Digital Story- Zero the Hero

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Technology is Empowering

WOW! If you are a parent, teacher, administrator, or anyone that works with kids you need to watch this TED talk by Scott McLeod. From the first story Scott told I was convinced that technology is important. Martha’s story is the perfect example of how technology gives a voice to younger generations. Martha was able to connect with a vast amount of people around the world through her blog. When I was a kid we had pen pals, now we have blog readers, Twitter/Instagram followers, or Facebook friends. Not only did Martha make connections but she started something. Her school was serving poor quality lunches. By sharing with the world through technology, Martha was able to make a difference.

These other kids have been able to find their identity through technology. The young girl who made a documentary was able to share her opinion and herself through film. Exploration and inquiry based learning is a huge part of teaching, technology is a wonderful outlet for this. But why are we blocking pathways that we are also saying are important. Scott brought up a valid point in his TED talk. He mentioned how we discuss the importance of technology in schools at time, however, we also keep our kids away from it too. What is this actually telling our kids? We need to teach them what technology is. What the internet is. How they can use it safely and effectively. Technology is  pathway for us to LEARN through EXPLORATION. We wouldn’t send a child up a mountain without providing them with safety instructions. But we also wouldn’t not send them because there are possibilities of them getting hurt. We teach them what could happen and make sure they are prepared and know how to navigate around it. This is how technology needs to be incorporated. TEACH! BE PREPARED! EXPLORE!

Let our kids be empowered by technology so they can later teach us.

Watch the TED talk here!

Trying out Pixlr.com

beachAt the beach 🙂

Using Pixlr brought me back to my photography days in high school; I used Adobe Photoshop most of the time. Pixlr is a great alternative that is pretty kid friendly! I would definitely do a quick tutorial with my students and encourage them to use it in the classroom.

*Generation Like*

photo

As I watched Generation Like, a friend overheard the video and immediately said, “Is that Tyler Oakley?” My friend is a big time YouTuber and is one of Tyler’s 4.5 million plus followers. I am right on the outskirts of this “generation like” and am not ashamed of it.

As I sit on my computer or in front of the TV, I am constantly checking my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest on my phone. While my interaction with social media is not as extreme as many of my friends, my awareness of it all connects me to the kids around me. My knowledge of social media is an important aspect in my life that prepares me for instruction in my classroom. For me this might be slightly different than for a secondary teacher.

As I plan my lessons and teach my class, I think about how can I make this relate to my students and how can I prepare them for what is to come in their life. My students are not at the age where they are legally allowed to use many of these social media outlets; however, they are 100% aware of what they are and what they consist of. For example, when I was in a 2nd grade classroom, my students “tweeted” all about the books they read. Their tweeting consisted of writing a quick post about a book they read on a post-it and putting it on a Twitter themed bulletin board. While these 7 and 8 year olds are not on Twitter themselves, they were excited to be part of something relating to Twitter. These second graders are also putting something on a bulletin board for the whole school to see. What they write is available for others to read and comment on. Teaching students to be aware of the world they are part of, how to use social media in a positive way, and how to interpret and understand all sorts of media in front of them.

Something that scares me with social media are the “likes” and “favorites.” These things can cause image disorders in young people. I have witnessed some of these problems first hand. What happens when comments or “likes” are not longer positive? Preparing these students to be aware of the repercussions of their posts is an important role of both teachers and parents. How will they react when they receive no “likes” to their selfie? What about if they receive 400? And how will they react when someone posts a negative comment? Generation Like is learning to live their lives under a microscope, but they must understand this and use it for the better.

I love social media and I am definitely part of it. As teachers we need to prepare our younger students of what is to come in the world of social media and being role models to those older students that are already part of it.

Now go! Post, Tweet, and Snap away!

Reaction to “New Learners of the 21st Century” video

“tinkering brings thought and action together in some very powerful magical ways” -John Seely Brown

The video below discusses five learning programs across the country focusing on technology and digital media. It is interesting hearing about all the different technology driven teaching programs being implemented across the country. The program that stuck out to me the most of the Quest for Learning in New York, NY. Quest for Learning is a “school for digital kids.” I was first hesitant on the idea of a school based around game design, however, Quest for Learning provides students with an engaging curriculum based on the New York state standards.  

I am curious of the outcomes of Quest for Learning. How are the students performing on their standardized tests? Where are the students going when they graduate? If the students are performing at level or higher, then I believe this is an incredible program. But what about those children who struggle in the world of STEM? Is this program only reaching a specific student? The benefit of Quest for Learning in the engagement of the students who are more likely to play on a computer or watch TV is on point. One of the hardest aspects of teaching is to engage the students, and this program does that easily. I am interested in learning more about the student body that makes up Quest for Learning.

Creativity is an aspect of the mind that is difficult to teach. Quest for Learning targets the creativity in students during each lesson/activity. As students use trial and error they are “tinkering” with their game in order to find the perfect outcome. John Seely Brown stated, “tinkering brings thought and action together in some very powerful magical way.” In his monologue he discussed the power of tinkering and finding what works. When a person uses trial and error and works to find a solution, the pathway to the solution and the solution are stored in the brain in a more meaningful way. In John Seely Brown’s words, it is a “life long learning event.” 

Quest for Learning is an incredible concept for learning. The field of education seems to be using its own kind of trial and error in order to find a solution. I look forward to continuing my own journey in discovering the “ideal” education program for students. 

Here is the link to the video: New Learners of the 21st Century

“life long learning event” -John Seely Brown

My “thoughts” on the Te@chthought blog…

I have been exploring a variety of education/technology blogs. While doing so, I came across the Te@chthought blog. The layout and organization of this blog is simple yet practical. Tabs at the top provide broad topics of the posts within them. Trending posts are also listed along the side, providing the reader with a variety of options of where to browse.

I immediately was drawn to this blog because it has an entire tab on iPads. Next year the school I will be teaching as is a 1:1 school with iPads. I believe I am an adequate Apple products/iPad user; however, integrating technology into my classroom with iPads is something I am not as comfortable with. This blog has many posts on using iPads in the classroom as both a planning and teaching tool. 

One particle post I will continue to go back to is about iPad apps to promote creativity. Within this post the blogger provides a list of 25 apps with a short description about the company or the application itself. While reading this post I immediately thought about my current class and their individual social studies projects. My current students are creatively putting together e-books about a research topic they chose from ancient Egypt. Many students have created scratch art, posters, and powerpoint in addition to writing their e-books. My students are currently using Microsoft Publisher to create these e-books; however, they needed to use a previously made template and struggle with putting their own twist into the layout and design. As I read this post, I saw an app listed that creates e-books, Book Creator. I immediately downloaded this app and began exploring. I then spoke to the technology teacher about what I discovered. Ironically, she had learned about this app shortly after our project was started and plans to implement the app next year once she has a better grasp on it. I look forward to seeing how I can incorporate the Book Creator application in my new classroom next year. I have noticed that students enjoy sharing their knowledge in a “book” form and feel a sense of ownership over their work.

Allowing students to explore and use their creativity is important in the classroom. I look forward to exploring more of the creative applications listed in the te@chthought post and continue my exploration of teaching/technology blogs. 

Here is the link: Te@chthought