Sunday, February 27, 2011
Blog Assignment 6
“Networked Student”- This video is all about conectivism. Connectivisim is the belief that learning occurs best when a student is connected with the world. This way the student can have access to the many different perspectives that other people have on this topic. This video shows that if a teacher decides to allow students to use tools available on the internet, then they will learn more than the traditional teaching style of lecturing and using textbooks. This is a student centered form of learning instead of teacher centered learning. The student can create their own PLN or Personal Learning Network. This includes websites, blogs, podcasts and other tools that the student has found on the internet and can save on a social bookmarking site such as delicious. This way the student can keep track of all the information that they have gathered and they can share their information with others who are interested in learning about the same topic. Another great thing these students can do is create a blog so that they can record their own thoughts about the material that they have found and get feedback from others about it. A class blog would be a great way to connect all the students in this class together so that they can discuss topics and show what they have learned.
Connectivism opens up a lot more opportunities for the students than the traditional, lecture style teaching that many educators still employ. By allowing students to control their own learning, this makes them feel more involved and therefore more motivated. The students also have access to vast amounts of information that is available on the World Wide Web. They are not limited to only hearing the opinion of their teacher and the author of their textbook. There are so many tools available to students these days because of the invention of technology, but many teachers are still teaching in the exact same manner as teachers did decades ago before this technology was available. Why is this? Perhaps teachers are resistant connectivism and student centered learning because they don’t understand technology and they refuse to learn. Maybe the teacher is worried that if the employ connectivism in their classroom, then their job will be obsolete. However, this is a misconception.
What is the role of the teacher in a classroom that is based on connectivism? The teacher still has an extremely important role in this process. The teacher in a classroom which employs connectivism acts as a guide for his/her students. This is completely different from a teacher is a traditional classroom who acts as the authority and the main source of information in the class. The teacher in the class based on connectivism must teach his students to decipher fact from opinion and good information from falsehood. This teacher must give their student direction on their learning journey and help them to learn to use the proper tools along the way. The teacher must motivate their students and make sure that each student is doing their work. The teacher can’t just sit back and assume that the students are going to teach themselves simply because they are making their own PLN.
I think that more teachers should base their lesson plans on connectivism because it would open up so many opportunities for the students. It would also actively engage the students! Many students would rather learn by researching things fir themselves rather than just listening to a teacher’s opinion. If you would like to watch this video, you can follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwM4ieFOotA&feature=player_embedded
“A Seventh Grader’s Personal Learning Environment”- This is a video made by a student that is involved in a networked science class. In this class, each student has their own social bookmarking account which includes a link to their class website. Their class website has the assignments that the students must complete for that day. It also includes informational articles and videos that the students can learn from. This class is much like EDM310 because the students are in control of when and where they must complete their assignments. The teacher also has incentives for the students to complete projects. For example, if the students want to have the privilege of holding the class pet, they must first write a report about that animal and post it on their blog.
I think that this is a great example of how connectivism can be effective in the classroom. The student that created this video stated that they enjoyed being in a classroom that involved networked learning. They said that the freedom that they had to choose when and how to complete their work gave them a sense of responsibility. It is important to teach students to self-regulate their learning. This will make students more dependable individuals who will know how to keep up with their assignments and use their time effectively. If you would like to view this video, it can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEls3tq5wIY.
The Pros and Cons of Smartboards- I read two articles which discussed the negative aspects of interactive white boards. Both of the articles were written by teachers. One of these teachers had used a smartboard in his classroom for a year and decided to give it away because he thought that it was useless. There are two main arguments that both of these teachers mentioned in their articles. The first argument is that interactive white boards do not make classroom instruction more effective or more student-centered. They simply reinforce the traditional style of teaching where teachers lecture and the students are not actively engaged. There are many more effective and interactive forms of technology which involve both teacher and student participation. Also, some teachers that have smartboards in their classrooms never learn to use the m effectively. They simply use the smartboard as a projector which is a very wasteful practice since a smartboard costs thousands of dollars. This leads me to the second argument that the writers gave against smartboards. Smartboards are very expensive. Although smartboards are very cool, there are many other technological tools that teachers can use which cost nothing at all. Overall, these teachers feel that smartboards are not constructive in any way and they do not improve the classroom learning environment. Administrators simply buy them because they are required to spend money on technology and smartboards look impressive. If you would like o read these articles, follow these links
I also read an article which discussed the many benefits of Smartboards. For example, students of all ages are drawn to Smartboards. They encourage class participation because the students enjoy being able to use the Smartboards. They are very colorful and allow teachers to not only project their lesson plans, but also navigate to different webpages or word document while still interacting with the class. The teacher can write on the screen with their finger or the special Smartboard pen and then print out the notes that they have written for the students. Another great point that the writer made was that the Smartboard caters to tactile, auditory and visual learners. The author also points out that these boards are useful when teaching students how to navigate new websites or use tools which are available in the internet. This article can be found at http://teachers.net/gazette/JAN02/mabell.html
These articles make completely opposite claims about Smartboards. The first two articles claim that Smartboards prohibit class participation because it just gives another way for teacher to stand in front of the class and lecture. The third article claims that Smartboards actually encourage classroom participation because students are excited to use Smartboards. I think that whether or not Smartboards encourage or inhibit class participation ultimately depends on the teacher that is using the board. Some teachers may encourage students to come up and use the board while other teachers would just use the board to enhance their own lecture. However, I do question how much benefit the students would get from simply writing on the Smartboard. This can be achieved by a regular white board. I think that it is essential to incorporate technology into the classroom, but I don’t think simply writing on a Smartboard captures the full potential of technology. The writer of the third article did point out that the Smartboard allows more students to interact with the computer if there is only one computer in the classroom. Overall, I’m not sure where I stand on the use of Smartboards in the classroom because I have never used one personally. I think that if a teacher does have a Smartboard in their classroom, it is important that they learn how to properly and effectively utilize the board.