Amy Barnabi - Reflections of Blogging

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

WEEK 2 Post #5 - Social Media

Just a bite tomorrow.... Setting up Wii and showing kids how it will look tomorrow. Only time I can do it is during my lunch hour. They will come back to lunch (whole sixth grade), and I will open curtains (kids are sitting in cafeteria (auditeriem (sp)), and introduce Wii Fit Project ™. I can't wait to build it up!! Thinking we will use new Wii EA Active Sports for show. I can't even begin to tell you how very excited I am... If I can, I'll have a third party video tape introduction of project and post it. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

WEEK 2 Post #4 - 21st Literacy Lifelong Learning

THE 21ST SKILLS AND LIFELONG LEARNING

How am I supposed to teach my students TODAY when what I’m teaching them now will be irrelevant by the time they turn around? The jobs they’ll have when they are my age, have yet to be invented. How can I possibly prepare them for that? What do we really know about today’s youth? As educators, do we truly understand how they think, learn, communicate, and socialize? As if you didn’t know by now, they don’t perform any of the aforementioned skills in any manner like the youth of years past. Our students live in a digital world, altered by ever-changing technology (21st Century School, 2008).

However, as Dr. Michael Wesch points out, although today’s students understand how to access and utilize these tools, many of them are used for entertainment purposes only, and the students are not really media literate ( 21st Century Schools, 2008). The digital generation has unknowingly incorporated 21st Century skills into their day-to-day lives by becoming innovators, creative designers, critical thinkers, collaborators, and complex problem-solvers. While these students are having fun, they are also learning (Richardson, n.d.).

What is PLE that many educators are talking about today? A PLE (personal learning environment) is: a system that helps learners take control of and manage their own learning. This includes providing support for learners to set their own learning goals, manage their learning, manage both content and process, and communicate with others in the process of learning (Cann, 2008).

In a nutshell: Students being responsible and engaging in their own learning. Students actually taking an active role and participation in education, gee, why didn’t we think of this earlier? Because, we didn’t have to the tools needed. We had all the talent in the world, but couldn’t quit give to our students what they needed. We can now. John Dewey, a well-known educational reformer, says it best, “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.” Why not step outside our comfort zones and reach out for the future? The traditional educational view of drill and practice and test taking is a difficult concept to abandon or reconsider for many educators (21st Century Schools, 2008) Lewis Carroll summed it up nicely when he said in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,

“One can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”


21st Century Schools. (2008). Possibilities of the 21st century. Retrieved Sept. 15, 2009, from http://www.21stcenturyschools.com/What_is_21st_Century_Education.html

Richardson, Cathleen. (n.d.). Hot chalk-Possibilities of the 21st century. Retrieved Sept. 15, 2009, from http://www.hotchalk.com/mydesk/index.php/editorial/54-students/100-21st-century-learners-an-introduction.html

Cann, Alan, J. (2008). What the heck is ple and why would I want one? Retrieved Sept. 15, 2009, from http://www.microbiologybytes.com/tutorials/ple/index.html

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

WEEK 2 POST #3- Media Literacy

Media Literacy

"Tech is the 21st century. We're putting kids behind the eight ball if they don't have any contact with computers," said Jamal Hicks, a teacher of social studies and technology at Jonas Salk Middle School in Sacramento, Calif. (Olsen, 2006)

You don’t have to understand the game of pool, to understand what that means: We are falling farther and farther behind as a nation in education, by not using every angle possible to teach our kids.

One such program in emergent technology that is offered is blogging. How can you use blogging in the classroom? Have your students post journal entries as historical figures sharing their thoughts and feelings as they traversed oceans or continents. Students can record data from scientific experiments and post their observations. Or they can post summaries of the day’s lesson for students who may have been absent or did not understand the concepts fully. Blogs give educators the opportunity to open up their classroom to the world. (EdTech, 2007)

So what are we afraid of? "Schools tend to react to emerging technology like MySpace by restricting student use with a heavy hand...(But) to improve education, we must put real digital-age tools in student hands," said Dennis Harper, founder of GenYes. (Olsen, 2006) Letting students be responsible for their own learning? Imagine that. Imagine the possibilities!

Another wonderful program that is free and offered on the web is Google Docs and spreadsheets. Google Docs and Spreadsheets are powerful online collaborative tool. Google Docs has an online word processor, formula spreadsheet, and a presentation tool. They are not Microsoft, but have a similar graphical interface. All of these documents, spreadsheets, and presentations can be opened, edited, and saved – as well as printed and exported into other file formats. (EdTech, 2007)

Emergent technology was designed to make an educator’s life easier. Don’t work harder, work smarter!

EdTech. (2007). The future is here! Emerging technologies in the classroom. Retrieved September 11, 2009, from, http://www.tcubed.wordpress.com/2007/10/24/the-future-is-here-emerging-technologies-in-the-classroom/

Olsen, Stephanie. (2006). When digital kids rule the classroom. Retrieved September 11, 2009, from http://news.cnet.com/When-digital-kids-rule-the-classroom/2009-1041_3-6065108.html

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Week 1 POST #2 - Learning 2.0

E-LEARNING

Education is not the filling of the pail, but the lighting of a fire- W.B. Yeats

What is e-learning and how is it benefiting K-12 schools? E-Learning lessons are generally designed to guide students through information or to help students perform in specific tasks. Information based e-Learning content communicates information to the student. Examples include content that distributes the history or facts related to a service, company, or product. In information-based content, there is no specific skill to be learned. In performance-based content, the lessons build off of a procedural skill in which the student is expected to increase proficiency. (Wikipedia, 2009)

E-learning is not something new, but something that has been around for the past ten years. (Phillips, n.d.) So why haven’t more schools picked up on the idea of e-learning? Distance learning used to be putting students in a room, setting up a projector, and talking to another class. Today e-learning offers so much more. Blogging is currently “the thing” to do with students. There are many opportunies for teachers to use blogging with their students in the classroom. One such site includes classpress.com, or educationworld.com. Teachers are starting to explore the potential of blogs, media-sharing services and other social software - which, although not designed specifically for e-learning, can be used to empower students and create exciting new learning opportunities. (O’Hare, 2006)

Using my Wii Fit Project™, I am currently looking for new and innovative ways to reach my students. I’m looking to set up a e-learning environment within my classroom by using Wii’s Animal Crossing and creating high tech pen pals. Using Animal Crossing, my students will not only become more familiar with the concept of economics and the process of moving into a new community, looking for a house, getting a loan, finding a job, but also, using the microphone attachment with the Animal Crossing game, be able to set up high tech pen pals where we can engage in strategies and converse on students’ daily lives in different parts of the country. E-learning is not a new idea, but new ideas need to be used in the classroom to continue to reach our today’s learners.

“Do not train children to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” – Plato

References:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-Learning

EdTech. (2007). The future is here! Emerging technologies in the classroom. Retrieved September 11, 2009, from, http://www.tcubed.wordpress.com/2007/10/24/the-future-is-here-emerging-technologies-in-the-classroom/