Thursday, July 8, 2010

Final Tech Integration Task/Final Reflection

I think I will use my new wiki in my future classrooms, I am just really intrigued by the extra level of communication it allows me to have with my students. I also like how it gives me an opportunity to show them some of my personality and some of the more “just for fun” things I am interested in, and I’m hoping that if I structure its usage the right way they will begin to use it for fun too.

To be honest, I think the modifications I would make to it in order to be able to use this in my future classes would be to take a lot of the content down, at least in the beginning. High school student feel enough pressure from their classes and they don’t need to be overwhelmed with a class wiki that they’ve never seen before thats already loaded up with all this alien content. So I would start small. I would post a few fun things, maybe an interesting video and invite the students to visit one night for homework and leave a simple comment. I would gauge their reactions to the idea of incorporating this tool into the curriculum, and then slowly create a more expansive online atmosphere.

As for letting my students create their own wikis or blogs, again I think I would have to gauge their reaction. I really like the idea of putting at least some a students work up on a classroom or personal blog, but if the students are rejecting the idea then I would not feel right forcing it upon them.

I think my views of instructional technology have changed a lot. I remember reading chapter one of November just six weeks ago and thinking he was kinda nuts the way he was going on and on about "informating" but now I really see what he means. As I worked on my philosophy podcast and this final website project I understand the power technology has for making connections between individuals, and not just superficial connections, but meaningful connections that could never be achieved with out the aid of technology. It think using technology in this way really adds a more personal touch to education. Hahaha, Im laughing at myself now because I never thought I would be saying that the application of technology has a personal touch.

As I move forward I am still a little weary. I say that I am excited to create collaborative relationships via technology and the internet, but there are just so many tools and websites that provide these types of opportunities so i feel like I don't know where to start. I feel like I am definelty still a novice, but I also kind of feel like a kid in a candy store.

Well here it is, the sum of my six weeks here ...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Video Editing Reflection

The first thing I would do differently would be an adjustment in the way that we filmed the piece. Originally I thought that it would be easiest on us (editing wise) if we filmed all of the dialogue as stand alone shots, where we would start filming, say our lines and then cut, to move on to the next scene. My groups mates, and eventually I as well decided that this process would be a little bit hard on us in terms of filming the video because it would require a lot of forethought about how we wanted the final piece to look. So we decided to film the piece like a play, with lots of panning back and forth between the actors as they interacted. This decision did prove to make the filming process very easy but it made the editing process very grueling. Because there was so much panning in our raw footage it was hard, when we cut it together to have smooth cuts. Now that I am finished with it I feel that I did a pretty good job of smoothing the transitions out but at the expense of pace. In order to get rid of the quick camera movements (as a result of panning) all of the clips needed to be cut very tight in terms of the audio, and I feel that many of my transition have a rushed feel because of this. Secondly, I would use a tripod to film next time, the jostling isn't too distracting but if we had a stable camera it would have looked more professional. I showed the film to my mother and she liked it, the only complaint she had was the audio volume, but I had already pumped it up to 200%, so next time i would have the actors be physically closer to the camera/mic. Finally, I would s-p-e-a-k m-o-r-e c-l-e-a-r-l-y.

The video editing process was fun. As I approached it I felt that it was to be daunting but in reality the time flew by. As I put in the finishing touches I felt that I wasted a lot of time, but that was mostly because I was getting used to the software. Overall I think the film is professional looking and I am proud of myself. The software was easy to use and my only complaint was that it seemed to me that ALL of my transitions had to be of the same length. I was able to find a happy medium, but I feel that if I could have adjusted the length of each transition independently the pace of the film could have been improved.

In my future classroom, I do think it would be possible for my students to use create a movie of their I own. You bring up a good point when you ask, "Do you (will you) have the resources, time, and skills necessary to include such a project in your classroom?" So my response is that I might not require all of my students to make a movie, but I would certainly leave the option open to the few students who posses the patience and drive to tackle the endeavor. Resources could definitely be a problem, especially with recent budget cuts, and I wonder what I would do if everyone of my student wanted to create a movie, and not just the select few that I am imagining.

Well, first i learned a lot about cyberbullying during the research phase of this project. It was a topic I had heard a lot of talk about but never really understood what it was. So i am glad I have researched it now and know what a true problem it is. Second, as result of this project i learned that it is pretty easy to create your own professional looking video with the new digital software that wasn't available to me when I was in high school. I am excited for the next time I need to film and edit something because I get to show of the skills I have learned during this process.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Education Technology Weekly Reading Response - Final Week

What is your reaction to the 10 Big Shifts in Education? Which shift(s) will be easier and harder for your to integrate in your future teaching/classroom? Please explain.

I definitely agree with all of Richardson ten “Big Shifts” that the new Read/Write has brought to the contemporary classroom (2010). I think that the two themes that run through all of the Big Shifts are (1) the new possibilities for collaboration, and (2) the idea that learning is now never ending, it can take place anywhere and anytime and between any groups of people. Personally, I am a big fan of the collaborative aspects of learning that the latest social program allows us. The most important part of all this is the idea that students can now share their work with authentic audiences and get relevant feedback from someone other than their teacher. Because of my enthusiasm about this type of information sharing many of the Big Shifts will be easy for me to incorporate in my future classroom. Since my content area is science I can see myself utilizing Big Shift 1, “Open Content,” by bringing my students to scientific journal websites in order to find up to date research and discoveries that may have an impact on their own lives. I’m also excited about Big Shift 2, “Many, Many Teachers.” The internet provides us with a portal to connect with my great people online and there are plenty experts in the field of science that are willing to share their expertise with our students if we only ask them to do so. I can’t wait to have my students share their research with an expert and see their reaction to the critiques that she gives them. I think it’s an awesome opportunity for students to create relationships with people who have chosen science as a profession, and I believe my students will benefit immensely from these types of interactions. Finally, I am excited to have my students utilize Big Shift 3 and 6, “The Social, Collaborative Construction of Meaningful Knowledge” and Readers Are No Longer Lust Readers,” respectively. To me these Big Shifts represent not only an opportunity for students to share their work and their opinions with authentic audience but they also get to argue and defend their work and their opinions with people from around the globe. In this way students will be able to gain deeper understandings and broader perspectives of the concepts that we cover in the classroom. When used in appropriate ways the internet can be a powerful forum for discussion and enlightenment.
Some of the Big Shifts however I think will be much harder for me to incorporate into my style of teaching simply because they are “too new” to me. The ideas present in Big Shift 8, “Writing Is No Longer Limited to Text” says that student no longer need to write their lab reports with pen and paper but instead they could blog about it or better yet podcast it. I don’t know how comfortable I am with these new forms of text because I never had the opportunity to use them when I was in middle and high school. It will be hard for me to break away from the way that I think school work should “look like.” However I am confident that as I explore these new avenues of communication I will feel more comfortable about bringing them into my classroom because a “teacher who uses interactive media professionally will find they rapidly develop learning styles and strengths similar to those of their students” (Thatcher in Richardson, 2010).

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Education Technology Weekly Reading Responses

Should all teachers be encouraged to create online activities for students within traditional classrooms? Please explain

The head of The Virtual High School, Bruce Droste explains that students are not allowed to take their entire course load online. He says students should still attend traditional classes because they still “need to know how to act face-to-face with one another” (November, 2010, p. 87). I feel that the same argument could be made for not allowing students to take their entire course load in the traditional class setting. Communicating professionally and courteously via email and video conferences is an essential skill that our student will undoubtedly use in their futures, so why don’t we include training in these area in our educational standards? November predicts that today’s high school students will be required to participate in an online learning environment at some point in their lives and they “will need to learn how to manage their learning with people who are not sitting next to them in a classroom” (2010, p. 85). I believe we would be doing our nation’s high schools students a disservice by not providing them the opportunity to explore the nearly endless educational opportunities that exist through online collaboration.
The evidence shows that online learning “does not blunt our inborn need to socialize …if anything, the Internet facilitates the need to socialize like not other tool we’ve ever had” (November, 2010, p. 87). Students working in online classroom have proved to be more insightful with their responses to teacher question because they have more time to compose their thoughts and they do not have to fear open mockery from their classmates by taking risks and expressing their true thoughts. Many students in online courses also feel stronger connections to their teachers and their peers because of the inherent collaborative nature of the Internet (November, 2010)
Finally, in some cases with online courses the parents get more involved in their child’s learning than with traditional coursework (November, 2010, p. 90). I believe this happens for two reasons, one, most of the learning is going on right under the parent’s roof, and two, this is new technology that the parent’s have never had access to and it’s hard not to be curious about what their child is experiencing.
So yes, I do think that all teachers should at least be encouraged to start integrating online learning into their curriculum. The advanced skills they learn and the benefits they receive from online learning are prominent and I think it would serve to better our public school system.

Envision the role of social networking in 21st century learning environments. Write a brief description of this vision.

Many sentiments expressed by Richardson in his book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts (2010) reminds me of the learning communities that George Siemens describes with his theory of connectivism, in which the “possession” of knowledge is not as important as having the skills to quickly access knowledge from other locations, whether they be a website, another person, or better yet a group of people. What he calls the “pipe,” is the channel through which knowledge is passed, and in contemporary society students that understand and utilize these pipes effectively will be successful
It’s important to note that these pipes don’t only benefit our students. They can be invaluable to any teachers who are looking to improve their craft or perhaps more importantly trying to solve a difficult problem. By connecting with online communities of educators that are eager and willing to help our teachers can experience professional development on a daily basis.
So what I see taking place in this century is a public school system that is utilizes online communication to create new relationships while strengthening the old relationships between teacher and students, teacher and administrators, and administrators and communities.
For students, learning and collaboration can now take place anywhere at anytime. Students can constantly be thinking about and researching their interests. Whenever they have a “light bulb” moment they can instantly share it with their peers and their teachers, and a conversation can begin that helps the individual flesh out their ideas.
For teachers, students can subscribe to a specific “tag” in their Google Reader accounts and the teacher can use their Diigo account to constantly bombard their students with new interesting information (Richardson, 2010). Whether or not the student takes the time to look at it all is up to them, but I think this type of connection will create stronger working relationships between student and teacher. If the teacher acknowledges a students personal interest and then tags a bunch of website that are relevant to that interest the student will know that the teacher has been listening.
The same type of connections can be utilized to foster better relationships between school and the communities they work in. If a school is dealing with a serious issue such as drug possession on school ground, the school could quickly communicate not only the problem but also give parents tips about how to address the issue with their children.
To put it simply, the world could be a more beautiful place if online communication is used appropriately.

PowerPoint Presentation Assignment Reflection

My PowerPoint presentation is a "concept attainment" lesson that teaches students the difference between exergonic and endergonic metabolic reactions by using real-world examples. I teach them that exergonic reactions are those that release energy into the system (ex. explosion of TNT) and endergonic reactions are those that consume energy from the system (ex. pumping up a bike tire). The concept attainment model is useful for introducing students to abstract concepts that might seem unwieldy at first. The idea behind the lesson model is that you have the students develop their own description of the concept by first viewing a series of depictions or pictures before the teacher tells them the scientific/accepted definition of the concept.

In my presentation I mostly used stock slide layouts provided by PowerPoint to ensure that my presentation had an orderly and organized overall look and feel. I used animations on many of my slides in order to reveal text as I would be talking about it, and not before. I think this is important, especially in high school because students may easily be distracted, confused or even put-off if you present them with too much text all at once. I used a "swipe" transition between all of my slides that contained pictures/depiction of the metabolic concept. I chose to use a transition only between these slides in order to distinguish this part of the lesson from the introduction and the conclusion slides. FInally, I used one advanced feature, which was audio narration. I recorded a brief narration for each of the slides that contained pictures/depictions of the metabolic concept, and I thought this was important because the idea of the concept attainment model is not to give students too much information or too little, so by recording the "best" narration beforehand I can assure the the students will get the most out of my lesson.

With this project I learned a lot about the newer version of PowerPoint. I occasionally used PowerPoint in my undergraduate career but I haven't actually explored the full potential of the presentation software since i was in high school. So it was good to relearn all of the neat ways you can use transition and animations to add some personality to the presentation. I had never used the audio narration before, so it was cool to play with it and I think it could be a powerful tool if used appropriately.

PowerPoint is a great way to enhance a presentation for visual learners. PowerPoint allows us to neatly present definitions, directions, prompts and content in a visually pleasing way that serves to attract their attention of our students. Its also a great way to present pictures to your class to enhance their understanding or simply to add entertainment value. Teachers can also embed videos into their presentation so that they don't have to disrupt their lesson by going to the a website or accessing files and folders on their desktop. One of the best uses of PowerPoint is to keep lectures and lessons organized. Having the text written up on the screen helps the presenter stay on task and prevents them from forgetting or skipping important information. Finally, PowerPoint can be used to integrate some comedy into a lesson. By putting in funny pictures or animation teachers can make sure their students are paying attention.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Learning Theories Week 5 T2P

This week we discussed problem solving strategies. GNA called them heuristics. She had us work in groups of two and then come together as a whole class to develop one heuristic that we could all use as we analyzed a very complex case study. I really appreciated that GNA laid out our day like this and enabled us to practice and master a very effective problem solving strategy. I am so excited that I know have this tool because as I have expressed last week I believe that my two biggest obstacles to becoming an effective teacher are motivating students and teaching them to be respectful of their peers (having them create secure environments). I believe that I can use this heuristic to help me as a tackle both problems in my future class. My favorite part about our heuristic is that if I use it properly it allows me to check my biases, which is important for two reasons. One, perhaps the "problem" that i perceive is not a real problem at al, and in the grand scheme it doesn't not detract from my goals for the class. Two, It enables me to adopt the perspective of my students and provokes me to consider how they perceive this issue that I deem a problem.

In our complex case study we discussed the social injustice present in this fictitious school in that student in lower achieving courses were forced to work in dilapidated classrooms that did not instill a sense of professionalism and self worth in the students. I felt that this sentiment was very powerful and understanding how physical environments can adversely affect a students disposition as well as their motivation. We also touched upon motivation, and how to foster it by really getting to know our students, surveying their interests and bringing those interest into the curriculum. This type of practice would make the content more relevant to the students and would increase their intrinsic motivation.

Here are two more working hypothesis

If a teacher wants to have students whom are highly motivated then that teacher needs to first learn about their students through "caring relationship" in which we actively search for their interest and their aspirations (Noddings). Next the teacher needs to express to their students that he/she cares about their interest by incorporating them into the curriculum. This is necessary because it provides that students with a sense of ownership over the classroom and the content that will lead to motivated students

If a teacher wants to create a secure environment in which all students are free to express themselves then the teacher needs to utilize heuristic problem solving to address issues of disrespect in the class. This is the most affective way of addressing the issue becuase it allows the teacher determine the legitimacy of the problem that has been identifies, it allows them to take perspective of the problem through the eyes of the people involved, it allows them to search for advice from colleagues and literature, and it allows them to create an appropriate solution path that is flexible and can be revised as new evidence is discovered.

I think my most favorite part about the applying the hueristic to issues of disrespect is the fact that it forces the teacher/moderator to collect perspectives from the students involved. I think alot of time we neglect to actually talk to our student and figure out what is going on inside of them. It is an important thing to do in contemporary public school and i think if i can get comfortable have authentic dialouges with my students that breka down the power relation barriers i will learn alot about my students and will be able to help them develop emotionally as well as academically becuase i will know how to appropriatley motivate them.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Relating Learning Theories to Contemporary School's Context

Development of Emotional Intelligence is Best Supported Through Social Groups of Similar Backgrounds.

If students are to develop emotional intelligence, then they need to be supported in a learning environment that is composed of peers and teachers that are bring similar struggles to the mix. In the video, Gay Camp: Helping youth Feel Safe and Supportive, gay youth come together to discuss and share their stories with a group of people from similar backgrounds. Caitlin, a young woman says, "I got a sense of no longer needing to hide in any way." In the video, Who We Be, a "group of young women of color...organize for a safe school environment that doesn't disrespect woman's minds and bodies." Youth like these are developing emotional intelligence together in secure environments and Vygotsky's theory would suggest that this education is effective because learning is taking place in social groups composed of people with similar backgrounds. As teachers we must recognize the need for youth to develop emotional intelligence, and we must recognize that most often the best way for this is in a social setting that is composed of similar people. Often we as teacher cannot relate with a student's particular background (i.e minority woman, or homosexual) and in those cases the least we can the least we can do is support the creation of the social groups in order for the members to learn from each other develop emotionally together.

Feelings of Safety and Acceptance are Primary Concerns that Need to be Addressed Before the Highest Potential of Education may Occur.

If students are to get the most out of their time in school and truly be educated, then teachers need to ensure that Maslow's lower level needs are satisfied for their students. In the video, Bullies, gotta hate em! the young man recounts a "bully" incident at school. By his demeanor it is clear that he has been hurt, and that the experience has negatively affected his education because he is struggling to feel completely accepted at school. In the video, Is Anybody Listening? A testament by Village Academy High, Chris explains that because of the poor economy his family is facing homelessness. He says "I can get out, but my brothers, my brothers might be homeless pretty soon." Maslow's theory argues that students like Chris cannot succeed in school because they are struggling with their most basic needs of safety and security, and they can not "graduate" to the highest levels of learning while they are preoccupied with concerns for their basic needs. As teachers we need to understand what our students are dealing with outside of school. We need to acknowledge each student as an individual and encourage them to express their problems so that they can be supported and hopefully helped to meet their needs or safety and acceptance.

Listening to our Students is the First Step Towards Helping.

If teachers want to help their students the most, then teachers need to take time to learn about a student emotional "baggage" and express to the student that they are willing to help. In the video, Youth Voices, Eric says, "[My teacher], she trying to help me too, she helps me fill out my jobs applications because I tell her I need a job to help out my Dad, and she's like, just do good in school Eric, and I'll always be here to help out." He continues "try to find out like whats going on...give me a chance...try to help us try to figure out what wrong with me." Eric feels supported by this teacher because she has developed what Nel Noddings calls a "caring relationship" with her student. She has expressed concern, and has provided aid that is relevant to Eric's need. She knows that Eric's appreciates her help through his positive feedback. As teachers we need to realize that the only way we can truly help our students is by listening to them. We must "try to figure out whats wrong" and then help them get to where they want and need to be.

Here is the link to the YouTube video compilation entitled: Voices of Youth Today. Here you will find all of the videos i mentioned aboved