PQ and CQ

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For my last project, I decided to create a Prezi about my passion quotient and curiosity quotient.  Please enjoy my Prezi, follow the link below. 

http://prezi.com/rxbu0p2ig5fp/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

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Wicked Problem

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As a part of our CEP 812 class we were asked to identify a wicked problem and come up with a possible solution.  The problem Nathan Walker, Megan Walker, Melissa Smith and I chose was Failure as a learning mode.  This s a huge problem because in most schools students are graded based on their completion of assignments and test that are developed by individual teachers.  If a student fails a test, or does not understand a homework assignment their grade is negatively impacted.  For our solution my group decided that focusing on standards based grading and reporting would be a great option.  Instead of being graded on assignments that are not aligned to the CCSS, teachers are evaluating students’ knowledge of the standards they are teaching.  This does not mean a traditional test.  It may be a writing sample, a math equation, a presentation, or a simple group discussion.  If it looks as if the student does not understand the standard, they can continue to work on the standard until they have reached mastery.  I believe this is the teaching of the future.  Students have to learn that one way of doing something does not all work best for the whole.  Standards based grading does not put students into categories; it allows them to work at a pace that will help them truly grasp the information presented to them. 

 

Please check out what we have been working on.  Wicked Problem

Technology Integration in Communities of Practice

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This week we were asked to create a survey for our colleagues to see their feelings about technology integration.  I was pretty surprised at my results.  Once I analyzed the results I was able to see that the “social capital” (2004) of my school is probably the biggest issues dealing with technology integration.  Many of the teachers personal perceptions of their “own expertise” limit their capacity for integration in their classroom.  This fact is hard to digest, especially since our school has integrated Promethean boards, iPad carts, Apple TV and many other forms of technology in the school this year.  These technologies have afforded the teachers an amazing opportunity to expand their teaching and learning.

In order to gather the most complete and detailed information, I created a survey of three questions.  I decided to have the participants write extended response answers.  I believe this gave me a great look into the minds of my colleagues.  One major fear I had was how many of my colleagues would actually respond to the survey.  Our school is a priority school and we are sent survey upon survey to gather data for our school improvement plans.  Most teachers/staff despise taking surveys because they feel the data is never truly analyzed.  With this in mind, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many teachers/staff participated and how many actually wrote extended responses to my questions.

My first question was How do you currently use technology in your professional practice?.  I received 16 responses (some responses had multiple answers).  The top three responses were Elmo/projector, iPads and Computers.  This result did not surprise me at all.  As a staff we have had our ELMO’s and projectors for five years.  All teachers have one in their classroom.  This last summer we were all given a teacher iPad to use in our classrooms.  obviously we all have computers in our rooms.  I was somewhat disappointed that there were not more of my colleagues using the new amazing technology that we have at our finger tips.  I wonder if this is because our community of practice (1991) is one of distrust and apathy.

The next question I asked was How/in what ways would you like to change/improve your technology integration practices?.  Again I received 16 responses(some responses had multiple answers).  The top two responses were getting iPad carts in the classroom and Promethean boards in each classroom.  I knew these would be amongst the top responses because this is the greatest school when it comes to technology.  With the integration of all of this technology, our tech staff has been working incredibly hard to get everything out and running.  However, we are an old building and our infrastructure cannot handle all of this technology.  Teachers are eager to adopt these new technologies.  It is incredibly hard to know that the technology is in the building, but it is out of reach (for now).  I believe that by establishing a stronger community of practice, we could work together to resolve many of these issues.

The final question I asked was What type of technology-focused professional development would you find most useful?.  I received 16 responses(some responses had multiple answers). The top answer was Promethean board training.  Promethean boards are an amazing asset to the school.  There are a plethora of things you can do on this board.  However, without proper training it just becomes a whiteboard on steroids.  As a collective whole, we have only received two hours of Promethean training.  The rest of our knowledge is from trial and error and utilizing our fellow teachers.

This survey made me realize that a community of practice is of the utmost importance.  My colleagues are incredibly knowledgeable and willing to try new things.  However, from past experiences where their professionalism was underutilized, a sense of apathy has set in.  I believe that by refocusing our community and creating an environment of collaboration integration will go amazingly well.

References:

Frank, K.A., X=Zhao, Y., and Borman (2004).  “social Capital and the Diffusion of Innovations within Organizations:  Application to the Implementation of Computer Technology in Schools.”  Sociology of Education, 77:148-172.  Retrieved from: https://www.msu.edu/~kenfrank/papers/Social%20Capital%20and%20the%20Diffusion%20of%20Innovations%20within%20schools,%20accepted.pdf

Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University Press.

What’s in your InfoDiet?

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Photo by Will Lion Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

 

This week I looked at myself in a new light.  I looked at myself as an information junk food junkie.  It is quite sad that my time, outside of school, is filled with Facebook and Pinterest.  I do not spend my time reading the news, or looking for new educational ideas.  What has happened to me?  I realized that my info diet needed a major overhaul. 

Nicholas Carr states that information overload and out focus on multitasking has led to a “loss of deep creativity.”  Who am I to disagree?  I am guilty of trying to multitask every single day.  I also realize that my work is not at its best when I am multitasking.  Let’s be honest, when I’m multitasking, I’m usually reading, listening to Pandora and checking my Facebook from time to time.  I realize now that my “big thoughts (the ones that go against the grain)” have not been able to filter through all of the other junk I am feeding my brain every day.  With this in mind I decided to search for sources of information that take me to a place where I can revive my deep creativity. 

The first source I added to my Twitter feed was Edutopia (@edutopia).  This source gives teachers useable ideas that can be put into use immediately in the classroom.  I am incredibly guilty of wanting to create and invent my own activities for my classroom.  However, I have been told that good teachers work “smarter, not harder.”  I took this advice to heart when I was looking for sources.  Edutopia guides teachers with sources that will prepare students for accountability with common core standards.  Also, teachers can create new and interesting ideas that help to help students find their “deep creativity.”  I believe it is ever so important to raise generations of deep and critical thinkers. 

The next source I added was Common Core Ed Tech (@ccedtech).  This is an amazing site that uses the ELA Common Core State Standards and gives educators a wealth of resources that are aligned with the Common Core.  This year is my first year back in a core subject area.  The Common Core standards are new to me.  I struggle to find resources that will interest the students and also meet the CCSS.  This sources guides teachers to great resources like Animoto and Wordle, resources that help students with those ever important standards, but are also very interesting. 

The final source I added was the US Department of Education (@usedgov).  This source is what I consider to be the resource of all resources for teachers.  It contains a wealth of information about everything from Common Core Standards to other pieces of legislation that can affect teachers.  On top of this, the site also has a plethora of resources for classroom teachers.  I was truly amazed at the resources that the site had for ELA and social studies.  Again, I have a tendency to want to create my own materials for my classroom.  However, I am seeing more and more that site such as this will help me to become a better teacher and my students will become better learners. 

With all faith, I believe these sources will help me regain my “Big thoughts” and help my students have a productive life in and out of school. 

 

Carr, N. (2011). The Dark Side of Information Revolution. [Video File]. Retrieved from http://bcove.me/7j4zpzwz

Autism Spectrum Disorder

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As a mother of a child who has major developmental delays, I see a focus on autism spectrum disorders as something utterly important.  Many students in schools are on the spectrum.  In most cases, the needs of these students are not being met.  In this paper, I discuss the ways ASD can be addressed more appropriately in a school setting.

The app that I found to be incredibly useful is called AutismXpress.  This site gives students with autism a form of communication.

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I have also included a link to a list of terrific apps that can be used with the iPad.  Research is showing that the iPad is becoming a perfect tool to assist the student who is on the spectrum.

What limitations prevent us from solving big, complex problems smartly?

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As humans we have a natural sense of curiosity.  We are constantly trying to find ways to solve the complex problems that we face on a daily basis.  However with a lack of critical thinking and reasoning skills, and an influx of outside sources that creates a sense of confusion and entitlement, many complex problems are being put on the back burner.  This issue was addressed in great detail in the book The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students Through Digital Learning by James Paul Gee

In this paper, I will discuss how these issues, specifically how the influx of information creates more issues in critical thinking and problems solving. 

Problem of Practice

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This week we were asked to look at how we can use technology to address well-structured and ill-structured problems in our classrooms. Was very impressed with the lists of resources we were given to explore. I chose Prezi as my tool to address a well-structured problem. Prezi a great resource because it is accessible to all people for free at prezi.com.

 

http://www.screencast.com/users/waitokim/folders/Jing/media/5519546d-076c-4712-acc4-100c8f1d2967