Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Search Engine

Monday, December 3, 2012

Seymour Papert Interview

First of all, I never would have guessed that this interview was conducted over ten years ago.  It is surprising that the information Papert says is still so relevant today.  He is speaking about something that has seemed to grown in leaps and bounds over the last ten years but at the same time it seems as though the interview could have been done yesterday.

Papert emphasizes the unbelievable amount young children can learn.  How children are self directed learners taking in the whole world and how the computer will only facilitate this.  I completely agree.  He uses the example of seeing an elephant and the child wonders how does the elephant eat.  By using the computer the child can teach themselves this.  Similarly to how they teach themselves about the world around them but instead they need the internet.  I think it is important to expose young children to the internet at a young age.  Especially in today's world with the amount of technology we rely on and what a valuable skill becoming technologically literate has become.  If we were not to expose young children to computers, technology. etc. we would be doing them a great disservice   I think it is important though to balance the amount children learn from the internet and make sure they are still learning about the world around them by actually experiencing the world around him.

I found it really interesting that Papert says in his book, The Connected Family that the internet can actually bring a family together.  I couldn't disagree more with this claim.  I think that the internet allows each individual to find more people like themselves (whether it is their friends, or other people they meet online with common interests) and the individual spends all of their time socializing, etc. with those person.  In no way does it bring the family closer.  Also, a lot of times parents are nervous to use the internet or new technology because they don't understand how to use it whereas kids seem to be able to pick it up like it's nothing and really enjoy it.  I think that this causes even more of a divide in the family as opposed to connecting the family.

I see his prediction for what technology will do for schools beginning to come true and I think that it will grow as we move towards the future.  The only part I disagree with would be the idea that the age divide will disappear.  I don't think this will ever happen.  I think that as people get older they begin to fear new things (whether it is technology or not).  So although children like technology now and pick it up quickly and without any reservations, when these same children are 60 their will be new technology that they are not accustomed to and they will not be so willing to learn it.  I'm not sure we will ever get over the age divide.

Overall, I am surprised at how much of the information Papert says is still relevant today.  Although I agree with many of his points about the usefulness of technology in learning and how technology should be incorporated into young children's lives, I don't think that it brings families closer and I don't think it will banish the age divide.

Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives

A survey was conducted in which a non random sample of 1,021 people were given two passages to decide which they believed was more true.  The first passage, which 55% of the surveyors agreed with said that in the year 2020 people would benefit from this hyper connected world because they would be able to multitask and find the answers to deep questions due to the fact that they have the knowledge of so many people via the internet.  The other passage which 42% of the surveyors agreed with said that in the year 2020 people will see negative outcomes from technology.  People will spend a majority of their time using social media as opposed to thinking critically and connecting deeply with other people as well as becoming completely dependent on these devices.  There was no choice for a middle ground which afterwords some of the surveyors said is how they actually see it unfolding, making the results a bit closer to split evenly.

I would say that I agree it will be somewhat in the middle.  Peoples brain will be wired in a totally different way in 2020 than in the past.  If I had to chose though, I would say that our hyper connected world will lead to negative outcomes.  I think that it will be impossible to thrive in the world in 2020 without having these skills but I'm not sure that this will be a good thing.  Already I see a lot of these negative characteristics in my classes.  I teach ninth grade and students need that instant gratification, with everything.  The other day we did a lab where there was  fifteen minutes for students to wait and answer questions before they could see the outcome.  They all whined and complained that they wanted to see it now.  Another example is, the other day we used the iPads for a lesson.  One iPad working a little slower than normal.  The student said he was sick of waiting and would just do it on his phone.  I am already seeing this lack of patience and a need for instant gratification.

One example the survey gave that would be a positive outcome is the ability to multitask.  I am not sure that I consider multitasking to be a positive trait.  I think that it is better to concentrate on one task and do it well.  There is a much higher probability that something will get messed up if you're trying to do several things, even if this is how you're programmed.

Lastly, I see a hyper connected world causing more social divide by 2020.  It is bad enough as it is but now everyone feels the need to by iPhones and have iPads, computers, etc.  Many people and even schools can not afford it.  So those who can not afford it will be even worse off in 2020 because they definitely won't be marketable for jobs.

 I would say that I fall somewhere in the middle on my opinion of the outcomes of technology in 2020. If I had to chose though, I see the high reliance on technology causing negative effects.  It creates people that need things now.  They need instant gratification and have no patience.  Also, it will increase the social divide, and increase multitasking, which I don't see as being a good thing.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Is Google Making Us Stupid Reflection

I couldn't agree more with Nicholas Carr's opinions in, Is Google Making Us Stupid?.  Our minds, both old and young are changing faster than ever before.  We read and learn and access information in an entirely different way than we did twenty years ago which was different twenty years before that and twenty years before that and so on. I think what is important to remember is that this change is not necessarily evil which I think is what a lot of the older generation thinks, especially those teachers who have been in the profession for a while.  Students can no longer sit down and read a chapter out of a biology book.  Literally, they cannot.  Instead their minds are malleable and have been reprogrammed to take in, process, and learn information in an entirely new way.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing.  It does mean though, that we, as teachers, need to learn to teach based on this information.  Instead of assigning twenty pages of reading on photosynthesis in class we should use the iPads to do an interactive lab with small bits of reading material to get the exact same message those twenty pages would have across to the students.

Some points I found especially interesting from the article was the fact that the author said with all of the text on the internet, cell phones, etc. it is possible that we are reading more than was read in the 1970's-1980's when television was incredibly popular.  This to me was shocking but it does seem true.  Back then in order to read you had to physically open a book or newspaper and practice reading.  Now it is almost impossible to escape reading.  The only difference is that reading is done in small chunks.  The other thing I found interesting in this article was the reoccurring theme that everyone feared the new technology but it always created much needed improvements.  For example, Nietzsche was having trouble writing, then he got a type writer and he felt that he could write far more easily.  This did, though, change the way he wrote.  This is similar to what we're seeing today.  The way we learn, write, etc. is going to be different, but this may just be the change we need.

I think this article showed that the time has changed and new technology is inevitably here.  Yet, we need to recognize that this may not be a bad thing, there are many positives that could come out of it.  As educators though we need to realize this and adapt our lessons because students literally learn in new ways now.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Marc Prensky Article Reviews

I found a lot of flaws in Marc Prensky's two article, What Technology ISN'T Good At and Teaching the Right Stuff.  In the Article, Teaching the Right Stuff Prensky really focuses on three skills that he thinks will help students in the future.  Yet, he admits that like the skills of writing an email, making a blog post and making a power point they will just as soon be a dying skill.  Instead, we should teach our students skills that will never die.  For example, lets teach them skills that are more broad and spend the majority of time doing that so no matter what technology comes along students can apply these broad skills.  We can still spend a small amount of time teaching specifics that may be useful in the future even though we know that they too will die out, for example, making a video.  Some of these skills that will never die out should be things such as how to work as a team, how to be flexible and adaptable, etc.  No matter what technology comes about there will still be cases where students need to work together.  Whether or not that be from behind a computer screen, students will still need to know how to do that.  Being flexible and willing to adapt to new situations is also very important, after all Prensky said technology will change a trillion fold in our students lifetimes.  I think that instead of teaching to specific skills we see being useful in the future we should teach skills we see being useful forever.

Prensky's article, What Technology ISN'T Good At seems impractical to me.  Of course we want for our students to love learning and we want to be the teacher that lights that spark for them.  Yet, if we want to keep our jobs as teachers that cannot be done.  As a biology teacher the MCAS is a very high stakes test.  If students don't pass it they don't  graduate.  The MCAS tests on very specific information and therefore I cannot relate it to the different passions of my 120 students.  There are some topics the students need to just learn; I can't relate it to baseball, or baking or whatever it may be that they love.  For example, the MCAS specifically asks students the function of each organelle in a cell.  If they don't know the answers to these kinds of questions then they will fail and I will lose my job.  I think that it is unfortunate that we need to teach in this way but it is sadly the reality.  I would still love to be the teacher who instills a love of science in students and I think that would be done more realistically through a club.  For example, in college we had a biology club.  We did things twice a month such as going to the aquarium, holding recycling drives, going to a butterfly museum, etc.  all of the fun aspects of science.  I would love to have  a club like this at my high school where we could explore students passions and show them how they relate to science.  Unfortunately, at this time, the school day is not the time or place for that.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kahn Academy Review

This assignment could not have come at a better time.  Since today was Election Day, the students had the day off and we teachers had an In Service Day.  The Science department was assigned to the technology room where we learned about new ideas involving technology that could help us in the classroom.  One topic that came up for exploration/discussion was the Kahn Academy videos.  The teachers had very mixed reactions, but similar opinions to my own.

After watching several of the videos I have come to the conclusion that the videos are good but not great.  First of all, since Salman Kahn makes all of the videos himself he needs to teach himself the information.  This is a lot of information to learn and then teach to someone else and I noticed some of the time he gets concepts wrong or phrases things incorrectly.  For example, in a photosynthesis video he speaks about ATP which is not correct.  Also, in a video about the phases of mitosis he continually says "the 2 nucleuses"  which is incorrect as well.  Nucleus is the singular form of the word and nuclei is the plural.  He instead should have said "the 2 nuclei".  I believe that this shows he understands main ideas but sometimes misses some smaller points that a high school teacher in the subject would not.

Another issue I see with these videos is that the videos are way too high a level for high school students.  The material he covers is information that would be covered in a specific college level class.  Not a general intro to biology high school class.  The information would be far to detailed for the high school students and thus confuse them even more.

The last concern I see is that there are no practice questions for science.  I know that this website contains a lot of information and takes a lot of time and effort but it would be far more effective if there were questions that students could use to test themselves like there is in the math section.

Overall, I think that this is a good website.  The material (with a few exceptions) is very detailed and accurate.  The only issue is that the material is far too detailed.  I could see these videos being used best for college students to help with material they may have missed or misunderstood in class while studying for a test.  Also, it may be useful for some high level students that need additional information.

Phases of Mitosis: Explanation of the phases of mitosis.

Friday, October 26, 2012

West Virginia Grade 8 Test 1931 Reflection

The 8th grade test given in West Virginia in 1931 is not something I could see myself using today. It lacks all of the components that would make up a good test today.

First, the questions are all the same format and require the student to regurgitate the memorized information. There are many flaws with this setup. It is a test made for a handful of students, there is no differentiation. There is one type of question, short answer, from the information the student should have memorized. This creates a lot of stress for the student and unfortunately is the type of test that shows what the student DOESN'T know instead of what the student does know. If the student is not good at answering short answer questions the test should be made up of a variety of question types to allow the student to showcase the information they know in the way they can best. If the student has the knowledge we should give them every possibility to show us that they know it.

Second, there are a lot of issues with the content. The material seems to touch upon only a couple specific ideas. Rather, a good test should encompass a variety of overarching themes. I agree that there are times where specific ideas are important to test but they can be worked into questions that involve more critical thinking skills. For example, question II asks the student to name one country. Instead this could be developed to ask the student to employ higher order thinking skills as well as naming the one country.

Finally, this test would never work today because I believe it lacks a few of the fundamental skills we are trying to teach. First of all, the test does not promote good teaching strategies. You can tell from this test that the teacher is simply drilling these facts into the students head so that the student can regurgitate the information and move on to the next grade. It doesn't teach the student how to live in the real world. A test today would include being able to show the information in relation to today's world and skills that are beneficial today.

Overall, the test seems to have worked for the time in which it was given. Today though, a test like this would never suffice. Instead, a good test would have a variety of options for a student to show us what they know, in the format that works best for them, employing their higher order thinking skills, and asking them to employing real world skills and strategies and use specific details to build a big picture instead of stopping at the specific details.

Creating Learning Experiences without the Textbook Reflection

This type of learning seems like it would be a great addition to a professional development day. We just recently had one and although it was helpful, I feel as though I got ten times the amount of ideas from this ten minute video than I did in our three hour meeting. The videos seem to be very well done and packed full of helpful (and mostly free) resources as well as other ways to collaborate with other teachers in the same content area. I think a few of these videos would be a great addition to professional development.

 As far as the actualy content goes, I watched the presentation on "Creating Learning Experience Without the Textbook".  At first I was really confused by the video.  There was no introduction so even though I knew what the video was about I wasn't sure what exactly they were talking about.  Besides that I have no complaints.  The content and the amount of ideas and resources they packed into the ten minutes were unbelievable.  I love the idea of creating learning experiences without a textbook.  For one, students are bored with textbooks theses days.  With so much technology in their lives students view textbooks as archaic and aren't as motivated to do the work.  Also, if you're not teaching from the textbook it is a lot easier to create real world experiences and make it more relatable to students which are both important because it is important to have real world skills these days and it helps motivate students.

I liked the idea of teachers and parents using videos to teach content.  My boyfriends sister was just telling me about something like this at her school in RI.  She is a junior and said her math teacher uses iPads to teach (this does require buying or renting an iPAD).  The teacher assigns videos for the students to watch for homework.  Then the next day they come into class and do practice problems on the content from the previous night.  This way the teacher can spend all of his time assuring the students knowhow to solve the problem (the students won't be doing this alone at home).  She also said she likes this because she can do the lesson as fast/slow as she needs to and doesn't feel uncomfortable asking questions in class.

I also loved the idea of QR codes and interactive field trips.  I think that both of these get the students excited and really eager to learn.  The QR codes act as a scavenger hunt and can really add to the learning that can't be taught using only a book.  Instead, students can see a video of what something would look like or see a map (great for visual learners!)

Overall, I think the videos would be a great addition to professional development days.  I have been at Haverhill High for a little over two months and have never heard any teacher mention any of these activities/programs.  I think that hearing all of these great sites and resources would be helpful to many of the teachers.  As far as the video goes, I think the ideas mentioned to create learning experiences without using the textbook are great.  They help create motivation to learn, create real world experiences and help students develop skills for the real world.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Presidential debate Using Storify

P.140-End of Book Reflection

The last section of the book focused on something I have mentioned several times in my blog.  The authors talked about the heavy reliance the United States has on standardized test and what we can do to stop that.  The authors proposed two ideas.  I couldn't agree more that getting rid of standardized testing is what we need yet I'm not sure I agree with their proposals.  One idea is is national certifications and the other is skill-based assessment.  National Certification would be interesting.  What would determine who would graduate high school and who wouldn't?  Th authors say that you could take a class or study on your own time for specific tests of your own choosing but who would be motivating these students to study?  Towards the end of the book the authors talk about intrinsic motivation.  They talk about having student develop an interest in something and this will create intrinsic motivation.  Yet, with many of my students I don't think that is possible.  They love a lot of things but still wouldn't want to be tested on it.  Also, how would IEP's be dealt with?  I don't see this system working.  It puts too much responsibility on the student and after all these students are still kids.  I would love for my students to be more responsible but even if it were a topic they loved I think a lot of students would have trouble completing the certificate.  Also, if students want to be a doctor they say, students should get certificates in biology, chemistry, etc.  The problem with that, though, is that almost no students know what they want to do at that age.  If I was asked in high school what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have said something to do with English.  In college I graduated with a degree in pre-med and am now in grad school to be a biology teacher.  You have no idea what you want as a high schooler.

 I agree that standardized testing is not the way to test the knowledge our students have but I'm not sure the way the authors have proposed will work either.  I feel that a good way to determine students knowledge of a core subject would be through portfolios.  You could use a lot of differentiation and give students a list of 30 assessment pieces (projects, tests, webquests, etc).  They would then be able to choose any one they wanted at the end of a unit and compile it in their portfolio.  Their grade would then be based off of the portfolio.  This way students feel that they are more in control of their learning and also can show the teacher what they DO know as opposed to one option assessments where a lot of times students are only showing what they DON't know.  As much as I wish we were moving in the direction of portfolio assessment I don't think that is the case.  At our last team meeting teachers were talking about moving away from the MCAS to a country wide standardized test.  I think that standardized testing is here to stay.  At least for quite a while.

One great point the authors make is about the quality of knowledge we teachers are teaching.  The core curriculum is still heavily focused on trivial knowledge that does not prepare students for the real world after college whatsoever.  It may have forty years ago but things are changing faster than ever now and we need to teach skills that are going to be beneficial to students.  This goes back to standardized testing.  Teachers teach trivial knowledge because it is one of the standards they are told to teach because students will be tested on it.  Student successes on these tests often reflect on the teacher and grant money depends on it.  This means teachers cannot teach information they feel is beneficial but rather are required to teach to the test.  It is a never ending cycle and something needs to be done to stop it.

Teaching to the test causes 50% of 9th and 10th graders to be bored during school.
-According to a report from the text

Friday, October 12, 2012

Handout Reflection

"We do not grow into creativity...we grow out of
 it-or rather, we are educated out of it."

This quote perfectly sums up the major error we have seen with education in the past and, along with technology, is the driving force behind why we have seen and will see a very different kind of learning taking place in the twenty first century.  As the 21st century knowledge-and-skills rainbow shows, learning in the twenty first century will be based around the core subjects, but they will be taught in a way that incorporates and emphasizes life and career skills, learning and innovation skills and information, and media and technology skills.  I couldn't agree more with this representation of what education should look like.  Some of the examples we have read about include an extreme opinion of what education should look like.  Those in favor of technology believe that students should use technology all the time, eventually, perhaps, even be taught by an online program.  Those opposed to the technology movement believe that the old way of educating worked and should stay.  We should continue to lecture, asses and move on they believe. Neither of these ways of teaching will work for our young learners.  I think that we need something in the middle, exactly what this rainbow proposes.  We need students to understand technology and the right and useful ways to use it, yet we also want to encourage creativity and innovation as well as skills for life and careers.  These three components are incredibly important but are nothing if not tied to the core subjects.  As teachers, we need to find a way to integrate the two, not chose between one or the other.

We must teach our students from a very young age how to learn.  By this I mean we need them to understand how to critically think about a problem,how to work with others, and also, how to learn creatively.  We should expect that our students will be able to apply concepts to world problems, act as scientists in the lab, act as detectives in Math class, act as authors in English class.  Not only will this provide students with the skills to be successful in careers later on but these are the kinds of skills required to be a life long learner.  These skills encourage finding interests and passions and this in turn will create learners for life.

Digital literacy is an issue that is not as easy to use as a teaching tool when most often the students know more about the technology than the teachers do.  For example, my co-teacher and I allowed the students to use iPads in class the other day.  One minute before the bell was going to ring an alarm on one of the iPads started to ring (it was set to the tone of a duck quacking).  My co-teacher and I had no idea how to make it stop.  We needed to have a student come up and help us.  I think the students feel as though we had lost control.  We cannot stop using technology because of this reason though.  Instead the teachers role in incorporating technology needs to be different.  The teacher needs to give students the tools and knowledge to appropriately access information on the internet.  As the story of King Wallace's World Wide Wall showed, there is a lot of inappropriate information on the web that can be easily accessed.  As teachers it is our responsibility to show students how to select primary as opposed to secondary sources, make sure the information is credible, reliable and accurate and how to make students understand future consequences of social media.

I believe that the lack of creativity and innovation and technology in education in the past is not going to cut it in the 21st century.  The rainbow model seems, to me, to be the perfect medium for teaching students in the 21st century.  Using the core subjects as a base and integrating technology, innovation and life skills is the perfect balance.As the team who created the SARS website for the ThinkQuest competition showed, the opportunities are truly endless when these three skills are put into practice.

Monday, October 8, 2012

P. 94-104 Reflection

Education has grown and evolved immensely over time.  Education began as apprentice style learning where students were taught particular skills by someone close to them usually one on one or in small groups.  Over time education evolved to teach students a wide range of disciplinary knowledge in large classrooms with one teacher, usually done through lecture.  Now, education is moving towards teaching a skill set to students. The idea is that we will now teach students how to learn.  We will teach them how to get the answers to questions they want when they want them as opposed to teaching them as many of the answers as we can.  We will teach them to think critically, ask the right questions, and use technology to make them most desirable in the working world where having a mind full of disciplinary facts is no longer desirable.

I couldn't agree more that teaching students how to learn is the way we should shift education.  There are five areas that students should develop skills in, resources, interpersonal, information, systems, and technology.  This seems like only a few things to teach students as opposed to what they used to need to know but I feel as though this may be impossible, there will be many obstacles in shifting education to this style of learning.  These five core competencies can merely be introduced throughout  the school years, there is no way that students can master or even become proficient in these areas, they encompass far too much.  Another difficulty of teaching these competencies  I believe will be teacher willingness.  Many of the older teachers do not want to change the way they've been doing things.  I think it will be a long transition period with newer teachers slowly working this type of learning into the curriculum until every teacher teaches in this way.  It could take thirty years at this rate.

Although I agree that this type of learning style is the way education should be moving I think the authors are a little too ambitious and feel as though this is a system already in place.  I think we are years and years away from being anywhere near that type of learning.  Some teachers at Haverhill High have begun to introduce the five core competencies into their teaching but for the most part teachers still teach disciplinary information.  They have no choice to with the requirements from the state and the MCAS.  For example, if there was one teacher who decided it was more beneficial for her students to learn right now learning and she taught them how to effectively utilize technology, how to ask the right questions and how to think critically about selecting the correct answer that student would be far more successful in the "real world".  But, would that student even graduate high school?  Would they be able to pass the MCAS, a test where they have to have disciplinary information memorized and stored in their brain?  Probably not.  I think that before we can even begin to move in the direction of learning to learn education the state needs to change the requirements to reflect that learning.  For example, there could still be an assessment but it could be a format that ensures the students utilize the five core competencies.  Students could be required to create portfolios with specific requirements instead of taking a standardized test.  It was said best by Collins and Halverson, "We think that in the life-long learning era, people interested in advancing their own learning will begin to take back responsibility for education from the state."

Unfortunately, my cooperating teacher and I find ourselves saying this far too often.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Connected Learning Image

Connected Learning

I couldn't agree more with this image.  Connected learning can have so many positive outcomes.  It is definitely true and we just proved as a class that students use higher order thinking skills and do much better when their interested in the topic their learning about.  The time literally flew by when I was looking for cupcake recipes and different ways to decorate them.  I also found it interesting that technology fosters cross generational learning and connection.  This is something that has never happened before.  Now, children can learn from adults but also adults can learn from children in ways they never could before, how cool!  Also, helping children find something and pursue something they are interested in helps them develop the skills to be a life time learner.  No longer will learning seem like a chore if we take this approach but it will be fun and something they never want to stop doing.  Lastly, with technology, students will no longer learn something at school go home and forget it the next day.  It will be reinforced at all times of the day.  Connected learning could have so many benefits to developing the kind of students we want to have in the future.

Google Form

Monday, September 24, 2012

Will Richardson Talk on Learning

The most important part of this talk I believe is when Will Richardson says, "it is the coolest moment to be a learner right now".  This could not be more true.  With technology we have access to learn anything we want.  He gave the examples of his daughter, Tess, learning to play Don't Stop Believing on the piano and Mark who learned all about cinematography.  I couldn't agree more that with technology you can learn to do anything you want.  I find that I use the internet or some other form of technology at least once a week to teach myself how to do something.  For example, I run and like to do abs to keep my core strong.  I was getting bored with my normal routine so I typed "ab routines" into YouTube and within seconds I was teaching myself new ab exercises I had never heard of.

With this being said, teachers are not needed in their traditional sense anymore the talk suggests.  Students can learn anything they want online, so why would they need a teacher to teach them.  The computer could act as their very own personal teacher that caters an online curriculum specifically to the individual, moves at a good pace for the individual and offers the support that specific student needs.  There has been a shift in learning and teachers are now needed for something more.  Teachers are needed to teach students deep inquiry skills and how to problem solve, to teach students to collaborate globally and share their work and to help students find things they are passionate about and help them pursue that so that they become life long learners.  Will Richardson says that teachers are now needed to teach students these things, but I think they're needed for more.  We couldn't just get rid of schools in the traditional sense.  We need the schools because students need personal connections; they need to learn about themselves, other people and how to act socially acceptable.  If education became all computer based our future adults, doctors, teachers, lawyers would have the social and emotional skills of a fourth grader.  Students, I believe need teachers and a somewhat traditional school system because it is through the group activities, group projects, recess, lunch, etc. that students learn how to be a person.  I believe technology is a great thing and these days it can teach us anything, but I think we should use technology in a way so that it is incorporated in schools, not replacing schools.

Will Richardson makes many good points.  It truly is a great time to be a learner (this includes adults too!) but where I disagree is where he says it is a bad time to be an educator.  I think it is a great time.  We need to use technology to our advantage.  Use it to improve and incorporate into lessons not to become the lesson.  This way, as teachers, we can use technology to our advantage and still be needed!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Chapter 2 vs Chapter 3

The world is changing, there is no denying that. If I think back to when I was in elementary school my family didn't even own a home computer. Now, not only does everyone member of my family have a laptop, we also have a home computer, scanner, printer, copier, everyone has a smartphone, we all have an iPOD, my brother has a nook and my sister has an iPAD. To me, that is incredible. This is over the course of a mere 15 or so years, just imagine what the next fifteen years will hold.

I think it would be a great disservice to our students to not incorporate technology into the curriculum we teach everyday. The technology is out there and being used all of the time. We saw in class on Wednesday the "technology counter". I can't find the link for it now (if anyone has it feel free to put it in the comments section!) but the numbers were truly astonishing.

Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology argues many reasons against incorporating technology into the classroom. Some of the barriers include, schools and teachers pushing back against it. I think a lot of times older teachers fear the technology because their students know more about it than them when the teacher is supposed to be the expert in the classroom. Also, older teachers have been teaching in the same way for 30 plus years possibly, it is frightening to change your routine after that long. Yet, as scary as it may be and as much work as it may entail I don't think we would be properly equipping our students with the tools they need after high school if we don't teach them how to use the technology now.

Cost is another barrier. Although cost is an issue, especially for urban school districts, where currently the student to computer ratio is 9:1 we can't let this stop us. Schools could accumulate technology over time, possibly do fundraisers and even apply for grants. At Haverhill High School I am part of an IPAD Pilot Program where we will be given access to 60 iPADS (all bought with grant money) on a rotating schedule (based upon how many teachers sign up for it). I am not sure how it will turn out as far as classroom management and logistics go, but, I do know that the students are already very excited about it. They're excited about learning! This is something that I find can be challenging; motivating the students to learn.  Although there will be many obstacles in incorporating technology, cost, teacher resistance, etc.  it is something that will help our students be motivated to learn and something that will help them forever.

The iSchool at Haverhill High: the heart of the iPAD Pilot Program!

There is no denying that the world is changing almost faster than we can keep up. In the last fifteen years my own household has been completely transformed by technology. My fathers favorite phrase (a technology skeptic only a few years ago) is "google it!" now. We have instant assess to email, internet, calculators, online books and even more, all at our fingertips. If this is all around the outside world it wouldn't make sense to keep it out of our classrooms. In chapter 2, Collins and Halverson say, "No one will be able to solve complex problems or think effectively in the coming world without using digital technologies." That quote is truly terrifying but at the same time very realistic. If we know this is happening we should prepare our students for this.  We need to show our students how to get the information when they need it as opposed to teaching them all the knowledge we think they may possibly need throughout their lifetime. Lets teach the students how to ask the right questions using technology to get the answers they want as opposed to giving them every answer and hoping they remember it down the line someday.

Some more fun facts about technology! (keep in mind, this video is ~2 years old)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Practice Inserting a Video

The Ever Changing World of Teaching

Teaching these days has changed so much.  Not to sound old, but when I went to school we had three computers in the class that we got to use for ten minutes a day in a rotating schedule if we behaved.  Technology has advanced so much since then.

 Every single student in my classes have smart phones.  This means that the students can get any information anytime they want.  This poses a huge problem for us teachers.  As a science teacher it is hard enough to explain to the students why it is important for them to memorize the periodic table (just an example-not that I do this).  When something like this is assigned I hear the groans...I'm never going to use this they say.  Now that the students have instant access to anything they want on the periodic table it makes my job harder.  Now it is not "why do I need to know this?", but rather, "I don't need to know this because I'll be able to get the information any time I want".   This means that we cannot ask students to memorize anymore, they're just not going to do it.  Not only do they find it annoying but they also know that they can have the information anytime they want, thus, reducing their effort even more.  This means we need to do more than ask them to memorize or learn things.  This is especially difficult for me as a science teacher because science is built on the basis of facts.  What needs to be done is teach complex thinking skills as well as teaching students how to get the answers they want.  Since all information can now be found on the internet it is more important to teach the students how to search for the answers (what questions to ask) to get the answers they're looking for. 

 Our jobs as teachers are changing as drastically and rapidly as technology which means we need to keep up or be left behind.  The students are not going to learn if we ask them to memorize things, we need to accept that and find a new way to teach them how to be successful in the new and changing world.