Thursday, September 24, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
The book Schools That Learn by Peter Senge aims to capture the challenges of education. Education has become a concern in the United States. Schools are trying to fix these concerns by using strategies which may not be working. For example standardized testing, changing curriculum and classifying more students as Learning Disabled. These strategies don’t seem to be working over time. There needs to be a better way and better understanding of what children, schools and communities need to succeed. This book discussed a systematic change, better models and practices using
five learning disciplines of personal mastery, shared vision, mental models, team learning and systems thinking.
One of the disciplines I related to in Schools that Learn is Personal Mastery. I feel I am always trying to seek self improvement in all areas of my life. For example joining T.E.A.M. was to broaden my horizons as a teacher. It is important to set goals and try to reach them. Isn’t that what education is all about?
Shared Vision may be the most important of Senge's five disciplines It is bonding with people with a shared purpose and goal. Team learning encourages cooperation and interaction. It encourages sharing thoughts and their perspectives. I find it very rewarding and productive when I have brainstorming sessions with my peers. During these sessions are when my most creative ideas come out.
Senge feels that using technology during these sessions is not as valuable as meeting in person. Even though I find communicating through technology beneficial and convenient I agree with him. For myself, I find it more productive and easier to communicate in person. However, videoconferences or classroom to classroom conferencing is a valuable learning tool. Collaborative projects with classes from other schools, state, countries can be a wonderful experience for students and teachers.
After reading Schools That Learn I understand education is a multifaceted system of learning. It is not just the classroom but and intricate web of systems which facilitates the whole learning experience. Senge believes in order to be effective, solutions must be developed in each school and not by “specialists” who are out of touch with the individual school and outside of the classroom. I agree with that and feel communities should be involved in what is needed in their schools, their community. The school I am teaching in would benefit greatly if parents and community members were more involved. If we could get the school as a the heart of the community I feel there would be vast improvement in academics, camaraderie, and positive socialization.
Finally, Senge, quoting Stephen Brookfield, suggests when doing their own reflection, teachers (should) view their practice through four different lenses: their own, their students' eyes, their colleagues . . . and theoretical literature."
Monday, March 30, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
I absolutely feel using Web 2.0 tools in the classroom is beneficial for students and teachers. As teachers, our job is not just to present information to the students. We are responsible to teach and guide the students on how to to teach themselves. Also we need to prepare our students for the future. It is apparent the use of online web tools will be part of their future. David Warlick feels, “Accessing, processing, building with, and communicating that information is how we will all make our livings.”
Using wikis, blogs, del.ic.ious, RSS feeds, Glogster are some examples of free tools that can be used in the classroom. Now, it is not necessarily the tools themselves, but how we use them. These tools enable students to communicate with each other, have meaningful conversations with people they would never have meet.
I use many of these tools in my class. I couldn't imagine not having them. I taught for a couple of years without using technology at all. The use of technology and the accessibility to these Web 2.0 tools are enhanced my lessons and I feel I am preparing my students more effectively.
“You are your own best teacher”- Jimmy Buffet
Just like Thamus, Neil Postman feels when a problem is solved, more problems arrive. For example, the use of cars as a mode of transportation. The car has obviously solved many problems, however has caused problems as well. Pollution, traffic and have destroyed environmental landscapes. He believes all new technologies which has solved problems, will definitely introduce new and different problems. Many times these problems can not be predicted.
The implementation of technology has been a blessing and curse depending upon which way someone looks at it. My belief it has been a blessing, however, it has to be used the correct way. Teachers and students both must take responsibility to use these technologies appropriately and positively. Teachers need to use technology to enhance their lessons and not just throw computers in front of the students. Computers should be used as a tool for learning...not be used as the teacher.
During our conversation I talked about spell check. I have always been a weak speller and once I discovered spell check, I thought it was the greatest thing around. But I didn't start using spell check until college. I had years of practicing my spelling and using dictionaries. From my experience students depend upon spell check to much and have become lazy with there spelling. It is important for teachers to make sure students are able to spell and do not depend upon spell check. I feel the same away about calculators.. I have a classroom of students in middle school who do not know there multiplication table.
There is also the subject of online chatting. It is a great way to network and stay in touch with friends. I use this technology daily. However, students are starting to write how they type during chats or texting. THe use of LOL, OMG, Ur....instead of writing out words or phrases. Also children have gotten into sitituations and conversations with people or adults that are inappropriate. This is another example of a technology that is used for something positive has a negative attribute as well.
Monday, February 23, 2009
I am constantly searching online for a site or a game that complimets my lesson. Often I come across games and sites that use Flash. I have always been impressed by many of these games that other teachers have made. I have always wanted to learn how to make my own games for my students since there is always content I wish was included or omitted. The opportunity is now here where I can learn how to use Flash and utilize it in my classroom.
How would I use Flash in my classroom? I loved the Endangered Species Photo Mapo on the National Geographic website. I could use something like this when I teach the 14 colonies, French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars. I could create a map that has landmarks and pictures.
Another example of how I can use flash in the classroom is by using the technique found in the African Voices site. I would create an interactive timeline where kids could manipulate the pictures and match up with the dates that they learned about in Social Studies. One idea is matching up pictures with the proper event and date of the steps leading up to the Revolutionary War. (Stamp Act, Quartering Act, Sugar Act etc)
The Forgotten: The Armenian Genocide site gave me some ideas as well. I think that integrating video clips is an invaluable tool for the students. I would like to maybe have a site where there are different videos matched up to different parts of the body and explains how they work. Of course I would also like to have photos as well.
Exploring these sites that use Flash and really taking notice of this technique I am quite excited about the possibilities. Hopefully I will be a natural Flash master and my students will reap the benefits of my new technological skill.