Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

Jessica's Project

How did it go?
My original project proposal was to create a blog for my classroom that would illustrate both aspects of transparent and reverse teaching. I wanted to use the blog as the vehicle to keep the parents of my students informed about what was going on in the classroom. It would also provide my three sixth grade classes with the opportunity to communicate.

This was my first year at a new school. I teach both Social Studies and Language Arts in a Humanities approach during one hour. Teaching two subjects in one hour is an ambitious task in itself. What I also didn't realize was how much pre-teaching would be involved in creating the type of blog that I wanted to set up. My school is completely standards based which is both wonderful and a challenge. Many of my students have gaps in their basic skill sets. The blog has really only just started to take the form in the way I hoped for in the last couple weeks.

What worked?
The students were tasked with writing a historical fiction short story on their own individual blog. I set up the blog to represent the transparent piece of our writing process in Humanities. Each aspect of the writing process would be reflected in the blog either through the students' posts or the students' comments.

The students posted their rough drafts directly on the blogs. Once their rough draft was posted, they needed to make revision comments on other posts. Students made revisions to their post based on their peer comments. I asked students to put the changes they made to their post in either bold or underlined font.  Peer revision became transparent for the parents. One of the most challenging things I find explaining to parents is how the peer revision and editing process works in my classroom.

Students then began the editing process. First they were required to self-edit their blog. They made editing comments on each others posts and then made the editing changes to their draft. They were required to put their editing changes in red. Again the editing process is transparent in the classroom.

What really works about this for me is the management. When I normally run writing workshop in the classroom, I have students in a variety of places and I keep notes about where everyone is in the writing process. Instead of keeping a binder full of notes that parents can't see, I keep track of everything through the blog. Everyone is on a different step in the writing process and I can easily keep track of who has finished rough drafts, peer revision and editing, and who has published the final draft.

What didn't work?
I didn't realize how long it would be before we would get to actually posting on the blog. Between NECAPs, NWEAs, assemblies, interruptions, and a mandated test taking strategies unit, we didn't start our research for their stories until after the beginning of the second quarter.

I was unprepared for my students lack of understanding in the writing process. On top of teaching students the research skills I wanted them to have prior to beginning their stories, I had to teach the steps in the writing process. Going over what a rough draft was and the difference between revision and editing was not on my original agenda.

I was also unprepared for students lack of basic computer skills. I had quite a few students who had difficulty with the basic navigation of a computer. I still remember my shock at helping sixth grade students learn how to press the up and down arrows to scroll in order to see the rest of a page.

What's next?
Students are all over the place in the writing process and completing their stories. The majority of students have their rough drafts posted, but they are still working through the revision and editing steps in the writing process. I want to use the blog in other ways. I would like for students to communicate about what they are reading in their literature circles. With three sixth grade classes it would be the perfect opportunity to create asynchronous groups.

How will you change it?
I want students to have more of a role in the reverse teaching aspect of the classroom. I would like to have students create explanations of our mini lessons in class to share with other students. I want to have the students taking on more responsibility for the lessons.

Link to my website (reverse teaching)
Miss Longstreet

Link to some of the examples from our blog (transparent teaching)
Note: I have temporarily lifted our security block of requiring a password to read the posts.

Our Middle Ages Blog

Blog Example 1
Blog Example 2
Blog Example 3


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Martha's Project

How'd It Go?
So my proposed plan was to have student begin collecting work to compile onto a Google Site. How far did we get? Definitely not that far. What we have done as a class, however, is on track to get there eventually however. My students have been introduced to and are becoming proficient at several Google Apps. They have been recording all the books they've been reading during their independent Reading Workshop on Google Books. They use Google Docs for all their documents and presentations. We've stored pictures of the happenings in our classroom on Picasa. And my favorite yet, using Blogger.

What Worked/What Didn't?
Let's start first with what didn't work. I aimed too high. There was no way in three short months that I'd get as far as I expected to. Teaching two subjects this year, taking an online class, having another part time job, and coaching JV soccer was much more than I had expected. What's working? We're slowly inching our way towards my goal. On our Blogger accounts, each student created a pseudonym, or a pen name, for themselves. This tied in perfectly with our SS unit at the beginning of the year with the authors of the Federalists papers having written with a pen name. Though my kids are kind of silly, they really understood the rationale behind not having their real name out on the web, and also like the secrecy of even their peers not knowing (at first) who they were. Though, as far as I know, we're the only classroom using several of the Google Apps, the entire school has now moved to using Docs. This has made it so much easier when it comes to kids losing their laptops, forgetting their laptops, losing their hard drive, etc. On Student Led Conference night, students shared with their parents our classroom website, our classroom Blog and their own, and their reading record - all virtually. Teachers were a little confused when I sent them a letter that all my kids would need was their laptop. But really, that's all they DID need! I also have a student who has been out most of the year due to health issues - this has been a great way for him to remain connected to our classroom.

What's Next? How Will You Change It?
I plan to continue teaching my students about the various apps that Google offers, leading up to them having collected enough work throughout the year to create their own Google site. I plan for the site to be a final evaluation for their Language Arts grade at the end of the school year. I had created a site which I use to teach Google Sites to teachers in our district, and was able to add a lot more to it with some of the tools from this summer. Though it's a lot of information, I'll probably still use some of these resources (and at least make the link available) when we finally do get to using this with students. (Thank you so much for showing us how to screen capture with Quicktime - it's so helpful, and easy!!)


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Jen's Project

How did it go?  
My proposed project was to create a classroom blog so that my third grade students would have an online presence. The goal was two-fold. First, I wanted to have students explain classroom procedures and routines (the behavior chart, morning meeting, writers' workshop, etc.) using both text and visual images, so that parents would have an open view of the daily happenings in their child's classroom. This was the transparency piece. The second goal was to have students create tutorials, much like those found on Khan Academy, on various math topics. I had hoped this type of activity would not only strengthen students' understanding of the content as they created the tutorials, but that absent students or even parents who needed further clarification could watch the tutorials for help. This was the reverse teaching piece.
 

What worked? What didn't?
Much to my surprise and relief, my principal gave me permission to create a blog that my students would contribute to. This is a huge step forward for my district, as policies in the past have forbidden teachers from having websites and from posting student work online. However, with a new grades 3-5 school currently under construction, a new superintendent, and a new assistant principal, there has been a renaissance of technology taking place. I am now a STEM lead teacher, with a major emphasis on technology integration. All of these key changes have helped push our district into focusing on 21st Century learning experiences.
I originally planned to use Blogger or Google Sites to create the classroom blog. However, after a lot of online research and a few failed attempts of trying Blogger, I decided upon edublogs.org. Edublogs allows each student in my class to have a blog "under" me. I can choose to have students contribute to the main blog (mine), to their own, or to both. I can also manipulate the privacy settings in a plethora of ways. At this time, student blogs are only accessible through the main blog, and cannot be searched for though a search engine. I also have an option to make the blogs completely password protected, meaning that visitors would need to create their own accounts in order to access the pages. This availability of privacy options helped me sell the idea of a classroom blog to my principal.
As far as the blog itself, my students have created screen names and avatars, most of which have been uploaded to the blog. Unfortunately, this process took much longer than I had hoped. By the time I received permission to have the blog, with the two-week NECAP testing window and an additional two weeks of NWEA taking over the computer labs, it was difficult competing for lab time. However, my students now know how to log in to their accounts and are just now learning how to navigate the dashboard. 
But despite not yet having made their own posts, a lot of work has already taken place--offline. During class, we have discussed Internet safety, the need to keep passwords private (between student and parent/teacher), and good netizenship. We have reviewed other elementary classroom blogs and have dicussed the types of information we'd like to include in our own blog. Students have learned how to operate the digital cameras, and have practiced taking photos that do not include the faces of other students (current district policy). As a class, students brainstormed a list of topics they feel should be addressed in the blog, and they have worked in small groups to hand-write their blog entries. 
Whats next?  How will you change it?
As students haven't yet been able to make a post, this is the next step in the process. In order for this to be effective, I need to have students in a computer lab where I can demonstrate how to create posts and upload photos. Students at the third grade level need repeated practice of specific skills before most are able to do the tasks independently, so I anticipate several trips to the lab will be in order. As soon as a few students learn the process, I will be able to have them help others who still need assistance. 
Eventually, I'd like students to be able to work independently on one of three desktop computers in my classroom, as part of a weekly rotation system. My plan is to have specific days of the week that each student is responsible for posting a new blog entry or responding to the (teacher-monitored) comments from visitors.
 
Although my original goal was to have a transparent classroom with elements of reverse teaching, I'd also like to work toward a third goal of maintaining student portfolios within the blog. Since each student has a blog space, this seems like the perfect opportunity for them to display the work they are proud of and to share it with their parents and extended family.
My project is still a work-in-progress, but I'm liking the direction it is headed.  

http://maineteachersclass.edublogs.org/

Friday, November 23, 2012

Transparency and Reverse Teaching Project  Summary

Gray - New Gloucester Middle School Tech Ed

How did it go?......
Way back last summer when the living was easy, I proposed that to provide transparency for students I would post on the web the Tech Ed standards and the associated tasks I assign to meet them. I wrote "I have already organized most of the Tech standards into units by grade level and have developed tasks or activities for many of the standards. I would like to present the standards and tasks for each unit in two column charts and post the charts online for students to access."

I used my wikispace to post the standards and tasks - see  My GNGTech Wikispace. The wiki home page shows the grade levels in color coded rectangles with some of the respective units for the grade levels listed beneath. The unit name is a link to the standards.

At first I had the unit name link to all the standards for the unit with the "I cans" ( this is what we call the breakdown of the standard into what a student must be able to do to show proficiency) for each standard listed in one column and the tasks in the next column. This set up was extremely wordy and it was difficult for students to find what they were working on. I changed the set up so the unit name links to a list of the standards for the unit. Each standard links to the list of "I cans" and tasks.

For the reverse teaching part of the project, I created some how-to videos for the tasks so that students would be able to watch the videos when they were ready for that part of the task. 
 
What worked? 
For the most part, having the videos available anytime for students to access was very helpful. I did not have to give refresher directions and students payed better attention to video than they would have to me giving a demonstration. 
It was helpful to have the lists of tasks in one spot for students to follow through. 

What didn't work?
The text design for the standards and tasks is still too wordy and looks overwhelming. I had to help students find where they were supposed to be. 


If there was a lapse of a few days between when I showed students where they could access the video and when they got around to doing the task, they would not remember that there are videos and would ask me how to do the task. And sometimes it seemed faster to tell them how than to show them how to access the videos.

Sometime students would say that they watched the video and didn't understand it. The quicker students would watch the video and get things done and the students who usually need extra help would be slower about getting things done and get around to the task a few days later. So they would all be asking for help and saying they didn't understand the video at about the same time.

Whats next?  How will you change it? 

Perhaps if I had more work done on the site so it was used consistently, students would get accustomed to the format and be able to find their way around. A lot of the links I have students use are on a portaportal because that was a reliable and district sanctioned venue for links. I am still having students use the portaportal and now have the wiki as well. It will be better when I get the tasks and links organized in one spot.

To reduce the wordy overwhelming look of the standards pages, I plan to continue linking the unit name with the listing of standards but change the standard to a title that sums up what the standard is about. For example "TE.03.TS.01.01 - Explain how Agriculture and Biotechnologies interact with society, sometimes bringing about changes in a society’s economy, politics, and culture and often leading to the creation of new needs and wants." would become something simpler that zeroes in on the topic like "Agriculture Changes Society". Students would be able to find the topic they are working on and click it to go to their tasks.

Of course I have a lot more to do on the site and more videos to create. I think some of the videos could have better quality. I'm still trying to figure out how to get the mike to pick up my voice better and how to get rid of the buzzing sound. The big issue is time because of the number of different things I teach, the number of classes I teach, and the number of things the administration thinks up for us to do.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Final Project - Reverse Teaching and Transparency

I have been trying a variety of things to meet the guidelines (transparency and reverse teaching) set forth during this summers course.  Some have of them have worked out fine, while others have flopped.  My biggest issue has been getting the technology to work with me.

I had to modify my original plan (Gloster posters) for my Human Anatomy classes after some major tech issues made it virtually impossible to get it working.  To make it happen would have taken considerable class time. Luckily, the test run I did with my Astronomy class did work out.    So I replaced my prior Human Anatomy assignment with a straight forward Googledoc project.

By backup plan was to have my Astronomy students use Moonbase Alpha in a collaborative fashion.  They were going to learn the game rules and functionality through tutorials and the instruction manuals.  Sadily,  but we STILL do not have it working at my school.   I was hoping to catalog their progress through screencasting and images.  Most of our outdated tech will not run it and since its a Steam based application it has take a great deal of salesmanship to get it approved. So it will most likely be able to use it just after Christmas (if I am lucky).

So what I ended up doing is focusing on what I have been trying to do all along with my Astronomy class.  All year I have been using them as guinea pigs to try out some of these different teaching strategies.  For my Astronomy course I  enhanced the amount of reverse teaching elements and transparency I typically use in my classes.  Luckily, I have been using these features all along and I have (in the past couple months) worked on adding additional elements.  While its far from perfect, I think the work I have done demonstrates clear evidence that I have tried to implement that which you shared this summer.

I have attached a short paper explaining what I feel I have accomplished and where I plan on going from here.

the paper-->
Reverse Instruction and Transparency Project Results
By Arthur Libby

The purpose of this project was to add transparency and reverse instruction to an existing class structure. The original project was going to have the students in Human Anatomy use Glogster to create a Diary of Disease post. Unfortunately technology issues prevent this from happening. I have therefore adjusted the project to focus on these two principles using my Astronomy class. I will address each of these issues and discuss the current outcomes. This is on ongoing project and will continue to be used for the remainder of the semester. I am going to build on and hopefully improve on this concept for the next Astronomy the following semester.

Reverse Instruction (reverse teaching, flipped classroom).
Reverse instruction is teaching in way that empowers students to become self motivated learners. This does not mean that the teacher does nothing but instead guides the students through the learning process and intervenes when necessary.
I have modified my class this year to use reverse instruction. I have accomplished this in two major ways.
  1. Course Materials: I have modified the course to remove m as the figure where all knowledge is given. I am not the holder of content. I have set up my Moodle to power the students to view course content using podcasts and instructional videos. Instead of having the students rely on me for the source of course content the students watch podcasts. This is their homework. They then come to class prepared with notes over the material. These instructional resources enable the students to learn the content at their own pace and in a setting that they are the most comfortable. I have included some screenshots at the end of the document to show the setup.
Here are a few examples of these videos.
Results – Most students look favorably to these resources because of the reasons I outlined earlier. They also appreciate the additional time in class that is used for hands on activities and labs. The class is busy and productive.
Next steps – I am going to continue using this strategy for the next itineration of the course. One thing I would like to do over time is create more of my own videos. While most videos online meet my requirements it would be nice to include some of my own. I just need the time to do it.

  1. Technological Tools: I have the students use a variety of online tools throughout the school year. Instead of telling them what to do I have provided materials and videos for them to learn how to use the tools and then practice these skills in the classroom prior to making their products. Many of these videos are readily available on Youtube so its typically a matter of finding the appropriate video and linking it to my Moodle.

How to use and make a blog.
How to use and make Glogster.

How a save screenshots with a PC

How to create a form in Googledocs.

Transparency

This one was a littler harder since we had to work within the schools guidelines. I lack digital cameras that the kids can use and I have had mixed success with students using their own (which is also prohibited by the school). The school prohibits cell phone cameras as well, so we mainly rely on the laptop webcams which are a bit limiting. I worked to accomplish this goal in a variety of ways.

  1. I had each student create a blog where they added images and descriptions of projects and activities they have completed or are working on in class. Each blog serves as a record of some of the class experiences as well and a window into the classroom. I hope to add additional content as the course progresses.
      Here are some examples of the student blogs
Next Steps: This project worked fairly well. You can get a feel for what the students are doing.
  • Students need to explain what they are doing in the images more.
  • I need to have students get into the habit of uploading ALL the things we are working on.
  • I think student comments would be useful here.
  • I need to try to incorporate video as well as stills on the blog
  1. Some of the we web based projects (such as the Glogsters) are available for others to see. These projects are viewable to a wider audience then a traditional inclass project.
Here are some examples of students Glogsters.

Next Steps
My goal is to increase the number of web based projects (or digitize more of them) to allow for a wider audience.

Conclusion
I feel I have made some strong progress in both of these areas. Though neither of these are at my desired levels. I think I have a good handle on the basics and can build on what I have started. Rome was not built in a day and neither can a new course format. As I develop this course further and streamline the process to make both transparency and reverse teaching core aspects of the course I can apply this process to my other courses as well.

Screenshots of the the Astronomy class Moodle






Here is on of the student Glogsters



Ok! Make Sure you send me your projects?

How did it go?  What worked? what didn't?

Whats next?  How will you change it?


ITS OK IF IT DIDN'T WORK!  But tell me why? and what will you try different!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Using Blogs...

I have used individual Blogs with my students this year for more transparency.   It does work but there is a bunch of setup stuff you have to make sure you do.


  1. Make sure comment moderation is on
  2. Make sure you get rid of Tool bar across their blogs
  3. Make sure kids know how to post pics, vids, and content (so not boring)
  4. Make them actually tell WHAT they did... not "WE Blogged" or "Mr. Kelley talked" 
Check out the blog... I have the students listed on the side.


* As year goes by I am going to have their Parents comment and get more interaction with the kids blogs.

www.itsvms8.blogspot.com



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Just got a new 3d printer for my program


Eight graders will print their Sketchup Prototype Models using a 2bot 3d Printer.





It uses Software to take model and...
It uses simple foam material to carve 3d object


video

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Project Update

I am getting close to implementation.  I am going to finalize my Moodle page that explains the initial set up and will have the kids work through the initial set up of their Glogsters. I will have to post a screenshot since its a closed network, though I can grant guest access to anyone who wants to see it.

I tried out a mini-version of this with my one of my other classes and they were able to follow the video instructions and set up their Glogsters with no help from me.  It was a great time saver so we could hit the ground running when they came in.  The students are used to this format though since I use the flipped model for class content.

When I implement this with my target classes I will do my best to record what happens.

On the side. I had my Astronomy class create individual student blogs where they blog about their activities and or lessons.  Its rough this first time through but its a great first step in classroom transparency.  I will share a couple of these as an example.  Still a work in progress and they need to write more but we are learning together and they are doing all the work.
http://astronomy16.blogspot.com/
http://astronomyproject12176.blogspot.com/

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tech Ed Transparency

For my project, I said "I would like to present the standards and tasks for each unit  in two column charts and post the charts online for students to access."

So far I have set a few units up on a wikispace and added a few tasks. The wiki is gngtech.wikispaces.com. The 7th grade agriculture unit has some tasks for the first standard that contain links to the videos that students will watch. It is possible to embed youtube videos on a page in the wikispace so that students stay on the wiki. I like that youtube has a check box to not show suggested videos when the video finishes so there is less possibility of students clicking on a video of a bare breasted woman smoking cannabis while skiing down a mountain slope.
The chart feature on the wiki is difficult to work with. I would like the lines to be darker and to be able to adjust the width of a column. It seems to have limited formatting capabilities.

I made a couple of how-to videos for parts of a 6th grade project that seem to work very well. They have been able to watch the video and then complete that part of the project more successfully than when I have given a whole class demonstration. It is not online at the moment.

Plan Update

Just to update on where I am at with my project: Excited to announce that my seventh and eighth graders got their laptops this week! Now we're geared up and ready to go! I've been using my school Google site to update students and parents on what's happening, photos of what we're doing in class, etc. I decided that with some of the projects I did in my video class this summer I'd actually use in my classroom this fall, and they are now posted on our site. I love having these little tutorial videos - cuts down on my "How do I do that?" questions I get 4938204 times a day - just check the video! 
This week, this video will be their "homework" to watch on Monday. A little lengthy, but I wouldn't mind watching a video for homework.

Will keep updating soon! We're working up to Google Sites! Next up though, BLOGGER! :) 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

3D Printer to Make Working Gun

I was just perusing Yahoo! News and came across this interesting (and scary) article about using 3D printers to replicate working guns. While it isn't yet likely that a printer, especially a plastic printer, can create a gun that will actually withstand a firing, I'm curious about metal printers and the capabilities they may have in the future.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My project

Hi,

Here is a link to my Google Doc on my project.  Its still a work in progress so please check back. Any comments are welcome.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dDbEIFuvtNAGOqtbPDzv5lb2w6ee_uC1FVQAv1aHcSQ/edit

Art

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Comment about chapter 8

The 1kg.org site connects travelers to China with schools that have no technology and need physical educational materials. It is a collaboration of people with and without technology. Andrew Yu, the founder of 1kg, "realized that we assume poor people are not happy people" (page 256 in the paperback). I think we assume that a low standard of living is a bad thing and a lack of technology is a bad thing. This section reminded me of a presentation I went to by some teens who had gone to work in a village in South America. The people in the village had a "low standard of living". Yet every evening the villagers gathered in the village square to talk and play games. I think there is a richness to that which those of us with a higher standard of living and more technology have lost. It could be argued I suppose that the "village square" experience is happening electronically. For me the electronic village square does not seem as relaxing or comparable to the physical village square.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Chapter 9- Who Are You?

As I was reading the beginning of this chapter, all I could think of was that movie where Matthew McConaughey starts flying a crashing plane without any prior experience. His companion asks him where he learned how to fly. He then credits his time spent playing video games on playstation or xbox. While I'm sure the line was meant as a joke, the reality is that these virtual worlds and simulations offer valuable opportunities that were not possible before.

My fifteen year old niece came to visit Maine recently for a visit. While there I watched her pull up skype on her computer to take her friend on a tour of our house. Then prior to climbing Mt. Katahdin she pulled up the virtual tour of Mt. Everest. She explained that she wanted to create something similar for her climb of Katahdin so her friends could experience the trip too. Bonk wrote that "our entertainment and communication technologies have become our learning technologies." This was never more evident for me than when I was watching my niece interact with both the real and virtual worlds with the sole purpose of wanting to share and communicate.

Second Life 

My personal experience with Second Life is fairly limited, but I was intrigued by the educational opportunities I read about in this chapter. The idea of being able to have students walk though recreations of Ancient Greece and Rome appeals to me as a history teacher. I think of the time I spend planning lessons so students can connect to the time period and make connections to the experiences people had. How much more connected can you get by walking through a virtual simulation? I'd love to take my students to see the ruins of the Roman forum, but I don't think that my school district will be paying for that field trip any time soon. Why not give them the next best thing?

I was interested in how Second Life is being utilized by companies and businesses for training purposes. What an opportunity for schools to utilize resources for their teachers. I think of the trainings I couldn't attend due to budgeting concerns and my colleagues who couldn't present at conferences for the same reason. This is yet another avenue for us to be able to share and collaborate.

Serious Gaming

"We are in the midst of a major shift in how people learn." A study cited surgeons who played three hours of video games per week were 27 percent faster and made 37 percent fewer mistakes than those who didn't. Although this may only be one study I can remember statistics about military target performance improvement based on video game playing as well. Not to mention my two year old niece's off the charts fine motor skill development from playing games on a touch screen. How can we use video games to our educational advantage? I remember one computer game I played as a child. It was called Museum Madness or something similar. You had to fix the problems in each of the exhibits with a backpack full of random items. While fixing the exhibit for the Salem Witch Trials, you were inevitably learning something about the Salem Witch Trials. I loved that game. It required creativity and higher order thinking to solve complicated puzzles. I don't think I ever beat that game, and if I was presented with it today, I would approach it with as much zeal as I did then.

What's Next 

Learning in a virtual reality can help retain learners. Authenticity and believability is growing in the simulations and the boundaries of what is possible are being expanded. What was once science fiction, using your thoughts to control a virtual character, is not far from our reality. How cool is that? "Our species has never before had so many ways to learn, as well as so many ways to put so much learning on display for others to view." 


Friday, August 17, 2012

Chapter 12 (Part 1) - Treasuers and Traps of This Open Learning World

Do We-All-Learn?

1. "It should be clear from reading... there is not just ONE person/resource/idea responsible for the changes taking place"

2. The Stats don't lie.... and their is ton of data to prove this stuff works and is the way.

3. Proof of Concept is not just in the data, but real world experiences.

4. There is a WAY.....
  • Enhanced Web-based infrastructure
  • Free/Open Content available
  • People want to share and participate in personalizing knowledge-sharing
WE-ALL-LEARN template is place to start rethinking and reforming education.

Resistance is futile...  in the 21st century learning technology is hard to ignore.

The world is interconnected.... for real this time..... the web awaits teachers and trainers!

The knowledge-sharing faucet has been turned on..... FOR MILLIONS WHO LACKED ACCESS BEFORE!

It is now not about getting the innovated tool or access, but surviving the onslaught of information!

Personalized Age of Learning has arrived and is opening up to ALL not the few.

No longer the student leaves the classroom and the teacher.  They can find the tutor online anywhere any time for a life time.  They can access the information on any device at any time.


We are learning toward a learning culture.... "Humankind will come to realize that learning customization and personalization is the norm, not the exception."

Now we all just need to find our "Co-Learners" and the end of "Sage on the stage" teachers.

 Teachers will be ubiquitous.... and learning will be blended and self-determined.

There will be expansion of free educational resources.

Advances create era of learning on demand.  Real-time experiences mixed with virtual worlds create authentic learning opportunities.

Libraries of the future -

  • Fingertipping Alexandrain Aristotles know where and how to retrieve ANY information needed.
  • Frontal Lobe Alexandrian Aristotles will learn a portion of info and can tell you
  • Fingertipping Frontal Lobers will be the creative thinkers.
New age of learning at a distance...

They say the new generation of kids brains are actually being wired in a different way because of the technology they access.  It not just an iPad... but a rewiring machine.

Technology has evolved beyond educational theories on how to use them.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sitting at Google for Educators Summit...

http://me.gafesummit.com/


* Please make sure you have posted about your chapter....

and have made 1 comment about each persons chapter (only need to do 1 comment per the chapters)


I will be posting my chapter on Saturday (since I will be presenting and at GAFESummit)



Sunday, August 12, 2012

Chapter 11 from The World is Open
Learning at Your Service - Networks of Personalized Service

What a rainy morning - not much to do but hang around...then I remembered today is the day to post on Chapter 11!

What it's about...
The overall theme of Chapter 11 is that the new culture of learning is one of participation and personalization. Individuals contribute to the learning process.

A few pages at the beginning of the chapter explain some of the history of Facebook. Then the author gives a couple of examples of how blogs are used educationally. Mark Franeh has his students maintain their own blogs where they post their work and open it up to comments. Mr Franeh finds that students pay more attention to their thinking and their work when it is open this way. Another blogger is posting the diary entries of 17th century Samual Pepys. Readers can learn about the history and culture of the time from the day to day postings.

There is a small section of the chapter about how podcasts and webcasts can provide commentary on key educational issues. WorldBridges is one organization the author finds worthwhile in that regard. The biggest part of the chapter gives examples of participatory sites for online language learning. I find most of this book to be an overview of what's happening or what's out there and I have started listing sites and resources on paper with the pipe dream that I will someday check them out. Here are the language learning sites with brief descriptions and some bullets:
  • Livemocha - online tutoring and chatting (text or voice) with  native language users
  • Mixxer - uses Skype, public chats, etc.
  • LanguageLab - uses voice system of Second Life. Users have avatars and explore virtual worlds
  • About.com - free language learning lessons and resources
  • ChinesePod - teaches Mandarin Chinese through online podcasts. Podcasts are free, pay for transcripts, exercises etc. Podcast cover a range of interests such as sports, business, food etc. Liberates learner from physical, time, and teacher constraints.
  • KanTalk - adds video
  • ECPod - members participate by filming each other in everyday activities that can show language nuances and cultural innuendos.
Next is a smaller section about online tutoring and mentoring that offers these organizations and businesses as examples:
  •  MentorNet - matches female and minority college students with professionals
  • AskOnline - homework tutoring
  • Tutor.com - NJ state uses this one, available for all students in state
  • SMARTHINKING, TutorVista, and GrowingStars - tutors may be outsourced
  • StraighterLine - developed by McGrawHill, inexpensive intro college courses with tutoring from SMARTHINKING
The author says that the doors to learning success swing further open with such personalized attention (online mentoring and tutoring). He says that more humans, as well as more resources, are now fully loaded in the teaching and learning loop.

At the end of the chapter Bonk points out that the web is increasingly an oral culture with more and more conversations. Conversations make web learning more personalized, participatory, and interactive. Our teachers can now be anyone, anywhere, anytime. A goal is to arrive at a place where personalized learning is a standard accepted practice.

What I think....
As with the other chapters, I am grateful to have an overview of what's going on. I have not processed the information to the point where it translates to what I do with students. The teacher who finds his students pay more attention to their work when it is published online and open to comments must have spent some time working with them on how to comment constructively. Most of the sites I use (example - WCSH6.com) that allow comments deteriorate into name calling by the 6th comment.

Basically, I've been busy with a home improvement project that, like many home improvement projects, has become more involved than originally anticipated. I have been working on this instead of thinking about the book and how to apply it to my classroom. However, as a result of this book, I have been more aware of how I get information. Most of the information about how to do the project I got from the web: product websites, YouTube how to videos, websites on how to do the particular project, forums, etc. I had some face to face conversations with folks at Home Depot, and a phone conversation with someone at Behr who explained how to fix something that went wrong. I learned some things about using the products and fixing the problem that came up that I will be putting on the product reviews, not as a criticism, but just to relay what I learned from experience. This is an example of how, with the web, we are knowledge builders as well as consumers.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Chapter 10 - U-Learn, M-Learn, We-All-Learn

This chapter, I think, captures the true essence of the new learning environment.  M-Learning (mobile learning) is empowering many who would not normally have access to education while allowing.  Handheld devices are becoming  a huge force in this e-learning revolution. I am behind the curve with the smartphone movement, but many of friend have them and use them all time from getting directions, checking the weather, updating their Facebook, instantly uploading trip and event photos with their phone.  The power of these M devices is that the learner can learn how they want, when they want, and where they want. The learning can take place at the user's convenience and not at exactly 8:23 - 9:23 M - F as we see in a traditional learning environment.

Most kids have one if not several mobile devices that can be used in learning and education so access these is not an issue.  The issue is that sadly many schools (mine is an example) ban mobile devices out of hand, because of the fear of lack of control. True there are a few isolated instances where kids abuse the privilege and use them in a way that is problematic....but that is the exception.  And these devices are often much cheaper then traditional computers.

An hot spots are everywhere to Ipads and laptops can function and we can do work while flying in a plane or eating lunch at many chain restaurants (fast food).  I have, on a number of occasions, eaten lunch at McDonald’s just to be able to tap into their WiFi and get some needed school work accomplished. With 3G (or 4G) technology so many wireless devices have a virtually limitless ability to connect and keep us connected.

Chumby - It was interesting to read about the Chumby, which the author refers to as a learning appliance.  A entry into mobile learning that enabled its users to do it all.  Not of course with smartphones and the I-Phone it is going the way of the dinosaur.
The image  Chumby_in_hand.jpg  under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Chumby halts hardware sales, long-term support looking mighty unlikely by Darren Murph

Audio - The Ipod and its kin are some examples how learning become more portable. We can listen to music, lectures, podcasts, and so much more on these devices. The smartpen (Live Scribe) and the Kindle are other examples of devices that can support audio recording and playback. In fact, I listened to my Kindle read this book on my lovely commute to and from Boston a couple of weeks ago.  It was cool. Like the author says “Many of us no longer can afford the time to sit down and read a book cover to cover. “ And the newest Ipods can support video as well as record audio. A video Ipod could help a student learn sign language or watch complicated engine repairs that the written word does poorly to replicate.  The ole’ a picture is worth a thousand words effect.

Twitter - 
The image Twitter - What are you doing?.jpg is used  the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Twitter is an interesting mix.  It has some awesome educational and informational powers.  The authors talk about several examples to how it can transformative.  We have all seen how it was used to great effect in the Arab Spring uprisings. I have used Twitter on occasion to keep informed with events and communicate with friends but my “need” to keep up with it fades.  I am going to attempt this year to create an account for my classes where I will send out homework and class announcements.  This might be a great avenue for student collaboration as well as outline in the book.  We shall see. Email is too “old school” so twitter (and texting) are more typical for many students.

It is encouraging that not all schools are banning them and some are even embracing these tools. The example of K-Nect, in North Carolina, that used mobile devices to help with math and science content is a great step forward.  Higher Ed is likewise moving, at a faster pace, in that direction as well. Simple things like the example of MIT and Boston College being able to check the availability of laundry machine or Georgetown late night snack ordering functionality show how practical and common place M devices have become.  And for kids that is so true.  Many of these devices are like extensions of themselves.

I-Phone - This tool as a wide range of uses and applications from recording interviews (like the example of the one done on Habitat for Humanity), watching podcast lectures and using I-chat for video conferencing. There was even one student cited as claiming that they no longer needed backpacks because everything they needed was on their I-Phones. The Apple I-Phone is often referred to as the ultimate M-learning tool because of its functionality and ease of use.

18 Educational Apps

M-Learning giveaways  - Great recruiting tool as well as an effective means to leveling the “learning field” and great way to ensure all your students have the tools needed to succeed. 

I found the discussion about how other culture embrace M-Learning very profound....and boy are we behind the eight ball.  From the Japanese reading on their phones. They are even working on lightweight screens that could be worn on or as clothes. Their online learning opportunities (Cyber University) are far superior to what we currently find in the US. Koreans use smartphones for so many every day activities and are on top in mobile tech innovation and use.  And the learning opportunities for Koreans with EBS and other similar initiatives demonstrate their belief in E-learning.   One thing we must consider is how we fit in with all this?  How will our students compare to their students in the competitive workforce that is more and more connected and wired?  We have to innovate as well or fall further behind.

Of course in Africa its the opposite.  Computers, laptops and WiFi are far and between but cell phones and 3G are not.  So it makes sense for M-Learning to be a driving force in their societies.

Lastly the One Laptop per child initiatives in many counties reveal their commitment to technology and E-learning.  From the programs of wealthier nations to the inexpensive $100 laptops (XO or the ones that MIT promise to produce)  the idea is that to be connected is to be able to be educated.  There are some many free resources available as we saw in earlier chapters.  The accessibility to these online resources in increasing.  It is really interesting to see how this program and similar ones are helping educate so many.  Their is an interesting map (http://one.laptop.org/map) that shows where many of the $100 laptops are deployed through http://one.laptop.org/.

The image OLPC XO Laptop.jpr by Scott Beale is used under a the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

$100 Laptop to Sell to Public



Sunday, August 5, 2012

Refection Chapter 9

Chapter 9

It is amazing to think of how much technology has not only changed entertainment but education.  Now when I want to watch a movie I stream on on Amazon or using my XBOX360 to watch Netflix.  If I have a question or want to figure out how to fix something I search on it using the internet. Amazing.  Likewise almost any wireless device we find at Best Buy is indeed a tool for education.

Virtual worlds and learning are huge.  I have tried some basic classes using Second Life and I found it a very strange experience.  I guess that is because I think of World of Warcraft or another game like that....I just can’t seem to get out of game mode.  It is amazing to think how these virtual worlds can be used to represent real world environments, enabling people to experience and world they could not otherwise visit (like   trip into the past).  And these virtual worlds are way more interactive than just watching a video or reading a book.

My kids just recently became interested in a virtual world.  Bearville
They each have numerous Build A Bears and decided they wanted to register them.  They began by making avatars and importing their bears (who they carry with them).  They then met other kids,  took part in quests, played mini games and took part in activities to earn credits which can be used for virtual rewards.  These rewards include clothes and accessories  for their avatar and bears and furniture for their virtual house.  They can also buy vehicles and additions to their house.  It is cool to see them interact with others and explore in their virtual environment.  They often play together and share resources with each other. So I guess my kids are part of the MMOG world now.  

Lastly I find that gaming is so common now that every student either games or know someone who does.  There is no doubt that a lot can be learned from games and gaming. The work of James Gee reflects a lot about this. My children's get 1 hour of “screen time” a night.  I would rather have them use in playing games where they think, react and problem solve then passively watch a tv program.  While I would never want to replace all forms of learning with virtual simulations and games.  A great many things can be learned from games and they do help people learn the basics in a safe and “at your own speed” way.

Watch Extended Interview: Dr. James Gee on PBS. See more from Digital Media - New Learners Of The 21st Century.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Chapter 7 - Making a Contribution

Opener #6 : Learner Participation in Open Information Communities

What this book is about - the creation of free and open access educational materials by anyone.  No limits on access, use, sharing or contributions.

Companies like Wikimedia  exemplify this to this author.  Relying on users that donate their time and talents.  It has become Mainstream

Web 1.0 to 2.0  
Internet has transformed from popular information transmission/consumption platform to a content creation, sharing, remixing, repurposing and distribution model.

Listing of different 2.0 tools, Chinswing, dotsub, YackPack, Youtube,
Exciting times to be a learner or a teacher.  All of these tools are essentially asynchronous.

Bandwidth
hogging 1/3 of Internet user 79 million people watched more then 3 billion Youtube videos in 1 month.
What happens when crushes bandwidth use? Government involvement? Bill Gates famously said personal computers will never need more the 4mb of Ram.  We are in 4 Terabytes now....

There is always this "the internet will end" montra.... usually for control purposes... either government or company initiated.

U-Learning
wireless/mobile tech have made u-learning possible.

this alters the traditional teacher-student relationship by encouraging learners to be more active in their learning pursuits.  For example, Martha using her ipad to look up Skatistan ...

Mobil Learning

ipod.... nearly all mobile devices learners are connected in some way
smart phones, twitter

I find it interesting that Schools is one of only placing you CAN'T have your mobile device.

Digital Clothing
Humans Online ALL the TIME... attention your LIFE WILL BE BROADCAST 24/7

Digital Schools
pocket schools (use mobil devices for school)

1 2 1 laptop

m learning and u-learning





* this utopian ideal is great, but it still rides on the backbone of businesses willing to fund and maintain it through some value added model.  Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple etc.... don't just give away "free" stuff without getting something in return.  Without a companies like these to provide the infrastructure of server farms, software and hardware the "cloud" would not exist.

Youtube is great but it has to be monetized to continue.  Twitter currently has millions and millions of users, but has not figured out how to monetize them yet.  It will die if it doesn't, disappearing like Netscape, AOL, Myspace.....


Sunday, July 29, 2012

More then the Sum of Its Parts.

If you want to see a great way to take the information side of the internet (a Museum) and integrate it into an assignment check out my brothers blog

http://thetechcurve.org/
the post
Thursday, May 03, 2012




This project takes a piece of art and makes the student emerse themselves in it.  They beauty of this project is there is NO way to "fake" it and rip off some one else's project.



Friday, July 27, 2012

Chapter 6


I was happy to be assigned this chapter because it actually linked back to what I said in chapter one. (Tying back to the learning opportunities that are now available: virtual fieldtrips, online “textbooks”...) This really hit me my first year teaching when we took our eighth graders to Boston at the end of the year. A great proportion of our students had never been given the chance to visit a museum, let alone leave the state. Teaching in a school where over 80% of my students are low income, free or reduced lunch it really makes me think about how fortunate I am. But now, thanks to technology my students can experience, in a vitual format, some of the things they maybe have never had the possibility to take part in. 
I decided to check out some the websites mentioned in this section and posted the links below for anyone else that was curious as to what they really involved. I think, based on the information that was given in the book along with what I’ve browsed in these sites, that these are the correct links. But please correct me if I’m wrong! Really they seem to offer great resources to all grade levels and content area. 
Connexions: http://cnx.org/
MoOM (Museum of Online Museums): http://www.coudal.com/moom/
One of the things mentioned about this post that I really liked was about allowing visitors to share their own memories - photos, voice recordings, stories. I’ve always wanted to do this with my vacation photos! Now I’ve just got to visit one of these museums and do so! 
Encyclopedia of Life: http://eol.org/
Pretty cool for science. I think that’s what you teach Art, right?
ECHO (Exploring and Collecting History Online): http://echo.gmu.edu/


P.S. Sorry I haven't been commenting on all of your posts - finishing up another online class and getting married two weeks from tomorrow - YIKES! I'll be back to post soon! :)