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Friday, August 30, 2013

Blog Post Two

Mr. Dancealot
(Kayla Christie, Chelsea Hadley, Anna Kern)

While watching the video, my first impression was, “so this teacher, Mr. Dancealot, does not dance?” After trying to wrap my head around the question, the moral of the video came to me. What good is it to teach anything, especially dance, when the students are not required to honestly learn?

To learn is defined as knowledge or a skill you acquire by instruction or study, but it is really much more than that. We truly learn after we are truly taught, but what does that mean? "Mr. Dancealot" demonstrates the importance of hands-on learning. The instructor in the video is trying to teach the students (unsuccessfully) how to dance by lecturing using a power point. He then expects them to dance as their final exam. Many teachers use this method of lecturing and reciting facts to their students, and then expect them to be able apply and retain the information. The problem with this method is it does not engage the students. A better way would be to give the student the opportunity to learn hands-on, and make some mistakes along the way.

Well, unlike Mr. “undancealot”, as educators, we must get away from the basic PowerPoint presentation, and get our students involved! Let’s get those students dancing! Honestly, an open book and note test after just lectures? That is not teaching. To me, teachers make this common mistake all the time. We always wonder why students lack the motivation to do work, but we are not giving them much incentive when the only think we are teaching them is that they do not have to try.

Dance Class

This video brings out how to be a true “anti-teacher”, and I think that is great reason for Dr. Strange to show it to us. It reminds me of the quote we shared in class, “Never Tell, Always Ask.” We must break away from traditional teaching, and get the students involved! Students cannot absorb dancing by showing them on a PowerPoint presentation, behind your desk, or by giving them open book and note tests. STUDENTS CANNOT TRULY LEARN THIS WAY. We have to be proactive as educators and have our students involved in their own learning. We must stop spoon-feeding our students and propel them into active learning by being a part of the activity.

Teaching in the 21st Century by Kevin Roberts (John Strange version)
(Kayla Christie)

To me, Roberts thinks in order to teach in the 21st century, we must venture away from standardized teaching and learn how to adapt with the technological changes happening around us. As an elementary student, I do not ever remember other kids having cellphones in school, but now, it seems as if every child has one! He sees teaching changing in a way like the world. The world does not stop moving and changing and neither can we as educators. He is saying we must change our forms of teaching according to the new changes in the availability and use of technology. Along with Roberts, I agree we must make our lessons engaging with the technology as well as challenging. Roberts’s point of view tells that we should change our teaching from “why is the sky blue?” to “why is the sky blue? Explain, justify, and evaluate your opinion and research.” We have to change our forms of teaching from objective to subjective, and get the children to think about the answers to the question instead of just finding the answers. I think Roberts’s point of view on 21st century learning and teaching is spot-on, and as an educator, I will have to think more critically about my lessons as much as my students will have to think critically about their answers because of this point of view. As educators, we are constantly learning, and I think acquiring this new skill set of teaching will improve the students’ abilities to learn. I think this, because they are so easily able to look up the answers to the questions that teachers commonly ask. With this new way of teaching, the students cannot just look up any answer. They have to think outside of the box and use their creativity. In conclusion, we must stray away from being just like the economics teacher from Ferris Bueller's Day off, and become teachers of engagement!

Ferris Bueller's Economic Teacher = Mr.Dancealot and 20th Century Teaching

"The Networked Student" by Wendy Drexler (Anna Kern)

This video is a great representation of the countless learning opportunities available to students through technology. These days, many classrooms are primarily meeting virtually and don't even use text books. These students rely on the limitless possibilities of technology to find opinions and information from all over the world.

The author of this video, Wendy Drexler, describes herself as a student of connectivism, which is the theory that learning happens as a part of a network of many different technological agents and connections.

It's amazing how many educational resources the 21st century student has at his or her fingertips. The world's best instructors, limitless data and opinions-- all at the click of a button. Helping sort through this immense amount of material is one reason instructors are still such valuable assets to the 21st century student. Instructors also connect the student to new technological tools and sites, allowing the student to then make further connections. This prepares the student for a lifetime of learning and building networks. Instructors also teach proper blogging and social networking etiquette, and provide motivation and guidance.

Vicki Davis: Harness Your Students Digital Smarts (Chelsea Hadley)

Vicki has her high school level students really getting involved, interacting and truly learning. If I would have had more teachers who would have taught through technology and student interaction when I was growing up, I might have paid a lot more attention and learned much more information because hands-on is the best way of learning to me. In the video Ms. Davis talks about all the ways the students are learning and mentions how awesome it is to the students when they figure things out together and alone. I agree because when I work really hard and figure stuff out on my own it makes me feel great about myself. It makes you feel like you have accomplished something on your own instead of someone helping you and that is how this EDM310 class makes me feel. Vicki Davis states that "Not all students can learn with just pencil and paper." I so agree with her because I am one of them students. Not only does it make you learn and makes you do it on your own but students are also able to become comfortable with technology. I think making students think it out on their own and solving it on their own is an awesome strategy and other teachers should really try it.

Flipping the Classroom - 4th Grade Stem (Chelsea Hadley)

Flipping the classroom is a wonderful idea that I wish we had when I was in school. It gives children the opportunity to start their day prepared and ready to learn. Students can watch lectures online before the class so that they can learn and know what they will be learning about before they actually learn and talk about it in class. This opens up many doors for one-on-one learning at school. I think it is a great idea and would save a lot of time in class learning about it unless some students don’t watch the videos before class which means to me that really don’t care. This whole idea seems motivating, exciting and effective and I would love to use this in my classroom one day!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Blog Post One

If You Built A School, What Would It Be Like?

Krissy Vendosdale and Sugata Mitra’s ideas have taken the outdated ideas of learning and sculpted them based on the question, “how are we preparing children for the future?” In the standard school system, students are taught identically. They are put on a standardized pedestal of curriculum expectations. Vendosdale and Mitra take the uniformed pedestal, and throw it out the window. Vendosdale, a Gifted Education teacher in Houston, Texas, promotes project based learning with technology to facilitate creativity and children’s strengths. I love her blog post “Our Kids Will Change the World.” She relates the persistence and courage of a small mosquito to us, educators, making a difference. The mosquito is small, but makes a difference. As educators, that is the position we should strive for. We should want to be that difference for a child and help the kids believe in themselves to be the difference. Mitra, on the other hand, pulls away from the ideas of having educators facilitating students and pushes towards independent learning. As an educational researcher, he experiments with children in countries that have no technology and leaves a “hole in the wall” computer for two months to see what the children are capable of learning themselves. These children do not know English nor have they ever seen a computer. To anyone’s surprise, the children learned the English, used the computer, and understood what it does. The children taught each other, thus promoting his idea of “School in the Cloud”, a learning environment where the children are using self-organized learning. Both of these people are incredible educational influences.

Imaging my classroom after viewing the Vendosdale idea of imagination and Mitra idea of self-organized learning, I would add both ideas into my teaching. I would love to teach second grade and have explosions of creativity and group interaction in my classroom, as well as having the students be the architects of their education. I want to take systematic curriculum and turn it into paint. I want the children to be the artists, take their paintbrushes, and paint what they are learning into individualistic, imaginative works of art.

What I Want My Students to Know

I want my students to know all of the concepts promoted over the year, and apply it to all real life settings. I want them to know that being curious and asking questions is how you learn and want to know for yourself. I want them to believe in themselves and all of their capabilities by knowing that each one of them is different, and that is a glorious thing! I also want them to know that we can make any subject interesting by pretending to be researchers. I want to change the idea of just lecturing students into an entertaining game they can interact in.

What I Want My Students to Be Able to Do

Generally, I want them to go beyond learning the subjects. I want my students to be able to work together in groups, and teach each other. As Mitra, I would like my students to be the facilitators of their learning. They should be able excel beyond a curriculum, and take on the roles of researchers in order to continue interest in commonly “boring” subjects.

What is My Primary Way of Teaching My Students What I Want Them to Know and Do

I believe in kinesthetic learning and hands-on activities. I would love to incorporate those ideas with embedded creativity through art or technology. I would teach them to explore the subjects by asking them a general question that can get them curious to answer it. Any “who, what, when, where, why” question could instantly spark a pupil into interest. For example, I could give them a person in history and ask them who is this person, what did they do, why they did it, etc. A primary focus in my teaching would be collaboration and interaction among the students so they can go beyond just learning subjects. In addition, having the children use the interaction among their peers to see their own strengths as well as other’s strengths.

What Tools I Will Use in My Classroom

Along with the 21st century technology, I plan to use art as one of the key tools in my classroom. Arts in the classroom make ways for children to express their creativity while learning. The children are able to communicate more than verbally by expressing themselves through the art, thus boosting their confidence and self-esteem. It makes teaching easier for both the students and the teachers, because arts are interesting for everyone. The arts are created in so many forms so that they can appeal to each individual student in some way. The arts motivate and raise achievement because the arts give “hands on” approach to any activity or subject. Many children learn better under these types of “hands on” activities.

What Role Will My Students Play in the Classroom, i.e. How Will They Participate in the Learning Process

As I said before, I want the children to be the facilitators of their own learning by being the artists and using the resources I give them as their brush in order to create a wonderful piece of art. Instead of me showing them what to do, they will show me what they have learned. They will no longer play the role of the brainwashed student. They will be truly active in all aspects of learning. They will be the researchers, the historians, the politicians, the mathematicians, and all other roles in my classroom.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Test Post Title

This is my first post! I clicked the HTML button, which I should always do in EDM310. I am now a blogger!