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


  1. The interesting thing is teachers have always been fearful that technology will replace them.. Actually it shows you need them more just not for the sage on the stage model.

    I was taken by the "Technology by itself will not empower learners. Innovative pedagogy is required."

    And how the shift of power can be seen in your classroom... does a student really need you?

    for example.... to find out why the sky is blue we used to have to go the library, ask an expert, or experiment. We now open our smart phone hit search and get an array of answers. Teaching is not about being the keeper of the keys of knowledge giving the students access but helping them understand which door unlock (and trust "but verify")

    My concern is based on the "kicked in the crotch" content... the "snooky" gen of creators that the internet has for information. I watch students spend hours trying to watch this stuff and we know there are no "value" in it. Doesn't this mean that there is also materials that are created for that reason not for information but sensation.

    I think web life will evolve next where we are connected to internet all time not we upload content but it is uploaded as we do it live.... no filter

    For example, I watched Martha have 3 different devices open while I was "teaching" searching and multitasking. She didn't need me to link to information that she could get herself.

    Ed resources not local but global now.

    Oh if any teacher is waiting thinking this will all pass.... they are the dance band on the titanic arguing about rearranging the deck chairs while the rest of us are in the life boat paddling like hell to get away from the sinking ship.

  2. I have to agree with Martha. I a hard time getting into the book as well. I did not encounter too many surprises in this first chapter. I found the idea of upstreaming to be interesting. I can see how having a wider audience can energize the user and create a more meaningful performance.

    In regards to the use of technology and web 2.0 verse web 1.0. I find that many of my coworkers are very afraid of new technology. They do not want to use it or seem afraid that the kids will abuse it. There several that still view the web of today with a web 1.0 lens. They see it only as a place to find information. They can nit (or choose not) to see how students can be contributor to the world-wide knowledge base. So many are still scared of the openness of the internet and lack of control it allows. They are not the masters of the classroom. The comfort of a textbook has appeal but is so limiting compared to what you can do with the internet today. I find that like many teachers, some kids show this same reluctance. They resist new technology and what it implies. They like the tell me what I need to know framework. But that is not how our modern technological workplaces are run.

    1. Actually almost at Web 3.0 which is more social interactive..... which they are completely oblivious to.

  3. One of Martha's last quotes from the book - “Knowing where to look, how to access, and what to focus on are the powerful strategies of today.” struck me because there is so much information that it can be overwhelming. My students need to know how to determine what information is reliable and when to be skeptical.
    I like technology but also respect the teachers who are slow to take to technology. They have a lot to offer students including actual rather than virtual social interaction. There was an article recently (in the Atlantic, I think) about how, despite how much online interaction there is, people in general spend more time alone and are lonelier than ever.

  4. I think that one of the concepts that Martha pulled from the text about ownership is key. Students need to have a sense of ownership about what they learn, and to have choices to help them be engaged in what they learn.

    We can use technology as the vehicle to empower students so they have the freedom to participate, create, and innovate.