Thursday, March 26, 2009

Journal 7: Teaching in the One-to-One Classroom

Teaching in the One-to-One Classroom by Alice Owen, Sam Farsaii, Gerald Knezek and Rhonda Christensen

In this article, the authors stress the importance of "letting go" of old teaching models. The "stand and deliver" method of the past will no longer prove effective in this day and age where technology is utilized in the classroom. If every student has a laptop, this type of instruction will render a meaningless state, prompting us as educators to move on to a more differentiated instruction. Through an instructional strategy of guiding and facilitating student learning, we can open the door to a new style of learning for students, allowing for further growth and engagement in the classroom.

Q1: If I worked at a school with less funding, how would I get my students lap tops so that they too could share in this one-to-one style classroom?

A1: Perhaps I could arrange fundraisers through the district, or even write to a computer company about the importance of computers in the classroom. Maybe with statistics to back up my plea, donors would feel inclined to help broaden the learning scope of today's youth. Hopefully, the government will stop cutting funding for schools and teachers, but until then I hope some of my other ideas would warrant positive results.

Q2: How will I alter my teaching to allow for a one-to-one classroom to thrive?

A2: As the article suggested, I would focus more on group work rather than direct teaching. This way, students are becoming more independent in their learning, but are also able to share ideas and strategies with classmates. This will help increase the diversity of concepts in the classroom, as well as teach students how to work cooperatively and respectfully in a group.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Journal 6: Grow Your Personal Learning Network

Grow Your Personal Learning Network by David Warlick

PLNs or personal learning networks are a great way to get people connected. Originally, I thought of this type of network as a social connect, joining people from all over the country in an effort for people to have their voices heard, or just to keep in touch with faraway friends. However, I never imagined PLNs could be such a great informative tool. Educators can share lesson plans, ideas. We can discuss issues with teachers on the other side of the country, or even in other countries for that matter. I will certainly look at PLNs as a tool I can use as a future teacher, rather than simply a site where people post pictures of themselves from the previous weekend. :)

Q1: How could I utilize PLNs as a teacher?

A1: As a new teacher, PLNs would be a great way for me to get in touch with more experienced teachers. Perhaps I'd be introduced to lesson plans, or ideas of how to better manage my classroom. Any tips I could find would definitely help jumpstart my teaching career.

Q2: Would PLNs be a good tool for students as well?

A2: As a current student, I definitely think PLNs would be a great educational tool for students as well as teachers. These networks could offer students a different point of view on an issue, or even ideas for a future project. Whatever the case may be, it seems like getting in touch with people we wouldn't normally have access to is always a new and exciting advancement in the world of technology.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Journal 5: Let High Standards Drive Creativity and Innovation

Let High Standards Drive Creativity and Innovation by Anita McAnear

In this article, Anita McAnear makes a very interesting connection between businesses and schools. She explains that the standards and regulations in business, although not a favorite of the companies involved, actually create a competitive atmosphere driven by a "positive cycle of creativity, innovation, and growth." She then makes the connection to educators and students. I love her idea of creative teams of teachers working together to "improve their practice and learning for students."

Q1: If teams of teachers and administrators did come together to establish standards, how would they assess whether these goals are realistically attainable by students?

A1: Perhaps teachers could try out these standards on students and adjust them based on the students' performance. If the standards are too low, they could be altered. If they seem too high, maybe the teachers and administrators could explore creative and innovative ways to reach the students with the difficult information through "online tools and resources."

Q2: Are standardized tests the best and only way to assess whether students are meeting the standards and benchmarks set in place?

A2: I don't think so. I don't necessarily have a solution, but maybe projects and other types of assessments could be utilized in order to assess students of various learning styles. I know with learning disabled students, often it is difficult to read and take a timed test. Perhaps they know the material, but are unable to display their knowledge simply because a standardized test doesn't allow them to present their mastery in the most efficient way possible. Hopefully, through a variety of assessments, teachers will have a better idea of how much their students are learning, and whether or not they are truly understanding the material and meeting the standards.