Friday, October 16, 2009

Week 9/20 Response

This week's information discussed how technology is dealt with in educational settings. The issues that were mentioned were the location computers, keyboarding, NCLB, and distance learning, to name a few. Chapter 2 of Johnston/Cooley discussed the ways in which technology can enhance the curriculum and promote learning that is more than just a teacher lecturing and students just taking notes. The chapter discusses the examples of project-based or problem-based learning, in which students were given a particular task that they had to work with their peers on and then also find ways to share their findings with their classmates, parents or others in another district. (Johnston/Cooley, pg 26)
The second example is the multidisciplinary approach, which I actually use in my classroom. This is a great way to get abstract themes and lessons across to the students. By having the students create projects in each of their subjects (English, math, science, social studies, reading) they can see that their learning is not in a vacuum but that it can affect everything they do and see in the world. (Johnston/Cooley, pg 26)
The third example is the authentic learning approach which seems to me similar to the multidisciplinary approach, but it is a way for students to be in charge of what they learn and how they report their findings. The use of technology to create their projects helps them to understand the concepts. (Johnston, Cooley, pg 27)
The fourth example is the academic service-learning approach which brought the workforce of others into the classroom to collaborate on the learnings of the students for a particular concept.
(Johnston/Cooley, pg 27)
The information from this chapter just reiterates the fact that students need to be actively engaged in the learning process in order to get the most from a particular concept/idea. Students need a 'start' from the teacher in order to get the learning going, but it should ultimately be up to the student to want to learn about something to complete a project to get the most out of that particular concept. Teachers are more than just lecturers- they are facilitators in the fact that they are available to help guide students and to show them multiple ways of learning things but students should be willing to learn and explore on their own even if they aren't successful on the first attempt. Students should be evaluated not only through the standardized tests but also through the different avenues of self-check as well as grading with rubrics (which helps with accountability). The learning environment has changed from being teacher-centered to more student-centered. Students should learn from their peers as well as their teachers and be open to new ideas that may help them achieve more success.
Chapter 3 of Johnston/Cooley discusses ways that technology plans can be successful in a school setting. The skills that are to be taught should of course be reviewed and taught to the teachers that are trying to implement the technology. The technology should work and be effective. The only way that can happen is if there is a technology person in the district that can troubleshoot any problems/issues that may arise with the technology. If everyone is on board for the positive use of a particular piece of technology, from the school board on down to the custodians (who are responsible for th daily upkeep of the hardware) then positive things can happen in the learning areas of the school.
Chapter 2 of Hendron discussed the basics of a wiki. I had to have a wiki for a previous LS class but didn't know what to do with it or why I even had it - I used it for the class, but it really didn't help me in any other way. This chapter really pulled the information together for me and I have a better understanding of it. I had actually forgotten I had a wiki already up and running, but when I went to pbworks it did tell me that I had a previous wiki, so I was able to use that. It also helped me understand the Wikipedia that is available. In my own teaching, my students many times referred to that particular site for their information. I now know that I need to alert them the information can be used, but that what they are using should be verified with another source.
I like how the chapter was broken into sections, especially the section for 'Uses for Wikis by Educators.' I think this is a great approach to take, but from my own experiences with my sixth grade students I'm not sure it would be used in the best possible way. I think it would just add one more item to my already busy plate of the things that need to be done in a school day.

I also took some information from the article 'Using Wiki technology to support student engagement: Lessons from the trenches' by Melissa Cole. This selection also stated that the Wiki had little impact on student engagement in this particular study. As I read through the article, the general consensus was that the Wiki itself was unattractive and didn't hold much interest for the students to want to post items to it - if it was more user-friendly they may have posted more information and been a more active participant.

Cole, M. (2008). Using Wiki Technology to Support Student Engagement: Lessons from the
trenches. Computers & Education, 52 (2009), p. 141-146.

Hendron, J. (2008). RSS for Educators: Blogs, newsfeeds podcasts and wikis in the
Classroom. Eugene, OR: ISTE

Johnston, M., & Cooley, N. (2001). What We Know About: Supporting New Models of
Teaching and Learning Through Technology. Educational Research Service.

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