Is complete! It’s been two very long, very expensive years but I’m glad to have done it and proud of my fellow classmates.
I love TED Talks. I watched “TEDxWarwick – Doug Belshaw – The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies” because I am familiar with the idea of digital literacies and wanted to see if there was anything else to know.
Much of what was said was known to me, like the idea that digital literacies are constantly changing and even the examples of memes and lolcats. I did appreciate Belshaw’s introduction to digital examples using the analogy of menus and menu navigation. Basically, menu systems require logic and can be problematic, causing a barrier much like the barrier for getting started in the digital world.
The iPad menu (for example) lowers that barrier because it is easier to use. I love this example, because I love Apple and Steve Jobs. This specifically reminded me of a part in Steve Jobs’ biography where he described how a child from a third world country approached a man with an iPad and was instantly able to pick it up and use it – it was that intuitive.
For digital literacies, then, skills and ideas cannot be used forever due to its changing nature. They should focus on interests and intrinsic motivations in order to be used and spread by people. For me, this is especially true in regards to being a teacher. I consider myself fairly up-to-date on technology today, but that doesn’t mean I always will be. It’s important to keep up with changing digital literacies and use them effectively in the classroom.
After reading the Learning Connections article “Enhanced Podcasts: A New Twist on an Old Tool,” got me excited about another tool to use in the classroom (this is a recurring theme). Podcasts, in the way this article describes, are definitely something I would use in the classroom.
However, I’m not as sure about podcasting for professional learning. I’ve participated in countless webinars (mostly for work) and have found them to be useful. I would tune in and out as I needed to and I was able to get work done at the same time. When I was actually interested in the webinar, I was even happier to participate and learn something new.
Browsing through the podcasts on the Edreach site, however, did not excite me as much. Perhaps it’s because I’m pressed for time this week (which I imagine will often be the case as a teacher) or maybe it’s because I’m not in professional learning-mode, but I could not find anything I was willing (or able) to sit and watch for an hour. And maybe simply watching won’t work for me. During webinars, there are often notes and/or PowerPoint slides provided to follow along with. There is a function to type in questions and often the moderator surveys the audience. The podcasts didn’t seem to be as interactive and lacked a “follow along” feature.
I probably shouldn’t judge podcasting as professional learning based on one website and definitely not based on my current lack of need. But, as I mentioned, using podcasts in the classroom for projects and maybe even lectures is more interesting to me. Just as long as they are not too long!
To be honest, the last couple of times I have heard the term “flipped classroom,” I wasn’t exactly sure what it was. I knew it had something to do with podcasts or videos but I didn’t know what it all entailed. This short video told me all I needed to know.
As with most new things, I was immediately excited. Of course this will work! It’s a great idea! A little tricky logistically, sure, but what a great direction to head in ESPECIALLY for high school.
So I took a look at the blog The Flipped Classroom: Pro and Con by Mary Beth Hertz to better understand both sides. As I suspected, the logistics of a flipped classroom might be problematic. But this blog goes on to explain Why It Matters,” to which she says:
The primary reason is because it is forcing teachers to reflect on their practice and rethink how they reach their kids. It is inspiring teachers to change the way they’ve always done things, and it is motivating them to bring technology into their classrooms…As long as learning remains the focus, and as long as educators are constantly reflecting and asking themselves if what they are doing is truly something different or just a different way of doing the same things they’ve always done, there is hope that some of Dewey’s philosophies will again permeate our schools.
Well said. It’s exciting to have the technology to explore these kinds of options. I doubt, in my first year of teaching, I will be able to completely adopt this method. However, I think I owe it to myself and to the students to try it at least once and see what happens.
DEFINITELY useful to learn about digital storytelling. This project can be easily used in the classroom, especially in English classes. It isn’t too difficult, would expose students to new applications, and would appeal to students who aren’t as strong in writing.
“The Nuts and Bolts of 21st Century Teaching,” a blog post written by Shelley Wright, details her experience with project-based learning for a Holocaust unit. I’ve heard about similar experiences with teachers using project-based learning, but I especially liked the one described here.
During student teaching, I did an introduction lesson for Night by Elie Wiesel. I wanted to give the student background information about the Holocaust and WWII but I figured they didn’t need a lesson about dates and events. They probably knew more specifics than I did! Instead, I decided to focus on the question “Could the Holocaust happen again?” We looked at propaganda techniques used by the Nazis and compared them to techniques used in advertising today. The lesson went well and I can understand why these students chose to look at this aspect of the Holocaust for their project.
I would love to incorporate project-based learning in my classrooms. My only concern would be the open-endedness of it. In my experience, students are hesitant to believe that there are no guidelines or directions about an assignment. They often ask for specifics even if you didn’t want to give them. However, if the project is proposed to them in the right way, I think they could overcome their initial uncertainty and take advantage of the opportunity.
Being assigned with Social Learning is good news for me. I love Social Networks. I have an account for almost every one, even if I don’t use them all (sidenote: I like Twitter, Facebook, Vine, and, embarrassingly, Snapchat).
I decided to go with Twitter because I like it and I know it’s the easiest/fastest way to get information that I could use. The challenge, besides figuring out how to manage two accounts without needing to log in and out of my iPhone app, is to actually GET something out of it. My experience with Twitter has been solely entertainment-based.
So far, I have spent time building my “Following” list. I’m working on slowing down my timeline scrolling to actually absorb what people are tweeting (I tend to speed through my timeline, barely reading anything). Once I am following enough people, I’ll start organizing them into categories.
I haven’t exactly tweeted anything noteworthy yet. This is another thing I need to work on, because I spend an inordinate amount of time composing my tweets, trying to word them exactly right and make them interesting. But I did have an exciting exchange with eduClipper. Exciting meaning they tweeted at me. I love it when I get tweeted by a company or celebrity.
I once had a similar experience with Kim Kardashian, but I won’t talk about that here.
Anyway, I stumbled upon the site eduClipper, which is like a Pinterest for teachers. Since I have a Pinterest account (of course), it was easy to figure out how it worked. I love it! I find that, on Pinterest, much of their education section consists of pins targeted to elementary teachers. In eduClipper, I was able to specify my grade range (7-12), as well as other categories of interest, and so I’ve really been able to find useful websites and other resources. One hour and 10 Clipboards later, I went ahead and tweeted my happiness and got a response:
It looks like they tweet back to most of their fans, but I still feel special. I’m hoping to help get the word out so more people will begin using this site and it will expand – I’d love an app!
PS. Follow me on Twitter @nEduDani