Check out my blogroll to see the Blogs created by my classmates in EC&I 834 Spring session.

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Module 9

June 12, 2011

The new buzzword, both in curriculum theory as well as instruction principles and effective practices is “authenticity”. Given the changes which the new millennium is suggesting are critical for our students to learn, what are your thoughts on the relevance and applicability of WebQuests as a medium to foster and promote authentic learning?

Authentic learning is a loaded word within a loaded context. We are almost assuming that students will naturally acquire an ability to become authentic in their learning because we throw technology their way. The truth of the matter is that authenticity has been abound in education for years. It is how the materials are prepared and the expectations in which they are presented that in fact make them authentic. Do we as teachers dare tout ourselves as creating authentic tasks when in fact the authenticity lies in the process that must be driven by the student? Therefore, WebQuests are certainly one way in which students may experience authentic learning but it is not because it is in the form of a WebQuest, it lies in the journey that is guided by a skilled educator and an engaged learner.

Module 8

June 12, 2011

Would you agree or disagree that Jing screen captures might be the “ultimate realization” of the Web 2.0 medium? Why?

Hmmmm . . . Ultimate? I don’t know about ultimate but I think Jing may be close. I absolutely loved using this tool. The possibilities for interaction and collaboration appear endless. I am particularly intrigued with the use of Jing as our school division moves to a new reporting system called Power School. I can see schools using Jing to show parents how to access information using Power School. Having this access will be a very new concept – especially for the elementary population.
Students would love Jing for two reasons: it is easy and quick to use. Add a back channel and we just have the ultimate on our hands!!!

Module 6

June 12, 2011

One of the major drawbacks in regards to Qwikis was the difficulty in editing or adding to the information that was already there (or not!). So, using what you know now about Qwikis and Prezis, could you see ways in which you (or your students) could create your own Qwiki using Prezi? What would you suggest as a process?

Well, as I mentioned in my Qwiki post, I am not a huge fan. Therefore, I find it unlikely that I would share the Qwiki tool with my students for more than just a glance. I think that students would benefit from knowing Qwiki exists and that it could possibly be useful when combined with other resources of value and reliable content.
Now Prezi’s are a different thing!! The day after finishing my Prezi assignment I introduced the concept to a group of students that was I working with in my Learning Resource Teacher capacity. The students were finishing a reading comprehension task that their teacher had assigned and were interested in the stories they read but were dreading the process of question and answer to show their understanding. After checking with the teacher, I led the students through a series of mini lessons based on my limited knowledge of Prezi. They were hooked! Within 2 hours all of the students had created Prezi’s (of varying complexity) that depicted their understanding and showed true comprehension of what they had learned in class. The students were challenged and excited about their product and the teacher was pleased with the result. The difficulty was that our time was limited and of course the wanted to explore Prezi more. I guess if that is the only difficulty than life is pretty great!!

Module 4

June 12, 2011

“Qwiki: Thumbs up or thumbs down?”  Why? Let’s discuss the pros and cons of this online tool so we can make better informed choices when we decide to use it.

I am actually going to be the bad ass in all of this and give the Qwiki a thumbs down. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are in the world of wanting information and feedback at lightening fast pace. This does not mean that this is necessarily a good thing for everything. Sure when I posted on Facebook that my husband and I were expecting a baby boy it was wonderful to see 46 comments and 25 or so “likes” within a matter of a few hours. But does speed necessarily mean quality content?
I say no and this is exactly why I did not give Qwiki a thumbs up. I found information that was outdated and many mispronunciations. I also found it interesting that major facts were overshadowed by minor points of interest in some circumstances. I get it though; the whole idea is for people to work together to repair and make a better product. That being said, is more content equivalent to better quality? For me some of the Qwiki’s had more content but that did not necessarily create a better product. I think Qwiki has potential. I relate Qwiki to the student who writes a novel at age 10 where all the lines are double spaced, letters are in capitals and the plot is rather weak. There is a novel but how often would you want to read it? There is potential with some serious editing and revising and the impact of an amazing Language Arts teacher!

Xtranormal

May 27, 2011

Review the journal article  and reflect on the following questions: (1) What is the impact of videos on learning? and (2) What are the benefits and limitations of using videos for teaching?

The impact of videos on learning comes down to the simple premise of allowing an alternate avenue for which students can inquire, explore and express ideas and knowledge.  Videos in education have changed from being the filmstrip shown on the projector by the teacher to the film produced and directed by the student.  This power shift embraces engagement and encourages personal perspective and ownership of what is to be learned.  Video creation allows students opportunities to creatively express ideas using higher level thinking skill, as it requires students to think both artistically and logically.  The use of the internet allows the students to share and discuss their ideas with a broader audience.  If you limit the length of the video, you force students to think critically about what information is truly necessary to include, and this provides authenticity to the project.  The constructivist theory and approach, which is referred to on pg 16 of our reading, lends itself naturally to the art of student created video experiences. 

Videos can be useful when it is easier to demonstrate a concept than it is to describe the concept.  The vast amount of how-to-videos on YouTube is ample evidence.  It is much easier to learn how to reskin a drum by watching someone do it then it is to read about it or attend a lecture on it, for instance.  It also gives the students some control of their learning.  Videos also allow content to be viewed, as often as desired, whenever it is desired.  This makes it accessible to learners at their convenience, and allows learners to reabsorb content as often as necessary to gain understanding.  The learner can take more ownership of his/her own learning.

Having videos allows teachers to address many of the challenges face in the classroom with low reading levels and transient populations.  As students come and go, teachers can build a library of videos that can help demonstrate many skills for the students.  Students can access these tools at anytime upon return or as a skill may need to be refreshed.  This allows students to feel less like a burden as their return to the classroom is creates anxiety as they are embarrassed to ask the teacher for missed work, make times to meet to catch up on work, and for extra help because they missed school.  Some of the stress in this transition could be greatly alleviated if the student can control some of his/her own learning.

There are some challenges as videos can be time consuming to put together from shooting to editing.  Also many school divisions limit sights and accessibility to equipment and programs.  And like many forms of technology, as our reading pointed out, it is not beneficial to students if it is being used incorrectly.  Simply putting together a non-interactive video is the same as an hour-long lecture.  Students need to be able to interact with the video.  How you use technology is the most important piece of integrating it into the classroom.

Module 2

May 19, 2011

In what ways are Blogs consistent with Web 2.0 and 3.0 attributes and possibilities?

Blogging has become one of the most popular ways for people to communicate.  Whether it be in hosting and maintaining your own personal blog or micro-blogging using such platforms as Twitter, blogging is effective, efficient and let’s be honest, trendy!  I personally feel that is amazing to fathom the endless possibilities that travel along with blogging.  Just think of the audience that my 10 year old has compared to the audience available to myself at such an age.  The comparison seems rather silly. 

We have been transformed into creatures that crave and expect instant gratification and blogging soothes this appetite effectively.  We post and within moments can have feedback.  Imagine Facebook status updates for a moment.  How often have you posted a status update and within minutes your phone or computer signals a notification?  How many of us can wait until tomorrow to check what the notification is?  Not many.  We click rapidly to see what someone has said or if they “Like” our witty words.  We post to get response and we are successful with little to no wait time.  The gratification is quick and very rewarding to the point that it has become an expectation.

This brings me to my concern.  We know that the Web is changing and how it is utilized is part of that change.  How do educators work with students to embrace the change and also continue to teach and model digital responsibility?