Blog Response #5

Title: Empowering Relationships

URL: http://www.bloglines.com

Blogging and commenting on blogs helps to cement our relationships. Discussions happen between people, not robots. Our understandings of who we are as well as who the others are is developed through blogging. Our thinking is deepened, further connected, challenged, & maybe re-aligned through blogging.

Podcasting is another web 2.0 that solidifies relationships. I did some podcasting with primary students today. They were reading their books and will encourage those people important to them to listen this evening. Listening to these voices will bring families closer.

I use web 2.0 tools to reinforce those things that are already important to our lives. Relationship is one of those things. Education by developing effective habits of mind is another. What I do, teaching technology as a seperate class, needs to disappear. Technology, like reading, needs to be an integral part of what we all do. While this view may ultimately put me out of a job, it is the right thing to do for our learners. If I'm not willing to lose my job, then I am not going to be able to do my job.

My Response:

I agree.  This semester was my first introduction to podcasting and other forms of interaction through technology.  This form of learning has opened my eyes as to how vital technology can be to advancing and competing in the business world, which coincides with effective education.  If a student wants to have an advantage in the “real world” technology education is increasingly becoming vital.  For example, no one argues that writing skills are fundamental for effective communication in business and other life situations.  Today, technology is just as important for information.  The Internet has its own language, encoding system, communication tools, and many more functions that facilitate learning.  These things need to be embedded across all areas of education if we want our children to be truly informed and knowledgeable citizens. 

 

Blog Response #2

Title of Post: Ubiquitous Technology

URL: http://wedderburn-colleg.blogspot.com/

When I went to South Korea earlier this year to run a workshop in Intel Teach Thinking with Technology I remember talking with one of the participants about the notion of ubiquitous technology. At the time I really had no idea what he meant and he explained that it was the notion that technology will become such a part of our lives that it will sit in the background working for us; available to us at anytime, anywhere.
The reason I thought of this conversation is that I am presently travelling on a school bus with Year 8 students from Wedderburn College going down to the
Pixar 20 Years of Animation display at ACMI in Federation Square. While travelling I've logged into the internet via a wireless connection which means that I can do a little bit of work (or blogging) as we head to Melbourne. Every second kid on the bus is texting friends and family and we are listening to music via an FM transmitter that one of the kids has brought on their Ipod.
Serendipidously (it seems to happen to me alot) I was reading
John Pearce's blog and one of his posts was about m-learning called Today Two Years is Tout d'abord in which he discussed in part his progress along the continuum of ICT capabilities. He concluded that in some sense he wasn't as far along as he thought when comparing himself to Alex Hayes a senior Education Officer with TAFE NSW who writes about m-learning in a very interesting presentation that he is presenting at a conference in Canberra very shortly. According to WikiPedia as of August 22nd 2007, M-Learning is "learning that happens across locations or that takes advantage of learning opportunities offered by portable technologies"

My Response:

Ubiquitous learning is increasingly becoming a reality in my life as I continue my college career.  I am a secondary education major and have had experience using wiki to work on a group project.  I was nervous at first that this project would be time consuming, scheduling time to meet with my group and so forth.  But technology, I am finding, is here to help.  Because the wiki page allows us to discuss group roles and edit the paper via the webpage, I don't have to meet with my group face-to-face as long as we all check our wiki page.  Also, I am finding, as you did, that technology has become almost a subconscious experience, which allows for greater opportunity for cultural interaction (I talked to someone from China using Skype last week).  Most importantly, technology is taking creativity to a whole new level.  As quoted on your slideshow, “Anyone with a keyboard, camera, iPod, browser, is now an author photographer, deejay, publisher.”  And that is what teaching is all about anyway, isn’t it?  It is finding ways to expand the learning experience to challenge in more engaging forms besides lecturing and memorization.  At the end of the day, I want teacher and student to change roles once in a while.


 

Blog Response #1

Title of Post: How do We Keep New Teachers?

URL: http://timfredrick.typepad.com/timfredrick/

The problem lies some with the preparation, but mostly with what we do with the new teachers when they enter the system.  Too often new teachers get the regular schedule with the students the senior teachers don't want.  Once you have enough experience in the system, your tenure and time-in mean that you get the classes you want - and most don't want the students who struggle the most.  Then there is the abhorrent thought that a teacher can't get the 'good' students until they've practiced and honed their skills on the 'bad' students.  This belief centers on the idea that teaching honors and AP is a promotion based on experience.

New teachers need to have lighter schedules with the students who struggle the least.  This gives them the confidence in their skills, as well as the time to practice and gain experience, that one needs to teach the most difficult students.  Unfortunately, it is the teacher contracts, as well as teacher attitudes, that prevent this from happening.  The fault of so many new teachers leaving, which we often blame on their teacher ed or alternative certification programs, lies with teachers themselves.  If we stood up and demanded that our union make the support of new teachers with lighter and easier schedules central to our contracts, the whole system would be better off.

 

My Response:

 

As I begin my junior year of college, in further preparation for my teaching career, this is a problem I have observed.  My boyfriend is a first year teacher, and he not only has more work to do because he has no prior lesson plans, but he also has so much added work that has been thrown his way.  For example, he has a mentor teacher whose lessons he can follow, but some of the plans are dated and he needs to take extra time to fine tune his own lesson plans that will be unique to his teaching style.  This time dedicated to lesson plans, resulting in more effective learning in his class, is restricted by other responsibilities.  For example, he is also been asked to help coach cross country after school, then track in the spring, work on assisting in set designs for the theater classes, has just experienced a class size increase, and just received a student from Thailand who speaks no English.  These added stressors impede on his teaching, and therefore the effective learning of his students.  Do you know if the union has taken any active steps in improving this?

 
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