Friday, July 20, 2018

Modifications and Redefinitions

Oh this should be simple... Looking at the later tiers of the SAMR model, the hard point to achieve will of course be modification and redefinition. So how do I implement it? Well, the process will of course be trial and error and hoping to implement them. But I think the important thing is to collaborate and be intentional when trying to implement a modification or redefinition. It won't come easy, but one thing I really want to focus on is a flipped classroom concept. While it isn't a true redefinition, I really want to make that my own. I am not sure how I will fully accomplish it yet, but I want to reach out with other colleagues and see how to make it work. I haven't been able to really wrap my head around it still, but it is something I want to be on the lookout for.

Embracing rather than condemning: is it possible to move away from bitterness towards tech?

The moments from Monday morning’s session that stood out profoundly for me all centered around a shift of mindset that the education world needs to have towards technology in the classroom. From interacting with parents to taking cell phones from students, the content that we covered all centers around the development in the technological world that has taken place in the past twenty years especially, and how in many cases the educational world has not acknowledged that. Personally, I felt convicted during this part of our session about how to address students use of technology, particularly their cell phone use. When working with teenagers in the past, I have always approached cell phone use with the “keep it out of sight” mentality. In my own life, I set clear boundaries with my technology use because I struggle to remain present if I am not doing that. Thus, I would categorize myself as being slightly resistant to technology. However, my high school students will largely not share that mindset. Monday morning, I walked away convicted about integrating cell phone use into my English and History classes, which admittedly will require me to learn more about how to do this. In my original classroom management plan, I stated that I would have students place their cellular device in labeled pockets that hang on the wall so that they will not be able to access them when class is going on. I want to alter that plan, instead allowing students to keep their device on their desk so that they can access it for research, feedback, and assessment, under an attitude of trust rather than mistrust from me as the instructor.

Wikipedia as a RELIABLE SOURCE?!

I admittedly love Wikipedia. I remember when the site launched, and I would access it as a source for small research projects as a fifth grader. Everything was there; the basic facts, pictures, historical facts, biographies… young mind was blown away by the convenience that it presented. I continued to use it throughout middle school without any push back from teachers, so when I got to high school and my history declared that it was “the most unreliable site for research”, I was greatly disheartened. But, like most of my peers, I continued to use it regardless of the warnings because of the convenience factor.

This habit continued through college. Even with fervent warnings from my history professors regarding source reliability, I would use Wikipedia for presentations and papers alike, using the cited sources at the end of the page to wiggle my way around siting Wikipedia, and instead the sources the author used to write it. I did so with guilt, but also a refusal to change my ways. When we began discussing Wikipedia on Monday afternoon, I feared that it would be another anti-Wikipedia crusade. I was happily surprised, and then proceeded to be blown away, by the tips and tricks for using Wikipedia as a research tool that students can utilize. I especially like the idea of using the creation of a Wikipedia page as a prompt for students to do historical research, and as writing practice. Additionally, I look forward to showing students how to check levels of reliability on a page, teaching them valuable lessons about academic honesty and how to pick good sourcing. I am thankful that Wikipedia can actually be redeemed in the academic world!

Down with the textbook

If you go off of what we discussed in class, a textbook's contents would be theoretically insignificant by the time the school received them from the printer.

In the age of free and nearly limitless knowledge, districts spending money on textbooks for subjects like social studies and science is a nauseating waste.

Districts should be utilizing 1:1 programs for the cost of ipads and computers and  suddenly accurate, constantly updated information is always at their fingertips.

Replacing textbooks with technology also opens the door for phenomenon teaching which allows students to explore critical thinking, problem solving and moves them away from relying on essentially yes or no answers.

If districts move towards even digital textbooks, students can easily question and "fact-check" the information in their texts and lesson plans can be created for students to be critical thinkers about the information they digest and thus turn them into researchers.

World Wide Listening

One way I would implement Redefinition in my choir classroom is by connecting with choirs around the world and performing for each other. In the ideal choir classroom, there would be plenty of opportunities for listening to other groups perform. Its possible using YouTube, but you miss the human connection, facial expression, and opportunity for discussion afterwards.  By using Google Hangout, you get the opportunity to connect with other choir students and talk to them about what their choir experience is like, and share their favorite pieces with each other. With this connection made, students' learning and music is no longer limited to our rehearsal space and their concerts. They get an opportunity to listen to music from a wide variety of cultures and religions, as well as making world wide connections with students who have similar interests!

                                           Image result for international singing choirs

Diversity influences and encourages perspective

For most children, their entire world is just one block wide.
From home, they get driven to school and maybe occasionally the supermarket or to grandma's house.
The internet is a great tool for kids to expand their horizons and learn about the world around them, unfortunately if parents don't know how to do this it won't happen.
In class, we discussed the significance of connectivism and how we are at this incredible crossroads where anyone from any background can collaborate with anyone else from any other background.

Being global citizens is vital in this day and age and in order to encourage critical thinking and encourage true problem-solving, students need to see different inequities and different ways of living and problem solving that others utilize.

A great example of the mix of technology and connectivism was at the school that I was an interventionist at last year.

Our students were very unmotivated as a whole and a lot of kids were making excuses to not come to school and were asking a lot of, "what's the point of school?"

Our principal pulled us all in the gym and set up several projectors and played videos of what students in other countries did JUST to get to school. The students were so in awe and then the principal asked students what she could do to make their learning experience better.

They said things like, "STEAM Day" and using the iPADs more?