Thursday, July 24, 2014

Reflection Day 4


It is amazing to me how much I have learned this week about technology and how limited it still is.  There is always something I want a program to do and it just doesn't understand me. As usual,  I was unable to get my video on my blog.  You would think you could just drag and drop.  Not that simple. Needless to say, I did transfer it to youtube, and I still could not get the video to display in my blog. What I did manage to do was create a link to it. 

Visuals do help us remember.  I learned so much about everyone today watching their videos.  I am sure that when I think back on the people who took this class with me, I will remember them through the videos they showed.  

Thank you everyone for sharing your lives today through visuals!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Reflection Day 3- Flipped PD

Flipped PD

I am always hearing teachers talk about staff development as just another meeting where we "sit and get."  Honestly, I have to agree.  The irony is that we say we don't like it and turn around and teach in the classroom in a similar fashion.  I don't think the students are fond of it either.

I think flipped PD is a great idea!  It's hands on and one-on-one.  If we are talking about incorporating more technology into our professional lives and classrooms, what better way to learn it than actually use it with the help of a coach.  This is also a great way to differentiate the learning based on the staff members comfort level with technology.  Each person could have their own tech goal that they are working to achieve.  It is individualized learning.  

Another key piece that is mentioned in the Flipped PD article is the follow-up support.  That piece will not only provide support to staff but also personal accountability.  There would be motivation to get to a certain point before meeting with the coach a second time.

I think this would also be a great way to teach in the classroom; stepping away from the teacher being the "keeper of knowledge" to facilitator or coach.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Reflection Day 2 "A Shift in Thinking"

"A Shift in Thinking"

It was really great to hear and see what Douglas Bundy has been doing in his classroom in regards to technology.   I was particularly inspired by Studentsource/(Under Revision). I loved the idea that it was created for students by students. It was an excellent example of technology integration that created mastery, autonomy, and purpose with motivation. I think this also ties in the the article The Medium is the Message: Educating Generation M, by Young Zhao. In his article he says that we need to accept media as part of children's lives, and that we should prepare them to not just become media consumers but producers as well. Studentsource is just that, and I fully agree with these statements.

However, Zhao also says the Common Core has missed the reality of today's children. In some aspects, yes because the Common Core does not mention technology that much. But I do not think we need to throw the baby out with the bath water. Whether it's print media or online media, students still need to learn how to do "close reading" and understand the fundamentals of basic research. In fact, I believe the reading and research skills the Common Core address are even more important when students are bombarded with different media forms and have to look for accuracy and validity of a source.

While I believe what Zhao says, I, at times, still have trouble shifting my own thinking. I am just as excited to watch teachers create technology based classrooms as I am watching kids curl up in a corner on a bean bag on Dr. Seus's Birthday reading a good, old fashioned, paper, book. Zhao says print medium is becoming increasingly irrelevant to our children. My last year's students showed me they needed both. They loved the times they were plugged in, but also loved to be unplugged, sitting outside with their books or magazines flipping through the pages. I only had one student ask if they could bring their kindle.

It seems to me we are in the middle of the transformation not quite ready to let go. After all Zhao's book is in print form for us "old-timers." Tonight, I will go home and spend time with my daughter most likely engaged in some app she loves on the iPad, and then we will curl up and read her favorite paperback book.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Reflection Day 1. SOLE

I think The TED talk with Sugata Mitra puts what Sir Ken Robinson says into practice.  Robinson says learning needs to be more organic.  Mitra shows that with a Self Organized Learning Environment, it can happen.  It was amazing to me to see what happens when a computer is put in front of children and they are just allowed to play with it and learn it themselves.  What was even more interesting to me, was the collaboration piece that went with the learning.  The children were talking with each other, learning together, learning from each other. They were engaged, interested and were retaining the knowledge at a much more efficient rate.  It was more about the students learning to be "thinkers" as opposed to learning the content. This was very exciting to me.

Putting it into practice.

 A self organizing system really takes the teacher’s role out of “the keeper of knowledge” and into "facilitator of learning."  This can be a difficult transition for some teachers, districts, and even on a state level where standards are still so content based.  

Because the students work in groups, there doesn't need to be one computer/device per student, which I think we tend to get hung up on when talking about technology being accessible to students in schools.

Yong Zhao said, “Technology is not a choice.”  I think it’s sometimes a struggle to get staff on board with technology.  The fear of it can get in the way.  Unlike, the situation Mitra was in, we have a situation where the students will most likely have more knowledge of technology than the teacher, the teacher can feel at a disadvantage   They might start small and choose to add it to an already planned unit.  I think this is a great 1st step into technology.  But how do we shift from that to full integration of a self organizing system?  Ongoing staff development needs to happen not only in technology but in collaboration with each other. Teachers need to be equipped with management tools. Maybe staff development should look like a SOLE and they can find the answers together.