This chapter brings up some very important issues:
· the vulnerability our digital natives have to online predation and harassment
· the ethics of posting and reposting information in the digital world
· the importance of clearly defined “acceptable use” policies for technology in the classroom
· the role of adult involvement in keeping our students safe when using the internet.
However, I agree with my classmate Lisa, the chapter is incomplete, and needed to include a section dealing with the importance of communicating to the students what it means to publish something on the web. Our students need to understand the implications behind the fact that “anything they put on the web is viewable (and therefore accessible and distributable) by anyone, and can very difficult to delete.”
Additionally, I too would have liked to see more emphasis on the importance of teaching students how to use their judgment in analyzing the validity of the information they find online. The subject was touched upon in David Warlick’s “Student and Teacher Information Code of Ethics”, under the heading “Seek Truth and Express It”, but then it was not brought up again.
In fact, there were four sections in Warwick’s Information Code of Ethics:
1. Seek Truth and Report It
2. Minimize Harm
3. Act Independently
4. Be Accountable
and after reading it, I felt that all four sections were worth looking at in greater detail. So much so that I was inspired to check out his techLEARNING blog to see if I could find more about his Code of Ethics.
The first thing I discovered was that the www.techlearning.com site is not very user friendly- lots of pop-up advertisements and a poor search engine, but when I google searched Mr. Warlick by name I hit paydirt.
I found that his Student and Teacher Information code of Ethics was adapted from the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalism, which takes the four sections and runs with them.
I also found that that David Warwick has written a book called Redefining Literacy in the 21st Century.
Additionally I found that he is the author of many blogs. One is a wordpress blog which links to his professional role as a speaker on technology and education: http://davidwarlick.com/wordpress Another is more causual with the title 2 Cents and which he describes as ” the observations, experiences, half-baked and fully baked ideas of an 35 year vagabond educator:
http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/?page_id=1271All of this means that ultimately I found the information in this chapter to be very rich indeed, even if I did need to do a little digging to find the gold.
Another somewhat informative but rather uninspiring chapter from Web 2.0. Okay, I don’t mean to be difficult, and I admit that I have pretty high standards, having already read and enjoyed Cathy Davidson’s Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science with Transform School and Business for the 21st Century. However I really don’t think that this chapter does a good job answering the question: “What do these new technologies mean for our schools?” let alone answer the question posed on page 177 “What should we expect from our new schools?”
I guess the problem is I am really an advocate for educational reform. I am concerned by what a decade-plus of “No Child Left Behind” has done to our classrooms, and do not see the majority of the classrooms of the 21st century meeting the needs of the students of the 21st century. Instead I am afraid that, as Davidson says so eloquently in Now You See It ,”Our standardized education not only bores kids but prepares them for jobs that no longer exist as they once did.” ( pg. 81) And so when I read a chapter called, “New Schools”, I have high expectations, and even higher hopes.
To me the most interesting part of the Web 2.0 chapter was Jeff Utrecht’s very short piece, “Creators in the Classroom” which advocated for educators embracing and harnessing the power of the social web as an educational tool, and David Warlick’s “Learning from Games” which listed the “elements of the video game experience that makes it both compelling and instructionally potent.” Still even here, I think Davidson says it better with “Games work so well and are so infinitely appealing because they reinforce the idea that the more we know, the better the game is.” (p
So really, my reflections on this chapter come down to this: if you are interested in envisioning (or even better creating) a 21st century classroom, you should start by reading Cathy Davidson’s book.
I definitely found this chapter to be less informative than the previous chapters in this same book… in fact for much of this chapter my main response was “of course.” I mean, yes, multi-media is going to be beneficial for teaching ESL students, and yes again in general terms “students with disabilities have a greater need for accessing technology than their non-disabled peers,” . I also agree that the inverted classroom idea of having the students listen to the lectures online- at home- and then come to class to get instructional help with the homework is inspired and has real possibility to transform education as we know it.
Then when it did start introducing new ideas, it gave me very little more than enough interest to whet my appetite. For instance, I would have liked more information about Graham Stanley’s idea of using podcasts for creating interactive listening mazes. However, although the book mentioned him and his mazes, it then went on to discuss something else without even giving the reader a link to Stanley’s Blog about them. (Of course the wonderful thing about the internet is a quick search led me straight to it)
For me, the most exciting part of this chapter was the idea of “authentic assessment” and of how the technology of web 2.0 is creating opportunities for creating electronic portfolios which could be used not only for “assessment OF learning” but also as “assessment FOR learning”. As an advocate for mastery-based learning these ideas were quite intriguing to me, and yet again although the chapter dedicated many pages to the idea (as opposed to the one paragraph given to interactive listening mazes) I was still left wanting more.
However, I will give it this; the book did give me hints of places to go. For one, it mentioned the website of ELGG which is described as social network software for education. However the site they sent me to www.elgg.org was rather opaque, and again it took a web search to find this article in ReadWrite where the authors of Elgg are interviewed , for me to even begin to understand what Elgg was.
Additionally this chapter named Henry Tuttle and Helen Barrett as researchers who are looking at how educators and students can use common software and web 2.0 tools to create electronic portfolios which support authentic assessment “of” and “for” learning. Still in Tuttle’s case there was no information on where to go to find out more. While in Barrett’s case the book did provide some sites to go for more information,however these were in the references section as opposed to the main text.
So, while this chapter did inspire me to ask some questions like:
How can I learn more about authentic assessments?
And, how can social network software be used to create “a truly learner centric environment”?
It did not give me enough information about any of the subjects I was interested in to create any sort of thoughtful response.
My Response to the Reading:
This chapter was filled with incredible examples of how tech-savvy educators are using web 2.0 tools to enhance learning in and out of their classrooms. Between desktop tools and web 2.0 tools there has been a virtual explosion of creative tools that can be used to “promote an environment that supports, sustains, and even requires a pedagogical approach that includes inquiry, creativity and full integration of technology.” Reading about these tools and the people who are using them well was quite inspiring. At the same time, the whole subject is pretty overwhelming. First there is just dealing with the amount of new information technologies there are out there. Then there are the cultural/philosophical implications of the new paradigm. I have to say that as a parent and an educator I have many conflicting thoughts about the idea that our children are digital natives in a world where the internet is a dual reality overlaying our physical reality.
As an educator, I have been intrigued by the many new tools out there for synthesizing information and creating new ways of sharing the results of our learning. Then there is the amazing amount of information available to us, literally at our fingertips. How easy it is to model the idea of being a “life-long learner.” Yet, as a digital immigrant who is just bumbling thru the digital world speaking my own form of “digital-pidgin” I have been intimidated by the amount of new technologies there are to learn, and the idea that as soon as I master one, I discover it is obsolete.
As a parent I am also intensely aware of the addictive quality of the digital world. With online games coming out fast and fierce, many of them free or available for a pittance, our children have a constant source of new stimulation- they can be assured of a “cognitive orgasm” whenever they turn their screens on. Then with the development of multi-player games and social media there is now a party in their computer 24-7.
Yet I am also aware of how this digital reality has opened up new worlds of possibility for my children. They are able to use complex tools to create sophisticated products that would be totally beyond their ability to create without them. They are also able to use the internet to connect with their existing friends in new ways and develop new friendships based on common interests with people they would otherwise have no contact with.
However, these new digital opportunities create a real burden of responsibiltiy for the parents. Many of my friends refer to the social/computer game aspect of the digital world as digital crack. And I admit that for a time I felt that way too. You can certainly find numerous articles telling of people who literally game themselves to death- forgetting to sleep or eat while indulging in their obsession. Stories that are disturbingly reminiscent of the research that showed lab rats forgoing food for cocaine. However over time I have developed a more nuanced understanding of the situation, realizing that a better metaphor than "digital crack" would be “digital glucose”.
Glucose in its pure form is known as white sugar, and is the substance at the root of the concept of being a “sugar addict”. Indeed as I write this, both the World Health Organization, and the American Heart Association are working to educate the public about the health dangers of consuming too much of it. At the same time glucose is the only sugar that feeds the brain. In fact while glucose is also used as an energy source for other cells, our brain uses 60 % of the available glucose in our body. It is the one nutritional substance that is necessary for keeping our brain alive. So while there are indeed a variety of health problems associated with the over-consumption of glucose (especially in certain forms such as processed sugar) one could never create a convincing argument that it is something that should not be consumed in any form.
I believe the same is true for the digital world. Yes, it is possible to over-consume digital experiences. And yes, there are some forms of digital experiences that are more nutritious than others. But our children ARE digital natives growing up in an increasingly digital world and asking them to “Just Say NO” digital pleasures as if they were equivalent to illegal drugs or pre-marital sex will not allow them to become the digitally-literate digitally-savvy consumers that they need to be to survive and thrive in the 21st century. What WILL help them develop into those digitally-literate tech-savvy adults that we hope they will become is for digitally-literate tech-savvy teachers to provide opportunities for them to use these new technical tools to integrate inquiry and creativity into their lives both in and out of the classroom.
My Response to the Reading:
Apart from the impulse to go and spend hours playing with all the cool web tools (which I admit I had to do some of...) this chapter left me with an awareness of how much information processing our children/students are doing on the internet, and wondering whether anyone has given much thought about how to teach them efficient or even effective ways to manage the storage / digital filing of the information they want to be able to access again at a later date. I had the realization that when all the information in the world is available at the tips of your fingers, skills for memorizing information are not as important as skills for managing information.
I know that the amount of information processing/storing that I am doing on my computer is taxing my organization abilities. I started creating documents and files, as well as bookmarking sites, with no real over-arching plan about how I would find the information in the future. This has led to a fairly complicated and not very intuitive filing system. It also has led to many frustrated sessions of trying to figure out where exactly I have saved something and the discovery that my computers "find" program is not very good at finding things either! I certainly would benefit from taking some time to develop an organized file system of how best to store information within each of the various places I have the ability to store information. And then take the time to apply it to the information I have already saved.
For Web-based data I was just about to start exploring MicroSoft's OneNote- but as I am realizing the benefit of having a web-based storage system for web sites, OneNote is not looking so good. I also have begun to explore Pinterest..but am not in love with it.
My question for the class is: What tools have they used to developed their digital information filing system? And do they have any resources for teaching students how to organize information?
My Notes From the Reading:
www.think.com an online learning community run by Oracle's Education Foundation.
Think.com turns students into multimedia authors who use websites and interactive tools to collaborate on projects a, build knowledge together and publish their ideas.
Projects are organized into topic categories that align with the ThinkQuest Library (www.thinkquest.org/library/).
Accounts are free but only schools can join. Teachers assign student accounts.
A teacher's guide to google products such as Web Search, Earth, Book Search, Maps, Video, Sketch Up, Calendar, Picasa, and more.
Open-Source Educational Software
A multi-level model of classical genetics known as "Dragon Genetics" which allows students to explore the mythical gentics of dragons as a way of discovering all the major forms of genetics.
A special kind of model-building programming language like Logo. It can be used to create interesting modles of systems in mathematics, science, and social science. These modles allinvolve giving simple rules to an "agent" and when there are lots of these agents, the sytem as a whole sometimes has some unexpected "emergent " behavior.
StarLogo TNG is The Next Generation of StarLogo modeling and simulation software. While this version holds true to the premise of StarLogo as a tool to create and understand simulations of complex systems, it also brings with it several advances - 3D graphics and sound, a blocks-based programming interface, and keyboard input - that make it a great tool for programming educational video games.
Notes from the Reading:
21st Century Students:
*are not the student our educational system was designed to teach
*have not just changed incrementally from those of the past...they have changed radically
*represent the first generations to grow up with this new technology
*think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors
*are all "native speakers" of the digital language of computers, video games, and the Internet.
My Response to the Reading:
21st Century Teachers in turn need to create a sustainable community of learning by teaching their students the skills to analyze and synthesis information from divergent sources into a coherent relevant whole. They need to encourage a non-heirarchical spirit of cooperation and collaboration. They need to create classroom environments that allow students to add their strengths to the group in order to create a whole that is greater than its parts, so that their students will be ready to work in the 21st century workplace.
I was talking to a friend about the idea that our kids are digital natives while we are digital immigrants, and she directed me to a piece of writing with the title, "We, the Web Kids".
I wanted to share it with the class, but it felt to important be merely added to the "Stuff to Share" page. So I decided to give it a page entirely of its own. To read it, click on the page "Manifesto for the Digital Age"
I also highly recommend the book:
Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21st Century by Cathy N. Davidson
To me the most insightful part of the entire chapter was when they answered the question "How do children get information?" with the sentence: Students have always been social. I think the Web Kids of the digital manifesto would totally agree, they have learned what they know about new technologies by using them to socialize in some form- creating things to share. They do not read manuals but learn by watching each other and asking questions until they are ready to apply what they have learned. Then they learn more and become more "accomplished" as they use the technology to accomplish their social ends.
Notes from the Reading:
Understanding Learning- Bloom's Taxonomy was updated in 2001 by a team of cognitive psychologists:
Combining the idea of the cognitive processes used to manipulate or work with information with the idea that there are different types of knowledge Anderson and Krathwohl developed a two-dimension taxonomy of learning.
1- Factual Knowledge: elementary knowledge of an subject including terminology and knowledge of details and elements.
2- Conceptual (declarative) Knowledge:
an understanding of the interrelationships among the basic elements within a larger structure (concepts) that enables them to function together.
3-Procedural Knowledge: an understanding of how to do something, methods of inquiry, and criteria for using skills, techniques, algorithms and methods.
4-Meta-cognitive Knowledge: is an understading of cognition in general as well as awareness and knowledge of one's own cognition.
The revision Bloom's Taxonomy also changed the labels from nouns to verbs and, more importantly switched level 4 with level 5 making Creating a higher level than Evaluating:
So Bloom's Tax. version 1.0
Level 1 Knowledge
Level 2 Comprehension
Level 3 Application
Level 4 Synthesis
Level 5 Evaluation
Lead to Bloom's Tax version 2.0
Level 1 Remembering
Level 2 Understanding
Level 3 Applying
Level 4 Evaluating
Level 5 Creating
My Response to the Reading:
I love the change in Bloom's taxonomy from nouns to verbs!
I also wonder at the cultural bias that lead to Bloom placing Evaluation above Synthesis, and the 2.0 version to value Creating over Evaluating.
Notes on the Reading:
Constructivism= views learning as a process in which the learner activiely constructs new knowledge based on current and past knowledge
Project Based Learning= a constructivist approach that encourages learning in depth by allowing students to use inquiry-based methods to engage with issues that are rich, real, and relelvant to their lives.
Connectivism= an approach to learning that considers technology a key factor.