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Emerging Technologies

A technology that has emerged in the past few years is the digital textbook (Devaney, 2013) . Digital textbooks are an attractive technology to many people that are involved. Teachers like the idea because students would have exposure to the latest information. Both teachers and students also like the idea of the interactivity that could take place. Having interactive features could help students understand more complex or abstract topics. Students would enjoy not having to carry around several books and carry them all on their mobile device. However, digital textbooks have some obstacles as well.
The first is the cost (Fortenbury, 2012). Although digital textbooks can be cheaper than hardcover books, this cost can only be comparable to students, such as college students, who must buy a text books for their classes. If a student wants to borrow a book from a friend, they would not be able to do so due to licensing restraints. Also, this becomes a major disadvantage for k-12 students and administrators since these students often use district owned copies of books. Districts typically replace their textbooks every 4-6 years. With the addition of digital textbooks, districts would have to develop a way to lend or rent digital books to their students each semester or year.
The second obstacle is accessibility (Fortenbury, 2012) . Since students are more than likely supplying their own digital equipment, there will be different devices on which they could access the digital textbooks. From iPads and iPhones, Android devices, and ereaders all provide different ways for students to use digital textbooks. Schools would have to pick a specific platform for their books and students would be forced to comply.
The last obstacle is convenience (Fortenbury, 2012) . Although students would have the ability to access their schoolwork from anywhere, there is also a distraction factor. It would be harder for teachers to monitor whether or not students are engaged in their assignments or just playing Angry Birds.
Digital textbooks would be an ideal technology if they would be published on one specific format. Publishers also need to find a way to allow school districts and/or students to enjoy the features of digital textbooks while sharing the costs as we can so with traditional books.

Digital Textbooks

Resources:
Adoption Rates of New Styles of K-12 Teaching Retrieved from http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2012/11/6-hot-trends-educational-technology-infographic
Devaney, L. (2013). Schools confront digital textbook challenges. eSchool News. Retrieved from
http://www.eschoolnews.com/2013/02/17/schools-confront-digital-textbook-challenges/
Fortenbury, J.( 2012). Digital textbooks: Are they a solution or a distraction? Schools.com. Retrieved from http://www.schools.com/articles/digital-textbooks-solution-or-distraction.html

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5 Comments

Learning in a Digital World

As a person who has always said I am a traditional learner in the sense that I prefer lectures and reading assignments than discovering my own learning, online learning is a blessing and a curse at the same time. Learning in this environment allows me the comfort of reading at my own pace which is comfortable but it also can make me feel isolated in that fact that I do not always have someone to turn to ask questions or to see if my ideas make sense.  In a face to face environment, I am most uncomfortable as most activities involve working with other people often times people I do not know. This has a great deal to do with my upbringing. Speak when spoken to and do what you are told.

However, this is not the world that we live in anymore. We have to be comfortable with talking to different people often who are in a different country and has a different culture and students must be prepared for that. Collaboration is the key to success as it will take teams of people to solve the problems of today.

Teaching and learning must allow students to work with people who are diverse. Students must be willing to see that their solution can work to solve a problem as well as the solution of other people. Learning has evolved from its traditional meaning of memorizing things that have happened and has changed as applying what was old to the new world of today. The connectivist learning theory supports this. With students building networks of their own learning, they learn how to see where people can be reliable sources of information that is relative to them. These networks also give students opportunities to make their ideas known.

4 Comments

New Technologies

I teach in a title one school and many of our parents don’t have a computer or access to the internet at home. This poses a challenge as many resources for parents are online and the technology skills students at an increasingly younger age are expected to gain require a computer and/or the internet. After being trained on the blogging system my county has invested in, my task was to get as many teachers on board in blogging. The audience could be either students or parents. I was met with a lot of resistance. Our students couldn’t afford pencils let alone computers the teachers said. They also wondered when they would find the time to keep up with the blog. After some investigation, I found that the teachers didn’t understand what blogging was used for and how it could be beneficial. They immediately decided that this was pointless because they had no use for blogging and neither did their parents.
Using Keller’s ARCS model, describe how you could change the motivation of these people, or learners, to encourage success.
In order to change the way people felt about using blogs to share information I can use the ARCS model. I:

1. Must realize that teachers are afraid of what they don’t know and understand. Also point out that while parents may not have computers with internet access at home, many of them do have smartphones that access the internet.
2. By showing them blogs that are relevant to them, for example blogs that have teaching resources, teachers will start to see how blogs can give important information.
3. Have workshops where teachers first look at different teaching blogs directed at teachers and then look at blogs directed at parents and students.
4. Work with Grade levels to create blogs
K-2 blogs for parents
3-5 blogs for students.

Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.).Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

8 Comments

Connectivism

Since social networking has become popular, my social networks have increased dramatically. It used to be that the changes I made in my teaching were limited to professional development that my district provided or books that I would happen across in the bookstore. Now I am constantly learning new ideas that can be implemented in my classroom immediately. Admittedly it can be overwhelming, but tools such as Evernote help me to organize my new findings and makes things more manageable. Visual aids such as Pintrest and You Tube are especially helpful because it provides a way for me to see what an end result could look like which helps to clarify my thinking.

5 Comments

Collaboration

I think that people have a basic interest to solve their own problems but realize that they would be more efficient if they work with others. We are competitive by nature. I see this in my students when I give an assignment. The immediate reaction is covering up their work because they do not want to share their answers. I recently told them to walk around and look at other peoples work during a problem solving activity and they were very hesitant. I teach second grade, so I don’t think this is something that has been taught. People are very protective of their work.
In following the same premise, Wikipedia is a successful group effort because people recognize a need for an online encyclopedia that is current but realize that it cannot be done independently. They use the expertise of several different people to increase the knowledge that is shared across the world.
Collaboration is facilitated by technology in today’s world. Whereas technology today is internet based much of the time, it is beneficial in education because it can result in increased social time with people we would not connect with and it lends itself to real world problems and situations.
http://www.edutopia.org/inquiry-project-learning-research

Barron, B., Darling-Hammond, L., (2008). Powerful Learning: Studies Show Deep . Understanding Derives from Collaborative Methods. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/inquiry-project-learning-research on October 10, 2012

2 Comments

Explanations or Driving Forces?

While reading the discussion between Bill Kerr and Karl Kapp, it seemed to me that both authors have interesting contributions. I agree with both authors. Learning theories are not all encompassing. Theories are to be taken in pieces and applied when necessary. I see theories as being two fold. On one end, they explain how learning is taking place. But one the other end they also explain adaptations that must be taken as new demands are being asked of students. In any given classroom, depending on the goals of the teacher as well as the personality of the child, you could witness any learning theory. Furthermore, as we move into the future, theories will continue to evolve as work place demands change.

During the 1950s, when behaviorism was popular, the workforce needed people who could be predictable and dependable. Factory workers were expected to punch in on time and perform their tasks robotically. Today, workers are expected to reach out to people across the world. Thus connectivism is gaining ground. This recent theory helps us to understand what is happening but also helps instructors understand future expectations of their students.

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Blogs I commented on….

http://dorotheanelson.blogspot.com/2012/09/how-people-learn.html
http://kiserc.edublogs.org/2012/09/12/reading-reflection/