Saturday, October 31, 2009

Week of 10/4 Response

This week's readings dealt with chapters 1 and 2 of Ashburn/Floden and Chapter 4 of Hendron. Chapter 1 was a way to pull the attributes of meaningful learning together as an overview for the reader. The six attributes of MLT are as follows:
1. Intentionality - Goals are clear with tasks and assessment is used to check progress.
2. Content Centrality - Goals should be aligned with the curriculum to get the best learning.
3. Authentic work - Using tasks that students will encounter outside the classroom is emphasized. It brings real world ideas to the classroom.
4. Active inquiry - This allows for exploration and questions from the students so they can fully understand the concept being taught.
5. Construction of mental models - This gives the students clear models so then can visualize the process.
6. Collaborative work - This allows students to work with each other to gain more information of the concept.
Learning needs to be meaning in order for students to be successful. By using the six attributes students can be engaged learners and will know how to search for answers to given tasks.
Chapter 2 focuses on what the teacher needs to do in order to be successful at implementing technology into the curriculum. One idea I found was, on page 33, 'teachers need to understand their subject matter deeply and flexibly.' Teachers should know what they are teaching, why they are teaching it, and how the information being presented is useful to the students outside of the classroom. A teacher also needs to be flexible in how lessons are presented as well as how assessment will be managed.
The underlying theme for this chapter that holds true for all teachers is that learning must be ongoing in order to be meaningful. If teachers remain stagnant in their beliefs, curriculum, or methods, the students will not get the most out of the class. Teachers need to know that they are educating the students to be successful members of a technological society, therefore teachers need to find ways to help the students achieve by helping themselves do the best at teaching the subjects.
Chapter 4 of Hendron was titled 'VolP' and at first, before I had a copy of the chapter, I really had no idea what it meant. Once I was able to read and comprehend the chapter title, it made much more sense to me.
This chapter dealt with voice over internet protocol, which is a way for students to have access to lessons or other classrooms through the use of the programs on the internet, without having to actually be in the classroom.
This chapter mainly focused on voice and video based communication, which could open up a whole new world for distance learning. The cyber schools that are in place (as far as I know, in Pennsylvania) utilize some of these programs for the students to participate in their education.
One of the programs is called the Gizmo Project. This is a neat program since the end product can be turned into a podcast for a student's future use. The gizmo project is free and allows for free voice connections and free calling between computers.
Another program is called Skype. We had to create a Skype account for this class - and it was very easy! However, I don't know of anyone else I know (other than my Clarion class members) that are a part of it, so I haven't used the Skype yet. It sounds like a great way to communicate with colleagues and even family members, but I have such a small family, we all live within 30 miles of each other, so there would be no point in communicating this particular way. Maybe I will think differently once my children are grown, move out and are away at school or have moved far away.
Another program, found on MAC's is the iChat A/V. This is similar to Gizmo and Skype but has the added feature of video and has support through American Online and the Jabber network.
This chapter continues on with ways to set up an audio and video conference. This seemed like a no-brainer to me, from a teacher standpoint. When completing any task, especially interviewing someone, the interviewer needs to be prepared before the actual interview takes place. I like the idea that the interviewee gets the questions in advance and that gives him/her the time to think of some great answers to the questions being posted.
This chapter was a real eye-opener for me, as I had never heard of any of these types of programs before, but I can honestly say that, for the district I work in, there would be no way they would ever let us use this technology and they would have a tough time selling the parents on these technology features.

Ashburn, E. & Floden, R. (Eds.) (2006). Meaningful Learning Using Technolgoy: What
Educators Need to Know and Do. Teachers College Press, New York.

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

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