Thursday, 28 July 2011

21st Century Digital Boy Redux

In my initial 'setting the stage' reflection I commented on the fact that I feel I do not use technology effectively in my classroom.  I made the observation that we are on 'the cusp of an educational revolution' and I feel overwhelmed by the technology of the day.  All I can say know is "Viva La Revolucion."  This class has provided me the tools and toolbox to confidently begin to implement "new technology in new ways" and maybe even some "new technology in old ways."
I initially asked the question: how am I going to achieve this?  I feel now I have many of the answers. 
  • I am going to collaborate with teachers of the same philosophical belief in order to share ideas and lean on for support. 
  • I am going to provide opportunities for my students to receive differentiate instruction through a variety of technological means such as wiki's, screen casts and google docs. 
  • I am going to create a culture of collaboration in my classroom by facilitating discussion through class blogs and social networking sites like Twitter. 
  • I am going to make learning authentic and meaningful for students by accessing online data sources but most of all I am going to make learning fun!
Is all of this change going ot happen overnight?  Of course not, but I do feel more adequately equipped to embrace and engage the 21st century digital learner as I have become one myself.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

"Beyond Electric Dreams" ...D2L discussion reflection

"Let's go where the raptor goes to the mountain in a cosmic glow
We'll have a genuine terrestrial show on a mountain - on a mountain
Let's scan the horizon clean for any trace of human schemes
And try to touch upon immortal themes on a mountain - on a mountain" - Bad Religion

In order for effective change to occur in the classroom teachers must be given the opportunity to collaborate and 'conspire' with one another to share ideas that engage students.  This is one of the major themes that has arisen from this weeks D2L discussion that was common amongst the posts.  As a class we have created a  a personal learning network that allowed us to connect with others that have the same philosophical beliefs to connect, share ideas and grow professionally. This class has done a fantastic job in providing this opportunity for each of us to see how the other would implement the web tools in our own classroom and taking the ideas from an "electric dream" and moving them to a reality.

The structure of this class has also provided a model of what can be achieved in our own classroom.  Effective technology implementation will move us from  using "old technology in the old way" to getting closer to "using new technologies in new ways."  In order for this to happen we need to move beyond the classroom teacher being thought of as the 'expert' to becoming a collaborator with students. We need to guide their inquiry and creative processes and one way to do this is to effectively use the technology of the day.  This class provided us with the means to do this and I look forward to collaborate and conspire further with my new professional learning network as I make my quest "on a mountain."

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Drumroll please....

Final Course Project
Here is a quick tour of my final project for the WebTools class.  Please provide any constructive comments below.

Friday, 22 July 2011

What do quantum physics and Google docs have in common?

I think I saved one of the best tools for last.  This week I explored Google docs more specifically the spreadsheet that can be shared.  I am currently teaching a summer class of Physics 30 students and decided they were to be my test subjects.  I had them complete a lab that requires them to determine Planck's constant with LED's (Planck's Lab).  The accuracy for this lab, as with most labs, is increased with more data so I though that this would be a perfect time to try out the shared spreadsheet.  I created the spreadsheet and posted a link on my blog, see last post.  I then asked each group to post the data, and I do have to say it worked smoothly and all students found access easy.

 I have a great group this summer and all are very diligent so putting data into the spreadsheet was done quickly.  One issue I can see is having to wait for those students that are continually late with their work.  If you are doing a lab that requires class data and everyone else is relying on your input and you hold people back it could be an issue.  I'm looking forward to using more of the Google docs for collaboration in my classes this upcoming fall.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Walking it is

Here is a link to the start of my final project.  In my last post I was raving about using a blog in my classroom, but here I am providing a link to my wiki that I am working on.  Why the change?  I always wanted to have a course website that was not static and can be changed easily, wiki to the rescue.  I think it will serve my purpose and still plan on using the blog somehow.  Please provide some feedback on my wiki, what you like, don't like, different ideas I could incorporate for my students.



...and the winner is.......BLOGS!

The more I think about how to incorporate these tools into the classroom the more I lean toward the blue corner..Blogs.  I personally like the aesthetic nature of a blog, it is easy to navigate around, it can be personalized by the students and it is something they have control over.  It becomes their own personal science pulpit that they can share thoughts and ideas with the class and world.  I would find this very useful in my classroom since I am trying to get students to write more in my physics classes.  I am really trying to push them to EXPLAIN their answer, DESCRIBE why and JUSTIFY their responses.  Including a 'blogging' requirement for formative assessment may get them the practice they need to achieve these expectations I put forth for them.