Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Philosophy of Education

Article Assessment 3

Tools for the Mind

Because there is no body of research unequivocally linking student technology use to improved learning, technology use has been put on the back burner as a tool for use in education past the use of low-level skills such as word processing.

  • Many educators see computer based learning as an exception, not the rule. Teacher share learning skills for computer use instead of learning how to best use computers for teaching.
  • Many schools have not invested in the long term upkeep of skills for teachers in the realm of technology.
  • Schools have not really done much study on whether they are really teaching students.
  • Not all software is cognitively and instructionally equal.

Although students are encouraged to seek out information on line, they are not often engaged in the collaborative aspect of the internet. There is a lack of content-oriented simulations being used. Students are set free on the internet and not given enough of a structure to use technology to its true instructional power.

More challenging uses of technology can create opportunity for critical thinking skills. They increase the use of abstract thought. Classrooms generally use low-level operations, or use tools with potential for higher learning in their basic form.

Teachers today are faced with many questions:
  • What kinds of software do I want and why?
  • When should I allow students to use computers? When shouldn't I allow use?
  • Does the technology in my classroom help to deepen understnading of the content?
  • Is there measurable learning taking place?
  • Does the technology used improve learning?
One strategy that should be incorporated in the classroom includes four steps:

First - Teachers should be lead through the learning process so that they can understand and reflect on the activity and include their understanding of the project they are teaching.
Second - Teachers should be taught to understand the uses of the technology used with students.
Third- Teachers should be exposed to technology that has a specific learning goal in mind
Finally - Teachers should know how to manipulate specific software applications, and it should be used to support the four areas of teaching: content knowledge, curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

Technology is not being used to its potential, at the expense of the higher learning of students. With some help, teachers could become more knowledgeable about the ways to use technology in the classroom. Students could be a larger part of their learning experience, using technology as a tool that leads them through problem solving, analytical thinking, and finally to develop skills that lead to the making of educated decisions. For students to be more prepared for the decisions of life, this technology use could be part of their preparation toward graduation.

Article Assessment 2

An Educators Guide to the Read/Write Web

According to Will Richardson, the Read/Write Web is a "phenomenon that is changing the face of journalism, politics, business, and other areas of society". School is one of these aspects of society being changed.

Some of the tools of the Read/Write Web are:
  • Blogs - a person or group web site that can be set up with little need of instruction or experience.
  • Wikis - collaborative web sites that are information sites. These sites are self monitored in that they are edited by those who visit them. Falsities and mistakes are edited out quickly by those who contribute.
  • Feeds - really simple syndication where a person can subscribe to various feeds of information.
  • Social Bookmarking - users can save site addresses, but also save a copy of the Web site in a search able folder. It is social in that you can subscribe to another person's feed.
  • Pod casting - amateur home radio programs and widely distributing them on the Web.
A Student's awareness of an audience creates a need within them to create a more quality product.

Should education change now that the audience is far broader than before? Teachers and students must learn how to be more able to navigate through a publishing environment that is far broader than ever before. These new tools require that teachers consider the usefulness of traditional ways of teaching, and consider changing them to be more appropriate for the connected world provided by the internet.

Some teachers worry that the freedom provided by use of technology will pose a temptation to students to be off task, or worse yet, to be indulging their own tasks. This is perhaps one of the largest hurdles that will need to be overcome by teachers and students alike. To culture students who can be trusted with this freedom, and teachers who allow it in the classroom, is the first step toward true integration of technology in the classroom.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Educational Philosophy

Technology should be incorporated into the classroom in the same way that it is being incorporated into our lives. Not as a separate subject, but as an integral element of every class curriculum.

Energy Awareness Project

I get a cup of coffee every day, and I get it in a paper cup. This means that each week I use up to five paper cups. Living in Juneau, where we do not have much room to build as it is, how am I adding to the space issue by throwing a paper cup away, and into the landfill, each day?

How am I effecting my environment by using a paper cup each day?
  • How do I effect the size of the land fill by throwing a paper cup away each day?
  • How is my use of paper effecting biodiversity on the planet?
  • How am I effecting the remaining islands of old growth forest by using a paper cup each day?
  • How much paper does one cup consist of.
  • How many trees are needed to make that much paper.
  • Where are those trees coming from.
  • Was any naturally occurring forest destroyed (biodiversity) to create the paper, or to create a place where a homogeneous environment exists.
  • Do the cups biodegrade
  • How much space do the cups take up in the landfill
Through research, my paper consumption can be seen by examining my use of cups.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Anthrotech Project

Floyd Dryden is full of useful technology for students and parents alike. I had imagined that when I became a teacher I would be able to inform parents of up coming events in the school through a web page where they could respond with concerns. I also envisioned that I would be able to have a tutorial set up that parents could be a more active roll in educating their students, and students could feel more connected to their parents. I thought that all of this was a futuristic idea that would come in the future. Little did I know that this is the reality at Floyd Dryden. Teachers have a bio posted on the school web sight where they can create links to information pertaining to their students. Parents can track their child's grades, attendance, and the amount they are reading through a one stop account set up by the school. Parents have a great opportunity to be involved if they are willing to take the initiative. My host teacher posts student's pictures on the web page when we go on field trips, or do special projects. This is all done with consideration to parent's wishes, and a parent permission form is sent out at the beginning of the year.

Although quite a bit of technology is available for teachers differing ability and comfort levels, not all teachers are as willing to use what the school provides. I have used the SmartBoard at least twice, and new SmartBoard technology has recently been introduced. I am excited to find out other ways that I can utilize the tools provided.

I am hoping that my experience as a student teacher will lead me to be more comfortable with technology in the classroom. Currently in our homeroom, the assignment is for students to create a Power Point that shows different types of geographic features. This includes using Google to define words and find images, and the skills for manipulating Power Point. I am hoping that my experiences using technology will lead to an exciting teaching career.

Monday, September 8, 2008


How to animate a rolling ball

In this short film, the students were attempting to animate a ball rolling across the screen. Their fist attempt failed, and it appeared that the ball just slid across the screen. They then used the ball's circumference and the idea of the x,y,and z axes to make the ball roll.

The pros...
  • The students were able to learn about the different planes of field in 3-D animation.
  • They learned about graphics on the computer.
  • They were able to apply the math lesson and formula for circumference into the show.
The cons...
  • It would take a long time.
  • It would be hard for a teacher with limited technological skills
  • Hard to grade and measure each student's participation.

This project was great for showing students how important circumference is, and explained how to calculate the dimensions of the ball. Because it was so simple, it seems like it could be useful, and not too timely to be a good lesson. It could also be a good teaching tool.

How would you grade "Fox Becomes a Better Person" and "School Train"?

A rubric could be used for this project. As the instructor would want to be the judge of the content, and I may consider the production quality something that could be done through peer review, getting the whole class involved. This way they can see each others work, and better know what is expected in the future.

Content- This means I would evaluate the presentation to decide if the objectives were met (if they learned what I wanted them to learn). The students would first and foremost be expected to create something that shows their ability to understand some concept.

Production- Effort could be examined here. The student's prior knowledge of the technology would have to be considered for this area of grading.

Because I do not know the students, it would be hard for me to grade these two projects on production quality, although they are both good. It does seems clear that they both met the content requirement.

What impacts could the developments of epic2015 have on your classroom...podcasting?

If all people were considered acceptable sources of news, in the end news would become a jumble of "factoids". It makes me uncomfortable to think that such superficial information as where I shop or what kinds of magazines I buy would determine what news I receive. Although I may like to read a magazine that highlights movie stars and their lives on a road trip, this does not mean that I wouldn't want to receive relevant news as well. Much could be done with the technology behind this filtering of news.

  • Sharing- I would want students share resources and relevant information to make the final product as a whole better. This could be journal articles, web pages, or just pictures.
  • News- I wonder if this technology could help students to attain better quality resources. If resources could be filtered through a system so no time is waited reading articles that sound helpful , that end up having no good info.


  • Exclusivity- It leaves out the students that are not as able to get their hands on technology
  • Cheating - It would be harder to decide if a student were using appropriate sources of information.
In some classes I have had, we would analyse abbreviated reports. When you get to go back and look at the entire write up, major flaws in methods can be found, and the results become less finite. The work looks so compelling when there is a lack of detail that you would not feel the need to question. In actuality there were some big questions left unanswered and many unknowns. I am afraid that this is what will happen with news.

We already get an abbreviated news. I am afraid that compiling information even more may lead to situations where the news looks finite when it is actually malleable. I hope that there is a way to keep the news somewhat non-bias and as true as possible.

How would I use something like Sabrina's example in the classroom?

Sabrina was able to use a simple form of technology to get a beautiful idea across. This would be a nice medium for journal work in an English class. In my Science class, this could be used to encourage the students to do their own research, and them present a short lesson to the class.

Article assessment I

Renee Moseng
Sept. 8, 2008

Article Assessment I
Listen to the Natives

"Times have changes", declares Prensky in his article explaining the differences between the current day student and those of the past. Those who were not born into the digital world are referred to as digital immigrants. Because there is a memory of a non-digital world, these types of people are not able to move comfortably through the digital world. This leaves them in a cycle of playing catch up with newer technology.

Prensky refers to those born into the digital world as digital natives. This generation, being comfortable with technology, are able to navigate through the technical world, with little instruction. They are able to teach themselves through trial and error. They don't waist their time reading how-to books, they are engaged.

This difference in knowledge between teachers and students should lead us to demanding more teachers with empathy and guidance abilities than exclusively with subject knowledge. This would allow for many encouraging changes in the classrooms of today, and make school a more integrated part of the current day student's life.

Interesting Ideas:

  • Shifting gears- We as educators need to be willing to leave our comfort zones and enter into the 21st century. This would mean including students in designing instruction, and encouraging students to make good decisions.
  • Student Engagement- If we create classrooms that include the digital technologies that students spend time with at home, students will be more motivated in their classrooms.
  • Collaborating with Students- Students who are fluent in the language of technology can become a great resource for teachers, and can be useful to the creation of curriculum that includes digital technology.
  • Flexible Organization- The current way of grouping kids into learning groups is refered to as herding, a student's involuntary assignment to specific classes or groups.
Two strategies are suggested hereto avoid this. One being one-to-one personalized instruction. This is nearly impossible in the current day classrooms due to the ratio of students to teachers. The second strategy is self-selected learning groups. This could be within the classroom, or even include students from other classes in the nation or other countries.
  • Digital Tools- Tools that are traditionally thought of a taboo in the classroom could be used in a useful way. One for example is the cell phone. With the use of the camera/video abilities of today's cell phones, students could post assignment, and create narratives.
  • Programming- This can be used in the form of downloading, doing Google searches, of handing in homework via Flash programs.