Thoughts on Week 4 Texts

As I read the texts for this week, I felt a little “technologically overwhelmed.” As the Horizon Report 2011 shared: “Gesture-based computing” is gaining interest and exposure. I simply can’t wrap my mind around the thought of controlling a computer through body motions rather than with a mouse and keyboard. I was also shocked to read that attendees were asked NOT to turn off their phones at an Abilene Christian University performance. Can’t the summaries, clarification of Shakespearean language, and live-blogging hold off until at least the end of the performance? Are we taking this too far? As I read in The Horizon Report, the impact of technology is “indicative of the changing nature of the way we communicate, access information, connect with peers, and colleagues, learn, and even socialize”.

I was at the Verizon Wireless store in State College today trying to fix an issue with the speakers on my iPhone, when I heard an employee try to sell a smart phone by saying, “People are on their phones more than anything else today. They are on their phone more than they are in their car. They are on their phones more than they spend time socializing with their family and friends.” First of all, I couldn’t believe this was a part of his attempt to sell a phone to a customer. Secondly, I began to wonder how true his statements really were, and after the readings for this week, I am starting to think technology (specifically phones) might be taking over our lives. Let me step back for a moment..

People who know me well would probably be surprised to hear me say I feel “overwhelmed”, since I use my phone often for emailing, social networking, FaceTiming, etc. and find it to be extremely convenient. I am not saying that we would be better off without these technologies by any means. Now that I have finished “going off on a tangent”, I think technology has changed our lives for the better and I cannot picture the day when we no longer have these resources at our fingertips. Specifically as a teacher and student, technology is an integral part of learning in today’s education system.

Web 2.0 Technologies as Cognitive Tools of the New Media Age listed 5 Web 2.0 Implementation Recommendations For Teachers. I really made a connection with #2 (start small and be realistic) and #5 (Make it a big deal). In order for teachers to be successful, they must feel confident and comfortable with the technologies they are using in the classroom. I believe using Web 2.0 technologies in the classroom is absolutely motivating for students. Not only is it beneficial for students, but this “new-generation of Web technologies has lowered the technical threshold required of teachers and allow for relatively easy learning”.  Yes, we still need to start small and be realistic, but with hands-on practice, teachers can be successful with Web 2.0 technologies and using “contemporary teaching methods”.

I believe the most significant insight about the application of technology into the classroom from this chapter is how teachers are using blogs as learning and reflective Journals (E-Portfolios). The teacher in the text, Mr. Smith, was successful in the way he organized his blog. As #5 highlighted, he “made it a big deal”. His students were organized, motivated, and were able to track their own learning throughout the entire year. His 8th grade students were able to reflect on what they had learned and what their classmates had learned. Through the use of these portfolios, metacognitive and self-regulated reflection is enabled. “Learners were more likely to be motivated to devote effort in preparing their blog posts to demonstrate their knowledge because the e-portfolio would be published on the Web and accessible by audiences worldwide” (p. 365).

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Week 4 Texts

  1. exp939

    Yes, I see your point and that reminds me of the teachers I assisted for 3-4 years to teach technologies such as Ipad and basic technologies literacy. They love to learn new things but it was interesting that they did not willing to integrate what they had learned to their own class. We had some research about this and teachers said it was because they doubted the effectiveness of using technologies in their class. It did not mean they did not want to try. They said they are not confident about using technologies in their class for their students to learn more effectively. So it seemed to me that they need some strategies depending on which subject they teach.

  2. Melissa Glenn

    I have to admit that I have become used to being plugged in. At committee meetings, I love having my phone or tablet handy to look up information and at conferences it is quite fun to tweet or email the presenter with questions. My husband and I are sometimes sitting near each other and we will email or message each other about something! This is a great strategy to communicate without our children knowing about it! That being said, there are some learning experiences that we shouldn’t allow technology to take over, experiences that require direct interaction with others. In a new freshman experience course that I am teaching in the fall, we are incorporating a service learning component. Students need to gain career experience by volunteering in the community. However, I think a great way to use technology to our advantage in this case is for the students to blog about their experiences. Even though we will ask students to do a presentation in class to their peers, there are 6 sections of this course, so the blog will allow for sharing amongst all sections of the course. I hope that it will encourage reflective learning as you noted from the example in the reading for the week. But, I do need to be careful about how much new technology I decide to use in my fall courses (pay attention to that #2 recommendation!).

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