I have been following a technology blog which I have enjoyed reading. I give tips and tricks for new technology tools. I thought that I would share the link.
(image taken from: themotleymonk.blogspot.com)
Why we need to be data informed, not data driven.
My favorite line from this article is that “schools can tend to focus on its institutional self-interest instead of what’s best for the students.” If a school is data driven, often times what is in the best interest of a student is overlooked. In schools that use test scores as a piece of information makes better judgments about teaching and learning. I have witnessed this at my own school. I hate to say it, but we are data driven. Teachers are pressured into increasing scores on standardized tests. Teachers look at the content descriptors for the state test and feverously teach those items. Creativity is a thing of the past. I do not blame this on the administrators. They are merely following the rules set upon them by the government. If your test scores are bad….bad things will happen to you. I have been teaching for 20 years. There was a time when we were not pressured by state testing. We were able to teach using thematic teaching. The students were taught about the world around them. Students enjoyed school. Because of high stakes testing, we have been reduced to rote, item teaching. We would all love to be data informed….not driven. Right now, however, that does not seem to be an option.
(Image taken from:brainstorm-services.com)
Ewins, R. (2005). Who are you? Weblogs and academic identity. E-Learning, 2(4), 368-377
In the article by Rory Ewins, the topic of identity is discussed. When we are writing blogs, we take on a certain identity. When we first begin blogging, our posts usually take on the form of being like a diary. The article describes how our identity changes over time. We come to realize that no one really cares what we had for breakfast, or what we did during the day. The goal of writing a blog is to have people respond, or comment. If you are writing your blog that describes your daily itinerary, people eventually lose interest. Therefore, we begin to change our identity, or what we write about, to meet the needs of our readers. One example that the author pointed out was the day of 9/11. Bloggers everywhere stopped what they were doing to blog about 9/11. The readers wanted to discuss the events. Another thing that the author pointed out was that blogging captures moments in time. What we are writing about changes over time. How interesting would it be to be able to go back and read our posts years from now.
When it comes to blogging, we all have our own identity and writing style. Our identity is what attracts our readers. As time goes by our identity may change. Our views may change…but those moments of time will be captured in our writings forever.
According to an article posted in The Chronicle of Higher Education, enrollment in onlince college courses increased over 21 percent in 2010. According to the article, there were over 5.6 million students taking online courses in the fall of 2009.. The U.S. News reports that there were over 6.1 million students taking online classes in the fall of 2010. It seems that the number of students taking online courses is getting larger each year. The authors feel that the reason for this drastic increase is due to the fact that more colleges are offering online courses. I think that most colleges have come to the realization that if they want to grow, they must be part of the online sector. The reputation of the quality of online classes has also continued to climb. According to a report in the U.S. News, most academic professionals rate the quality as being the same, or superior, to face to face instruction. What about the students? There are certain criteria that are important to students taking online course. Most students taking online classess are adults with multiple responsibilities. College courses can be pretty daunting. The poll on this page was created to ascertain student opinions on several criteria concerning online classes. Please take a moment to answer the questions in this poll. All answers will be kept anonymous. Thank you for taking the time to participate in the poll.
There are so many cool Web 2.0 tools that can be used in the classroom. The video above is a tutorial that I created for using Xtranormal. Xtranormal can make your stories come to life. You can chose characters, backgrounds, movements, and themes. When you are creating Xtranormal videos, you are initially given points to use. After you use all of your points, you have to pay to create videos. Look at the points you are spending as you create. Go for the cheaper elements. This will allow you to conserve your points. I have made several videos and still have points remaining. This application can be used for so many things. You can make creative videos to use for instruction. You can let students use the program for class projects. If you search on Youtube, you will see a variety of Xtranormal videos. Some of them are quite entertaining.
If you currently use Xtranormal in your classroom, I would love to hear how you are using it! If you haven’t used Xtranormal, check it out. I hope that this tutorial will assist you in creating your own videos.
Okay…It took me FOREVER to figure out how to embed this Voki. WordPress is very particular about flash objects being embedded. If you would ever like to embed a Voki, here is a link to get the specific code for embedding:
Voki is a free site that allows you to create audio avatars. It is free and easy to share. You can learn more and create your own Voki at www.voki.com .
Back To School
Well, it’s about that time again. Time to go back to school. I have had a very busy summer. I have been taking three graduate classes, vacationing with my family, and trying to catch up on projects at home. This summer has flown by! I am always a little aprehensive about the first day of school. Will I be ready? What will my new students be like? What will their parents be like? I am sure that my students have some of the same apprehensions.
I love the image that I chose for my post. Most days I feel like hiding under my covers. With all of the budget cuts, it seems that the work and responsibilites are never ending. Teachers have to wear many hats these days. I miss the days when teachers had one hour lunches and paraprofessionals. Everytime that I walk into our teacher’s lounge I am reminded of the days when teachers would sit in the lounge and take smoke breaks. I laugh to myself whenever I think about it. I also remember when the only phone in the building was in the office and there were no computers. Times have surely changed. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the feeling that I get on the first day of school. It is a mixture of dread, and excitement. It is so bittersweet. I am looking forward to meeting my new little angels. Hopefully, this will be a great year!