Nut & Bolts

Nut & Bolts

When I visual my classroom, I see my students teaching themselves much like they did in the authors classroom.   I always learned better through teaching, so I plan to have my students take ownership of the classroom as much as possible.  I’m coaching them along more then actually teaching.  In the article the author describes something similar in that she is a “co-collaborator” with her students.   

The only issue I have with the author is where are the standards/SOLs?  Are they being addressed?  I’m no fan of standards/SOLS and testing, but as long as teachers are accountable for teaching them, I think they need to be addressed.  I think if the students, in the article, were provided the standards and what they need to learn from the project, they may not have struggled with the creative process as much as mentioned.  I could be wrong here and the students were guided with the standards, but it just wasn’t mentioned.

Overall a very good idea that I will definitely try to recreated in my class. 


Follow me in the land of hashtags

Follow me in the land of hashtags

I’m officially on twitter and it’s as terrible as I imagined.  I don’t get it.  Help me understand.  What am I suppose to be doing? Is it about making trendy hashtag comments?  What does this offer that facebook doesn’t? Why would anyone need both twitter and facebook?

On facebook I can watch/listen to soundcloud, youtube, etc links right in my browser. I don’t have to open another window. Same for my news.  I get a picture/image, and a whole bunch more characters to explain what the information is about.  I know both facebook and twitter require a separate link to read entire stories, but I feel less compelled to click on those links on twitter.

Is it that on twitter you can have nationwide discussions because of hashtags?  That could be useful if you have the right circle of people in the discussion.  It’s the dummies I worry about.  I’ve heard of these twitter fights/wars between athletes/celebrities.  I hear about twitter all the time, but never for redeeming qualities.  It’s usually someone said something stupid on twitter. The only positive news I remember about twitter was how crucial it was during the uprising overseas.

Having said all that I know that my students care way more about twitter then facebook.  Their parents are on facebook, so i get that they want to be somewhere else.  I guess I have to figure out why this is the platform they choose to express themselves.  I worry though by the time I do figure out why, and more importantly how to communicate with them via twitter, they will be moving on to the “NEXT THING.”

I chose to open a twitter account over the other options (tumblr,instagram, already have personal facebook) because it’s the most relevant platform. I hope to use this opportunity to learn why people use it, and how it can benefit me as a teacher.  My first strategy is to follow educational sites I like and see what they post about to find more things to follow.  I use soundcloud/facebook for my DJ and personal use, so I plan to use Twitter as a teacher resource only.  Maybe I will follow a few celebrities that have similar ideas about schools, teaching, learning and lifestyles.

If you read this please tell me your thoughts.  If twitter is great, tell me why?  What does it offer that facebook doesn’t?  What am I missing?  And how could I use it to be a great teacher?

PS.  I was just editing myself and I noticed on the edit page I can link related articles to my post.  Very cool. Facebook hashtags are on the way.  Guess I better learn about them asap.

“New Learners of the 21st Century”

Watch Full Show on PBS. See more from Digital Media – New Learners Of The 21st Century.

This video was interesting enough to keep my attention, but not very useful to me otherwise. Of coarse kids want to play games, and sure it would be great if we could get kids to learn that way but what are some real life options here? If you are at one of maybe 20-30 across the country where you have CPUs for everyone, tablets, gizmos, etc then integrated learning from technology can and should work , but if you are not at those schools, or even worse at a low social economic school you might not have any of these tools.

I know technology is a great tool in learning. More jobs in the future will require computer skills. I think there should be dedicated, and required courses for students to take to learn important skills in technology. I don’t think teachers of english, science and math should have to incorporate games to make learning fun for students. We need to add more technology courses, and lighten up on some of the history, math, science and social studies classes we require. I mean when have I used my American or World History knowledge to obtain a job? Never. They teach us what they want us to learn in history anyway, and that is usually only a partial truth if that.

The video says that teaching the old way isn’t what’s best for the “new learners”, but we have all these amazing things from students that were taught the old way. How did that happen if it was so bad? I’m not against technology at all. I love it and wish I knew more about it. Maybe there will come a day when I buy into what this movie is selling. Maybe I will see benefits once I get my own classroom that will persuade me.

We need to focus on food in schools, exercise/wellness, and eliminating social classes with Property tax funded schools. These are issues that I deem more worthy then getting kids more time on their gizmos. Learning isn’t always fun. It’s hard and requires some moniker of discipline. Maybe I’m too focused on making learning into games, but that seemed to be a big part of the movie.

One thing I really did like was the professor that talked about how we use the word addiction (about 15mins into the movie). Someone who plays videos games all the time is addicted to them, but the kids that play soccer every free moment is just a hard worker. I think this contradiction is obvious in society. I think kids and adults need to live well rounded lives. Branch out, and accept new challenges. To do only the things we like is not living, it’s fantasy.

Standard BIO.1

Standard BIO.1 The student will demonstrate an understanding of scientific reasoning, logic, and the nature of science by planning and conducting investigations in which

i) appropriate technology including computers, graphing calculators, and probe-ware, is used for gathering and analyzing data, communicating results, modeling concepts, and simulating experimental conditions.

This standard offers a wide range of activities and possibilities in a biology classroom.  Students can plan and conduct their own investigations or have on assigned by the teacher.  Teacher should use prior knowledge of students abilities to assign the best topic.  

“Giving Reluctant Students a Voice”

“Giving Reluctant Students a Voice”

I loved the idea that the article suggests.  I think using a classroom blog is a great way to get all students involved.  I don’t think it should be the only way.  I think you have to get students to use their voice in the classroom and not just type their thoughts.  They do plenty of that already on their phones.  If you have type 3 and 4’s, then it’s the teachers job to get them involved in the discussions.  Give them advanced notice of the topics you are going to call them on so they can be prepared and help eliminate some of the anxiety that students have about speaking in front of people. If that solution doesn’t work then speak to them about what is limiting them mentally.  No matter what subject, there is have “hidden curriculum”, and building confidence should be high on the agenda.  So says me. 

“Innovative Educator” my favorite of the Top ten tech blogs

Out of all the suggested blogs I liked the appearance/display of this site best.  It was easy to navigate and understand.  It didn’t look as crowded as some of the other suggested sites did.  I couldn’t find anything subject specific for Biology, but I still found many of the posts relevant and useful.