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.