March 30, 2012
March 4, 2012
Today I was reading the blog of Steven Anderson, District Instructional Technologist with Winston-Salem Schools in Winston-Salem NC, where he was discussing “Taking a Step Back and Thinking Critically About Technology“. Take a moment to read the article to understand my standpoint below.
So why is iPad King in Education? Apps! When you have a center store filled with over 500,000 apps, with 25 billion downloads, and countless developers always creating new things, then selecting the iPad for your classroom seems obvious. Now with the creation of the iBooks Author, Apple has just added another tid-bit to entice educators more than they already do.
I agree with Steven that there are a lot of schools and districts buying iPads just to say that they have them. (Points to myself.) While I did support the purchase of the iPads for our main curriculum tool now looking back I would go another way. I am one of those educators that believes that “I” am the curriculum in my room, everything else is just a tool that I use. So why would I go with something else rather than the just sticking with the iPad? Simple, Google. The collaboration that comes with Google Docs, Calendar, Blogger, and other various tools is ULTIMATE. In a profession where collaboration works, Google needs to be used in schools more often than it currently is. While the iPad does work with Google, it does not tap into Google’s collaborative features. This is why I personally would go with the Chromebook. I like those collaborative features and students need to learn to collaborate more than they currently are.
February 25, 2012
I am not surprised by the fact that “Traditional textbooks help my students” is so high. They do, but they do not keep them engaged. I am a little surprised with the results “Traditional textbooks engage my students”. What bothers me is the “Agree somewhat”. I have NEVER read a textbook that kept me engaged until the very end. Most of the time it gets to a point where it is just drudgery but I continue on because I know that I have too. Students don’t feel that sentiment. They completely check out.
I believe that we can have the same content that is currently in our textbooks, but just delivered in a more engaging way. Currently I am exploring Apple’s iBooks Author and all of the options that come with it. I am using it to create some curriculum with readings, review questions, and videos, rather than going with my normal approach. I am very optimistic that this will prove to be much more effective.
February 17, 2012
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I was completely blown away with Doug this evening. I was anticipating that this evening would be mostly teaching about Google tools and how they work, of which I do know most of them. Hearing Doug speak into about how important it is to having students be creating material during their learning venture. Creation is the most difficult part of Bloom’s. A lot of teachers do not really spend a lot of time using that upper-end Bloom’s because they find it very time consuming and difficult. It is suppose to be difficult. Most of the learning that we experience in our lives comes from difficult tasks. Even if we were not able to accomplish it the first try, once we did we never forgot how we succeeded in that. It is time for more teachers to be innovative with their kids and get them creating authentic content. I can totally see how Google Apps can help with this.
In order for me to really start diving into this with my iPads in my classrooms I really need to have more access to technology. Students do not have email and are not allowed email access while at school. Seems a little bit backwards for me to have such a rule but then give them an iPad to use everyday.
February 14, 2012
With a very difficult and busy week, it was nice to take some time and sit down and watch some motivational videos. With the first video on motivation, I tried very hard to view the rewards system from a teacher-student standpoint rather than an administrator-teacher. It is easy to see how this would apply from employer to an employee, but how do we get kids to use those difficult cognitive abilities without performance taking a hit?
It is very interesting that the second video that was presented by Salman Khan talked about “Flipping the Classroom”. Just this week I was reading Eric Sheninger’s blog “A Principal’s Reflection” on that very topic. You can read that article here. In the article he talks about some chemistry teachers from Colorado who have completely “flipped” their classroom by recording their lectures and direct instruction and using those recordings as homework while using class time to work on projects that help support the videos.
The vast majority of classrooms, especially at the secondary level, expect all students within a class to learn the given material in one set, standard amount of time. 1:1 technology, combined with the power of the flipped classroom, frees us to allow students to complete material at a more individualized pace.
While I do agree that a “flipped” classroom like this can allow for more flexibility and individualized pace for students who need it, it is important to always remember that technology is only a tool and not a complete answer to solve all problems. While I am very big on using educational technology, I recognize that it is very important to have staff that is well trained in order to effectively use that technology in their classrooms. It is also important to have staff that are willing to take the risk and try something new. Others will follow when they see its benefits. Shoving it down teachers throats will get you no where. There must be buy-in in order to create an effective “flipped” classroom. If the teacher does not believe that it would help their students, then it won’t.
February 5, 2012
Are we living in the 21st century? Yesterday it was apparent to me that we wern’t. Saturday I took my Administrative ORELA exam. You would think that the test would be online and the results would be instant. That is something that we want our students to do to give them instant feedback on how they are doing, but when it comes to having adults get those instant results, testing facilities who determine Oregon’s highly qualified status of teachers and administrators are against this type of testing. This really made me think about what is an “optimal learning environment”. For me it is more than just the learning aspect but the assessment aspect as well. Students use new media on a regular basis and are almost given instant feedback without having to ask for it. In regards Sugata Mitra’s talk on TED, kids want to absorb information at an alarming rate. They will do almost anything too get that knowledge through technologic devices and social media. I do believe that we need to be teaching kids to create media rather than just being consumers of it. They have already gotten that skill down and it puts most of us adults to shame. At a recent conference I was at I ran into a science teacher whose entire school website is made up of every child’s blog. Every bit of their work was created online for everyone to see, share, and collaborate. They were creating and consuming on a daily basis. This is where I would like to see more school headed with getting kids to use those 21st century skills that will be required of them.
February 4, 2012
I really do love the entire “Did you know?” series. If you have not had a chance to see them all I have posted them below. With “Did you know? 4.0” it really does put a lot of things into perspective as does the entire series. Times are changing and they are very exponential. Things that use to take us hours to do now we can do in minutes due to technology, and sometimes we take that technology for granted. I am sure there are some educators out there that remember the wonderful mimeograph machines. I am not of that era but I have heard tons of talk about them. I was once in a conversation with another teacher who was part of the mimeograph era where the district had ordered pallets of the duplicator fluid because it went on such a good sale that they wanted to take advantage of the savings. The very next school year the first Xerox machine was released and the mimeograph was obsolete. Now that fluid is useless and I am sure by now has been disposed of or sits in a warehouse collecting dust.