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.