Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chapter 2: Transforming Learning with Unique, Powerful Technology

Focus Question: How do students use technology to access and assess information?
Photo credit to Danard Vincente on Flickr
To access information using technology students use internet sites such as official government, university, museum, and online encyclopedia websites to access unlimited information. Search engines guide students to the information they are pursuing and offer countless websites for the students to choose from. Students can also use CD-ROMs and DVDs to educate themselves on the infinite amount of subject matter that these discs can offer. To assess the information that is found students can primarily reference the information only from .org or .edu websites or the students can check the references that are posted on other privately developed websites.

Tech Tool:
Photo credit to Dan Cohen at CHNM
H-Bot is an online tool created by the people at Center for History and New Media at the University at Mason University. This tool encourages it users to ask a who, what, or when question into the space provided and H-Bot will answer it within seconds. The answer that is provided is general, sometimes to the point of it being useless, but if general information is all that the user is seeking then the website is very useful. The Center for History and New Media does however have it's own website that offers information in archival form where information is in abundance and plentiful. H-Bot is a great tool to play around with but really begs to be developed more, with more information accessible and a higher artificial intelligence.

Summary and Connection:
Chapter two of Transforming Learning With New Technologies by Maloy, R.W., Verock-­‐O'Loughlin, R., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P was another chapter stocked to the brim with information on different teaching techniques and how to apply those techniques using technology. Last semester I took Introduction to Teaching and recognized the teaching philosophies listed in this chapter and remembered a couple more, e.g. Progressivism and Essentialism. The chapter really reinforced my belief that students will learn best when the students are most involved in the direction of the class. A student-centered class help students learn through assembling knowledge within groups or discussions and helps the students discover information and how it intertwines with other questions and obstacles. Expanding the curriculum to include active learning, creative problem solving, and reflection and experiences also helps the students broaden their minds. The chapter also focused on the benefits of multi-media education as opposed to the flat and static text on paper that is used in the classroom books today. The idea to integrate music and podcasts with panoramas, time series graphs, and high resolution images and connect them in two and three dimensional space is ground breaking. To "recreate the past, view the present, and envision the future" a teacher must use the best technology has to offer to better engage the student through this journey.

Food For Blog:
It is understood that almost all information that is gathered for research purposes is found on the internet. Everyone from 2nd grade students to a Professor pursuing a Doctorate Degree is using the internet to obtain information. But is this information reliable? A study conducted by Teaching Internet Comprehension to Adolescents (TICA) found that fewer than 10% of students in 7th grade checked the accuracy of the information they found on the internet. If information is power is it any wonder why our education has become our weakness?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chapter 1: Becoming an e-Teacher

Focus Question: How do new technologies create new opportunities for teaching and learning? 
Photo Credit to San Jose Library on Flickr
New and exciting advancements in educational technologies offer teachers the ability to engage more students in a learning environment. These innovative discoveries in the technological field give teachers and students the opportunity to explore the four corners of the universe without leaving the comfort of their classroom. With only a few clicks of a button these new advancements help students in the United States connect with students in South Korea and students in Finland connect with students in Brazil. Communication and information  is opened to a degree never dreamed about until now. Tools such as Web 2.0 have made it possible for teachers to engage their students in a more creative and highly interactive process that only enhances the ability for the student to learn.

Tech Tool:
How Stuff Works: Computer  
The How Stuff Works website and podcast is synonyms with information over-load. In some cases that can be a great thing. To know absolutely everything about a specific subject that one finds absolutely fascinating is a wonderful and exciting accomplishment. Adversely, being bogged down with information, video clips, podcasts, diagrams, images, and advertisements on top of advertisements when one is just trying to find out how to shuffle a deck of cards is over kill to the extreme. Within twenty minutes of clicking hyperlinks, suggestive articles, accidental adverts, tech topics, and sister web sites one can forget what the original search was for but know how to fold an origami swan. There is definitely very useful information to be found if you can navigate through the jungle of information (maybe How Stuff Works can create a manual accompanied by maps, images, video clips and podcasts on how to navigate through How Stuff Works).

Summary and Connection: 
Chapter one of Transforming Learning With New Technologies by Maloy, R.W., Verock-­‐O'Loughlin, R., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P was chalked full of information for aspiring teachers learning to ingrain technology into the classroom. Before reading the chapter I felt that, as a up and coming educator I could forgo all the bells and whistles of what technology has to offer and teach how I was taught. Lecture the class for the majority of the period, only to let the students sit back from the edge of their seats and relax to a nice reel-to-reel movie or worksheet. After reading the chapter I quickly realized that half the class that is use to highly active and multi-media tools of learning will find my fascinating and intriguing lectures less than adequate. The chapter explained fully well that if a teacher wants to keep their students engaged they must embrace technology. The first chapter of the book also posed a question that every teacher must ask themselves prior to taking on such a responsibility as educating our youth; how will one teach? Will we be teacher-centered where we, the teacher, dictate when and where from the information will flow, where the lesson plan will lead to, and how to achieve the highest test scores possible? Or will we let the classroom be student-centered, where we work together with the student to answer open ended questions through group projects and discussions? The chapter had insightful information, thought provoking questions, and an abundance of information on technology in the classroom.

Food for Blog: 
Ethnic Digital Divide: 7% of African Americans use computers less than whites. 21% of African Americans use the internet less than whites.
Economic Digital Divide: 37% of students use a computer at home in households that earn less than $20,000. 88% of students use a computer at home in households that earn $75,000.
 What are we doing to close these digital divides when we all agree that technology is the driving force behind a well rounded education?  

Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon.