Google Classroom

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I haven’t seen who has covered this already (if anyone!) but I am intrigued by the possibility.

So on Twitter I saw Google for Education, and went into it to see what it was about. It looks like Google “Classroom” will be a new app that will organize the classroom online so that students and teachers can access information, papers, handouts, basically handling all clerical work digitally. After watching a video for it, I looked around a little and came across something similar called Moodle. Moodle is a course management system similar to the idea of Google Classroom. In review, it looks like this kind of modular system works well for teachers, but can be hard at times to navigate for students in terms of interfacing. Of course, different things work for different people, and there is no harm in trying different systems. As someone who is going to probably have kids at a level where they will be tech savvy and able to navigate Google, I like the outlook of Google Classroom, and hope I have a chance to explore it when it becomes available. I also want to try out Moodle at some point too, and will look more into Class Management Systems for use in my own classroom. Looks awesome!

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Empowerment!!

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See that’s what I’m talking about!! Bring it into the schools, let them use that passion to drive academics. It was great to hear about the many positive success stories of those kids. They use the internet as an outlet, a channel for their emotion, their love, all that good stuff. Obviously these are all the good stories of these kids changing our world. He stated at the end that we have to let go of our fear, and open out schools up to the possibilities. Fear is hard to let go of sometimes.

There is a girl in my class who is transitioning to 7th grade. She is a girl with autism, and has a vast array of technology her mother bought for her. While she has done some amazing things for a child like her, like create movies and videos, the freedom she has been given has also been detrimental. She has asked several times this year what shemales are, what gender bending is, has been quoting and repeating tons of lines from the shows Futurama, Family Guy, and American Dad, and follows many YouTube accounts that I recognize as what my friends and I watch for fun. I was not totally involved, but her mom gave our department her computer, and there was a lot of super inappropriate stuff she had saved. And she knew what all of it was about. A lot of the learning a child does with their tech is with their parents. They should be the teachers, and not all parents care about what their kids are looking at as long as they are content. There is more to that story, but that’s the basis of it. Fear is a hard thing to let go of. But I think in time, the country is going to get there.

But I think the story about Martha was wonderful. Too much do we focus on the negative (because most of the time the situations are ridiculous), and not enough on what kind of fruit technology can bare. What she did was get the school to re-evaluate, and change. She caused change, and good change. Those are stories that are meaningful, and should be broadcast EVERYWHERE. And she got to meet Bean which makes me totally jealous.

Jamie Oliver is pretty good stuff too.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2649081/Jamie-Oliver-Why-women-BBQ-kings.html

Generation Dislike

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It is conflicting for me. I see the influence, and hear the buzzword “empower,” but what does this empowerment allow them to do as adults? What does being concerned with other peoples opinions do to help aid personal growth? Then again, some kids need all they can get in terms of image boosters.

I think learning this kind of tech is a good thing, overall. BUT, it should be taught early on to be a thing of productivity, and not of social measure. What can students do that would benefit others (and subtly themselves)? How can the student use these tools as creative outlets, without letting the fact that they have no likes or followers be an issue? The case of the girl with the Hunger Games addiction, that was a mixed bag. On the one hand she was really passionate and it drove her to reach out. On the other hand, she was all about her followers and her status in her communities. Not so good.

“Biggest transformation we have had in terms of communicating with consumers.” Is all this about money? I felt an undercurrent with all the talk about companies tapping into the revenue well that is social media. Are the kids intelligent enough to know that their interactions with the screen are sometimes all for profit? Do they care? Probably not.

There needs to be a balance to a kids life. Although we did not get the other sides of the story, one can assume being online is a bulk of their time out of the day. There are some good stories about kids making a living for themselves and their families with their ability to hustle the web, something that was never possible in the past (the web hustle that is). But they are kids, and don’t fully know what they’re doing or who they’re influencing. It’s a weird road.

I agree with some of this, but most of it I see as a degeneration of society. Maybe I’m just old school. But with all things, learning to use something opens a lot of doors, and I think there is a lot of untapped potential out there, just sitting in our classrooms. EDUCATION!!

Mind/Shift

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I have started scanning the Mind/Shift blog site with articles dealing with the future of education and learning. I picked this blog because it reeks of innovation and generating new ideas to replace old ones. Almost every article I have come across deals with ideas and research bent on shifting education. I am amazed to hear some of the thoughts people are having about assessment and what fosters an environment of learning. Hip hop? Video games? Sounds like a kids dream for assessment! But there are people working to make it possible.

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/05/what-it-takes-for-public-schools-to-move-forward/

Why do I hear/read so much about how the focus of learning is in standards and standardized tests, and then hear so many people calling these tests unproductive or meaningless? I love to hear when someone says, well, if we look at all the other aspects of living, pretty much everything is changing, except for education. “Even the kids are changing.” It’s good to hear someone giving advice to teachers on little things that may have a big swing eventually.

I’m going to continue my journey through this site, I can tell it has LOADS to offer.

Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century

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After watching this video, I feel quite inspired to use technology in the classroom, as well as optimistic about an apparent shift from generic learning to problem solving and application based learning through technology in the classroom. The Quest 2 Learn school looks fantastic. It sounds as if they are really trying to find new ways to enable these kids to be the best they can be. I loved the bit about the importance of play, and that it never leaves you. I find that so true when I look back on my own education. Most of the big things I remember, I remember because I had to fiddle around to find out what I needed, and they just stuck in my head. I wouldn’t be surprised if the physical learning happening with hands on applications has muscle memory involved, and that is why we remember such things better.

I felt a running theme in the video was visual literacy, and how that will become a measure for levels of learning in the near future. The way students interpret what they find with technology is just as important as how well they are able to use the tech they have. Henry Jenkins also made a great distinction between addiction and dedication, and the double standard that lies within. Just because we spend hours on something that may be deemed unproductive by another does not necessarily make it so. Another good quote: “The best way to learn is to teach something.” So true.

At the end, one thing caught my attention. James Gee made a comment about 2 different types of schools, one being for the poor and the other being for the wealthy. He probably was not mentioning this as a statement of his own belief, but more based on the reality of the current socioeconomic spread in the US. Regardless, that doesn’t sound like the education system moving forward. His second statement about a “intelligent society” where we are all able to be innovative and collaborate with each other resounded better. This path, however, sounds much harder to achieve, but in saying that, I think that is the road we need to go down, or at least focus on. The hardest choice is almost always the best choice.

Me

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I have been out of school for about 5 years, and am in Marymount’s PDS grad program. I graduated from George Mason with a Fine Art degree in Drawing and Mixed Media with course work to go into art education, and have since decided against that. I have been in a sped classroom for 2 years, and decided to get into a gen ed. classroom. I love special education, but I had to make a decision! I am hoping to teach 3rd-6th grade.