Friday, February 24, 2012

Changing Culture of Learning

I think back to the bio/physics/chem classes when I was in high school and recall how frustrating it was to try to understand the content using static diagrams and color coded images.  As technology advances and we consider all the possibilities for its application towards learning great things happen.  For instance, a new generation of text books.  The news of a new way to publish on-line books was very exciting and the ball has started to roll!  I think I would have done so much better back in high school if I had these types of texts.  Maybe I would have just been able to keep better track of my notes? 

I wonder how these developments will change the culture of learning in our schools?  The content and learning outcomes will be similar but the way in which we acquire and handle information will be vastly different.  Will a change in learning require a change in physical space?  A change in the time frame of the learning day?  

The i-book development along with the fact that iPads/tablets create a more cooperative and collaborative atmosphere will change the way school happens.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I started thinking about how the iPads can help to create a learning community. In EC, with five pads being shared by many children, this seems to be happening. Children have started to use each others characters and backgrounds to create their own stories in Puppet Pals. Because they also view each others products I see topics also being shared. Right now we're having a rush of stories involving ducks and volcanos. Last week we had several different movies made about camels in the desert using photos of toy camels and photos of the sandbox. The pads make it much easier for children to access each others work because the products remain on the pads. They also help one another with the process. Daily I see one child helping another with the technical aspects of their work. I'm interested to see how all of this plays out over time.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Taking Inventory

Maybe its the long (although admittedly not very tough) winter.  Maybe its senioritis running wild and finding its way into every corner of the Upper School.  Maybe its the news from Syria, or Greece.  Maybe its just the need for February break!  Whatever "it" is, it has me feeling like I am spinning the wheels a bit lately with technology.  It seems like I haven't had any "AH HA" or "HEY THAT'S COOL - I WANT TO DO THAT" moments lately with regard to iPads or other technology.  But maybe I am being too hard on myself.  So, I think I should do a quick, informal inventory of what I've learned over the past several months.

1)  I've found a solid comfort level with the iPad at least for my own use.
2)  I've used the iPad in class several times and I would say that 50% of the experiences were positive and added value to the class.
3)  I've learned about blogging, and how to set up blogs for the students.
4)  I've created a website and I post all of my assignments there now and other materials.
5)  I've played lots of Angry Birds.
6)  My advisees sign in on the iPad every morning and they think its just the coolest thing.
7)  I went from being skeptical that the iPad could enhance education to being 100% sure it can.
8)  I transitioned part of the Stock Market Game project from a binder to a website.
9)  I've taken a photo and emailed it somebody on the spot to give them a nearly "live update".
10)  I've graded papers using the stylus and the iPad and emailed the graded paper back to the student.
11)  I've done Poll Everywhere exercises in the classroom.

Ok, I guess I've learned a ton.  It just seems that I am in a rut right now.  The workload is such that I can't seem to find the time to do the necessary preparation to try new projects/ideas with the iPad, etc. 

Other thoughts:
~I want to pass on what I have learned to others and I would like to do that in a formal way next year if/when the TLC continues. 

~I'm eager to try some ideas that I have with Educreations.
~I want to record something on Garage Band.
~I am looking forward to EdCamp Maine.

And, I can't wait for February Break!

"To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer."
-Paul Ehrlich

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Convening

On Saturday I will be participating in the first of four Saturday sessions focused on Digital Literacy.  I am excited for the opportunity to continue connecting with other educators as we untangle this wonderful web of technology.  In preparation for our session on Saturday the Digital Literacy group has been reading National Writing Project's Because Digital Writing Matters.  The collaboration with TLC, the SMWP's Digital Literacy Group that will meet on Saturday, and the book are all shedding light on the points at which meaningful learning and technology intersect.  However, in our haste to integrate the newest/coolest/most essential digital tools in our classrooms it becomes easy to lose sight of the end goal. What helps facilitate students’ growth as writers, thinkers, inquirers, and problem solvers?  I came across an interesting quote from Because Digital Writing Matters that frames this years' work with TLC very nicely:

"When we think back on the experiences that really led to powerful learning for us, they have the same characteristics we advocate for students, including an emphasis on real engagement.  But sometimes we takes such a serious and instrumental approach to professional development that we forget, or even suppress, the need we all have to play and experiment as we're learning something new.  It seems counterintuitive, sometimes, for busy people like teachers to slow down, play, and experiment, but the insights we learn when we do are what help us teach for depth understanding" Elyse Eidman-Aadahl convening Digital Is.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Following Twitter

You know I am a big fan of Twitter.  I think I have learned more from my twitter feed than I learned during my two-year pursuit of my Masters and it is how I keep on learning everyday.  I like looking through my twitter feed at night - I often find interesting articles and conversations about learning.  I also enjoy having my twitter feed open during events like a political debate or the Super Bowl - the commentary is priceless.

Twitter can be a valuable tool to a teacher.  It can provide the teacher with a connection to other teachers around the world, a place where they can collaborate and share.  It can serve as on-going professional development. It can also serve as a place where students can connect to their teachers.

I recently discovered the Twitter feed of NCTM - the National Council of the Teachers of Mathematics.  They put out a math "problem of the day" - every day.  These problems are great - they would be perfect problems to start off a class:

If you haven't already, give Twitter a try.  I guarantee you will find something valuable there.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Scribe Blog

Hi everyone. Tom and I are doing the scribe blog with our juniors. I am curious what others think. 1. How can I get my students to drive the train more with this. I do a lot of work on this so I don't really see this working with three classes at one time. 2. I would love your feedback from what the student have so far.

All in all it has been loads of fun and I am really pleased with the outcome.

check it out: TC - will you send along your link too?