An Acrostic Poem about me.
Introducing Web 2.0: What I Learned
Since I have started Instructional Media Master’s program, I have often consider myself as the “old dog” trying to learn new tricks. It has not been easy, but I continue to grow and develop as an educator, and that is okay. As I reflect on the materials that I watched and listened to over the course of this unit, I realized that while it may take awhile, this “old dog” is learning some new tricks. I also realize that I am not in this alone, looking at the vastness of the internet with no where to go, there are people and resources to guide me along the way. I have been teaching for almost 20 years and in the time, education has changed, drastically. Educators who graduated when I did not have the reality of the web and therefore we are often ill prepared when it comes to incorporated of these tools in the classroom and yet we face the classroom everyday, with students looking to expecting web integration in a meaningful way.
Where I am making progress:
I am not speaking lightly when I say I was thrilled to recognize some of the apps discussed in this unit. Not only did I know them, I have used several in class. For me, this solidified why I am doing what I am doing, I am on the right track. Furthermore, I made a connections to material I did not know, because it seemed within my realm of possibility. I use many Google Apps in my classroom, and seeing them supported here, helped me to make the connection between the tool and the classroom. Tools as Powtoon, Easelly, Prezi, Today’ Meet and Twitter have been utilized in my classroom with great success.
Where I have progress to make:
The article, Practical Strategies The Participatory Classroom: Web 2.0 in the Classroom (2011), discusses how Web 2.0 tools are being used more and more in the education setting, but with a 1.0 mindset. Educators are not asking to students to critically think and engage with these tools, especially the ones that are used specifically for collaborative purposes. This statement really gave me pause. I think that at times, I too am guilty of this. I want to expose my students, who are already behind their hearing peers, to as much as possible. I often get caught up in the quantity and not the quality of the resources that I am presenting. I need to make sure that I am considering high levels of Bloom’s and SAMR when I am creating summative projects.
As a teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, my students are limited in a number of ways. Many of my students read and write well below grade level; therefore, many of the text dependent apps are often scary and not promising to them. They also use American Sign Language as a means to communicate, so many of the app that support voice overs, but not a video component are immediately ruled out. Finally, many of my students have little to no experience on the web, unlike their hearing peers, who are able to pick things up by conversations around them or are able to follow tutorials on the web, my students rarely have that option-Next time you have a minute watch a video on YouTube and turn on the captions- most lectures/demonstrations, if captioned at all, are incorrect. Thus, a project that may take a typical student one or two class periods, has the potential to become a week (or longer) project in my class as all of the steps need to be explained, explicitly. Often times, my class looks like a technology class, than the English 11/12 it is supposed to be and I have to justify that to my supervisors. However, I was pleased to see that there were many additional options that may apply to my students. Many of the apps, such as Smore, Big Huge Labs, and Podomatic offer alternate avenues that would be accessible to my students. I am excited by these possibilities. I believe that my students need to have access to these tools as much, possibly more so, as their hearing counterparts.
As technology and its integration makes its way into my classroom, I often struggle with the knowhow. I have wonderful ideas, but I feel my wheels spinning, in a rut, trying to get out. While I am familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy and while I can consider it as I create a “traditional” lesson, I often find myself second guessing, not considering at all when it comes to technology. When I was introduced to the SAMR model, I once again I was inspired, but little by little I realized that I was falling short, much in the same way that I was with Bloom’s. I was failing to make a connection to high level thinking. Then I read about a re-imagined version of SAMR, “TECH for Teacher and Students”. TECH is a model redesign created by Jen Roberts, focusing on the teacher and student in the technology equation, rather than the task. It clicked. Ms. Roberts created an effective infographic that clearly explained how the individual could move the task through to higher level thinking. I was able to more clearly see how tasks that I designed for higher levels of thinking often were no more than traditional or enhanced tasks that included a technology aspect. While this not a bad thing, designing all tasks on these levels stunts critical thinking and student growth. I want more for me and more for my students. While I have no doubt that one day I will look to Bloom’s and/or SAMR as my primary reference, I find TECH to be the most helpful to me at the present time. It clearly guides the teacher to those higher levels thinking in a meaningful way. Web discussions, on Twitter and Pinterest, provide a greater understanding of TECH and its application.
My Twitter experience was hit and miss for me. I see the potential of Twitter as an educational tool, but many people I know, professionally and personally, do not see its benefits. It makes it hard to build an interactive Twitter presence when there is no one interacting with you. This week, I needed to send out a plea for help on Facebook to be able to complete my EDIM 510 assignment. Fortunately, I did have some personal friends, who are teachers, who were willing to help me. Sadly, there accounts were personal and did not focus on any educational repartee. They answered some questions, but there was no give and take. Once my classmates began to join Twitter, I found some quality discussions. I found interaction at this level professionally stimulating. I hope that it continues.
I was observed this week and at my post observation meeting, I discussed with the principal the potential of Twitter and how I would use it in the classroom. I truly believe that it has some exciting potential and application. While my principal understood where I was coming from, she could not green light the social media app in my classroom. Since it was banned by district, it was not allowed in the classroom. This was very frustrating to me. Additionally, I had several students attend a basketball tournament and were not present in my class. I wanted to provide them an alternate assignment as well as one that I knew they would complete. I designed what I thought was a great alternate assignment (which was approved as the students were off campus) where the students could create a timeline of their journey and narrate it on Twitter. I also provided a paper and pencil type assignment, for those who did not have Twitter. All of my students did the paper and pencil assignment. When I asked them why, they responded that Twitter was boring and they did not like using it. Well, so much for that!
One thing that i see as a success is that in asking so many of my colleagues if they had a Twitter account, two have since joined and my professional network has grown. One teacher is a Science teacher and another is an ESL teacher in Europe. To see their perspective on education was fascinating. I see the potential of Twitter and hope to continue to use it professionally, where I can be found @mrslorentz4.
This week I was asked to delve into the world of educational blogs. I like reading educational blogs, discovering what my peers are researching, new tips and tricks, as well as seeing what is changing in the world of education. The biggest problem I have is finding the time to do so. Therefore, I challenged myself to read at least one new blog each day this week during my lunch period. I try to take my lunch period to regroup, read email, make my “mom” phone calls, etc., but this week I decided to forego all of that (except for Wednesday when I had to moderate a speech competition) and read a different blog post.
I first started with Kathy Schrock’s Ignite talk. The Ignite model presents a framework for presentations, asking the presenter to collect 20 slides and organize them in a meaningful way. The speaker then gives their presentation in 15 second per slide intervals. I then moved on to the student centered blog, The Daring Librarian. This blog focused on the novels of Lemony Snicket. It was written in the vain of the books and was designed to encourage students to read, to draw them in. The third blog I investigated was Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, which focused on the application of mobile devices in the classroom. This one is a no brainer for anyone who is interested in using mobile tools in the classroom. The final blog I investigated was Jonathan Wylie’s Tips for Using an iPad with an External Keyboard: Shortcuts & More. This blog post was especially interesting to me. I have considered using external keyboards with iPads in my classroom. While I am still on the fence, this blog post provided me solid background information.
The writing styles for most of the blogs that I read were designed for educational professionals. They were short, concise and to the point. Hence, welcoming the educator by respecting their valuable time while still being informative. The student driven blog post was different. It included video clips to movies and the Netflix series. The fonts, colors and style in which it was written was part of the allure. It was designed to draw the student in and gain their interest. I was clearly designed for the student and in my opinion was a more interesting read. Blogs, in their design, are meant to draw the reader in with personal ideas and connections. They draw the reader into the informative content in a enjoyable manner. The writing is both formal and informal at the same time. While that seems an oxymoron, it is not. The writer is able to express information (which is usually dry, boring and not the choice for pleasure reading) in a manner that makes it a must read, the joy of writing is present. Comments on posts continue to open the dialogue, making the readers a part of the experience. I know that I like when there is a meaningful dialogue related to one of my posts.
I have recently started using blogs with my students in my classroom. I think that the best part of blogs for my students is the interaction that they have with the text, the writing process and one another. Students, like me, enjoy getting a response from me. Soon, the students will be commenting on each other’s blog posts. Learning to read, understand and collaborate with each other, is a soft skill that many need to hone.
Creating a Podcast is always an interesting process. Creating a script and recording it (without messing up) is always a fun endeavor. I rarely do anything that is audio based, unless I am home or it is a weekend, so this was a novelty for me. I enjoyed this process, although, I would have liked to have created something that I could use with my students. The process was educational, but the end product was not really applicable to my students. I will look into how to modify this with my classes. Here is the link to the RSS feed for my podcast
I want to like RSS aggregation, I really do. I have been assigned to create a Feedly account in past classes. I am really intrigued by the educational applications. I would love to have easier access to the new student blog posts, as well as being able to update students on class information. When honestly reflecting on the RSS aspect, I am relatively confident that it will be more beneficial to me as a teacher more so than my students. Right now, I have a system of updating students that seems to be working, so I am not going to overturn the applecart, but it is something that I would consider when I design my classes for next year. I may need the remainder of the school year to play around with it as I do not find it to be the most user friendly. However, the potential applications are worth the frustration mastering it for the classroom setting. As for student application, I am really intrigued of using the RSS aggregation as a means to keep up with current historical information. We live in the digital age where by the time a textbook is printed, the history has changed. RSS feeds allow for information to be presented in real time. I also feel that this real time data allows for more critical thinking skills, especially in this era of “fake News” claims. As an English teacher, I also see it as a way to show students that English is a living language, seeing it as it changes to meet the needs of the current population. I see the potential, I buy into it...I am just running to catch the bandwagon!
I do not play well with others. I think this is what I learned most from this assignment. Having to depend on classmates to complete an assignment is frustrating, especially when I am type A (but just slightly) personality. I did come to realize that while I was frustrated, I was forced to see this type of an assignment from the perspective of a student. Waiting for responses, I was forced re-read and re-evaluate the materials I read. I started making deeper connections to what I was reading and to its classroom application. As I implement more and more technology in my classes, I have been adding a critical evaluation piece to my curriculum. I have limited myself to the resources that I was comfortable with and did not much venture out of that comfort zone. In developing my Google Slide presentation, I kept my students in mind therefore creating a workable presentation for my classes as we journey down the path to research projects.
I also found the Mentimeter polling website to be a valuable tool. I like the potential it has in its application. As a high school teacher, bringing home the important nature of critical evaluation, can be a daunting task. This tool allows for the students to be an active participant in the lesson as well as providing crucial feedback to the instructor. As I teach the importance of critical evaluation, I also believe that I need to provide instruction on plagiarism and how it effects a final product. Many of my students are well aware of using and citing research based materials, but struggle with other mediums. The addition of Creative Commons, both for research material as well as licensing their own work has be critical. My students are starting to make connections that even a year ago, they were not making.