Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. ~ John Dewey

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psu

Browsing

I’ve spend the past week doing a lot of blog reading. With 40+ students taking the grad course here at ISB and another 8 that I’m teaching for PSU makes for a lot of blog reading in a week.

I predicted this year would be about building value with these tools and that I personally was going to focus on bringing the conversation to people who are open to hearing it and are ready to hear it.

These courses are just that. Some people never before hearing the word ‘podcast’. While others have wanted to dive in but were waiting for the right opportunity.

This also extends to my approach at up coming conferences. I’ll be leaving next Saturday for Portland, Oregon where I’ll be doing a three hour workshop at the NCCE conference on how teachers and schools can communicate with their communities beyond using e-mail. We’ll talk about blogs, podcasts, and everything Google spending a good hour on each.

With trying to keep up with almost 50 new blogs, I have found myself reading much more of late and want, from time to time, to point out some great thinking that is happening as another wave of educators joins the conversation.

Becoming a Fish:

For those that find an end to their learning (which we all must know as never existing) whether it be acquiring that degree or comfort level in their profession, they have fallen short of their potential. When one stops seeking knowledge or even questioning their current knowledge and understanding, they have failed themselves.

Do Bloggers Care About Copyright Laws?:

So, I’m curious…is there a different standard for information found in blogs? I doubt it, but I have a sense that bloggers don’t care really. They’re all about sharing.

How are My Thoughts Changing?:

I’m not sure how my thinking has changed yet.  I am just sure that it is changing and I am so interested to see how these new ideas play out.  I am excited to be in a profession that has the opportunity to engage directly with these ideas with children and youth.  It is an exciting time to be in the field of education.

Connectivism:

So my questions are these:  Knowledge…is it something we construct (constructivism?)…something within us?; something always there, but masked by our own delusions (Buddhism)?; or does learning and knowledge now depend on CONNECTIVISM?  I am still not sure how constructivism and connectivism are entire different. Do we not build knowledge (constructivism) through our interactions with others and our experiences?

A little rain for the 2.0 parade:

Did anyone else read the articles on Connectivism and Messing Around and wonder “What’s the big deal?” I don’t see much novel about those discussions, just technology-specific applications of pre-existing ideas.

Addressing Truth and Bias in the Classroom:

Imagine the individual who cares deeply about a subject is dedicated to finding truth. To avoid bias, it makes sense to work with other passionate individuals with alternative points of view. Compelling arguments may win the day. Reporting the truth involves admitting the biases and reporting the truth from multiple perspectives, pointing out the gray areas and areas where further investigation is needed. Is it possible that truth is relative depending on perspective or truth is “the best information available.”

Connectivism the new constructivism?:

I guess since I entered adulthood in a pre- internet world I would attest that learning can and does take place off line and maybe, I would argue, in a more visceral way. I will never forget the first time that I saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. It had to be at least 20 years ago and I remember waiting on line to see it and being surprised at how small it was and being distracted because the painting was under glass and there was glare on the glass.

These are just a couple of the posts that have me thinking this week. I’m really enjoying teaching teachers, and adults in general for that matter. Wonder if there is a way to make a living at it. 😉

I’m wrapping up what will be the last grad course I’ll be teaching at PSU for awhile. Moving to a new country, a new job, and starting some other projects will be keeping me busy for awhile. I’ve really enjoyed teaching the course Teaching & Learning in a Networked Classroom. A course that is ran on an open wiki that explores how networked learning is changing our classrooms and exposes students to a host of web 2.0 tools.

Ad-Free Wikis for EducatorsTo wrap up this quarter I thought I’d do a podcast with the students on their final thoughts about the class. Kim, Sherry, and Patti have been so much fun this quarter and I think that comes through in the podcast. These three took the course and by the fourth week were off and running. In the podcast they all talk about different projects they have started because of this course and Kim even changed her final project based on what we were exploring.

Great stuff…head on over to On Deck to have a listen.

Sharon, one of my students in my PSU course that I’m teaching this Fall recently wrote this after reading George Siemens’ Knowing Knowledge

As a teacher, that is a powerful statement, something to ponder. It
makes me question how I teach, am I preparing the students to have the
skills to obtain knowledge rather than feeding them knowledge? Has
technology changed the way we teach, in some ways, but are we as
teachers really preparing the students for the 21st century? Is “know
where” replacing ‘know what” and “know how”?

Now that’s profound. I love it when teachers start to use these tools and start to create their own conclusions based on new information.

Leave her a comment and add your thoughts…worth a read!

[tags]psu[/tags]

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Can’t believe it’s been 10 days since I posted a blog entry. It’s been good though…spent 3 days in San Diego visiting my sister-in-law and time with family and friends over the other days has made it worth being disconnected.

The time I have been online has been focused on the graduate course I’m teaching for Plymouth State University.

The students have all set up blogs now, I thought I’d take this opportunity to introduce the blogosphere to six new bloggers (Michael…you can’t call yourself new 🙂 )

Here is some of the thinking they have been doing the past couple weeks.

http://lmhefte.blogspot.com/

Exposing students to the unlimited options that technology and networking has to offer is crucial for their development as a person and learner and that means that I have to make sure to continue to be well informed about the new ways of learning and communicating with technology.

http://mrkmusings.blogspot.com/

So there’s all this knowledge available, all these resources, and all the arguments / rationalizations / legitimizations regarding teaching and the web tools available make perfect sense. The problem of course is creating relevancy for our students.


http://dging4.blogspot.com/

Do you think that libraries at higher levels have changed more to incorporate new areas of technology? We still seem to be compartmentalized in many ways. Art happens in art class. Technology happens in the lab. Books happen in the library. There have been changes. The computer lab can come in to the classroom. In our school’s model, the technology teacher is a collaborative partner with the teacher. Together we work on projects. It is very far from a “drop off” special. It is funny how slow schools, and teachers, can be in accepting new ideas.

http://mollys64.blogspot.com/

I am intrigued by Magner’s take on the way we need to look for a new model to fund education. He explains that we have funded specific programs but for success in the 21st century, we need to look across programs, schools and districts to meet educational goals. His analogy is the 19th and 20th century location dependent factory model versus the 21st century global interconnectedness where anyone can publish from anywhere.


http://pjforbes.blogspot.com/

Last week I read chapter 3 & 4 of his book. Chapter four was all about Wiki’s. I must say that I am still a little skeptical of the information on Wiki’s. If you are looking at information that you are unfamiliar with, who’s version is correct.

http://nrhall.blogspot.com/

Technology is changing rapidly and the way we prepare our students for
the future must change as well. School 2.0 will help schools prepare
for those changes by pulling together all parties to determine what
students need in order enter the workforce when they graduate. The
greatest challenge in preparing our students for the future is that we
don’t know what that future will look like. Karl Fisch has made a video that makes this point very clear. All educators should take a look at this video.

http://mrichme.edublogs.org/

Knowledge is based on how well we can relate new information to prior experiences and information.  When we encounter new information it is about the connections we make and how we sync that information based on our knowledge.  The stronger the connections we have to those prior experiences and information the stronger the change the information will stick and turn into knowledge.

We’re three weeks into class and I’m loving the conversation that’s emerging. I have set all the students up with Skype so that once I return to China (Tuesday) they can still contact me if they need help. For most it was their first experience with Skype and blogs. The wiki we’re using for the class seems to be coming together as the students continue to view, add comments and use it as a launching point into this new learning environment.

Tonight we also launched our collaborative project with Dean Shareski’s undergrads. We used Elluminate and hopefully in the next couple of weeks our students will create some wiki projects that will exposed them to the process of creating collaborative web projects. My hope is that they will learn the process from the student’s view so that when they return to their classrooms later this year they will understand how and what students will see and feel on their end…..it should be interesting.

Once I hit China on Wednesday of next week I should be back online in my usual 12-14 hours a day fashion. Until then it’s family and the class getting my attention.

[tags]psu[/tags]

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I’ve been back from NECC for a couple of days and back into the Mariners having gone to their last two games of the home stand the last couple of days.

Plymouth State UniversityI’ve been taking it easy this week before my graduate course starts next week for Plymouth State University. It’s my first time teaching a graduate level course and I’m a little nerves. It’s great to have a network though as I found out that Dean Shareski is teaching a course for the first time this summer as well, so we’ve been doing some planning and trying to come up with a way for our two classes to collaborate on a project. Dean’s class is an undergraduate course and we thought it would be great to get these soon-to-be-teachers collaborating with experienced teachers from my graduate course. We’re using a Google Doc to create the assessment which should be fun. Our goal is to show our students the collaborative nature of this new web, by creating a collaborate project. Of course Dean and I are collaborating setting it up, but it seems natural, to me at least, to be doing such a project and that’s what I hope my students learn. That collaborating over long distances is easy once you know the tools exist and what each of the tools do.

The main assessment for the students will be a minimum 20 entry blog that they will set up the first week and continue to post on through out the course. Instead of a term paper or something along those lines I wanted them to A) Show them the power of these new tools and B) Give them something that is more than a term paper that gets stored in a filing cabinet. This “Paper” will be open, searchable, and accessible by them for years to come (that’s my thought anyway).

So I’ve been working on that, and relaxing (that’s what you are suppose to do on vacation right?).

I did order a Samson CO3U Microphone that I’m excited to use for this class as I record podcasts to introduce students to each week’s assignments. I’m using two text for the course. Will Richardson’s Blog, Wikis, Podcasts…  and George Siemens’ Knowing Knowledge. Two great books that I think speak to both the theory behind these tools and the practical use of them in the classroom.

As soon as the students have their blogs set up I’ll be sure to post them here just in case you want to follow along and help them understand the power of this new web. 🙂

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