Monday, March 19, 2012

Tool 11

What are your favorite tools you now have in your personal technology toolbox? Briefly describe a particular activity that you will plan for your students using at least one of these new tools.
We've all heard, "Oh, there are some great apps for teaching"; however, they are especially hard to find for the upper-level, advanced-placement English work that we do!  Yet, I am particularly impressed with GoogleDocs.  While not revolutionary (some of you more experienced techies are rolling your eyes, thinking "How 2.0!"), it does seem to have the most immediate practical application for classroom use. 

2. How have you transformed your thinking about the learning that will take place in your classroom? How has your vision for your classroom changed? Are you going to need to make any changes to your classroom to accommodate the 21st Century learner?
I've always considered myself a fairly progressive teacher, but the 11 tools initiative challenges that perception.  I'm afraid that the biggest change I need to make is within myself, being more open to the possibilities of technology applications. 

3. Were there any unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
Maybe this is irrelevant to the discussion at hand, but I was surprised by my students' response to the ipads in the classroom.  I thought they would be all gung-ho about them, but their collective disdain for the cost of the ipads and safes in which to store them really shocked me.  One young man quipped that he would rather have bathroom doors than ipads.  I tried to explain that the money comes from different sources, etc, but I'm afraid I ended up sounding like an aging beaurocrat defending a dying institutuion.  I always thought that kids would do anything if it involved a computer, but it seems like comfort and security win every time!

Tool 10

Discuss at least three things you would want to make sure your students understand about being good digital citizens.
1.   I want my students to be aware of the dangers of the internet -- not just lurkers, pedophiles, and bullies -- but the dangers of misinformation. 
2.  I want my students to understand that the internet is not a true/false proposition.  They can't just trust some piece of information because they found it in cyberspace.  As quoted from the "Cool Cat Teacher" blog:  Stephen Downes says, "Indeed, a person who reads a website and concludes that it's true, no matter what it says, is dangerously illiterate."
3.  I want my students to appreciate that illiteracy (or having just enough knowledge to be dangerous), is no better than having no knowledge at all. 
2. Share at least one of the resources mentioned above or on the Ed Tech website that you plan to use instructionally.
Though I can't get it to copy/paste into this blog post, I would present CoolCat Teacher's matrix of digital citizenship to my students, disussing the different aspects and areas.  Cetainly, personal safety would be a starting place; however, I want my students to understand the other important aspects (literacy, ettiquette, learning strategies) of the topic.
3.  To combat those ills, I plan on following the advice of David Warlick, who wrote: "Instead of starting with a web page, displayed on the whiteboard, they [teachers] should start with Google, demonstrate how they found the page, the considerations and decisions they applied to select that page, and include in the presentation, the evidence that what's being presented is valuable...When we model authority, we shouldn't be surprised when students look for authority in every piece of information."  For one of the Library2play initiatives, I made a video detailing how to search for and examine credible sources.  I'll try to post a link to it...


4. Explain briefly how you plan to share the idea of digital citizenship with your parents. That's a good question!  I think that parents, like their children, hae been lulled into thiking that the greatest dangers of the internet involve people who would compromise the safety of their children; however, I can't think of a greater danger than allowing someone or something unlimited access to my child's impressionable mind. 
Remember the Alan November presentation when he taught us how to back check the owner of a website?  Something like  We were all shocked to see a Martin Luther King website operated by a facist hate group that could potentially color our children's perceptions of a man and his legacy!  I think that parents would be suprpised by the responsibilities of the internet beyond the basic safety issues!  Yeah, they've heard of, but there are greater dangers than urban myths lurking out in cyberspace!

Tool 9

Why do you think it is important to tie the technology to the objective?
Okay, this is a question that I struggle with!  I don't question it to be militant -- I'm not "mad" like some of my peers--,and I'm not some Luddite who shuns technology, but why do we need to tie technology to our educational objectives?  The dinosaur inside of me aks, "Didn't we teach for hundred of years without the benefit of (insert your favorite Idevice here)?"; however, the more contemporary part of my brain recognizes that technology is not just a fad that will pass, that our world becomes more integrated and interconnected each and every day, and that advancement has a place in my classroom.  I guess that my frustration (perhaps better said, fear), is that I don't know enough about said technological advances to purposefully and appropriately utilize them in my classroom! 

Tool 8

After watching the videos/tutorials, list two to three things you learned about the device(s) that will be in your classroom this fall.
From watching the videos, I learned about the basics of setting up an Itunes account for district use, etc., but more importantly, I learned about multitasking, about creating shortcuts, keyboard layouts, shortcuts, having airplay enabled, and about the "find my ipad" feature.   I would like to add though, as a nod to our technology department, that the Ipad training was much better - much more informative-- than watching the videos.  The videos are expedient, but I still like to be taught by a human. 

How do you plan to manage the device(s) in your classroom? Do you have ideas/suggestions that others may find useful?
As far as managing the devices, I'd like to talk to some folks who are currently using the ipads in their classrooms.  The experience of others is invaluable, I think.  Along those same lines, I am reminded of the very wise words of one of MHS's former teachers, who encouraged me to give students the freedom to choose, to participate in decision making, etc.  Maybe the class could establish guidelines for fair and acceptable use?