Daily Archives: June 21, 2013

Learning, not schooling

Motivation, as seen in the video, Visions of Students Today, is a huge factor in learning. Students are no longer internally motivated. The culture, and not just students, is academically adrift, and there’s less discipline and drive. Thankfully, students want to make a difference, but filling out a standardized test “won’t get them there” as one student wrote in the aforementioned video. They need to feel relevant and that their work matters to someone somewhere. That’s motivation. They need to internalize the world and recreate it, a need for “new habits of mind”. “The past is over” puts this sentiment into focus. Learn about the past, yes, but explore it in terms of the present and the future. We need more authentic (I love that adjective in education) learning experiences, such as the World Simulation Project: “[Its] ultimate goal is to allow students to actually experience how the world system works and explore some of the most important questions now facing humanity such as those of global inequality, globalization, culture loss, environmental degradation, and in the worst case scenario, genocide.” These issues are the real ones that we need to focus on in class and try to solve, or at least develop the critical thinking skills in practice scenarios that pertain to these types of global problems.

According to James G. Lengel in his article Teacher Preparation and Technology, “Research literature throughout the past decade has shown that technology can enhance literacy development, impact language acquisition, provide greater access to information, support learning, motivate students, and enhance their self-esteem (ACT, 2004; CEO Forum, 2001; Boster et al., 2004; Mann et al., 1999; Tracey & Young, 2006; WestEd, 2002).” Web 2.0 tools possess the power required to accomplish these lofty – yet realistic – goals in education. A key ingredient is self-directed learning. Findings in educational psychology agree that students are personally interested in their learning when they choose their own learning goals or in creating them collaborate with teachers and classmates. In Understanding the Power of PLNs, Richardson and Mancabelli state that “for each of us as learners, the fundamental change is that we can be much more in control of the learning we do” (p. 19). As a teacher, I want to impact the way my students think for the rest of their lives; what they can do on a test is of little importance compared to what they can accomplish in life using what I’ve taught them. Albert Einstein said, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.” I also want to instill in my students a strong sense of global awareness. Following Twitter hashtags surrounding a world-wise event is one way to accomplish this goal through the use of technology.

How are these media being used to support formal and informal learning? As Richardson and Mancabelli mention, “online exchanges have the potential to raise their oral and written communication skills” (p. 28) The authors continue by saying how passion and an actual audience drives students to write better, as well as opening their minds up to new ideas and developing collaborative skills. Without a doubt, technology supports formal learning. Informal learning occurs when students learn how to safely and responsibly interact with people online. Using technology to advance students’ learning also teaches them to respect the technology and see it for more than a distracting toy. None of these gains are possible with a traditional textbook.

Richardson & Mancabelli describe six new literacies for 21st century learning environments. Which of the six measures of literacy do I see as the most challenging? Off the bat I would have to say the most challenging is the first literacy, “Developing proficiency with the tools of technology” (p. 24). Some people take pride in how technologically illiterate they are. Even worse, they staunchly proclaim that they are incapable of learning how to use technology and would rather live life without it. Nevertheless, the world is undergoing a revolution of learning, and technology plays an inseparable role. To be a lifelong learner who makes an impact in the world today, knowledge of how to wield technology is essential.

Week 7 Learning Networks

What types of trends do you see in the ways audio and still/video media are being used to support learning?

Audio and still/video media are being used in the classroom to connect students to the material, experience, and each other. As I have stated in my learning philosophy, learning must be made MEANINFUL to students. By using audio and still/video media as add-ons to lessons, learning can be made meaningful. Teachers are able to present the curriculum in new innovative ways. Teachers are finding excellent resources and ways to engage their students. These resources can be used as instructional aids to reteach students who don’t understand the material or who missed a class. They can be used as inspiration, vocabulary building, as a “hook” to a lesson, for comprehension, student projects, etc. There are so many ways that audio and video can be used to enhance the learning experience.

Specifically, how do you see these media enhancing participatory learning within the Web 2.0 context beyond that possible by text media?

I found a blog titled 50 ways to use video in the classroom.

These ideas are great and more importantly, they are practical! My favorite is #50 Changing and inspiring the world (Videos make a POWERFUL statement. Students want to make a difference and making a video will allow them to).  I believe that video will foster student creativity above what text media could. Using video/audio tools will help challenge your students and make learning meaningful to them. Using media as a teaching tool will absolutely help to engage students; however, I believe it is important to note that teachers need to use a variety of tools in order to reach all types of learners.

I really enjoyed the video that featured students from an Introduction to Cultural Anthropology Class of Spring 2007 at Kansas State University. This was one of the “Award-Winning Videos” featured on the Video Ethnography Projects link.  One of the parts that stood out to me from this video after reading this specific question of how learning can be enhanced within the Web 2.0 context beyond that possible by text media was the very end when the chalkboard reads…. “Writing on a Chalkboard- What is missing? And on the other side you see: Photos, videos, animations, networks”. To add, one of the students holds up her notebook that reads… “I will read 8 books…2300 Web Pages…1281 Facebook Profiles “

Richardson & Mancabelli describe six new literacies for 21st century learning environments. Which of the six measures of literacy do you see as the most challenging? Why? Are there any you would add?

I find #4 to be the most challenging (Managing, analyzing, and synthesizing multiple streams of simultaneous information) because I think combining various streams of information into 1 thoughtful and organized whole is a difficult task. I feel that what I have already learned through this course would help tremendously.  As I also read, “Learning is extremely social as we read, filter, create, and share with one another on an ongoing basis.” I think the important thing to note here is the word filter. We do this without even realizing that we are doing it. When we are analyzing and synthesizing, we also need to make sure we are filtering the meaningful or important from the nonessential.

Additional Thoughts and Quotes: I found these in particular from the readings and videos to be the most worth-while.

As I read in the text Understanding the Power of PLNs, Richardson & Mancabelli highlight 2 game-changing conditions. With internet access…. 1: we now have two billion potential teachers and 2: the sum of human knowledge will be at our fingertips.

“Right now, we can be intellectually close to people who are three thousand miles away, while in the same respect, we may be far away from those sitting right next to us”

I can see how podcasts have become so popular after viewing and searching around the Teaching with Technology Podcast site. I listened to many great podcasts that I found interesting including: The Kindergarten Achievement Gap, Creating Video Clips (under Media category), Educating Parents about Digital Communication, and Five Tips for a Class Web Site.

The reason why I continued to click around and navigate through the large list of categories was because it was extremely convenient. I also noted how each podcast was quite short and to the point. I bookmarked this site because next time I want a quick tutorial on how to use technology I will be using this as a resource.