Unlike Sesame Street

Our assignment this week was to discuss Neil Postman statement, “…We now know that “Sesame Street” encourages children to love school only if school is like “Sesame Street.” Ah, Sesame Street, a place where learning occurred and the learner didn’t even know it was happening.  

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I truly sat and thought about this for a period of time.  Technology gives the ability to go beyond the traditional sense of learning.  Our students are often learning without even knowing they are doing it as were the youngsters who watched Sesame Street. Hours spent in front of the t.v. was thought okay by parents as children were learning “good” lessons that included a lot of heart.  Having said that, the produces of Sesame Street were able to present a lesson and have that lesson bridge any concepts of ethnicity, religion or gender. Now, students spend hours in front of a device, but the lessons being learnt are not always as courteous or respectful.  Parents  and teachers have a much harder time controlling what their child/student is being exposed to.  Lessons of bigotry and racism are as easily to access as a math lesson or learning comprehension exercise.

There is another type of teaching that, in my opinion, has to go hand-in-hand with the use of technology.  Having students learn their own value system and what they feel is true to their being.  Students have to be taught and learn how to filter all of the information that is available with technology and find what is important and relevant.  The producers of Sesame Street did a great job for generations of children, but as we move further into the 21st century the students will have to take ownership of this element.

In our suggested readings and as Kyle mentions the SAMR model into his blog, I am reminded as to my purpose in using technology. In Classroom AV: what should you consider?  we are being reminded that “…we do not use technology simply for technology’s sake; there are some times where it isn’t appropriate. We always begin with considering our teaching and learning programme, identifying the knowledge, skills, and understanding the children’s needs.”

With my training as a Connected Educator, I think I am walking a line between M and R in the daily use of technology with my class.  The goal is to keep learning.

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My Thoughts on Coding and Extensions

I became a coder today.  Last year, my students participated in an Hour of Code.  This was lead by another teacher and I had no real clue as to what they did that day. I really wish I had had the opportunity to sit with them so that all of this would not be so new to me. I know that I spent time as a high school student in our computer lab writing computer programs, but it was far different from this. It looked more like a diagram made from a flow chart template such as this. I enjoyed the Logo emulator.  I think it was very helpful for me to visually see and practice how complex it can be to make something simple run.  A lot of bits and pieces go into a successful movement.  I am often frustrated with my lack of knowledge in the workings of my computer and the programs or applications I try to use.  Building on my knowledge and understandings relates to Papert’s theory of constructionism; experimenting with what I know and scaffolding from that knowledge. Learning in this format gives me the experience to assist my students in learning in an experiential way. Like Adam, I found time escape me and had to kick back to reality and get some work done!

Currently, I do not use any of the Chrome extensions listed.  I looked at a number of them and do not feel that I would put them to use in my teaching.  Amy posted a great chart of a few of the extensions and I agree with her views on Distraction Free Youtube (DF Youtube) and Grammarly

There are so many advertisements that having a filter is to reduce the likelihood of an inappropriate endorsement would be a worthwhile extension.   DF Youtube is something that I will further investigate.  Grammarly could also lead to some further investigation. My students use Office 365 and OneNote, applications that correct spelling and grammar.  Is there need for another?

OneNote is a tool that I am currently using for everything.  My students and I are connected at all times.  Their assignments are posted in our Content Library and with the help of the cloud, I am able to watch their progress, mark their assignment and give them feedback.  I am fully enjoying learning how to use this tool to its fullest capacity.

 

 

Reflection on Learning Theories

 

As I reviewed the theories of knowledge I found myself self-reflecting… a lot.  Having such a wide range of teaching experiences, I was questioning how much my teaching and learning philosophy has changed over the course of my career. There are constant changes in teaching, more research or resources to help us find the best learning options for our students. Even this week, as I changed my classroom to flexible seating to help meet the needs of differentiated instruction, I found myself evolving with this new information.

 

I would say that my philosophy has changed in order that I do whatever each of my students needs in order for them to be successful. This fits with, “Which theory is the most effective in fostering mastery of specific tasks by specific learners?” When I taught 3rd grade 15 years ago, I would say I had a much more constructivist approach to teaching.  Grade 3’s have such limited experiences, providing opportunity for them to create meaning from learning opportunities seemed, to me, to fit that grade level.  Now, teaching grade 7, I think I may take a more cognitive approach. I work to making learning meaningful and having my students make connections.

What would be wrong with being a little bit of everything? I consider myself a life-long

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learner and know that I learn different things in different ways.  Why would my students be any different?   I do know that technology has changed how I teach.  It has changed how everyone learns.  Having the opportunity to connect to others on so many different level has changed all of us.  We have extended our community of learning to not only outside our classrooms, but outside of our country.  This gives my students and me a whole world to explore.  And I am up for the challenge!

 

Educational Technology: My Impressions

Hmmm, initially my thoughts on technology were how are we incorporating the use of computers into our classroom and how can my students use them other then to word process.  These were my thoughts prior to 2007 when I was appointed a “Smart teacher” and a Smartboard was installed into my classroom.  Since that time, I have been on a technology roller coaster.

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Technology itself has evolved immensely since my education began.  Teachers wrote on chalkboards, used overheads or filmstrip projectors to enhance presentation and a gestetner was utilized to duplicate handouts for students.  Later photocopiers were commonplace and computer labs were put into our high schools.  My computer class consisted of writing programming using a flow chart template.  I really can’t remember what happened to the work after that!

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Times are definitely changing. I think the most important thing to remember is we teach children.  How to engage my students in learning and problem solving opportunities as to prepare them for the changes of the future is my goal. George Couros (2015) writes, “To succeed, they (students) will need to know how to think for themselves and adapt to constantly changing situations” (Innovators Mindset).

My Questions:

How are educators assessing the use of technology in their classrooms to ensure it is enhancing the teaching and learning of curriculum as opposed to using technology to doctorate curriculum?  Is this assessment on-going?

Introduction

I am very excited for all that this class has to offer.  I look forward to collaborating with everyone and hearing of all the learning that is taking place. After today’s class I have a number of questions and some reflecting to work through.  Where am I an the SAMR model and where do I hope to go? Looking at Aristotle’s three approaches to knowledge and how I can facilitate in a classroom. Expanding on my use of formative assessment tools such as Flipgrid and See Saw….

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