Thursday, October 28, 2010
As it is probably clear to most of us already, with the new century came new technology and new technological skills to be learned. This article discusses the possibilities of creating new assessments that are directed towards new technological skills. 43% of the schools that responded to the survey stated that their school district already implemented new assessments to test skills like problem solving, teamwork, and critical thinking.
The article also discusses the issue of cyber bullying, and it states that 34% of school districts said that anti-bullying and other computer safety policies have already been implemented.
A final point brought up in the article revolves around the push towards electronic “textbooks” if you will, rather than traditional printed books. The problems that would need to be addressed before making the switch would be to make sure each student has equal access to the internet outside of school, which seems to be a problem for many low-income areas. It is interesting to note that 24% of schools that responded to the survey said schools should move towards electronic reading because textbooks are boring. However, I feel like this may be a controversial issue. I personally have trouble reading long texts online, because I feel like if I cannot write on the text (underlining or highlighting important information) I have a lot more trouble understanding and remembering what I read. So, besides the issue of availability, educators should look at all perspectives before making the switch.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The University of Phoenix, the nation's largest online university, will begin offering a free, 3-week trial run for potential students, in which time they will be able to tell if they can handle online courses and at the difficulty level of the university. This program is in response to the federal government re-evaluating its regulation of for-profit colleges and universities, due to the amount of debt students are leaving with. The company that runs the University of Phoenix, Apollo Group Inc., thinks that the government’s re-vamping of colleges and universities is only going to lower the chances of lower-income students to be able to get into college. The university is going to have fewer people enrolling, which translates into less revenue.
This program ultimately comes from the fact that the government believes that universities are recruiting students that simply are not ready for, or cannot handle, the life of a college student. These students drop out without another, better-paying, job prospect, but still need to pay back their students loans. When students cannot pay back their loans, the loan goes into default and taxpayers end up paying for it. The government has decided that if students are leaving a college or university with too much debt, or if too few students repay their loans, it will limit the amount of federal financial aid a school receives, which makes it harder for lower-income students to attend. Because of the new changes to the school, Apollo Group expects the enrollment rate at the University of Phoenix to drop by 40%, which of course lowers the amount of revenue the school receives. Investors are worried this trend is going to continue in the world of higher education.
While I agree that students do leave college with too much debt, I do not think it is right for the government to without federal financial aid that is given to students. What will happen to lower-income students that try to get into a school like Wesleyan? Because in general, our students do leave college with quite a bit of debt, that means that if we are affected by this change, some of our financial aid could be getting cut. I know that if it were not for my financial aid, I could not afford to come here, so what will happen to the lower-income students? Are they expected to go to a cheaper school that may not have the academics that we have simply because they are lower-income? I sincerely hope the government realizes the problems with this new plan before it gets implemented at any other schools.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
This article describes the ins and outs of video lectures. InterCall did a survey on college students and in their results, over half said they “learn more effectively and improve their grades” when lectures are posted online. This seems to make sense; if students can review the material online again, they can better absorb the information. However, the online lectures have turned into an excuse for skipping class altogether. InterCall also reported that a majority of the students said they would only go to class that day if there was an exam scheduled or if they had to borrow notes from a classmate. This means that online lectures are allowing for students to be lazy by doing a minimal amount of work for their classes.
What really disturbs me about this trend is its implications for the future; if college students would rather take a nap to skip class, how are they going to fare in the real world when they have real jobs? I think this shows the immaturity of a lot of college students.
So, although I do think there are many advantages to the online lectures, I think we need to find a way to keep students in class and only using video lectures as a supplement to their classroom participation.
Friday, October 15, 2010
This article focuses on the advancements in technology use that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation plans to fund to help with college readiness and completion. The Gates Foundation really wants to help out with this cause because, although access to higher education has become more available, by age 30 fewer than half of Americans have earned a college degree. So by funding the use of up-to-date technology for postsecondary education, we can hopefully increase the amount of students that earn a college degree.
Here is the proposal that addresses some specific challenges that should be taken on in the postsecondary education world:
1. Increase the use of “blended learning models” (this means combining face-to-face learning with online learning)
2. Strengthen students’ engagement through interactive technology
3. Support the availability of high-quality open courseware
4. Help institutions, instructors, and students benefit from learning analytics, which can monitor student progress and customize personal support.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
This article focuses on schools that are beginning to accept Web 2.0 into not only their classrooms, but into the district in general. In a compendium, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) profiled 6 different school districts that are embracing Web 2.0. This compendium includes a profile of each school district, the ways in which Web 2.0 is incorporated and librarians’ takes on the importance of school media centers when it comes to implementing Web 2.0 into the school districts.
The article acknowledges that Web 2.0 does still have problems and that it is not perfect yet, but also points out that the benefits far outweigh the possible harms. The author also grants that the integration of Web 2.0 will differ greatly; some school districts will be totally open to Web 2.0 and will change lesson plans and teacher tools to incorporate it, and others will only incorporate what is easy for them to do. There will always be different levels of implementation.
I think the article makes a very valid point; some districts will want to change their methods of teaching and will want to integrate Web 2.0, but other districts will wish to stay with the white board and overhead projectors. A lot of school won’t have the financial resources to make the switch, or the teachers may not want to change their methods. I do, however, think that the districts that do incorporate more Web 2.0 will continue to grow and test scores will continue to rise; and the districts that don’t incorporate Web 2.0 will see the difference. Web 2.0 gives students another method of learning; Web 2.0 is hands-on in a way that has not been possible before and I think it can really help students who haven’t necessarily found their perfect learning style yet.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Especially as a future educator, I am saddened to know that a lot of technologies are literally inaccessible to so many people. I'm actually surprised that more hasn't been done up until this point with technology for disabled people. Technology can be a great asset in the classroom to people who may not always be able to do the same things as the rest of the students. For example, a student who has difficulties speaking can use a keyboard projected onto a screen to convey his or her ideas to a classroom and therefore can be a very active part of class conversations.
Overall, I am excited to see the changes that will be taking place in the technological world to make devices more accessible not only for the disabled, but for everyone.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
This incident is causing leaders on college campuses nation-wide to consider making online privacy education necessary for incoming students. I personally think this is a great idea. I don't know how many people realize that even if you delete a Facebook comment or a Tweet, it doesn't matter. Someone, somewhere probably saw it the second that person posted it. Just because someone thinks a phrase is harmless, or an act is a joke or that it's just between friends, as soon as it is on the web, anyone can see it. I think it is really important for students to know things like that. Even if most students know this information, a lot don't. I'm sure the roommate who posted the video never realized that people all over the world would be - or could be - looking at his Twitter account page or his Facebook wall, but they are. Posting one video, or making one comment can literally change a person's life. It definitely has changed the lives of the students at Rutgers University.
I am very glad we worked with SmartBoard in this class. I was not familiar with SmartBoard when we started, because at my high school we were still using overhead projectors in every classroom.
I feel that this technology is in the beginning stages and that it will keep getting better and be easier to use and better to teach with. SmartBoard has the wonderful ability to cater to different learning styles at once because of the combination of visual, auditory and hands-on aspects of the software. I was always really lucky in that I am generally an auditory learner, but most of my friends are visual learners. The fact that SmartBoard can include videos, pictures, and even demonstrations can really help visual learners whereas sometimes a plain white board or an overhead projector just aren’t good enough.
Even though this technology is fantastic, there are always downsides. For me, the main downside was the difficulty I had including multimedia in my project. I am not very good with computers, so I had to make a lot of phone calls when I couldn’t transfer a YouTube video into a flash file or into just an audio clip. Fortunately, I have friends that are good with technology, but some people may not have those resources. Also, when my file got too large, my computer would either freeze or totally shut down when I was trying to transfer my file onto my flash drive.
Overall however, I think this is a great new piece of technology that is only going to get better. This is potentially the beginning of a new era in education, in which we can cater to all learning styles at once.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Smartboard software is an excellent teaching tool, when it works. I was really excited to learn about all of the interactive features that are already included within the program. I didn’t realize there was quite so much just available right there at your fingertips. The number of tools and interactive activities that you can just plug stuff into was great. It was also fun trying to find online resources that could be fun to do “hands on” by literally clicking on the Smartboard. I think the number of multimedia components that can be used and taken advantage of on a Smartboard is great, but utilizing all of those was quite the feat. I had a number of problems, I feel like it may have been because I tried to include too many elements. I had the whole file wipe out on me at one point, which was really discouraging, but I guess that’s a price to pay when working with technology. On the plus side, the internet is a really great resource for trouble-shooting. It’s very likely that others have had the same problem as you, granted it took me three or so hours to fix one of my problems trying different things, but I was still able to.
Before starting this whole unit, I was a little concerned that smartboards wouldn’t lend themselves very well to teaching subjects like math or music. I kind of just thought it was a fancy, interactive version of power point, and I’d never seen a math or music presentation before so I was really worried. To my surprise it actually worked out quite nicely. Liz’s presentation included a lot of the same ways we learned to conquer those subject areas hands on, but by using technology. Instead of trying to keep track of a hundred small coins, you can do it all on the smartboard etc. As far as music, being able to used sound clips with images is a lot cheaper than having actual instruments to demonstrate. It’s a lot easier and cheaper to have each child try a virtual piano keyboard than to get each student one etc.
Overall, I think smartboard would be a great asset to every classroom. In the long run, the benefits outway the initial costs, I’d say.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Overall, I think that interactive whiteboard technology is the future of education, and educators should not hesitate to learn the many uses it has to offer.
After watching everyone else present their projects, I have gained insight into other tools that I could have used in different ways. In the future I would like to use more of the screen shade and side-by-side screen functions so that students can be doing more than one thing at once and can reference previous slides to help them with an activity. I'm excited to learn about more types of technology and the tools that are available online as resources in the classroom. Prior to this project, I would have never imagined using Panoramio or artPad in a formal presentation.
I'm frustrated, however, with the amount of problems that I encountered while trying to create my project. The combination of notebook and my mac caused the program to shut down and lose my work multiple times. At least I am now fully aware of how these problems can be detrimental when trying to use new technologies.
Overall, I think that I will use the smartboard quite frequently in my future classroom.
Recently Harrisburg University banned access to any and all social media websites (Facebook, Twitter, AOL…etc.) on the school’s network for an entire week. It was meant to serve as a reminder to students to see just how much they are hooked on these websites and how much time they spend on them during class or instead of focusing on academics.
The point of this experiment was not to show that Facebook or Twitter has a large impact of student grades (because research has shown that it really does not affect grades), but rather to make students more aware of how it distracts them during class. Many college professors have noticed that in lecture classes students just log in to facebook and ignore the lecture.
After the week ended, students reported that the ban was “annoying,” and students still found ways around the ban (using private networks or blackberry phones to log onto facebook). The article also leaves us with something important to think about… should the students’ bad reactions to the ban warn us about how students will adjust in the workplace?