Thursday, November 8, 2012

Program Reflection

I still laugh about my initial experiences/feelings 4 and a half years ago when I started back to school. I was absolutely terrified by terms that are now VERY familiar. I need to remind myself that some of my teachers have these same feelings about technology. I have found that enthusiasm for what technology can bring to the classroom, along with offers of help in lesson planning, has been helpful to overcome some of this trepidation. This program has helped me learn how to extend my comfort zone of the social studies classroom to really see how to help other content teachers utilize technology effectively. The opportunity to discuss projects and tools in a variety of different age groups and disciplines has been extremely valuable. My two favorite parts of this cohort were the Digital Storytelling and the individual project. I really felt that I learned the most in the digital storytelling class. The textbook was fantastic. I loved learning more about the power of a good presentation. This was a skill that I felt I had once been very good at. However, interestingly enough technology had made my presentations much more flat. I had fallen into the "death by powerpoint" trap. Instead of using technology to make my presentations better and more interactive, I was allowing them to become mere bulleted lists. The individual project allowed me to spend some time focusing on a topic that is really interesting to me. I have been intrigued by the potential of gaming in education to truly extend a student's learning by reacting to and dealing with real world scenarios to really apply their knowledge. I still wish I knew more about the actual workings of a computer. This an area that I often find frustrating. I know how things are supposed to work, and can use them when they do, but I often don't know what to do when things go wrong. I could use more troubleshooting tools in my toolbox. This is something that I will need to continue to work on individually.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Educational Leadership

This topic is incredibly important to my school right now. My current principal has only been there for 4 years - and yet we have had 2 culture/climate surveys in that time and have set up a building wide committee to deal with much of the perceived tension. While the current leadership is very political, she appears to be much weaker in some of the other areas (specifically human resource). I have found the reading so far to be interesting and am looking forward to further discussions. I truly feel that a good leader can do more to further your organization than anything else; and, in contrast, a bad leader can bring it down just as quickly.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On-line learning week 5

I believe that on-line learning is going to continue to grow and flourish. I don't think that it will replace brick and mortar schools entirely, but I can certainly see more blending for all students. On-line learning really does provide the ability to differentiate learning for all students by providing help and support to those students who struggle and extended learning options to those more advanced students. A district that utilizes the power of on-line learning will be very successful because of this differentiation and the ability to offer courses that they couldn't before because of staffing and classroom space. I see a lot more student portfolio work as a culminating graduation expectation. These e-portfolios will contain artifacts of learning that allow a student to prove that they have the skills and abilities to thrive in their chosen field.

Monday, May 21, 2012

On-line learning week 4

I know that I have skipped week three - but I feel that I need more time to reflect on that topic in order to post effectively. Therefore I am going to move on to week 4 to talk about formative assessments. I'm not exactly sure what the author's point was to the article about using web2.0 tools for formative assessments. A formative assessment can only be successful if the teacher uses it properly. This has so much more to do with the teacher than the tool they are using. A blog can easily be as effective as a written journal if the teacher takes the time to comment and provide feedback. I have known many teachers who just mark down that the students turned in their notebook - how is this effective formative assessment? A good teacher will make use of the tools provided to give substantial feedback and allow their students to grow and improve. A teacher can use discussion posts, google-docs or blogs to evaluate and comment on writing. They can use clickers or google forms to get a quick sense on what the class understands (or doesn't) to determine whether or not they need to reteach or which concepts they need to review. Pixton could be used to evaluate understanding as well. Each of these tools can be revised by the students based on teacher feedback in order to improve.

On-line learning Week 2

Facilitating Online Learning Week 1 post

I love the convience of on-line learning. With 3 kids and a full time job I appreciate not having to spend the extra time commuting to/from class. When I was taking classes at Oshkosh over the last 2 years, I would regularly spend at least 2 hours a week in the car. This is time that could be much better spent:). The biggest drawback to me has been the classroom interaction. My library classes at Oshkosh contained most of the same students each term (similar to this cohort) and we became really close because of the chatting that takes place before class and during the breaks. We didn't have any group work, but I still feel closer to those people than I do to my current classmates. I also feel that students are more likely to participate when sitting in front of the instructor. I think most people find it much harder to stay quiet when the teacher is right there looking at you. Overall, on-line learning was the best fit for me at this point in time but I don't know if I would chooses it over face to face classes if my circumstances were different.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Stats By Any Other Name - Week 5

Okay - I'm almost caught up. I don't know why I find it so hard to keep up on the blog posts. It's not that I don't think about the class, and I certainly get my other work finished on time. I just seem to have some sort of mental block when it comes to actually typing these posts. I have the same problem with my other blog where I was supposed to write reviews of the books that I have been reading this year. I challenged myself to read 100 books. I have currently read 67, but if you looked at my blog you would think that I stalled at number 27 in September. I have read the books and I certainly have opinions on them, why does it seem to be so hard to complete that next step?

Anyway, about stats....This week we were looking at Google trends. I actually had a hard time with this assignment. For some reason it seems that google trends is getting blocked by my school's filtering system. I kept getting an error message every time I tried to do a search with google trends. Luckily my group members were able to share their screens with me on our google hangout so I could see what they were talking about. We were also supposed to look at a number of data resources. Talk about information overload...Most of these sites were full of information, some usful and some not, but were hard to search. It really felt like being buried in a sea of facts and figures (so much data, so little time). I found the information to be reliable, but I also found it hard to find specific data that might be helpful to me.