Blog #5

Is There a Killer App?

Clarence Fisher, author of Remote Access, says "Some people believe that students should not move from one tool to the next until they have completely explored it, wrung it out for possibilities, and they are an expert in its use. Instead, I believe that we need to explore many tools with students in our classrooms. They need to be required to try all of them in order to find the ones that fit them best, but I do not expect all kids to be expert, power users with all of them."

I believe that teaching by exposing students to many possibilities is a great method.  It is how schools have been run for quite some time.  All students start out by taking english, math, science, art, etc. and after a time decide which one(s) to pursue.  Why should technology be taught any differently?


Blog #4

When is out of date, out of date?

Anne Baird, author of Think, Wonder and Learn with the Web, says "Speed is also a need. I find that often I'll read something and if it doesn't 'grab' me, I'll either move on or at the very most, tag it and then move on.
I wonder what it says about me as a consumer? I wonder what this need for immediacy or action might say about our students as consumers?"

When I read this I thought back to the 56K modem I used to own and how long it took to log in to the Internet and to load websites.  At the time I thought nothing of having to wait for my information because I always had to.  However a few days ago I got extremely frustrated with my e-mail server for lagging slightly.  I think that as a society we are becoming spoiled with speed.

As an instructor I believe that it is important to teach students how to find information quickly online but we must also make sure that they learn how to practice patience in life as well.


Blog #3

Another Random Blog Article...that will likely be misunderstood

David Warlick, author of 2cents Worth, says " It's completely understandable that educators, with the institutional culture that we work in, would attack the problem by asking, "How are we going to teach this to teachers?"  But yesterday, I asked the audience, of almost 300, to raise their hands if they could say that they learned at least half of what they do with technology by teaching themselves - and almost every hand went up. 

I think that it's part of the job.  It is my job, as a teacher, to be able to teach today - to be skilled at using today's information technologies within today's information environments and apply pedagogies that reflect today's information environments.  We suffer from the myths of old world education, that you go to school so that you will be prepared for the next 30 or 35 years.  But the teacher we are at graduation from college, is not necessarily the teacher we need to be five years later.  Those days are long behind us - and I think that the job has become a whole lot more exciting as a result."


I think that there are two important points here.  First, teachers must be able to teach themselves how to use new and evolving technologies.  This is important because all students will be expected to learn new techniques as they progress through life and often they will have to teach these to themselves.  As teachers it is our responsibility to help prepare students for life after school.  How can we possibly prepare them to do things that we ourselves cannot?  Also, I think it is important for all teachers to realize that teaching is adaptive.  We cannot simply find a method that works one year and rigidly stick to it in following years.  Students and curriculums change and as teachers it is important for us to adapt to that as well as learn from our experiences.


Blog #2

Changing the Way We Learn and Teach

Armando Di-Finzio, author of The Growing Pains of a City Academy aged 3, says "The National Curriculum was designed at a time when teachers did have the monopoly on information.  Students didn't have access to the wealth of information they do now."

I can't help but draw a parallel to the educational dilemma that was brought about with the invention of the printing press.  Prior to that teachers had even more of a monopoly over information and the students were required to listen and memorize.  Imagine how hard it must have been to transition into using books, which allowed students to learn information without the teacher telling them directly.  I think that the more transitions the educational system goes though the easier those transitions will become.  Transitioning to an Internet and technology based system will be difficult, but beneficial.  We can only hope that we are paving the way for future generations to make easier transitions into future technology.


Blog #1

Creating Learning Experiences

I think that the process you've outlined here is very enlightened.  It is great that you give your students so much latitude when picking their research topics.  Allowing students to research something that genuinely interests them really allows them to engage in the topic, thus prompting contributions.  My one concern is that attaching a grade to the students' contributions might inhibite their spontaneity and make their contributions seem less personal.

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