Ashley Waldrop

Instructional Technologies Blog

Project Based Learning #2

Title: Monarch Butterfly Project 

Author: Edutopia.org

Website: http://www.bie.org/videos/video/monarch_butterfly_project

Summary:  This video is a summary of a monarch butterfly project that students from Rockledge Elementary completed.  The project is designed to imitate the migration of the monarch butterflies.  Each child creates a butterfly and sends the butterfly to migrate and connects with the child who receives his or her butterfly.

Reflection: I think this is a very good project based learning project for students in the elementary grades.  The project is easy for children to relate to and is still a concrete concept for children to grasp.  I think this project is also very good in the fact that it causes children to connect and relate to each other through the process.  This is a real life project that could be carried across all subject areas as well.

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Project Based Learning #1

Title: Project Based Learning

Author: Common Craft

Website: http://www.commoncraft.com/video/project-based-learning

Summary:  This video is an explanation of project based learning.  The video focuses on the key point that project based learning is not facts or content memorization, but rather application of knowledge.  For example, the video gave an example of a high school science class that completed a project on the transfer of cold/flu viruses.  The class was divided into groups and given a challenge to figure out ways to prevent future transfers of this virus.  The video also emphasized that students need to be able to problem solve, collaborate, and communicate in today’s world and these skills need to be taught in the traditional classroom.

Reflection: I think this was a very well done video.  I have always been a fan of project based learning.  I can still remember the few projects I was able to complete using this style of learning in school.  I think that project based learning is very effective in that it challenges students to not only know the facts but apply this newly learning information.  For example, I remember when I was in fifth grade we were learning about angles and measurements.  Our project was to design a house by creating architectural plans that used angles and accurate measurements.  It was very difficult at the time because it required me to know the facts and also apply it to real world problems.  I would love to use more project based learning in my classroom, but I think with the age level that I teach it could be very difficult to create and implement effectively.

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NET-T Standard 5

1.      Standard: Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership

2.      Summary: Teachers need to continuously grow in their professional knowledge and skills.  Teachers need to be advocates for lifelong learning and exhibit these traits in their classroom. Teachers need to be leaders within  their school and community by being knowledgeable and proficient in the use of various digital medias.

3.      Self-Evaluation:

a.      I think I am currently completing this indicator by being in this class.  Each week I evaluate my use of technology within my classroom, search the internet for other sources of technology to use, and learn new techniques from my professor.

b.      I want to be involved in the decision making processes about technology within my school.  However, I currently am not serving on any teams that could allow me to do that.  I think that with more years of experience and establishing myself at my new school that will allow me to become more of a leader with technology.

c.       I currently do evaluate myself and my technology practices that I use. I think that I can continue to grow professionally by attend technology conferences.

d.      I think that I do contribute to the effectiveness and vitality of my school and professions.  I think this because I am still continuing my education so that I can be a better teacher and am very dedicated.  I work late hours and a lot of over time to ensure that I am doing my job to the best of my ability.

4.    Strengths/Weaknesses: I think that my greatest strength is my desire to be a lifelong learner even within my own professional field.  I strive to be a better teacher than I currently am, and this includes learning more about implementing technology into my classroom.  I think that my students see my passion for learning and also for my job.  I think that my greatest weakness is my lack of experience.  I think that over the next few years when I have established myself I will be able to serve on committees that are more influential than the committees I am currently on.

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Teaching in the 21st Century

1. Title: Teaching in the 21st Century

2. Author: ASB Unplugged Conference, Mumbai, India, 2010

 3. Website: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTIBDR4Dn2g&feature=iv&annotation_id=annotation_992282

4. Summary: This video is about what skills teachers need to possess and teach to be effective in the 21st century.  The video articulates that students have unlimited access to multitudes of information at any time.  The role of the teacher is to teach the students how to use and what to do with all this information.  The video critiques teachers in that we are no longer needed to teach facts and content, but rather teach students the “what now.”  The video also focuses on the importance of using higher order thinking skills in the 21st century.

 5. Reflection: This video was a good awakening for me to realize that I’m not the possessor of knowledge but rather the instructor on what to do with the knowledge students already have.  I think that teachers in the 21st century need to focus more on project based learning and problem solving skills, rather than making students memorize content.  Students need to be able to apply and use the content, not just be able to spit it out like a computer.

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New Brunswick Video

1. Title: 21st Century Education in New Brunswick, Canada

2. Author: New Brunswick Department of Education

3. Website: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjJg9NfTXos

4. Summary:  This you tube video was created by the New Brunswick Board of Education to promote 21st century learning within their school districts.  The video highlights the changes that have taken place in education in the last 5-10 years such as: chalk boards, VCRs, etc.  The video then highlights that we are teaching children now for a workforce that may have not even been invented yet.  The video stresses the importance of keeping education updated and relevant to what students will truly need in the 21st century.

5. Reflection: I really enjoyed watching this video, because it put into perspective how much education has changed and evolved in the last 10-15 years.  I reflected on my own education and how many of the ways I was taught are now very outdated, and I’m still young!  I thought that the presentation of the video and information was very well done for its original intended purpose.  If I was someone who lived in the New Brunswick area this video would definitely cause me to stop and reflect on what educators should be doing now to prepare students for tomorrow.

Another thing that stood out to me while watching this video is that an education board took the trouble and funds to create this video.  I think the video was very well done to create and promote awareness for the changing demands within education.  It was well presented in the respect that the video caused its viewers to reflect on their own practices and then realize that the world is changing and education needs to keep up.

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Giving Up Control

  1. Title: Giving Up Control
  2. Author: J Bevacqua
  3. Website: http://figuringitouted.blogspot.com/2011/06/giving-up-control.html
  4. Summary:  This blog post is written by a high school principal/teacher. The teacher journaled about his exit assignment that he gave to students where they chose their own research question, research method, and presentation.  The teacher was prompted to create this assignment after spending time research project based learning.  The teacher found that when he gave up his control he found that students were much more motivated and eager to learn.
  5. Reflection: This summer I took two gifted and talented courses and a large portion of our curriculum focused on project based learning and creating autonomous learners.  I feel like this principal had been doing the same research that I did this past summer before he decided to do this project.  I am a big fan of project based learning.  I think it is more meaningful and the students enjoy learning through projects.  It is amazing to see the students become so engaged when you give them a project to complete, especially a project that you let them choose.  I think that the greatest difficulties in project based learning are: resources, lack of parental support at home, and the need for advanced planning.  I know that when I assign learning projects I have to plan far in advance in ensure that all the various pieces fit together.  I have also found that for my students (ages 6-7) it can be difficult if there is very little support or resources at home for the student to use.
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NETS-T Standard 4

Standard: Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

1.      Summary: Teachers need to be ethical professionals and keep up with local, national, and global digital trends.

2.      Self-Evaluation:

a. I think with the nature of my student’s age I do a pretty good job about modeling and using safe digital practices.  We talk a lot about not visiting sites we don’t know or recognize and always having an adult help us when using the internet.  I think that I need to improve in the areas of respecting copyright laws and intellectual property. As I mentioned in the last class, I think I need to do a better job citing my resources and giving credit in my classroom when the resources are used.  I think by me doing this I will also be teaching my students that it is important to respect other’s intellectual property and following copyright.

b. I think this indicator is one that all teachers can improve on, but are not always able due to limited resources.  I would love to be able to give my students more access to digital media, such as time on the computer.  However, due to circumstances beyond my control (MAP testing in lab, only 2 computers in my classroom, etc.) I am limited in the amount of time that I am able to let them use the computers while at school.

c. I hope to grow my strengths with this indicator this year.  I want to use Twitter to help my students practice researching either with students around the world or a professional in a given field (animals..zoologist, etc.).  I think by allowing my students to do this, which will enable me to model proper social etiquette.

d. I definitely could do better on this indicator.  I currently do not collaborate often with other teachers outside of my school, much less globally.  I think through social medias such as: blogs, twitter, forums, etc. I can do a better job of digitally collaborating with other educators.

3. Strengths/Weaknesses: I believe that my greatest strengths for this indicator is that I am very conscious to take time out of the curriculum to model for students the correct way to use various types of digital media.  I think the age of my students requires me to do this.  For many children, this is the first time that they might use a flip camera, and it is my responsibility to model the correct and safe way to use it.  I believe that my greatest weakness is the lack of time I have to devote to collaborating with other teachers.  I rarely have time after school to spend nights searching the internet or engaging in a digital forum.  Although I do not have excess time to spend doing this, I know it will make me a better educator and I need to make time for it.

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Intellectual Property

1. Title: An Educator’s Guide to Intellectual Property

2. Author: JoinThe©Team.com

3. Website: http://www.jointhecteam.com/PDFs/intellectual%20property.pdf

4. Summary:  This article outlines in detail the guidelines in using and protecting yourself against copyright violation.  The article defines “intellectual property” as any product of a creative mind.  One item discussed in the article is plagiarism.  The author discusses the importance of educator’s understand plagiarism as well as teaching students the importance and severity of plagiarism at an appropriate age.  Copyright is any tangible expression of a creative mind.  Copyright is automatically secured when something is created, whereas it used to be much more difficult to obtain copyrights.  Copyrights prohibit anyone from using another person’s work without giving due credit.  There are exceptions made for educators under section 107 of the Copyright Act, known as “Fair Use” clause.  Educators can typically use materials in the classroom under this clause, though there are very specific restrictions.  Piracy is known as stealing any intellectual property.  This can be any distribution or attainment of work that you did not create or properly obtain rights for.  The author discusses the importance of teaching about piracy in order to educate students and disband any misconceptions that students may have.

5. Reflection: I have read this article in the past for another Instructional Technology class that I had previously taken, but I am shocked this time when reading it to realize how much I had forgotten.  I think at the day and age copyright laws are much more easily broken with the ability to share files via the internet and hard drives.  I know this happens ALL THE TIME in ALL the professional communities that I have been apart of.

While reading this article, I thought about the relatively new site “Teachers Pay Teachers.”  This site was created for teachers to be able to digitally buy units, supplies, etc. from other teachers to use in their own classrooms.  While I know that many people do put their own copyright signatures at the bottom of work and put disclaimers (“Please do not share with other teachers who have not purchased, etc.) in their packets, teachers continue to break copyright laws.  I have been apart of several e-mails that have been sending out Units and Materials sometimes to the entire staff (up to 100 people) with the attachment being a purchased item!!! I do think that myself, and probably every other teacher in America have broken or break copyright laws frequently.

My biggest burning question after re-reading this article is A) how do we go about changing the social norm that illegal sharing/using is acceptable and B) how do we enforce it? I know that if I had created a great idea to sell, I wouldn’t want others to be able to use it without a proper purchase.

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NETS-T Standard 3

1.      Standard: Model Digital Age Work and Learning

2.      Summary: It is the teacher’s responsibility to know about, know how, and implement technology of the 21st century in his or her own professional practices.

3.      Self-Evaluation:

           a.      I think I do a very good job of using and adjusting to the new technology being introduced today.  I enjoy teaching myself about the new products that teachers can use such as: animoto, prezzi, document cameras, promethean software, etc.

          b.      I often to collaborate with my peers, parents, and community members about the technology being used within my classroom.  I collaborate with my students on a daily basis on all aspects within my classroom, including technology.  We discuss what worked, didn’t work, and whether they enjoyed doing the activity.

          c.       I do communicate with my parents using digital media.  I send out a weekly PDF newsletter that is sent out via email.  I also have a classroom blog that includes pictures and summaries of classroom activities.  I do not communicate with students because many of my students are too young to have their own personal accounts, however parents do often let students comment on my blog using their name.

          d.      I use limited digital tools to evaluate research and learning.  The extent of what I currently do is use excel, word, etc. to create charts to assess my student’s learning on unit tests.  I use these to evaluate my own teaching and its effectiveness.

4.  Strengths/Weaknesses:

I believe that my strength is collaborating and communicating using current digital age tools.  For example, I communicate with my peers, students, and parents via e-mail, blogging, and various social medias.  I enjoy collaborating with my parents, peers, and community leaders about the current technology that is available to use within my classroom.  I often spend lots of time on the internet reading blogs of what other teachers are doing in their classroom.

I think my biggest weakness is using technology to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning.  I need to spend more time analyzing and evaluating the technology that I use within my classroom.  I often find something that I want to do, use it, and then move on.  I need to spend more time talking to other, being observed, and letting my students reflect in depth about the specific technique.

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NETS-T Standard 2

Standard: Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

Summary: The teacher must create, design, and assess by incorporating technology to develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills laid out by NETS-S.

Self-Evaluation:

A)    I attempt to use technology through learning experiences within my classroom.  For example, my class participates in multiple virtual field trips throughout the year.

B)    I have very limited access to computers in my classroom.  I have 2 student desktops and 1 teacher computer.  I hope to have more soon. I think having more computers would allow me to let my students have more access.  I do think my students monitor their own progress throughout the year with MAP testing.

C)    I allow students to have their individual time on the computer.  During this time students are allowed to choose for multiple websites to practice their computer skills and practice various learning standards.

D)    I do not do much to assess my student’s knowledge of technology.  I would like to find some programs or websites that I could use to teach my kids about the various types of technology when I take my kids to computer lab.

Strengths/Weaknesses: I think my greatest weakness in developing and designing digital age experiences for my students is the lack of time and resources.  Having only 2 student computers within my classroom makes it very difficult for each student to have a “fair” amount of time.  My other weakness in implementing Standard 2 into my classroom is my own lack of knowledge.  I really struggle in knowing and deciding what is appropriate for my students to use, given their age.

I think that my students leave my classroom knowing that there are many different types of “digital age” technology out there, even though they may not use it themselves in my classroom.  My students know that I enjoy using technology within my classroom, and I can hope that my own love for technology will inspire them to use and enjoy technology too.

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