Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 8

The highlight of my night. . . was GARAGE BAND!  Exploring the music options and sound effects and working on the collaborative projects was engaging, instructive and fun.  I enjoyed the freedom of playing-- without pressure-- and thinking about the possibilities for students, especially students who are strong in musical intelligence or who need creative outlets during the school day.  I would like to incorporate Garage Band creations as an opportunity/incentive/reward for students.  An added benefit would be that while making the opportunity available to kids, I could enjoy a creative, musical interlude inserted into my administrative routine. :-)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

February 12

Today's class was full of new learning and exploration.  SlideShare, Digital Wish, Google forms, Flip video cameras, and Shift Command 4! The exhilaration of trying out new tools is still clouded somewhat by how quickly I seem to forget the process for what I just did.  My old brain seems to need at least three opportunities to practice what I've learned in order for it to "stick!"  I do notice an increase in my willingness to try things and if I don't succeed, to "try, try again."  I have been amazed by my students' ability to jump right into technology and discover new skills without anxiety or fear.  I am delighted to become a bit more like them.
my survey

Sugata Mitra

Random thoughts on the Hole in the Wall experiment:

The idea of using computers to teach children without teachers seems at the same time simple and radical.  Obvious and yet profound in its ability to change our thinking about how education happens.  I am intrigued by the notion that "any teacher who can be replaced by a machine, should be" and aware of the defensiveness and fear that brings up for some.

Last week I was sharing my excitement about IXL math with a teacher I didn't know well.  Her negative reaction startled me.  She believes that her students need her guidance and stopped just short of saying that internet-based self-paced instruction was immoral.

I am pleased that the Hole in the Wall experiment showed no correlation between demographics, poverty or intelligence on children's ability to learn on their own in groups, using a computer.  I believe that children have always self-organized and learned in groups--my childhood experience of creating dramatic plays performed for the neighborhood, creating small businesses to sell snacks and lemonade seem to be good examples.  We made up games with extensive sets of rules.  Curious about what that childhood might have been like if a computer had been placed in a wall in my working class neighborhood in Chicago.  My little friends and I may have had completely different lives.

NCSD Technology Plan

I appreciate the definition of Technology Integration in the district policy and I think the district's vision statement is aligned with the basic practices outlined here.

Technology integration is the incorporation of technology resources and technology based practices into the daily routines, work, and management of schools. Technology resources are computers and specialized software, network-based communication systems, and other equipment and infrastructure. Practices include collaborative work and communication, internet-based research, remote access to instrumentation, network-based transmission and retrieval of data, and other methods. This definition is not in itself sufficient to describe successful integration: it is important that integration be routine, seamless, and both efficient and effective in supporting school goals and purposes.”
Integrating technology is what comes next after making the technology available and accessible. It is a goal-in-process, not an endstate. The goal of perfect technology integration is inherently unreachable: technologies change and develop, students and teachers come and go--things change. It is the process by which people and their institutional setting adapt to the technology that matters most. The process of technology integration is one of continuous change, learning, and (hopefully) improvement. Developing a culture that embraces technology is also important to its successful integration; for example, sending important messages by e-mail, or encouraging staff to use electronic calendars to schedule meetings, fosters a culture that accepts technology as “natural” to the business of everyday work.

I was surprised by some of the statistics quoted here, especially the differences between boys and girls. Since this data is several years old, I wonder if it is still accurate.

”Finding from the Speak Up 2007 for Students, Teachers, Parents and School Leaders indicate that teachers still have a long way to go before they can meet students technology needs. “The Speak Up data represents the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered stakeholder input on education, technology, 21st century skills, schools of the future and science instruction, and the data is used regularly by education, business and policy leaders to inform federal, state and local education programs.”
Of the 319,223 students and 25,544 teachers surveyed, the reported uses are as follows:
70% of students in grades 6-12 consider themselves “average” in their tech skills compared to their peers. The 24%, however, that identify themselves as “advanced” have significantly different views on technology.
Following a trend identified in every Speak Up survey since 2003, girls in all grades continue to be more likely to identify themselves as having beginner or average tech skills compared to boys, and less likely to say “advanced.”
What do you do regularly with technology outside of school? Top vote getters: Gaming – over 64% of students in grades K-12 play online and/or electronics
based games regularly Download music - #1 activity by middle and high school students mirrors
increases in MP3 usage
Social networking - 40% of middle school students and 67% of high school students have a personal website (Facebook, MySpace, Xanga) – most popular activity on that website: emailing with friends
Communications (email, IM, text messaging) – while over 50% of all high school students use these tools regularly, girls’ use outpaces boy’s use by an average of 12 percentage points
For school work, students in grades 6-12 are using technology for these top 5 activities in 2007:
Writing assignments (74%) Online research (72%) Checking assignments or grades online (58%) Creating slideshows, videos, web pages for schoolwork (57%) Email or IM with classmates about assignments (44%)

I found it interesting to see Creativity and Innovation as the #1 student goal and consider that to be forward-thinking.  However, if the #1 use of technology by teachers to facilitate learning is the same as what was identified in 2007 as    assigning homework or practice work (51%), we have a long way to go toward achieving that goal!

Student Goals
Based on a review of the research and the availability of the revised National Education Technology Standards for Students, the technology team agreed that it is most appropriate to use the NETS for Students for North Clackamas students. The goals contained in these standards are also consistent with the new Oregon diploma requirements for Essential skills as well as aligning closely with the District’s Media/Literacy standards.
1. Creativity and Innovation
Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
2. Communication and Collaboration
Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
3. Research and Information Fluency
Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.
5. Digital Citizenship
Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.
6. Technology Operations and Concepts
Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

EDAD 536 first class

My favorite part of the first day of class was learning that there are on-line schools being created around the world.  Using technology as a way of differentiating instruction and making learning more accessible is definitely the wave of the future.  I am very interested to learn more about schools without structures or the hybrid schools Gary described in class.

My anxiety level rose significantly when I heard that we would be setting up "blogs."  The pre-assessment also stressed me out until I began using a humorous approach and stopped worrying that I did not know how to describe even the few terms I was familiar with.   As someone who did not start using a computer until graduate school, I am on a steep learning curve and nervous but excited for this opportunity to catch up a bit.

As I consider what my project will be, I think I would like to become more proficient at using Google Docs, Google mail and the Google "forms" that can help me streamline communications and decrease my use of paper surveys and information.

Last night I saw the movie Social Network, which was quite fascinating on many levels.  I have only recently joined Facebook and do not use it very often.  I look forward to a great deal of learning and increased confidence as a result of the class. This is my first experience with a blog.  To my surprise, I am now a Blogger!