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.

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.

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
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. 
MoOM (Museum of Online Museums):
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:
Pretty cool for science. I think that’s what you teach Art, right?
ECHO (Exploring and Collecting History Online):

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! :) 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Remember we are Asynchronous....

As we have begun posting I see some of you have become concerned about the time line.

Life, vacations and technology some times get in the way of making a post or comment.

Remember we are not doing this like the tradition classroom.  That model is I play sage on the stage, send you home with a homework assignment, then you regurgitate the work.  We wait a few days... then I give you a test so you can tell me the exact answer I already know, so you can forget it immediately.

In that setting every thing is done in the classroom setting.   Lets think of this model...

Normally once I send you off with the assignment I can't contact you or interact, however, with this format we can email, video conference, or blog at any time.

I actually get more interact then the normal setting.   For instance, a bunch of you have emailed me outside of the time frame you were supposed to.  Why shouldn't this count?

The blog and reading section is for us to share ideas on the reading and how it affects us.  That is a unique set of information only YOU can provide.   Each one of you has a different subject, age group, background, and circumstances that gives the rest a different insight on the reading.

I am more worried THAT you comment rather then WHEN you comment.   The only reason we have a time line for the chapter is so we all have a starting point to comment from.

So no worries on when..... I only want to you make sure you do.

This does require YOU check the comments on your post at a later date so you can read and post rebuttals or more info if needed.

On the management side...
The blog helps me with this.  I can see who has or hasn't posted.  I can use drafts for making notes.  I can edit a post (for example I did a little editor just fixing a spelling on Martha's but not changing content) Logistically I have tried to post something in between each on of your Chapter Post.

Remember what we are doing is not only about the reading and discussing the info we find from it, but seeing how it is done....

The Great Oz has spoken... pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chapter 5

It was interesting to read about the the open courseware (OCW) movement initiated by MIT. If they had not had the foresight and bravery to begin pioneer who knows where we would be today. The idea to share its course content with the world was a huge step forward pushing forward this digital renaissance we are in (or entering, depending on your source material). The “rational altruism” mentioned by Yue has empowered many learners. I have known about open courseware for some time. I stumbled upon MIT's OCW while searching for new course materials about 3 years ago. When I found this I thought what a great addition to my AP biology course. I have used a number of the video lectures (thought they often lack the visuals the instructors are using for copyright reasons) and a great many of the problem sets and exams to supplement my course. I have even used a few of these to enhance my understanding of some of the more complex biological issues.

It is staggering to think of the number of people that visit and learn from these resources each day. The ability to learn material based on your personal needs and desires can not be underscored. To think that 35 million people (including myself and my students) have used the MIT course materials since its inception is incredible.

One of the most astonishing things for me was the effect this OCW movement has had in other parts of the world. A world citizen, from any nation with internet access, could view these materials. The use of these courses in other countries such as Pakistan, China, Venezuela, and Nigeria is swesome. I never realized how important these resources were in countries where educational opportunities are so limited. The OCW movement has given millions the chance to learn new and powerful concepts. The OOPS project is expanding theses offerings to billions of Chinese by translating the MIT courses. This project thought is led by volunteers, much like Wikipedia. And much like Wikipedia the materials are open to other editors so that these materials can be updated, modified and improved. In 2008 the number of visitors to the OOPS translated courses topped 1.9 million.

The ability to merge course ideas and tailor your own educational experience has never been greater.

It is inspiring that more and more institutions are joining in the OCW movement. Just of few of the notable US ones include Harvard, Rice, The University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Tufts, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, and the University of California – Irvine. While these free courses do not award credits (yet) people can sometimes gain credit through CLEP exams or by preparing a portfolio based on what you have learned through an agency such as Learning Counts (

As the chapter concludes the focus shifts to the idea that all this content will be available to self teach and may eventually lead to free education. That learning is a basic human right (I agree). While I find this an interesting concept we must not forget that this content is the result of paid professionals. There must be some funding model to maintain and create new content. Also the content available is mainly factual, content knowledge (level one). The other aspects of instruction that lead to higher order thinking must be included to make these programs more successful. The P2PU seems to help address this to group based discussions and tutors....but its a start.

This is a great start but at can not replace a good deep experience. And truthfully not that many “standard” educational practices provide this either. But the OCW course movement is a great starting point to provided content. I see that the “teachers” will further evolve has this practice becomes more and more common. It will be interesting to see what the educational arena will look like 10 – 20 years from now.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gotta love technology.... some times...

Being able to read my book on my ipad, make notes and post on the blog while sitting outside on my front deck with my new pup.   PRICELESS

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Chapter 4: It's a Free Software World After All

My sincerest apologies for not having my blog post done yesterday. While certainly not an excuse, I just got engaged--I've been so excited planning my wedding that I lost track of time! Again, I'm sorry. I will have my post completed by tomorrow.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Chapter Three E-Demand Around the Globe

The focus of this chapter was on the demand and growth of online courses and programs being offered by a range of educational institutions. I found the history and statistics about the soaring number of students of all ages taking online classes interesting. I had the opportunity to attend a session on OpenCourseWare while at the technology institute. There is a huge push for free online education. Universities are putting their materials and lectures online for the public which has also opened opportunities for completely free online classes. Huge numbers of students have signed up for these free classes, and this is what I find to be the truly neat consequence of all of this, students began organizing themselves into online study communities on their own. The pursuit of life-long learning in its finest hour. Students pursuing knowledge without anything to gain besides the knowledge itself. The goal of every teacher to instill a love of learning realized.

The themes that the students and teachers credit the online learning experience with are self-initiative, communication, organization, empowerment, creativity, self-expression, meaningfulness, and individuality. Not to mention all of the benefits of crossing the country and the world to a variety of cultural and geographic perspectives. Looking at that list makes me think of the qualities I would want any of my students to walk away from my classroom with to continue learning for the rest of their lives.

Bonk writes, "There is no one best technology and no one best instructional approach." I feel that education often latches on to the newest fad, the program with the best promises, the newest catch phrases, and of course anything with an acronym. I think that it's easy to become blinded by the next shiny thing that emerges. It's easy to use technology as a replacement, rather than a tool. Instead of handwriting that paper type it. Instead of using the dictionary, look it up on your computer. One of the teachers that Bonk talks about, Yong says, "When we start something new, we should try innovation instead of fixing the old." I'm not sure that we can fully imagine the scope of what we are capable with through online education. Bonk shares the story of the young girl who goes on a sailing trip with her family and how she is able to incorporate authentic learning experiences with her online course work. How many times have we modified our curriculum work when our students approach us with those life experience opportunities? How valuable is it for our students to be able to reach for those materials and courses with just a couple clicks of a mouse?

The chapter discusses many successful schools that have implemented extensive online opportunities for their students. The Florida Virtual School is one such instance offering K-12 online education. The president and CEO, Julie Young, had a fantastic quote about the role of the educator in the online world. "Part of my passion as an educator is to help other educators understand how vital it is that we be willing to pioneer within this new "open" world on behalf of our children... We have to be willing to provide the maps and the compass so that when they get out into this new world of instant access, they will have guideposts, warning signs, and even a moral compass to keep them on a productive path." As Bonk also says later "Online, a teacher is a teacher is a teacher."

Also a quick plug for since it was mentioned in this chapter. My students love the format and concept of this website. I encourage them to use it in their free time and they love answering the questions while knowing they're contributing to a cause. Education, entertainment, and a way to change the world all rolled into one :)

Resources OpenCourseWare

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

Chapter 2 - To Search and to Scan, Web Searching in the World of E-books

In this chapter, Bonk describes how improvements in bandwidth, storage space and computer speed have made possible the vast amount of information that is available online today. The notion of "fingertip knowledge" and the idea that we don't need to memorize as much today because the information is so readily available is interesting to me. My understanding is that knowledge works like building blocks and that new knowledge is added or assimilated into the knowledge that we already have. I wonder how not memorizing information will affect the acquisition of new knowledge.

There is a bit in this chapter about courses that are delivered electronically. I have not taken an online course but would like to see what it's like. Most of the chapter details with various efforts to digitize books and make them available online for free. Free is my favorite. I have not checked out the organizations and the free books yet but it seems like a gold mine for schools. I would also like to check out the book by Anderson about creating online courses (ties in with my interest in taking an online course). Another source for online books that I have run across is National Academies Press. The books are available for sale but are also available as free PDFs.

Another trend that Bonk mentions is how the web has put a different spin on publishing creative work and how authors are earning money from speaking engagements based on the online success of their free books.

Bonk's enthusiasm for technology is evident and that's about all I had to say about chapter 1. Chapter 2 was an easier read for me and gave me some information to think and some resources to follow up on.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Check this out. 

free way to build with legos... good for all ages

*published via email

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chapter One Response

Hi everyone! Sorry this is so late getting posted tonight. Had a hard time getting into this book and getting back into the swing of things after a great week of vacation! Slow to start, but here are just a few of my notes. I couldn’t necessarily add page numbers a reference as I’m reading from my Kindle and the page numbers change as I adjust the text size. With that said, all in bold is cited directly from the text.
“What is perhaps different today is that technologies are actually leading to major changes in teaching and learning, especially in the opportunities to learn. As this occurs, students are taking the roles of teachers, and those formally known as teachers are better positioned as guides, tutors, and mentors.” These are words that I hear at almost every inservice day, read in articles online about proficiency based learning, etc.. It’s real, and it’s on it’s way to a school near you. This year I’m piloting a vertical team and actually just received my class list. I’ve got mixed classes of 7th and 8th graders to start, but as they begin to master standards, our schedule is designed so that they can be grouped and regrouped if needed. I think that some of the teachers are worried that we’re moving so quickly in a completely different direction. Will a computer program replace a teacher? “Technology itself will not empower learners. Innovative pedagogy is required.” We’ll always need teachers. We’ll always need good teachers, who are willing to take risks and do what is best for their students. Having these opportunities for students to be “free to learn, seek knowledge when needed ... express in creative ways what they have learned”  and move at their own pace and prove that they know the skills and strategies is exactly what we need to be doing as teachers. What we need is “instructional approaches that are more active and engaging and in which learners have greater control over their own learning. Words such as ‘ownership,’ ‘control,’ ‘engagement,’ relevancy,’ and ‘collaboration’ are among those shaping the learning-related dialogue of the twenty-first century.”
“Even without lightning-fast access to the Web, there are enormous learning opportunities that were not possible a decade or so ago.” This is actually one of the conversations that I had with another teaching during the week at the Summer Tech. Institute regarding the research process. There are still so many school staff (teachers and librarians) that are requiring students to cite from a physical book, an encyclopedia, etc. Librarians are still spending thousands on an encyclopedia set. Why? By the time they’re printed, they’re already outdated. That’s not to say that something printed online won’t be outdated quickly as well, but it is easily able to change. Your school doesn’t have the money available to go on a field trip? Visit and tour a museum virtually. If I had been able to download a book in less than thirty seconds on my electronic device ten years ago when I was in middle school, I probably would have had more access to the books I was interested in and been more likely to read them. Instead a lesson that I find more valuable is teaching our kids researching strategies. “Knowing where to look, how to access, and what to focus on are the powerful strategies of today.”
“No one who wants to participate successfully in this world can put further learning on hold.”

- Martha

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tranparency and Reverse Teaching in Read 180

Tranparency and Reverse Teaching in Read 180

Scholastic's Read180 is a structured program that is intended to increase vocabulary and background knowledge with the intent to improve comprehension. I have 90 minutes with each group of students and a very tight 20 minute rotating instructional model. To incorporate transparency and reverse teaching into my classroom would be challenging, however very doable. My classroom would be transparent to parents, teachers, administration, and the community. A huge part of Read180 is the Next Generation software that students use to enhance their reading skills. I want transparency that will allow others to observe the power of technology in the classroom.
Making my classroom available to parents, outside of the traditional parent/teacher conferences or student led confernces. Google Sites would be my avenue for building a parent friendly classroom website. The website would give parents access to a teacher profile, teacher contact information, assignments/due dates, classroom notices and a school calendar.
Building an ePortfolio for students to share with other teachers and their parents would be essential to my transparent classroom. I would create a folder in Google docs where students could upload their work and photos of work that isn't in a digital format, much like Mr. Domonick does with his high school math students.

Reverse teaching may be slightly more complicated in the Read 180 environment. My thought is to create concept videos that students could watch at home or that could be played during our whole group instruction. Students could view the videos and then work to apply the knowledge, going back to the video for refresher if needed. I would be managing the classroom but students would be making mistakes and learning from them as they applied the concepts.