Tag Archives: computer technology integration

Some highlights of Alfie Kohn’s interview withRoss Greene  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/drrossgreene/2010/02/01/collaborative-problem-solving-at-school from Joe Bower’s Blog:

  • There is a big difference between working with kids and doing things to kids.
  • Punishing and rewarding are not only ineffective but they are also counter-productive in raising children.
  • We get lost in finding new techniques to gain compliance from children, when we really need to be clear of our ultimate goal – help children become ethical, caring people.
  • Kids who get rewards and praise tend to be less generous than their peers. Self-interest trumps caring for others.
  • No kid ever benefits from punishment.
  • There is a big difference between control and structure. Highly structured learning environments need not be controlled from the top-down. Students need to play an active and democratic role in forming the structure of the classroom.
  • The more we focus on just compliance, the more we will shuffle through an endless product line of gimmicks and tricks that will never achieve our ultimate goals.
  • Time-outs, or more accurately Forcibly Isolated, classrooms no longer feel safe. These classrooms become conditional and we all lose from these kinds of traditional, punitive interventions.
  • Not much learning takes place in a classroom that is too quiet.
  • Our classroom management techniques can be quite effective, but we must ask “effective at what?”
  • Kids make good decisions by making decisions not following directions.
  • Unconditional acceptance is at the heart of any good classroom.
  • The best teachers are those who make the curriculum worth learning.
  • Punishment by any name, even consequences, ruptures the safe and caring alliance that must be nourished between teacher and student.
  • Punishment is less about solving problems and more about revenge and inflicting pain and suffering.

Computer Technology at KRMS

Computer Technology Integration at KRMS

1. Creativity (personal expression, student based,)

2. Collaboration (teachers, cross curriculum (middle school philosophy), and students), experts, communication, contribution to team projects, create for an audience, (sharing Web 2.0)

3. Research Skills (evaluation, synthesize, ethics, process data), information fluency, C-Span, You Tube, use of library on-line tools such as United Streaming, on line book marking Thinkquest, delicious, diigo, RSS feeds of news sources, etc., google reader,

4. Critical Thinking and Problem solving (planning, decision making), selection of appropriate applications (software and hardware necessary to complete project rather than isolating instruction, visual literacy)

5. Digital Citizenship (safe, legal, responsible, social responsibility, plagiarism, creative commons)

6. Technology Operation (not isolated, adaptability, tool needed to accomplish task )

Possible Projects:

podcasts, Examples: Book talks, David Eastman Country Ecology radio shows

blogging Questions and answers, collaboration, sharing, blogging on issues in the news (diigo, google reader, http://lpeterson.edublogs.org/ Vista blogs

Slide shows (PhotoShop as a tool) Examples: historical personages or events with research voice over or text, science , math demos

Videos (require planning and scripting) Examples: students create story using same themes from book or stories they are reading), Vista style research project, science math demonstrations, music, cooking instructions, book trailer

Story telling: scripts, plays, booklets, form and content, elements of a story (written or visual)

Desktop Publishing: brochures, cards, newsletter, menus, etc.

Time lines, spreadsheets and charts, promotional posters, house design, newsletter, business cards, catalogs, advertisements, webquests, recreate sounds, music,, and picture of an era (Ken Burns), create websites, video trailers, student created question and answer books, write a song or poem or story relative to a topic or era, spreadsheets (budget, grade averages, database, mathematical formulas, art museum, website on famous person, PowerPoint presentation on financial success of a company, students pretend to be travel agents and create promotional PowerPoint, Start a business track business on excel, create a digital magazine, create a TV commercial, use a wiki to critique a book or short story,

http://its.leesummit.k12.mo.us/ Computer Integration ideas

Book Marks: http://delicious.com/filmrd,

E-mail: rgdavidson@govwentworth.k12.nh.us

Book Marks: http://www.diigo.com/user/filmrd,

School Website: www.govwentworth.k12.nh.us Click on “Our Schools”,

Portaportal: guest.portaportal.com/krms (Links to sites for classroom use)

Educational Blogs By Discipline – Go to our website

http://filmrd.edublogs.org

Skype

http://web.mac.com/geographyguy/Welcome/Welcome.html Mr. McCracken

The Curriculum Component. A team of teachers (content area teachers, a special education teacher and a computer teacher) work together to integrate computer use into a six- to eight-week curriculum unit. Teachers first select a unit topic that cuts across disciplines. For example, a topic such as immigration, space exploration, or medical breakthroughs in the 20th century could comfortably link language arts, the framework for carrying out a research process where students:

* Become actively engaged as learners who pose personally meaningful questions related to the content/topic;

* Devise a research plan that uses a variety of relevant sources;

* Gather, integrate and construct knowledge by working independently and cooperatively with other students; and

* Produce a finished product that describes what the research process entailed and conveys what was learned.

During the unit, teachers help students gradually construct and expand their knowledge of key concepts, issues and vocabulary related to the topic. Teachers encourage cooperative learning so that students share information, give each other feedback and support one another’s efforts. Writing becomes an ongoing process that involves pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing and publishing (to an audience).

Make It Happen! is based on

findings from a three-year study

funded by the U.S. Department

of Education.

Ten Items All should Know About Google by Michael Gorman

Ten Items All Should Know When Using Google Basic Search…. Far From Basic… The Googal In Google!

1. The word And is assumed… Example: red and white and blue is a search for  red white blue

2. Compound Words, Phrases, and Names; use a String (in other words put the words in quotes  “  “…   Example: “George Washington”“Fort Wayne” “to be or not to be” “United States of America” “Star Wars” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”

3. Want to eliminate a word: use the Not Command which is a – (minus sign)… Example:  Looking for the country Turkey, but not the bird…  Turkey -bird

4. Capital Letters and articles of speech are ignored unless put  in quotes…  Example: United States of America is treated as united states america but “United States of America” is treated as United States of America

5. The root form of a word looks for all forms of the word… Example: walk = walks, walker, walking, walked

6. Use a tilde (~) to search with other word of similar meaning… Example ~happy searches for happy and synonyms of happy ~large planet(large could be: big, vast, giant, enormous

7. Putting a plus (+) in front of word to keep it exactly as is. This dismisses adding other options to root word… Example:  +walk (only walk: does not inlude walker, walks, walking, walked)

8. Wild Card (*) allows for missing words in a phrase (not missing letters). Forget a word in a title or quote, try a wildcard… Example: “Obama voted on the * on the * bill” Note this is mixed with the string concept.

9. The word OR (in caps) allows two ideas to be reported together… Example: “Indianapolis Colts” 2010 OR 2009

10. Get to know the Google Command Lines. These are useful for quick references in a Basic Google Search. Give them a try and experience the power in narrowing down a search. The list of over twenty starts with some real power suggestions and ends with some everyday useful ideas.

INTITLE – To narrow search by finding web sites that have key word in title you may type the words intitle: followed by word you are searching for (Note no spaces) … Example: intitle:ipad …  Return example

INTEXT – Same as above only it narrows search to only keywords found in text (Note no spaces)… Example intext:ipad … Return example

LINK – This command determines who is linking to a site. Great command to determine credibility and popularity of a site. To use the link command there are no spaces. Type word link: and follow with complete URL (Note if you remember to put no space after the colon you will get true account of active hyper-links, if you use a space you will get hyper-links and text mentions which will be a higher number)…Example link:www.apple.com … Return example

SITE – Found a great site, but you want to then just search in that site.  Perhaps you just want to search government sites or you want to see the Race For The Moon in perspective from Russia. Type in site and with no space follow with web address, domain, or country code. After the address, domain, or country code put in a space and the key word. Perhaps you want iPad information only from apple… Site Example: site:www.apple.com ipad … Return example … Domain Example: site:gov earthquake … Return Example …  County Example: site:ru “moon race… Return Example

FILETYPE – Looking for a great power point, pdf, or word doc. Perhaps a spreadsheet would be helpful. You may need to look up some suffixes to use. Type in the word filetype: and with no spaces put the suffix (in my example I used xls for excel), put in  space and follow with a search term. I have a list for suffixes linked here… Example: filetype:xls h1n1 … Return example

RELATED – Ever find a great site and you want to see if there is more like it. Just type in the word related: and follow with no space and then the web address. You will find an assortment of related pages… Example: related:www.apple.com … Return Example

INFO – Want more information about a site that you like. Interested in cached versions, links to the site, links from the site, other web pages that are simular to, and other places the web site is mentioned on the internet. A great tool for evaluating a web site. All you do is type in the word info: and then follow it with no space, and the web address of the site you wish to know more about… Example: info:www.ted.org … Return Example

CALCULATOR – To use Google’s built-in calculator function, simply enter the calculation you’d like done into the search box. It even follows the order of operation… Example: 10+9*10 (It multiplies first the adds) … Return Example

SYNONYMS – As mentioned earlier, if you want to search  for your search term and  also for its synonyms, place the tilde sign (~) immediately in front of your search term (no space)… Example: ~city … Return example

DEFINITIONS – To see a definition for a word or phrase,  type the word “define” then a space, then the word(s) you want defined. To see a list of different definitions from various online sources, you can type “define:” followed by a word or phrase. Note that the results will define the entire phrase… Example: define: computer … Return example

SPELL – Google’s spell checking software automatically checks whether your submission uses the most common spelling of a given word. If Google  thinks you’re likely to generate better results with an alternative spelling, it will ask “Did you mean: (more common spelling)?”. Click the suggested spelling to launch a Google search for that term. Example: pikture … Return example

MEASUREMENT – To use measurement converter put in the measurement you want to convert followed by word to, and then enter desired unit… Example: convert 5280 ft to mi … Return example.

WEATHER – To see the weather for many U.S. and worldwide cities, type “weather” followed by the city and state, U.S. zip code, or city and country… Example: weather “fort wayne” in or weather 46814 or weather “fort wayne” usa … Return Example

STOCKS – To see current market data for a given company or fund, type the ticker symbol into the search box. On the results page, you can click the link to see more data from Google Finance… Example: aapl … Return Example

TIME – To see the time in many cities around the world, type in “time” and the name of the city(Note also sunrise/sunset)… Example:  time “fort wayne” …  Return Example

SPORTS – To see scores and schedules for sports teams type the team name or league name into the search box. This is enabled for many leagues including the National Basketball Association, National Football League, National Hockey League, and Major League Baseball… Example: national basketball association … Return Example

LOCAL – When  looking for a store, restaurant, or other local business search for the category of business and the location and Google will  return results right on that page, along with a map, reviews, and contact information. You may have to scroll down to find the local listings in the search returns… Example walmart… Return example

MOVIES – To find reviews and showtimes for movies playing near you, type “movies” or the name of a current film into the Google search box. If you’ve already saved your location on previous search, the top search result will display showtimes for nearby theaters for the movie you’ve chosen, if not enter new location… Example: movie: “diary of a wimpy kid” … Return example

DISEASE  – To see information about a common disease or symptom, enter it into the search box and Google will return the beginning of an expert summary. Click through and read the entire article in Google Health… Example: measles… Return example

FLIGHTS – To see flight status for arriving and departing U.S. flights, type in the name of the airline (abrv work) and the flight number into the search box. You can also see delays at a specific airport by typing in the name of the city or three-letter airport code followed by the word “airport”… Example: austin airport … Return example

PATENTS To get information on patents – enter the word “patent” followed by the patent number into the Google search box and hit the Enter key or click the Google Search button… Example: patent 1773980 … Return example

AREA CODE LOCATION – to see the geographical location for any U.S. telephone area code, just type the three-digit area code into the Google search box and hit the Enter key or click the Google Search button… Example 260… Return example

David Kapuler Web 2.0 for educators

I’m a huge advocate of Web 2.0 in general, and social networking in particular. Here are my favorite networks for education that targets technology literacy.

1.  Twitter – Far and away one of the most popular social networks around. This micro-tweeting platform is used worldwide and especially in education (search hash tags, edchat or edtech).
2.  Classroom 2.0 – Created by Steve Hargadon and used by thousands of educators on a daily basis. This site alone changed the way I viewed education and ignited my passion for Web 2.0.
3.  Facebook -nuff said!!
4.  Plurk – A social network similar to Twitter with a timeline view and fun karma-based platform.
5.  Educator’s PLN – Built by Thomas Whitby, this social network is one of the fastest growing around and some of the top technology based innovators can be found here.
6.  Learn Central – Sponsored by elluminate, Learn Central is an ideal place for educators to host or learn through its virtual conferences.
7.  ISTE Community – International Society for Technology & Education is a great place for educators to collaborate on technology issues.
8.  Edutopia – A very popular organization created by the George Lucas foundation.
9.  Collaborative Translation – Created by well renowned educator James O’Reilly, CT is a great place to learn and share innovative ideas.
10.  IT4ALL – Integrating Technology 4 Active Life-Long Learners is a nice place for educators to share best practices for technology integration.

David Kapuler was the media and technology specialist at Greendale (Wis.) School District. Read his blog at cyber-kap.blogspot.com.

Tony Wagner’s “The Global Achievement Gap” Rick Davidson

I have just received a book that the SAU purchased in the hopes, I imagine, of contributing to my evolution as an effective educator. I have not read the book yet but the blurb on the back cover was enough to get my intellectual juices flowing. The book is called “The Global Achievement Gap” by Tony Wagner. On one level, I ordered this book in the hopes that it might help me understand why we, in the American School System, justify so much testing and standardization. Instead, Mr. Wagner appears to be yet another proponent of what is becoming recognized as a new movement in 21st Century education. Everything I have absorbed from a myriad of books, blogs, magazine articles, TV shows, interviews, and keynote speakers indicates that tomorrow’s survival skills are not to be found in nineteenth century educational practices. Even in those days, voices such as John Dewey encouraged project based learning that encouraged students to be active researchers, not receptacles of the teacher’s assumed knowledge and wisdom. “Dewey was a relentless campaigner for reform of education, pointing out that the authoritarian strict, pre-ordained knowledge approach of modern traditional education was too concerned with delivering knowledge, and not enough with understanding students’ actual experiences.” (Neil, J. (2005) “John Dewey, the Modern Father of Experiential Education” )

So I had to ask myself, am I truly providing my students with Tony Wagner’s Seven Survival Skills for Teens Today? Forgetting that my prejudice is that technology must play an important part in helping students acquire these skills, I wonder whether we are not short changing our future citizens when we don’t pay attention to what is a recurrent message from the experts. Education should not be a matter of merely accumulating knowledge. We can find the answer to just about everything on a computer or, for that matter, on an iPhone. Higher order thinking skills are essential to success in our incredibly fast changing world. Whether we like or approve of this future is irrelevant. It is here and we and our students need to know how to survive and thrive in it. The other reoccurring theme that I hear is that we, as teachers, have to model these skills in order to be effective educators.

Seven Survival Skills for Teens Today:

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
Collaboration across Networks and Leading by Influence
Agility and Adaptability
Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
Effective Oral and Written Communication
Accessing and Analyzing Information
Curiosity and Imagination

As Albert Einstein said:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress and giving birth to evolution.”

Einstein would love google. Are we listening?

Comments on Tony Wagners “The Global Achievement Gap

I have just received a book that the SAU purchased in the hopes, I imagine, of contributing to my evolution as an effective educator. I have not read the book yet but the blurb on the back cover was enough to get my intellectual juices flowing. The book is called “The Global Achievement Gap” by Tony Wagner. On one level, I ordered this book in the hopes that it might help me understand why we, in the American School System, justify so much testing and standardization. Instead, Mr. Wagner appears to be yet another proponent of what is becoming recognized as a new movement in 21st Century education. Everything I have absorbed from a myriad of books, blogs, magazine articles, TV shows, interviews, and keynote speakers indicates that tomorrow’s survival skills are not to be found in nineteenth century educational practices. Even in those days, voices such as John Dewey encouraged project based learning that encouraged students to be active researchers, not receptacles of the teacher’s assumed knowledge and wisdom. “Dewey was a relentless campaigner for reform of education, pointing out that the authoritarian strict, pre-ordained knowledge approach of modern traditional education was too concerned with delivering knowledge, and not enough with understanding students’ actual experiences.” (Neil, J. (2005) “John Dewey, the Modern Father of Experiential Education” )

So I had to ask myself, am I truly providing my students with Tony Wagner’s Seven Survival Skills for Teens Today? Forgetting that my prejudice is that technology must play an important part in helping students acquire these skills, I wonder whether we are not short changing our future citizens when we don’t pay attention to what is a recurrent message from the experts. Education should not be a matter of merely accumulating knowledge. We can find the answer to just about everything on a computer or, for that matter, on an iPhone. Higher order thinking skills are essential to success in our incredibly fast changing world. Whether we like or approve of this future is irrelevant. It is here and we and our students need to know how to survive and thrive in it. The other reoccurring theme that I hear is that we, as teachers, have to model these skills in order to be effective educators.

Seven Survival Skills for Teens Today:

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
Collaboration across Networks and Leading by Influence
Agility and Adaptability
Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
Effective Oral and Written Communication
Accessing and Analyzing Information
Curiosity and Imagination

As Albert Einstein said:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress and giving birth to evolution.”

Einstein would love google. Are we listening?

Vista Video Research Project

Draft 5

In Search of the Ultimate Computer Technology Integrated Project

by Rick Davidson

How two seasoned teachers created one of the most exciting and effective teaching units of their careers.

I have spent the past 13 years involved with computer technology education. When I started, the challenge was to interest the students and teachers into coming into the computer lab at all. I came to my alma mater, Kennett High School in Conway, New Hampshire with two charges. Number one was to get the lab up and running. Number two was to facilitate the proper use of the lab. This was to have been a one year job as I was still active as a professional photographer and video maker. Even then I saw the handwriting on the wall. Imaging as I knew it was about to change. I didn’t know how long it would take but it was clear that digital photography was the wave of the future. After three years at Kennett, I took a new position as a computer teacher at Kingswood Regional Middle School in Wolfeboro, NH. While I was in a position to create my own curriculum, I found that incorporating photography and video making was not met with a lot of enthusiasm. Over the past ten years, my curriculum has evolved to include units on just about every aspect of computing including digital photography and video making. Unlike those early days in Conway when kids used to complain about spending time in the computer lab, now you can’t keep them out. Two years ago my job description changed. I became a computer technology integrator. I felt that I had accomplished a lot during the first year in my new capacity. Somehow, in spite of all the innovations and the fact that the computers in the building were being effectively used on a regular basis, I still hadn’t found an activity that I felt would be the paradigm of computer technology integration.

I often hear from adults, that kids know so much about computers. My experience says otherwise. While most kids are good at text messaging, using IM, and playing games, the vast majority of my incoming middle school students do not type well, do not know how to research, and can not discern between valid and invalid information on the Internet. Most have problems saving their work correctly. They have not had much experience working in teams nor do they understand the implications of publishing their work for an audience rather than for an individual teacher. Many seem to like the idea of using a video or a still camera but don’t want to be bothered with learning how to use the tools capably. I wanted to find a project that would require the students and the teachers to raise the bar. I wanted something that would require a combination of many of those skills that the students should be honing while at the middle school. I wanted something that the result of which, they would be proud to present to the public and something that would require a deeper awareness of local and world issues.. The activity should be self-directed enough that the teachers would serve as guides not as purveyors of information.

Enter Arthur Viens, team leader and social studies teacher for Team Vista at Kingswood Regional Middle School. Vista has always had a reputation for innovation but both Arthur and I had often discussed the fact that neither one of us had found that illusive ideal of computer technology integration. We agreed that video should probably be a part of it. We recognized that the subject matter would have to be something that the students would buy into and be interested in. We also wanted them to come away with an understanding of their chosen topic within the context of its importance on the world stage..

Serendipitously, we both received a flier for the C-Span Student Cam Competition. This appeared to be exactly what we were looking for. Was Arthur willing to go out on a limb and alter his curriculum in order to try something that looked like hard work but also appeared to be so promising? He was. Unfortunately, it became apparent that we would not be able do justice to this kind of unit in time to meet the contest deadline. We figured we could borrow the idea, create the curriculum and be ready to have our students participate in the C-Span contest next time around. We would have our own film festival this coming spring and show the final versions of the student videos there. We would also put them on the school website. The C-Span challenge was to create a video that each group of students felt was the most pressing issue that President Obama should address after taking office. Since we had started with this theme, we decided to stick with it.

First, we showed Arthur’s four classes the winners from past C-Span student entries. We discussed what video making techniques worked or didn’t work. We looked at the use of music to enhance the message. We showed the film “Stand By Me Playing For Change” as an example of this. We talked about the depth of research involved to create a compelling and coherent film. The students committed to subjects ranging from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to abortion, gun control, animal abuse, and the war on drugs. We told the students that they would need to understand their subject thoroughly in order to persuade the president that their point of view was worth his attention. Once again we viewed more C-Span student entries keeping in mind that certain techniques were more effective than others. We also stressed the importance of works cited appearing at the end of their respective videos. Any pictures used in the videos would need proper permission or Creative Commons attribution. Flickr is very good source for images and the photographers are very easy to contact. No one had a problem granting permission to the students. Students could use C-Span Student Cam footage as well as video segments on United Streaming. We also encouraged the students to create their own footage. Music was either created in GarageBand or culled from free music sites that fit fair use guidelines. The final videos were edited in Windows Movie Maker. Sound tracks were also created in Audacity or Windows Movie Maker. Note Taking and script writing was done in Open Office. Conversion issues were pretty much solved by using the free program, Any Video Converter. As we progressed, it became obvious that YouTube also had a wealth of potentially useful programming.. The students were allowed to use YouTube on the condition that they could receive permission to use footage and/or music. Some students even contacted major recording artists to seek permission to use clips for their work. Some students did receive the go ahead. Using YouTube also presented us with some teaching moments. Not all YouTube content is following fair use guidelines. In such cases, the students had to learn to differentiate between what they could and could not use. They needed to also find out who actually held the rights to the material and proceed from there. Using YouTube actually provided the opportunity to discuss in depth the implications of fair use. Had we spoon fed the students with only pre-approved sources, these opportunities would not have presented themselves.

Dealing with the issues of what constitutes good research was perhaps the most important pedagogical outcome of this undertaking. We used the www. martinlutherking.org and Institute for Historical Review to acquaint students with examples of website that might not be what they appear to be. I am convinced that most of the students now understand that they need to carefully read any information they find on the web. As obvious as it may sound, this alone is a major accomplishment on the middle school level. My next initiative will be to encourage all of our teams to include instruction based on what Arthur and I have learned from the evolution of this project. As it turned out, the actual video editing, was the easiest part. By the time they started to use Movie Maker, they had planned their video in Inspiration and Open Office, accumulated their information, video clips, music, and works cited. The students did indeed work very independently. Arthur and I were kept very busy with questions and we were able to take on the role of guides. The questions were surprisingly good and the creativity and depth of the research were both impressive.

Most of the videos were very well done. Some followed our rubric more than others. The students can compare their video to the guidelines in the rubric to see where they succeeded and where they fell short. Evaluations did not stop there. Each class viewed their classmate’s work and, using the rubric, the students became film critics. Arthur and I also shared our thoughts in order to stimulate discussion. Some of the videos were of course better than others. What impressed us the most was that almost all the students were very engaged in the project. Most endeavored to truly increase their understanding of their chosen topic. Most used their creativity to give life to a multi-media presentation they could be proud of. The ability to design well-produced media may well be one of the most important skills that students can develop for future employment. In a recent article in the on line edition of “The Journal”, the results of a nationwide poll of registered voters was reported. Two out of three of the participants felt that students need to learn “computer and technology skills, critical thinking and problem solving skills, and teamwork and collaboration”. All of these were utilized in this assignment along with, reading, writing, organization, higher level thinking, and creativity. In fact, all of the thinking skills from Blooms Revised Taxonomy ranging from remembering, to understanding, to applying, to analyzing, to evaluating, to creating were used in the project. Aren’t these all abilities we should all be helping our students to cultivate?

Finally, we showed “Invisible Children” a very moving film on children soldiers in Northern Uganda. This was made by three amateur video-makers who were in their early twenties. Going to Africa and documenting the atrociousness that they witnessed was life changing for all three young men. The video progresses from an obvious niavite among the film makers into a highly moving series of interviews with the victims of daily violence in the Sudanese refugee camps. Our students were impressed both by the message of the video and by the fact that the boys, not all that much older than themselves, were able to create such an important piece of work. Judging from the student’s reflections, this film was life changing for many of them. They understood the power of visual media and they understood the need for involvement in global issues. Early on in the film, one of the video makers points out that,“media defines our lives and it shapes how we view life.” We will be doing a our students a great disservice if we do not provide them with the skills to understand and use technological media in an ethical, creative and meaningful way.

While watching the videos, I did pick up on two short comings. In some cases the students used acquired clips that should have been edited down. Perhaps next time we may need to consider putting a length limit on how long a clip should be. I also noticed that while the students were required to follow the MLA guidelines in creating a written works cited document, this information did not always appear as completely as it should have in the final credits in the video. There were occasional conflicts in the groups but in every case a solution was found and agreed upon.

Our final take. This project was worth the five weeks, off and on, that we devoted to it. The bar was raised and the students did themselves proud. It was hard work but this is what teaching and learning are all about. All of us, the students included, more than once lost track of time. That was because everyone was so engaged. We provided the tools and the time. The students took over from there. The ability to decipher and evaluate the vast amount of information on the Internet is crucial for success in the 21st Century. Last but not least, they now know how to save.

Equally important, video making, in this case, provided a hands-on, real world opportunity for the students to continue their mastery of social studies, language arts, and computer GLEs. Many of the skills stressed in those areas of study are needed in order to successfully complete a multimedia project such as this one. No less important is the mastery of visual literacy skills. As the film makers pointed out in “Invisible Children”, visual media is where we get much if not most of our information in the modern world. It also influences the way we think. In order to become informed citizens in the twenty first century students will need to know how to interpret and use visual media. The implementation of a combination of skills necessary to reach a desired goal or to create a desired product is as effective in increasing student abilities as teaching to the test. Probably more. It is certainly more real world and much more interesting. In the future, we will take advantage of ever-evolving on line opportunities for communication with other students around the world and as well as experts in many different fields.

“I would like to close with a quote from Dr. Tim Tyson at Mabry Middle School in Marietta, Georgia.

“Potentially, student work can be measured mainly on the value of the contribution it makes on the global stage. This has never before been possible: middle grades student performing on a global stage that can actually matter beyond the immediate classroom. If we truly value empowering young adolescents to live in a culture of personal best, we must find ways of using technology to allow student use of schoolwork to make the world a better place.”

(http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=2539741) “Stand By Me For Change”

“The Journal”www.thejournal.com/the/21stcentryskills/skills/

http://www.invisiblechildren.com/home.php “Invisible Children”

A John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Report on “The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age”

Key Findings

Steve Hargadon

From

A John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Report on

The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age”


Young people today are learning in new ways that are both collective and egalitarian.
They are contributing to Wikipedia, commenting on blogs, teaching themselves programming and figuring out work-arounds to online video games. They follow links embedded in articles to build a deeper understanding. They comment on papers and ideas in an interactive and immediate exchange ofideas. All these acts are collaborative and democratic, and all occur amid a worldwide community of voices.

Universities must recognize this new way of learning and adapt or risk becoming obsolete.
The university model of teaching and learning relies on a hierarchy of expertise, disciplinary divides, restricted admission to those considered worthy, and a focused, solitary area of expertise. However, with participatory learning and digital media, these conventional modes of authority break down.

Today’s learning is interactive and without walls.
Individuals learn anywhere, anytime, and with greater ease than ever before. Learning today blurs lines of expertise and tears down barriers to admission. While it has never been confined solely to the academy, today’s opportunities for independent learning have never been easier nor more diverse.

Ten Principles for Redesigning Learning Institutions


The authors offer ten principles that can guide universities and other institutions of learning in adapting to learning in a digital age. They focus on college-aged students, although the recommendations also apply generally for all age groups.

Self-learning: Today’s learners are self-learners. They browse, scan, follow links in mid-paragraph to related material. They look up information and follow new threads. They create their own paths to understanding.

Horizontal structures: Rather than top-down teaching and standardized curriculum, today’s learning is collaborative; learners multitask and work out solutions together on projects. Learning strategy shifts from a focus on information as such to learning to judge reliable information. It shifts from memorizing information to finding reliable sources. In short, it shifts from learning that to learning how.

From presumed authority to collective credibility: Reliance on the knowledge authorities or certified experts is no longer tenable amid the growing complexities of collaborative and interdisciplinary learning. A key challenge in collaborative environments will be fostering and managing levels of trust.

A de-centered pedagogy: To ban or limit collective knowledge sources such as Wikipedia in classrooms is to miss the importance of collaborative knowledge-making. Learning institutions should instead adopt a more inductive, collective pedagogy based on collective checking, inquisitive skepticism, and group assessment.

Networked learning: Learning has traditionally often assumed a winner-take-all competitive form rather than a cooperative form. One cooperates in a classroom only if it maximizes narrow self-interest. Networked learning, in contrast, is committed to a vision of the social that stresses cooperation, interactivity, mutual benefit, and social engagement. The power of ten working interactively will invariably outstrip the power of one looking to beat out the other nine.

Open source education: Traditional learning environments convey knowledge via overwhelmingly copyright-protected publications. Networked learning, contrastingly, is an ‘open source’ culture that seeks to share openly and freely in both creating and distributing knowledge and products.

Learning as connectivity and interactivity: Challenges in a networked learning environment are not an individual’s alone. Digital tools and software make working in isolation on a project unnecessary. Networking through file-sharing, data sharing, and seamless, instant communication is now possible.

Lifelong learning: The speed of change in this digital world requires individuals to learn anew, face novel conditions, and adapt at a record pace. Learning never ends. How we know has changed radically.

Learning institutions as mobilizing networks: Rather than thinking of learning institutions as a bundle of rules, regulations, and norms governing the actions within its structure, new institutions must begin to think of themselves as mobilizing networks. These institutions mobilize flexibility, interactivity, and outcomes. Issues of consideration in these institutions are ones of reliability and predictability alongside flexibility and innovation.

Flexible scalability and simulation: Learning institutions must be open to changing scale. Students may work in small groups on a specific topic or together in an open-ended and open-sourced contribution.

These ten principles, the authors argue, are the first steps in redesigning learning institutions to fit the new digital world. By assessing some of the institutional barriers to change, the authors hope to mobilize institutions to envision formal, higher education as part of a continuum of the networked world that students engage in online today.

To view the report online, visit: http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/chapters/Future_of_Learning.pdf

Thoughts on the Back Cover of Tony Wagner’s “The Global Achievement Gap” by Rick Davidson

I have just received a book that the SAU purchased in the hopes, I imagine, of contributing to my evolution as an effective educator. I have not read the book yet but the blurb on the back cover was enough to get my intellectual juices flowing. The book is called “The Global Achievement Gap” by Tony Wagner. On one level, I ordered this book in the hopes that it might help me understand why we, in the American School System, justify so much testing and standardization. Instead, Mr. Wagner appears to be yet another proponent of what is becoming recognized as a new movement in 21st Century education. Everything I have absorbed from a myriad of books, blogs, magazine articles, TV shows, interviews, and keynote speakers indicates that tomorrow’s survival skills are not to be found in nineteenth century educational practices. Even in those days, voices such as John Dewey encouraged project based learning that encouraged students to be active researchers, not receptacles of the teacher’s assumed knowledge and wisdom. “Dewey was a relentless campaigner for reform of education, pointing out that the authoritarian strict, pre-ordained knowledge approach of modern traditional education was too concerned with delivering knowledge, and not enough with understanding students’ actual experiences.” (Neil, J. (2005) “John Dewey, the Modern Father of Experiential Education” )

So I had to ask myself, am I truly providing my students with Tony Wagner’s Seven Survival Skills for Teens Today? Forgetting that my prejudice is that technology must play an important part in helping students acquire these skills, I wonder whether we are not short changing our future citizens when we don’t pay attention to what is a recurrent message from the experts. Education should not be a matter of merely accumulating knowledge. We can find the answer to just about everything on a computer or, for that matter, on an iPhone. Higher order thinking skills are essential to success in our incredibly fast changing world. Whether we like or approve of this future is irrelevant. It is here and we and our students need to know how to survive and thrive in it. The other reoccurring theme that I hear is that we, as teachers, have to model these skills in order to be effective educators.

Seven Survival Skills for Teens Today:

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
Collaboration across Networks and Leading by Influence
Agility and Adaptability
Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
Effective Oral and Written Communication
Accessing and Analyzing Information
Curiosity and Imagination

As Albert Einstein said:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress and giving birth to evolution.”

Einstein would love google. Are we listening?