Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Journal 9: Global Perspectives

Global Perspectives by Robert B. Kozma

In this article, Kozma offers a compare and contrast model of traditional classrooms versus classrooms in which technology is effectively integrated into the curriculum. He also touches on the reality that other countries do not have the accessibility to resources such as computers that we have in the United States. He factors this in to his research, but explains that this issue is not simply about the wealth of the school. Rather, some schools with a lot of money and resources do not utilize them to the fullest extent, while those without much money may use their one computer extremely effectively. This was a very interesting point.

Q1: In my own experience, where did my schools fit in to this spectrum?

A1: I remember in elementary school we had at least two computers in our classroom. However, we rarely used them. Instead, they were a resource the teacher used as positive reinforcement for the two "problem children" in our class. If they behaved well that day, they were rewarded with an allotted amount of time on the computer. I'm sure the teacher could have found a way for the rest of her students to use the technology in an effective and useful manner.

Q2: How would I ensure the utilization of technology in my own classroom, whether or not our resources were limited?

A2: If I only had one computer to work with, perhaps I could have the students rotate turns using it. Maybe we would have a raffle for each assignment we do in class, and whoever won would be granted the opportunity to type out their assignment on the computer. Also, I could hook up that one computer to a projector so that I could show students how to accomplish certain tasks without needing a computer for each student. Then, throughout the day they could take turns attempting those tasks on the machine.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Journal 8: Problem-Solving Software, Equity, and the Allocation of Roles

Problem-Solving Software, Equity, and the Allocation of Roles by Jackie Stokes

Jackie Stokes touches on great strategies to enhance students' problem solving abilities. Through the use of problem-solving software, students can increase their own abilities while simultaneously learning how to work cooperatively in groups. Student reflections will allow the teacher to assess the effectiveness of the activity. Students can explain how decisions were made to clarify whether one or a few students dominated, or if the group worked well as a cooperative unit. In addition, students can show how conflicts were resolved within the group, allowing them to learn problem-solving strategies in group situations as well as in an academic scenario.

Q1: If the students are not working well in a group, how could I as a teacher help them to be more cooperative in a group dynamic?

A1: Perhaps I could give each student a designated position so that they are each responsible for a different part of the project. For example, one student could be the facilitator, making sure everyone has a voice and everyone is on task. Another student could be the recorder, listing any conflicts the group faced, or strategies they struggled with. If each student has a job, they will take more responsibility for their position while resisting the urge to take over someone else's job. Ultimately, the goal is that the group of individuals will work as a unit.

Q2: If there are conflicts within the group, how could they be resolved?

A2: Of course, I would have to assess where the real problem lies, but I would try to have the students resolve the conflict to the best of their ability before I got involved. This would teach them a valuable lesson about working together. Hopefully working through these issues on their own will help them work better together in the end.