Friday, April 8, 2016

What would be the impact on students if a project ended by just ceasing work without any of the suggestions in this chapter?

Projects that cease without celebration leave participants feeling a sense of incompleteness.  Celebrations provide the opportunity to share joy, common achievement, and mutual appreciation for a job well done.  In other words, a celebration gives students the same sense of accomplishment that adults feel when they are able to check off something on their "to-do" list or when the event they have been planning for months finally occurs and they are able to enjoy the fruits of their labor!  Celebrations lead to a sense of accomplishment for students!  Without celebration, students may feel as if their work was in vain.

Projects should also conclude with examples of excellence.  This includes things such as awards or online galleries to display the very best examples of student work.  This may also include student reflection, which provides the framework for students to consider the process involved in the project.  Ongoing reflection leads to personal growth.  It also builds the skills necessary for future educational and professional growth.  If teachers do not plan opportunities to share examples of excellence and to reflect, a project may not achieve the desired impact of growth for the student.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Choice in Student Learning

Reasons for Providing Choices in Student Learning

A differentiation in instruction lead to improved learning outcomes!  This is important for four main reasons:
  1. Current research points to the effective use of choice.
    • The body of research supports the use of differentiated, multisensory teaching strategies.  There are many different strategies that may be used effectively, including differentiated instruction, project-based learning, and multisensory learning.
  2. Effective choice can increase student engagement.
    • Choice engages a student's personal interests.  Students who are interested in a learning activity and curious about an outcome with have more passion for the learning.  Engaged students also utilize better work habits.
  3. Today's students must have critical thinking skills that surpass memorization.
    • In spite of the trend toward standardized testing that only measures lower-order thinking, students must develop critical thinking skills.  Choice allows students to select a problem and use problem solving skills and creativity- both higher order skills.
  4. Different modes of delivery and assessment are made possible by technology.
    • Technology allows us to reach every child!  Choices in delivery, assessment, and learning environments will move our students toward acquiring 21st century skills that they will need as they enter the work force.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Collaborate and Communicate

  • Compare and contrast a collaborative wiki editing project with traditional in-class group work.
    • A collaborative wiki editing project requires students to work with others to accomplish a specific goal.  While traditional in-class group work can be designed to allow a group to reach a common goal, online wiki project participants must work to create a community of practice.  This process is easier in a traditional classroom where learners are collaborating in a face-to-face manner.  In a wiki project, the process of building community requires time and effort.  Participants can begin this process by leaving introductory and welcome messages for their fellow participants.  In the traditional classroom, daily interactions happen with little effort.  While doing a wiki project, participants must interact by actively posting and responding.  These processes can be frustrating to participants when others do not respond in a timely manner.  In a traditional online group project, the community can consist of those people assigned to a specific class.  In a wiki community, the community must reach out and encourage participation through technology resources such as Twitter or email.  Wiki projects allow participants to collaboratively author, which traditional projects can do as well.  Traditional projects may incorporate technology resources, but the face-to-face interaction among participants will change the nature of the collaboration.
  • What is the difference between cooperation and collaboration?
    • Cooperation involves working with a group to complete a task.  In a cooperative project, the group members typically do different tasks that combined result in a finished project.  Collaboration requires working together with others to achieve a common goal.  Collaboration is a co-creation process, which is a much needed skill for citizens of modern society in that collaborators are actually producing something simultaneously.
  • How can collaboration be taught?
    • Teachers must first give students the tools they will need to effectively collaborate, including technology resources that make it simple to connect and communicate.  The tools should provide access for meeting, greeting, and interacting.  The tools should also include a collaborative learning space for co-creation.  The tools should also include a real-time virtual classroom for meeting and celebrating.  Finally, workflow mechanisms for research sharing and additional communication must be put into place.
    • Teachers must also set clear expectation for how often to contribute, where to contribute, and what format the contribution should take.  
    • Teachers should also address the challenges that are encountered in a collaborative environment, including:
      • Being willing to adopt and adapt appropriate Web 2.0 tools.
      • Being able to foster an online community of practice.
      • Being able to set aside a chunk of classroom time for involvement in the project.
      • Having an imaginative and risk-taking nature.
      • Being able to work toward and meet deadlines.
      • Being flexible and patient when connections and tools do not always work.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Last week, my ED 408 class created an RSS reader using Feedly.  This was something that I had never done before.  This week, our teacher asked us to respond to the following questions related to this experience.
  1. What do you think about Feedly? Do you find it useful?  An RSS reader is a VERY useful tool.  It provides a great way to organize information found on the internet.  In particular, I can find bloggers that share teaching strategies and tips on a continuous basis and keep up with their posts easily.  Feedly was easy to use, although it did take a bit of effort to figure out how to organize and access my selections.  Once I figured out the setup, I was able to go to my saved sites easily and find lots of useful information.
  2. From your reading of your feeds, did you learn anything that you used in your future classroom? Provide an example or two.  From reading my feeds, I was reminded of the impact that teachers can have on their students.  In my future classroom, I have to constantly remember that everything I do and say can change my students- either for the better or for the worse.  My impact WILL make some kind of difference.  I want it to be a good difference.  I also read a post on one of my feeds that discussed the importance of modeling good teaching when working with other teachers to share a method or technique.  I hope to be a teacher leader when I have a classroom in the future.  In order to gain respect, I have to model good teaching strategies.
  3. Where did you comment? Did you get any response when you commented?  I commented in the following locations-
    1. (I did not receive a comment.)
    2. (I did not receive a comment.)
    3. (I did not receive a comment.)