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8-C-1 2020 Vision

My vision for the year 2020 definitely includes a lot more technology and innovation in the world and in the classroom.  Changes in our world will lead to higher expectations for our education and its results.  More advancements in technology will bring about easier and more efficient ways of doing things which usually results in more knowledge and learning for all involved.  Here in 2017 we have so many ways of communicating with others that includes blogging, vodcasting, social media and many others.  It’s hard to imagine that there will be any more ways of connecting with others, but I see 2020 bringing many more opportunities to communicate with others leading to more connections being made around the world. Some of the advancements will probably be so pivotal that it may be hard to imagine right now what they will be.  This will definitely lead to more opportunities and advancements in education and learning.

I also think there will be huge advancements in social media and the way that we share information with the world.  This change is exciting, but also worrisome.  As social media grows, so does the need for teaching our students and our own children how to use it in appropriate ways.  With many new advancements also will come many new ways to share our lives with others.  This can be a good thing, but can also be damaging if we are not educated in using the technology in the right way.  Social media can change the dynamic of our classroom and make it easier for students to share thoughts, feelings, and knowledge, but also our responsibility as teachers continues to grow as our students discover more opportunities to use it.

I would hope that as I start to integrate changes and new technology into my classroom that my students’ learning opportunities will grow and change.  I hope that discoveries in technology will help me to reach my students in new and different ways, and that they are able to show me what they know in new and different ways.  I hope that changes will continue to help to make our jobs as teachers slightly easier, and give us the ability to always try to present information to our students in fun and innovative ways.  Along with these changes, also come the challenges of not allowing technology to make our teaching impersonal.  I feel like sometimes we can get so caught up in using technology that we tend to forget that we are the teacher and that the technology is not.  Although we definitely want to continue to use technology especially as new advancements come about, we want to always remember that sometimes our students just need us to be the teacher and not to give them another way to look at something or do something different.

I think that in the next 3 years leading up to 2020 we will see many new ideas in technology and ways of learning.  I am truly excited to see what comes about, and as a teacher cannot wait to see how I can continue to use technology to make my classroom one that is more connected and innovative.  I think that the world we live in will change in many ways, and the way that we work and communicate with one another will also change.  We will be able to learn more about one another in easier and more efficient ways.  We will know about happenings going on in the world sooner than ever, and we will be able to gather feedback and information from others more quickly than ever before.  All of these changes can be wonderful, but also will give us more pitfalls to have to avoid.  Also, with the ability to get information so quickly it is hard to keep anything private, or keep our students from seeing information and pictures that may not be appropriate for the age level.  Along with changes that the years will bring, will come many decisions and rulings in the world and especially in schools about the appropriate use of technology and how we can allow our students to use it, but also protect them from the negatives that can sometimes come with it.

In an article entitled “Mapping the Future of Education,” it gave the statistic that 65% of our grade school students will work in jobs that don’t exist today.  I find this so fascinating because it proves my point that the many of the changes and shifts that we will see in technology will be so innovative that in today’s world are even hard to begin to imagine.  Based off of this idea, the article goes on to stress the importance of trying to anticipate new technologies and trying to contemplate how we will integrate them into our schools. At the beginning of my post I also included an image that shows how all of the technological changes will affect the world we live in and education.

I see the world, education, and technology as three concepts that are all connected to one another.  By this I mean that they all work together and also affect one another.  As our world changes, so does education and technology, as technology changes so does the world and education, and as education changes so must our world and the way we use our technology.  As we move toward the future, I think the most important thing we can do is embrace changes and take them as they come.  Before I took Building Online Collaborative Environments that would have been really hard for me to do, but now I am looking forward to seeing what technologies are discovered in the upcoming years, and how I will be able to use them in my classroom.  I think I will definitely be a new kind of teacher.  One that isn’t afraid to try new things, and isn’t afraid that something may go wrong when using technology.  I will embrace the idea of always having a back-up plan and look forward to the opportunities that can occur when the world, technology, and education grow and learn together.

 

Resources

James, P. (2014, November 13). Mapping The Future Of Education Technology. Retrieved February 27, 2017, from https://www.fastcoexist.com/1680348/mapping-the-future-of-education-technology

 

 

8-A-1 Web Applications

The web application that I chose to explore is Google Docs.  It’s probably hard for some to believe, but I had really never heard of Google Docs before this course started.  Since then I have used it for a variety of things and I really like the idea of it.  I like that it is pretty much an alternative to using Microsoft Word, but provides even more or just as many tools as Word does.  What I really like about it is the simplicity.  Instead of having to worry about constantly saving a document to a pen drive or to your computer, Google Docs does the thinking for you and saves all documents to the same location.  This eliminates the issues that can arise when working on documents such as losing a pen drive or forgetting to save a document.

Although I see students in middle and high school really benefiting from Google Docs, I also feel that my 2nd graders could work to learn how to use certain aspects of the application and benefit from it.  One of the skills in Language Arts that we cover throughout the year is comparing and contrast.  We work to compare and contrast stories, characters, settings, etc.  This is a fairly easy topic to understand, but a lot of my students are visual learners and like to be able to see a visual of this concept.  I tend to use Venn diagrams to show them how to compare and contrast.  I think it would be really beneficial to have students use the Google Drawings tools to have my students create their own Venn diagrams to compare two ideas.  This could easily be done on a piece of paper or on the chalkboard, but by creating it on Google Docs it brings the concept of comparing and contrasting to life.  Also, it would be a great way for me to assess my students on their ability to compare and contrast by having them submit their finished product to me.  Also, if they were not able to complete their assignment in the time given, they would know that it would be saved for them in a location that would be easy to retrieve once they were ready to pick up where they left off.  As my students become familiar with different aspects of this application, they will then be able to see all of the possibilities that Google Docs holds for learners.

7-B-1 Paperless Classes

How would a paperless class change your role as a teacher?

I think a paperless class would completely turn my role as teacher upside down.  I don’t completely rely on worksheets and handouts in my classroom, but they are definitely a resource that I use every day.  To move completely to a paperless class, and have all information available to my students online, would completely change the way that I teach.  My role would shift to one of giving my students directions as to how to search for class information online, and use it to complete their assignments instead of me giving directions to worksheets that are a part of each lesson.  As a teacher of 2nd graders, a paperless class certainly would not make my job easy, but I think that there could be some positives (and negatives) to stepping away from our “paper trail.”

How would paperless classes change learning?

As mentioned above, I think paperless classes would change the way our students would need to approach their learning.  Before they could learn new information and apply it, they would need to learn to use the technology available to them, and know how to use it to enhance their learning.  Learning would certainly become more interactive, and would expect a different way of thinking and learning from the students.  Also, I think it would be a major shift in the parental involvement in their students’ education.  Parents are used to looking at worksheets coming home to see what their children are learning each day.  Now they would be required to use technology to explore what their students are learning, how they are gathering their information, and showing what they know each day.

How would you measure learning in a paperless classroom?

Assessment in a paperless classroom would certainly require a new way of monitoring our students.  Instead of looking at papers completed by our students, we would have to monitor their checking in online, and how they are able to navigate through the information provided to them and use it to complete what is assigned to them.  I am one that likes to have a paper copy of everything in front of me.  I like to be able to hold something, write on it, and make corrections as needed.  Measuring my students learning would certainly be a big adjustment for myself and my students as well.

Would a paperless space make it easier or harder to build a learning network? Why?

Based on the grade level that I teach, I truly feel that a paperless space would make it harder to build a learning network.  When using all online resources for primary aged children, there are a lot of loopholes that arise.  Although my students amaze me every day with how well they work with technology, I think relying single handedly on it for their learning could be complicated at times.  I feel that often times students at their level need to have a paper visual in front of them, or be able to actually write down the information they are learning for it to really be beneficial for them.  I wouldn’t be surprised if someday down the road our classrooms become completely paperless, but as of right now I feel that my students are benefiting the most by being somewhat paper based and using technology as an enhancer not as the only means to which they learn.

 

 

 

7-A-1 Big Shifts -#1 Open Content

How has this shift affected your teaching practice so far?

This shift has affected my teaching by creating a sense of freedom in feeling that can venture from the normal textbooks and use other resources to teach my students.  With the information that is at our fingertips, it is so easy to introduce concepts and information to the students without using the normal textbooks.  Also, with the information online usually being more current than our textbooks, it is also nice to use online information as a supplement to the textbooks.  Using the information available online, I am able to present my students with up to date information and facts more efficiently than ever before.

How do you expect it might affect you in the future?

I feel that this shift will only open up more opportunities for setting textbooks aside when teaching my students.  The resources available to teachers are only going to grow, and the accessibility of information is only going to increase.  This is going to allow for more freedom to be able to help my students learn in non-traditional ways.  In some ways, I feel it will make my job easier in that I am able to provide information to my students in a simple, yet effective way.

Have your views changed since you started this course?

Even before this course I have always been willing to use technology and the internet to enhance my teaching, but this course has introduced me to so many new resources to aid in my teaching and has helped me to feel comfortable in using a lot of them.  Also, I never really used technology as a way for myself to gain information about my teaching practices, but just as something to use to find information for my students. This course has really allowed me to see how much information is readily available for teachers to help shape our teaching strategies.

How can you use technology to facilitate this shift in your own classroom?

I can use this technology as a replacement to the everyday monotony of reading out of a textbook.  I will certainly look towards textbooks in some situations, but will definitely move towards using the information that is provided on the web on a daily basis.  I will also teach my students how to find the information available to them online and make sure that it is accurate and up to date.

 

 

 

6-A-3 Responding to Connectivism

Here is the link to the wiki page that I am responding to:

http://spring17-bce-01.wikispaces.com/Group+B+6-A-1

I think Group B did a great job in posting their thoughts on the argument against Connectivism.  I actually agree with the statements made by them, and feel that they have a strong basis upon which their beliefs rest.  The main reason that I feel Connectivism may not be the best option for students, is the belief that it is hard to assess the students to find out what they really know.  As teachers we all need some way to find out what our students know and be able to gather feedback about their learning.  If Connectivism does not allow for this, then I would say there are major loopholes in the theory.

Also, when discussing the idea of Connectivism as a learning theory, it is believed that providing an online environment is vital to the success of it.  On a blog post discussing Connectivism it uses the quote that, “Although we live in a society where social networking is at the order of the day, learners in schools from all over the world do not currently have the language and technical ability to support social collaboration and learning by connecting to an online environment using a tool such as a computer to feed information into a learning community, that allows for interaction, sharing, dialoguing, and thinking together.” (Siemens, 2004).  I feel this exact idea is why Connectivism may not be a relevant learning theory.  For Siemens theory to be successful there need to be connections.  If there are barriers that hinder the creation of these connections, then the theory does not provide the successful learning environment that is core of Connectivism.

 

References

Human, P. (1970, January 01). For or against Connectivism as a learning theory? Retrieved February 16, 2017, from http://vygotskysneglectedlegacy.blogspot.com/2011/10/for-or-against-connectivism-as-learning.html

6-C-2 Skype Ideas

I chose to Skype with Susie.  Although we work alongside each other every day, it was an interesting change in the way we connect with one another.  While Skyping from home we were probably about 20-25 minutes away from each other, but it makes you think about all of the possibilities of connecting with others in other cities, states, and around the world.  Although I have never used Skype before, I have used a similar program (Facetime) to be able to connect with family members in other cities.  For some reason, it never has popped into my mind to be able to use Skype in the classroom, but it certainly could be useful to myself and my students.

I would like to use Skype in the future to help my students to connect with another class somewhere else in our country or maybe even in the world.  I know I have used the idea in another assignment, but pen pals are such a simple way to establish connections between our students and others of the same age, but in another location elsewhere in our world.  It would be so cool to connect with students living in a location that we may be reading about in Language Arts and be able to have them share some of their culture and traditions with us. To help my students to be able to become comfortable with Skype before reaching out to other students elsewhere, I think it would be really cool to have the students Skype younger students (even those in our school) and read stories to them.  They could all choose a book that interests them, practice it in class, and then be able to share it with another student in a different way than what they are used to.  I think for those readers that are hesitant and may not be as confident as others, this would be a great way to break down those walls for them and make them to feel comfortable as they gain more confidence in reading to others and using Skype.

I would also love to be able to connect with other teachers in various locations just to be able to share ideas with one another.  I work with so many great teachers everyday who have so many great ideas, but sometimes it takes a different outlook on things to be able to come up with new teaching strategies and ideas.  As with my students, I would love to connect with teachers in locations that we learn about in 2nd grade to be able to learn new information from them that I could share with my students.

I really feel that with a program like Skype, the possibilities are endless. I would hope to start out using Skype as a way for my students to see what possibilities are out there for them and how they can use the internet and its resources in a safe way that helps them to connect to others that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.  They could actually see their pen pals instead of just imaging what they would look like, or be able to read their favorite story to their Grandmother who lives across the country.  I hope that by using Skype, my students and myself will feel as if it can enhance whatever we are learning in class to make it more interactive and open up avenues to be able to share and gather knowledge as we connect with others.

5-B-3 Option #1 Podcast in the Classroom

The podcast series that I found to share with my students is the Dream Big Podcast by Eva and Olga Karpman.  This podcast series focuses on teaching kids how to follow their dreams in life and how to overcome many adversities with a positive attitude that may result in achieving those dreams.  The main reason I chose this series is because I feel like one of our most important jobs as teachers (and as parents) is to teach our children to have dreams and to know that they can become a reality with hard work and a positive attitude.  Also, as a Catholic school, we try to teach our students to live the way that Jesus did, and to treats others and ourselves with respect.  This series teaches those very ideals in a fun and positive way.

How would I use this podcast in the classroom?

                I would use this podcast during our “quiet time” each day in my classroom.  Our quiet time is about 15-20 minutes each day after lunch when my students have time to regroup and to catch up on any extra work.  This would be a perfect time for the students to listen to an episode in the podcast while they are catching up on work or just while they are getting organized for the afternoon.  Listening to the podcasts would be a great motivator to get my students ready for the afternoon, and to gain a positive outlook about working hard on whatever is presented to them during the rest of their day.

Rationale on why I selected this podcast:

As mentioned earlier, I like this podcast simply for the fact that it is a positive influence on my students’ lives and would hopefully inspire them to work hard for what they want to achieve.  What I also really liked about the podcast was that there are guest celebrities on many of them.  These celebrities include Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Oprah, and Ellen DeGeneres.  One thing that I know for sure about children is that when they hear words of advice from one of their “idols” they are definitely more willing to take those words and put them into action.  Also, all of the guests are very successful people, and they are able to share with the students the stories of how their dreams turned into realities.  The last reason that I really liked these podcasts is because the main creator is a child.  Anything is more relatable if it is written or created by someone at your age level.  I think my students would really enjoy listening to a kid just like themselves, and would definitely be able to relate to her more than they would an adult.

Here is a link to the podcast I chose:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/dream-big-podcast-family-friendly/id1168126157?mt=2

 

5-A-1 Flickr Possibilities

desert

The first idea I had on how to use Flickr in my classroom was to include it when teaching cross-curricular lessons. Many of our weekly Language Arts stories cover topics in Geography, History, Social Studies, and Science. As a class we could use Flickr to collect images based off the topic we are covering for the week. One topic that came to mind first was the desert. We read a story titled “A Walk in the Desert.” The story talks about deserts including their various climates, the animals that live there, and the many locations of deserts throughout the world. Living in Pennsylvania, my students usually have only heard of a desert and know that it has sand and camels. Using Flickr to search and collect pictures of deserts could be an efficient way to show my students many different examples of what a desert looks like and what is in a desert. The picture I chose to include in my blog post could teach my students that some deserts even have snow!

[Snow-Covered Star Dune]. (2017, January 17). Retrieved February 5, 2017, from https://www.flickr.com/photos/greatsanddunesnpp/32587062711/

4-D-1 Wikis in Your Classroom

Is there a particular example of a classroom wiki which inspired you?
I think the Flat Classroom Wiki is such a neat idea. While there may be some negatives that come with the overabundance of technology in our culture, one true positive is the fact that technology can connect people from two completely different parts of the world. It is so cool that students from two completely different walks of life were able to collaborate and share ideas on the same book that they were all reading at the same time. I could do a simple version of this in my 2nd grade classroom, and just create a “pen pal” wiki where my students could connect and share stories or ideas with another 2nd grade class somewhere in the country, or even the world.
What was most challenging about creating a wiki together as a group in Activity 4-C-1?
The most challenging part of creating a wiki together was the collaboration part of it. It was really hard to try to create something with other people who are on different schedules then you. When I set out to complete an assignment, I like to write it up, check it over, and then complete it. With a wiki it was very hard for me to have to “wait” for others to be able to complete the assignment.
What did you learn from the group wiki project?
I learned the basics of wikis by completing the group wiki project. I had heard of wikis before, but have never worked to complete a wiki. It was interesting to see how they work and how we can add and edit our own information and the information added by others as well.
Has your opinion of Wikipedia changed at all this week?
My opinion of Wikipedia really hasn’t changed this week. I have always known Wikipedia to be a site used to find information on really any topic you can think of, but I also have always known that it wasn’t the most reliable source of information either. Knowing what I know about wikis, I now understand even more that Wikipedia is still a place to gather information, but to go about it cautiously.
Are you encountering resistance to using wikis in your class, either from others or from yourself? If so, how do you plan to respond?
I haven’t tried to use wikis in my classroom yet because I feel that I need to become a little more knowledgeable about them before I can teach my students about them. The only thing that I was hesitant about was that they may be too complicated or difficult to use with 2nd graders, but the more examples I look at and the more I think about wikis, the easier I feel that it might be to use wikis in my classroom. I look forward to trying to implement some of these ideas into my everyday curriculum very soon!

Assignment 4-A-2 Assessment: How do we know what they know?

Ever since I entered my first education based class in college, assessment has always been one of the most discussed topics. Formal, informal, on-going, etc., there are so many theories and thoughts about which are better for our students and which are more beneficial for us as teachers.
I’ve always believed that a mixture of many different assessments is the best way to see what our students know, but find myself relying on formal assessments (tests) because they seem to be the easier and more efficient way of finding out what our students know. The question is, do these tests really show us what our students know?
On the other side of assessments is the informal assessment. I truly believe that we as teachers use these every day when we observe our students and have discussions with our students. I feel that informal assessment can also be a great asset to help teachers to gain information about their students, but also feel that it can be easy to “overlook” students sometimes. Although we try to include all students in class discussions and check in with all students throughout the day, it is very easy to look over that student who doesn’t want to raise their hand, or not be able to take the time to observe every students’ work for many different reasons (class size, students that need more help than others, etc.)
I feel like every kind of assessment is beneficial in some way to us as teachers, but also feel like there are “loopholes” that come with each one of them that we as teachers need to be aware of. What do you think is the best type of assessment to use? Do you use a mixture of both? Do you find issues with any of the types?