Thursday, July 31, 2008

Chapter 8 - Reflection

I chose Chapter 8: Systemic Issues because I have a soft spot for the underdog. I was curious what the authors had to say about technology and ESL or Special Ed students. It seems that there are so many wonderful tools out there, that technology can be an excellent way to help these students gain skills and be productive learners.

The second part of the chapter talks about the fact that so many of these students do not have access to the exact technology that could be helping them. How many times have we gone from one school to another and noticed the huge differences in what one school has and the other has not? Not just in the areas of technology either. The good news is there are programs out there trying to make up for some of these differences. Getting these schools noticed and cared for will take some special people standing up and doing a jig for what they believe in.

Schools also need to realize that for some students, technology is only an option at school for a wide variety of reasons. Getting parents on board and at least minimally trained will be another important task.

The last part of the chapter talks about assessment. This made me smile. As I read Chapter 9 and the future of the new schools, I thought, "What about assessment?" Of course, it has to be there! I actually think that the assessment will be one of the easier parts of this movement. Chapter 8 has some excellent ideas and resources for assessing the wide variety of students (with all of their challenges) in our schools.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Chapter 9 - Reflection

Chapter 9: New Schools was a difficult one for me! Not because it was hard to understand or read. It is just a scary thought for me! I am such a traditional & linear learner, that thinking of having so many options out there and so many ideas for what "school" could be makes my eyes shake! Even for this class, I had a hard time at the beginning with keeping focused on what I was doing and where I should be. I finally just printed out the list of the 23 Things and then printed out the detailed description of each of those 23 Things. I really needed that paper in my hand. I would have it up on my computer, read the paper, then click the link when I saw a BLUE word. My husband laughed, but that is my learning style. I also know that I cannot have too many choices, I will just go into overload as we saw on a few of the Thing options!

As we have seen in the past 10 years, our community is asking for some educational options. We have more and more alternative schools and programs out there for our children. Parents have so many choices for their child. The question is, are these new schools working? Language immersion, technology based, home school, ABC, optional...are the students getting EVERYTHING they need to succeed later? Of course, that leads us the definition of succeed. According to this book, succeed means to keep up with the rest of the world and remain a world power.

I am going to assume that the educational system of the future will be very good at assessing a students' learning style first and foremost. It will be interesting to see where it goes. I am excited to be here at the beginning of it all!

Chapter 7 - Reflection

Online safety and security is one of my biggest concerns with the internet. We have seen plenty of bad examples of this exact issue.

This chapter was a good resource for me. I had heard of CIPA and COPPA, but this provided a concise explanation for each of them. I am also going to check on the DOPA movement. As of the writing of the book, it had not come to pass.

Another section of this chapter that I appreciated was on Copyright and Creative Commons. I start explaining copyright in Kindergarten, but it will always be such a confusing issue. I like to put copyright information up around the school and tell teachers that copyright is much like can never have too many refreshers.

I will definitely share the Student and Teacher Information Code of Ethics with my Technology Committee at school. It encompasses so much of what we are trying to get across to students. It is very well laid out nicely expressed.

I need to look at the FERPA site. I have a form for parent consent for use of student photos for educational purposes. It is very basic. I would love to update it and be confident that I have my bases covered. Having student photos posted to a school web site or blog is such a great thing. Unfortunately, it is not always the best idea. How sad is that?

I will also be checking out the My Space Safety Tips link. If it is good, I may suggest that we let parents know about it via our school newsletter. I truly think that if the children know that not only the parents, but friends, teachers, and many others are paying attention, they will act appropriately when using technology. Children need to know what is okay and what is not and what to do when they see/hear/read inappropriate content.

After doing so many on-line searches for this class, I have been amazed at how easy it is to all of a sudden find so many inappropriate sites! Even if I don't click on the link, some of the language and photos/drawing that are posted there to advertise the link are so bad. I am thankful that ASD has a blocking system that seems to work well. I have not had any "surprises" pop up at school.

Chapter 1 - Reflection

As I started reading this chapter, I kept thinking back to a video that I saw on Teacher Tube which would totally drive home the entire point of our nation being left behind in the area of education & technology.

Did You Know 2.0

It is long, but very well done. If you need a visual to support the importance of keeping up with technology for our students in this new 2.0 world, this is a great one. I think we may have seen this at a conference??

As we have heard in conference presentations, heard in the news & read in chapter 1, other countries are quickly passing up the US in technology and education. There are several reasons for this as mentioned in the chapter. I saw several of these reasons as being "top rated." Mainly, American kids view technology as entertainment, pure and simple. It is not something many students use in school to learn or to show what they have learned. They are not using technology in school to collaborate, investigate or contribute. For our students, technology means their i-pods, cell phones, video games, texting, You Tube, Face Book, etc.

Now, our job as educators is tough. Not only do we need to teach the 3 R's, but we need to do it in a way that incorporates technology in a way that students will realize that this is how they will be functioning as a contributing member of our society. Many of these students are way ahead of us as far as being tech saavy. But, we can learn how to guide them to use their tools wisely, introduce them to new tools and new ways to use what they already have.

Another detrimental aspect of our society is that our kids (this is a generalization and I apologize to all of those wonderful, achieving students out there) are not nearly as driven as some from other countries. Technology and education are valued and recognized as a way to get out of poverty, a way to move up in society. Students in other countries are using technology to learn, not just for fun.

We hear about other countries and their educational styles all the time. It is interesting to see which countries have recognized the shift and are making changes in their educational systems now. Hopefully, we have enough forward thinking teachers out there to guide our students in the right direction. As a librarian, I see that I can be a huge influence for these classroom teachers who may need the technology support.

Week 9: Thing #23

Ta da!!! What a great class! Thank you so much for laying it all out for me.
Here's what I liked...
*Huge learning curve
*Relevent information
*Great resources
*Immediate & helpful feedback
*Interaction with peers
*Practice time

Here's what I did not like...
*Time...this took a LOT longer than I thought it would, although I am not really complaining as it was almost all valuable time
*Ignorant people posting ignorant and inappropriate material. Again, these things did not really bother me, but every time I came across some offensive site/blog/feed, my first thought was, "What if my student/son were to unwittingly tap into this??"

There are sooooo many things that I learned in this class. Every night, my husband would come to my computer to look at my blog to see what all I had done. I am proud of my accomplishments.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Week 9: Thing #22

I don't think I will ever get into the eBooks. I am sure you have heard the spiel before, I like to hold the book, curl up with it, yah, yah, yah. I did try reading Twas the Night Before Christmas to my boys. Then I took a poll...both voted for sitting on our couch with the real book. Of course, my choice may have had something to do with that. I was coming up dry searching for a book that was a free download that they wanted to hear.

I also peeked at an eBook for adults. ugh. There is no way I could sit at my computer and do that. I know that there are those small, hand-held things now and maybe I could do that. We'll see.

Audio books & audio ebooks on the other hand are awesome!! I check out audio books for my boys all of the time. I have had a chance to listen to a few for myself, but usually the boys are in the car with me, so Magic Tree House is about it for us. The boys love listening to them in the car. Whenever we go on a road trip, I make sure we have a few on hand. I just rent them from our lovely municipal library!

I just recently acquired an ipod. I understand that I can purchase books to download to that as well. I also see that I can download books through the municipal library system. I will definitely try that once I have all the right stuff at hand. I can see us on the airplane now...boys with the ipod earbuds tucked in and listening to The Magic Treehouse. : ) Maybe I will even get a chance to listen to a book through the ipod??