Sunday, February 27, 2011

TimeToast Timeline Instruction

Summary Post C4K

I have really enjoyed the C4K assignments; i have been able to see technology in action in classrooms from New Zealand to Canada and then back to Alabama. My individual experiences with the assignments has been as varied as their locations. The fist week I commented on Zach's blog; Zach is a sixth grade student who has an affinity for bad grammar. That aside he posted eight random facts about himself. All in all this experience was interesting but yielded no real interesting insight.

My second comment was on Sebastian's blog in New Zealand. His post was very inspirational; the classes had just received their own personal notebooks. Needless to say, seeing schools in other countries take such great initiative to put technology in the hands of their students should inspire us to do the same.

The last comment, from Mrs. Wolfe's class in Birmingham, was a little strange. Firstly the post was anonymous which I found to be strange given that it originated from a class blog, but most notably was it's subject matter. The blog dealt with the idea of believing in God even though you can't see him. While I consider myself to be a believer, the condescending nature of the post seemed a little offsetting given the Author's intentions. But the case was made lucidly, all be it dramatically, therefore I believe the mission was accomplished.

Blog Post 6

a silhouette of a student waking with laptop and ipod style

The Networked Student is a look into the future of our educational system; the 21st century student network is an ideal method for bringing education to new heights. With all the advancements of our modern world, the highly motivated, and creative, student can use the tools available to him/her to access a quality education that is continually slipping away from many young students. The world of pen and paper is killing the future of America’s youth.
If all these outdated methods are so detrimental to the future of America’s youth, and the highly motivated 21st century student has access to wealth of knowledge through the internet, why even have a teacher for a classroom that is so nontraditional? While the wealth of information available to students is a great asset to their education, they need guidance on how to navigate through all the information that they are inundated with on a daily basis.
One of the biggest pitfalls of the internet learning is the validity of information; so much of what are “popular” sources of information are in fact unreliable. Also students in the network of 21st century network rely on communication for the full benefit of their learning, and who can guide students in the proper decorum needed for such a social endeavor? Teachers can help students make the best use of such a monumental educational endeavor.

My PLE was a very enlightening look into how students can use technology to take control of
their education; this system puts the student at the center of their own classroom experience. The main difference between a PLE and a PLN, at least to an amateur observer like me, is the socialization. PLNs are predicated on the interacting among students to share and critique information. While the PLE is a great way to more effectively organize a student’s education, PLNs are what the fusion of education and technology should be; an actual experience that extends beyond the classroom and allows students to enhance their education in ways that could not be possible in the regular classroom.

While SMARTboards are a good first step toward integrating technology into the classroom, there are several arguments for and against their use in the classroom. Why SMARTboards are a dumb initiative argues that this technology is nothing unique, but rather an extension of a monitor with only minor bells and whistles. The really interesting statement made in this article regarding SMARTboards was made in reference to how administrators support such technology based simply on their status as technology rather than their effectiveness.

Bill Ferriter states in his article Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards, “Sure, my students thought it was nifty, but it didn’t make teaching my required curriculum any easier. I probably crafted two or three neat lessons with it, but there was nothing unique about those activities. I could have easily put together similar lessons using the computer stations I already have in my room and any number of free online tools.” This stament heartily supports why teachers see the interactive white board as ineffective, but it does possibly point to the root of such animosity from teachers. The above statement is all about said educator; rather than seeing the potential such technology had by interesting the over caffeinated students of the 21st century, he decided to abandon the initiative because it wasn’t making his lesson “easier”. This experience is great contrast to the one presented in Mr. P's SMART Board blog; here we have the account of a teacher implementing this technology into a primary school classroom. He document how his students specific interest in the technology spurred him on to continue to find ways to use it in his lessons.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Blog Post 5

The Benefits of Podcasting in The Classroom shows the practical applications of podcast as alternatives to traditional lecture methods. The most practical, and easily defendable, reason for podcasting in the classroom is for students who are sick; while I never thought of podcasting being used in this fashion, proof of my ignorance I suppose, but what better way could there be for students to stay up to date on the work they have missed.

This video also demonstrates the way that podcast can enrich subject matter. By using voice acting during their readings, Mr. Dell was able to make his sixth grade social studies class lessons something more than words on a page. This is proof that podcasting can generate the creativity that is so important to the future of our students. Mediums such as podcasting embrace both the artistic and the practical; refreshing teaching methods like these are pivotal to our advancement as educators.

100 Ways to Your iPod to Learn and Study Better is very reminiscent of iSchool; it outlines programs already available on the iPod that students can use to help them I their education. Personally I believe Spark Notes is the greatest innovation for English students ever, and many of the other applications seem more than practical for use in the classroom.

With all these great reasons for apple technology in the classroom, why do so many teachers insist on barring all cell phones from classrooms? Overwhelmingly people are using their Smartphones to replace both their phone and iPod touch. This trend is evidence that, in order for technology to find its needed place in the classroom, teachers are going to have to make a conscious effort to embrace this technology, and change their outdated view of phones as a nuisance.

The Educational Podcasting Network is a very interesting aspect that I don’t believe many of us have considered when regarding podcasting; using podcasting as a way for other teachers to connect and share experiences with one another can be vital to the future of classroom advancements. By sharing their experiences, teachers can collaborate with one another in an effort to find new and innovative ways to educate children. Hopefully communities like this can provide current and future educators an the ever evolving nature of the classroom.

Group 9 Podcast


Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Sentence Movie

Blog Post 4

Don’t teach your kids this stuff, Please? is a commentary on the outdated thoughts of technology, especially in regards to its place in the classroom. While most fields have come to embrace technology, and the benefits it brings to any given profession, teachers continue to view technology as an “interference” in their classroom. This outdated view is precisely what is wrong with the future of the education system; in order to prepare our children for the world of tomorrow, technology has to become a major part of the curriculum.

Another interesting aspect that this post touches on is the human innate human fear of technology. This common fear demonstrates how some people believe technology will eventually “takeover” our lives, and, if we do not preserve the old pen and paper methods, our children won’t be able to think for themselves. This preposterous idea read like the most popular of science-fiction novels; however, it is true that technology can lead to a disconnect or loss of individuality. These extreme fears are simply the fear of progress that occurs naturally among human beings. Progress is inevitable; the sooner people come to accept it, the better off our futures will be.

The iSchool Initiative is an inspirational look at how technology could change schooling forever. This video, made in 2009, shows how an iPod touch could be used in the classroom to better streamline the public schooling process; with the innovative platform and apps that were already developed for the iPod, iSchool-ing could become a way to increase the quality and productivity of education, as well as helping to adapt t the growing number of budget cuts.

Thanks to the revived interest in the tablet, companies are now developing systems and applications that make this revolution even more feasible. The iPad has taken the concept of replacement for textbooks, chalkboard, and other outdated methods to a whole new level. This reimagining of an outdated idea might just be one of the first steps in the technological revolution for public schools.

The Lost Generation is a clever video used to present two very different futures. The use of Gertrude Stein’s moniker “Lost Generation” as a means of expressing discontent with the direction of American Society is quite poetic; the ides of negative development expressed here are the in the same vein as Pound, Hemmingway, and Elliot who saw their future American as world they did not ascribe.

The clever use of language is fitting giving the library context; by simply reversing the order, it demonstrates the delicate nature of future events. It is imperative that we understand both outcomes presented in the video in order to have an affect on the outcome.

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir is a great example of how technology can bring people together to better accomplish a common goal. The 12 countries that are represented, and the seamless quality of the performance, demonstrate the power of technology.

The other interesting aspect of this video is its affirmation of how technology can spark creativity. This group could have never assembled without the aide of technology. The ability to enhance creativity through technology is something we must continue to explore and employ.

Teaching In the 21st Century, much like iSchool, is evidence of the obsolete nature of the traditional school methods. The idea that students can access any information at anytime, and that teachers are only a medium through which this mass amount of information is filtered, speaks volumes. With the rapid change in technology, teachers need to understand this change in the teaching landscape, and become a guide rather than a lecturer.