Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Week 4: Social Bookmarks

The use of social bookmarking can be very beneficial in an educational setting. When Delicious first came out, I was so excited. I loved being able to have my bookmarks where ever I was at the time. When I signed up for a new account for this class I was curious to see if it had changed at all. It is pretty much the same. I have used other social bookmark sites but my favorite right now is Pinterest. I like being able to categorize my “pins” into useful subject areas. Another feature is the ability to invite other people to pin to a common board. Visually, Pinterest is very appealing. The little picture allows a snapshot of what you are linking. The secret board is another fun feature. It does not have to be something salacious that you don’t want others to see. When I found out that I would be teaching second grade before it was announced, I had a secret board where I began planning for my classroom. Another time I used a secret board to help plan a party. Sometimes I have people send me pins. But the best feature is seeing what the people I follow pin.
What is important is finding a social bookmarking tool that works best for you. The ability to organize, share, and explore sites is a great tool. As a teacher I use it to keep new ideas easily accessible. It would be nice to set one up for me to use and share professionally. I could set up a parents corner, a kids corner, homework helpers, a place for my co-workers to share sites…there are many possibilities.

When I read the phrase “instructional design and technology” in chapter 1 of the text book I felt that this was very appropriate for what I want to do in the technological realm. Most of the places I have worked there has been a disconnection between the teachers and the people running the technology in the school. Many teachers feel that technology is pushed upon them with little training. I believe a coach is needed to go into the classroom of teachers to see what they are doing and to then help the teacher to use technology in way that will enhance what they are already doing. Technology that is forced upon people may be labeled ineffective when really they were not given proper time to adapt to it. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Week 3: Wiki Wiki Web

This week's assignment was about Wiki's. Even though I have used Wikipedia I did not really understand what a wiki was. Now a lot of things are making more sense to me. I remember listening to a knitting podcast and the host was talking about developing a knitting wiki. Whether that happened or not I do not know but it makes sense that experts in different areas of knitting could share their knowledge in one location, linking to more information.

As I trudged through the assignment and created my own wiki  I began thinking about how I could use this in my job. With PBIS being a big buzz in education now, I think me and my colleagues could benefit from having a wiki where we could access and review the different aspects of PBIS.

In trying to think of ways a second grade student may use a wiki, I began thinking about their upcoming animal reports. We could create a class zoo wiki. The students could work in teams. Each animal could have a page and the students could add to each page. While some of the maneuvering could be challenging for some students, since they would be working as a team all students would be able to contribute in even a small manner of finding pictures and adding them to the page.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Week 2: Blogs, RSS Feeds, Dale's Cone, and Computer Imagination

I began blogging about my daily life 10 years ago. As a stay-at-home mom I had no idea who would read what I had to say. Somehow I got a tiny following. When the service I used shutdown, I moved to another, and then another. I never shared my blog with anybody I knew in real-life. Later I set up a Blogger account to share with family. If you look in my profile you can take a look at it. Additionally, I have used RSS feeds to keep track of many different things. Being a knitter I subscribed to many knitting blogs. While I used Google Reader, I really liked using my iGoogle home page where I had widgets set up for the blogs I liked to follow. When I went back to school to finish my BS, I was grateful for my online hobby since it served me well in my willingness to embrace technology. I resisted using Feedly to replace Reader for no good reason. Now that I have it, I will load some more of the blogs and podcasts I used to follow.
Martin Siegel’s reference to the development of e-learning needing imagination infused is becoming more of a reality. Last semester the class I took allowed us to use interactive software where the user can have lessons and also participate in simulations that offered feedback. I found it very engaging to the point where I wanted to protest one of my answers. Maybe I am just a simple girl.

Where blogging fits in Dale’s Cone is only limited by ones imagination. That being said, I don’t know how I would use it with my second grade students! Of course it would be a great communication tool for the parents but directly for my little people, I am not sure. There are so many other things to use to help them learn. A blog would only serve as a place to link websites. RSS feeds I think of more as a tool to keep up on things that change like periodicals. Again, I think it would be lost on my second grade kids. I guess I need to stretch my imagination. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Tale of Two Views of Technology

After reading both of these articles, my head was spinning in both directions. In Beyond Technology Integration: The case for Transformation, there is an air of hope for the future with all of the new technology that will afford all students to be able to be taught with their individual needs being met on all fronts. The second article, Of Luddites, learning, and life, I felt like some old curmudgeon, grumbling about how technology may be moving forward but, darn it, it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I kept expecting to read something about reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic.
Somewhere between these two differing feelings towards where they thought technology from the time they authors wrote these articles, 1993 and 2002, are bits of what has come to be. As technology has advanced many schools have jumped on board and have forgotten some of the basic needs students need to acquire or grow into developmentally. I found myself agreeing with Neil Postman’s statements about schools main purpose being to teaching kids how to work in groups. I did not want to agree with him because he seemed against technology. But as I see schools getting grants for new great techie things, but not taking time to implement it in effective, meaningful ways or worse forcing it down teaches throats, I found myself agreeing with some of Postman’s thoughts. Just some though.
Charles M. Reigluth and Roberto Joseph the need for students to learn things to mastery and how their individual learning needs can be met. However, in my experience in lower elementary, mastery doesn’t seem to be a goal. This can especially be seen in math. As far as students having personal learning plans, that is fine as long as the students can have the same assessment.  Now I sound like a curmudgeon!

I don’t believe all hope is lost. I do think teachers need to be given a little bit more freedom in how to teach their students. I have worked with some brilliant teachers whose creative efforts have been stifled in the way of progress. Some of these teachers are afraid of technology. If they had somebody who could observe their teaching and give them ideas they may be more likely to explore other ways of using technology in their instruction. As educators we owe it to our students to be open to the wonderful new things that come along and still teach students to how to be students.