Remonzer’s Weblog

everything that I am learning in EDUC 628

Presentation for seriousness April 20, 2008

Filed under: EDUC 628 — remonzer @ 5:04 pm

Last fall, I began this odyssey of learning in an online environment and felt some of the same bewilderment that many of you who are taking a class with Dr. Lowell for the first time are experiencing this semester.  ‘Twarnt too long before I was dogpaddling, sometimes furiously and others a little calmer, but always, trying to keep afloat. 

 Last week, something happened that brought much of what I have been working on in my classes into clearer focus.  I had what I will call a mini-epiphany, for lack of a better word.  Anyway, here is what happened.  Teachers in my school are preparing to grade portfolios and on a particular day we were watching a video of a lady explaining the scoring process.  She was seated in a chair in what appeared to be a library setting.  The background included wooden bookshelves, nice paint job on walls, potted plants in the background and wooden tables and chairs.  All in all, a nice, warm setting.  I believe the paint was green and I remember much of the other detail because I can only listen to a motionless speaker for a finite amount of time before I start to look around for something else on which to focus.

 Our team leader provided refreshments for us and that was a nice diversion, but, thanks to Dr. Miller’s class – Multimedia Design for the Classroom – I began to think about how I would make the same presentation that we were viewing.  Among my ideas was the creation of an animation along with the addition of an interactive feature easily incorporated into SmartBoard presentations.

 I am not trying to make light of the importance of portfolio training/grading.  It is SUPER IMPORTANT here in the Bluegrass State.  I know that.  My point is that since I have been involved in the process of learning and teaching in an online environment, my thinking on presentation possibilities has expanded.  Also, I do realize that the training video was geared to adults and we shouldn’t expect to be entertained and amused during a serious training session of this nature.  That said, I confess that I began to think about the glazed look I sometimes see in my students’ eyes and some of the activities that I try to add to my lessons so that I won’t lose them.

 Maybe I was more amused than I should have been, but I felt a little more like a 21st century learner that day.

 

“News” from Classroom 2.0

Filed under: ethnography - EDUC 628 — remonzer @ 3:51 pm
Tags: ,

Okay, as pledged last blog, I have visited the tab labeled News on Classroom 2.0.  The first thing that I noticed when I clicked on News was that the article of the day was Web 2.0 in Education: Thursday November 28, 2007.  So, I began to look around to see if more current material was available.  And, after three tries, I found an April 20, 2008 article entitled Schools need Web 2.0. from the Twin Cities Daily Planet.

As an aside, a section of this article (quoted in part below) is pertinent to our current discussion of relevant professional development for teachers:

 What are some of the implications for our schools?

1) Make information technology an integral and essential part of the education of St. Paul schoolchildren using resources already available. Internet use is an essential part of education, commerce, information access, and community.

2) Evaluate and implement educational changes that help students effectively and efficiently peruse, scan, evaluate, select, digest, retain, retrieve, articulate, and apply information on the Web.

3) Provide in-school training for teachers and students. Be open to using students as mentors to teachers for some of the tools, while teachers mentor students on how make use of those tools as effective learning instruments. Find collaborative ways for faculty, administrators, and students to learn new tools.

4) Provide after-school Internet access to students and parents-making maximum use of already existing resources. According to the 2006 Minnesota Internet Study, released in April 2007 by the Center for Rural Policy and Development, more than 30% of our metropolitan population is being left out. 29% of the people in our metro area do not own a computer, and 33% lack Internet connectivity.

I clicked on more links on News and most of them led to other places on the ning that can be accessed from other directions, as well.  After viewing this heading –

Got News?

Want to let us know some news about Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in the classroom? Send an email to news@classroom20.com.  – I have come to believe that members of Classroom 2.0 are in charge of keeping News up-to-date and if no one has anything fresh to post, it remains in an in-progress state.

 

 

Green Schools and A.P. 2.0 April 17, 2008

Filed under: ethnography - EDUC 628 — remonzer @ 8:17 pm
Tags: ,

 Recently, I joined two new groups on Classroom 2.0, which are called Green Schools on Classroom 2.0 and A.P.  2.0. 

 I think I made it just in time to do a timely lesson using resources from Green Schools as I learned that Environmental Education Week is April 13-19.  I am thinking about trying to put a lesson together for tomorrow.  If not, I can always come back to this site because it is replete with resources and ideas for fitting environmental education topics into nearly any lesson plan.  At the moment, the group only has eight members including me.  I have some environmentally-friendly teacher friends whom I think will be interested in this classroom, too, and I plan to ask whether they want to join.  Anyone interested in checking out this site can click here: Education Reporting, Inc ::.  Green Schools seems especially well suited to science teachers because there are lots of science projects and many involve the use of digital technology.  I am planning to do an Earth Day lesson with my students on April 22 and will be returning to this spot in search of ideas.

The other group that I joined is named A.P. 2.0 and it has a grand total of three members, including me.  Nonetheless, I think it is good for AP teachers to colloborate. From what I can tell, the other two members of this site teach Environmental Science.  My hope is that membership will increase and a few more language teachers will join.  One may visit this group at:   AP 2.0 – Classroom 2.0.

In total, Classroom 2.0 has 7,472 members.  Tomorrow, I am going to check out the News tab, which bills itself as:  Classroom 2.0  Web 2.0 in the Classroom – A Daily Summary of News and Notables

I’ll let you know how it goes.  Please stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…the final project …Classroom 2.0 Groups… April 13, 2008

Filed under: ethnography - EDUC 628 — remonzer @ 12:54 pm
Tags: ,

I have decided that the best way to tackle the final project is to investigate one feature of Classroom 2.0 at a time. This week I have been working on the Groups feature of which there are tons. The one that I am trying to navigate today is referred to as Project “Developing Digital Skills @ School” and the focus is on ICT. Teachers & students learn how to deal with the computer. DigiSkills teachers design, share, compare and enhance teaching methods and materials.

I feel like a kid with a new toy because there are so many people to communicate with about so many topics related to online education all over the world. Currently, I am trying to narrow the list down to high school teachers who teach English, Spanish or other languages , and ESL.

The possibility to attend meetings with live webcasting is available in this SNS as well as numerous discussions in chat rooms, wikis, blogs…. One can search for help with tools simply by clicking on a link denoting the tool of interest. These links may lead to virtual classrooms, helpful posts or discussions. Virtual classrooms are open for all members to attend or create courses. In fact, a teacher can create a Ning Network for their own class.

One of the discussions going on today made me think of using something like this with CATS testing. Introduction to the discussion begins this way, “I recently began to create video review podcasts using Camtasia Studio to assist my students to review for standardized tests. The success was amazing as the students were eagerly “plugging in” to study by using their ipods.” Most educators are stretching themselves to the limit in Kentucky right now trying to prepare for CATS testing. Primarily, our focus is on teaching multiple choice test taking strategies and answering open response items. I don’t know of any teachers using podcasts right now to prepare students.

Another teacher is looking for someone to collaborate with on a VoiceThread and made this post, “Is anyone interested in doing some type of collaborative voicethread project with students at our school? I would like the project to be very simple for starters – one that doesn’t require a whole lot of background knowlege building.

I started a voicethread project about “Your favorite tree.” The idea is to have students take a picture of their favorite tree and then write a little reflection that will be used as narration. Let me know if you might be interested in this or if you want to work on some other type of simple project in voicethread.”

Another person is trying to create a discussion with the following lead, “Using Web 2.0 tools in the classroom is very important. Which one do you use most and what can you recommend to the group?” We, students in Nate’s class, are old experts with Web 2.0 tools and could probably add a lot to this discussion ;).

I am going to join at least three groups before I start writing the ethnography. But, it is going to be hard to narrow them down.


 

Yay Community Colleges!! April 12, 2008

Filed under: EDUC 628 — remonzer @ 9:29 pm

I was surprised to learn from this post http://durandus.com/phaedrus/2008/04/08/mulling-tuition-policy/ that community colleges at one time had been free and that during the 1930s, 1940s, and early 1950s, the cost of attendance was not that much different from larger public universities.  Alas, that has changed. 

Community colleges have helped many people transition from one job to another when they lost jobs or when they had to return to school for other reasons.  In the past, many people have chosen to attend these schools because they were in the neighborhood and the cost of attendance was not as high as larger colleges and universities.  With all of the outsourcing of jobs in this present day and time, I just wonder what people who can’t find a job that pays a living wage in this country are going to do if they also can’t afford training to find the work that is available.  I am pro-community college because that is where some of the best learning experiences of my life occurred. 

I recall a story that one of the professors told me about his experience with community colleges.  His first teaching job was at a community college in a rural area.  He was ambitious and desired to travel to other places so he applied and was granted an interview at a college – I don’t remember now if it was a private or public institution – but, it wasn’t a community college.  Anyway, the interview was going well until the fact came up that he had been teaching at a community college.  He said that the interview ended there and he was thanked for his time.  Afterwards, he was not able to move out of the community college system and eventually settled where he was.  I don’t understand why he wasn’t given more of a chance.  By the time that I had him for class, he had written a book to use for teaching basic computing to his students.  It was and is (I still have it) a great textbook.  Very easy to understand and follow.  He was also a very good teacher. 

I wrote all that to say that community colleges sometimes get a bum rap. 

Below I have added a follow-up to Traci’s comments, “Well, lets take a look at exactly what resources the larger universitities are utilizing!  I understand that a university the size of UK would require a lot of funding to ensure that the school can continue to operate but when so much funding is being spent in their athletic programs and for their coaches, the price tag immediately goes up.  I also understand that athletics bring in a lot of funding but the majority of those that the tuition cost is being transfered on to doesn’t even participate in an athletic program.”

Because I was intrigued by the statement in Mulling Tuition Policy at Community Colleges that community college tuition once nearly equaled that of public universities, I did a little research into possible reasons for such huge increases in costs and found the quote below in an article from U.S. News & World Report of October 24, 2006,  “Also, school officials say that the costs of running a university are rising faster than the consumer price index. University officials have compiled their own inflation gauge, which they call the higher education price index, to track the things they buy, such as lab equipment, scientific journals, professor salaries, and the like. This index rose 5 percent in the 12 months that ended June 30, 2006. The CPI was up only 4.3 percent during that period. Driving college inflation are factors like a 200 percent increase in the prices of scholarly journals over the past 20 years, said David Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. In addition, many colleges are feeling pressure from students and parents to upgrade dorms, gyms, and other facilities. Some surveys report that most incoming freshmen, for example, have never shared a bedroom, and are choosing colleges that offer them more expensive single apartments.”

My questions are:  Why have the prices of scholarly journals risen so much? What about sharing of the wealth?  Also, I can understand a parent’s concern over whether their child’s living conditions are sanitary and safe, but why can’t they share a dorm room with at least one other student like college students have done for years? 

I agree with Tracy’s assessment as posted in her blog http://tnprater1006.wordpress.com/2008/04/09/tuition-cost-resources/ and that is, ” I am a big fan of smaller community colleges because I feel that individuals can receive a really good educational experience without the high cost of the larger schools.  The main important aspect that needs to be considered when attending a post-secondary institution is what your major will be and what is the best school to offer the program in which you are interested.”

 

One-to-One Computing April 5, 2008

Filed under: EDUC 628 — remonzer @ 11:35 pm

I think this article fits right in with our current discussions on professional development. Honestly I haven’t heard anyone in our district mention the implementation of “one-to-one computing,” but this article contends that it is coming to a school system near you very soon.  The “one-to-one initiative” refers the idea of supplying computers for every student and teacher in an effort to bring teaching and learning practices into a workable model for the 21st century. 

However, according to the article, “… talk of a one-to-one initiative in any district is premature unless schools and districts institute effective leadership practices and provide teachers and administrators with high-quality professional development.”  This seems to be a recurring theme. 

The article goes on to state that the following problems should be clearly addressed before even trying to implement such a program:

  • What should teaching and learning look like across a district?
  • What should communication look like within schools, between schools, and with outside stakeholders?
  • How should teachers, administrators, and central office personnel collect and use student and school data to inform decision-making
  • How might one-to-one computing enable steady progress toward those goals

According to the article, the key to achieving the goals of the one-to-one program is that professional development workshops must be thoroughly comprehensive, covering in detail every aspect of the curriculum, instruction, and assessment.  Additionally, PD must be customized to meet the needs of teachers, administrators, and students.  Technology should be used augment instruction.  In other words, the curriculum must be decided upon and then technological resources should be decided upon for implementing the curriculum.  Additionally, these goals should include both face-to-face and online learning activities.

This article is quite detailed in it suggestions for teaching teachers how to work with 21st century tools. Specific suggestions include training in basic laptop skills, program specific training, integration training, classroom coaching, and ongoing training.  Even more particulars about how to develop the one-to-one program are included in the article, which I will not include in this blog for the sake of brevity.

An important point to note is that because behavioral changes are also part of the one-to-one initiative, development of the skills to cope with those changes must also be included in professional development activities.

Clarksville ISD, located in Red River County, Texas, is cited as an example of a school district where the one-to-one initiative is making a difference in the way students are learning.  It is a rural county of nearly 14,000 residents of which one-third of those ages 25 and above did not graduate from high school and 17 percent of the entire population lives below the poverty line. 

The plan that the leadership teams devised to implement the program is explained in practically complete detail in the article.  One of the parts that stood out to me as especially important is found in this quote, “…Clarksville ISD provided ongoing professional development workshops and coaching to gradually build teachers’ skills and comfort levels with their new technologies, which included notebook computers, productivity software, email, online instructional resources, an academic search engine, and additional software programs. The district found that creating a plan to help teachers build from one skill to the next, rather than providing all the training at once, helped to reduce frustration and anxiety, particularly among teachers who were initially intimidated by technology.”

Apparently things are looking up for Clarksville because discipline referrals are down and attendance is up.  Also, community participation in school events is up.  Middle school math scores are up 43 percent.  The county is continuing PD activities that emphasize aligning the curriculum as they go and making changes where necessary all the while implementing technological resources.

The article contains other examples of how professional development is being designed for specific school needs.  A common thread among the different implementations is that it is treated as a work in progress that is often updated with many follow-up sessions to address areas that need attention.  Another common and important thread among those who are experiencing success with the program is that those who are in charge of professional development are keeping themselves current and aware of how to be effective leaders.

 

 

 

21st Century Bloom April 4, 2008

Filed under: EDUC 628 — remonzer @ 11:02 pm

Between the last two semesters Bloom’s Taxonomy has come up and different views have been expressed, some of which lead to the fact that my thinking in this realm are enormously affected by BT because I committed the list to memory during my undergraduate studies and am now hardwired for them. 

That is one of the reasons that I was glad to find this article at:  http://www.techlearning.com/showArticle.php?articleID=196605124&page=1.  The title is Bloom’s Taxonomy Blooms Digitally. 

It is quite lengthy, but I will try to summarize.  For those who are interested in more detail, please check out the site.

 Fast forward to the 21st century and Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy List looks like this:

 Remembering

recognizing, listing, describing, identifying, retrieving, naming, locating, finding, Bullet pointing, highlighting, bookmarking, social networking, Social bookmarking, favorite-ing/local bookmarking, Searching, Googling.

Understanding

interpreting, Summarizing, inferring, paraphrasing, classifying, comparing, explaining, exemplifying, Advanced searching, Boolean searching, blog journaling, twittering, categorizing and tagging, commenting, annotating, subscribing.

Applying

The digital additions and their justifications are as follows:

  • Running and operating – This is the action of initiating a program or operating and manipulating hardware and applications to obtain a basic goal or objective.
  • Playing – The increasing emergence of games as a mode of education leads to the inclusion of this term in the list. Students who successfully play or operate a game are showing understanding of process and task and application of skills.
  • Uploading and Sharing – uploading materials to websites and the sharing of materials via sites like flickr etc. This is a simple form of collaboration, a higher order thinking skill.
  • Hacking – hacking in its simpler forms is applying a simple set of rules to achieve a goal or objective.
  • Editing – With most media, editing is a process or a procedure that the editor employs

Analyzing

comparing, organizing, deconstructing, Attributing, outlining, finding, structuring, integrating, Mashing, linking, reverse-engineering, cracking, mind-mapping, validating, tagging.

Evaluating

The digital additions and their explanations are as follows:

  • Blog/vlog commenting and reflecting – Constructive criticism and reflective practice are often facilitated by the use of blogs and video blogs. Students commenting and replying to postings have to evaluate the material in context and reply.
  • Posting – posting comments to blogs, discussion boards, threaded discussions. These are increasingly common elements of students’ daily practice. Good postings like good comments, are not simple one-line answers but rather are structured and constructed to evaluate the topic or concept.
  • Moderating – This is high level evaluation; the moderator must be able to evaluate a posting or comment from a variety of perspectives, assessing its worth, value and appropriateness.
  • Collaborating and networking – Collaboration is an increasing feature of education. In a world increasingly focused on communication, collaboration leading to collective intelligence is a key aspect. Effective collaboration involves evaluating the strengths and abilities of the participants and evaluating the contribution they make. Networking is a feature of collaboration, contacting and communicating with relevant person via a network of associates.
  • Testing (Alpha and Beta) – Testing of applications, processes and procedures is a key element in the development of any tool. To be an effective tester you must have the ability to analyze the purpose of the tool or process

 Creating:

designing, constructing, planning, producing, inventing, devising, making, programming, filming, animating, Blogging, Video blogging, mixing, remixing, wiki-ing, publishing, videocasting, podcasting, directing/producing, creating or building mash ups.

This article helps me to interblend the elements of Bloom’s Taxonomy that I know by heart with 21st century tools and teaching possibilities.