Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Week Three: Portal to Media Literacy Video

WHOA !!!
This pretty much sums it up.

I've actually seen this video before this class assignment,
or at least portions of it.
Twenty minutes in, and he kind of loses me....around the segment of 'tagging'
...I'm interested, just a bit lost.

I love how he utilizes new technologies along with his students in order to critically THINK and ILLUMINATE ideas....the idea that students can get any and or all of the information we give them elsewhere means we have the great opportunity to expand on that, to teach the skills that will enable them to take it all that much further, manipulate, extend, question, twist, 
and develop in so many ways.
It make's me realize tht it might have been presumptuous naming these new skills
 'The 21st CenturyLearning Objectives'...while someone is out there defining 
'The 21st Learning Objectives NL' (next level? lame! I know but 2.0 was cliche)

"He's been teaching for only four years!"
-incredible, lucky students

"The classroom as an Information Dump!"

-hard to argue, scary for some

"Information is easy to find!"
-if we don't teach content, what do we teach?

"We need to ask the right questions (of our students)"
-ahhhh, leading them to learn, and learning along side of them

"Nobody is as smart as everybody!"

- it's a whole new meaning for collaboration

Other clips I have found that highlight some of the same premises as the above:
Rethinking Education

Week Two: What I KNOW and Want to LEARN!

How I Use Technology/Resources Now...

Microsoft Office...of course...daily...and I LOVE EXCEL  !!! 
Flickr, my go to for meaningful pictures than you get on google images
Skype...son away at college, helps me keep in touch ;)
Gmail and Google Drive (formerly Docs)...for EVERYTHING
Curriculum Mapper, love this tool for organizing and searching out other teaching ideas
Thinking Maps software...so helpful for me, and many of my students
Getting started with Google Reader, before this class, seems like it will be handy
You Tube...great resource, also Teacher Tube
Online News Sources
Moodles...for my grad classes and for my students occasionally
Wiki's on some of my classroom topics
My Kindle Fire, LOVE IT
Prezi...my middle schoolers love this presentation format
FLIP cameras...for video
Audacity.... for sound
Making a short little Extranormal video...very fun!
I have computerized simulators...those annoying infant simulators for my high school students and a fun middle school program with Ystart smoking simulators

What I want to LEARN.....

How to make this all seamless...right now I feel I need a matrix to keep track of passwords, ID's, user names etc...

Balancing the thrill of new things, and the actual effectiveness of using them in the classroom, and my life...

Maximizing READER...this seems like part of the solution...need practice

TIME MANAGEMENT....hours go by working on this stuff...whose doing the laundry???

2nd Life...Avatar's ...sounds so fun BUT how does it fit in the classroom...I can definitely see getting into it 

Mostly I think I want to concentrate on the COP and PLN spheres... getting started exploring these options...Love anything with DIY in it and DIY learning sounds optimal

Use Wikipedia Discussion?

Diigo? Discussions???


Week Three: Virtual Learning Communities

"Explore the importance of seeing yourself as a learner first, educator second..."

Beginner Steps for My Community Of Practice:
  • Search and network for specific needs, so that means define who and what I am looking for?
  • Health Education in general?
  • Integrating blogs in the classroom, how are people using them, assessing?
  • More real-life application learning ideas...
  • More on Essential Questions?
Beginner Steps for My Personal Learning Network:
  • I want to learn more about tiling...it is a hobby that is taking on a life of it's own and I want to learn more
  • I am in the process of renovating my house...lots of DIY...always looking for more
I have more questions, than insights...

It's an exciting prospect but on a personal level, I still fear the time management. 
On a professional level
...I just wonder 
how 'on-board' our administration is?
I can begin to alter my focus, shift more to a facilitator, 
I think that's is what we are anyway
...often the class comes up with the questions and then we search together, or separately and reconvene....

I see a more blended classroom but worry 
about how that translates to our jobs
...understanding that the job description changes, will we have 'teachers'...less or more? what will replace 'classrooms'? what will schools look like? 

There is so much information out there....but so much is .....well, invalid, biased, nonsense....how will the integrity of learning and content be maintained?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Week Two: Chapter One and Two

My "Thinking Map" of Chapter 1 & 2: The Connected Educator.

These chapters made my head spin. Again, excitement mixed with trepidation. I had to use this 'thinking map', a strategy from a previous graduate class, Theories of Learning and Cognitive Development, to sort out the key points. If you are not familiar with Thinking Maps, this one is a Circle Map (obviously), used to organize thoughts around a central topic. The outer square is the Frame of Reference, what influences how we take this all in.

Some of the concepts I held on to were illuminated in more visual formats, I am a very visual learner, so this makes sense. Three comes to mind:

First is the Cooperation vs. Collaboration:
Cooperation is a necessity in education, it happens in classrooms, between departments, etc. True collaboration is tougher. I can imagine many reasons why; time to work together, fear of exposing one's classroom practices to peer review, scheduling, and support. Thinking differently about collaboration, looking outside our buildings, across continents, and through various web tools, just may inspire more to explore the possibilities.

The next is the Self-Evaluation Rubric:
I personally love these self-assesment devices. Reflecting on where I am at, how far I have come, and what my next steps are is far more valuable than sitting in a workshop that may only may marginally apply to my needs. Here is an interesting site with a variety of these self-assessments on Digital Citizenship and Digital Literacy.


And finally the Developing a Connected Learner Model:
This I had to study. Ir is a new language, with vastly wider potential, and I am looking for my own way in. I do some of this, in small parts....just today I responded to a teacher in Wisconsin's search for research-based curricula, and then followed up on another teachers suggested resources. List serve emails within the profession are a type of Community of Practice.

A note about the end of Chapter One, a day in the life of a Connected Educator: although very connected, and exciting...I couldn't help wondering when she got to 'go to son's soccer game', or 'walk the dogs', or 'meet friend for coffee'....I'm sure the piece was just meant to highlight the efficiency in terms of being an Educator but it felt impersonal, and ironically, disconnected, from life.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

That familiar feeling...excitement, overwhelmed, anxious, and small. It happens whenever I delve deeper into technology integration. It's a love/hate type of relationship. Old teacher says: "if it isn't broken don't fix it", in other words, these new technological teaching tools are just the old ones dressed up digitally, expensive, and fleeting.

HA!! Somewhere in that old dogma there lies a challenge. I think it is, "how can we keep up?" That is the fear part. Every time I learn something new, get to a comfortable level with it, integrate into a lesson or unit....maybe even teach it once or twice...maybe even put it into my Curriculum Map....it's OLD NEWS! I get excited about the next....

Let me give you an example....I believe it was during the Jurassic period when I took a tech integration class at Granite (very Jurassic sounding!) State College. We made digital storybooks and played with making Power Point (UHGGG!) more interesting using the actions, sounds, and hyperlinking. Cool, since I had pretty much BANNED (highly discouraged) Power Points from my classroom (2005). I was so tired of boring, text filled PP presentations read in monotone with ridiculous transitions!. Yippee...Now we will make them fun, interactive, etc...I targeted my 8th graders. They make Wellness Models, previously out of cardboard, paper, whatever. They went digital with action buttons linking back and forth, it was cool and surprisingly, I knew more than they did so I felt I was contributing to the tech learning across the curriculum. Two years later, feeling pretty settled in the project (red flag #!), a small voice said, "can't I just do a Prezi?"....A what? Shoot, behind again. Fast forward...2012...Prezi's are banned (highly discouraged)...they got so overdone and boring. Next!!

I would LOVE to just focus on integrating technology into my classroom, I truly would, it's fun!! However, my next Curriculum Map is due this year, we are in our NEASC review, and we just switched from block to period scheduling....OMMMMM....OMMMMMM....achieving BALANCE is proving difficult. it's only September...perhaps it will get better...and this class may just help me pick and choose what I want to work on.

Reality is...I understand and support the 21st Century Learning Objectives. It is exciting to be integrating these into our school-wide expectations. It's not really new thinking...public school has always aimed to educate our students to become productive members of society....it's just that what society requires now, is very different than what we have traditionally taught, and not all stakeholders are on board yet.