Monthly Archives: March 2012

A Great Book!

I started reading The Hunger Games last night and I can’t put it down. It is compelling and interesting. I am on chapter 10 and I can’t wait to get back into it today. I realize the movie comes out tomorrow, but I really suggest this must read before seeing the movie! It is written in first person and her thoughts and emotions are what really makes it compelling! I downloaded it to my Kindle for $5. I’m sure you can get it from a library for free! Pick it up!!!


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My vision for 2020

The year 2020 is just eight short years away. However, when I look back at the way my style of teaching has changed from eight short years ago, it seems like a total transformation. I see drastic changes happening in education as students learning styles and the real world changes around them. Teachers have to get on board with the changing technologies and learning styles of our 21st Century students so they can go into the changing world and be successful contributors and active citizens.

I see many changes occurring in education over the next eight years. Education has a responsibility to students to update their instruction to prepare them for life beyond the walls of a classroom. I am not convinced this will happen in eight years for all educators. I believe that there will remain a mixture of new and old ideas, pedagogies and practices in the classroom. I also believe that there will remain a digital divide amongst districts and amongst students in their homes. However, as I reflect on this class and my vision for the future, I will concentrate on the positive idea that education as a whole will make the necessary changes towards preparing students to have real 21st Century skills.

I believe that learning will be focused on a global community of learners. There will be an unbelievable amount of collaboration amongst individuals across the globe as seen in online communities like Wikipedia and Youtube. This will continue to grow and more and more sites will be created where students will learn individually what they choose to learn from others. I think social networking will continue to grow and Facebook and Twitter will be replaced with better versions that appeal to the interactive learner. I also believe that blogs will become the new journal and place to share with family around the country. I think everyone will have a blog page, just as many have Facebook now.

Learning will become even more remote as students can listen and watch instruction online. Every teacher by the year 2020 will post their video lessons online where students will be able to access them from anywhere. Students will use Skype or a similar application for tutoring, learning and connection with classmates and other classes around the world. As the use of online learning continues to grow, students will have incredible online management skills for RSS feeds, creating resource pages that make their online lives more organized than their predecessors. They will be able to store everything online and will no longer be tied to one device. Because of the love of the smaller hand-held devices, I believe that in eight years, students will rely completely on their satellite hand-helds for everything, including but not limited to blogging, social networking, homework, research, project collaboration and word processing. Schools will need to make the move toward including these hand-held devices in the classrooms rather than banning their use totally. They need to embrace all of the possibilities of allowing the students to use cell phones and ipods in the classroom giving a lot more students connectivity the district may not be able to provide them, as these devices become more and more advanced and available.

I think collaboration in learning will become revolutionized as more and more true collaboration tools are created. Tools like Google Docs and wikis will continue to improve and more and more collaboration amongst students will take place in the year 2020. I can imagine students collaborating on online projects that enhance their learning and they will be learning from each other at the same time. I envision students learning from others all around the globe; classrooms connecting to other classrooms spanning countries and continents. Group work will have changed completely because every student will be held individually accountable for a group assignment. This real-world concept will help students step into the world beyond the classroom as much collaboration takes place in the real world and employees are held accountable for their input on projects. As many in the world work from remote sights in the year 2012, I believe that even more people will work from remote sites untied to a location.

The sharing of mulitmedia will have exploded by the year 2020. More and more sites where users can share videos, slideshows and photographs will be created. These sites will be packed with multimedia that teaches, entertains, informs and gratifies each of our students in the year 2020. They will be engaged with these sites several times a day and education will have to continue to include these types of mulitmedia in their lessons. While I believe that podcasting will be overtaken by vodcasting, I believe that the students will crave the interaction of 21st Centry multimedia in their everyday learning. Teachers will have to tap into these technologies in order to engage students in their classrooms each day.

Connectivism will be a way of life for the students in the year 2020. While it may not be considered a learning style, it will be an avenue in which everyone learns. Because of connectivism, I think more and more educators will work at making instruction individualized to each student’s interests and talents. Teachers will strive to make assignments that can be completed using many different areas of interest to accomplish a task and learning goal. Students will continue to learn from a global community in areas that interest them. I think that because of this shift, students will become more motivated in their learning and may become a little more specialized in fields of interest prior to college. I think that higher education will shift due to the changes in secondary education to cater to more specialized entry-year students. For example, a student who has focused on a science field for his/her exploration throughout their secondary education will be provided with more advanced learning in that area upon their entry into a college and perhaps even begin college with college credits from their secondary education.

I think that learning in the year 202o will be more cyber-based and more and more students will be engaged in online learning environments. I think less and less students will attend regular schools and colleges and more and more students will learn online. Online courses will become more respectable and more advanced as the academic world becomes more and more accepting of online learning environments.

I think students will publish their work online on a regular basis. More and more teachers will encourage students to put their work online to share with the world as they become more and more globalized. Because of this, I believe that online safety will grow as students are learning about online safety as they begin to use the internet at a very young age. These safety techniques will become part of their knowledge and they will better protect themselves and their identities online, unlike their predecessors who were connecting online before their parents and teachers knew the possibilities of issues of online safety. Awareness amongst adults will make the upcoming learners safer in the cyber-world.

The world is changing and becoming much smaller as technology continues to reach around the globe and becomes a larger part of every aspect of life. Education must catch up with the changing world and better prepare students to fit into their future world. This year’s fourth grade class will graduate in the year 2020 and advance into a world with a set of completely different skills than the graduates of 2012. It is imperative that we adjust our practices to global learning and the future needs of those students.


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Web Applications

I suggest using Google Docs to students. There are so many times they do research and work at school and at home, it makes it so much easier to store all their word documents online. They don’t have to worry about copying their work from one machine to another using a flashdrive or some other complicated method. They can simply work in Google Docs and access it from anywhere with an internet connection. I have some very unorganized students who I recommend using Google Docs for everything. Using Google Docs assures that they don’t have to keep track of a flashdrive or try to remember where they saved a Word document and can simply log onto email and pick up where they left off. Using the diigo with Google Docs is a bonus.

Google Docs has unlimited possibilities for the classroom. The possibilities of collaboration are endless. Students can collaborate and chat while working on a project from remote locations. Having sophomores who aren’t all able to drive and have very busy extra-curricular schedules, this type of collaboration also allows for them to work together but not at the same time. It has been revolutionary in my classroom and the students love working together. I would also use the presentation and spreadsheet options as well for student projects and collaboration. There are lesson plans and great ideas for the Google classroom on the Google education site as well. I am just learning all the possibilities of Google Docs. Last week, I was asked to teach the teachers in my building about Google Docs. We are in an old building and don’t have telephones in our classrooms. One of the first things I taught them was Google voice. This gives everyone a telephone in their classrooms. We live about an hour away from the location of the most recent school shooting in Chardon, Ohio. It’s just not smart to be without a way to contact 911 from classrooms. Many of us have cell phones, but many do not. This also provides teachers the ability to have phone conferences with parents from their classrooms. I use it to call the office when I have a student missing from my classroom. I’ve heard some very positive feedback from the teachers this week.

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Paperless Classroom

A paperless classroom would change my world! I have a stack of papers that I need to grade this weekend. I am preparing sophomores for the OGT tests (Ohio Graduation Tests – our standardized test they must pass in order to graduate). These tests are still paper/pencil tests until the year 2015. Therefore, it is imperative to prepare the students using paper/pencil practices. I prepare the students for two tests, reading and writing. I would love to have online practices that would be useful and meaningful to them, but that shift can’t take place for another two years. I think paperless classrooms would change learning to be more of a real-world experience. As a professional, there is almost no paperwork that crosses my desk. Everything is done through online communication. I order my supplies online, communicate with the office online, receive attendance online, read my evaluations online. Pencil/paper in the adult world is a thing of the past. I think we would save a few thousands trees a month as well. I do a lot of things now that are paperless and I measure those by using rubrics designed and given to the students in advance. That is probably how I would grade most things. I also have them do self-assessments, in which they are incredibly honest as well as peer assessments. A paperless classroom would make it much easier to build a network of learning. I have noticed an incredible change in my classroom and in the student performance because they can now see what others are doing and learning in the classroom. A classroom that uses paper/pencil doesn’t allow for students to see their peers’ work and thoughts. I hear them having discussions about their responses in my classroom often. That’s exciting! That is what learning should be.

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Big Shift – The Social, Collaborative Construction of Meaningful Knowledge.

I used to have my kids work in groups on projects. They would pull their desks together and produce some sort of product using poster board and construction paper. With the collaboration tools of the web, I can now have those students working in groups without the constraints of the classroom. They can work collaboratively through Google Docs and create something they can both be proud of while constructing meaningful knowledge. In the future, I intend to build a wiki for my classes so that there can be more collaboration and sharing of knowledge taking place in my classroom. My views have changed since starting this class. I was convinced that I should only use one type of social media for collaboration. I have found that my students love the variety of using my blog for discussion and using a social networking site like Edmodo. It seems to keep things fresh and exciting for them. As I said, I intend to create a wikispace for my classroom. I also intend to make my lessons more meaningful. Through the different RSS feeds, I have discovered a lot of lessons and ideas from other teachers that I intend to implement into my own lessons and classroom practices.


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