Monday, May 17, 2010

Well Now that that class is over...

I can really use this Blog for what i have wanted, Welcome to Positively 4th Street Bait & Tackle's Passaic River FishFinder Blog.

Monday, May 10, 2010

For Week 5, 21st Century Skills/ Creativity

Where do you stand - is it a Fad or is it the Key? Refer to the resources presented above and cite your reasons and arguments. There is no length to your Post but be clear about where you stand and support it.
I have gathered by reading both sides of this argument an understanding that such movements as 21st C skills have come and gone in the past. Ravitch, an opponent, shows as proof of 21CS's faddishness that movements such as this have come and gone in the past. She insists that these movements have lacked "
disciplinary knowledge that young people need to make sense of the world" but there is a flaw here. History texts my classes relied on as i grew up are worthless, fraught with errors, misinterpretations and outright lies. Fact fiends would have our students gather knowledge like money, but how are students supposed to use them. Ravitch says these programs "required activity, not docility, and awakened student motivation. " What is the problem with students that actively engage with their curriculum? The problem is that they think for themselves. They do not defer to management. They don't make good factory drones. They will always question authority, question fact, and question the given perception of reality. They make good leaders, models of independence and problem solving professionals. The problem is that there is only so much space for leaders. Another question might be how many teachers do anything but model unquestionable domination in their classrooms? How many of them are willing to hand over control of their classroom to the thinking patterns of their students?
Ravitch concludes her denunciation by saying "
The intelligent person, the one who truly is a practitioner of critical thinking, has the capacity to understand the lessons of history, to grasp the inner logic of science and mathematics, and to realize the meaning of philosophical debates by studying them." But what if all they are ever taught to do is accept information. What if the lessons of history are extracted from the text for the students to absorb like facts? Docile students of this Banking system of education take in information to save for the expense of the test to come. they are not taught the logic within science or math. They become workers, not managers. Followers, not leaders.

What do you think? Is there room for this in our schools. Think about your schooling. And more importantly, think about the state of our economy.

I think if we don't start moving in this direction the state of our economy and the current way schools are run will be the least of our problems. I think school is designed for efficency, stuffs every available minute with what the state deems to be important and so there is little to no space for creativity. If the other parts of our education need time, money or resources creativity is the first to be asked to give them up. None the less we must make room or make creativity a priority. Creative outlet was always considered an elective, an unnecessary extra curricular outlet that could have been filled with something better, more productive. As for our economy we just might be creative enough to come up with something better and actually put it into place. Its been imagined before but rarely attempted. Why should we be such slaves to digital numbers and green colored paper anyway? We have to really think about this. How are we supposed to make anything change by doing the same thing we always have. That is insane!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Upcoming Integrated Lesson Plan

My upcoming lesson plan will involve Hamlet. While the focus of the lesson will be the book itself on the first day of the lesson I will hand out the core assignment for the section.

This will be a series of YouTube Video of a group performing and assigned and pivotal scene from the book. A single account will be set up for the whole class and students will be handed digital cameras. Students cannot deviate from the words on the page and must be able to remember lines from shot to shot but beyond that anything goes. Creativity and playing with settings will be encouraged and rewarded.

As acts are taught individual students will be required to post on a class discussion board or blog about the act that has been read. The videos will be due before the last day of the section so that they may be reviewed for appropriateness.
On the last day of the section we will have a movie party in which the whole class sits and watches each others movies online with the projector in chronological order. Popcorn will be served.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ethical use of Technology

These reports of suicide attributed to sexting should be a definite sign that technology has proliferated beyond our ability to control it. It is equally the responsibility of the parents, the schools and the manufacturers of this technology to create a culture of responsible use. When students are taught to drive in schools for the first time there is always an adult beside them, guiding their every move towards a future as responsible drivers. Their parents model responsible use of an automobile such as they wish their children to follow. Manufacturers include in a manual with the automobile that gives instructions on how to properly maintain and conduce the vehicle such that you will not be a danger to yourself or others. Schools, while having been at the forefront of teaching students about new technologies in the past have(automobiles, computers), have failed to keep up with newer technologies. I fear that a blanketing concept like Digital Citizenship may not be enough. Beyond education related programs schools have held a standoffish attitude to newer technologies. Networking sites, texting, IMing are regarded as out of the classroom, and therefor out of school, activities. These should be added to the curriculum. these should be taught in a class room, not in a chat room. chat 101 could even have benefits beyond the curriculum, students may actually improve their spelling when they text each other. If students learn how to use camera phone from teachers versus peers, this too will effect how they view it, as a tool, not a toy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

For Week 7. Subject: TIM

The Technology Integration Matrix really changes my earlier opinion of a tech involved course. As a future teacher of English i didn't feel that a computer could be utilized in my classroom to the lengths demanded by say the state's Technology standards. Seeing a few of these examples helps me realize this would be a cross curriculum effort.

example: This example seems to model NETS for teachers standard 3.D. This means that a teacher in this lesson would be teaching students how to use digital tools to access and sort through information based on its relevance. It also incorporates 2A which means the teacher uses a lesson that uses digital tools and resources allow the students to learn.

As for my comfort level I would have to say i'm somewhere between adoption and adaptation. While I'm getting comfortable with technology i'm not so sure i want to be. The vast majority of us won't end up in a school with such a high level of computer integration. I wouldn't say I'm a throwback but my student will have to read a book, a physical bundle of papers with words printed in it. If i go to my old high school today i will probably see the same books my class read eight years ago. Unless i have students researching Lit Crit journal articles the rest of this seems rather far fetched.

Monday, March 8, 2010

For Week Four, playing catchup. Subject: Slidecasts

My Slidecast: I hope that's what it means to embed. This was a rather complex procedure for me. The software mentioned wasn't even the half of it but I'm not here to complain and I don't mean to. Once I tried to upload the MP3 it took 3-4 tried before it worked. I don't typically like powerpoint presentations. I've seen professors teach entire classes by powerpoint and put whole classes to sleep. I slept through half a Psych 101 class and still got a C+. For an online class though, it might not be such a bad option. Adding voice-over to it makes it a bit much. It isn't so much better than a downloadable powerpoint presentation or a podcast separately to justify the added complexity. I would rather just listen to a lecture and take my own notes. PP kind of gives it all away in a pre-packaged container. They can't learn note taking skills if notes are taken for them.

Friday, February 26, 2010

for week three, about Technology Standards

While I do appreciate recent changes to the course i will catch up to week 5 requirements.

The Technology standards for the state core curriculum seems excessive. However if one were to see every purpose of every lesson plan to effect a child throughout his lifetime lined up one after another it too would be overwhelming. When one realizes that these standards are built up over a 12 year period it is fine for the child. the problem lies in retrofitting these skills into an aging workforce or a new workforce that does not have the skills that the students are expected to acquire. If the proper steps are taken to make sure that the schools and teachers are capable of reaching the standards I don't see a problem with implementing them such that the students are capable of meeting these goals by the time of matriculation.