Saturday, March 26, 2011

Blog Assignment 8

Mark TwainCover of Mark Twain"This is How We Dream"
I think Richard Miller is spot on with his description of how writing has changed. We have discussed several examples in this class on how technology is impacting pedagogies and student learning. Even the generation to which I belong knows not a world without computers, even if personal computers were not in our homes as they are now when we were children. I wrote a blog last month lamenting the demise of physical libraries and physical books for virtual libraries and electronic books.
Miller takes us on a short journey of how technology has changed writing. He lists many incremental changes: from pen and paper to desktops, information is not just from your local library but global information is available to all, collaboration capabilities with more than just text, but also images and videos, instantaneous updates in both visual, auditory and text based information. “Ideas do not belong to us individual, but they belong to us as a culture.” He sees a future where assignments are completed by online production programs instead of word processors. Now, people are using the web itself to compose. One man has created aggregating bots that use the web itself to create. For example, it can search all of the blogs posted that day to determine where the happiest city in the world is that day. Pretty cool stuff, I think.
The best part of the videos, in my opinion, is “the dream.” He lists four parts to his dream: “spaces that foster collaborative learning, inspiring teachers of new media composing, ubiquitous composing technology, pedagogies that foster creativity and collaboration.” Collaboration really is key for not only teachers but students as well. I have one concern with collaboration because it has happened to me on several occasions; one person doing all the work and everyone receives equal credit. Of course there are ways around this, but teachers will have to be diligent.
I have found so many sites that will be useful for teaching Biology. In many ways technology will improve the ability for students to learn. Not only are there videos and up-to-date information, but programs that allow for the students to draw their own diagrams and convert their raw data into useable information. If my students have access to computers, then without a doubt they will be able to collaborate, to create with more than a word processor, and to use and create information that is instantly updated and globally shared.

The Chipper Series and EDM310 for Dummies
The message of the Chipper series is to not procrastinate. Something I am terrible at doing! I try, I really do, but despite my best efforts to be organized and focused, my ADD eventually wins out and I put things off until the last minute, or worse, until they are late like this blog post. A second message from the video might be that we all must follow the rules no matter how much we disagree with them. The EDM310 for Dummies video was kind of silly, but the message was simple: do not get overwhelmed by EDM310, just ask for help or find a manual.
I have tried to think of videos I would like to make, but really I am not quite sure. I think recording short lectures on subject matter I am teaching would be great. I have read a few teachers who are doing this to allow their students to listen as they need so that they can use classroom time for collaboration and projects.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn
“It’s the death of education, but it’s the dawn of learning.” This last sentence reminds me so much of one of my favorite quotes, “I never let my schooling get in the way of my education” by Mark Twain. Yes, there are some differences between the two, but I think the general concept is the same. We have become so focused on measuring a standard that we have left out legitimate learning as a society. I think several good arguments were made in the video about excluding technology in schools. One man said something about being connected in “nearly now.” Through EDM310 I have learned that social media can be used in many positive ways to foster real learning and not “burp back education.” Our world is changing and if schools do not change with it then our children will not be as prepared for the workforce they will face as adults.

"The Secret Powers of Time" and "Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us"
The Secret Powers of Time by Philip Zambardo describes six types of time zones people: two kinds each based in the past, present or future. He believes we are all born as Hedonistic present people and based on our culture, religion, etc. we either stay that way or become based in one of the other five times. Past time based people focus on either just the positive times or just the negative times. Present time based people are either Hedonistic, meaning they seek pleasure and avoid pain, or do not see the point in preparing for the future because their lives are fated. Future time people are the ones who have learned how to work hard and avoid temptation or whose religion believes that life does not really begin until after death. He makes a great point about schools being boring, uncontrolled by the students and passive. These are things we do need to change if we hope to really have students learning. They must be engaged, somewhat in control of their own education, and active.

Dan Pink stated that we are actually motivated more by autonomy, mastery and purpose. This does make sense, but I am not sure that enough money still does not outweigh these. For me personally, I know that I chose teaching over the option of more money in the private industry because I do feel a sense of fulfillment as a teacher. However, my Daddy always pushed me to change my career plans to something that made more money. I do not doubt Pink’s research, but I do wonder if there is a significant difference in how men and women choose careers.
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  1. They would have to be short videos. No more than 5 minutes.

    Thoughtful, well done even though it was late.

  2. Thanks. Short is a issue I have to work on! :)