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.