Tech Task#10

21st Century Learning

We now live in a technology saturated global society. Children need to learn the skills to become functioning citizens such a society. According to Tony Wagner there are seven survival skills we need to help students achieve. The skills include: critical thinking and problem solving; collaboration across networks and leading by influence; agility and adaptability; initiative and entrepreneurialism; effective oral and written communication; accessing and analyzing information; and curiosity and imagination.

Although many children have the skills to use different technologies according to Dr. Micheal Wesch they are not truly media literate. He point out, that most children are using technology for entertainment purposes only. In, order for our students to become media literate Dr. Wesch states that we need to create learning experiences where students are researching, analyzing, synthesizing, critiquing and creating new knowledge.

This all seems great but how am I going to ensure that my students become media literate? 21st Century Schools provides a chart that summarizes how to create a 21st century classroom. Just to name a few, a 21st Century classroom is outcome-based rather than time-based; focuses on what students know, can do, and are like after all the details are forgotten; provides learning that is designed around synthesis, analysis, and evaluation; is research driven; promotes active learning; is student-centered; and is interdisiplinary. Although there is this shift in education there are still some things that remain the same. I believe that each child deserves to have their needs met; we need to teach to the whole child; we need to adapt to ensure all children succeed; and community and family play an important role in education.

With this strive towards 21st Century Learning. There a numerous tools teacher can use in the classroom to faciliate learning. Alec showed us the website Top 100 Tools for Learning. This website gives a snap shot of the most useful tools for educators. I think this site will come in handy in the future because everything is in one place. There are so many tools available to help teachers create meaningful learning experiences. I am excited to try out these tools in my future classroom.

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Final Project

For our final project we complied a blog pertaining to media literacy. We included videos of lesson plans, resources, and a diary. To see our final project click here.

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Do Schools Kill Creativity?

There is one thing I will never forget that Ken Robinson said in this video. He said “we need to recognize that creativity is as important in education as literacy”.  I can’t agree more! I never knew where the belief that math and literacy were more important than other subjects came from until watching this video. The reason math and literacy are considered the most important is because during the industrial revolution it was these subjects that would help people get jobs once they were done school.  Our world and society is in a state of change so, why are we still placing the utmost importance on math and literacy? There is so much to benefit from learning skills attributed to different subject areas.

Due to the fact that I am a health major I feel that health is an extremely important subject. I believe that if you don’t have your health you don’t have anything.  You could be a genius but if you don’t know how to live a healthy lifestyle numerous issues could arise.  Especially issues around the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual dimensions that need to be balanced to life a healthy life.  I truly feel school’s should be placing more importance of health education. I think that because of my passion for health I found it easy to relate to Ken Robinson’s belief that schools kill creativity. Just like health the arts tend to be at the bottom of the hierarchy in schools.

Schools embody the belief that intelligence means being good at math and literacy. We need to change our view of intelligence. Intelligence is diverse, distinct, and dynamic. There are all kinds of intelligence and we need to recognize that in schools.  Ken Robinson made a great point, kids will take chances and they aren’t afraid of being wrong. Obviously creativity and being wrong is not the same thing. But if you’re not willing to take a chance and end up wrong then you will never come up with anything original. In schools we associate being wrong as bad in doing this we are educating children out of their creativity. I know that as a teacher I want to create a classroom environment where students are able to be creative. I want to provide them with learning experiences that allow for creativity and self expression.

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What is the Role of Openness in Education?

 

I came across David Wiley’s Open Education and the Future presentation on YouTube. His video really got me thinking about the shift from a more closed education to an open one and how this is going to affect me as an educator. Openness is about being generous and freely sharing materials and resources. Today openness is the only way to educate. David Wiley in his video stated that “if there is no sharing there is no education”. There has been this shift from only one person having access to one source of information to numerous people being able to access the same information because of technology.  With technology there are extraordinary opportunities to access and share information.  This is the first time that people are able to share expertise without giving it away. As an educator I will have the ability to access and share lesson ideas, classroom management ideas, extra curricular ideas, various issues that will arise, etc. I feel that this openness to share and collaborate with colleagues will only aid in creating richer learning environment for students. As well this access to information will help me to continue professional growth and allowing me to be a life long learner. Technology has created this constant connection between people around the world and current events. As educators we need to start implementing what is happening in the real world into the classroom. We now live in a global community where things happening across the world will affect us. It is important for students to learn about these issues to become global citizens.

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Should Students be Able to Use Their Cell Phones in Class?

 

I was on the fence about whether cell phones should be used in class. It wasn’t until Dean Shareski mentioned how Craik School was using cell phones successfully in the classroom that I thought cell phones many be able to aid learning rather than hinder it. So I decided to research both sides before making my choice. I found the site students and cell phones which explored both pros and cons of cell phone use in the classroom:  cell phones create instant communication where parents are able to reach their children if need be and vice versa, and usefulness in emergencies. Cell phones now a days have similar capabilities to computers allowing for internet access, calculators, and storage of important information. Although cell phones have many positive uses they can also be a distraction, allow students to cheat, could be used to take or send inappropriate photos, and not all students will have a cell phone. 10 ideas for using cell phones in education include: student polling; finding definitions; currency conversion; math equations; translations; use of the internet for research, reading news articles and current events, and read books; download educational programs; use video camera for projects; educate about appropriate social use; and for sharing lectures, lessons, projects, etc.

I have decided that I think cell phones do have their uses in the classroom. I used to think that they would just be a distraction for students. If we teach students how to use their cell phones for learning and proper social use I think it would diminish students using them as a distraction. We live in a world where people are attached to their cell phones and use them daily. People have this constant connection to others and the world around them. I think we have to shift our views that cell phone use in the classroom is negative. I think it is important to implement cell phones because the play such an important role in students lives outside of school. We know that integrating what students find interesting or what is relevant to their lives into the classroom this will only enrich students’ learning environments. This is  not to say that implementing cell phone use will not be a challenge but I think it will be worth it.

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Participatory Culture

While searching for videos about media literacy for my final project I came across the video Participatory Culture by Henry Jenkins. According to Wikipedia participatory culture is when individuals are not only consumers but also contributors and producers. Henry Jenkins described participatory culture by using 5 key ideas: relatively low barriers for engagement; strong support for sharing creations with others; informal mentorship; members believe their contributions matter; and care about others’ opinions of self and work. Not everyone has to contribute but everyone must believe that they are able to contribute if they choose and that their contributions will be valued. Today more than ever participatory culture is expanding becoming such an important part of our lives due to the internet and new technologies. These technologies allow us to collaborate; share information, news, ideas, creativity; and  create personal learning networks with people who have similar interests. I find it fascinating that we are able to throw out ideas to anyone around the world and have their collaboration and input. We are able to create meaning  in a way that we never would have been able to on our own.

I began thinking how this is going to affect me as an educator? According to Henry Jenkins 65% of teen have created media. I believe this number is only going to keep increasing. As students continue engaging in this participatory culture we live in they are going to need skills in order to participate to their full ability. According to Jenkins  textual  literacy still remains a central skill to engaging in participatory culture. Individuals first must be able to read and write in order to engage in participatory culture.  The skills needed include: the ability to understand the power of images and sounds; recognize and use that power, to manipulate and  transform digital media; to distribute them; and to easily adapt them to new forms.  As an educator in the 21st century I feel I not only need to teach myself these skills but I need to create projects that allow my students to gain these skills.  This participatory culture in which we live allows people to share their ideas and creative works  with a global audience. It creates this community where everyone feels like they are being heard.  I feel that this participatory culture in which we live is so powerful.

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Skype in the Classroom

I believe Skype will become an extremely useful tool in schools across Saskatchewan. I unfortunately haven’t always thought this way. I thought Skype was an awesome tool but never really gave it much consideration for it usefulness in the classroom.  I hope to teach in a small town in Saskatchewan. I know that it will be difficult to have various professionals come into the classroom because of geographical distances. Skype provides the opportunity for students to experience presentations and interact with  professionals they may not have otherwise been able to experience. Collaboration is such an important part of learning and growing as professional. In smaller communities the colleagues available to collaborate with is sometimes limited. Skype allows educators to connect with other educators who  teach similar subjects. the learning communities being created through Skype is absolutely amazing. While expanding my knowledge of Skype I found a coupele interesting websites I would like to share: 50 Awesome Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom and Tips for Using Skype in the Classroom. Many videos were posted about using Skype in the classroom on YouTube, one I found particularly cool was Skype in the Classroom. This video depicts a class skyping with a man who is a truck driver. The class had recently read a book where the main characters dad was a truck diver. The class was able to ask this man any questions they had come up pertaining to truck driving. I really look forward to being able to experiment with using Skype in my own classroom some day.

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