EDUC 932: Audio Unit

Good evening “class!”

We will be taking our studies of related rates to a new level today.  Please see below a short link which will bring you to the “problemcraft submission folder.”  It is called this because you will be crafting  and audio recording related rates problems of your own design.

Inside the folder linked below you will find a rubric, an audio sample of my own sample problem, and two google forms which will be used for peer evaluations.  the rubric contains very detailed instructions so you should read it very carefully.  We will being going over this in class tomorrow, so be prepared with any questions about the project that you may have.

Problemcraft Submission Folder: http://bit.ly/1tiYH1V

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EDUC 932: Final Reflection

What is a concept (not a tool) you learned in this class that you will be able to incorporate into your teaching?

There is a risk repeating myself in this post, but I think that it demonstrates the value and consistency of what I am taking away.  I think I can respond to this question in three ways: centrality, leading by example, and creative, social learning.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post the centrality of information and communication offered by an appropriate LMS is amazing for purposes of classroom management.  I’ve held for a long time that a well planned lesson is more often than not going to preclude a series of classroom management issues and offer the students direction that helps them to maintain consistency and focus.  They know where their homework is.  They know when their due dates are.  I know when they’ve submitted their work, something that is not true of Google sites, but I am discovering to be true of Google classroom.  I can even offer responses and ask probing questions through posts or shared documents and I don’t need to worry about when (or if i remember to) I pass their papers back.  It takes a ton of pressure off of my organization load.

I’ve already used my sample lessons from this course in summer school as well as the rubrics.  The students are required to end the summer with a sort of project presentation to demonstrate the results of their studies and I implemented modified versions of the rubrics to satisfy this.  They’ve only begun to do their projects, but my video samples hosted on Youtube have given the students an example to anchor their ideas to.  I’ve stated some of this in a past post, but it bears repeating that the hard work of offering a quality sample provides the students with several benefits: 1. a feeling of fairness stemming from the knowledge that the teacher has gone through the same process, 2. the removal of ambiguity concerning what is expected of them, and 3. the peace of mind in knowing that the teacher knows what they are about.

Last is the idea of social learning, and this has been a theme this year in my framingham courses.  Archie and I did a project that addressed proving process in mathematics as a social construct and that opened up an ideological door for me.  Students absolutely learn from each other and should be encouraged to do so.  It offers each student the sense that they, not just the teacher, have something of value to offer.  It’s a form of capital and if we know anything about humans, we love the process of giving and receiving capital.  We love giving and receiving things of value.  The various social technologies offer a frame through which many possible creative form of social collaboration can be implemented or created.  I’m still somewhat of a baby in this respect, but it’s something I will continue to explore and experiment with because I believe it holds value for myself and for my students.

EDUC 932: SAMR

Watch Ruben Puentedura explain the SAMR model for classroom technology use. Describe a lesson you have observed or taught that would be classified by Dr. Puentedura as “redefinition.” If you have never witnessed this type of lesson, describe a “modification” lesson. If you have not witnessed either, explain why you think this level of technology integration is not happening at your school. Feel free to share any resources for this lesson that would be useful to others.

To my knowledge the closest thing to a modification level lesson that I can recall was a Google Apps for Education training session that I attended 2 years ago.  A google doc was opened and it was used to teach the group how to use the technology by inviting us to use it together.  Something similar was done with a Google Form.  One colleague of mine used Aurasma to create an interactive bulletin board with his students.  I’ve used powerpoint at the Augmentation level for years.  Many of my lessons included powerpoint and a variety of media used in combination.  I never received training beyond this so have little familiarity with the M or R level.

The reason is simple and, unfortunately, all too common in some schools: irrelevant professional development.  I’ve been to more in-service PD pods about differentiation than I can count, but they have rarely served to be useful as tangible and proven best practice was often not the focus and empty, contextless theory was presented.  I often find that technology is treated more as a flashy object to impress parents than it is a useful learning tool, which is quite sad.  The potential that proper technological integration holds is incredible, but without proper training and exposure to best practice the volume of technologies and the learning curve required to adapt to each program is daunting and I believe many teachers are consequently discouraged from attempting this on their own.

EDUC 932: Favorite Tool

What is your favorite tool you’ve learned about in the class so far? Why is it your favorite? How will you use it in your class?

At one time I felt like Google classrooms and Google sites offered essentially the same thing, but after using LMSs like Schoology and Blackboard my thoughts on the matter have changed.  I’ve just begun teaching summer school so I decided to experiment with Google Classroom because I like some of the forum style social learning provided by the LMS.

The benefits are becoming more apparent with use.  I like the 24-7 access to assignments, but that’s not new to me.  LMSs offer centrality for both communication and assignment collection.  Time of submission is always available.  I also like that students can contribute as they so desire.  There does not need to be an assignment to justify sharing, which is something I will encourage with my future classes.

I hated using Youtube editor and I generally dislike the tedium of making videos and certain other forms of media, but having the project sample videos available online has already proven highly useful for summer school.  I will be making use of youtube or another video hosting site consistently for this purpose.  The editing is a lot of work, but it’s offering clarity to my students which makes the process worth my time.

EDUC 932: The Future of Reading and Writing is Collaborative

Read one of the articles from the Beyond Laptops Essential Readings list http://blogs.yis.ac.jp/beyondlaptops/essential-readings/  and express your thoughts about the article (agree, disagree, explain how this could affect you, etc.). You may need to give a very brief summary of the article so that people reading your post will understand your commentary.

Summary:  The very nature of reading and writing is changing.  Social media and other forms of media and art are being creatively merged in order to facilitate a new form of learning and literacy experience.  Instead of a student merely reading a text and writing a response, they are given the option to experience stories and texts through combined or collaborative mediums and they learn and contribute socially.  Social media platforms allow the students to offer their creativity and insight of their experience of the story.  This new format allows students to learn through social bonding, which has proven critical to much of learning, and to experience a story from a variety of artistic perspectives.

Reaction:

“Stein points to a 10-year-old he met in London recently. The boy reads for a bit, goes to Google when he wants to learn more about a particular topic, chats online with his friend who are reading the same book, and then goes back to reading.  ‘What I’m arguing is that we should say reading equals all of these behaviors,’ Stein said. ‘Not just when you’re looking at the book, but also when you’re talking to people about the book or when you’re Googling things that occur to you as you read the book.'”

I love this.  I think the people who we think of as researchers and inventors have been doing this for a long time, however.  I think very few people who developed powerful ideas did so as an island.  Social connection and communal learning has always been a core element of development.  Those who made groundbreaking discoveries or inventions or new working theories always have done so in a network, but the difference was that instead of google and social media, they used libraries, books, scientific journals, or other forms of peer review to accomplish the same.  Social media, the internet, and new mediums of communication have simply made this a highly practical and accessible form of learning for the current generation.  Instead of a privileged and educated few being able to access these networks we now have the capacity to involve learners and creators at all levels.  That’s not to diminish in anyway the depth and richness these new mediums add.  Now those researchers can accomplish far more and do it much more quickly and efficiently.

“The age of the know-it-all author who went into her room for three months and figured something out that no one figured out, and had a whole idea that was hers alone – it’s over.”

This is a strong overstatement on the part of the piece.  No one ever did this except perhaps the occasional savant, and they will continue to show up in society.  As stated above, the big difference now is the accessibility of social resources and research.  No idea was ever any one person’s alone because they inevitable build upon the knowledge given them by their predecessors, even if the only connection to those predecessors was the technology and experience of everyday life made possible by their work.  The fundamental shift is one of accessibility.

EDUC 932: Connected Learning

Read one of the articles from the Beyond Laptops Essential Readings list http://blogs.yis.ac.jp/beyondlaptops/essential-readings/ and express your thoughts about the article (agree, disagree, explain how this could affect you, etc.). You may need to give a very brief summary of the article so that people reading your post will understand your commentary.

Summary: Researchers are proposing a working model to adapt education to current technology.  They feel that there is a learning gap between what students learn at home and what they learn at school and submit that learning consistency among all aspects of a student’s life is essential to learning and growth.  Learning must appeal to a student’s interests, involve social input from peers, and be supported by an academic structure.  This is accomplished through creative production, open social and informational networks, and providing shared purpose with and connection to communities outside of the peer group.

Reaction: Often students lose interest in a subject precisely because it is hoisted upon them.  I’ve found that students (and myself) are repelled by subject matter that seems irrelevant or useless to their lives and creative interests.  Some of the most effective projects I have implemented in class have been inquiry based where the students asked an essential question and, not only did they analyze, but found a way to communicate the matter creatively to their peers through activity.  They also were required to create a piece of work (art, writing, video, schematics, etc…) that demonstrated the results of their research.

I agree with the model, but I think implementing effective networks and relevant technology is a huge skill set.  It’s not just a matter of knowing how to operate programs, but knowing how to teach effective communication, study, and research skills that make use of the tools available.  One of the keys to this is letting go of curriculum that forces too much specific information to be taught.  Shifting to a curriculum that emphasizes transferrable, relevant concepts allows the teacher and student to partner together to choose content that is meaningful for the student while ensuring that all students are being prepared with core life skills.

EDUC 932: Favorite Lesson

“My Favorite Lesson” Share a lesson that you have done that you feel good about. Describe the lesson and explain why it is a favorite of yours. What is the learning objective (“Students will be able to…”)? How do the students react to this lesson? Include the name and grade level of this lesson.

My favorite lesson is one that I entitled “The history of 360 degrees.”  The objective of the lesson is two fold.  One is that the students recognize and articulate that mathematical convention comes from culture.  The other is that the students can demonstrate the construction of a number in a base-n system.  The common number system is a base 10 system, whereas the Babylonian system, where 360 degrees comes from, was a base 60 system.

The students reactions go one of two ways: 1. This is lame and what’s the point or 2. They become highly invested in learning how to work within systems of other bases.  I think they are fascinated by the concept that there are other ways to construct number than what they grew up with.  It’s my favorite because the students are motivated to explore the concept and it gives them space to think outside of the box and reconceptualize a convention that they never realized could be questioned.