No, I am not referring to bad 90’s lyrics sung by a questionable pop star. What I am referring to is how I so often find my perspectives shifting as I delve further in the worlds of technology and education. Previously, in a blog I posted in September reviewing the pros and cons of various technology tools, I vehemently wrote of my displeasure with Twitter. (To use or not to use…) At the time, I did not find value in the character limiting, yet widespread, phenomenon. In hindsight, I believe the problem was not the tool, but the implementation. A class assignment dictated we carry on an education discussion utilizing only Twitter and a predetermined hashtag. I found it limiting in a world where discussion boards and blogs allow people to discuss concepts in greater depth and with proper grammar are widely available. I have recently been reintroduced to Twitter, but as a recipient of news of interest and quick updates. Quickly, my opinion changed. It is akin to the headlines reel and suits my needs in this busy world. I am able to spot topics of interest for which I then link to more information. Simultaneously, I updated to include my @MrsLackner twitter account as I can see it being such a wonderful tool for shooting quick reminders and tidbits of interest to followers such as students, parents, and colleagues.
As for my recommendations for use, I still believe that teachers should have a personal account and a teacher account. This is not just to protect their careers, although that is important. It also protects teachers’ family, friends, and personal interests from the “teacher world.” Our families and friends live our open houses, grading period, and new school year stresses. They likely do not want our retweets about the state of the education union as well. Hence, my new @MrsLackner. My other recommendation, if you aren’t already on Twitter, set up a personal account first. Try using it in various ways. Also, Twitter for Dummies can not hurt to help you navigate the waters. Then decide how it can work best for you. As always, technology tools are tremendously useful in supporting your teaching, but that is only if you do not find them a burden and with them you are producing useful content.
So, as I was introduced through pinterest via twitter as I was avoiding facebook…. (Are you kidding me?) But my time has been justified in this photo!! At the back of my desk lives cords to the computer, speakers, monitor, iPod player, SMARTBoard, SMART doc camera, and the list goes on. I fear, as much as I attempt to keep it organized, one day a small child will be sucked in though an Octopus-like force and become encased in the mess. Yet, my greatest stress is when I have to unplug, re-plug, or worse, figure out cord is part of a piece of a momentary technology failure. And yet, this is SO simple and I have to ask, “Why didn’t I think of this!??!”
Peer review can truly be one of the most useful learning experiences in my book.
While reviewing both Schuyler and Marianne’s lessons, I feel that I just shared all the great things they did and didn’t necessarily give suggestions for improvement. Yet, I felt they each had a solid lesson, unit, and rubric! I also found as I stated before, that I think while I love Jing as a tool, the 5-minute limit on free recordings are really limiting. Five minutes is good because people tend to lose focus after that, but at the same time, then I think peer reviews of larger units of learning should be broken down into sub-sections for review. One way or the other, the perspective that peers can bring to a project in the making is incredible. As we talk about the powerful benefit of elementary and middle school students learning from one another, I think that we as adult students benefit just as much.
Here is a link to my comments on both Schuyler and Marianne’s lesson plans on Jing through screencast.com. They are excellent. I would be thrilled to learn that my middle schoolers were involved in projects like these.
Schuyler’s Review – http://www.screencast.com/t/47n4Gsz4QZ
Marianne’s Review – http://www.screencast.com/t/ZtdePSXwi
In this final project, the greatest challenge was recognition of the way we were to change our thinking over the course of the semester. Thinking of many in the field of education is simply to use technology to support learning, yet as was seen in our tinkering projects throughout the term, technology can be and often should be used to make learning happen. Not just to support it, but to affect it. It was tremendous to take all we have learned and answer the question, how can meet the needs of the students and targeted learning objectives entirely through the use of technology. To answer questions how of taking learning beyond the traditional walls of the classroom and engage students in ways they never expected, is wonderfully satisfying.
I appreciated the peer feedback and should I rewrite the lesson plan, I would definitely incorporate some of the suggestions. I appreciated the way my peer’s input really gave me perspective and allowed me to quickly see what we always professed, that peer feedback makes our work stronger. I am glad I included peer feedback in my students’ lesson. I hope they have the same positive experience with it that I did. As a result, I didn’t change my lesson plan from my original, which really could have been a draft, because to see it and hear what peers’ can offer is so significant.
Lesson Plan and Assessment Rubric
Exemplar for Math Blog Lesson Plan
Peer Review from Schuyler Kidd
Peer Review from Marianne Butzler
The biggest change I could expect is that the 90 minutes that I outlined this lesson to run is really based on working with students with a fantastic understanding already of how to use computers and the tools included. It is almost crazy working in the computer lab with 21 6 & 7 year olds to accomplish more than just learning to use the tool in the 90 minutes. I hope that would help other teachers to take time to learn first what their students do know by planning to work with them on the individual pieces of a whole plan for a while. Then after the students have a working knowledge of the tools, the students can use them to tackle other learning objectives.