Saturday, February 12, 2011

Homework Assignment....

1. View the following YouTube: ( React to what you see and hear by using the lead-in sentence: After viewing this video, I think……..

After viewing this video, I think that I still feel the way I did when I encountered others similar to it: I do not have the classroom confidence I think I need in order to do all the things in my classroom I think I should. As a teacher, I feel compelled to teach my students to use the technologies that we have in the real world, not just the ones that have been created specifically for the classroom. However, not all of my students have access to that kind of technology. As a teacher I feel that I have a responsibility to teach my students to be thinkers, who can apply, analyze and evaluate. As a teacher, I feel that I have a responsibility to teach my students to be doers who can create, build and reconstruct things in new ways. As a teacher, I KNOW that I have a responsibility to teach my students to understand language, symbols and meanings in ways that some poeple don't even consider. But if I know that I have to do these things, why am I teaching my students the material on a test?

2. Post a YouTube or Podcast link on your blog that you could integrate into a lesson you might teach in your licensure area. Explain in detail how you would use the video and what you would have the students do.

Here's some weird science for you! Now, did you see that too?!?! The bottle froze!!! No explosion, no twisted plastic sides, just solid!!!
In science we are constantly evaluating the way things work and why they work the way they do.
For this lesson, I would do one of two things:
Lesson A:
Have the students use this as a jumping into media point, I'd post the video to the class blog and have a contest to see who could come up with the coolest science video of their own. Then the students would write a paper arguing for the one they thought was best and why.
Lesson B:
We would do a joint lesson with the chemistry class on freezing. It's pretty cool the things that they can do in a chemistry lab. Together with the chemistry class we would investigate the laws of freezing and boiling and whether stirring and moving those liquids can slow down or speed up those mechanisms.

3. Go to: and review this white paper about youth and their use of digital technologies and the implications for educators. Combine the information from this site with the site below (number 4) to respond to: “How does this information inform your teaching? What are steps that you need to take to have your classroom an engaging learning environment?”

In attempting to create an engaging learning environment for my students it is important that I see them as true people first and foremost. Then, as an educator, helping them to find ways to engage the material in a digital way; to analyze how others have presented the material, including myself, and to consider it before deciding how best to move forward with that information. I have to wonder, as we move more forcefully in the digital world, I can't help but wonder what this may mean for the actual literacy abilities and levels of students. In the texting community students learn to write symbols and "text shorthand" for the words, phrases, even sentences that they are communicating to each other. What does this mean for the future of language? How will my students 10 years from now write? And honestly, if we are so worried about our students being technologically savvy, why are we not also considering ways to make them environmentally savvy as well?

Each week, my students and I go on netflix and search through the recently uploaded documentaries. We watch 20 minutes, sometimes more and have adiscussion about what we see. Two weeks ago we watched a video called "No Impact Man". It was about a man and his family who, over hte course of a year, went from being major consumers to having literally no impact on the environment. They did not eat take-out, they moved all their mail to digital, they did not have electricity, they did not use paper products, they recycled, they composted, so on and so forth farther than most could imagine. My students and I had a genuine discussion about how this connected to our matierla, and what it meant for htis family to do this, and whether or  not any of my students could do this too. And while this is a great little anecdote, I can't help but wonder, "10 years from now will my students be able to do this?" If I were to send this video out as a link, and then tell my students to meet me in a chat room and share with everyone on a discussion, would I understand what they typed to me? I learned to type on a typewritter. I was pretty fast. However, now I am on a laptop computer, sitting on my bed, but I could be anywhere I want! In 10 years will my students even be in a classroom with me?

As a Department, my science team has started a blog where we share information, ideas and lessons, it is our place to share. As we move forward, I can only see that I will have to become more confident that I know what I am doing so I can start injecting more into the lessons. Right now it is quite daunting to try and make sure that I am teaching the kids all the information they are supposed to have. I am not even sure that i do that well. In the future I would like to include in my lessons, blogs, wikis, linkys, podcasts, youtube videos, etcdc and I'd love for all of it to be made by my students. I would love for all of my students to have a computer at home and one at school, even if they are not hte same one.  When you start a new job, no one says, "here's a desk, now go get all your own supplies and a computer, we just provide the desk and the chair." Why can't high school be more like the real world? Why is it such a huge thing to get a computer in the classroom for each of hthe kids? One of the biggest impedimnets to teaching is that there is money involved. When business people found out there was money involved, they got involved too. Now there are a LOT of cooks in the kitchen. But I"M THE CHEF! what I do is what matters!

So this is my picture of what I think the best technological digital version of my science classroom is:
I would like for all of my students to sit down at a desk each day with the paper they need, and something to write with. I would like for them to each have an ipad. (right now my students sit in groups) So, I would like for each group to have a digital microscope. I would like for my room to be wireless. Next, we will be digitally linked to every site in the world that I need access to, without me having to know whow to hack my way through a firewall designed to keep kids from seeing material that a beauracrat has decided is inappropriate without actually looking at the site. Then, they will all be able to digitally share in a privately hosted blog forum. We can chat when they are at home, they can send instant messages to me during class. They will take all their tests online, turn in all their homework and their inclass handwritten notes, will only be necessary when they want to make a note to find something at home.

4. Go to: This site predicts what learning will be like in 2020. React to what you learn and then describe the role of a licensed teacher, such as yourself, if learning in 2020 reflects what is at this website. Be sure and explore the future forces (a series of colored bars at the top right).

Seriously, if you look at nothing else, this is the site to look at! This website tries to explain some of the major changes that are about to take place over the next 10 yeras in ducation. it is incredible to me how easily they delinate the changes in technology, classroom education and the environment into such a symbiotic relationship of change! We all know that fossil fuels are not forever. What is unique about the American way of life is that it is not meant to last! We create suburbs in the 1940s and 50s as a way of encouraging soldiers coming home from war to get back into the family way, to continue in the AMERICAN WAY, unfortunately, that is a way of consumerism and it is not designed to last. At the rate we are going we will run out of so much so quickly that my children will experience life in a way I have never even considered.
As an educator it is important that I teach my students how to use the information we are gaining to become successful and contributing members of our future society. They must learn how to find information  and knowledge in new ways and to share that information with each other and others around the world in new ways.
For an educator, this is all a very daunting task! My only hope is that as I learn and grow as an educator, I become more capable of showing my students how to do this. I'm honestly hoping this is something like a 12 step program, "once you know that you need to do something and acknowledge it, actually doing it is the easy part...". Well, here's hoping!

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