The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler
I love her idea that students form their own learning through research, recommendations, and reading. I think it's a much better way for students to learn when set in comparison with memorizing the same text book that everyone else in the class is memorizing.
In my comment to her on her blog, I told her about a similar opinion I have had for a long time now. All through school we had assigned reading, during the school year and summers. We would then be tested or had to write reports on what we read. Half of the people I went to school with didn't read the material at all. The other half fabricated a two page paper to pretend that they were interested. I have always thought that the students should be able to pick a book, have it prior approved, and then write a paper on it. In my opinion it all comes down to one thing, laziness. Teachers are too lazy to go through and actually read a students paper. They would rather give a multiple choice test or even worse, a scan tron, so that they can just take a few minutes out of their day to grade papers. Now in some classes, this is perfectly acceptable, but classes like English for example, should not be graded on things like multiple choice.
I love Wendy Drexler's idea because it not only requires effort on the students part, but also on the teacher. I feel like both parties learn so much more through research and outside reading, especially when set in comparison to the limitations a text book provides.
I also see the obstacles she would have to overcome (as stated in her blog post). Getting schools to unblock websites would definitely be a time consuming and controversial issue. Also I had not thought about the fact that not all 7th graders are 13 years old yet and that several websites are 13 and up. I think she had some great points and ideas. I hope teachers everywhere will one day incorporate technology and connectivity into their classrooms and research outside of the classroom.
A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment (or PLN)
After watching this youtube video, I am officially obsessed with symbaloo! Although I had no idea what program she was using at first, after a few moments I saw "symbaloo" in the tope left corner. As soon as I was finished watching this video, I immediately googled symbaloo. I registered for the program and have been updating and adjusting it ever since! I wish I had known about symbaloo a long time ago. It has definitely helped me stay more organized and more focused on the tasks at hand. I wish I had registered, or known about, a long time ago. It is definitely something I will use for the rest of my career, or until it is discontinued.
Check it out!
Smartboards in the Classroom
I have to say that going into this class I shared the same opinion as Michael Staton and Bill Ferriter. I am hoping that after this class and after this project, I will have a different opinion and outlook on whiteboards. However, I did find a blogspot post which fully supported whiteboards and incorporating them into the classroom.
I found it interesting that both sides mentioned the "cool factor" of using smartboards. In Michael Staton's blog post he states, "1) Instead of using the mouse at the keyboard to interact with content, the presenter can stand at the board (without access to a keyboard) and there’s some wow factor there that might amuse students for an hour." In The Interactive Guru's Blog he says, "The sheer awesomeness and "cool" points you will earn by making your Venn Diagram activity look like a scene from Minority Report."
Two things I did not previously know or think of which I read in The Interactive Guru's blog were that the Smartboard can use multitouch, even though it can get complicated. I also learned that Smartboards can help learning disabled student's who might otherwise have difficulties with technology.
I am still not totally convinced on Smartboards, or interactive whiteboards, but I am so sure that they will be very beneficial in the future and in my future classroom. I am excited to see the new applications that will be invented or put into use for the Smartboards.