Mod 5

Read

Strategies I used while reading: Going into these readings, I looked ahead at what the expectations were for this module. I never heard of “badges”, had no clue what they’re about, so I was defiantly on the lookout for that information. Moving forward, I made sure my mind was open to a new concept; I did not try to associate this concept with a hypothesis. The meaning of badges wasn’t made clear at the beginning of the reading, so I had to continue to gather information while piecing it together in order to develop an understanding slowly throughout the article.

Write

What should we measure? We should measure the quality of what we are doing, I feel strongly about this. Now, how it is measured is very subjective. I recently took a school leadership course as an elective, and we learned all about different types of research. Qualitative research was by far the most difficult to study. The problems lie within how quality is being measured and how to rule out bias and/or personal opinions when collecting data.

Are badges stupid? In my opinion, I wouldn’t necessarily call badges “stupid”, I think they are a valid concept, I just think that there is the potential this concept won’t last. For reasons such as: people do not know what they are or what they mean, eventually we may find another way to measure value of credentials, or the potential to lose the funding that it takes to carry out the badges’ processes (for example the people who work in this department, conduct research and give out badges).

Can we gamify learning? Well, yes of course we can gamify learning, just as anything can be gamified, but should we? I say no. Learning should not be viewed as a competition, especially at a young age. Yes, children are more engaged when they feel a sense of competition or the need to win, but that can be cause for a ton of emotional issues and a negative outlook on education in the long run.

Does assessment ruin learning? I would say, it depends on who you are asking. If you are asking a teacher, they would probably say no, that assessments evaluate learning. If you were asking a student, they may say yes, due to anxiety or simply not being aware of the fact that learning is evaluated through assessment data.

Mod 4

Read

Tweetable quotes from the readings:

“Sometimes I need a mind/body break. I need to be alone, I need to be in my head, and I need to stim. I stim by flapping my arms and clapping my hands while pacing. Stimming is a necessary part of sensory regulation. Stimming helps keep me below meltdown threshold.”

“Please, never force eye contact. It is counter-productive, at best, and can cause physical pain.”

Burnout can happen to anyone at any age, because of the expectation to look neurotypical, to not stim, to be as non-autistic as possible. Being something that neurologically you are not is exhausting.

Write

My version for the future of digital teaching and Learning:

Before I was a teacher, I was a college student and a waitress. I used to take orders at the table, write them down on a pad of paper, then haft to go back to the computer to put them in, which sends the order to the kitchen. Often times I would get back to the computer and there would be a wait because another waitress was putting an order in, or I would forget to write something down or ask a question like what kind of dressing they want. I couldn’t help but think how much easier and time efficient this job would be if waitresses had iPads, and every time they go to take an order at the table they would put it right into the ipad and send it to the kitchen that say. Waitresses could check over the order at the table while she is still with the customers, and they would know their order has been sent. Now that is has been several years since I waitressed, I have noticed some establishments using this concept. It was like a vision of mine came true (apparently others had the same vision lol).

As far as the future of digital teaching and learning is concerned… I see almost everything being done using devices; I see this becoming the norm for every school, not just the wealthy ones. I see teachers getting assignments submitted online and not having to carry home papers, or fill file folders with completed work for progress monitoring. I see white boards being replaced with smartboards. A lot of these things are already in place in most schools; however, based on my particular classroom, this is not something I am accustomed to yet. I don’t necessarily envision this, but certainly wonder…at some point are students not going to learn handwriting?

Mod 3

Reflection on reading:

Maisha Winn (2015). Exploring the Literate Trajectories of Youth Across Time and Space. Extended Mind Activity and Culture

To me, this reading was about the idea of getting these students, of similar demographics, on the same page. Educational professionals suggest getting students to stand united with a positive outlook towards their education will reduce the pressure on school faculty and have an effective impact on the student’s future. If they can get all these students to engage in their academics, respect education and their educational setting then that would make for smooth sailing. The problem lies with how students view school. It is true though, if certain student populations join together and rebel against school authority it is cause for many issues, but if communities can get these same student population on board than it may limit the amount of behaviors and distractions that are taking from instructional time. I felt strongly about reflecting on this reading because I see it in my classroom.

Write:

How does networked learning support co-learning?

“Networked learning is a process of developing and maintaining connections with people and information, and communicating in such a way so as to support one another’s learning. The central term in this definition is connections….Collaborative learning is commonly illustrated when groups of students work together to search for understanding, meaning, or solutions or to create an artifact or product of their learning.”

Networked learning supports co-learning by serving as a vessel for collaboration. When you are at a standstill, what do you turn to? Your network of resources. Or maybe, some people may refer to networked learning as a foundation for co-learning. You start with your network of resources and use that to build off of.

How might one utilize a networked learning environment in order to establish co-learning and peer-learning?

We all know how difficult it can be to work with others sometimes, especially if there are scheduling conflicts, a weak link or differences of opinions. I believe one could utilize a networked learning environment in order to establish co-learning and peer-learning because they could use their knowledge and resources from their networking experience to bring to the table.

Teach Something New

Last year, for a Social Study unit, I had students conduct state research. There are ten students in my classroom so each one did five states. I gave them a template in order to guide their research. This included finding the state’s capital, abbreviation, bird, flower, population, climate, three interesting facts, three reasons why someone would want to visit, and required an illustration of the state flag. Copies were made of all the templates they filled out by hand and bounded so each student had their own “book”.

The class enjoyed using Google to find the straightforward information, yet struggled with sorting through the appropriate sites to find interesting facts and tourist attractions. At one point I thought it could’ve been due to laziness; they didn’t want to actually search/read for their answers. During this course, I realize, maybe they weren’t sure how to navigate through websites or find valid resources, maybe this skill does not come natural to them (especially those with reading deficits).

When I think back to the beginning stages of using the internet, I don’t necessarily remember being taught how to determine if a resource is creditable or not. I feel like it wasn’t until I got to college that it became an expectation our resources were legitimate.

After taking this course and realizing the impact of using technology in the classroom, I want to try to have my class create power points for their state research projects this upcoming year. I think using PowerPoint would be a safe stepping stone for them. It will be new, but shouldn’t become too overwhelming. This is important in order to reduce behaviors and work avoidance (as I work in a self-contained classroom for middle school students with ED any challenge can be an antecedent).

I have used Prezi in the past and think it is a great tool, but I know, as a college student, I had a hard time getting the hang of it so I do not want to set my students up for failure. I know my students do not have experience using PowerPoint. The key to teaching this new task will be modeling. I can’t sit them in front of a computer and expect them to just figure it out. So what I would like to do is present them with a state research project that I have already completed using PowerPoint. I will make it really engaging; use lots of images and animation with the changing of slides tools. I can show them how to copy and paste links, edit their layouts and more!

Aside from modeling, another major factor in the success of this plan will depend on the environment. I have ten students with only three desktops. It will be essential for modeling to have access to a computer lab with a smartboard so I can appropriately model and provide adequate supports. We all know as educators, scheduling and technical difficulties will always throw a wrench in our plans so it will be important for me to be as prepared as possible.

Learn Something New

I would like to reflect on my learning experience during this course. During my first two years of teaching a self-contained classroom of students with ED in middle school I did not have much access to technology. Our resources are very limited (no personal laptops, ipads or smartboard in the classroom). We have three desktop computers, for two staff members and ten students. I am explaining all this in detail to paint a picture of what I am used to in regards to using technology in the classroom.

This course has taken me out of my comfort zone and exposed to me to the variety of open education resources available. During this course I have used new mediums I did not know existed and was introduced to videos and reading material focused on the importance of incorporating technology into the classroom. I never blogged before, during these last few weeks I found myself wondering if anyone was reading my material, and if they found it interesting or was connecting with my perspective. I found what I love about blogging is the freedom of speech! I do not feel pressured by things like using APA format or meeting a page requirement like most typical college courses.

I learned that I do not haft to feel isolated based on my classroom demographics, a lot of schools face the same difficulties as I have mentioned, and that were mentioned in the reading assignments, such as: limited resources, limited funds, behavior problems, lack of training on how to use specific forms of technology.

As educators, we know that perseverance is part of learning. During the three weeks of this course it took a lot of perseverance to figure things out, get acquainted with all the new sites I was using and manage the work load. The concept of “there’s no such thing as a stupid question” was certainly reinforced these last few weeks. I reached out several times for help to the professor, my classmates and tech support in regards to various confusions.

#dailyponderance

As educators engaged in digital teaching and learning we know learning gets reinforced through multiple exposures across multiple modes. For today’s #dailyponderance record a microcast–a short audio recording.

So, I wasn’t sure how to record my own microcast, or even what to really speak of, or who to speak to…so I took sometime to listen… and thought I’d reflect on what I heard and how it connects to my professional setting….

Jason Brown talks about how technology has transformed the way we work and communicate with each other over the years, and asks “Are we using this technology in schools?”

He discusses the problems with technology in educational settings: most kids are being taught things they already know in computer classes, shared expenses and distractions.

He goes on to discuss how to use technology to make education better. The statistical growth of children with access to devices and teachers using technology to plan lessons are both foundations of this concept. Textbook information is outdated compared to what is available by using online resources. Accessing these resources such as Skype, videos, news coverage, etc. makes students feel engaged in the content.

I completely agree with Jason Brown (my favorite quotes from his talk are below). I think based on the direction in which society is moving, if we as teachers are not using technology in our classrooms and allowing students to use it, than we are holding them back. We shouldn’t fear the use of technology because of cost or distractions because at the end of the day I believe the pros will out weigh the cons.

“30 years ago students could only gain information by asking local people or maybe reading books”- So true! Yet, so not effective today!

“Technology saves the trees”- I know as a teacher how frustrating it is to feel overwhelmed with making copies and the amount of paper coming and going throughout the day. Students are less likely to lose their device, yet more likely to lose their homework packet.

Here is the video if you would like to check it out:

#dailyponderance

Today’s #dailyponderance is to think. Unplugged. No media. Offline or of any other sign generating capability.

I like this topic. I find myself caught up in my own head (offline) thinking quite a bit throughout the day. So I thought I would reflect on that, and share- online. So maybe you’re wondering “What is she thinking about?”

It’s always something isn’t it? Here is what has been consuming my brain- I am in my cousin’s wedding September 1st. I am expecting my first baby (a boy) a few weeks after that. Then, October 20th, my sister is getting married and finally, shortly after that, November 10th I am in a friend’s wedding.

Yes, 3 weddings and a baby this fall. Not to mention this is the last class of my master’s degree and I will not be returning to work come the start of this school year. So there is a lot to be thinking about….