Teachers and their roles

October 2, 2009

The blog I chose for this assignment is located at http://markwagner.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!EC59F554225E7160!298.entry.  Mr. Wagner discusses the What are some ways teachers’ roles are changing through technology integration? This was an interesting blog because it discusses a lot of the topics we have taken on in this class to date — and Mr. Wagner gives a succinct list of how the roles of teachers have and will continue to change through technology.  How is this helpful to me?  I don’t have a classroom, so his list puts me in the mindset of a teacher utilizing technology to the benefit of the student.  I also like the list because it is applicable to traditional in-classroom education and on-line education.

Not to be repetitive, but here is the list:

1.) Teachers will become active creators, as well as consumers, of educational content.
2.) Teachers will interact (and solve problems) with global networks of peers with similar (or related) interests. These peers will be a variety of ages and have a variety of ability, experience, and skill levels.
3.) Teachers will interact (and solve problems) with experts in a variety of real-world fields and applications.
4.)  Teachers will become reflective meta-cognitive thinkers (and problem solvers). 
5.) Teachers will show us a thing or two, but need to learn to be graceful about it at the same time. In general, they will need to come to terms with the awesome and unprecedented responsibility they will be burdened with along with these amazing new powers. 
6.)  Teachers will help students acquire the skills, experience, and relationships necessary to become active creators, as well of educational content.
7.)   Teachers will facilitate student interaction (and problem solving) with global networks of peers with similar (or related) interests. These peers will be a variety of ages and have a variety of ability, experience, and skill levels.
8.)  Teachers will facilitate student interaction (and problem solving) with experts in a variety of real-world fields and applications.
9.)   Teachers will help students acquire the skills, experience, and relationships necessary to become reflective meta-cognitive thinkers (and problem solvers). 
10.) Teachers will help students acquire the skills, experience, and relationships necessary in order to come to terms with the awesome and unprecedented responsibility they will be burdened with along with these amazing new powers. 

Logo_FC“The World Is Flat, And That’s How We Roll” posted on Cool Cat Teacher Blog is about students who created a video for the Flat Classroom Conference.  I picked this blog because I recently read “The World Is Flat” by  Thomas Friedman.   It is based on the constructivist principle of a multi-modal learning environment that is student-centered and a level playing field for teacher to student and student to teacher interaction.  Applying this to the classroom, teachers take technology to close the gap between cultures and people — combining learning, technology, and collaboration.  Through this process teachers and students learn to overcome cultural barriers and collaborate with anyone, anywhere, anytime, in any nation.  This is a definite role change for teachers, not only do they have to learn and teach the technology (which is constantly changing), they also have to broaden their minds by interacting with other cultures.

I Googled flat classroom as well and it came back with many projects.  The most comprehensive site I found was http://www.flatclassroomproject.org/ — lots of ideas and videos that were pretty inspiring.

Course design and objectives

September 22, 2009

multimedia_slideshowOne of the main goals of online instruction is to have students participate and interact successfully — instructor involvement is a strong factor affecting this participation/interaction, as well as instructor feedback.  Therefore, the better the instructor is at utilizing the tools in their toolbox, the better the course design will be.  Does this mean as an instructor you have to use every available ‘tool’ in circulation?  No.  We learned in Chapter 3 that email, the most basic element of online education, can provide excellent interaction among teachers and students and meet the basic goal of a successful online course.  But if multimedia is added then the course design is expanded.

There is a theory in psychology called “good enough parenting” – meaning that a parent adapts as needed to the changing child as it ages.  Apply this to online education and we get that the instructor adapts to the changing needs of its students (which is essentially what Kearsley is saying in the book) — whether that be student’s needs are meet with just an email course design or with multimedia course design (Web, Blackboard, FTP’s, groupware, etc.) it is the good instructor who is aware of their student’s needs.

SixthSense

September 17, 2009

SixthSenseYet another tool on the horizon for our toolboxes: Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry demonstrating SixthSense which is a wearable device with a projector that allows you to interact with the real world and the data world. FASCINATING!!!

Advanced Toolbox

September 17, 2009

When I think about constructing my advanced toolbox I think of it in terms of:  How do we make education relevant? One way is through utilizing technology.  How do we utilize technology?  By utilizing multimedia to create content, organize documents,  provide assistance, etc.  What are some ways I would use multimedia?

1.  Web sites — One of my favorite web sites to utilize in the classroom and out is TED.com.  I probably spend at least 8-hours a week on this site listening to lectures and gaining access to information that up until now I would have had to either be at an ivy-league university or paying conference fees to attend the event — much less being able to distribute the information to students!

2. Streaming audio/video (media) —  real-time or on demand distribution of audio, video, and multimedia on the Internet.  One of the ways I use this is to listen to specific radio programs that my local station does not carry and to subscribe to iTunes U –  a collection of free educational media available to anyone who can download iTunes (free software).

3. Teleconferencing — whether it be Skype or another program, realtime video (conferences) is a good way to keep students “in their seat” but allow for interaction and an exchange of ideas.

Breathe Blackboard

September 17, 2009

This week technical difficulties with Blackboard have caused me the most angst. I spent a good deal of time writing a thread for the discussion board only to have it disappear when I hit save — I tried to go “back” but alas I wasn’t able to salvage anything. I also had the same difficulty with another posting, but was smart enough to write it in Word and copy/paste into thread.

Another issue I encountered was when taking a test on Blackboard this week – this was 100% my error.  The test was a match-the-definition with the correct word and some how I managed to have the correct answer on my paper version of the test, but accidently entered the incorrect answer on the electronic test; I even double-checked my work!  I was furious with myself because of this error — instead of a perfect score I received 18 points (out of 20 points).  Just goes to show that technology is wonderful but at times expressionsit’s only as good as the person utilizing it.

The link issue with Morehead didn’t cause me any grief fortunately.

Lecture-ware

September 17, 2009

Working in higher ed, every time I blink it seems  that there is some new form of lecture-ware (multi-media); in the last week I have attended meetings via iChat and Microsoft Live Meeting.  I’m not sure that one application is better than the next, but what I appreciate is that I can have meetings and a transfer of ideas with people from different countries in realtime without stepping foot out of my office.  I think this is a tremendous asset to my professional career – and can see it being a benefit to the educational classroom in connecting classrooms, gaining access to the best minds and expanding knowledge.

The technology has grown tremendously in the past decade — how has it changed?  I remember in undergrad taking a biology class where teleconferencing was used — the professor was at one university teaching the class and I was at another university participating in the class.  It was a bit cumbersome technologically — each participating university had to have a telecom unit (for audio) and a video camera that linked to a satellite.  However, today, my computer has a built-in camera and microphone; I just log in to the software on my computer; and I’m ready to communicate with others.

(This paper was interesting and discusses the application of Multimedia in Geographic Education http://krygier.owu.edu/krygier_html/e2paper.html)