Friday, August 30, 2013

Kayla's Project

Here is the link to my blog. I sent home a letter last night about the blog, so there is not much action yet.   One of my classroom jobs for my students is to reflect on what they learned that day and write it down. Then, at the end of the week, they will write (hand write for now) a "post" that will go on the blog. I also have "media" as a classroom job. This student will be in charge of taking pictures. I am hoping once I start posting students' photos and pieces of writing, more parents will check it out!

Let me know what you think! Suggestions are welcomed and appreciated! :)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ilyse's Project Setup

Here is the link to my classroom blog. Currently it's pretty empty, but check back next week and we should have a few posts about the first days of school (we start on the 3rd). To upload pictures to this blog, I plan to use Picasa, just as Keith showed us during STI.

As for my tutorial math videos, I'm thinking of creating a Google Site to store them. I'm not sure if this is the best option, but I want to be able to organize the videos so they are easy enough to find and access.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lindsay's Project Setup

Part of my project proposal was to create a unit pathway in Educate (our course management system). Within this pathway, all the learning targets of the unit would be assigned as well as resources and assignments that went along with each learning target. I have made the pathway in Educate and tagged all the applicable learning targets. My next step is to gather/upload all the resources for each learning target (including capacity matrices/rubrics, homemade videos, assessments, evidence options, and additional tutorials). My video hopefully explains a little bit of what a Pathway is, how it works, and what it looks like. As I work more with the program, all the steps of my Pathway will be much more detailed, I promise!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Chapter 8 - Digital Citizenship n a Dangerous World

What are the Dangers?

  • Misinformation
  • Malinformation
  • Messed-up Information
  • Mostly useless information

The author talks about a balanced solutions....

I equate it to Drivers Ed.   We expect our students to learn how to drive... we do not only allow them to drive in a closed parking lot without anyone else around.   We don't let a student drive until a certain age and then we make them take a class and help them practice.   Even after that they have to drive on the "live" road with "live" traffic with experienced driver beside them.

This is how we need to do this for the internet.    You can't block everything.

The running joke at any school is that Facebook is blocked.... only for teachers but no student.

Scare Factors do not work.   I have found when I tell students that if they tell me when something comes up inappropriate that they will get into MORE trouble if they DON'T tell me then if they tell me.

I give them a place to practice in.   We also need to understand students that are at risk online are usually at risk offline.

Just as bullying, cheating, fighting and writing notes occurred before the internet it occurs after it regardless of the technology.

This is why we still need to teach proper behavior regardless of the technology.

I would also point out that this new generations live in this world.  We tend to think cyber presence has a higher value and consequences in a kids everyday world.   I recently saw this when my wife's niece announced on Facebook she was pregnant.   She had no concept that this wasn't the first place she should have gone (her parents, grandparents, and other family member had no idea) through other channels first.

All schools need a CIPA (AUP) policy does yours have it?

Do you Teach Digital Citizenship?
Does your school hide behind the "Filter"?

Does your school teach difference between a public and private internet presence?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Chapter 7: Copyright and the Free Web

Chapter 7: Copyright and the Free Web

I really liked the section of this chapter title "Why Should I Care about Copyright?" Marcovitz makes you feel guilty about not caring about copyright laws and not setting a good example for our students as well as hooks you in with the financial implications of violating the laws. I guess, when I look for information or videos it is not something that comes to my mind, which means that I'm definitely not instilling this practice into my learner's research process. All of the different sites that he posted to get images from go way beyond my limited previous knowledge of Creative Commons. I think that posting all of these different resources as an anchor chart in your room or on your classroom (or the library's) blog would be an excellent way to educate and remind students about copyright laws.

I also took a school law course this summer, so I found the actual laws about time limits for copyrighted material and the 10% usage of text, multi-media, songs rule interesting. I said many times in that course that every school staff member should have to have taken a basic school law course as there is so many potential liabilities within schools. Which makes me wonder, why have I never heard about these rules before? Or, maybe I have but it was brushed over as unimportant? Either way, we do need to be setting good examples for our students and be transparent about where we get our materials as well as sharing this information with colleagues. I also liked that Marcovitz shared his personal story about how copyrighting text actually pushed him into formalizing his work into a book so that he could receive royalties from the sales. I think it's important to share with students why copyrighting exists and what you're doing to the actual owner/creator of the information if you are using it inappropriately.

As Marcovitz describes the three worlds of sharing and copyright issues at the beginning of the chapter, I was immediately reminded of our new digital management system, Educate. Part of my project for this course is to create a Pathway in Educate that is linked to all of our curriculum's learning targets. Another feature of Educate is what Marcovitz describes in the third world. As my district uses this program more, every lesson, activity, assessment, resource, etc. I link to a certain learning target has the ability to be seen by any Educate user in my district (if I choose to "publish" it). This worries a lot of the staff in my building, but I see it as a very powerful tool and idea generator. Just like anything I find in a book or online, I'm probably going to tweak it to fit me and my learners' needs, but think of all the potential (and access to un-copyrighted material!)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chapter 6: Searching the Web

Marcovitz writes in the conclusion, "This involves helping our students learn how to formulate good questions, sort through the overabundance of results that are given, and find tools beyond Google that night yield better results." I think this quote is what Marcovitz wants us o take away from this chapter. It is good to keep in mind when finding answers and doing research with students.

I think I have mentioned before that the library at my school is being revamped for 21st century learning. It is now called the Learning Commons and will have more of a focus on researching skills and projects. Books are still an essential part of the library, but we are integrating more technology and other resources as well. The role of the librarian is changing, but only because they will need to understand and be willing to learn new technology. I agree with the text when it states' " Librarians are information specialists. They help connect people to the information they need." Librarians are needed. I think I am going to share this exert with my school, I think it will go right along with the changes we have been making.

Like other chapters, I really enjoyed all the information and suggestions Marcovitz offers about searching the web. Some websites and tricks I have heard of, but some I have not. I want to play around with Yippy. I have used KidsClick! and I really enjoyed they fact that I didn't need to worry about what my students were searching for. I also liked it because it offers different reading levels. One downside is the fact that it doesn't have information on everything.

What I take away from this chapter is helping our students how to find the information they need, whether it would be best to find in a book or on the web.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Chapter 5: Web 2.0

Digital Connections in the Classroom (Marcovitz, ISTE, 2012)

I think this quote from the end of the chapter is pretty important: "You want to get wedded to your learning outcomes and goals, not the tools. If a tool makes it easier for your students to learn, use it. If it doesn't use something else...In other words, think about your goals, not your tools. Then look for tools that help you achieve your goals" (p. 108).  Throughout the chapter, there were lots of great tools introduced and explained. However, you can't just use a tool for the sake of saying you used it. It has to fit in with the curriculum, it has to fit in with the objectives. 

Once again, it was said to start small, even create small things on your own, before diving in deep with your class. This year I plan to work on blogging in my classroom, starting small of course. I plan to do some journaling, using kidblog (I was introduced to this during an afternoon session of STI) and blogger for my classroom blog to post about our learning each day (my transparency). There are ways to use blogging to access higher order thinking skills, but for now I will start with this platform and let it grow from there. Both of these things, journaling and keeping a timeline of events, are things I already do in my classroom, now I'm just finding technology to expand/enhance these aspects. 

As I was reading, I remembered some of the tools from STI. There were also tons more listed that I'm eager to check out. It's "scary" just how fast Web 2.0 is expanding, but it's exciting because of all the cool tools that are right at our fingertips as well. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chapter 4: Telecollaborative Projects

Digital Connections in the Classroom (Marcovitz, ISTE, 2012)

"The power of telecollaborative project is to transcend the natural barriers of being confined in space to learn in ways that we can't by sitting in our own classrooms." (p.54)

Some of our students know nothing more about life than what they experience in their small community - they don't get out of Maine sometimes. They can hear us tell them how things (weather, opinions, culture) are in other places of the country/work, but seeing it is different than hearing it. Luckily for us, we have the world at our fingertips. Telecollabortive projects, as the quote at the top states, allows us to "travel" outside of our classroom walls to have more authentic learning experiences. This can be an extremely powerful tool.

As I was reading about the types of projects (interpersonal, information, work and experiences, audience for writers, and strategies), I found myself thinking about how I could try to fit these into the fifth grade curriculum. Almost once a year someone in our school receives a letter as part of "the great mail race". It might be interesting to do this online, using email rather than snail-mail. There is a teacher in Brewer whose class Skypes with a 3rd grade class in every state. It's a great experience for these students in Brewer to talk to students their age in other parts of the country! I think of my students who sometimes have never been to the Bangor Mall because their family doesn't have a car! And when asked to name another state, they don't know the difference between Canada, Brewer, and New York. 

I also appreciated the "Pitfalls" section of this chapter. Often ideas are discussed and I'm cautiously eager to jump right into something. The pitfalls gave me some reassurance that these projects don't work all the time and they aren't appropriate for everyone. I'd like to try them out at some point, but right now I think I have enough on my plate. Perhaps down the road I'll get my feet wet and give it a try. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Chapter 3- Wikipedia

Chapter 3: The Overhyped Dangers of Wikipedia (Marcovitz, ISTE, 2012)

Critical Information Literacy
Digital Connections in the Classroom(Marcovitz, ISTE, 2012)
"A first step in critical information literacy is to understand that any given source is fallible" (Kindle location 1000 of 4336). 

I loved the title of this chapter. So many times I have heard my students say that they cannot use Wikipedia as a source for research and information. When I question them on why, they just say that they had a teacher somewhere along their schooling that told them to never use it. Who tells that to kids anyways and actually expects that they will heed your advice? Just because a student does cite Wikipedia as a resource, doesn't mean that that's not where they started their research. I agree with Marcovitz that the dangers of using Wikipedia are over told to students instead of telling/teaching them how to use Wikipedia appropriately. 

I liked that he compared the use of Wikipedia to the use of Encyclopedia Britannica, they are both a great starting point for when you don't have any background information and sometimes a good source of other relevant links/resources.   

The ideas that Andy Carvin suggested for verify the content of Wikipedia is a great idea and having student approved pages as well as the other exercises suggested about researching the content of Wikipedia pages and verifying/editing the information. What a great way to get the students involved with the information and teach them research skills. This would be a great follow up activity to the website quality checks described in Chapter 2. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chapter 2: Digital Connections in the Classroom

Chapter 2 Digital Connections in the Classroom (Marcovitz, ISTE, 2012)

Critical Information Literacy
Digital Connections in the Classroom(Marcovitz, ISTE, 2012)

“Critical information literacy is not about neat and tidy outcomes or simple checklist. It is about preparing our students with the mental tools to be able to tackle the real and messy web.” (Marcovitz, iPad page 66)

When Marcovitz mentioned an article he wrote called “I Read It on the Computer: It Must Be True”, I first thought of the State Farm commercial where the girl that says “they can’t put anything on the Internet that isn’t true.” Pretty funny commercial because most people know there are a lot of websites that are not accurate. Just like the fake websites Marcovitz mentions, there are many websites with bad information, some that are easy to spot and some that are not easy at all. The author also writes that you would think students would easily pick up on the fake websites, but many of them don’t.  We need to help students think critically about the information they are given and the authors’ intent.

As teachers, it is important to model and provide experiences to analyze and think deeply about the information on the Internet. There is many times where we need to use the Internet to find a small piece of information, fact retrieval, just like I did to find out what company made that commercial I mentioned. We need to teach beyond that skill. I appreciate that Marcovitz says that teaching how to be a critical user will not happen with a few lessons, instead we should help students build on their skills throughout their schooling. My school is evolving our Library to a place called Learning Commons. When students go to the “library” for their special, there will not be as much emphasis on books, but how to find information and researching skills using books and the internet. I am hoping through this we are able to give students experiences in being a critical user.

The resources and lesson ideas Marcovitz gives provides me with some resources and ideas to help strengthen my students’ evaluative skills. Has anyone had any experience in using any of these resources? Do you have a lesson that you are thinking about using with your students to promote being a critical user? 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Chapter 1 Digital Connections in the Classroom (Marcovitz, ISTE, 2012)

Reading the introduction and Chapter One.

Internet Basics.  

Basically explained history of internet from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 and basics of HTML language.
Listing of Browers and how to read URLs endings.

Metcalfe's law that the networks usefulness is related to the number of people who use it.   More people mean more useful.  Although you can get to the law of diminishing returns.   If you are thirsty a glass of water is great, but every glass after the first is less desired until not wanted at all.    We have all done the Google search and got millions of hits.  It would take years to go through them all; however, if you are to specific you get so few results they are useless.

I found this chapter very basic info.   How about you?

Friday, August 2, 2013

So... now done the first book... what did you think of it?

Would you recommend I use it next year?    Did it fit the concept we were watching?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

3-D Printer Clip

I was watching Big Bang Theory tonight and this was in the episode!

Project Proposal

Here is my project proposal. Any ideas/feedback is greatly accepted!

Chapter 8= The End!!

I thought it was very fitting that Crawford decided to write his final chapter about the value and importance of being intrinsically motivated as well as the benefits that failure can have on a person (and their drive).

Motivation is something that I think all teachers struggle with (especially as the students you work with get older). We are all much more motivated to complete and achieve at "leisure" activities that something that we are forced to do. Think of our students for example, they have no problem persevering or paying attention through a video game or producing quality work on their dirt bikes or snowmobiles.When students are interested and invested in what they're doing for more than an extrinsic reward, their achievement level soars. Unfortunately, we continue to cut programming in schools that allow learners to have these experiences and don't insist that classroom teachers pick up the slack for this loss. As Aristotle is quoted on page 198, "all human beings by nature desire to know". Think of how excited kindergarten students are for school. What experiences do learners have that make this love of learning disappear and more importantly what can we do to bring it back? If you want an interesting read on motivation (it is not an educational text), Daniel Pink's Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us will make you ponder.

I have said on many occasions that I think failure is one of the most important components of the learning process. I specifically liked how Crawford spun this section to discuss the importance of our top students failing. It is definitely not something that they are accustomed to, which means when they do fail for the first time it's going to be a very difficult blow to their ego and self-esteem. We need to allow all students to fail and get back up in a safe environment. Honestly, if everything is always easy to our learners, then we probably are not doing all we can to challenge them. My best friend was our high school valedictorian and went on to Bowdoin then completed her graduate program from University of North Carolina to be a genetic counselor. Last summer, she had an internship through Yale. She has never had to work incredibly hard and has always succeeded. She called me the second week of her internship saying how miserable it was and how much more difficult it was than she anticipated. The other people she was working with didn't respect her opinions because she was just an intern and she was doing menial tasks. She had never experienced not being the smartest person in the room and she didn't know how to handle it, plus she had no support group around her to help her overcome this difficult placement. Although this situation probably would've happened either way, had she experienced failure/not immediate success prior to this internship, she would've been in a much better position to overcome it and probably wouldn't have wanted to quit the entire 12 weeks. I think we're doing a failure to our students if they never have to work through difficult times until they're 26 years old.

Also, I had to add that on page 181 Crawford states that "The teacher who is really a teacher loves children, and wants to figure out how to make them smarter". I don't really like this statement at all. Crawford has made many insightful observations throughout this book and shown his personal belief on the value of gaining deeper knowledge and experiences. He is not one for brevity, but this comment is just that and not does not go with most of the other things he said in the book. Sorry for the rant, it just irked me.

PLEASE POST YOUR PROPOSAL HERE! so we can comment and help