Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 | Author:

So, before I reflect on the content of this website I have to first point out how incredibly dullit is.   I found it to be almost contradictory as an example for utilizing technology as a tool to teach.  I guess I expected it to have a more interactive and compelling interface. I felt as though I went “back in time” when I first entered this site, hopefully in the future the Florida Center for Instructional Technology will put into practice what it is trying to promote. On that note…

1. Describe one example that you found especially compelling and one that made you raise an eyebrow skeptically.

I found two of the examples on the Technology Integration Website to be compelling. The first was the video Visualization and Characterization Videos under Constructive Learning/Adaptation Level/Language Arts (http://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/lessons/constructive_adaptation_languagearts.php). I found this lesson interesting because it combined many different aspects of the students learning. These students came up with the idea themselves to combine their technologies and Language Arts classes by making a video interpretation of the book Tom Sawyer. I immediately connected it to the video “Commitment to High Tech Education”, also posted in this weeks module. Much like the students at Harrison Central High School, the students in this TIM video have been given the opportunity to combine tools from two separate classes and make their learning personal by creating a collaborative video interpretation of Tom Sawyer.

The second example I found to be quite useful was the video Multimedia Study Guide under Constructive Learning/Infusion Level/Language Arts (http://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/lessons/constructive_infusion_languagearts.php).  The reason I found this video interesting was because it introduced me to evernote.com, which I had never heard of but was immediately interested in it. Once the video ended I opened a new tab and went straight to the evernote website to see what it was all about.  It is an interesting tool, and I can see how it would be quite useful in a classroom setting.  My favorite feature is that pictures can be taken and loaded into the notes section, in real time. I think this would be especially useful when it comes to copying diagrams or taking pictures of examples that are given by a teacher. Notes can then be typed in below the images to further explain what the diagrams and examples mean, allowing teachers to worry less about students copying down diagrams or examples incorrectly. However, it is slightly annoying that every hour or so the evernote login screen randomly pops up on my computer, but I’ll figure out how to stop that.

 At this point in time I was unable to “find” a Language Arts video example that made me raise a skeptical eyebrow. Teaching is still very new to me so all of these ideas seemed great. Maybe when I become more involved in the teaching process and environment some of these examples may seem odd, but for now I can see myself incorporating the majority of these lesson plans/ideas into my own classroom.

 2. Describe one example of technology use in teaching that you have seen first hand. Which cell in the matrix would it fall in?

I was lucky enough to participate as a practicum teacher in a Photo Journalism Class (Yearbook) this past fall semester. The students in this class used different types of computer software programs, digital cameras, and voice recorders to eventually put together a final product, the yearbook. The class ranged from beginner to advanced knowledge of the process the yearbook had to go through because some students were starting their first semester in this class and others had already been in it for 3 years. The two cell matrices that this class mostly fell into were Active-Infusion and Goal Directed-Adaptation because of the different levels of learns in this class. Although, if I had this matrix with me and spent the entire school year in this classroom, I’m sure I could have ticked off all of the cells in the matrix.

I choose active-infusion because the students already knew how to use the many tools of technology provided to them in the classroom. At the same time though the teacher was there to guide them and provide them with goals that had to be met each week in order for the yearbook to stay on the path to completion. I choose goal directed-adaptation because the more experienced students still had access to all of the tools of technology but were able to work more independently on the projects. These more experienced students were also given some responsibility to help the newer students in the class understand the different software programs they were utilizing. At the same time these students were still responsible to meet the deadlines given by the teacher.

Resources:

College of Education, University of South Florida. (2011). Technology integration matrix. Retrieved from http://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/matrix.php

Ellis, K. (Producer). (2003, April 1). A commitment to high tech education. The George Lucas Educational Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/harrison-highschool-technology-integration-video

Evernote Corporation. (2013). Retrieved from http://evernote.com/

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Thursday, June 28th, 2012 | Author:

Blog  2 – Block Scheduling

Jeanette Dosch (Pledge)

 

Adjusting to high school is a major milestone in every student’s educational experience.  More times than not it involves moving to a larger school with more students, brand new teachers, more advanced subjects, and a course schedule that can take you from one end of the school to the other in a matter of minutes.  As if all this was not hard enough when I went to high school, the rules changed the beginning of my junior year.  My schedule went from standard 8 period days, which stayed the same the entire year, to something called rotating block scheduling.  Rotating block scheduling looks something like this:

 

Standard Bell Schedule

Time

Day 4

Day 3

Day 2

Day 1

 7:35 AM

Warning Bell

7:40 – 8:38 AM

Period 4

Period 3

Period 2

Period 1

 8:45 – 9:43 AM

Period 1

Period 4

Period 3

Period 2

 9:47 – 10:45 AM

Period 2

Period 1

Period 4

Period 3

10:45 – 11:29 AM

Lunch

 11:33 – 12:31 PM

Period 8

Period 7

 Period 6

 Period 5

 12:35 – 1:33 PM

 Period 5

 Period 8

 Period 7

 Period 6

 1:37 – 2:35 PM

 Period 6

 Period 5

 Period 8

 Period 7

(© West Morris Central High School (WMC) Website)

In short the rotating block scheduling at my old high school was based on a four-day sequence, beginning with Day 4 and working backwards to Day 1, as seen above (WMC Website).  Classes 1-4 took place before lunch and always rotated in the morning, while classes 5-8 took place after lunch and always rotated in the afternoon.  Classes that included a lab were a bit more complicated, but honestly I cannot remember how that worked, nor can I find further information on the school’s website.

At first this change was quite challenging, not only because change is usually met with resistance, but also because of the mass confusion the new schedule caused.  The schedule was new for teachers, administrators, and students alike, so we all learned it together, or rather fumbled through it together.  The most common questions in the hallways were, “What number day is it?”, “What period starts today?” or “What period is next?”.  I found this to be interesting because the number one question in the hallways was no longer “Where is classroom number such and such?”.  It was also interesting to watch the relationship of the students and teachers change during the first couple of weeks because they also had the slightest clue as to what was going on with the schedule.

Eventually everyone settled in and made heads or tails of the new system.  After that there seemed to be a positive buzz regarding the new structure of the schedule, the longer class times, the entire school “community” lunch, and the movement of the various classes throughout each day.  Teachers and students loved the rotation because they were able to see each other at different times each day.  Giving students and teachers new perspectives of one another regarding the level of “alertness” in the classroom.  The longer class times allowed for class discussions to become more lengthy and more in depth.  Group projects were also given more time in the classrooms due to the longer class time.

The all school lunch was a huge “hit” for staff and students.  It allowed clubs to start meeting during lunch hour and not restricting clubs to only after school hours.  It also allowed for teachers to establish days for extra help during lunch, instead of always having to stay after school.  Students were also able to roam outside the cafeteria, into the hallways or outdoors to eat.  The possibilities were endless and the faculty encouraged students to make their own choices during this time (Westside High School).  It was anything from a social hour with friends to a study hall for an upcoming test.

Being lucky enough to experience a traditional high school schedule and also a block schedule format, I have to say I am in favor of block scheduling.  It allows so much flexibility for teachers and students as far as offering clubs and activities during school hours.  It puts less pressure on the students and teachers by allowing them to concentrate their attention on fewer classes per day.  The constant flux in the schedule keeps everyone fresh and focused.  Granted it can get a bit confusing here and there, but the beauty of the block schedule is that no body is truly comfortable and complacent in the events taking place that day.  The format keeps everyone on “their toes” because each day starts and ends differently from the previous day and the following day.

 

Resources:

West Morris Central High School (n.d.). Bell schedules. Retrieved

from http://central.wmrhsd.org/default.asp.

 

Westside High School. (n.d.). Modular scheduling. Retrieved from

http://westsidecs.whs.schoolfusion.us/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=81729&sessionid=853e6df65abd9dca02ed41&sessionid=853e6df65abd9dca02ed41.

 

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Saturday, June 02nd, 2012 | Author:

While I believe online courses can be beneficial, the amount of information a student will get out of it depends on his level of effort.  Working online gives the student no real accountability.  Google and other search engines are a “click away” to write a short answer, long answer or essay to almost any question posed by a teacher.

I find it humorous that schools are bold enough to say the implementation of these online courses is to prepare the students for the work force.  Really?  What specifically are they being prepared for via online learning?  I have been out there in the work force and have always been trained by another employee, a human.  If I had any questions that related directly to the job I would consult one of my co-workers, not the computer.  There are some computer based training programs out there, but they mostly deal with ethics and morals in the workplace, not job specific training.  A computer is not going to teach a waitress how to wait tables, a truck driver how to drive a truck, or a person working a desk job the intricate details and “ins and outs” that relate to that specific job.

For the work force it is important to learn how to type and navigate the different features a computer offers such as the Microsoft Office Suite, but to teach students at the K-12 level general education courses online is not acceptable.  In this day and age children are “plugged in” enough already.  Why would schools want to perpetuate this behavior?   I feel that if the online course movement claims to prepare students for the work force, then the courses offered must be of real value and add a skill set to the students resume.

In this day and age children learn very quickly how to navigate the Internet and different features of a computer.  In fact, it seems as though they have a better understanding of it than most people currently in the work force.  Today’s children are growing up with this technology and incorporating it into their lives from the beginning.  So, if the courses offered online are mostly general education, brick-and-mortar schools will need to re-evaluate their reason as to why online courses are being required.   Some schools may have to admit it is a cost savings or student retention based plan, and not preparation for the work force as they previously claimed.

 

Resources:

Brown, Emma (2012, April 06). Virginia’s new high school graduation requirement:

One online course. Retrieved from

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/virginia-schools-insider/post/virginias-new-high-school-graduation-requirement-one-online-course/2012/04/06/gIQAaz7E0S_blog.html

Gabriel, Trip  (2011, April 05). More Pupils Are Learning Online, Fueling Debate

on Quality.  Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/06/education/06online.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

 

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