Wednesday, November 7, 2012

EDSS 521 Personalizing the Classroom Experience

Personalizing the Classroom Experience Article: 
This report focuses on how teachers are personalizing the learning for their students. Typically teacher focus student learning based upon their own learning experiences with technology, which to me makes sense as most people (teachers or otherwise) will play to their strengths when the are responsible for other peoples education. Some of the key questions the article brings up is:
  • What are educators’ experiences with online learning?
  • How does it inform their perspectives on student learning?
  • What policies and practices are administrators considering around the “Bring Your Own Technology” movement?
  • How do we transform the classroom from a “one size fits all” model to a truly individualized learning experience for students.
based upon my experiences with technology educators experience with online learning seems to come with a stigma that online learning for the classroom teacher spells death to classroom instruction as teachers will be replaced with technology and there will be no need for them in the future. I understand this anxiety but I disagree. The role of the teacher will change from curriculum leader to curriculum facilitator. The job of a teacher will be to facilitate the learning for students and to be there when a student is struggling to understand a concept. I think of the teachers job as the "0" button when you are dealing with an automated system. Just when you get to the point of not wanting to hear another automated voices tell you the same story for the 50th time, you hit "0" and your connected with a human being. That piece is critical for our students as they may often times have to hit "0" and receive instruction from a human being, because technology cant think, it is only programed to do. having a teacher there to answer questions is vital and I don't believe they will be going away anytime soon.

I believe that technology and teachers can get along with one another and create a blended environment, such as the flipped classroom concept where students do their lectures at home online and it gives teachers more time for classroom projects in class, this is how technology is supporting teachers, not hampering them. I have experiences hybrid online classes, and I felt that I got way more out if it than listening straight through a lecture, as I was engaged and challenged to create and maintain my own website, and when I was finished I had something to show for my efforts more than papers stuffed in an overfilled binder and a grade on a transcript.  

One of the things that I found interesting about the third question was administrators overwhelming acceptance of technology as a priority in classrooms across America, however the chief complaint amongst teachers in classrooms was having reliable access to Wireless Internet. I found it deeply disturbing when the school I work at vowed to get every single teacher in the district a brand new I-Pad to use in their classrooms by the end of 2012, and come hell or high water it was going to happen. They spent an untold fortune acquiring these great teacher tools for their teachers to use in their classroom, however when their teachers opened the box, and took them out, the schools internet infrastructure, that was so old and out of date, could not sustain the heavy use of the Wireless Internet and crashed. As it turns out no one had thought through the big picture of what it would take to make this technology work, however in public forums, the mantra stays the same "Everyone of our teachers has an I-Pad." Well yes the do, and they make marvelous paper waits, but that is the extent of their function, because no teacher can utilize that technology until the infrastructure is fixed. So it begs the question if that happens with just our teachers using the I-Pads, what will it do to our students when they BYOT?

The way we transform our classrooms from a one size fits all to a more individual learning experience is, by creating situations where students and teachers use technology in a flipped classroom kind of manner, where students do lessons at home, and do more project based lessons in school. The idea of using technology to not necessarily teach your class for you, but to utilize technology to help better prepare students for the lesson you are going to teach is important, as it will create a more rich and intellectual conversation for students. I feel that students will be more engaged if they watch an I-movie on the lecture I am about to give than if they read about it in a textbook, because quite frankly, I spend more time looking at the pictures in my textbooks, than reading them, so if I'm doing it and I'm the teacher, you know our students do it a lot more often. We need to play to our students strengths and identify that our students want to learn, but we have to let them learn in their own way. I believe that technology can pave the way for our students.

Speak Up Video:
 This video was created to give a basic understanding about the Speak Up Program. I thought it was a great way to introduce how the survey's work, I like the fact that they talked about how the surveys will be used by local school districts, but that it also surveys all levels of school staff and student teachers as well as veteran teachers. The fact that they leave room for the person to give feedback for the parents, teachers, students, and student teachers...what would you do with technology if you were in charge? 
What surprised me was the level at which these survey are asked for, pretty much anyone in a school from the parents, to the administrators can take and use this data to create changes within the school community. 
One of the things that didnt suprise me was the ease with which you can take these surveys, a few clicks, a password that you share to whomever wants to take the survey and before you know it you have a database from which to pull from so that you can begin to impliment this data in your PLC, actions plans, and goals for teachers for the year. 
This information informs my philospohy and teaching practice becase I believe that data drives instruction. That giveing students and parents a voice on how they or their child is being instructed makes a better investor in education, as they have a say in what works for them. as a reconstructionist I believe at my core that having students advocate for their needs in education is critical in their development into young adults. It is so important for young people to feel that they are being listened to by the adults that are teaching them, and that they have the right to say what is on their mind in terms of their education. 

YouthTEACH2Learn resources:
 If I were to start a future teachers club on my current campus, I would have to have at least 5 students interested in forming a club, once that is established we would have to find a club adviser and get them to approach the ASB on campus. The ASB will automatically take 10% off of whatever the club makes in terms of money. Once this agreement is agreed to a charter and rules have to be established for a club, such as time and date of meetings, resources needed from the school, facilities requests...etc. Once the constitution has been ratified the club can go forward with meetings and recruitment. 
the benefits of starting a future teachers club on campus would provide students with an understanding of what it takes for teachers to teach. I think that it would be a great idea for students to shadow teachers for a day and to plan a lesson for that day and teach it. Giving students an inside look into what we go thorough everyday will give students the ability to decide if being a teacher is the right fit for them. Also I believe it will help the teachers with classroom discipline as students will have first hand knowledge as to how hard it is for teachers to get students organized and ready to learn, and I believe it will provide students with the ability to see just how teachers interact with their students and why having those relationships are so valuable. 


Nicole-Main-CSUSM said...

I agree with you it does seem surprising that so many school officials see the befits of technology in the classroom. I find it even more surprising given the fact many schools have a no phone policy and no WiFi for the students. Ideally this technology movement will come out of the dream stages and start becoming a reality for schools.--Nicole Main

Nicole-Main-CSUSM said...
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Jeffrey Hart said...

I like your analogy of an educator to the operator or customer service rep. I'm really not sure why educators are so fearful of technological canned curriculums... we've had paper canned curriculums for decades. Many educators loathe them, but most get around them by being the facilitator as you suggest. While I certainly would desire the freedom to suppliment any canned curriculum, I don't see them as entirely evil.