Week 10 Futures of Education Response

In the Learning Analytics  section of the Future of Education works, ELF is discussed, the efficient learner hypothesis.  This hypothesis suggests that every learner is at roughly the same stage when they start a course and/or that they progress at a similar rate through that course.  Anyone who has actually taught a group of students knows how wrong this is.  This course is a perfect example of why that hypothesis is dead wrong.  I for one came in to this class with very little experience or understanding of technology.  I still have very far to go.  However, if one were to analysis where I started compared to where I am now, one would discover that a great deal of learning has taken place.  It may even be that if you take in to account where I started you would see that I have learned much more than a student who came in with more experience.  But, if the assumption is that we all started at the same place, it would seem that I didn’t learn much.  I am excited to think about what the use of “big data” could mean to the individual learner.  Of all the technologies discussed in the clips and articles we read I think that the idea of using real data to analysis a students performance and to adapt his/her curriculum accordingly is the most exciting of them all.  Using this type of information makes individualized learning actually possible.

The idea of schools using the Thin Client is another exciting thing.  I currently teach preschool, there is no technology in the building at this time and there are only a few classes so something like Thin Client is not necessary.  But, I used to teach Kindergarten at a local public school.  In this environment, the Thin Client would be very useful.  I think the thing I like most is that the software only needs to be installed on the server.  I can tell you that Kindergarten is on the bottom of the list for an IT person.  If they have to go around and install software everywhere, I can guarantee you that there will be folks missed and the lower elementary grades are who is cut from the list.  I also like the idea of using open source software.  This would save a great deal of money for districts.

I didn’t really understand the Virtualization section.  What I did understand is that using it could protect your PC from viruses, spyware, etc.  I think this is especially important when you are dealing with younger children on the computers.  I know that my own children have clicked through on things that I would rather they not, and downloaded things that I would have been suspect of.

My other favorite part was the gesture-based learning information.  I think this will become a big part of education.  I think this is the technology that I see most in the future of my school.  Many of my students already have an ability to operate this way and an eagerness to do so.  I believe that the best learning takes place while you think you are playing.

 

 

Week 9 Resources

1.  Geocaching.com  This is the place you need to go in order to learn about geocaching.  There are many ways to make geocaching and educational experience.  I highly recommend it as a leisure activity for you and your family as well as an educational activity with your classroom students.  NETS standards #2 Design and Develop Digital Age Experiences and Assessments.  

2.  EDreach.us  This website seems to have a ton of information regarding technology in the classroom.  There are links and lists for all kinds of ideas for how to get funding for technology in your classroom.  I am thinking that now may be the perfect time for me to try to get some grants for bringing technology to my school.  I think that putting technology into a preschool setting is a relatively new concept.  I know that there are no preschools in my area that have any beyond some computers in the classroom.  I think it will need to wait until after this term is over so I can keep my sanity but I intend to pursue searching for funding.  You never know until you try.  NETS Standards #5 Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership, I will be the first in my preschool to bring technology into the classroom.  I will certainly be growing professionally as well as showing leadership while I encourage others at my school to grow as well.

3.  ecetech.net  This website is for early childhood educators that want to explore using technology in the classroom.  It is just beginning (founded in Jan. 2012) so I am sure it will get even better.  There are links to events from conferences to webinairs.  Another part I really like is the Top Picks list where they highlight new apps and things that are on the market for preschool teachers and kids.  There is a part called Techspirations that is exactly what I am looking for. It goes into detail about how to fund and plan for bringing technology into your school or center, determining which technology is developmentally appropriate, etc.  NETS Standards #2 Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments.  I plan to use this site as well as others to help me develop my plans to integrate technology into my classroom.  It is already overwhelming enough, there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

4.  naeyc.org  NAEYC is the National Assosciation for the Education of Young Children.  This is the group to belong to if you are an early childhood teacher.  There are over 80,o00 members.  They offer a great deal of professional development opportunities through conferences, classes, publications, etc.  They also advocate for early childhood when it comes to public policy.  There are many discussion boards where you can ask for advice, give advice, etc.  It has been a great resource and will continue to be as I pursue this new adventure of becoming more involved with technology in the classroom.  NETS Standard #5, Engage in Professional Growth and Learning.  Through organizations such as this I will continue to learn about new ideas, new technologies and be better able to give my students the learning environment that is best for them.

5. earlychildhoodtech.edublogs.org  This is a blog for people who work with little kids and who enjoy technology.  One of the posts talked about the security issues you need to concern yourself with.  For instance, if you make a class blog do you have permission from all the parents to have photos of their children on there, etc.  I think she takes it a little over the top, blurring images and such but it gets me thinking anyway.  I have enjoyed what I have read and will continue to be a follower.

6.  ehow.com  There were several lists on Ehow of places to apply to for grant money for pre-k technology.  It seemed like each list that I found had links to other lists.  Some had a few of the same places but each of them had some unique places to look for funding.  This will be a great resource for applying for as many grants as possible.  If you have lots of hooks in the water you are more likely to get a bite.

7.  teachpreschool.org  This is a link to an article on a blog I like to follow.  She writes about how she uses technology in her own life but rarely brings it into the classroom.  She is changing her mind about its appropriateness  thanks to her daughter.  She has watched her daughter be a wonderful mother to her son, actively engaging with him, playing, etc.  but also bringing technology into his life.  She has learned from her daughter that technology doesn’t need to be seen as a sterile and cold way to teach.

8.  education.com  This is a list of I-Pad Apps for Preschoolers.  While I would like to have a smartboard and all kinds of technology stuff for the classroom the reality is that is going to take a while.  I think the most realistic plan is to ask for an I-Pad for Christmas and bring mine to school and work with the kids from my I-Pad.  Not only is this realistic but also a smart way to go, I think.  I will learn some of what works and what doesn’t before investing thousands into systems for the whole classroom.  This is a link to just one of many lists of I-Pad apps on education.com

9.  edutopia.org  Even though this site is specifically for k-12 it is still a great resource for me.  There is a lot of information about all kinds of new ideas in education.  There are discussion boards where you can interact with other teachers.  I especially like the video of the week.  This week it is about virtual learning, going to school online.

10.  kinderiq.com  This site is dedicated to helping families and teachers with kindergarten readiness.  One of the parts of this website that I would utilize the most I think is the different assessment pieces.  There is also a great deal of information about computers for the age group and lesson plans for using technology in your classroom.

Week 9 Article Review- Mobile Learning

Article Title:  Mathematics on the move:  Using mobile technologies to support student learning (Part 2)

Authors:  Catherine Attard and Maria Northcote

Source: Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom V17, N1 2012

This is part two of a series.  The first article explored the use of the iPod touch and the iPad.  Another student in our class reviewed that article.  This article explores the use of GPS and other hand-held devices.  A GPS can be used to engage students in real-world mathematics.  The iPads and other devices have GPS capabilities or you can use an actual GPS.  A GPS can provide the following information:

  • Your position on a map
  • Distance traveled
  • Length of time you have been traveling
  • Length of time before you reach your destination
  • Current Speed

Using a GPS is a skill that is important in today’s world.  Learning to use a GPS is important in itself but it also is such an engaging way to motivate student learning.  Another engaging activity to do with a GPS is Geocaching.  My family and I enjoy geocaching very much.  There are many types of caches that can facilitate learning.  There are Earth Caches where you learn about various science things, there are puzzle caches where you need to solve puzzles in order to earn the coordinates.  These tools are an engaging way to learn.  The best type of learning comes when we are actively involved in an activity that feels more like play than work.

Other devices that are discussed in the article are digital cameras, webcams, hand-held digital scanners and the hand-held digital sound recorder.  You can use a digital camera to take pictures of various times of day and explore shadow length, you can view the Polar Bear cam at the San Diego Zoo when you are studying about that region.  Students can use sound recorders to record their observations during activities.  It is a great way for children to talk about their thinking.

I think that the best thing about using technology in the classroom is the engaging aspect.  I would learn so much more from an activity that had me out and about using tools and technology than I would from sitting at my desk filling out a worksheet from what I have read in a textbook.

The NETS standards that this articles addresses are:

1.  Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity  – When I take a look back at my education I remember the project-based things that we did, I remember when we were out and about doing and learning.  Using tools such as the GPS, make learning the engaging process it should be.

2.  Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments – Using a project-based approach to learning is not a new concept.  But, having these easy to operate digital tools can do so much to enhance this type of learning.  There is so many more possibilities than ever before because of the amazing advancements in technology.

3.  Model Digital Age Work and Learning –  There are many jobs that rely heavily on the information that can be gathered through GPS devices.

6.  Technology Operations and Concepts – Learning to use a GPS is a skill that will be of use for a student’s lifetime.  It is not only a way to engage students in learning.  It is a skill that will be of value for many applications.

Week 8 Article Review Topic C #1 Mobile Learning – Tablets As Learning Hubs

Title:  Tablets as Learning Hubs
Authors: Eric Brunsell and Martin Horejsi
Source: The Science Teacher. 79.6 (Sept. 2012)
When I saw the term Mobile Learning in our choices of research topics I thought mobile learning meant “learning on the go” as in a home school student who had an internet based classroom so that they could login from anywhere they were and “attend” school.  After searching for research articles, I realize that it is about learning with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.  This article is specifically about using these devices for learning science.  The authors go into detail about how to use a tablets camera with microscopes and magnifiers, as well as using lenses, lights and prisms with the camera.  The authors give ideas for using QR codes on worksheets, school websites, lab assignments, etc.  There is even real time data collection using probeware.  Tablets can receive data from sensors (such as temperature, pressure, ultraviolet [UV] light, and pH level) via Bluetooth wireless networking or over the internet.  Using apps such as frog dissections, seismometer, owl pellet information, cell structure, micro photo databases, flight simulators, leaf species identification, measuring tools, and anatomy diagrams, students can supplement classroom activities with digital experiences that provide rehearsal, practice, co-exploration, alternate images and information, procedural steps, and authentic documentation. The articles says there are apps for these devices that number into the six figures.
While most of these ideas listed in the article are not something that I can do with my preschool kids I am sure that among all those apps I can find some that are suitable for science exploration in an early childhood setting.  The ideas put forth in this article and the notion of mobile learning itself addresses many of the NETS standards.  Although, many of the NETS standards are hit with mobile learning I think that the following stand out.

1.  Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity.  Doing something hands-on is the best way to learn for so many.  This isn’t always possible due to expense, travel, etc.  It is expensive and gross to dissect a real dead frog.  But, you can virtually dissect a frog and have a very similar learning experience.  This type of technology makes learning this way more accessible.

2.  Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments.  This one speaks for itself.  This way of teaching is only possible because of the digital age in which we live.

3.  Modeling Digital Age Work and Learning. Would you rather see plate tectonics in action or read about it in a textbook.  This is a very engaging way of learning and teaching.  I know that I would love to learn this way.

 

 

 

Resources

1.  http://flippedlearning.org/

This is a great site.  There are upcoming seminars and webinars listed.  Links to funding, blogs about flipped learning, journal articles, etc.  It has a link to something called Flipped Learning TV, that is home to thousands of videos.  If the challenge of making your own videos is what is holding you back, you can use other people’s videos.  No reason to have to reinvent the wheel.  If I were to have to chose one resource about flipped learning, it would be this one.  This link relates most closely to NETS Standard #2 Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments.  This site is all about using technology in the classroom to enhance student learning.

2.  www.coursera.org

Coursera is a company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.  This enables the best professors to teach tens or hundreds of thousands of students.  Talk about empowering people!  Coursera  hopes to give everyone access to the world-class education that has so far been available only to a select few.  Coursera was developed by Daphne Koller, a Standford professor.  Coursera embeds short quizzes in videos to check for student understanding before moving on to the next segment.  This feature makes more assurances for learning.  I don’t think this is for every high school student but for the times when you have those super-duper smart ones you don’t know what to do with, this is the resource!  I am sure that parts of the lectures could be used for everyone.  Since this is really about college level education I think the NETS Standard that best fits is #5 Engage In Professional Growth & Leadership.  Coursera is a free source for taking college courses from top professors, I would say this models lifelong learning.

3.  http://ed.ted.com

There is a section on Ed.Ted called best flips that has exactly that, exceptional user-created lessons.  One of the things that made me think I would not want to flip my classroom (if I had a classroom) was my lack of technical skills, and being uncomfortable on camera.  With so many resources for video lectures on tons of subjects you can at least do a partial flip without having to make your own videos.  This is a great resource for them.  This link relates most closely to NETS Standard #2 Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments.  This site is a resource for designing and developing the learning experiences for your students.

4. www.youtube.com

This is another great resource for videos for your teaching.  Just recently, I taught my son about pronouns using a Schoolhouse Rock video that I found on youtube.  I think it may be a bit more difficult to find what you are looking for because there is so much other stuff but certainly worth looking.  This link relates most closely to NETS Standard #2 Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments.  This site is a resource for designing and developing the learning experiences for your students.

5.  sophia.org

Sophia has a link for becoming Flip-Certified.  There are also upcoming webinars about learning to flip.  Sophia breaks it down like this..

1. Find or create tutorials that teach concepts you want your students to learn. (We have over 25,000 to choose from.)

2.  Create a playlist to order the tutorials the way you want to teach, or create a private group for each one of your classes. (Or both.)

3.  Implement in the classroom. Interact with every student and differentiate the way you teach to them.
There is also a featured flipper, so you can get a look at what someone has done in their classroom.  And Sophia, is FREE along with the other resources listed.
This link relates most closely to NETS Standard #2 Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments.  This site is a resource for designing and developing the learning experiences for your students.

6.  www.knewton.com

On Knewton.com they refer to the inversion as going from Sage on the Stage to Guide on the Side.  I really like the idea of being a Guide on the Side.  Students are much more in charge of their learning.  There is an ongoing virtual discussion happening at this site, as well.  The Knewton site has what they call an infographic, I would call it a poster.  It explains very nicely what is a flipped classroom, with text and graphics.  This could be helpful in a presentation to parents and administration to explain why you want to flip and what it means.  This link relates most closely to NETS Standard #2 Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments.  This site is a resource for designing and developing the learning experiences for your students.

7.  thejournal.com

This is a link to article about Flipped Classrooms, featuring Bill Nye the Science Guy.  He is sponsoring a contest where he is giving away I-Pads.  He gives two away every day, one to a teacher and one to a student.  There is also a prize of a classroom set of  30 I-Pads!  This page also has an ongoing discussion.

8.  www.techsmith.com

TechSmith is a company that sells products that could be used in flipping.  The one that I am most familiar with is called SnagIt.  TechSmith helps educators address issues involved with teaching, learning, communicating and comprehension by providing tools that help explain things visually. Whether you are a teacher, administrator, principal, superintendent or anything in between, TechSmith can assist everyone with contributing to the success of every student.  There is quite a bit of information about flipping on techsmith’s site.  There are also videos showing it in action in people’s classrooms and checklists for how to get it going in your own class, your school and even your district.

The NETS Standard that is most closely related to this resource is #3 Model Digital Age Work and Learning.  This is all about using digital tools to support learning.

9.  www.schoology.com

Schoology is similar to Moodle.  Teachers can post assignments, quizzes and links to other resources.  You can also have online courses, discussions, etc.  It connects students and there parents at anytime, from anywhere.  One thing I like about it is that it has a social networking interface.

10.  http://www.khanacademy.org/

If a person didn’t know about Khan Academy before this class they certainly do now.  I think that just about everyone mentioned this one in their resources somewhere along the line.  I have used this a great deal with my own children.  I think it is a great resource for ready-made lectures for a flipped classroom.  There are thousands to chose from on there and I have yet to find one that wasn’t done well.  Again, no need to reinvent the wheel.  With all these great sources of material at your disposal, you can start flipping right away.  It doesn’t have to be all at once.  Just try it with one unit and see how it goes.

Topic B, Article #2 Flipped Classrooms

Article Title:  Inventing the Flipped Classroom

Authors:  Glen Bull, Bill Ferster, Willy Kjellstrom

Source:  Learning & Leading With Technology (August 2012)

I chose to look into flipped classrooms because I am interested in ways to make school more interesting and more engaging.  Currently, I teach preschool.  The flipped classroom instructional model is not meant for this type of setting.  Preschool is the hands-on, active type learning that I think the flipped model is trying to make possible for older students.  It allows for classtime to be activities-based rather than lecture-based.  So, I am looking into flipped classrooms as a parent who would like to see this type of learning for my kids and as an educator who cares about how all students are fairing in school, not just my own classroom.

This article, like my previous one, explains what a flipped classroom means.  It is an instructional method that puts the lecture as homework and the activities in the classroom.  However, this article, goes into more detail about most effective ways to implement this model.  The authors make a good point of that the effectiveness of this approach depends on the skill and the pedagogical strategies used.  A poorly presented lecture doesn’t suddenly become interesting because it is put on video.  The two teachers noted for pioneering the concept are Johnathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams.  They were noticing that students who got stuck on chemistry problems at home were not able to complete subsequent problems until they were at school the next day.  But, the teachers would have little time to help those students because they needed to be lecturing to the rest.  So, they decided to make their lectures on video and have that be the homework thus making class time available for activities and one on one help.  But, the videos are not your ordinary teacher standing in front of the class videos.  They are interesting and engaging, for example, one shows the teachers riding bikes down a mountain in order to illustrate the effects of altitude and atmospheric pressure on a balloon.  I am not sure that all of us have the magic to be so entertaining.  But, you don’t have to be.  Who says you have to be the star of the video?  The point is to get information across to students.  You can do that yourself or with some help.

Another concern about the method is how to make sure students are understanding while they watch at home.  A Standford professor, Daphne Koller, came up with a possible solution.  Her platform called Coursera embeds short quizzes to test student understanding before moving on.  In her experience, her class attendance doubled when she made group problem solving the focus of class time rather than lecture.

A final point of the article is that you don’t have to flip everything in order to make a difference.  The main goal is to provide more time for interactions with students in class by moving some of your lecturing to home.  Do it where you can and see what happens.

As I become more familiar with the concept of flipped classrooms is is clear that if used properly the flipped classroom model would hit every NETS standard for both teachers and students.  Although,I feel that it can be designed in such a way that every standard is hit I think that it especially hits the following.

1.  Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity.  One of the ways you could do this is to have students make videos about different concepts to teach to the rest of the students.  You need to really understand something to teach others.

2.  Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments.  This one speaks for itself.  This way of teaching is only possible because of the digital age in which we live.

3.  Modeling Digital Age Work and Learning.  It seems to me to be a very engaging way of teaching.  I know that I would love to learn this way.

Research Topic #2 Flipped Classroom

Article Title:  The Flipped Classroom Strategy: What is it and how can it best be used?

Author:  Natalie Milman

Source:  Distance Learning 9.3 August 2012

Until recently, I have been out of education for the last 8 years.  Even now, I feel that I am still out of the loop since I am teaching preschool.   I have not heard of many of the choices we were given for what to research.  I was curious to find out more about what a flipped classroom means.  As I discovered what it is, I became even more intrigued.  It is not a concept that has applications in my current position.  However, as a parent of school-age kids and as a learner myself it is interesting to me.  The article that I read didn’t go into whether or not the approach works but more about what the approach is.  Maybe all of you know what a flipped classroom means, you probably do.  But, just in case I will summarize what the article explained.  Flipped classrooms (also known as inverted classrooms) are designed around the idea that lecture time is done at home via video and that class time is spent having more student teacher interaction and collaborative work experiences.  The article made a point of clarifying that in order to be effective the model needs to include the “take home” video, the meaningful collaborative activities and face to face time, as well as both formative and summative assessment.  Some of the concerns related to this learning model are:  Can the teacher produce a quality video?  My answer to that is that even if you can’t you can probably find production help or even another instructor’s video that they would be willing to share.  Another concern is whether or not students would have access to be able to watch the videos.  I am not convinced that this is a valid argument against this idea.  I realize that there are folks without internet access.  But, there is the library, school computers and all kinds of options.  Yes, this is more challenging than if you have your own computer at home but I think it is certainly something that can be overcome.

As a parent, I would love this type of classroom environment for my kids.  I could learn right alongside them.  There are lots of times that my kids want/need my help with their homework and I struggle to understand what the teacher wants and they have a hard time explaining it to me.  If I watched the lecture as well, or even certain parts, I would be much better equipped to help them.

As I began to understand the concept it became clear that if used properly the flipped classroom model would hit every NETS standard for both teachers and students.  Although,I feel that it can be designed in such a way that every standard is hit I think that it especially hits the following.  1.  Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity, 2.  Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments and 3.  Modeling Digital Age Work and Learning.  It seems to me to be a very engaging way of teaching.  I know that I would love to learn this way.

Resources

1.  EDreach.us  This website seems to have a ton of information regarding technology in the classroom.  There are links and lists for all kinds of ideas for how to get funding for technology in your classroom.  I am thinking that now may be the perfect time for me to try to get some grants for bringing technology to my school.  I think that putting technology into a preschool setting is a relatively new concept.  I know that there are no preschools in my area that have any beyond some computers in the classroom.  I think it will need to wait until after this term is over so I can keep my sanity but I intend to pursue searching for funding.  You never know until you try.

2.  hatchearlychildhood.com  This is the website for a company that sells and sets up technology for early childhood classrooms.  This gives me some great ideas for where to begin and what things are possible for the classroom.  There are also links to research about bringing technology into the early childhood classroom.  There is also a link to their blog that has lots of different discussions about technology in the early childhood setting.  One of the articles was about thinking of technology as food.  There is junk food and there is healthy food and you need to determine which is which before you feed it to your child.

3.  ecetech.net  This website is for early childhood educators that want to explore using technology in the classroom.  It is just beginning (founded in Jan. 2012) so I am sure it will get even better.  There are links to events from conferences to webinairs.  Another part I really like is the Top Picks list where they highlight new apps and things that are on the market for preschool teachers and kids.  There is a part called Techspirations that is exactly what I am looking for. It goes into detail about how to fund and plan for bringing technology into your school or center, determining which technology is developmentally appropriate, etc.

4.  naeyc.org  NAEYC is the National Assosciation for the Education of Young Children.  This is the group to belong to if you are an early childhood teacher.  There are over 80,o00 members.  They offer a great deal of professional development opportunities through conferences, classes, publications, etc.  They also advocate for early childhood when it comes to public policy.  There are many discussion boards where you can ask for advice, give advice, etc.  It has been a great resource and will continue to be as I pursue this new adventure of becoming more involved with technology in the classroom.

5. earlychildhoodtech.edublogs.org  This is a blog for people who work with little kids and who enjoy technology.  One of the posts talked about the security issues you need to concern yourself with.  For instance, if you make a class blog do you have permission from all the parents to have photos of their children on there, etc.  I think she takes it a little over the top, blurring images and such but it gets me thinking anyway.  I have enjoyed what I have read and will continue to be a follower.

6.  ehow.com  There were several lists on Ehow of places to apply to for grant money for pre-k technology.  It seemed like each list that I found had links to other lists.  Some had a few of the same places but each of them had some unique places to look for funding.  This will be a great resource for applying for as many grants as possible.  If you have lots of hooks in the water you are more likely to get a bite.

7.  teachpreschool.org  This is a link to an article on a blog I like to follow.  She writes about how she uses technology in her own life but rarely brings it into the classroom.  She is changing her mind about its appropriateness  thanks to her daughter.  She has watched her daughter be a wonderful mother to her son, actively engaging with him, playing, etc.  but also bringing technology into his life.  She has learned from her daughter that technology doesn’t need to be seen as a sterile and cold way to teach.

8.  education.com  This is a list of I-Pad Apps for Preschoolers.  While I would like to have a smartboard and all kinds of technology stuff for the classroom the reality is that is going to take a while.  I think the most realistic plan is to ask for an I-Pad for Christmas and bring mine to school and work with the kids from my I-Pad.  Not only is this realistic but also a smart way to go, I think.  I will learn some of what works and what doesn’t before investing thousands into systems for the whole classroom.  This is a link to just one of many lists of I-Pad apps on education.com

9.  edutopia.org  Even though this site is specifically for k-12 it is still a great resource for me.  There is a lot of information about all kinds of new ideas in education.  There are discussion boards where you can interact with other teachers.  I especially like the video of the week.  This week it is about virtual learning, going to school online.

10.  kinderiq.com  This site is dedicated to helping families and teachers with kindergarten readiness.  One of the parts of this website that I would utilize the most I think is the different assessment pieces.  There is also a great deal of information about computers for the age group and lesson plans for using technology in your classroom.

 

Week 5 Research Artice Review – Tablet Use in Preschool

I chose to research the use of technology in a preschool setting.  I am trying to figure out my stance.  While I understand the need to “keep up with the times”  I also am needing to be developmentally appropriate.  Just because it is the way we are headed doesn’t mean it is the right thing for little kids.  I chose to look more into this subject because I need more information to decide what I think about it. The article that I am reviewing is titled, A Tablet Computer For Young Children?  Exploring Its Viablility For Early Childhood Education, the article was written by Dora W. Chen and Leslie J. Couse.  It was found in The Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 43.1 (Fall 2010).  

The research was done in a classroom setting at a university preschool in the Northeast.  There were 41 participants ranging in age from 3-6 years old.  The students were using a tablet to draw self-portraits.  The researchers found that the children quickly learned how to use the tablet and that there was a high level of interest.  The researchers concluded that stylus-interfaced technology does have a solid place in the education of young children.  The teachers rated 66% of the drawings done on the tablet with the stylus as typical of the age and comparable to what the same child would draw with paper and pencil.  The teachers rated 20% of the work as higher quality than they would typically see from the same student.

One of the things that I will be looking for in my resource collection for this research topics is grants or other opportunities to bring technology into my preschool classroom.  It is my hope that I can find some way to bring a smartboard and/or some tablets into the school so that all the children can benefit from some of the amazing things that are offered now via technology.

The NETS standards that would be addressed by this type of learning are creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving and decision making, and technology operations and concepts.

 

Week Four – Hybrid Learning In Preschool

Article Title:  Developmentally Appropriate Digital Environments for Young Children

Author:  Linda Z. Cooper

Source:  Library Trends 54.2 (Fall 2005)

 

One of the reasons that I left teaching is because Kindergarten was becoming less and less developmentally appropriate.  Kids in my classroom loved dancing in a line to the Alphabet Train, working on their fine motor skills with playdough, having great books read to them and learning through play.  We spent time with phonics, math, science and the like but it was done in an interactive way.  That gave way to a canned program that my school district adopted.  The first year that it was mandated in our district was my own son’s first year in Kindergarten.  He was so excited to go to school.  That excitement was soon squashed when he was bored out of his mind doing worksheet after worksheet and decoding stories that didn’t really mean anything.  He came to school with what I would say is the average toolbox.  He knew most of his letters, colors, and shapes and was working on learning letter sounds.  He liked to be busy with his hands and body. What was expected of him was to sit and listen and sit and do worksheets, day after day.  He was bored, not because the work was beneath his ability but because of the delivery.  In my opinion one of the main roles of an early years teacher is to keep that desire to learn strong.  How can you possibly do that with such a boring method of instruction?  In my opinion, you can’t.  I think that worksheets and the like should play a very limited role in the education of young children.  Thankfully, we are seeing a change from this sort of program.  I think that a happy medium is where we need to be headed.  I used to think that technology should have a limited role as well.  However, with the new types of interactive programs I am finding out about, I am more and more intrigued and am investigating if I should be changing my opinion.

Technology is here to stay.   Today’s child grows up in the omnipresence of technology (Cooper, 2005).  One of the challenges of today’s crowded classrooms is to handle differentiation.  In one particular year, I had a student who knew zero letters, colors or shapes, numbers.  He appeared to have never even held a book, he would open it upside down or with the spine facing towards him and in the same class there was another boy who was reading and understanding Harry Potter books.  And 30 other ones in between those two.  Technology can go a long way towards meeting the needs of everyone.  The programs that are available today are individualized and leveled plus they offer reporting so that progress can be closely monitored.  This article summed up what the experts in the field of child development have suggested for what a developmentally appropriate digital environment looks like.  The points are as follows.

  • support the child as a unique individual
  • be open-ended
  • be child-controlled
  • be active rather than passive
  • involve many senses
  • encourage exploration, experimentation and risk taking
  • encourage critical thinking, decision-making and problem solving
  • offer quick feedback, be interruptible, and keep records
  • balance familiarity with novelty
  • be user-friendly
  • be progressively leveled, offering new challenges
  • be responsive to child input
  • build on previous learning
  • encourage reflection and metacognition
  • support social interaction