Thursday, March 24, 2011

Welcome to My Blog!

This is a blog of reflections and ideas on educational technology.  This is a part of my CI 579 class at ISU in which we are exploring issues in educational technology and learning to think and wonder in this realm. Enjoy!

Blog Post #1

Visual Notes: Digital Literacy, Week 2 from by Angela Maiers posted March 19, 2011
This post dealt with the abundance of information and its relevance, reliability, and real time qualities.  We certainly are living in exponential times and dealing with information overload. There is so much to attend to, that we have to choose what is important otherwise we get bogged down easily.  One way to do this is by creating a Personal Learning Network (PLN). Since no one can spend all their time acquiring the vast amount of information that is available, we can rely on others to share their findings and then decide if it’s worthy information.  Another way to help with organization is to tag information in delicious or diigo. You can also friend others and see what sites they have tagged. This increases your knowledge and amount of information but saves you time.

Blog Post #2

Thoughtboxes from March 23, 2011 posting
When I read this blog post I instantly thought of a few students in my school that would benefit greatly from this organizational tool.  I liked the feature that allows you to cross off tasks that have been completed. It seems like a great way to help students divide up their life into categories and see how much time is invested into each one and to see how much they accomplish in a day. Many students struggle with understanding when specific tasks occur during the school day (such as what day do we have music, or are library books due today?) It would be helpful to have students create a Thoughtbox for various days of the week to help keep themselves organized. I’m also thinking it might help students break up a project into sections and allow them to organize their ideas better.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Reflection #2

An interesting concept I learned about was the Pecha Kucha presentation methodology.  It is used as an organization model consisting of 20 slides, each shown for 20 seconds.  Unlike a PowerPoint presentation, this presentation relies heavily on images to represent concepts.  Not only was this an interesting concept for presenting content, but it also made me question my own teaching methods which have been typically droning on and elaboration followed by more talking and kids looking at me like “is she ever going to stop talking?”   A lot of times in giving directions or explaining I see the deer in the headlights look—like I’ve lost my audience….but I still have all this content to relay!

I have definitely learned that less is more! By limiting audio and increasing visuals I think I will be better able to capture my audience’s attention and hold it there.  Lastly, I have been able to practice this skill in class by limiting my blog posts to 150 words.  This made me really think critically about the information I read.  Sometimes it’s easy to go on and on because you don’t want your readers to miss anything.  I’m trying to apply this same skill and concept to my own teaching methods.

I am really looking forward to trying the Pecha Kucha out with students next time instead of doing a PowerPoint.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Blog Post #3

 This is a video/article about the loss of creativity in schools.  The presenter cites examples of projects like fill-in-the-blank poems, or drawings done with certain colors. She says students have been subconsciously pushed to do things one way. In elementary school, kids are starting to learn and we should encourage new ways of thinking.  At my school, holiday decorations are created by template and each one is the same.  I know teachers who say the skill is “following directions.”   I think of technology projects I have done with kindergarten. I have given a template to color in.  So where do we draw the line between structure and non-structure?  Why do we insist on templates and step-by-step directions? Control? Lack of time? Fear?  In my next lesson I am going to ask “Why are we doing this in this way?” 
Are teachers doing too much of their work for students”?