Monday, July 6, 2015

Professional Reading #1

Swanson, Kristen. (2014). Edcamp:Teachers Take Back Professional Development. Educational  Leadership. May 2014. 71, n8. 36-40.

Kristen Swanson began Edcamp back in 2010. Edcamp is a free event organized by educators for educators where the scheduling and learning are planned by the teachers for their needs. This first began at another conference when a bunch of educators shared their excitement and passion for educating. This group of people continued to keep in touch over the next few months to discuss, plan and advertise the event. They used media such as facebook, twitter and word of mouth to get the word out.
May 2010 about 100 educators came together and began to share ideas. They started with a blank large sheet of paper and throughout the coffee meet and greet ideas were brainstormed, revised, hashed out and then finally written down. Several of the sessions focused on best practices, a few shared successful lessons, and others explored Web 2.0 tools. It was very laid back type of professional development. Participants were encouraged to walk in and out of sessions based on their needs. If they no longer were interested in they were allowed to walk out and join another session. The sessions were causal and often held in a discussion style. Educators continually took to social media to share what they were learning and comment on the sessions.
Kristen then gave some tips to start your own Edcamp or the ability to go to their wiki page to be able to attend an event. In order to create your own Edcamp, she suggested the following things:
  • Find 3–5 like-minded educators who are interested in running an Edcamp event with you.
  • Check the Edcamp wiki to learn about other Edcamp events that have happened in your area.
  • Find a venue and set a date.
  • Get funding and sponsors as needed.
  • Tell everyone about your event.
  • Take care of the little things.
This is such a different take on professional development. Teacher deciding what they need and then implementing it is a novel idea. I agree with the idea of teachers sharing in their “expertise” or successful lessons. I think the causal format may appeal to more educators and allow more to participate because it is not a formal presentation. I agree with this type of format, but would be nervous about the content or the quality of presentation. The control freak in me likes to have a more organized format and controlled setting, however when you get a hundred people together that are passionate and excited about education and focusing on students’ needs, I only see positive things coming out of it.  I think that now is a great time to try something new concerning professional development for educators. This type of method would be that bad to try.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Professional Reading #1

Edudemic Staff (2014, December 4) Edu2014 Recap: 15 Top Resources On Digital Citizenship

            In the article by the Edudemic Staff, it lists various resources to teach children of all ages about digital citizenship and explains how each tool teaches children.  The main points of this reading are the teaching of digital citizenship for all students. With technology becoming a main focus in education, it is important to teach not only curriculum that incorporates technology, but also being safe while using that technology. I think that teaching digital citizenship is important to incorporate during the school day for multiple reasons. First, it assures that most if not all students will get the message about online safety. Many adults don’t protect themselves online and we can not guarantee they will be teaching their children about online safety. Secondly, I think that showing the connection between school and personal actions is important.
            I agree whole heartedly with this article. Digital citizenship is not a new concept, but with the increased use of technology by younger and younger children; the importance of it is increasing. I like how there are resources, games, lesson plans for every level. These lessons can engage students about a serious topic in a fun way. I can potential see the concern that some parents would have with their children being exposed to sensitive material (depending on the lesson/information), but I feel that the topics can be introduced in general, kid friendly way.

            I think that my district and especially my school would be very interested in teaching digital citizenship. The topic is so important to the level of our students and can create such a big impact them. I think that many teachers would have a difficult time incorporating these lessons into their regular curriculum. They would understand the importance of the topic, but with the consent push of Common Core, I can see the argument about what is more important to teach. At Westfield, we have a scheduled period called acceleration. This class incorporates skills to help students that are not based on curriculum. I can see that this be the perfect place for these types of lessons. I feel that it wouldn’t hurt to recap some of those lessons throughout the year in other content classes as well. This way the students don’t only hear it once, but rather repeatedly so that they can practice these lessons when they work with technology.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Journal Review #6

Deubel, P. (2007, 11 8). The Great Debate: Effectiveness of Technology in Education. The Journal, 1-3.
The article, The Great Debate: Effectiveness of Technology in Education examines the continued debate about the usefulness of technology in the classroom. It begins with questioning the definition of the word technology and the word effectiveness. Depending on your perception of the definition really determines the answer. 
Then the article talks about the difference between education and school. The End of Education (1995) stated that, "education is not the same thing as school and that fact, not much of our education takes place in a school." The national survey call for school to teach more than basic skills and to prepare students to complete in a global economy by incorporating 21st century thinking and problem solving skills, computer and technology skills, and communication and self-direction skills into their curriculum
The author then goes on to discuss 10 more points to add "fuel to the fire." Basically posing that for every beneficial thing about technology there is a disadvantage. That added to the continued debate is also the effectiveness that technology has on intellectualemotionalpolitical, sensory, social and content basis. Technology continues to change the way that we think and that has to be taken into consideration. The impact of technology on creativity, innovation, volatility, and turbulence is also great. 
Technology will not necessary improve education but allow classrooms to become more student centered, self directed curriculum rather than a one size fits all. 

We have been discussing the same topic in class for several weeks. I thought that I had a clear viewpoint on technology and its effectiveness in the classroom. That is until I read this article. The article hits on two very strong viewpoints about the effectiveness of technology. That technology can make a significant contribution when the teachers are training to integrate technology into their teaching. We are often shown the various and given 30 minutes to try to incorporated them into our lessons. It is obvious that this creates confusion and frustration among teachers, especially those who teaches content that technology doesn't fit seamlessly
The second viewpoint that stands out is find a balance of incorporating technology in the classroom. The author makes an analogy comparing technology to food. One can not survive without food, but it is also dangerous for one to eat too much food. Technology can create new worlds, but there is a fine line between what is good and what is bad. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Journal Entry #5

Scherer, M. (2010). Transforming Education with Technology: A Conversation with Karen Cator. ASCD, 17-21.

            The article talks with the director of the Office of Educational Technology about the Educational Leadership and the implementation of the educational technology plan and the national vision for schools. It begins with a brief examine of Mooreville Fade School District in Mooresville, North Carolina. It is a district that supplies students with one to one device that are used in various ways throughout the school building and many different curricular areas. There is a focus to use more technology to facilitate communication, engagement, interaction and understanding. Student engagement isn’t focused on the entertainment value, but on the brain activity of the student.
            Providing one on one device also allows for the personalization of learning. It is easier to allow student choice, meeting interests and ensuring that assignments are at appropriate level and allowing for prior experience and language to support learning. Students were using technology to bookmark practice games for math, collaborate with other students on writing and present multimedia presentations about novel themes in small groups.
            Technology can provide more balanced learning opportunities for all students. New technology is necessary to be literate in the 21st century. The Department of Educational Technology provided a three step process for digital literacy. 1. The ability to use information well, 2. Ability to use media and digital technologies to communicate and collaborate effectively and 3. To develop digital citizenship. This process leads to a more personalized, engaging, interesting learning environment.


            When technology is widely available teachers can facilitate personalization, participation, interaction and collaboration among people who may be across the world. I am lucky enough to teach in a district where there has never been an issue about the availability of technology. During testing situations, there may be a lack of devices, but we have been able to work around that so that never impeded learning. I never thought of areas around the nation that not only has a lack of devices, but also the access to internet. Access is a basic necessity for all learners. In class we have discussed the feeling of being overwhelmed because of all the tools that we are learning and how to implement them in our classrooms. The mere thought of not having access to implement these tools scares me. Talk about the learning gap and the great divide between the have and have nots. It is amazing to think about the level of technology education that differs between states and among various cities. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Journal Review #4

Mandernach, J. (2009). Effect of Instructor-Personalized Multimedia in the Online Classroom. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(3), 1-19.
According to the term multimedia is, “the combined use of several media, as sound and full-motion video in computer applications.” I think we use multimedia constantly in the classroom whether we call it that or not.
The journal article by Jean Mandernach is a recounting study of conducted through a college psychology course that examines the types of student engagement through various use of multimedia in the course. They use the theory of multimedia by Doolittle, “web-based multimedia represent the presentation of instruction that enables more then one delivery media, presentation mode, and/or sensory modality” (2001, p3).
The study relied on the basic learning principles of the cognitive theory of multimedia:
1.     Meaningful learning occurs when a learner selects relevant information, organizes the information, and makes connection between corresponding representations.
2.     Each working memory store has limited capacity.
3.     Human have separate systems for representing verbal and nonverbal information.
Using screenshot and visual audio, the professor taught several courses. Each course was designed to see the educational value of multimedia and if it is dependent upon appropriate inclusion of multimedia supplements to enhance the cognitive impact of the text.
            There was a control group, a video only group, an audio power point group and finally a video plus power point group. The content was exactly the same for each class, the variable was the instruction.
The overall result was that students focused on performance engagement rather than skills, emotional or participation engagement. A number of students chose to respond to the professor praising the course that utilized multimedia. They stated that it was more interesting, they learned more than in other classes and some even changed their major.

            With technology being a forefront of many children’s early learning, I think that it is important that we understand when we try to teach them the “traditional” curriculum. Students learn in a variety of ways and with technology almost immediately. When planning lessons, I think that it is an advantage of having the same message/lesson come across in a variety of ways. This can not only increase the engagement of the students, but also allow for students to have a greater understanding of the content since it is presented multiple times and in a variety of ways.  

            I think is also beneficial if students can utilize multimedia as an assessment to their learning. The key part if teaching them what multimedia is and showing how to use it effectively. Just because there is a video embedded into a power point presentation or they use WeVideo, the content may still be lacking. This is a continued struggle even with adults.