I am an Instructional Technology Specialist and Interactive Distance Learning Facilitator for Wichita Public Schools. I am also the founder of the TechTeacher Network. This is a free resource for educators that contains current technology information, podcasts and vodcasts.
So, I find out on a daily basis, how much more I have to learn. Growing up, I was expected to read, study, write and take a test. Whatever I got on that test, told my teachers and parents how smart I was. I remember sitting in class and others always raising their hands asking, what does this have to do with me?... Teachers responded the same usually. "You will need to know how to do this at some point in your life." The truth is, I didn't and don't need to know a ton of what I "memorized" through school. As I watched the video, I could relate to those students, students today. As a teacher today, I realize that there is a huge burden on us to teach contemporary literacy. Am I up to the challenge? I hope so. I can daydream about it all day, but in the end, it's up to me teaching myself an incredible amount of information so that I don't disappoint my students. The article, The New Literacy said that "We live in a time when the very nature of information is changing." There is no such thing as relying on my lesson plans from year to year if you know what I mean. There are teachers in my school that use the exact same plans from year to year. For years. They don't change. Its the same ole, same ole. Read, write, test. Then forget about it. Things have changed and keep changing. Your lessons need to change too! Contemporary literacy is the key to my future and our students futures. I know that I have the burden to "Expose Knowledge" and teach them how to do that. I have to teach them to employ that information, and express ideas, incorporating not only words, but images, sounds and videos into their writings. I need to teach them respect for information. This is a lot of work. I feel that I am a digital immigrant, that wants very badly to be fluent in this confusing language! I want a classroom where students are teaching each other and I am there as a facilitator. IDEO's Ten Tips for Creating a 21st-Century Classroom Experience might just have to be a new poster hanging in my classroom just to remind me everyday how I can be a better, stronger teacher. I strongly agree with the tips, especially "Pull, don't push." I teach in a low socioeconomic middle school. I learned in a matter of weeks, that you cannot push at my school. The only way to reach and teach, is to pull. And following that, is relevance. My students will not listen to me or anyone else, unless I can make it relevant to their lives, their lives, that I think about on a daily basis and worry about. So, I wonder, will I be able to make learning relevant to them? Will I be able to help them connect the knowledge that I give them to their every day lives and make something out of themselves? I think that I better start working on becoming a "native" fast!
I enjoyed the article, videos and handout. I liked that they put more focus on technology and being online for learning rather than written reports and the normal assignments. I also believe that the world is using more and more technology and learning should focus on using technology more and more as well. I actually have students produce movies, songs, videos and presentations instead take a pencil and paper test. Students are so much more engaged in theri learning if they incorporate the things they love which is often through some sort of technology. I also agree that they will be better communicators through the use of technology. In many careers they would have to communicate through the use of technology and the internet. The ethics on the internet is where I have heard the most issues in my school. Plagiarism and innapropriate use has been an issue. I also agree that through technology we can make learning more relevant. Students learn better through experiences and creativity.
Good afternoon. I wanted to let you know that I have really enjoyed Classroom 2.0. After posting my blog about the videos and articles, I didn't realize that it took awhile before it to get approved. I had to go back into the blog and do some editing to repost it. It is finally finished. Thank you for showing me Classroom 2.0.
I thought I was a digital native, but I realize I am a digital immigrant. After reading and watching the information for this week’s class I have a much better idea of how students in our classrooms today need to be engaged in their own learning. Even though I know a bit about the hardware end of technology it is clear that to reach students today I need to be much more knowledgeable about the social, creative, and engaging aspects of the digital world.
The article Today’s Literacy helped me to see the important issues to consider in providing a digital learning environment. The 4 “E’s” helped me to see what the main areas of consideration are: exposing knowledge, employing information, expressing ideas, and ethics on the Internet. When I was in school these were important too, but they have an entirely different meaning today in how we access and share information. In the past we may have had kids research using books and giving a presentation that was basically standing up in front of the class and reporting out on the information. Today our students research on line, collaborate with each other, and give multi-media presentations. As educators and/or administrators it’s important to know the issues involved in how our students access, discuss and share information in today’s environments so we can help them, help themselves.
The video A Vision of Students Today was eye-opening. It really helped me to see to what extent students today have shifted from books, writing, and limited access to information, to exploring, creating, and communicating 24/7 with people across the globe. Our kids can’t just sit in a classroom and listen to lectures or plethora of factoids. They need and WANT to interact, discover, explore, create, and share. As educators we need to tap in to these desires to engage them as well as teach them critical thinking and problem-solving skills in action.
IDEO’s 10 Tips for Creating a 21st Century Classroom is fantastic. These tips will help me as an administrator to work with my teachers on ways to best reach, motivate and engage students as well as make the students more responsible and independent in their learning. They could be used as guidelines in shifting the way we present information to our students and how we expect them to show us they know the information. Overall it can help us shift from a teacher-driven culture to a student or collaboratively driven culture. I like the idea of building a collaborative learning community rather than having the teacher giving out the information and having the students regurgitate it back. The tips show the importance of getting the students involved in their own learning, exploring ideas, asking and answering questions, sharing their creativity, and testing their adaptability. It really seems to put the joy back into learning.
The global assessment Gap video spoke to how important it is for us as educators to understand the digital age in regards to how well our students will succeed in the future. If we continue to focus on the content we are teaching our kids instead of the core competencies they need to survive such as critical thinking skills, problem-solving, and adaptability, they will not be equipped to compete globally. In working with students on the spectrum, specifically those with Aspergers, this video reminded me how important it is for this population of students to learn skills that will help them get and keep a good job, be a successful learner, and to be an active and informed citizen. As Dr. Wagner shares in his video, obtaining these skills require problem solving, collaboration, adaptability, initiative, effective oral and written communication, imagination, and the ability to analyze. These are some of the most difficult areas for students with Aspergers, especially in helping them get and keep a job. Creating a digital environment for the
I also enjoyed the “Day in the Life” article that profiled many different teachers and how they utilize technology in their classrooms, lessons and assignments. It was very eye-opening to see just how interrelated everybody was; from teachers to students to parents and administrators. I wasn’t familiar with all the technology discussed in the article. I had heard most of the terminology, but haven’t actually used much of it. Particularly, podcasts (however, they seem like they wouldn’t be difficult to use) and wiki tools (this seems to be a bit more complex)….All of the methods used by the teachers in the article seemed very effective and engaging. Definitely things I would like to learn more about so that I might utilize them at some point. It’s very interesting and somewhat overwhelming how technology has changed the entire educational process. And it is constantly evolving so I feel, as a teacher who is already behind, that it is very difficult to catch up.
The videos were also eye-opening; especially the “Vision of Students Today”. The statistics displayed on the note cards of the classroom students were astounding…especially regarding things such as e-mails sent, time spent on the computer, times visiting Facebook…given those numbers, the educational system would be foolish not to incorporate all of these avenues into learning platforms. And why wouldn’t we?? It’s what the kids want, they will actually use it, and it will make it more fun and engaging for them. I think the biggest problem is fear of change. This would be a dramatic change from a system that many teachers know well, are comfortable with and enjoy using because that’s how they learned. I feel we can’t be resistant to change when it’s our future at stake….
Hi Mr. Niessen. Not sure if I’m posting these comments in the right place, but here is my feedback on the videos and articles from Unit 2.
First, I really enjoyed both the videos and the articles, but the article about Digital Natives or Digital Immigrants was especially insightful to me. I am most DEFINITELY a Digital Immigrant. I graduated from college in 1997 and I believe I had two, maybe three computer classes that were required for a Business degree at that time. And they covered basic computer skills, I think in Microsoft Word and Excel. High school students today are so computer savvy and for an “old-timer” like me it can be very intimidating. The most profound information in the article was about how students today have different thought processes (due to technological advances and early exposure) than my generation does. It never occurred to me that today’s students actually learn differently, I was always of the opinion that they just enjoyed technology more and were better at it. I am also fully on board with the idea that the teachers with limited technology knowledge should be the ones to close the information gap, rather than forcing the students to “travel backwards”.