Personal Learning Network
Baby Steps Toward Including Technology in the Classroom
This week as part of an assignment in my credential program, I was asked to answer the following questions: How do we embrace change in educational settings with reference to technology? How can we help others to embrace this change from the early adopters to the colleagues who have trouble attaching documents to emails? I was very inspired by this assignment and decided to share my thoughts with you here:
I often have students ask me questions that I do not know the answer to. History is such a large subject mater that it is impossible to ask a teacher to know everything there is to know about history. For this reason, at the start of the year, one of the first things I tell my students is this: "I am human. I will make mistakes. I will not know everything. And I will learn with you." It is important to allow your students to know that you too will be learning and to show a sense of vulnerability.
I feel that this allows for an easy open door to technology in the classroom. When a students ask me a question I do not know the answer to, I do not shy away from it and I am not taken aback. I welcome the fact that my student has expressed interest in deepening their knowledge of history and I respond to their question by saying: "Google it. You tell me the answer and let's learn together." I find that my students jump at the opportunity to take their phone out and am pleased when they actually research for the answer. I welcome this opportunity to grow in knowledge and believe that with technology, students can just have a deeper knowledge of content.
I encourage my colleagues to embrace the idea of using technology as a tool to expand knowledge and encourage the adoption of research based projects and intrinsic motivation. If you give students a choice in what they learn, they will be more inclined to expand their knowledge and do research on a subject of their choice. Including research into your classroom is a small way to include technology in the classroom and is a great step toward becoming a technologically savvy educator.
Prezi is a online tool that helps you create interesting, engaging, and unique presentations. Prezi has found a way to help educators make inevitable lectures less boring and more imaginative. As I learn to more technologically inclined in the classroom, I am constantly trying to find ways to spice up my lesson plans with technology. I came across my first Prezi when I was researching a unique way to present the "Domino Effect" of consumerism and the Great Depression. I found an amazing visually dynamic presentation that was created by Prezi. I immediately created an account and found that it was free for educators. After my account was created, I was hooked. Now I rarely create PowerPoint presentations and instead develop eye catching Prezi presentations. Prezi has many different options and tools and allows the user to input images, videos, and other visuals. This semester I decided to dive further into the Prezi world by developing an assignment that asks my students to create their own Prezi. My students truly enjoy my Prezi's and I feel that by having them create their own, not only will they present a depth of content knowledge, but they will have fun doing it. I am still a novice when it comes to my presentations, and I hope that I can continue to grow my Prezi making skills. Go to prezi.com to learn more and check out how to create your own Prezi by watching my brief and basic tutorial below.
A Veteran Teacher - A Sobering Lesson Learned by Grant Wiggins
In Grant Wiggin's article, A Veteran Teacher he transcribes the dialogue of a veteran teacher who changed careers to a learning coach at her school. Her new job was to work with students, teachers, and admin to make learning a more positive and better experience. Her first task was to follow a 10th grade student for a day and "shadow them" completing all of their tasks that day. She then followed a 12th grade student the second day and "shadow them." The article reflects the teacher's shocking revelations from the days she shadowed students. She discovered how draining, and frankly boring a school say was. The article focuses on things she would have done differently had she shadowed her students years prior, and how she would have changed her teaching in her classroom to make learning more active, engaging, and fun.
One of the first revelations the teacher makes, is about how students sit all day. In the classes she went to, she sat teh whole time and was lectured at all day. She felt lethargic and exhausted after just one day and dreaded the next. She stated how if she were to do it again she would have her lessons be more engaging and would have students moving around more, talking more, activiley participating more. She realized that she hated the lectures and felt that that was not fair to her students. These are just some of the many things the teacher experienced, and did not enjoy.
I found a lot of confirmation in this article. During my first semester of student tecahing, I have prided myself in not lecturing and coming up wiht new and engaging ways for my students to learn. When I decided I wanted to be an educator, I promised myself that I would not be one of those boring teachers that I hated so much in both high school and college. Many of the revelations and ideas that the teacher in the article discussed are similar to the same thoughts I have had on my own about how I want to run my classroom. I believe the days of lecturing and no student engagement should end and a new age of collaboration, student choice, and engagement should begin.
Read the article here!
@grantwiggins. "A Veteran Teacher Turned Coach Shadows 2 Students for 2 Days – a Sobering Lesson Learned." Granted and. 17 Oct. 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.
Redifining Teachers with a 21st Century Education 'Story' by Thom Markham
In Thom Markham's article Redefining Teachers with a 21st Century Education 'Story' he discusses the differences between successful schools in the world to unsuccessful schools in the United States. He focuses on the incorporation of culture, work, and engagement and how those three focuses lead a school toward success. He then discusses how the US only focuses on memorization of facts versus relating education to real like scenarios. He also claims that students that are put through a US education and pre-determined and selected to recieve a particular educaton that will allow them to recieve a white collar job. This differs from successful schools that allow students to choose what they are interested in and can expand their knowledge in that particular chosen field.
As an educator, I found Markham's article very interesting. I personally maintain a progressive educational philosophy, meaning that I believe that teacher should focus on individual needs rather than just teaching a designated subject matter. I find myself agreeing with much of what Markham presents. I believe that a student's education will be much better served and received if a student has a choice in what they are learning. I also agree that all lessons should in some way, shap, or form, be related and adapted to real life scenarios and situations. Students should be able to use what they learn today, tomorrrow, next week, next year, and five years from now. I completely agree that the US education needs to have some serious changes and reforms and I believe that that change should start with the teachers. I only hope that by including choice in my classroom I can provide a successful education for the students I have in my classroom.
Read the article here!
MindShift, By. "Redefining Teachers with a 21st Century Education ‘Story’." MindShift. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.
Create your own Classroom Puzzles!
Below is a video tutorial that I created through ScreenCast to demonstrate how to use the site puzzlemaker.com. As a teacher I have found great use in this website. I ofter create crosswords, missing pieces, and word scambles as a fun activity to utilize in my classroom. Check out my tutorial if you want to learn more!
High School Stories by Casey Neistat
"We won the lottery on life." Casey Neistat argues that just by being born in the United States, we have won the lottery on life and because of that we are obligated to take of any opportunity made available to us. Many people are born into third world countries, and we simply already have an immediate advantage in life simply based off of where we are born. Through his compilation of short stories, Neistat presents the many different opportunities he was granted in life and how it is important that you take advantage of each and every single one.
As an educator it is vital that we present opportunities for our students to succeed and encourage them to take advantage of any opportunity given to them. Throughout my graduate education, I have been granted several opportunities that have helped me to become a better teacher. I have been granted the opportunity to expand my education on multi-cultural education, technology based education, collaboration based education, and innovative teaching methods. Through these opportunities I have been able to expand my theory of education.
I especially feel that in today's day and age, technology prsents a large variety of opportunities to students and other youth. The expansion of technology has allowed students to have immediate access to vast knowldege like never before. social media has presented network capabilities beyond recconing, the internet has provided access to knowledge more accessable, and communication via the many differnet forms of technology has made the exchanging of ideas an easier and supplemental way to gain knowledge. Teachers who do not embrace technology are denying students access to opportunities to learna and are simply stuck in a prehistoric world that no longer exists. Utilizing technology in a classroom will only further a students learnign and will expand opportunities in the classroom. Additionally, their are many computer-based skills that can and should be learned that will help students to succeed when they enter the work force. Technology is an opportunity for teachers to expand their toolbox, and more importantly, is an opportunity for students to expand their knowledge, skills, and will provide further opportunities in their future.
Students should learn how to recognize the several different opportunities they are granted to them and they should feel encouraged to embrace the different opportunities. It is also important to not take opportunities away from our youth. Opportunities can be small, medium or large, and allowing students to take advantage of any and all opportunities in their education, work, and life.
Neistat, C. (2015, January 15) High School Stories [Video file]. Retrived from: https://youtu.be/_ayTA-tJr3A
The Danger of a Single Story by Chimanda Adichie
During my undergraduate career, one of my favorite professors introduced me to anthologies: books that are a compilation of several real life short stories and recollections of a variety of different people. I immediately fell in love with the structure of these books and was fascinated by how different individual stories differed on the same subject matter. As my undergraduate career progressed I would seek out anthologies in every subject I was learning and now, I seek out anthologies in every subject I teach. It is important to show students that there are different sides to every story.
This idea is what Chimanda Adichie's talk focuses on, the danger of a single story. She presents several stories of her own experiences in dealing with a single story. She presents the fact that many people make assumptions or immediate judgments simply based on how someone looks or where they came from. Her point is this: all people are different and all people come from different backgrounds, cultures, and upbringings. If you automatically assign a single story to a person, you are taking away their freedom of choice and making the life smaller. You are not granting them the chance to show who they really are.
I showed this video to my students in class during a lesson about the Harlem Renaissance. I wanted them to tell me if they thought that those who participated in the Harlem Renaissance were trying to change the singe story of African Americans in the US. I wanted them to tell me if they had ever experienced a single story, but not to say it out loud, but instead to think about it and to write about it. I wanted them to tell me if they thought the single story was still relevant. I then shared my personal experience with the single story and how I am stereotyped on a daily basis. In sharing my own experience, my students were engaged and later shared great detail about their own single stories in their writing. ALL of my students claimed that the single story is still extremely relevant and most argued that both the single story and stereotypes need to be diminished. I found Adichie's video very powerful and was extremely proud and excited to see that my students too found it powerful.
Adichie, C. (7, October 2009) The Danger of a Single Story [Video file]. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/D9Ihs241zeg?list=PLbRLdW37G3oMquOaC-HeUIt6CWk-FzaGp
Every Kid Needs a Champion by Rita Pierson
Rita Pierson is nothing short of inspiring. In her talk she talks about the importance of teacher-student relationships. As a teacher you will never like all of your students but it is important that you do your best to reach out to all of your students and build a relationship with each and every single one. Children only learn in classrooms they feel comfortable in, and that sense of comfort comes from the students.
Building relationships is essential to student learning. Building students confidence is essential to student learning. Showing kids you care is essential to student learning. As educators putting student needs above your own is part of the job description. Learning should be fun. Learning should be engaging. Learning should not be a burden and you should most certainly not allow your students to think it is. Pierson creates a positive learning environment for her students and gives them a space to fail and to succeed. One of my favorite things that Pierson says in her speech is when she is talking about how she graded a students quiz. The student got 18 of the 20 questions wrong and Pierson put plus 2 and a smiley face on the paper. She said "Minus 18 sucks the life out of you. But plus 2 says I ain't all bad." This is such a powerful action. It demonstrates that in all that we do in our classroom, it effects the students. I am a highly positive person and do display that positivity in the classroom with rub off on your students. Build confidence in you students, don't shut them down. Show your students you care about them. Support them. Like Pierson proclaims, be their champion.
Pierson, R. (2013, May 3) Every kid needs a champion [Video file]. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/SFnMTHhKdkw?list=PLbRLdW37G3oMquOaC-HeUIt6CWk-FzaGp a
The Tyranny of Curriculum by Shawn Cornally
East Side Prep is a new and innovative school located in Iowa. Shawn Cornally discusses the reasoning behind this new school and how it is effective. The school's primary focus is allowing the students to choose their curriculum and to create a project based off their interests. Cornally focuses on the idea that students don't like school, and he wanted to create a school that student's loved and would be sad to miss. And he believes that allowing students to choose what they learn will create a lovable learning environment. East Side Prep is a wonderfully innovative school that focuses on student individual passion and interests. As I watched Cornally's Ted Talk, I couldn't help but be enticed and found myself think of ways to incorporate such innovative teaching into my curriculum.
As a life long learner, I value new materials and new methods of teaching that involve student decisions and interests. I remember being in high school, and even college, and hating certain classes because the lessons were dry, the homework was tedious, and the teacher did not care about student interests. When I chose to become a teacher I wanted to value student interests and opinions and create innovative lessons that captured student attention and desire to learn. I adopted a progressive educational philosophy, which focuses on students individual needs above content and creates a classroom environment that students want to learn in. I believe that Cornally's school is based completely off the idea of progressive teaching.
Cornally discusses the idea that students hate school, and that they look forward to days off and look forward to Snow Days so that they do not have to attend their classes. And though you have to laugh about the trust in this statement, as an educator is is nothing but bereave me that students have come to loath their education so much. Cornally advocates that teachers and schools need to find ways to make students love school again. To do this educators and schools need to work together to create innovative teaching techniques that create a passion in students to want to learn. Many teachers may want to create and use these types of ideas in their classroom however they may be scared to implement these techniques in fear that the school, parents, or district may not approve. It is important for educators and schools to work together and organize a way to implement these techniques in the classroom.
The future of education needs to change and it is innovative teachers like Shawn Cornally that we need to look to as role models for the future change. Cornally argues that educators need to focus on helping students build skills that they can put on their resumes. By allowing students to have the opportunity to think, plan, and develop physical projects that can actually be used outside of the classroom will allow students to have something to write about on their college essays and add to their resumes. Teachers should focus on creating students who will go out and change the world rather than just forces students to participate in daily lessons of subjects that in reality do not matter to them. Innovative teachers who produce innovative thinkers, will create an innovative world.
Carnally, S. (2014, March 14) The Tyranny of the Curriculum [Video file]. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/aldMBgT6u-4?list=PLbRLdW37G3oMquOaC-HeUIt6CWk-FzaGp
From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-Able by Dr. Michael Wesch
I found Dr. Wesch's discussion very inspiring. His theory on having students be knowledge-able versus knowledgeable is very unique. Students often become disgruntled with school because they feel they are just memorizing material and are learning meaningless facts that will not help them in life. Dr. Wesch attempts to improve this by encouraging a different type of learning. Dr. Wesch suggests that students need to learn how to find, sort, analyze, and create knowledge instead of just memorizing facts. Dr. Wesch showed a series of inspiring videos that demonstrated that ability to use the new forms of media to create positive change in the worlds. Using media to promote positive change is what students should be learning how to do. Teaching ways to attack real life problems should be encouraged in the classroom.
After watching Dr. Wesch's Ted Talk, I could not agree with him more. As a history teacher, I am well aware of the student's typical distaste towards the subject. Knowing this, I try my hardest everyday to not only make the subject matter engaging and interesting, but relevant to current issues. Every single lesson I create is related to current events to demonstrate to students the importance of the subject matter. I am not a fan of using quizzes or cumulative exams as a form of assessment and instead create projects that force students to use the skills they learned in class and apply them to real world issues. Additionally, my educational philosophy is progressive, meaning that I value the student over the subject matter. I strongly believe that students should have a say in what they learn and that requires me, as an educator, to encourage them to be knowledge-able and not simply knowledgeable.
Learn more about Dr. Wesch's theory on knowledge-ability by watching the video below.
Wesch, M. (2010, October 12). From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able [Video file]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeaAHv4UTI8
Teacher candidate at CSU, San Marcos.
Below is my educational Pinterest Board. Check it out to see where I get some of my ideas!