Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Technology Integrators (#2)

As I research and read articles, my goal is to type up a short summary of the articles I read and post them here.  There's a lot to wade through, but maybe this weekly post can be a way to keep you from spending a lot of research time too.  So, sit back and enjoy.

This article has been sitting in my email inbox for a few weeks.  The wonderful folks down under in Victoria, Australia, compiled a list of lesson ideas using apps that foster higher level thinking.  Rather than me give you a summary of each idea, just go on the link and see for yourself.  There are ideas for just about any discipline. http://www.education.vic.gov.au/studentlearning/elearning/ipads/classroom.htm

I'm catching up on my reading.  When I see an article that I think will be beneficial to my research, I email it to my inbox so I can read it at a more convenient time.  I figure that I'll eventually read it and put it in this section of my blog, forever enshrining it in my research.  I find that a lot of these articles are merely summarizing the wonders of the iPad and how it will transform education.  They offer very little in terms of HOW it will or specific IDEAS of how I can use it in my room.  Ho hum!  I almost linked one to this blog, but why waste your time?

Here is another great piece of writing coming from Victoria, Australia, this one talking about planning what your 1:1 classroom and school will look at.  I like this quote. "We should not be mapping the use of new technologies onto old curricula, rather, we need to rethink our curricula and pedagogies in the light of the impact that we know technologies can have on learning and meaning-making in contemporary times."

It turns out that someone adjusts Bloom's Taxonomy. Did you know that? How did it escape me? Anyhow this article is #5 in a six part series about the New Bloom's Taxonomy. Specifically this article looks at the creating (see synthesis) level. They split creativity into three levels (generating, planning, and producing). Schools do a disservice by sticking to the textbook instead of teaching them to create. What do you think of this quote?

"We are depriving ourselves of untapped resources of human ability and robbing children of their right to full development." (Quoting Bloom himself)
It deeply sickens me to think that in 2011, this still holds true. In a desperate attempt to deliver a mass consumption of content, too many of our nation's schools are requiring teachers to do little more than parrot published materials. Occasionally, these resources do provide opportunities for students to critique ideas, but rarely do they intend to foster creative thought.

This article continues by giving a handful of iPad apps that can be used to evaluate students' creative level on the taxonomy.  It even gives 10 criteria to look for in an creating app.  I plan to use this list extensively.

I have been using Wikispaces in my class for years.  It started with a country wiki project for my sixth graders.  They each studied a separate country, and we built a wiki site dedicated to the countries they studied.  As the years progressed, the wiki grew and was modified to address changes in the countries.  Now, I'm at a new school, and I'm using Wikispaces again.  This time, my fifth graders posted Native American facts on the wiki and are also using it to post journal entries for a book they read in Language Arts class.  Eventually, I would like to use this area to build something similar to the country wiki I had at my previous school.  We'll just see where our curriculum goes.  You access my current wiki here, but I no longer have access to my old account.

The fine people at Wikispaces wrote up an article about Project-Based Learning.  In it, they mention Edutopia, which I'm finding is a pretty good site for educators to hop onto every once in a while.

Speaking of wikis, here's a wiki site from the Palm Beach School District, listing all sorts of apps that they use in their schools.  I LOVE this quote... "Technology has been completely transparent to the Net Gen. 'It doesn't exist. It's like the air,' said Coco Conn, cofounder of the Web-based Cityspace project. MIT's Dr. Idit Harel, a professor of epistemology, agreed: 'For the kids, it's like using a pencil. Parents don't talk about pencils, they talk about writing. And kids don't talk about technology—they talk about playing, building a Web site, writing a friend, about the rain forest. . .To them, technology is like the air,'" (Don Tapscott, Grown Up Digital)
This page is for the elementary apps, but there are apps for middle school and high school too.  I'll bookmark this page for future use.  

I think that's enough for one week.  I'll keep reading and sharing with you.  In the meantime, tell me what good stuff you're finding out there.

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