Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Equal Access to the Digital World

How can you provide equal access to the digital world to all learners?

I HAVE NO IDEA. Seriously I don’t know. I would like to think that every student and teacher works and lives in a small town like I do and offers both the teachers and the students the newest technologies, but they don’t. I would like to say, “use the library” but I know that won’t fix the economic gap that a lot of families face in a diverse school. I would also like to go out and buy all my students person notebooks and say, “here go” but we all know I won’t be able to do that either. Thus far I’ve learned about a global, mobile school where students must have, a mac notebook, ipad and iphone or 3:1. A school that offers a touch screen white board with hand held devises 1:1. Also, another school that only provides a computer lab and a cart of laptops. I also shadowed a class that provided notebooks for student only during that class only for a certain educational game. It seems to me that the majority of schools, in my current area of NH, have some kind of technology available for teachers to integrate into their lessons. However, I can’t speak for the low income areas in big cities such as Boston or New York City.
On another thought, we have been taught in these education course that student centered learning is the best practice. We have also been told that not every student learns the same or have the same level of understanding. We learned that the best teachers are the teachers who know their students; they know roughly the background of each student. Hopefully using this information will help provide equal access to the digital world.
I think the smart boards are a great way to integrate technology in a classroom that holds a majority of students without internet access. I feel that the smart board will bring in technology with a good investment backing and allows all students to participate.
I think there are a lot of programs out there that provide computer for students in need. I think all teachers should get involved in these programs whether they are on the receiving on giving end. We had a speaker in another class that informed us that every grade in his school supports a special cause. As a business high school teacher I know I want my students to learn about business practices, this could lead to supporting a non-profit, kids want to help.
I support the class trip to the computer room or library, maybe a field trip to the public library can make student aware of the possibilities. If nothing at all tell the students about technologies in the classroom. The students are more likely to enjoy technology based instruction and it will prepare them.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Literature Review

The new and improved 7th grade English room was finally finished and we could see the difference, windows looked clean and new, color of the room matched the interior design of the rest of the hall and more importantly there was a white board that with a flick of a button either lowered from the ceiling or disappeared back into the ceiling. Cool, we all thought. This was the new technology when I was 14. Yes I’m young enough to have gone to school after projectors died out and teachers used PowerPoint through computer networking. However, it wasn’t till I went back, now at 25, for my masters that I was informed that those white boards are now touch screens. Shocked and amazed. Curiosity lead me to an article on called ‘5 K-12 Technology trends for 2011’. This article was written by Bridget McCrea on 12/02/2010. The article highlights the five top movements in technology for 2011.
All of the advances touch on budget saving techniques and other cost effective avenues. The first 3 are technologies to better the student centered learning environments and the last two are upgrades for professional development. The article predicts more mobile devices, or other 1:1 implementations to increase 24/7 access to technology and “ubiquitous learning”. Another trend is an increase in web-based instruction. The author feels that an increase in online classes has already and will continue to save schools money while provided the student with more outlets to take advance classes, make up for missed credits and expand their interests. Automatic monitoring and assessment tools will amplify individualizing students. In turn, a teacher will learn the student strengths and weaknesses before it’s too late. Real time data collection will stop the delay of adjusting a teacher’s lesson plan. The cloud is the newest and most cost effective application. It does away with expensive hardware and soft wear and encourages collaboration between teachers, and available space. The last technology trend is an increase in technology available for teachers. Teachers must be able to keep up with the students and technology will make it easier. Technology will make professional development more accessible which is necessary for all teachers.
The article was both interesting and relevant for solving the constraints that teachers, students and school district face today. Technology has the ability to boost the school culture for the better.

Here is the link for the article

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


This week I listened to another EdTechTalk pod cast and this time it was about the first global, mobile high school, Think Global. The pod cast was Episode 143 recorded on November 3rd 2010. Interesting, I know. Alex, Marvin and Vinnie were speaking to the head of the school, Brad Ovenell-Carter. You could hear the passion in Brad’s voice as he described the idea of a school that learned in the world instead of about the world. Freshmen year they start in Stockholm where they have Swedish guest speakers and a host school, the second location is Sydney where they plan to study the ocean and last stop is Beijing. Currently, this school had fifteen 9th graders from 11 different countries that are scheduled to visit 3 different cities in 3 different countries in 3 terms before entering 10th grade to do it again in 3 different countries. By the time these student have graduate 12th grade they will have gone around the world 4 times. Brad tells the guys that this school has no bells, is technology heavy and operations are radical. He also goes on to tell them that the kids still are obligated to learn the same math and English as other school but have the ability to decide their own schedule. If the students need more time on a certain subject they change their schedule on the fly. Or if the kids ask to meet at 8pm on a Sunday night to do there math lesson, the schedule is easily updated. Teachers are still required to record their hours to keep the school certified and do so on a Google calendar. The necessary tools to be a student at this school are an iPad, iPhone and mac notebook. Students live in a hostel and have access to labs, amazing field trips, guest speakers and even a rented kitchen to learn local food preparation. Some challenges the school faces is bad internet connections, and globalizations. The kids all met on Facebook prior to there in person introduction and the entire student all like the same hit songs and movies and found it to be a reunion instead of a cultural event. I connected with the pod cast because a personal educational philosophy much like, Brads, “we want to teach the students to make sense of information but more importantly to make good judgments”.