week 10 Futures of Education

Futures of Education

I think that think clients is a cost effective and efficient method of providing technology in schools.  What is appealing is that users can log into any computer and have access to all of their files including their personalized desktop on any computer they log into.  The school that I currently work on has a similar system.  The students save all of their work and files onto a server and then they can log into any of the computers in any classroom or computer lab.  It makes it much easier for student to access their documents that they are working on from any computer that is connected to the server.  The same is true for teacher computers.  I can go to any district computer that is connected to the server and access my documents.  We currently have laptops that we can bring home and access most of the material that we are able to access from school with some exceptions. 

Virtualization sounds very ideal and appealing and according to proponents has many benefits like having multiple operating systems on one PC.  As I was reading about this I was trying to visualize how this would work and the benefits of it.  So, I am wondering if this would be like being able to open a software application file even though you don’t necessarily have the software.  For example,  I have smartnotebook files on my computer because at my previous school I  had the program but now I can’t open them on my computer  until I get the software installed.  Perhaps this is not the correct analogy and correct me if I am wrong.  I also compare virtualization like current cloud storage technology.  Other benefits of virtualization include its cost effectiveness, better resource management, computer backups, restores and migrations are simplified .  The servers are being utilized more efficiently and thus less space and reduced costs are a definite benefit.   I think that for school districts virtualization would be a definite worthwhile investment because of its reduction in maintenance, power consumption and improved disaster recovery and manageability.  

Some problems with virtualization might be that since the entire districts data might be stored in a centralized location then naturally security issues might arise.  Also is the data that is stored in these servers backed up somewhere?  If there was to be a fire or some sort of other disaster at the building where all of this data is located is there a way to recover it?  My other question is: Is data being collected on the users who log into the servers and how is this data being used? 

In reading the Learning Analytics article and viewing the video on “Big Data coming to Education”; It makes sense to me in a way that we have to find more efficient and informative ways to analyze data.  If it takes two years for the state to compile data then what is the point of it?  It is useless by the time that it is published.  Yet, when he talked about algorithms being able to recommend books, suggest “facebook” friends and using the same type of technology to determine an individual’s learning needs, something just does not sound right to me.  I really don’t like the idea of a machine or algorithm being able to do this.  I also think the issues in education are far more complicated then attending to each students’ learning needs.    Even if teachers are able to tailor each students learning experience, there are many social and environmental reasons why some students are not achieving.

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Week 9 Hybrid Learning Resources

Hybrid/Blended Learning  Resources

http://prezi.com/ this is a cloud based presentation software tool for exploring and sharing ideas.  It is like an enhanced powerpoint tool.  According to their site you can collaborate in real time, across time zones and access the software from the cloud, desktop or ipad.  I think that it would be a good experience for students to be aware of the different presentation software tools that are available.  It would be a great tool to explore as a teacher or a student.  NETS T Standards  1) Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

http://www.edmodo.com/ this site provides teachers and students a secure place to connect, collaborate and share content.  Teachers are able to post grades, assignments, and quizzes and post topics of discussion among students.  I think this would also be a great resource for any teacher looking into a platform for hybrid learning.  NETS T Standards 4 Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility;  5) Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership.

http://www.gsn.org/WEB/index.html this site offers resources to help you implement collaborative, project based learning on the internet.  It offers various links including links for finding projects, partners and collaborative tools and how to find and join exemplary online projects. If I was teaching a blended course I would definitely use this site to find other instructors using similar strategies and as a resource to get ideas to implement in a hybrid teaching environment. NETS S Standards 2) Communication and Collaboration

NETS T Standards  1) Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

http://www.collaborizeclassroom.com/

This site offers a free collaborative education platform for students and teachers.  Teachers who are interested in implementing a blended approach to teaching would benefit from researching and looking into this site.  Especially since it is free of charge and claims to increase student participation, save on monthly printing costs, reduce grading time, and offers detailed participation reports.  The site also has a link where you can create and share topics, lessons and assignments and you can also download peer reviewed topic based lessons.  NETS S Standards 2) Communication and Collaboration

NETS T Standards  1) Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

http://www.youtube.com/schools

Students can watch instructional videos on many different subject areas.  This is a great site for parents and students to use as a resource.  Instructors can also assign certain videos to students as a way  to supplement blended learning courses.   The way I have used this site is to research good instructional videos that would help my students if they get stuck with the homework or if they need additional reinforcement in order to understand a mathematical concept that we might be studying.  NETS S Standards 2) Communication and Collaboration

NETS T Standards  1) Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

www.pbs.org

This site offers a variety of lesson, games, activities, for teachers and students.

NETS T 1 Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity;  2) Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments;   4) Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

NETS S Standard 2) Communication and Collaboration

http://www.prometheanplanet.com/en-us/

This site provides interactive whiteboard lessons and activities to enhance learning in the classroom.

NETS S Standards 2) Communication and Collaboration

NETS T Standards  1) Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

This subscription website provides excellent resources for every subject area from grades k-12.  It has videos, lesson ideas, and all sorts of activities.

NETS T Standards 2) Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences;  3) Model Digital Age Work and Learning

http://www.oercommons.org/ At this web site you can find free to use, open licensed teaching and learning content around the world.  Provides materials from k-12 up to college courses.  You can browse OER materials by subject areas.  I clicked on a few math lessons and they were very interactive.  I tried one titled “Introduction to Rotation” and this lesson allows the user to click and drag points on a coordinate grid and rotate them about a point.  I was quite impressed with the lesson.  NETS T standards addressed 1b. Engage students in exploring real world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources.

http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/ This website has many e-textbooks available to college students for a small percentage of the cost compared to bookstore prices.  Students can look up textbooks by course.  Many college courses are using open source textbooks which makes textbooks much more affordable to students.  This website provides a variety of options for students and teachers.  The NETS S standards addressed are 6a-b “Understand and use technology systems”.

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Week 9 Hybrid Learning Journal Review #2

Article:  Emerging Technologies Challenging Hegemonies in Online Learning

Author: Robert Goodwin-Jones

Virginia Commonwealth University

Journal: Language Learning and Technology June 2012, Vol. 16 number 2

 

In this article the author addresses the point that in Western countries today higher education is supplemented by using the web as a resource in face-to-face classes, for hybrid courses or as the primary teaching and learning environment in distance learning.   He further states that delivery is most likely enabled through the use of learning management systems like Blackboard Learn or Moodle.  According to the author “the use of these systems make setting up a course web site quick and easy, while offering an array of course management and teaching tools.  The model used resembles a traditional classroom with an instructor-delivered learning environment with emphasis on linear learning through instructor provided or linked materials”.  In the article the author makes the argument that the way in which early learning management systems are used has changed very little since their initial use in the 1990’s and were a reflection of the limitations of early Web technology. 

 

Godwin-Jones further asserts that although many interactive and collaborative functions have made their way into mainstream LMS and despite these additions, the default settings and overall design of the most widely used LMS (Blackboard Learn) still tend to lead instructors to a very limited use of all of the functions of the LMS.  The essential model is a closed, self -contained system using cognitive-behavioral learning, with emphasis on information presentation and measureable performance assessment. Godwin-Jones states that “ many instructors do not move beyond this basic functionality, despite the extensive customizability and rich additional tools”.  This could be do to the quality of training that instructors receive and also to the time requirements that are needed to learn a new technology system.  I know as an educator that time constraints is always an issue.   Moodle which was released in 2002 runs on a variety of platforms and it is free.  Moodle is an open source project which relies on a large number of developers. According to the article Moodle was developed around a social constructivist learning model.  When creating a Moodle course site, instructors are not presented with a default course menu, as in Blackboard Learn.  The core of Moodle is the ability to add any number of activities and resources. 

 

 Goodwin-Jones raises an important question “Are we doing a disservice to our students through the use of a pre-built, fixed online environments rather than exposing them to the variety of possible approaches and designs?” (pg. 6).  The content delivery and closed environment of the LMS is far removed from the ever-changing online world in which students are fully engaged.  The static and controlled environment of an LMS might not very engaging to such students.

 

The article touched on many more issues regarding LMS; but these were some of the important points that stood out to me.  I do think that seasoned instructors who have had experience teaching online courses can make them very interactive.  For example in this course, Dr. Zobel structured the class very differently than the typical online course.  We created blogs, watched numerous videos and chose our own research topics based on our interests.  I also took another online course that strictly used Moodle and I found it somewhat dry and not as interesting or interactive.  I think that for online education to be more engaging students need to receive frequent feedback from the instructor and colleagues.  I still feel that an online course is not as effective as a hybrid course that incorporates both face-to-face inter-action with online learning. 

There were many NETS Standards addressed in this article NETS S 5 “students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.  NETS 6 “Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems and operations.

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Week 8 Journal Review: Hybrid Learning

Hybrid Learning

Title: An Investigation of Varied Types of Blended Learning Environment on Student Achievement: An Experimental Study

International Journal of Instructional Media vol. 39 2012

Dr. Wei-Fan Chen, PhD

This study looked at the effects of varied blended learning environment on student learning and achievement.  The study involved Ninety –three third graders.  There were three treatment groups.  Treatment 1 was the control group was an online learning environment which provided students with online access only to instructional materials.  Treatment group 2 provided online instructional materials plus peer interaction.  Students worked with peers in teams when they learned online instruction.  The teams discussed course content, searched online resources and collaborated in open-ended problem solving.  Treatment 3 provided online instruction with student and teacher interaction. They received online instruction on the topic but a teacher was assigned to facilitate discussions between the groups. 

In this study there was one independent variable with three varied levels; online only, blended with peer interaction and blended with student-teacher interaction.  There were three independent variables that were measured; facts, concepts, and understandings.  A knowledge test for assessing those three dependent measures was given after the students learned from the each of the experimental treatments.

The results of indicated that students in both blended learning environments performed significantly better on the factual knowledge test than those in the purely online learning environment which the control group.  (Chen 2012).  The author also cites research which supports his research findings that “blended learning environments combining online and traditional face-to-face learning results in a better learning experience for students” (pg. 206).  Even though the participants of this study were elementary level students, the author cites other work that indicates similar findings for learners of all ages.  I believe that hybrid or blended classes are much more effective especially for certain types of learners.  I know that for myself, I much more prefer a combination of both face-to –face interaction.  In some respect strictly online courses take away from some of the social aspect of learning.  Even though one is still communicating with members of the class and the instructor, I think the face-to-face interactions are much more beneficial.  Of course, there are many benefits to courses offered strictly online especially for adult learners.  They are very flexible and for the universities they are cost effective because of the delivery method.

The NETS standards addressed in this article 5b “students exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.  6a “Students understand and use technology systems. 6b “Students select and use applications effectively and productively.  I think that hybrid or blended learning is a great way for teachers to incorporate technology in the classroom.

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Open Source Learning Resources

Resources for Open Source Education

http://opensource.com/  this website offers a variety of articles, audio, web presentation videos and open discussions.  It offers links for viewers of supporters to post comments or share ideas.  You can also participate by submitting an article, or an image.  There are a variety of “channels” Each channel has a list of topics like: Open Business, Open Education, Open Government, and Open Law. 

NETS-S addressed 5a and 5c. “Participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning”.  “Evaluate and reflect on current research and professional practice on a regular basis to make effective use of existing and emerging digital tools and resources in support of student learning”.

http://www.oercommons.org/ At this web site you can find free to use, open licensed teaching and learning content around the world.  Provides materials from k-12 up to college courses.  You can browse OER materials by subject areas.  I clicked on a few math lessons and they were very interactive.  I tried one titled “Introduction to Rotation” and this lesson allows the user to click and drag points on a coordinate grid and rotate them about a point.  I was quite impressed with the lesson.  NETS T standards addressed 1b. Engage students in exploring real world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources.

http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/ This website has many e-textbooks available to college students for a small percentage of the cost compared to bookstore prices.  Students can look up textbooks by course.  Many college courses are using open source textbooks which makes textbooks much more affordable to students.  This website provides a variety of options for students and teachers.  The NETS S standards addressed are 6a-b “Understand and use technology systems”.   

http://ftacademy.org/ The Free Technology Academy: According to their website the FTA aims to contribute to a society that permits all users to study, participate and build upon existing knowledge without restrictions.  The FTA is a global community and network of academic and social organizations.  According to the FTA it takes about 3 months to complete a module in the FTA, after which the student is entitled to be granted a number of ECTS credits at any of the partner universities.  Most modules are 5 ECTS credits long, which corresponds to a workload of 125-150 hours for the student. Tuition takes place online in the FTA virtual campus and is performed by teaching staff from the partner universities. 

I am not sure how this is much different than taking online courses through a university.

NETS T standard 2a. Design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources t promote student learning and creativity.  NETS S standards 2a Communication and Collaboration.  As a student when you enroll in online courses you are interacting, collaborating and publishing with peers.

http://archive.org./details/education

The archives library provides open educational resources and university lectures.  This library contains hundreds of free courses, videos, lectures and supplemental materials.  You can browse through many topics.  They are free and downloadable.  If you are a college student you can browse for lectures related to your interest and get a different perspective on a topic of study in your courses. NETS S standard 6 Technology Operations and Concepts, students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems and operations.

http://educatorstudio.com: This website is an online community for professional educators powered by Full Sail University.  It’s a place where you can find and share relevant lesson plans utilized in the classroom.  You can sign up and create a profile and share lesson plan ideas.  The is a variety of web applications like GeoGebra a mathematics software with free learning materials from elementary to higher education; Audacity, a free open source software for recording and editing sounds, Glogster poster yourself, allows you to create online multimedia posters with text, images, videos, animation, audio, drawings, and much more.  These are just some of the applications to choose from to help you create interactive lessons for your students.

NETS S 6a-c. Understand and use technology systems, select and use applications effectively and productively.

 www.khanacademy.org

Students can watch instructional videos of hundreds of math topics as well as other subject areas.  This is a great site to share with parents. Students can also participate in different activities to reinforce concepts.  Students learn how to “select and use applications effectively and productively” NETS S 6b.

One way teachers can use this website is to assign specific instructional videos or lessons.  This can be completed in class if there is access to computers in the classroom or as homework provided the student has access to internet at home.

http://www.e-learningforkids.org/index_main.html

At this website offers different activities for students in different topics like math, science, language arts, life skills, health and several others.  Students can choose from many activities appropriate for their age group.  Teachers could assign students these different activities as enrichment activities or additional practice.  Some students who need reinforcement in certain concepts might benefit through these online learning activities.  NETS S 6a Understand and use technology systems; students practice using online learning systems and technology.

http://www.ksde.org/

This is the Kansas State Department of Education website.  This website offers open access resources like digital textbooks that are not copyrighted and can be customized, modified or combined with other teaching resources.  If I was a looking to create customized digital textbooks for some of my classes this would be a great resource to explore.  They also offer an online library with access to digital classical books.  NETS S 6 Understand and use technology systems.  Students should be exposed to the different online resources that are available to them.   As teachers we should also be aware of the different resources that are available.  I have heard some of my colleagues comment about the outdated textbooks that they have to use because the district cannot afford to adopt newer versions; I think that digital textbooks are a good option.  Especially if you can customize the units that are specifically suited for each course.

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Article 2 Project Based Learning

Title: A Review of Research on Project Based Learning

Author: John W. Thomas 2000

The Autodesk Foundation

            According to the author of this article research has shown the benefits of using a PBL approach to include deeper understanding of the subject matter, increased self- direction and motivation, and improved problem solving abilities.  Active, social learning and cooperative interaction is at the foundation for PBL strategies.  In the PBL approach, teachers act as facilitators to student learning.  This sort of learning environment, coupled with substantial teacher support, has the potential to greatly enhance student participation and engagement.

            This has led to recommendations for shifting the major portion of instruction in schools from teacher-directed, teacher-assigned schoolwork with it’s emphasis on comprehension, to student initiated, and goal driven.

            The author also discussed and cited the findings of research done assessing the effectiveness of PBL.  The gains on standardized tests of academic achievement  for schools implementing PBL curriculum are very significant.  In Portland, Maine, a middle school showed increases in all six curriculum areas assessed.  Similar dramatic gains are reported by schools nationwide which are using PBL curriculum.  Furthermore, results from classroom observations, teacher interviews, and analyses of teacher reports in ten schools revealed that the Project Based Learning approach influenced school climate and student motivation.  According to this report using the PBL approach “increased participating teacher’s beliefs in their ability to teach students of different ability levels, conduct assessments, and use parents and outside experts in the classroom, as well as their confidence in themselves as teachers and learners” (pg. 10)

            This article provided me specifically with the research information that I was looking for.  Yes, I agree that Project Based Learning is definitely more engaging for students and that students see the relevance in education, because the projects can be authentic based on students’ interests and full of learning opportunities.  What I was not sure of was if students performed better on Achievement tests, since the reality is that that is what school districts are interested in. And according to the research cited in this article there is great improvement in test scores when students are instructed using the PBL methodology.  I think that more districts should be looking at this approach.  A huge problem that I see in middle school students is the lack of engagement and motivation; certainly a PBL curriculum would engage more students especially with projects that students are interested in learning about.

I am very interested in PBL but I know in our district even if teachers wanted to implement a more project based approach, administrators frown on that because the district has spent a lot of money on the curriculum and every teacher must follow the same curriculum.   

            The NETS-S Standards addressed through the PBL approach is to “Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity.  The internet could be a very useful tool for researching information related to their project.  NETS-S standards 3 states that teachers should “model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use informational resources to support research and learning”.

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Project Based Learning Resources

Project Based Learning Resources

 www.elob.org/  Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound

This website provide  information on Expeditionary learning.  Expeditionary Learning Schools are at the forefront of school reform.  This website provides many different links for the framework of Expeditionary Learning, research articles, stories from schools implementing EL.  Expeditionary Learning is implemented in many charter schools.  This type of learning makes sense to me because it reaches the different styles of learning.  In the traditional method of teaching we are leaving many students behind because we are not engaging them and they are becoming bored with the traditional teaching methodology.  Look into this website if you want to become informed about Expeditionary Learning and what it is doing in terms of helping students stay focused, motivated and engaged in the learning process. 

http://www.projectapproach.org/blog.php

follow this blog to get other educators trying project based learning. This would be a good blog to post comments and to share ideas about using project based learning.  Before trying a project I would probably post a comment and ask readers to give me some feedback or ideas about the project I was going to implement.  The NETS Standards addressed here are those pertaining to Engaging In Professional Growth and Leadership, Promoting Digital Citizenship and responsibility.  Model Digital Age Work and Learning; by collaborating with other teachers who are using project based learning the usefulness of networking will be modeled.

http://www.teachers.net

The Teachers’ Network.  At this site teachers can find ideas for classroom projects, bulletin boards, online forums, and web mentors.  The book Teachers Guide to Cyberspace and an online, four-week course on how to use the internet.  I think that project based learning can make great use of on-line resources.  Many times teachers are not comfortable incorporating online resources for use in the classroom.  This site offers a course on how to take advantage of online resources.   I would use this resource to get ideas for projects that other teachers have tried and written about. I would also use it to get tips on how to use the internet as a resource tool.  The NETS Standard which this applies to is Teacher Standard 3: Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.  It’s important for teachers to look beyond the confines of their school to search for resources and to seek out reputable sites that can be used as additional resources.

www.bigpicture.org

Charter schools that use project based learning strategies supplemented with internships, service learning opportunities along with traditional coursework.  I would probably use this website to look for good project based learning ideas.  Good projects that would implement learning across the curricular areas. The site offers information relating to the PBL movement as well as multiple links like events, articles, schools near you. 

http://www.projectapproach.org/ This is a great resource for educators wanting to implement project based learning approach.  It provides information about the theoretical framework of PBL, explanations on how to develop and implement project based work and examples of projects implemented world-wide.  The site offers different projects organized by grade-level.  What’s nice about these projects is that they incorporate different disciplines.  One project incorporates different almost all of the subject areas. 

www.iloveteaching.com

I Love Teaching :  This site is a resource for teachers which is broken into various links, including Classroom Management, lesson plans, and projects.

 http://www.pacificnet.net/~mandel

Teachers Helping Teachers.  This site provides teaching tips, new teaching methodology ideas, and forums for teachers to share their experiences.  It also features educational resources on the Web, with new ones added each week.  This would be a great site for teachers to share and collaborate the project ideas that they implement in the classroom.  I went through this website and it has great lesson ideas.  It is a website created by teachers and you can add your own lessons to share with other teachers. 

http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs

North Central Educational Regional Laboratory

This site provides research  and best practices on issues critical to educators engaged in school improvement.  This site offers links many critical issues in Mathematics and Science, Technology in Education, Leadership, Literacy, Instruction and many others.  Critical Issue articles are updated regularly.  If you are looking for articles relevant to education this is a good resource.  You can also find articles related to PBL.

http://www.edweek.org

Education Week on the Web, at this site you can read special reports and keep up on current events and access a variety articles related to educations.  This site can be a useful resource to stay up-to-date on current educational issues .  Many times we get trapped into the confines of our own classrooms and we don’t often get the opportunity to venture out and collaborate with other educators and we lose sight of important educational issues going on around us.  This site has plenty of articles very relevant to pressing issues.  Articles that are critically engaging. 

http://www.oii.org

Online Internet Institute: A collaborative project among internet-using educators, proponents of systematic reform, content-area experts, and teachers who desire professional growth.  This site provides a learning environment for integrating the internet into your teaching.  The organization offers a wide range of programs from one-hour online sessions to full day workshops.  The workshops focus on the teacher, the student and the curriculum.  Participants participate in curriculum-based activities that require the use of technology.  This would be a good source, especially if the project based learning involves the use of media or technology.  I would use this site as a resource to look for projects that integrate the use of online sources for my students.  NETS S standards addressed would be 2a: Design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity.

http://pbl-online.org/

This website offers many resources for those wishing to implement project based learning.  It offers a PBL-Online collaborative Project library where you can locate and share projects, Learn what defines project based learning, Review research and web resources.  A how to guide on how to design your own projects, resources for learning and teaching online.

http://www.edutopia.org/project-based-learning

This site offers similar links as pbl-online

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