Wednesday, July 2, 2008

EDC 668 - Week 11 Blog

How has the course been effective in broadening your perspective and skill set for managing technology for change?

My perspective has been broadened a lot. We read a few books that really add value to what we "think" we know as individuals -- Next (by Michael Lewis) & Everything Bad is Good for You (by Steve Johnson). In Next, the author describes a series of technological "ah-ha" moments that make the very makers question what happened to technology. We are ever-so dependent on the technology yet we take it for granted. In many ways we haven't pushed it to its fullest potential to transform lives. In Everything Bad is Good for You, the author presses a different perspective of all things that we once found to be inherently evil could actually be a "gift" of learning, communication, discovery, and ..... EDUCATION! As scary as it sounds to incorporate video games into school minutes, the author gives the perspective of the "other side" in that not all things we once perceived as bad should be taken at face value.

Our class discussions have helped me see ways that I have the power of leadership and the ability to change others by example, encouragement, and my steadfast approach to modeling. When others see success, they follow. If we must become a global nation, we certainly must see past the generic judgements, bell schedules, silly formatting (APA... yes!), and seemingly religious tactics those who began running our education system have come up with.

Finally... as this was one of our assignments... if I were president, I would change education drastically (although, I really couldn't because it's a state-run legislation)... so maybe if I were the Queen of the universe I would most certainly:

Change schools to become more progressive - meaning they study actual-life trades as they gather a love for learning with purpose, more internships in high school, starting students out on an early pace-system in middle school, do away with short classes and silly bell schedule, eliminate state-mandated testing, NCLB, and anything that inhibits our kids from actually learning like school was "designed" (although poorly) to do.

Change is in the making. One OMET group at a time. Thanks Melissa, Gary, Paul, Bill, and Margaret for your incredible wisdom in this process of tranformative thinking. I have learned a lot this year and as Margaret has said before though... we have not done our jobs until we take our learning and multiply it. That is the true test of learning.

Peace sign.

EDC 668 - Week 10 Blog - posting #101!

What types of influence do I have in my current local and global communities? How can I expand that influence?

This question reminds me of a leadership assignment I just completed where I was asked to describe the future of my leadership (on all levels). While it was similar, I did not expand my leadership to the global communities, of which I will try and do here.

Current Local Community: In my local community, I have a great deal of influence as I am a classroom teacher with many connections to students and adults (their parents). I also work in a school district of 22,000 students and many employees. I am a voter in a community of approximately 63,000 people and have connections to many people because of the city-suburbian culture in which I live. Online, I have even more community which I consider to be local as well (just a click away) but moreso global because what I read/reflect can be read worldwide and impact essentially anyone who stumbles upon what I have written.

Global Community: Within the global community, I am an avid Internet user who contributes to the Internet through blogs, wikis, discussion postings, and by creating 2 websites of which are open to the public. I have contributed to multiple types of blogs (some closed, some open) and to websites like wikipedia of which are open-source and available to all who contribute and attain knowledge.

How can I expand that influence? I can expand my influence by learning from others but also contributing my learning/reflections on the Internet. I can also expand my influence by informing and educating the students I teach, their parents, my fellow colleagues and administrators about technology and sharing their knowledge.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

EDC 668 - Week 9 Blog (8 was graduation!!)

From where does global change derive? How can we use global change to promote deeper learning across the globe?

Global change, I believe, derives from the citizens. As soon as I read this question, a quote from someone pretty famous came to me-- "That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind" -- spoken by Neil Armstrong himself as he first stepped onto the moon.

He didn't speak of but himself or even of the American people of which he belonged, but for all. While he, like other leaders in politics and beyond may be considered the deal-makers of our time, we are essentially living in a democracy (or we would hope...) that allows the people to have a say in change. We vote in elections--although less than we should as a people-- and we contribute our say to this freedom we have.

Like the United States, other countries allow their people freedom to choose and lead as they see fit. Many unfortunately do not though (thinking of North Korea and Cuba to name a couple). Even North Korea blocks the Internet heavily from their citizens.

Where global change would derive is if the worlds people are able to communicate. Since we know now that they can... what's the hold-up? Well, while I am no expert in the field, I do believe that global change must happen slowly and the people from all walks of life must be in agreement that they see a need for change. Because of our massive diversity and differences, we are still human and still maintain our views in being superior. I guess I only hope that we can further our global growth especially when it comes to learning.

If global change were really visible as our lives are leaning in that wonderous direction, we should see learning as an all-around thing. Nancy mentioned in a recent post in Blackboard that Russians learn about world history- not just their own. Now, while the United States is most considered a powerful nation and others are obviously seeking to attain such power (although I could argue that Russians have a handle on our space system in which I think the U.S. is still trailing...) I can see why they would want to acquire knowledge of our nation... but why aren't we trying to get to know their history?

Global learning will be amazing and entirely relying on technology which is a great blessing and gift in which we should hold dearly.

Monday, June 16, 2008

EDC 668 - Week 7 Blog

From where does personal and local change derive? How can we use change to promote deeper learning as individuals and in our local settings?

Daniel Yankelovich's article, Ferment and Change: Higher Education in 2015 was really interesting. He spoke of 5 trends that higher education should consider to meet the needs of the people by 2015.

Personal and local change must derive in five ways-- according to the article; one of which is Changing Life Cycles as our Nation's Population Ages. The article speaks of "college aged" being dramatically flopped from an "early 20's" mentality. With this, it's important that higher education see these changes and see to changing as the trends do.

A dramatic separation between the work force and college is shown to illustrate how divided we are and how this change cannot be created without the enlistment of both involved. Here's an excerpt from the article that I feel summed up the concept best:

Employers and colleges are not designed to accommodate the longer life stage between adolescence and settling down, especially in light of the ever-changing character of today's knowledge economy. Preparation for work is now divided between "education," the task assigned to schools and colleges, and "training," the task assigned to the workplace or to professional trainers. Yet that distinction is often artificial and inefficient. A great deal of training goes on in education, but it is poorly done because it is divorced from the workplace, and a great deal of education goes into training that is also poorly done because it is divorced from colleges. If higher education were totally responsive to the demands of the larger society, in 10 years we would see many more efforts to integrate higher education, training, and work.

To derive that personal change, the mindset of individuals needs to change. Individuals need to focus themselves and cause that special change at the local level. The whole quote about "it takes a village to raise a child" may be appropriate here. In order for local change to occur, everyone must take on the responsibility to do their part and show less ignorance to change. The support, financially, through voting, and emotionally must stand behind the future of higher education.

Some ways I can show personal change to affect local change is to encourage my fellow colleagues to continue on with higher education, to vote in elections (even though their children don't go to schools in the district or they are past their prime and children are grown and moved away), and to see purpose in getting involved. Many people think that their "vote" or input does not count but collectively they all do. With everyone keeping that mentality of "I'm only one person...", we would have no involvement. If more people spoke up about their interests to further their education and the ways in which they saw fit, change would occur. It takes a united people to campaign for their interests.

Higher education will not change overnight and the plans to change by 2015 (you think we'll get there?? I'm not so sure! We only have 7 years!) will be impossible if the ENTIRE community of people sees higher education as their concern.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

EDC 668 - Week 6 Blog

How does globalization change the needs and demands on US, K12, higher education and corporate learning environments?

Us: Globalization changes the needs and demands of us because information is flowing on a larger scheme than before. Globalizing ourselves means being sensitive to other cultures, countries, and the changes that take place between them. Rather than natural disasters of other countries being "their" concern, we have now made it our concern because of a higher invested interest.

K12: If we were truly global (which I wish we were... but we are getting there), our students would not be attending schools and seeing their worlds as apart from others. We do not educate our children in the same way as other countries... and although allowing for change within countries is the rights of their individual governments, states, countries, we must see ourselves as competitive with them while working to develop the best ways to raise our children. There may be alternate methods presented by different countries that vary in the way we educate our youth, but the underlying point is that regardless of country, all young people should be educated. We compete, but should moreso-- collaborate to ensure the best learning for our children. If another country prepares our children and we are made aware through globalization, we need to assess our own methods and grow to me more like those with the innovation.

Higher Education: In higher education, I HOPE that globalization hits soon. I recall reflecting with my cadremates about the excitement of online learning in higher education to be global. Rather than attending one University, being given the option to attend multiple Universities within the world--- actually learning about Chinese culture from a Chinese professor in Tapped In or Skype from Beijing... all that would truly mean global learning and enrichment for all.

Corporate Learning: In the corporate world, if globalization is truly in place, job performances are benchmarked globally, not locally. This means that people are hired and remain valuable based on their assets, regardless of time zone or location. I see this out of all four levels discussed here to be to most current and updated. This really happens. In Wikinomics, this same view is shared and in an array of books exposing globalization of work-- ever called a product company lately and spoken to someone in India-- globalizing our corporate world is already there. Whatever is more effective and efficient will = what our markets are headed towards.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

EDC 668 - Week 5 Blog

How do NCLB and the Spellings Commission affect change in the use of educational technology?

Addressing NCLB's stance of education and my thoughts about how it may affect educational technology, I see schools underperforming and therefore receiving less government stipend funding for technology programs. Those schools that fail to meet the numerical achievement standards will face "punishment" in areas that could likely provide the funding for education programs.

I know that NCLB has been in hot debate since it's arrival about 7 or so years ago, but I am not blogging about my opinion-- moreso of how I see technology education changing because of its arrival. With NCLB, standards are expected to be met and optimal test scores are expected to be achieved. With a fear that they may not hit the marks and lose their funding, schools put aside programs that are good for student achievement, growth, etc. to teach the standards and as some say, 'teach to the test.' Certainly not jumping to any major conclusions, I do see a concern for putting programs like art, music, technology, and physical education on the backburner as teachers struggle to fulfill every tiny category of the standards to be ready for May testing.

As for higher education and the Spellings Commission's accreditation (debate), I feel that educational technology could actually benefit them. There are strict regulations in place for higher education sources to keep high standards... and that's a great thing. The wonderful thing I find about higher education is their ability to make their own rules when it comes to specific standards... so long as those standards are high enough for the DOE. With this freedom... for lack of a better term, schools are pushed to become better than yesterday so they can maintain their funding and status as an "accredited program or university."

This section was pulled from the article that I learned most about:
The process is used largely to help institutions improve themselves, but it also serves as the closest thing higher education has to an externally applied stamp of approval. Although it rarely happens, the agencies have the authority to pull an institution’s accreditation, and with it the ability of its students to receive federal financial aid.

Yes, as I see the article... they have highlighted the best (and worst) the process has to offer. But... what I valued most from reading that was that it requires institutions to improve themselves... which is where I think educational technology may place its footprint. With their need to constantly improve themselves, incorporating technology may be just the extra addition they can add to improve their programs and be "good enough" for the DOE.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

EDC 668 - Week 4 Blog

Where do you see technology & education developing next? How do you think the symbiotic relationship between the two will evolve over the next 10 years?

At a rapid pace, technology is showings signs of hope for rejuvenating education as we know it. Whether or not schools have or will take heed and act is another situation. Many schools see a need for technology, but often lack the resources and time that are necessary for technology integration. There is one thing that is certain however; that technology is a resource schools want and businesses want.

In Next: The Future Just Happened (Lewis, 2001), the Internet is expressed as changing the way we live and work. For a few young entrepreneurs, their lives changed by using simplistic yet complex computer manipulation techniques that landed the on the fast track to success-- until those opposed to the use of the convenient technology were informed and put a stop to everything. Lewis depicts technology as both being a resource of innovation and a resource of the past. While we don't consider the Web to be innovative (yet imperative in the world), we do require its presence to successfully carry on with business and living.

Carrying with the tradition of technology development and further discovering of tools designed to help education, I hope that technology is more than just developed, but enveloped into the school day. Like the youngsters described in the book, our abilities to use the technology is not what is surprising, but the actual use of technology within the classroom that is.

I hope that in 10 years technology will not be swept under the rug but a required "standard" to use in teaching other subjects. I picture students using hand-held computerized devices to web search, complete assignments, and go completely paperless with regards to worksheets as far back as the upper elementary level. Young students were born in the technology age and see no different than what they are taught. If they are being taught with the technology that is available and discovered, it should not be a surprise to us that 15-year olds give law advice or participate in contributing ideas to the collective body of knowledge that is our World Wide Web.

Hicken, M. (2007, Aug. 3). Technology Skills
Seen Key for U.S. Students. The Washington Times, pp. C08.

Lewis, M. (2001). Next : The Future Just Happened.
New York: Random House.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

EDC 668 - Week 3 Blog

How can authentic learning tools improve student engagement and deepen learning? What does the apprenticeship model tell us about learning?

Authentic learning tools are helpful in student engagement and learning because they serve a specific purpose that in essence, can differentiate instruction/learning for that individual or group of individuals. For example,
if students are given such things as portfolios to add to their learning and create more of a linear pattern of learning, students can see personal growth, tailor projects to their own understandings and purposes, and develop a more diverse form of learning that simply cannot be compared to a test or heavily structured project.

The apprenticeship model tells us that learning is best done when students are able to work through their lives and experiences when learning new ideas/tools. Without using these new ideas and experiences to improve their lives and work, the experiences stand alone as learning that has not been connected to the person. Knowledge is often lost when experiences are not connected to the learning, hence making apprenticeship learning so valuable for any student.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

EDC 668 - Week 2 Blog

Why do educational organizations choose to employ portfolios? What value does the use of rubrics in evaluating activities and portfolios bring? How can peer review affect learning progress and growth?

Educational organizations choose to employ portfolios for a variety of reasons. Just as an experiment, I Google searched "portfolios" and the first site to come up was an organization site, boasting the use of portfolios in education. This website: described portfolios as being:

"...collections of students' work over time. A portfolio often documents a student's best work and may include other types of process information, such as drafts of the student's work, the student's self-assessment of the work, and the parents' assessment. Portfolios may be used for evaluation of a student's abilities and improvement."

In just the same way, portfolios are used to highlight growth and learning achievements. Professional business portfolios are essentially a timeline of experience and with that experience, learning (should have) occurred.

Rubrics bring great value in examining growth and learning by way of portfolios and activities. It's easy for those measuring the personal's growth (whether it be a teacher, executive, principal, etc.) by basing it on an expectation that has already been set. In the same sense, teachers can use rubrics that were created to measure student achievement to their objectives in teaching. If a students portfolio includes how they learned to write their rounded letters, a teacher may remember back to his/her objectives in teaching and see whether the portfolio evidence measured to the standards of their lesson and met the lesson objective goals.

Peer review is also another successful method of accountability and learning that goes on when students critique one another and help them raise the bar for themselves. Students are often self-critical and can see areas of weakness in one another. They also are likely to find someone in their peer group that is strong in an area of weakness for them, finding not only an allie but another teacher who may shed some light on their struggles and help to improve this deficit.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

EDC 668 - Week 1 Blog

What is the role of an electronic portfolio in my ongoing academic and professional career in educational technology?

I see an electronic portfolio being a value resource for my academic and professional career. Currently I am still learning and growing as a new teacher and adding to my repetoire of knowledge. I attend seminars, join groups, take classes, and spend time in workshops to better my knowledge in teaching. Just the same, I need a place to house my growth and area to post my knowledge and ongoing learning calendar. From this, I see an electronic portfolio as being easy to alter and use as my ongoing learning develops. It would also benefit me because I would not need paper record of attended seminars, while keeping them online for viewing.

In my professional career in educational technology, I think it's important to show how it personally impacts my living. Having an online portfolio, I prove that using technology is important to me and how dedicated I am to learning new methods. I think having an electronic portfolio would set me aside from many educated people (especially educators) because of my ability to market my skills while sharing my experiences in such a manner. I also hope to help others develop their knowledge of educational technology and benefit this program further by bringing others into its existence.

I am eager to work on this! What a great way to track progress.