Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Are eBooks the next new thing in education? This article poses a few new thoughts to think about as an educator. Some tend to think that these new electronic readers will make reading more “fun” for students, and that they will be prompted to read more, simply for enjoyment. Since reading “for fun” has declined in its popularity as a pastime, technology may be the way to spark more life back into this traditional hobby. If I were a younger kid, I think that reading would be much more appealing on a iPad or a Kindle, just because it’s something new.
However, parents do not really agree with this new trend. Studies show that only a small minority (6 percent) actually owns an electronic reader, and 76 percent do not plan on buying one. So what makes this such a fun and exciting thing for younger generations, but not for adults?
I personally think it is a generational thing. Older generations are not as open to the latest technologies simply because they have not been brought up with as much of it as younger generations have. So, the moral of the story is; if we can use this technology to get younger generations back into reading, we should really try to implement these eBooks into the world of education.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Advocates of technology-based education are hoping that Poling's class will change the perceptions of these types of classes. If his class has the correct ratio of academic challenge to gaming, technology-based classes could become more accepted in the academic community.
While I understand that this class is more than just playing a computer game, I have a little trouble viewing it as a "real" college course. I do not see how a class where one plays a computer game and assesses others' gameplay can be on par with history classes or calculus. I think that bringing more technology into classes is almost always a good thing, but I do not think that going as far as centering a course around a computer game is where our technological advancements should be headed.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
I was really interested to read this article for many reasons; first of all, Wikipedia seems to be under such a hot debate in the world of education. As a student, I find Wikipedia to be useful when researching basic information about topics that are unfamiliar to me. It’s a great place to start, in my opinion. However, throughout high school all of my teachers have strictly denied Wikipedia as a credible source, saying that anyone can add information to the pages. While this is true that anyone can edit a Wikipedia entry, there is a story behind it.
In the article the author says that the ability to continually edit Wikipedia entries is very beneficial. From a historical perspective, it is really important that we document what everyone has written about a certain topic. For example, the author writes about the Iraq War Wikipedia entry, and how all of the edits have been documented in a series of books. This means we have everything that was written about the war in a physical copy. This allows us to look back into history to get the whole picture, as opposed to history textbooks that sometimes just give one side of the story. So overall, I think Wikipedia is changing the way we document our history, and it’s for the better.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
She makes it very clear that she disagrees with these intiatives, stating that teachers are losing the chance to teach what they find to be important and only being able to teach those areas that will help their students score satisfactorily on the state achievement tests. I completely agree with her; I find it ludicrous that teachers are being evaluated on their students' ability to be good test-takers. It is not fair that schools are having their budgets cut and teachers are being placed on probation because they are not teaching to the test. I wish there was a way to evaluate teachers in an effective manner without relying on test scores. Standardized tests can only prove so much...
The author also discusses the ways certain schools and even the government is handling the results of the standardized tests. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan rewarded the Los Angeles Times for listing in the newspaper names and pictures of teachers they deemed inadequate. Furthermore, major civil rights groups issued a statement discussing their opposition to NCLB and Race to the Top and scheduled a press briefing, but were "persuaded" by Duncan to cancel the briefing and release the statement without incident.
I completely agree with Ravitch in that NCLB and Race to the Top are hurting our schools rather than helping. One can only hope that as schools fail to meet the government's expectations, Secretary Duncan and President Obama re-think their methods of "helping."
Oftentimes, in high school, I wished that we had access to an E-mail account that connected us to our teachers and fellow students. Oftentimes, there was an instance where I had a brief question about an assignment while I was working on it at home that could have been easily resolved through a quick E-mail response. I believe that using E-mail has great potential for collaborative learning. As the text mentions, E-mail can be used to discuss books or class topics. Also, the concept of using E-mail to communicate with another class is a modern take on the traditional 'pen-pal'. However, using E-mail can immensely speed up this process and allow students to get immediate response from their peers. This can build strong connections and and relationships that are invaluable to our students.
Through my college career, I have found that blogging can be extremely helpful in the sharing of information between students. Multiple courses at IWU have allowed me to practice this tool. Like E-mail, I have found that this can be a quick way to share information with my peers.
However, both of these technologies have a downside. Teachers must monitor to ensure that students are not making inappropriate comments. Especially in a time where online bullying is quite prevalent, we must protect our students from hurtful comments.
Overall, if monitored properly, I feel as though E-mail, blogging and other online resources will completely change the way that students and teachers interact and learn.
Most importantly, my attention was brought to the fact that using word processing can 'level the field' for evaluating writing. Oftentimes, we can pass judgment on a student's work based on their handwriting without even realizing we are doing so. When a student has very messy and illegible handwriting, teachers will overlook the quality of the content that they have written. On the other hand, when a student has very neat handwriting, it is easy to overlook errors and give a good grade simply because the page looks more appealing. In this respect, using word processing can be very beneficial to our students success.
Monday, September 13, 2010
This chapter really opened my eyes to the many ways that we can incorporate the internet into classroom learning, even with younger children. Since I plan to be a teacher around the first grade or kindergarten level, I would need some resources that are easy to use with younger children. I think Starfall.com is a great website that can engage pre-reading students and get them on the track to becoming readers. I also like that it has good viusal learning techniques where students can get immediate feedback and can learn the information by seeing it in more concrete forms, rather than hearing it.
I also thought that the email idea was great! It's like a pen pal system, but online. It sounds so much easier and efficient to use email to connect with other students from basically anywhere in the world. I think students would be interested in using this tool, and since the correspondence is a lot quicker, younger students don't have to wait weeks to get another letter back. Not to mention that you can use email correspondence to learn about different cultures from students across the globe!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
The other part of chapter 12 that stood out to me was the idea of using mapquest.com to teach a lesson, thus making the internet more relevant to the lives of the students, making maps more accessible, and teaching the use of a website that the students will no doubt use in the future. This idea could be used for lessons in many different subjects. For math, students could calculate distances and travel time between various locations; for social studies, students could learn general map skills and geography; for language arts, students could write a story based on their maps; for art, students could draw or paint maps of their own. I think it would be really valuable to use mapquest.com in several different subjects in order to show students how the subjects can be connected.
(I liked the title to the information literacy lesson page because it moved a little bit from the link the book provided.)
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I took a look at quite a few of the websites mentioned in the reading, and I'd have to say I was pretty impressed. All of them offered different forms of learning the lessons, and all of them were very interactive and fun. This book is a little old, so some of the sites have even more to offer now then when the book was published, which is great. I really like that these can be used as extra practice at home, or an assignment to supplement coursework in school. The student gets the instant feedback they crave and they're great study tools.
As far as teaching internet safety, I much preferred the cybersmart website (www.cybersmartcurriculum.org) to the netsmartz workshop. I found it more resourceful and easier to navigate. It also had lesson plans with activity sheets and information on which goals and standards are being addressed based on the national standards.
I work with websites a lot for my art major and often have the problem of not being able to access my bookmarks in class etc. The websites that allow you to keep track and save them are a really great resource for teachers and students alike.
I’m also a big fan of the use of e-mailing and web chatting with other students. When I was in 7th grade, we did a whole project in which we communicated with students from Azerbaijan via e-mail in order to learn about their culture, and vice versa. It was really cool and one of the things that stuck with me the most from that class. The only real issue in this is finding a contact for this to work as you don’t want your students communicating with completely random people. I’m fully behind the utilization of these resources, but it is something that will have to be monitored very closely.
This chapter was really informative to me, and I really liked how the chapter gave a lot of specific examples as to what to use databases and spreadsheets for. It's also really helpful and convenient that under each example they give the grade levels that could appropriately use these ideas. I especially like the idea of creating an acrostic on a spreadsheet. It may take me some time to figure it out, but I think it would be a great way to incorporate technology into the Language Arts/Writing portion on the school day.
I also really enjoyed the idea of using spreadsheets to graph weather changes for younger students to show the changes in weather. This is a pretty abstract concept for younger students, and by graphing the temperatures, students can physically see how it changes with the seasons. I just think this was a really neat example of how we, as future educators, can incorporate technology into everyday lessons.
Monday, September 6, 2010
There are a few easy methods to help students see this correlation. Teachers can make a rubric showing what they believe to be "good" to "unacceptable" effort in any category that they believe to be important in classroom success. They can then give the students blank spreadsheets so they can rate themselves. After they have graded themselves, the students can highlight the Total Effort and Grade cells and create a new graph in which they can see the coorelation between the effort they expel and the grades they receive. Another example the authors gave was a math teacher who used his unit on graphing to help his students see that in the relationship of effort and grades, when one works harder, his grade is generally higher than when one doesn't work as hard.
It is also imperative to show students success stories of older or past students. When students see that their peers have overcome the same problems they have now, it is easier for them to believe they can succeed, too. Rather than just telling your students of success stories, there could be a section on the school website where teachers submit stories of their students. Teachers can also send out surveys to older students asking about how they overcame difficulties by hard work; teachers can then show their younger students the results of the survey.
Until reading this chapter, I never thought about needing to teach students that effort is necessary; it was always so obvious to me. But just because something was obvious to me, that does not mean that every student grows up with parents teaching them that hard work is the only way to achievement. I was lucky in that my parents instilled a great work ethic in me; but I now see that as teachers, we may have to do the same for our students. Using other students' success can be useful; instead of students just assuming, "Well, I'm a girl so I can't be good at math" or paying attention to other stereotypes, if a younger girl hears the story of a girl going to State for math, the younger girl may begin trying a little harder in math class. I also love the idea of using graphs and charts to show students the coorelation between working hard and achieving what they are striving for. As students grow older, this will probably be the most effective method for teaching students what hard work can do. When students see their grades raising as they put in more effort, that is probably a much more profound realization that simply hearing about a success story of another student.
Friday, September 3, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
If the world of education could implement technology to do anything, the GPS tracker is the best idea ever. The article describes how certain Illinois school districts are putting tiny GPS cards on each student’s backpack, and this chip can track when and where the student gets on and off the bus each day. Coming from a family with very cautious parents, I can immediately see how much less stress parents would have to deal with in regards to letting their children take the bus to and from school. I am absolutely all for this type of technology because it gives everyone involved the peace of mind that their children/students are getting where they need to be in a very effective and safe manner. Although this technology is expensive- costing one district $16,000 for 10 buses- I think it is totally worth it. Safety should be of the utmost importance, as I am sure most people would agree.