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The State of Education

May 8, 2012

This weeks blog has to do with classroom designs of the 21st century.  The online article I read discussed how classrooms must be designed to fully support the use of technology in the classroom since today’s society revolves around and relies on technology to a great degree.  The article mentioned six different “ingredients” that I agree are important in having as a part of the creation of a classroom that will be creative as well as important to the learning environment.  First you start with the basics: four walls and high ceilings along with good lighting.  Second, it is best to eliminate dark spots and shadows.  Next it is good to have good seating arrangements. This means a few things.  Students need to be grouped together in a wise fashion meaning not putting bad students with other bad students because that will cause disruption.  Also, it is important that the seats are comfortable as well as flexible to deal with standard paper-based examination.  Another important aspect of creating an efficient learning environment is getting the faculty involved.  They are the ones who have to teach in those classrooms so it would seem logical to  have them put in their input on what they think is best as well rather than just having administrators decide.  Another important ingredient in this classroom design is providing an easy way to access and power up to the technology that does not take very long.  This is a crucial ingredient because you also have to decide what type of technology you want in your classrooms and how expensive the technology is as well.  The final ingredient that goes with classroom design is that in order to be involved in higher education with the technology you want your students to use in your classroom, it is important that your technology is not “standing-alone”.  In other words, do not buy a bunch of technology if you are not going to use it in the classroom because it is a waste of money and space.  Instead, be willing and able to deliver a suitable learning environment and then begin adding technology above that foundation.  

 

 

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Next Generation Classroom- Roles & Rules

May 5, 2012

The roles of mobile devices in the classroom are not to be a distraction or anything to prevent positive learning. The role of mobile devices in the classroom is to be a tool of the learning process and as a means to make students more responsive in classroom activities and as a way to get students to participate in those classroom activities.

The rules include the following:

1. Use mobile devices as a tool of the learning process.

2. No texting/calling other people in class.

3. No inappropriate activity should be going on when using mobile devices.

4. Stay on task when using mobile devices.

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Future Classroom # 2

May 5, 2012

As a continuation into the spectrum of what future classrooms should look like, there are more things to be included.  First off, the importance of mobile devices should be included in classrooms. Not as a form of distraction from learning, but rather, as a way of improving the learning process and to stay away from boring lectures and textbook instruction.  The introduction of tools such as the Iphone,Ipad Touch, and smart phones is important to the nature of teaching because students nowadays are more adaptive as well as responsive to new technology and the different features of new technology. Also, I think that allowing students more freedom in the classroom is an exciting new way of improving the learning process. Rather than traditional teaching methods, a teacher should allow students some freedom in creating presentations through programs such as Microsoft Power point or any other form of presentation program where students can work in groups of 2-3 and let the creativity flow.

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Mobile Learning

May 4, 2012

In the field of education, mobile learning is becoming used much more frequently.  It refers to a more technologically based learning with reliance on mobile devices such as the Ipad Touch, Cell phones, the Iphone, and many other various forms of mobile devices. Students use these devices at home and educators are realizing they are as useful to students in the classroom.  This does not imply they are being used as a form of distraction, but rather, as a tool of the learning process.  The pros of mobile learning are it gives students another fun tool to use in the learning process. Whereas teachers do not have to rely on traditional styles of teaching such as using a textbook or lecturing.  Also, mobile education is much more engaging and students can relate to the technology because of their daily and at home use.

On the other hand, the cons of mobile learning are the instructor cannot always see what students are doing with their mobile devices during class time and students can become distracted from texting, playing games, or any other form of non-educational use that mobile devices have.

However, though mobile learning has its pitfalls, it is important because it gives students the opportunity to learn as well as use the incredible technology they have as an efficient tool of learning.

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Outline

April 25, 2012

Mission Statement:

I am an educator.  I believe everyone has the ability to excel, given the opportunity.  I will strive to be respectful and understanding to my students as well as my fellow teachers and administrators.  I hold myself responsible and honest toward my actions as an instructor.  Not only will I aim to instruct my students well, I will also allow them the room to think for themselves.

Classroom Rules:

1.Be seated and quiet when the school bell sounds.

2.Be respectful to the teacher as well as fellow students.

3.No inappropriate behavior, follow the school-student handbook for descriptions of inappropriate behavior.

4.Any homework due is to be turned in at the beginning of class.

Physical Layout:

I want the classroom to be surrounded with books as well as cupboards.  I want educational posters on the wall, I want a smart board at the front of the class with the desks in rows facing the smart board.  In the back of the classroom I want computers lined up to use for the virtual classroom.  Finally I want my desk to be at the front, right, corner of the classroom facing the students’ desks and smart board at a side view with the windows of the classroom directly behind the desk, along that wall.

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Future Classroom #1

April 24, 2012

After doing some research on what future classrooms should look like, I realized that teaching will be much more than just four walls with desks and a teacher in front of the room lecturing (Mind Shift, 1). There will be a classroom of ethnically and age diverse students and part of the day will be spent with learning technology.  Following that will be finding out which students need help moving through a particular lesson and the focus will be for those who are struggling the most.  The type of learning will be more self-guided and the teacher will seem as more of a coach or mentor. Additionally, to take care of those students who were mis-educated such as black and brown students, “the most needy students need the most qualified teachers in the most supportive schools”  (Mind Shift, 1). 

It is important that the schools have a strong relationship with their students in the future. Future classrooms should also have a strong focus on creativity, innovation and skill-based learning (You should read…,1). Of these three, creativity is the most important because it is a much needed skill in the world and is becoming dominant in the workplace.

Critical thinking skills and cultural awareness are another facet to the future classroom. The use of technology will be key in future classrooms and the proper use of that technology will help develop higher order thinking skills and contribute to positive thoughts on learning where as the “textbook teaching” method typically was not as effective in the learning process.

 

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Educational Technologies

April 19, 2012

The first item I think is a useful piece of technology is Edublog.  Anything posted on this blog is easily manageable from school and home.  Students are easily able to respond to blogs posted using Edublog and it allows for collaboration among teachers and students.  This technology allows for images and designs making learning much more enjoyable and engaging.  Edublog also makes it easy to post class information to allow students to stay up-to-date with their assignments.   This technology also takes away photocopying and is environmental friendly which can suggest it is much more efficient to type, post, and publish work rather than for a teacher to shuffle through papers and be able to give genuine feedback.  This is apart of Higher Order Thinking model because it allows students to be creative through not only translating the way they understand material but also to utilize videos, podcasts, and the like in order to give more visual aide and as a way to keep the audience more responsive and more in-tune to what they are viewing and learning.  For example, in a 7th grade social studies class studying the Roman Empire, Edublog could be used for the teacher to post questions and open up for discussion.  The teacher can also post videos for his or her students to watch and then students can summarize what they watched and then students can evaluate each other based on what they learned  and finally the teacher can correct any misconceptions in the discussion so that the students may further understand the material.
The next tool that should be focused on is Wikipedia.  According to the site I found, Wiki in the classroom “is used for pedagogical, administrative and social goals.”  This tool can be used for brainstorming and posting ideas which are also backed up with reliable information.  The teacher can also use this tool to ask questions to get students to think about other aspects of the material and evaluate their understanding.  Wiki also allows for student portfolios which can help with peer editing and improvement of writing skills. Incorporating this into the lesson for studying the Roman Empire could be the following: Brainstorming and then research reasons as to why you think the Roman Empire became so powerful as well as backing up their information with reliable sites to avoid the pitfalls of source inaccuracy that Wikipedia is often aligned with.  Then once the students answer the questions as to why the Roman Empire became powerful, the teacher can open for discussion in-class and come to a consensus as to narrow down some of the major reasons why the Roman Empire became so powerful. This type of learning process is connected to Higher Order Thinking in the following way: Through brainstorming and then discussion, students can see for themselves how close they are to more accurate answers and narrow down and keep those precise ideas.  Finally, this process allows the students to get their ideas out in the open and be evaluated in a meaningful way and again, contributing to the Higher Order Thinking model.
The final tool that I think should be incorporated into the classroom is Google Docs.  Google docs is a very useful and collaborative tool to use for students and teachers alike.  With google docs, individuals can have a personal account, they can write documents and share them with peers and go back and later edit the material you have written, you are also able to choose who can edit your material as well.  Google docs also allows for easy access and edit documents from any computer or smart phone. It is important to note that the kinds of documents individuals can make are not limited to word documents, but also spreadsheets, drawings, presentations, and forms.  In general, google docs is important for Higher Order Thinking because it enables students to analyze others’ works and allows for improvements to be made through peer evaluation.