Monthly Archives: February 2012

Response to Connectivism

My response to Connectivism Wiki – Group B – 6-A-1

 

I think one of the biggest problems with connectivism is the danger of having a narrow knowledge base. Connectivism could allow for people to only study things which interest them with very like-minded people, therefore never allowing for different perspectives to debate their beliefs and knowledge. I believe that connectivism is a way of life for the net generation. They learn to do things through connectivism. I see it daily with my own students as they check google, wikipedia and other sites to build their knowledge. However, I don’t believe it to be a learning theory on it’s own and I don’t believe that it is a way to learn everything. I agree there is little evidence that it actually works as a learning theory. I also agree that it would take someone very mature to handle learning this way only.

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Skype in my classroom

My son recently got a GA position in Chicago and I live in Ohio. Prior to this, he was at a college in Ohio for his undergrad degree and we would see him about twice a week during basketball season and once a week otherwise. It was difficult for me to have him move and I don’t think I would have been able to handle the separation without Skype. It has been a wonderful tool that has made it possible for us to see each other without being together. My parents are also close to him so I had them come over and Skype one  night. My dad is 80 and my mom 77. I wish I could explain what I witnessed when they sat down at that computer and saw him online. They were so dumbfounded. My mom cried for the first 15 minutes of the conversation and my dad kept saying, “In all my years, I’ve never seen anything like this.” I know this really doesn’t have anything to do with connecting educationally, but the emotion Skype can evoke is powerful. I would use that in my classroom.

I was able to connect with my classmate, Natalie through Skype. It was wonderful to finally meet the person I have been working with on the wiki. We discussed our wiki page for the week and also talked about our jobs and how to implement the things we have learned into our own classrooms. She has a lot harder time with implementation of technology than I do. I felt lucky to have administrative support in my district after having listened to her situation. It was a great professional conversation and I learned a lot from her in the short time we were able to talk.

I can think of many ways to use Skype in the classroom. I think the most interesting way would be to have my class connect with people of another culture because they live in such a small, rural town. I think a connection with people from other cultures would really open their eyes to the possibilities of life outside their small town and help them see that the world around them is diverse. I would hope from this experience they would learn that their education is envied by others around the world. Perhaps a different viewpoint would help them to see that they really are lucky to be allowed to go to school versus being made to go to school.

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Podcast in the Classroom

I would use a podcast for  To Kill a Mockingbird. It features background on the author, Harper Lee, an interview with the actress who plays Scout in the screenplay, an interview with a biographer of Harper Lee and an interview with an expert on the screenplay. I would use this pre-reading and post viewing of the film. Because the novel is so biographical of the author, I would play the part about Harper Lee prior to reading. I would then play the parts connected to the film after viewing the film.

I would use this podcast in my classroom because I think To Kill a Mockingbird is a pivotal coming-of-age novel. This novel always greatly affects my students. They love the film, even though it is black and white. I think the realism of the podcast brought together with the film would be very compelling for them.

After listening to the podcast, I would provide a list of questions on my blog to which they would be asked to respond. The questions would tie the novel, film and podcast together.

To Kill A Mockingbird | With Good Reason Radio

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Flikr Lesson

Mockingbird on a wireMockingbird on a wire | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

We are reading To Kill a Mockingbird in class right now. I would publish this picture and have the students blog on why this particular picture serves as an appropriate symbol for the novel. I would have them respond in a post of at least 250 words and include support from the text.

(2009, April 9). Mockingbird on a wire. Charles Bell. Retrieved February 14, 2012, from http://www.flickr.com/photos/cbellh47/3441768771/

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Wikis in my Classroom

One of my colleagues uses a wiki in his classroom for everything he does. His students know the wiki very well and he is very strict and demanding teacher. He teaches 8th grade Language Arts and history. They are required to check the wiki regularly, post assignments from home and work at school from the wiki. He doesn’t seem to have any problems with them changing answers and he loves using the wiki for his classes. He tries to get all the teachers on board and has had some of them create one to use with the same group of kids. I have joined his wiki so I can learn from some of the activities he does with them. I would love to create and use a wiki in my classroom. One of the things I’m afraid would happen is the same thing that happened in our group creation. I’m not sure what happened to our third group member, but she just didn’t show up and wasn’t a part of any of the collaboration or creation. That’s difficult because Natalie and I really didn’t know how far to go without her. We didn’t know if we should leave her things to do or just move forward without her. After awhile, we just moved forward. We divided things in sections and left sections for her to do. However, she still didn’t show up, so we aren’t sure when to finish the page or how much time to give her before we finish the page. It was quite frustrating. I have had my kids do group projects then have one kid in a group be out sick for an entire week, leaving the group short-handed. I did learn a great deal from the group wiki, however. I had never done anything more than just post assignments on a wiki. Creating our own page was fun and exciting. I learned so much and was really able to stretch myself to create something I wasn’t sure I could. Making the new page was very challenging, but even more rewarding when it actually worked. I was so excited when I clicked and it went to a new page that I shouted in my kitchen!

I think my opinion of Wikipedia has changed somewhat. I hesitate still to encourage kids to use it as a source because I know that most colleges don’t allow it. My son, who graduated from an undergrad college last year and is attending a graduate school this year has always been told it is not a reliable source and he’s not to use it as a source in any papers. Hopefully, the mind set will change. I will encourage my students to use it, but not as a source to be cited until there is more academic acceptance, since I have seniors.

I haven’t witnessed any resistance to any of the technology I use in my classroom. The students love using technology for learning and the administrators encourage it. I have absolutely no trouble with parents and they never object to what I do in my classroom. I doubt I would have any problems whatsoever using wikis in my classroom.

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Articles I Couldn’t Post on Delicious

Classroom Tech Learning, Education, PC, Mac, iPad, Bloom’s Taxonomy – Techlearning.com

 

Education World: Caught in the Digital Divide | Digital Divide in Education

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Using Social Bookmarking with My Classes!

I would use social bookmarking with my English 12 classes. My seniors have to write several research papers in preparation for a final research paper that is part of a graduation requirement within a senior project. In the past, my students have bookmarked their sources, articles and links to a single computer, making it difficult for them to work at various sites. With social bookmarking sites, they are now able to take their bookmarks for their research wherever they go. In the past, I  have had several help sites and links that I would email or post to a site where they could access those links. With social bookmarking, I can share those sites to our class account and they will have help with several things such as writing styles, like MLA, punctuation of titles, steps to writing an outline, research paper writing and citing sources. Everything they will need to be successful is in one location and that location exists wherever they are. To implement this lesson, students will create an account, subscribe to my class account and begin bookmarking their research. Once the bookmarking is complete, they will create an outline and begin writing their papers. I will assess their social bookmarking sites, looking for an adequate amount of sources and highlights from the sources to use as quotes in their papers. I will also be assessing their outlines, final papers and their works cited pages. I have no doubt that social bookmarking will make my students more successful and teaches them a valuable tool to use in college.

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