Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Wikis reflection

Wikis are amazing!!! From an educational stand point these are amazing and more I learn about them the more I like. Name something else that gives a sense of responsibility and ownership to the students. And if this wasn't enough it gives them editorial control in an open, collaborative and the democratic process of gaining knowledge. Holy crap Wiki's are amazing!( I promise not to use amazing any more in this post).
More specifically making a Wiki out of a students research paper, it could be on any subject, but the example in the book is global warming. After entering it onto Wikipedia for example the entire class could monitor and watch what happens to the information. Then even discuss it as a class to critically analyze those modifications. Talk about teachable moments and learning that would be coming out of their eye balls.
Another way of using Wikis is using them as a debate tool for students. I like chocolate and you like vanilla. Then let the students debate research and collaborate what they believe. Once again you can see the potential to truly engage students because the are working and learning as a community with the teacher only guiding. WOW Heres an example of a wiki that a six grader poroduced with this idea in mind.
And finally using it among teachers to post lesson plans. This could be wonderful especially for some older teachers who could learn and see how easy it is to use new aspects of technology in their teaching when the would have been frightened to before. I'm sure everyone can read in my words the excitement that wikis potential are for in the classroom. Visit teacherlounge and see a great way to collaborate with other teachers
Absolutely Wikis will be used in my classroom and with the admin software out there you should be able to make sure there is no offensive material used or at least monitor who posted it and deal with it accordingly. I like Wikis a lot.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

digital story telling

The real nice thing about digital story telling is that it reaches every student. It allows them all to be heard and allows them to tell a story they are passionate about. Or allows them to show off their wild side or any side they wish to show. And then talk about hitting the multiple intelligences and the diversity in the classroom, this helps.
From the session that I came in late to the other day I took in one thing stronger than the other,and that was that the ear connects 20,000 fibers to the brain while the eye connects 1,000,000 fibers to the brain. Talk about engaging and reaching kids in a super exciting way. Wesley also talked about how we must prepare students for the new media centered world and that now students are not just consumers of info. but active creators. And it makes sense because kids can easiliy create movies powerpoints etc and post on the web for potentially millions of viewers. It also says alot to me, because I have to admit that before I joined this class I didn't know that a wiki was produced by everybody. I have used tons of sources from wikiepedia in many of my classes and just plain never knew how it was made. The other positives of specifically digital story telling is a quote from Wesley again that said it connects to any student in any subject. And that works well for the board office types that maybe don't see the aspect of technology integration as useful in the classroom. And lastly that after now just producing my first movie on photostory and having worked on Mac's version I realize both are easy and will be tons of fun for all students regardless of age and ability. Brian Nenson 3rd yr Ed student.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

text reflection 2

Hi everyone. I'm back. As i get through more and more of this class I keep trying to think of ways of integrating this with children in the lower grades. Mainly because I'm in the K-5 program and my focus within this program has been grade three. Then in chapter two they talk about scaffolding in early blogging and a light bulb came on. If, as the teacher, we provide interesting and relevant sites filled with information, which we will have to find a head of time. Then get the kids to view the sites and write a blog about the information. Then the teacher could go through the blogs presenting some blogs to the rest of the class. This is an inside track to "Teachable Moments" so the kids can see how the collaboration works. Because you can physically talk about what someone wrote and then you can start the kids into writing comments directly on the blog. And or talk to the kids about relevant info. and that the info. is not always correct. You could also focus on security aspects that I have talked about in past blogs also. This list is endless...building one step at a time and working onward from there.
The second point I want to talk about at any time in this process you can get a hold of and recruit an audience for the kids to write /read to. Such as professional athletes, musicians, scientists etc. immediately you can see how engaged the children will be if their not talking to their teacher about a specific topic that the teacher may or may not know anything about. Or talking and collaborating with a person in the field. WOW talk about getting kids invested and interested.
Lastly validating information. I know I touched on this even in this blog, but it's an important part of teaching young kids how to use the web. www.internic.com is where you can go to check who registered the domain name on a specific site. Some people may want to remain anonymous but through this site you can find who registered the site and then search out info on the person to determine the validity of the information. www.technorati.com is another useful site to see the validity of the blogger. It shows how many other bloggers have liked to the blog itself. The number used in the text is 100 or more hits and the information should be considered correct. These are all helpful tools especially for little grades. Brian Nenson 3rd yr Ed student

Friday, July 20, 2007

text reflection 1

Hi everyone. I wrote this a few days ago on paper but didn't get a chance to post it because I was skydiving in Alberta for the last few days. Anyway as I've been reading the book I'm happy that there are lot of commonalities between the text and the videos that we looked at earlier. Or at least a lot of the things I got from those videos are being talked about again in the text. Some of these comments were made in my first blog, on how a teachers role is changing from the "know all " to the "guide all" and this change is exciting. How weblogs are the connection to anyone around the world puts more investment in the students and the (positive) responses will invest a child even more. Wikis being a collaboration on the web of information, which I didn't know only a couple of weeks ago. And my thoughts on digital portfolios is being reinstalled throughout the beginning chapters of the text.
I think the most compelling part is that of security. If we as teachers, talk to parents about posting on the web, creating wikis, weblogs and podcasts. And that all this information is going to be there for them to look at and browse at during their leisure. We have to make sure that there is no question in anybodies mind about security or the lack there of. I personally like the idea of giving the students an individual number so it seperates all the kids. Then at your first parent teacher conference you can give the respective parent their childs number and say to them that the entire class will be posting only as a number So if only the parent and the teacher know what number corresponds to what child then that solves a couple of problems. Firstly personal identity because no one will no the identity of the student. And secondly parents can go and look at their child's work and look at the rest of the class. providing some valuable comparisons to the parent. And in my experience lots of parents want to see how their child compares to others in the class.
I want to end with a quote I found in the first chapter that further emphasizes that the role of teachers is changing. "...people, especially young people, continue to learn-and to adopt new media- but institutions, and those who run them, are much slower to change their ways" [W. Richardson pg7 (Rheingold, 2004)]. This is compared to a gap that is widening between education and schooling, but I think we can take the new technologies partnered with our new ways of teaching and start minimizing that gap if not closing all together. Brian Nenson 3rd yr Ed student.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Video reviews

In signing up and taking this class(ecmp455) I wanted more technology knowledge and to be able to integrate it into my classroom (when I get one). David Weinberger really hit home with a lot of points on a different world starting up and that we as future teachers are going to have a different role then the traditional one. In other words we are not the keepers of the information, we are only a guide to the information. And this process of giving up the reins and giving the kids the controls is going to be difficult and exciting all at the same time.
Bernie Dodge was helpful with his information on the creation of webquests. His Quest Garden and his website (webquest.sdsu.edu) are equally helpful. This takes a lot of prep work, but then you just let the kids go. Awesome way to ensure security by building it before hand and knowing where the students are going.
Stephen Heppell talked greatly about peer to peer collaboration and the idea of students helping students. Once again the kids are constructing their learning and building on each others knowledge. He had some excellent ideas on classroom design that really got me thinking. I've always had the idea in the back of my head that in my classroom I really wouldn't need a desk. They are big and would probably be empty other then a few pens and a piece of chalk, so then why have one taking up so much room. Stephen talks about classroom design like me, from outside the box, and thinking of how to better engage students. And that also moves the teacher away from that traditional authoritative role.
Will Richardson had some great information in his presentation he talking about, as did some others, giving up the reins in the classroom over to the children. Some interesting statistics were that the 1 billionth web user just hit the web. Now this was back in 2005 but never the less how it could be a sixty year old grandmother in central Africa or it could be a six year old in Russia. That was very cool. So with a billion users he went on to say on the read/write web it is just as important find resources as to find good creditable resources This will be our new job as educators to ensure that the resources are creditable. One other statistic that hit home with me was his "Shift Happens" that showed that with in 5 yrs computers will be running faster than the human brain. Wow Wow Wow.
Ken Robinson was interesting because he talked about in these changing times we have to be prepared to try different things out and that all the time those things may or may not work. So his message was be prepared to be wrong. And this goes against traditional roles of a teacher because in my day teachers where never wrong. He also spoke of digital portfolios and I think this is the best idea going. Even if you had to scan everything including physical writing and stories and so forth you would have a digital record of development. Super easy for assessment, reporting and parent teacher conferences. Then if every teachers does this throughout the childs education it could even be used as a keep sake for the parents AWESOME
Deneen Frazier Bowen was completely and totally annoying and there was more then one time I just about turned her off and went on to the next presentation. But I'm glad I didn't because her message was great even though she showed in an bad way. The aspect of diversity in the classroom and I know this has been hammered in us as future teachers , but once again technology can reach people that traditional teachers can not. And it speaks volumes when she talked about school district being proud of their 95% percent success rate, but what about the other 5%????? Are we just supposed to be happy that the majority are getting what they need or do we have to figure out what works for the minority. The later has to be our focus. As with the military saying about "no man left" behind I truly believe that no child can be left behind and we have to be vigilant about this. Support. Guide. Challenge. Words to teach by.
Metiri Group presentation by Cheryl Lemke was excellent also. The "fast forward" software is WOW! The program effectively activates proper portions of the brain to marginalize certain minor learning difficulties. This is truly amazing it takes about 90 min/day, but if you could get a dyslexic child to correct their problem it's well worth the time and effort. Other ideas she had was something called visual or virtual mapping. In other words instead of drawing out a story board with pen and paper you draw it out in word. you could teach the kids very easily how to use dialogs boxes arrows and lines and then even import graphics etc. COOL The "WISE" program gives two distinct paths to a problem. You then split your class up and get each group to research their specific path. Then you bring them all back together and debate the information collected. This would bring out so many teachable moments I can't even count them all. It further goes on to working with misconceptions about the net, about the info etc. Metiri Group has some very cool tools for the classroom.
Monica Beglau has a good program(emints), but $45,000 start up cost would scare most school boards away. And we as teachers can't afford that by our selves. Leslie Fisher had some interesting tid-bits about digital photography and especially about editing those photos once you have them. And finally Brent Williams scare the crap out of me when he talked about security of information on the web and that anything you do over a wireless network can be seen by others extremely easily. All in all the NECC conference is something I would like to go to when I become a teacher to impliment the technology into the classroom.
Brian Nenson 3rd yr Ed Student.