Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Connected Learning

"The potential of cross-generational learning and connection unfolds when centered on common goals."

This is killer, however, seems quite unlikely as so many of those in the older generations are either computer illiterate or refuse to learn. Moving past that huge obstacle to most of the adult population, this is a gigantic step in the right direction.

"Connected learning prizes the learning that comes from actively producing, creating, experimenting, and designing because it promotes skills and dispositions for lifelong learning."

This style of learning, connected learning, helps students reach the ultimate goal of all schooling--application. Through actual production, design, etc. students can gauge not only their ability, but also their actual interest in a subject and field. Phenomenal.

"Connected learning environments link learning in school, home, and community"

The idea that students ought to/ can continue their learning in and outside of the classroom because of the ability to connect to what they're doing inside of school, outside of school.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Language survey

Please take a moment and complete my survey, all responses go to a great cause. 

Will Richardson

The idea of this film for me, that the foundation of our educational theories are outdated and thus ought to be changed, is something I carry with me strongly everyday. The way Mr. Richardson presented his information was great, to begin with his daughter playing sloppy piano (to show that she had taught herself with the internet) was fun.

 He made a good effort to make the point that in their pockets, many students have access to '2 billion teachers' (not all of them great teachers, but some of them would surprise some people). Overall, his idea that schools need to change and adapt to better prepare these kids for the world they are entering was killer.

Richardson's other point, the idea that one ought to separate school and test prep in thinking, I found to be just as strong. The visual he showed of the MIT based web site (and others) made it clear that the internet offers students more than ever before, and that they may not even need a teacher (physically) to prepare for a test. In fact, an internet based test prep, most likely, will prepare a student even BETTER than a teacher dealing with many students simultaneously could possibly ever. However, as he implies, school ought not be replaced by test prep as it does not go along with his idea of 'better', or really, what would benefit the school system the most which he believes to be different > better. Or, change that is. Because "Schools in the form that they were constructed are no longer relevant to our kids lives in terms of places to get information and knowledge".

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Chapter 2 vs 3

'Our kids are digital natives-they learn best through technology'

                                                       'Out with the old and in with the new' 

Above is something American citizens find themselves doing daily. We throw out the empty water bottle only to open another one, we break up with our romantic partners only to seek someone else, we trash our televisions because they are so easy to replace, thus the out with the old in with the new. 

However, what if one were to apply this age old saying to something more substantial. Applied to something that ought to not be thrown away. What if someone tried to apply 'out with the old and in with the new' to education. 

With the advent and widespread usage of computers schools are finding that they ought to begin incorporating the technology as it will most likely prove advantageous for them. Research shows that many of today's students do a multitude of their learning and growing outside of school and on the computer, as it is something they are most comfortable with. Students use the computer for entertainment and contact, why not use it for learning? 

It can be frightening to think of the changes that computers (etc.) bring to the classroom, however with the United States falling behind in international testing one would think that a monumental change such as the inclusion of computers etc. in the classroom would be warmly welcomed. 

Unfortunately, just as there are many proponents to the inclusion of new technology into classrooms there are many opponents as well.  Since the mid-1990s, the average retirement age has risen from 62 to 64 for men and from 60 to 62 for women, according to a new Center for Retirement Research at Boston College analysis of Census Bureau data, thus the average age of teachers continues to grow. 
Having said that, one ought to assume that teachers past a certain age, just like in any other profession, will opt towards not changing their teaching style etc. Which leads to the potential block of the inclusion of new technology. In Chapter 3 of the assigned reading the comparison is made of the inclusion of computers etc. in the classroom to the inclusion of a new curriculum for teachers to follow. The comparison looks to say that while many teachers are uncomfortable with the any curriculum change (as it affects their daily teaching) they would be similarly uncomfortable with technology changes (pencil and paper to keyboard and mouse). 

However, simply because most teachers would find themselves uncomfortable with the available resources doesn't mean they shouldn't be used. That's just silly. It would be similar to a teacher not using a style of textbook even though it would greatly benefit his or her students. One word, ADAPT, get used to new things, if it helps the education process then it helps you as a teacher. 

The idea that we are preparing students for their future, not our past (even though I am currently in, I believe, the same generation as my students) is something every teacher and administrator ought to take seriously. 

It's interesting, on the first day of school I found myself assisting in passing out history books to students in the classroom I was assigned to. While doing so, I thought to myself 'what am I doing? This is so barbaric, so outdated, so 1950's. This is not how I learn, this is not how I would  even want to TRY and learn.' Being a graduate student I enjoy learning very much, and even I would be turned off if my teacher handed me a thick textbook to carry around full of facts surrounded by useless filler info. With that said, how can teachers expect students who may be on the fence about working hard in school to make the decision positively given the circumstances. 

Technology, computers, tablets, smartphones, etc. have not only changed my means of acquiring information, it has changed my mind-set and opinion about the acquisition as well. The big fat history book struck me as simply the wrong way to reach today's kids. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Technology reflection

The first 29 numbered pages of the assigned reading (not including the Roman numerals, that I DID read) were quite informational.

The first chapter of the assigned reading was interesting, the strong notion that human beings ought to not think of learning and schooling as being directly correlated was something I found to be revolutionary (although not far from how it ought to be).

People ought to continue learning far past their graduation day, although many find themselves no longer reading, writing, or in any other way exercising their brains.

Also, the text emphasized that while learning does not always continue into adulthood (or at least after schooling) it doesn't always occur in schools either. A lot of learning occurs at home, online, in blogs, on Facebook, in news articles, simply because it is so easy and accessible (and up to date!). The book emphasized that students go to 'internet cafes' (while mentioning it like 80 times) to learn. And, why not?! Internet Cafes host opportunities for many learning adults to correspond with each other while having infinite access to in theory most of the world's knowledge.

I hate to say it, well kind of, but Wikipedia now offers extreme access to outrageous knowledge. Knowledge that ought to be used more than text books, etc.

Public libraries, also, can serve as a phenomenal 'hotspot' for internet based knowledge.