Adding Information To My Diet

This week Gee asked an interesting question of, “What if human minds are not meant to think for themselves by themselves, but, rather, to integrate with tools and other people’s minds to make a mind of minds?” in Anti-Education Era. (Gee, 2013, p.153) He talks about “affinity spaces” where any person with passion can contribute productively. (Gee, 2013, p. 173-177) I am not an expert yet in any of these spaces, but I’m working towards that. My PLC at work is a space (virtual and in-person) where I contribute ideas to the group to better our school procedures, policies, and lessons.

Conversations in Social Media

Thinking about my possible affinity spaces led to me thinking about my “information diet”, where I gather my news and ideas from others. Every morning when I’m waking up I go through a list of apps on my phone: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, SnapChat, and Gmail. I read information from friends or sites usually with similar views than me. This is probably true of most people on the internet where we go to “ideologically driven sites where people echo each other’s views and values endlessly and mindlessly”. (Gee, 2013, p.163)

I was challenged this week to look for new sources of information that think differently than I do on educational issues. I decided to follow people on Twitter that I normally wouldn’t:

Scorebuster is a Twitter account focused on the SAT. I avoid reading about standard tests in hopes to forget their existence and remain in my “bubble” of fellow high-risk-test haters. They tweeted an article about how the SAT is redoing the test to match the common core standards and “let students from all backgrounds show what they really know, not just what they’ve memorized in prepping”. Had I stopped after the first paragraph, as I frequently do when my views are challenged, I would have gotten the wrong impression and assumed that “overhaul” was an exaggeration and the SAT would stay pretty much the same.

I also followed Urban Education to stretch my thinking.. I was shocked to see a link to how “3 black teenagers create app that lets citizens document police abuse”. This is not an article that I would normally come across unless a Facebook friend shared it. It’s not something that I, as a white middle class young female, deal with at my virtual school. To see students see a problem (Ferguson) and create a solution (Five-O) collaboratively was wonderful to read about. It opened my thinking and reminded me that if students feel personally connected to material in a classroom amazing things can occur.

I chose to follow a religious educational twitter account as well, Christian Education. I clicked on an article this week that related to my job as an online teacher. It wrote about how online classroom frequently have a more students per teacher ratio to save costs with pros and cons discussed. I challenged myself to read the article many times and process the ideas brought up. I agree that lower class sizes are always helpful, but I see many of my co-workers do amazing things with 100 students virtually attending their classes. Reading the article made me realize that I need to better my understanding of how others view online education, as well as share my personal experiences on the student and teacher end. If I can better understand the draw-backs to online education, I can hopefully purposefully work to correct them in my classroom, much like how Gee explains the many ways people are stupid in order to help educators understand enough to make them smarter.

Try widening your social media diet today!

Try widening your social media diet today!

References

* Birgerking. (2010, April 13). Social Media Prism – Germany V2.0 [Picture]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/birgerking/4731898939/in/photolist-br5x86-8onC9R-e5wZ3t-8d9dGt-9gXesF-6tXvwF-e1HpQq-d41HES-8az8WH-7ew6Zc-99Wjs1-e1yRKg-aFyhaH-btpW68-e4CDj3-e5CAgW-yv3t2-8KkoYZ-epHEE2-czBUG9-5XNfPs-dUmKE4-6mYWTq-aFy3bt-dZxNRq-9hNywz-6u2DBs-5XJ1Qc-9eVCSc-9MoWtb-9x7H6Z-8bspY4-6DtPYC-axnKy3-7rY7do-8NyVNa-7YNkh5-amC4jN-99BVQZ-4oUWXS-71ZNv4-6u2Dkq-8Bk697-6tXvgR-9FjwKu-6qPE85-7YNkeA-8Q7LSH-8Q7LZ4-8Q7LKc

*Borison, Rebecca. (2014, August 18). 3 Black Teenagers Create App That Lets Citizens Document Police Abuse. YAHOO! Tech. Retrieved from https://www.yahoo.com/tech/3-black-teenagers-create-app-that-lets-citizens-95101775629.html

* Gee, James Paul. (2013). The anti-education era: creating smarter students through digital learning. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

* Gweneth Anne Bronynne Jones. (2013, March 19). Social_Media_Small_Plates13 [Picture]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/info_grrl/8573737018/in/photolist-br5x86-8onC9R-e5wZ3t-9gXesF-6tXvwF-e1HpQq-d41HES-8az8WH-7ew6Zc-99Wjs1-e1yRKg-aFyhaH-btpW68-e4CDj3-e5CAgW-yv3t2-8KkoYZ-epHEE2-czBUG9-8d9dGt-5XNfPs-dUmKE4-amC4jN-6mYWTq-aFy3bt-dZxNRq-9hNywz-6u2DBs-5XJ1Qc-9eVCSc-99BVQZ-9MoWtb-9x7H6Z-8bspY4-4oUWXS-6DtPYC-71ZNv4-axnKy3-6u2Dkq-7rY7do-8Bk697-8NyVNa-6tXvgR-9FjwKu-6qPE85-7YNkeA-7YNkh5-8Q7LSH-8Q7LZ4-8Q7LKc

* Lewis, Darcy. (2014, September 12). How the New SAT Is Trying to Redefine College Readiness. US News & World Report. Retrieved from http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2014/09/12/how-the-new-sat-is-trying-to-redefine-college-readiness

* Lewis, Michael. (2014, March 6). Does the Student to Faculty Ratio Matter for Online Learning? eLearners.com. Retrieved from http://www.elearners.com/online-education-resources/higher-education-news/does-student-faculty-ratio-matter/

* Pine Tart. (2014, August 9). Five-O! Rate & Review your local law enforcement [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wH-Veei0jQM

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Why People are Stupid

For my graduate class this week we were assigned to read most of the first half of James Paul Gee’s book The Anti-Education Era. If you are not familiar with his work or his ideas I suggest checking him out. He is an educational expert that is a huge promoter for learning through games. I suggest checking out the video below where he talks about how students can learn through gaming. He talks about how people learn things while playing games and then choose to extend their learning when they are passionate about the game. If students can (and do) learn this much from video games – why can’t we incorporate that into education?

In his book The Anti-Education Era, he discusses why people are stupid and the many limitations that prevent us, as humans, from being smart and capable of solving complex problems. I would argue that a lot of the “complex problems” that he speaks about in his book more closely resembles the definition of a “wicked problem” that I learned about last week since they are unsolvable and rely on an excess amount of variables. Some of these problems he discusses are the financial collapse of 2008, religion, universities, global warming, and education in general. If you would like to read more detail about this book and how I relate to the ideas in my teaching please read my short paper.

References

Edutopia. (2012, March 21). James Paul Gee on Learning with Video Games [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnEN2Sm4IIQ

Gee, James Paul. (2013). The anti-education era: creating smarter students through digital learning. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

TRF_Mr_Hyde. (2012, June 15). Stupid [Picture]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/scottchene/7340414978

Reflection on CEP 811

I can’t believe it – but summer is over. This is my first week back and since my school is amazing they sent about 30 teachers (myself included!) to the PLC conference in Grand Rapids this year. I’m so excited to learn about how we can create a better school culture and ultimately increase student learning by working collaboratively in a PLC!

PLC Thin Enactment

Professional Learning Communities are the key for student success

The end of summer also means the end of the graduate course I’ve been taking through MSU, CEP 811, about adapting innovative technology in education. It seems like I just started this course and it’s already over – and boy have I learned a lot!

Invent

One major focus of this course has been the maker movement. I’ve posted ideas and lesson plans and tutorials about how to use a MakeyMakey in a classroom, as well as read/watched how my classmates thought to use them in their classrooms. During our first field trip meeting, I’m going to show my idea for how to use a MakeyMakey (or two or three!) to have students creatively design an interactive musical room for guests to explore. I think that my co-workers will love this idea and see the potential for getting students to work together in an innovative way while working on general skills of problem-solving and perseverance.

However I don’t know if I’m going to be able to use the specific technology of my MakeyMakey in many other situations. I work at a virtual school as an online Title 1 teacher, so most days I cannot have students physically in front of me to play with the MakeyMakey. As a public school I can’t require that families purchase their own MakeyMakey. My school also has a national curriculum that is created and given to us, so I can’t add it into most of my daily lessons.

MakeyMakey Collage

Child making a strawberry and play-dough drum-set using a Makeymakey

Luckily this whole course wasn’t a waste of time just because I can’t use the MakeyMakey frequently! I learned about so many other resources and tools that I’m planning to use with my students. I loved the mind map tool bubbl.us that I tried out last week. Students will be able to create bubble charts and spider web charts electronically using this free and easy to use site.

I have already emailed all my colleagues the UDL guideline checklist that I filled out on my revised musical lesson last week. This year we are really trying to work on our RTI (response to intervention) and inclusion of Title/SPED students in general education courses. I think that this will help teachers to have a comprehensive list to look through and be a good place to start PLC conversations on the same footing.

Interestingly enough I will probably use the creative commons search site more often than any other resource I played with this semester. I can’t believe I haven’t been using this for years! It’s a great site where you can search for pictures, videos, songs, etc. that you can use without plagiarizing or stealing. I used to just go to Google images and copy/paste what I liked (I know – bad, bad, bad) but now I can model to my students responsible internet usage on a daily basis.

Social Media

Did I use this image already? I just love it!

I also want to continue updating this blog on a weekly basis. Starting this has been a wonderful way for me to reflect on my continued education as a teacher as well as network with others around the world. I’ve even been updating my Twitter when I haven’t been asked to by a professor! I think it’s important to work with others that are doing what I’m doing or are interested in what I’m doing. The PLC conference that I’m at right now says that the number one thing that schools can do to improve student learning is collaboration. We are taking that to heart this school as a school by forming PLC teams that meet frequently, but I also want to carry collaboration over to my online presence through Twitter and this blog.

My MSU professors this semester have been amazing. They have followed through with what they preach about pushing me to develop my technology and educational skills further each and every week. Last week you saw a lesson plan that I can guarantee you I would not have been able to write 3 months ago. I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what a MakeyMakey is, what the maker movement is all about, what UDL stands for, how to use UDL principals to improve learning for all students, how to imbed links and videos in blog posts, how to tweet effectively, … the list could go on!

This week I’m writing this blog post and adding pictures from creative commons, linking to other sites and my own blog, using Twitter to blog about this exciting PLC conference I’m at, and thinking differently about how I’m going to use the 1:1 computer ratio more effectively this school year in my classroom. I’m changed and I’m hoping to bring some of this change to my co-workers this year. Not because I have to, not because there’s an awkward silence in a staff meeting, but because I’m excited about the how relevant what I’ve learned this year really is. I’m passionate and I want to inspire that in everyone I touch this year. I’m thrilled to start a new school year!

References

1. Dave Jenson. (2011). We’re working on it!. Retrieved August 14, 2014 from Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/speednutdave/6031858058

2. Jabiz Raisdana. (2013). Strawberry Drumset: First go at Makey Makey. Retrieved August 14, 2014 from Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/intrepidflame/8481484224/in/photolist-dVtPLC-hszdin-hszd8T-dQ13n6-hpLhYG-oxwXsC-ny4kr7-m1ZmMS-jnmA8K-dsFbNo-e3K6Ve-j5wBsQ-dsFbP3-dsFb9N-dsFb5j-dsF2vB-fEegVF-jnoBno-dsfkXn-j5wE77-dsFaTE-dsF2Ap-dsF2En-dsFb2S-dsF3ki-dsF34c-dsFcgy-dsF1eD-dsFc3o-dsF9XA-dsF2jr-dsF3RV-dsFaUU-dsFavm-dsF1Px-dsF19c-dsF1xX-dsF2yn-dsFbYJ-dsF3vZ-dsFc8u-dsF29D-dsFcHb-dsF3mK-dsF3dR-dsFbQW-dsEZZM-dsFcD1-dsF1Nr-dsF3yV 

3. Ken Whytock. (2013). Educational resource: “School Boards need to do better with their learning communities”. Retrieved August 14, 2014 from Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/7815007@N07/10433172053/in/photolist-gTWJyM-gTX9j2-gTWqqc-5TBjYh-aS8oa4-aS8pYZ-9Z1e3Y-9gB7o5-9YXnja-9Z1bpG-9Z1exA-9Z1iBf-9YXfT2-9Z1gA7-9Z1h9o-9Z1hX9-9YXkoa-9Z1i7b-9YXkQH-9Z1ds5-9Z1eJY-9Z1hCu-9Z1gYy-9YXgVk-9YXgjz-9Z1iqY-9Z1jLU-9Z1dj9-9Z1j4o-9YXmYT-9YXohn-9YXhyM-9Z1fFU-9YXkZB-9YXkwX-9YXfsM-9YXfAF-9Z1f4C-9YXh4P-9Z1cDW-9Z1bA5-9Z1cPJ-9Z1dU5-9YXkFM-9YXiLk-9Z1eV7-9YXp3X-9Z1eoE-9YXgNc-kyfF4T

4. Lance Catedral. (2011). week 21-2 (start). Retrieved August 14, 2014 from Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lancecatedral/5851750859/in/photolist-9V6KEc-8xsocZ-cie9fG-agHV2g-mvjUhR-9SfwLJ-6rnMXT-62taoH-d2kArd-d5eggy-kJkEHn-5Y6ANq-9Q4HE3-9dQmEP-ePsBqN-9PDYdf-5CGSK-gBVc1B-iKbrQg-apqhwY-8Noovm-aAd6GA-9rQHRM-d32Lyb-d2khr1-7ZJCqE-dxi7Hk-jCqnQw-8SNxMK-66XS76-2DG2iK-5pNq4F-5feBG7-6PtGoe-5feD2Q-5faejF-5fafLF-5feDJQ-5feyvh-5fachH-5feCuj-5feDqf-5fez2h-5facPB-5fadCK-5feAjh-5feB21-5faf8V-4Zfsdh-5fWSm5

5. mkhmarketing. (2011). The Art of Social Media. Retrieved August 14, 2014 from Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mkhmarketing/8468788107/in/photolist-5XNfPs-dUmKE4-7zffqz-8TxrKL-71kMyY-8eq2RU-7C5shk-9LAv66-b47bmF-dZxNRq-3LnGDN-6u2DBs-5XJ1Qc-6WJV3D-8w6RQw-4JKNJb-6WJV4p-9robx3-7rbSNc-eaoxka-8emFni-6Z8pZR-73qnaa-9arafu-9hHPww-axnKy3-7rY7do-6tXvgR-7nZEKg-7o3noN-9K45NU-7AuPFG-6qPE85-f6XnXx-7YNkeA-7YNkh5-6h3g7m-amC4jN-6mYWTq-aFy3bt-73qnar-9eVCSc-99BVQZ-9MoWtb-9hNywz-9x7H6Z-8bspY4-4oUWXS-6DtPYC-6u2Dkq