't confused by the theme of the video. I said to myself "if this is the way the world has changed, and our education system hasn't evolved, how do we make it through a work day productively?". I guess that answer is unique to each person. I personally don't remember many facts from grade school. But, one thing I did retain was how to learn.

Schools Kill Creativity- An interesting video from Sir Ken Robinson detailing the affects our schools have on children's creativity. I can't say I disagree with anything he's saying. My limited arts training during my school career was quite sad. Am I a less well rounded person because of it? Probably. It's pretty obvious how much merit the arts have in our schools. What is the first thing to go when the budget gets cut? The Arts. What is the last thing to be refunded? The Arts. Our schools are designed to produce Engineers not Artists. We want our children to make money and live comfortably because that is the root of happiness. Or is it?

Harnessing Digital Smarts- This teacher has made the transition to teaching new technologies. I can't say I never had access to high quality computer labs. The biggest problem that we had was finding a teacher who knew how to use them. Our schools today, employ people to technology positions that know less about computers than the kids do. Maybe my generation will be the first to be truly comfortable with technology. We'll challenge kids to learn more while still being in control of what their learning. I believe the desire to keep children on the cutting edge of technology is there. Right now, though, the ability is lagging.