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Currently a student at the University of South Alabama majoring in secondary math education.I have a deep affinity for old typewriters, pens, and keys.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blog Assignment 6

The Networked Student

It was an enjoyable presentation and I do believe it is a preview of the impending learning environment and the direction education is turning towards. Even here at South more and more classes are becoming dependent on an online aspect. The movie is reinforcing the ideas that we have seen in other videos: that education is moving towards a more individual experience. Teachers are becoming support units  to assist in learning instead of fountains of knowledge spewing forth facts to be regurgitated. While we still are responsible for passing on information it is now becoming more pertinent that we teach skills of how to gain, filter, and verify knowledge as it is so readily available with a few keystrokes. The video illustrates how easy it is to not only find information on the internet but verify it's credibility. The more connections you make the more become available and the easier it is to gain more and more information and even input from others.

We already demonstrate in this class the skills that are referred to in this video and use some of the resources mentioned as well. We are connected students, we barely have to set foot in the lab. We communicate on a weekly basis with each other and share ideas. We blog, tweet, and comment. We debate and share, sometimes in person and sometimes online. We are building the skills that we will need to pass onto our students because one cannot teach without having first learned. My greatest fear of having "connected" students is that the lack of face time can be more harmful than good if they are not prepared for that type of learning. If it is a new experience for them, if I am the one to introduce it, it could potentially be overwhelming.

As for the question of whether or not I am prepared for the connected student I cannot say. I would certainly like to think that I am, that my students will be bright and lust after knowledge on their own accord. That my hand will guide them towards better learning and the development of an indispensable skill set for the rapid acquisition of information that will make them formidable opponents in any real world situation. They will tweet, blog, and google, their resources infinite. No problem will be too difficult and they will build connections with each other and people across the globe to look at every problem from multiple angles. Their creativity and ability to solve problems will be unmatched as they conquer all obstacles knowing when and how to ask for help. Will I keep up with technology? Will I properly guide them or overwhelm them with information? Will I have properly developed the skills that I wish to pass on? All this is what remains to be seen but I believe that I am up for the challenge.

As a I do have the desire to teach in a student focused environment such as a free school this is a question that really hits home and almost terrifies me. I wish to be a great teacher and engage my students, I want them to want to be in my class. I want to be prepared and hope that I am on the road that will help me facilitate and encourage the creativity of my students.

Welcome to my PLE
First off, I have to say I'm more disorganized than this student. Despite my love of technology and gaining knowledge, I already catch myself being set in my own ways and not wanting to change. Instead of using services that make bookmarking and managing a PLN easier I still simply create folders of bookmarks which isn't always available if I'm not on <i>my</i> computer. While I do act in a similar manner as this student, their methods are more efficient. On top of that I need to reach out more to educators already in my field to really strengthen my own PLN. These are of course skills that will not only assist as I advance in my own education but build the foundation of how I will educate and guide my students. This student is obviously bright and hungry for knowledge, exactly the kind I want in my classroom.

Gonna break this down then circle around:
Why Smartboards are a Dumb Initiative

He  looks at Smartboards much like I've been looking at tablets (ipads) and the like. Yeah, it's neat but is it worth it? Is it just a novelty and the trendy thing to do, "Hey, look at my smart board it does stuff when I wave my hands." Budgets are tough, no matter what the situation and it's something you can point at and say, "We did this and this happened." However, as anyone who has taken a course in statistics can tell you correlation does not mean causation. I do believe that money can be probably be spent better and as much as I want tech to be a part of education, throwing it at problems and bringing into the classroom just because it's there isn't necessarily the way to go about it. With the arts constantly being reduced I'd rather see the money spent on students than novelties. Smartboard this!

Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards
"Do we really want to spend thousands of dollars on a tool that makes stand-and-deliver instruction easier?"
Bill Ferriter makes a better argument than Mr. Staton, I feel it's much more appealing. Whiteboards are not involving the student, so making them digital isn't really solving the problem. Once again it comes down to the novelty, it's a show pony and little more. The students need to be involved in their learning, not talked at while you point at some flashy gadget as a distraction. While it is an innovative way of teaching it's still rests on the same principles as everything else: stand here, talk, hand out the test, pray they regurgitate those circles in the right spot.

Why I Love My Smartboard
"Does that mean it was better? Probably not, but it sure was fun!"
Mrs. Miller makes some great points and organized me well, I was worried there for a second because I was having trouble finding someone talking about the pros. Her seventh point is great example of creativity and getting students involved. She highlights how it beats out a regular old whiteboard with the fact that you can easily save content to be used later, even having her students create content that can be used to teach future students. Her video was informative and interesting as well, I'm glad I found this.

Smartboard- Pros and Cons of Using a Digital, Interactive Whiteboard
Frankly this wasn't big on the pros, it really just pitched it as a new user interface which is pretty much exactly what the people against it are saying.

So, are Smartboards good? I'm still on the fence, maybe after our project I can have a better idea. It seems a lot easier to find the cons than the pros and I am leaning more towards not liking them. They are expensive and not really innovative enough for my tastes. They can get students involved but are not putting the focus on them, it's simply a new interface for an old system. The unifying opinion, even with the supporters of Smartboards, really stands out: it's an expensive gadget and fun for the teacher. It adds an element of fun but is it worth the cost because as with everything else in the world it's all about the bottom line. Is it innovation or simply novelty? Can these large sums of money be spent better elsewhere? Why are there only four colors? I'm going to need to probe further into this issue to solidify an opinion.

1 comment:

  1. Nickolas,

    I first want to say that I am extremely impressed with your blog, and I love how engaged you are in your responses to the different assignments. I can truly tell that you are taking this class seriously and you desire to learn more and grow in your knowledge. I thought you did an excellent job summarizing the new role of the teacher in your comment: "While we still are responsible for passing on information it is now becoming more pertinent that we teach skills of how to gain, filter, and verify knowledge as it is so readily available with a few keystrokes." It appears that many teachers are either not ready or do not want to change, but frankly, we must accept this new role to help our students further their education. While I personally do not enjoy online classes here at South, I must admit that I have learned a great deal from some of my professors who teach online. Whether we enjoy this new form of education or not, we must accept this change and work to our utmost ability to assist our students in their learning.

    I definitely agree that this idea of a networked student can be quite overwhelming, but I believe if we prepare ourselves and are open-minded, we will be ready to teach these students. After reading your comments, I certainly believe you are ready for the changes that are occurring, and I think you will be a great teacher who engages the students and sparks creativity within their minds.