Paperless Classrooms for the Future!

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This article is written by Project Tomorrow, an nonprofit organization dedicated to students’ point of view on education. This organization polls K-12 students, parents, and educators every year to see their input on learning technology in and out of school. As most of us probably already predicted, digital-based learning is becoming a popular method of teaching.

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The article mentions that 46% of high school students use online textbook, which is a growth of 53% since 2005. Two-thirds of the teachers (sixty-eight percent) are using online videos to give their discussions a boost. Looking at these numbers, we can definitely say that most of the schools are slowly drifting away from paper/textbooks and going towards the digital world. Some of us might think that it is a great idea, while others don’t really agree upon it. Most of the students, quoted in this article, are excited to see a technology based future for schools. A 12th grade student states “I think that schools will be completely paperless in 5 years. There will be a lot more online classes for younger generations.”

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I think a lot of teachers, like me, don’t know how to feel about this. It is exciting to see new ideas for the future, but are we getting too comfortable with technology? How much can we rely on technology? We all know about the ‘technical difficulties’, so what are teachers suppose to do when that happens? Will there be paper back-ups?back-to-to-school-cartoon-twitter1-598x490

I believe with the technology drift comes a lot of questions that still need to be answered. For my future classroom, I can accept 70%-75% of my teaching evolving technology but I don’t think I could go 100%. It is nice for the new generation to have access to the internet and the great websites, but I also think they need to learn how to live without. I say that because I think children are getting too used to the easy technology way. It’s like they don’t have to use their brains all the time because they have ‘google’ or ‘wiki’ to help them. I am not saying I am against technology (I love the fact we have it), but I think it should be used to a certain extend.

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Are Teachers going to Extinct in the Near Future !?

Technology can be great, to an certain extent. It’s nice that teachers and professors have access to these amazing websites, such as TeachersPayTeachers, to help create lesson plans. But is too much technology going to be a teacher’s nightmare? In the article The Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher, the author mentions how technology based classrooms are soon to take over the teachers job. In about five to ten years, there will be a big screen projector in front of the room that will teach the children. Instead of having a teacher, there will be a tech to ensure that everything is working and the students are behaving. You ask will the tech get paid as much as a teacher? Nope! The tech will be making around $15/hr.

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The concept of having a big projector teaching the students may sound exciting, but what if the student needs help? The tech isn’t getting paid enough to learn the lesson in order to help the students. It’s like the public schools are trying to make their schools like colleges and universities, with online classes. Like the author asked another teacher, if everything is taught through the internet then does that mean the student can stay home and learn? The answer was yes, just like home-schooling the student can stay home. Let’s be real, how many of us actually do as much schoolwork at home as we do at school? I don’t know about others, but I can definitely say that I cannot concentrate at home! There are too many distractions so I know I could never do homeschool.

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So what exactly does this mean for teachers? Do we have to become experts with technology and lesson plans in order to have a job in the future? I don’t know about the other teachers and professors, but after reading this article I’m afraid that my job isn’t secured. Technology is great to have as a help and assistant, but not for taking over a human-being. If the future isn’t looking so bright for the teachers, should colleges stop giving educational degrees?

Can Computers at Home really help with Education?

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Some people believe that kids in poverty have an disadvantage at school because they don’t have internet at home. Is the internet an issue or is there more to it? Gregory Ferenstein wrote in his article “Free Computers don’t close the Rich-Poor Education Gap” that it’s not the internet that they need, it’s actually family support that these children need in order to be successful in school. California did a study by giving 1,123 students free computers who did not have it at home. The results were opposite than what they expected; students’ grades starting going down. The children weren’t using their computers for educational use, instead they used it for social media and non-educational games. This study proved that the problem was deeper than the internet. It was the environment and family that shaped these children. In most poverty families, college and education is not their number one priority. The children grow up to behave and think that way as well. Like the author mentioned in this article, and how it is at my own house, education is very important to our family that’s why it is not an option for us to get a good education. We must go to college and graduate school because that is expected from our families.

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In my classroom, I won’t only consider computers to be a helpful source to my students. I will need to go beyond the computers. If education is not prioritized in the students’ families, then I will need to help the students set their priorities. I think the first thing I would need to do is have a parent-teacher night with all the parents and educate them about education. Tell them how important is it for the students to get a good education for a better future. I would also let the parents know that I am there for help if they believe they cannot help their children out in this area. It is important for us, as in teachers, to keep track how our students are doing. If they aren’t doing so well in class, see why they are not doing well in class. Are you providing everything they need in order to learn? Are you considering all the help the student may need? If after doing all that and the student is still not doing well in school, then that is when a parent-teacher meeting should be set to see if the student is getting the help they need at home. As a teacher, we should explain to the parents how important it is for a student to get support from home.

Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Clouds

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I got the opportunity to watch Sugata Mitra’s Build a School in the Clouds by TED, and I got to say it was very motivating! He tells his life story how he placed a computer in the slum areas of India, where the children knew nothing about it. He just left it there to see what they would do. When he came back, they were playing on it. He wonders, how did they learn to use it? Then one person added maybe there was a student passing by who knew how to operate and that student helped these children. So Mitra thought and decided to place another computer at a different slum location, with a little girl who knew how to operate the computer. But this time it was different. These students were to study a subject they never heard of, and the little girl said how is she suppose to help the children when she doesn’t even know anything about the subject. Mitra simply said just be there for motivation. Tell the children that they are doing great. With this experiment, he saw the students learning more.

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So what does this story suggest? Students just need that little push in order to achieve. Mitra’s main goal out of this talk was to explain to the audience that even though everything is off of technology, we need to think about the future. He wants to build a school in the clouds. He states in the talk “My wish is to help design a future of learning by supporting children all over the world to tap into their wonder and their ability to work together”. I agree with Mitra; sometimes students just need motivation.

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I can give a life example. My niece, who is almost three years old, started really late talking. Every time she would say a word, she would say it funny and we would all laugh because it was cute. But for her it was embarrassing. So I thought about it, and the next time I asked her to repeat a word after me of course she said it wrong again because she couldn’t pronounce it. But this time I reacted differently with her. This time I didn’t laugh at her and instead I told her ‘good job!’ and asked her to repeat it again. I started clapping for her when she repeated the word again and I said ‘yay!’. That really motivated her and she slowly started saying more words. People just need encouragement to go further. If we think about it, if someone is discouraging you would you really continue to do the same thing. No, right? You will probably give up soon. So as teachers, let’s be the motivators. When the student gives a wrong answer, try to take it in the possible direction to motivate them to think more. They are our future and it’s in our hands to shape our future, so let’s shape it the right way!

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Mitra ends the talk by telling the audience about a funny time when he was in the Himalayas. He met a little girl there and he said to her “You know, I want to give a computer to everybody, every child. I don’t know, what should I do?” The girl put out her hand and replied to him “Get on with it.”

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This entry was posted on July 9, 2016. 1 Comment

BAM! Radio Podcast: Teach to Lead by Maddie Fennell

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From the BAM! Radio Podcast website, I listened to Maddie Fennell talk about Teach to Lead program. I thought this podcast was very informing and motivating, trying to get the teachers involved in the problems the schools and districts are seeing.

What is Teach to Lead? It’s a program with the mission to advance student outcomes by expanding opportunities for teacher leadership supported by the US Department of Education, National Board of Education, and ASCD. In order to inform other teachers about this program there is a website that allows the teachers to connect through social networking, conferences where teachers get to share their ideas with other teachers, and there are 121 organizations that are helping the teachers be successful with this program. Teach to Lead is a program that is trying to keep great teachers in classroom and allowing them to lead the classrooms their ways.

Every teacher is a leader but with teacher leadership, teacher flex the leadership arm out and do things outside of classrooms. Some examples are they lead lesson studies, peer observation, do something school hasn’t done yet to help the students. This is done with imagination and creativity, with the willingness to help improve the students.

How to start: There are a lot of good resources to help get started like P12 leadership website, books, administrators, etc. The teacher just need to have a target to hit and just go for it. The basic way to start this is by finding a problem that your school district is trying to solve and find ways to fix it. Use your best teacher expertise’s to solve that problem! ‘Be at the table and take the opportunity’, as it is mentioned in this podcast.

Teachers need to get pass that they have to stay in the classroom. Most teachers are afraid that their colleagues are going to think they are just leaving the classroom to get out. Teachers need to make sure to share the knowledge they get from outside with their colleagues and administrators so they know what the teacher is learning from outside, and what they are bringing to the school to help.

How to lead up: There are a lot of fellowship who look for teachers that have the passion to help their school and district. Look for those fellowship and get their help! The teacher should also understand the principal and see what concerns they have. Try to meet those the principal’s concerns to show that you are trying to help the school.

I definitely think that the podcast system is a good way of sharing different types of knowledge to the teachers. I will be using this system in the future, as a teacher, to get new ideas for teaching and helping the school out. To start off, this was a very good podcast to listen to as I am stepping my foot in to becoming a teacher for the first time. It has motivated me to help solve problems outside of the classroom I will be teaching.

This entry was posted on July 9, 2016. 1 Comment

Technology Resources: Prezi

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I was always under the impression that it cost money to create a Prezi, so that’s why I never used it. To get that myth out of the way, there is a way to go around to create a Prezi for free! There are options to buy Prezi account, which would include privacy options. If you don’t mind having your Prezi publicly viewable, searchable, and reuseable, then you can create a free account! Are you a student or a teacher? Perfect ! There is a plan for students and teachers for a free Prezi account, along with some other plans with more options and monthly fee.

So, what is Prezi you ask? Prezi is a presentation tool that uses one large canvas instead of slides. You get to zoom in and out of text and visuals that are used in your Prezi. This is a great tool to make creative and unique presentations.

When compared with a regular powerpoint presentation, some people believe that Prezi are more ‘fun’ and unique to look at than just one slide after another. Of course, that opinion will varies from person to person. If you like to do things easy and straightforward, powerpoint will be the answer. Prezi is non-linear and takes a little more steps than it does to create a powerpoint. Once you understand the steps of Prezi, it won’t take as much time to create. So what would you use? Prezi or Powerpoint?

Extracurricular Empowerment: Scott McLeod

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After watching Extracurricular Empowerment, I can definitely say that social media is very powerful. This can be a good thing and sometimes it can be a bad thing. The examples Scott McLeod gives, of children on social media, is amazing! He talks about a girl who started blogging about her school lunch. She wanted to show others how boring her lunch was and how it wasn’t making her full. Since people got to see, her blog became popular. Lots of famous people reached out to her and had her on their talk shows. Because of this, the school even changed their lunch menu to more fulfilling meals. When used in the right way, social media can spread words and news very fast. It is a easier way of contacting as many people as possible across the world. In fact, these children are doing a lot better on social media than they are doing at schools. Why is that?

 

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Scott ask the question, why are we so afraid of using technology at schools? Through social media, we have noticed how attractive children are towards it. We, as educators, are afraid that we will lose control if technology is used in schools. But can we blame ourselves? I strongly believe that technology should be used in limits, especially at a young age. Children need to learn that there is life outside of social media. Yes, social media can become very useful when trying to spread the word or trying to get some information but is that all that is left in life to do? Because of this social media craze I have noticed a lot less children at the park, a lot less children in the library, a lot less children just outside playing. I do agree with Scott that schools should take advantage of technology but I believe to some extent. Technology should be there to help the children learn more about a certain subject. Technology should be there for children to   use on projects and/or to listen to music when they are doing their work. Technology shouldn’t be there to take over the purpose of the instructor.

This entry was posted on June 13, 2016. 2 Comments