State of Education: The Tech Boom’s Effect on Learning

I have had a Linked In account for awhile – but have never really known what to do with it. We have been studying Media Products, of course, but in my Fundamentals class we have touched briefly on social media and how to utilize it for professional purposes. Right as we were talking about this, I noticed that someone suggested the following article for me. This article touches on so many subjects brought up in BOTH my Fundamentals and Media Products classes. It seems I need to do some more investigating to see how to use Linked in to my advantage.

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140325102741-6200057-state-of-education-the-tech-boom-s-effect-on-learning

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Top 5 Myths and Lies About Teachers and Their Profession

This is a link to an article in the most recent NEA newsletter.  It addresses some pervading myths about American education.

Top 5 Myths and Lies About Teachers and Their Profession

 

 

 

Makerspace webinar

Here is some information about an upcoming webinar about Makerspaces.  Demco is a company that sells library supplies and they have some great webinars offered free of charge.  I’m not sure, but think they are one of the companies that offers these and if you register but cannot make it, like I usually can’t because of my work schedule, they will still register you and then send you a link to the recorded session afterwards.  I have signed up for quite a few webinars this way.

http://www.demco.com/goto?webinar_14&sp_rid=NzUxNTM3MDk4MDYS1&sp_mid=45622953&spMailingID=45622953&spUserID=NzUxNTM3MDk4MDYS1&spJobID=421660557&spReportId=NDIxNjYwNTU3S0

 

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Collaborative Poetry

Collaborative Poetry

Again with the poetry!!!!! We found some old school typewriters shoved away in a closet here at our school and put together this display. The idea is that students can share writing responsibility of a poem with other students. Each writes a line, hits return and lets the next person continue the poem. It has been interesting to not only see the students come up with interesting ideas for poetry but also seeing them struggle and then master “old school” technology. I’ve told each of them to tell their parents that they now understand the struggle they must have gone through in high school and college. We will display the efforts on a display case we have in the hallway outside of the library.

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Poetry Month

Poetry Month

We are always trying engage our students to try something new. I am a huge fan of poetry and saw something similar to this on Pinterest (YAY FOR CURATION PRODUCTS!!!) I spent few months trolling eBay, looking for a vending machine that wouldn’t break my budget. Lo and behold I got a notice that I “won” an auction a few weeks ago and the machine was delivered to me while our school was on spring break. I cleaned it up and filled all the capsules with poems. The poems I chose range from “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll, some Emily Dickinson, some Shel Silverstein, various Haikus and Limericks. I received permission from our principal to leave it engaged to collect money. A quarter isn’t a huge amount and it could help as a soft fundraiser for our library. After April is over, we have discussed changing it out to jokes or fortunes. just trying to keep it fun for the kids and expose them to some poetry.

Learning Project

Initially, my learning project was going to be teaching students directly.  After some reflection, I realize that may or may not be something I would actually do.  While of course I deal with students on a daily basis, I think using the media products of digital storytelling should actually be more meaningful as a seminar given to teachers, who then can decide which one would best suit their students.

Too often, too much information is given to students, particularly at the middle school and younger level and they and the teacher  end up frustrated because while the teacher wants a specific end product, the student might be overwhelmed with all the steps that are needed.

I propose introducing the teachers to a curation device, so that they can collect a finite amount of topics/subjects for each step that the students can then choose from.  (for example,  theme, storytype, characters, etc)  This would allow students to be creative without stunning them with too many possibilities.

Then I will use a presentation device, such as Prezi or Powerpoint to showcase different types of digital storytelling products. This will be followed up with a screencast showing how to utilize one of the products.

Since, the teachers will be the ones actually teaching the tool, to meet their particular needs, I feel a checklist to make sure all basic groundwork is covered would be an appropriate measure of evaluation.

QR Codes

 

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Currently, the YA world is abuzz around the book and movie, Divergent by Veronica Roth.  At our middle school we bought three full sets of the three volume series.  Every single one of the 9 books is out and the waiting list is up to 15 people.  So many books are being made into movies, hoping to mimic the success of such blockbusters as the Harry Potter and Hunger games series, that it seems only natural to do cross promotion.  While of course, we want kids to read, I am finding that a lot of the kids go see the movies and are so taken with the story that they THEN want to check out the movie.  If we can generate excitement by placing a QR code that connects to a movie trailer or an official website about the book and the author, it can help keep the momentum going while they are waiting their turn for the book.  

I will have to admit, that when I first started working at this middle school there were QR codes EVERYWHERE. The former librarian apparently thought this was a great thing to do.  The problems I saw with her application was that they were massive QR codes, so they visually cluttered the library, but more importantly, students at our school are NOT allowed to use their phones during the day – and a lot of them don’t have phones anyway.  Our county went to a BYOD policy last year,but it is very slow in taking off.  Most students are not really encouraged yet to bring their own device, at least at the middle school level, as an educational tool. If they have them, they are using them as glorified e-Readers.

Our principal is using QR codes with her email correspondence both with faculty and staff and also with parents. At the end of each email she embeds a QR code that will take you automatically to our school website. I think that is a great idea – again, if you have the technology. While more and more people are moving to smart phone technology, it isn’t universal yet.

Guide on the Side

Several weeks ago, I posted a blog about my concerns with flipped classrooms.  This came up because of a discussion I had had with an educator who is wary of them and because of some links regarding flipping classrooms and instructional technology that someone had shared with me.

That blog was written out of concern over something non traditional. I was also concerned because there seems to be a movement, particularly in NC and particularly by certain government entities to take power away from educators.  I read a blog post earlier in the year about a movement to completely flip all classrooms and in doing so raise the amount of students in each classroom and then pay teachers based on how many students were in their classes.  So, if you want to make more money, be prepared to have 40- 60 students in your classroom. http://dianeravitch.net/2014/01/22/north-carolina-greatest-insult-to-teachers-ever-cooked-up-in-backroom/

I still have concerns with flipping – but I now see how phenomenal it can be too.  If an educator is committed to doing it in the appropriate manner that is best for the student, I think that middle and high school students could get a lot out of it.  I am still concerned about lower functioning students, students that don’t have access electronic devices and teachers who may not be able to break away from traditional teaching.  

Like most things, change is scary.  I will have to admit, now that I have learned a little more about it, flipped classrooms would have helped my son immensely.  He is one of those kids that “gets it” way before anyone else in class. Middle school was a study in tedium for him.  Each day when I would pick him up and ask this formerly enthusiastic, engaged “fact boy” from school and ask him how his day went, the response was “the same.”   High school was no better.  Even transferring him to a more academically challenging school did not help with enthusiasm.  Instructors, while wonderful, using the traditional methods, could only move as fast as their slowest element.  This left “fact boy” and others like him fluttering aimlessly. It has not been pretty.

I am very interested in seeing how, as a librarian, I can support teachers to flip effectively, not only for the students, but for themselves.