Friday, August 7, 2009

Implementation plan

I have found a few things in this course that I plan to incorporate into my class next year. Although, I would love to include a lot more I want to be realistic in my goals. I want to change a little bit at a time so the change isn't so overwhelming. The one thing that I am sure I will use this coming year is a blog and the Zoho software. I want to create a blog with math competitions for the school. I believe I will even make it possible for some of my students to submit their assignments electronically for the first time.
I am hoping that I will make the time to include VoiceThread in at least one assignment for my students this year. However, I have a lot to learn still on how to make that an effective choice for my content area.
I already have used some videos and podcasts to help my students learning new concepts, but I haven't yet created a video or podcast for my students. I have already started working on video to show my students on the first day of class. As for a podcast, I have noticed that there is a great need for podcasts in my field. I do not feel that I have the technology at my disposal to create a podcast, but I could be surprised. I am going to get together with my technology coordinator and figure out how feasible this will be. So, pending the results of my discussion about the equipment I have available, I will make a podcast to add to the minimal math library we have so far.
I am currently following several RSS feeds, however this is not really related to my school life and more just me keeping up with current events. I did find a few that were related to my content area, but most are just for me.
Overall, I think the biggest change I will make this year is an attempt to help my students become better learners and step back from my guru on the hill of the past and move toward the guide I want to be. With the new text books we have this year that are full of online opportunities for my students to learn I am hoping to guide them to use those resources and really take responsibility for their learning. That by far will be my biggest challenge this year.

Chapter 9

I love the concept of an educational system that adapts to a student's personal style much like amazons recommendations for each buyer. With the number of students I have each year it would be very difficult for me to take on this kind of personalizing myself. It would be interesting if we had some sort of software that would help make recommendations for each child. Treating each student as an individual is as far as I think I will get with this particular idea.

I also enjoyed reading about video games being given more creedence. I think that math could be taught some in a level based game. Especially, while learning multiplication tables or other topics that are enhanced with memorization. I liked what was said about people come back to what they have invested in, and wonder what I can do to help my students feel that buy in with my class.

I do disagree with one statement that was made which is that in your classroom the answers should always be close by. Perhaps I am misunderstanding what the author intended by this statement but I firmly believe that if I want to see really creative solutions from my students I need to give them problems they haven't seen before. I do not give these kind of problems on tests to measure their understanding, but as warm ups to see how much they can do.

Another point that was made that struck me was that teachers are too busy doing what they are already doing to change to meet the needs of our changing students. I agree, and the thought of changing much of what I am doing is frightening. I do think that teachers should be willing to make baby steps. I am not going to transform my classroom into a fancy 2.0 classroom overnight, in fact, probably not even in a year. However, I am going to make a few changes this year, then next year and keep changing until eventually I will be doing a lot more than I am now.

Chapter 7

While reading this chapter covering online safety and security I thought some on my own parenting style. I am very careful with what my daughter experiences online. We are quite strict with her. Her current level of online activity is not academic so I have no problem limiting her to very few things. With the discussion about security within the schools I am reminded of the debate about constitutional rights vs. safety and security of our country. We as a nation are finding a balance between our rights and the rights of our military and law enforcement. This is the same with schools and students. We all want our students to be safe and yet also want them to have access to all the fabulous tools available online. Finding that balance is what schools are doing. My school has a separate search engine we have access too, and I have found that it is nice to have. The results I get from searching things like matrix come up with the math version instead of images of Keanu Reeves. We also have a firewall, but it isn't perfect. Some sites are blocked because they have the word game in them, but yet they are educational.

I really enjoyed the charts and discussion on what is stealing. I also realize that using someone elses work without attribution is rampant among my students. Every time I give an assignment that calls for research I have students who copy and paste the information from websites and expect that to count for their own work. Sadly, this happens even after I tell them over and over again that I will check their sources.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Chapter of choice, 2

Based on my revelations from Chapter 1, my interest in Chapter 2 should be obvious. This past year I surveyed my students about the number of TVs and number of computers they had at home. This was the first year that all of my students had at least one computer at home. According to the book, which was written a few years ago, statistically 71% of students have access from home. Even with this access available I found it challenging to get my students to access the website set aside for them.
My teaching needs to focus on helping my students learn techniques to think, adapt and be effective learners. One of the ways I can do this is to find more ways to include the technologies they are using in a productive way in my class. I want to help my students achieve their highest potentials, currently that includes leaving my comfort zone and using the technologies they are interested in and will need familiarity with as they move into the professional world.

The chapter mentioned how students customize their desktops and chairs to be uniquely theirs when they enter a computer lab. The question is asked how to we take this customization generation and apply that customization to the classroom. Admittedly, my students do not get to change the height of their chairs. I did visualize my classroom with adaptable chairs and I think it would be better for them if they could make those adjustments. One size fits all never really fit all in any generation. When the authors ask, "How do we take advantage of students' interests and the ways they learn to create new models for learning?" I thought about a student of mine from last year. He is visually impaired, and very interested in technology. Unfortunately, not interested in doing homework. It came to me that I might get more from this student if I encourage him to submit work to me in his comfort zone. It would be fairly easy to set up a blog that I subscribe to and use the Zoho program to make his homework submissions. This would also eliminate the loss of his papers. I am looking forward to experimenting with this and looking for ways to engage to my students within their comfort zone.

Chapter 1

As I was reading this chapter I became very curious. In the economics section for example the implications was made that one of every ten jobs will move over seas in the next two years. Considering this book was published in 2007, they are taking about this year. The next implication is that one in four jobs will be moved over seas by 2010. I want to know if this really is true, did this happen? In our age of information it is hard to make predictions because everything is changing exponentially. I was unable to find any accurate information about the number of jobs sent overseas.

In contrast this quote did come true. "It is clear that the U.S. and other rich nations will have to transform their educational systems so as to produce workers for the jobs that will actually exist in their societies... In the future, how we educate our children may prove to be more important that how much we educate them. " (Binder, 2005) I discovered recently that according to the U.S. Department of Labor 25% of the population has been with the same employer for less than a year, 50% of the population has been with their employer for less than 5 years. Our students today are not being taught how to master a profession, but rather need to be taught to quickly pick up new professions.

Five years ago there was no You Tube or Twitter, who knows what we will have in the next five years. For my freshman this year this means as they enter college there are likely going to be jobs that didn't exist while they were my students. This revelation struck me. As a math teacher the content I go over has changed little in the last twenty years. However, my students have changed drastically. Consequently, I need to change and adapt as well. I have a challenging year ahead of me.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Week 8- 19.1 Digital Pipeline

It appears that this topic is included in the librarian list, and not in the classroom list of "things". I wasn't aware of this before and since I already did the exploration decided to write about it. This is another application that has way too many options for my brain to comfortably wade through. I am guessing that some of my students would feel the same way. Since I rarely do research projects in my math class it is unlikely that I will be showing this to my students. I do expect I will use it in the future when I take classes in the future.

I did find the folder option, it took me longer than usual to figure that one out. My problem was I was trying to find the folder from the SLED link, and didn't realize that I had to get into the search databases themselves before I had that option. Once I found that I was able to make my folder and also sign up for a journal alert. I did notice that a lot of journals were listed that the library did not have. I did not find any listing for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics journals.

I did find the Health option useful. My health insurance company has a similar database available to members, it is nice to know I can find another opinion here. I think I can find some uses for the digital pipeline and feel better now that I figured out that folder thing!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Week 9- Thing 23 Summary

When I started this course it felt like I was the only one participating. I did several "things" and then went on vacation. When I got back I was very surprised to see in my absence that not only had people joined me, but had finished the course! This made me feel a little behind. I set aside a couple of days so that I can finish this up.

I still have to finish thing 19.1 but the rest of my exploring is complete. I have enjoyed the opportunity to learn about applications and software that I would not have taken the time to find otherwise. I have a few new ideas to try out this year on my unsuspecting students. Each of the "things" were very straight forward and easy to follow, except for 19.1. I am taking a break but will be back to find those tutorials I couldn't find my first time through! I know that as with anything new that I learn if I am not using it I forget about it. I have the best intentions to use some of the 2.0 materials in my class and in my life. What I need is a reminder in about 4 months asking me if I have remembered to use any of them. Perhaps, I will have to come back to this site and poke around to see what I have or haven't been doing.

As far as making this a better course for the future the one thing that came to mind is I didn't see the separate link for Classroom 2.0 until today. I am not sure how I missed that before but when I looked over the topics it seems that I have gone through the same material. If for some reason I missed something I should explore please help highlight that for me. I am unsure how you might make that link more obvious for a classroom teacher, but a big blinking light that said, "Hey you! Math teacher! Click here!" might have done it.