July 23rd, 2011

#ISTE11 and Emerging #EdTech

Before I write up an entry reflecting on the past two weeks as a counselor/director for a middle school theater camp (our performances of Guys & Dolls were successful! Thanks for sending over good vibes!), I wanted to pop this video up on my blog.

Last month I attended the annual conference for ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education. During one of my breaks between sessions, I was approached by Eric Stoller and Jen Wiggins, and they asked if I’d answer a few questions. I happily obliged and fell into a great conversation where Eric asked me about my views on technology in education — what it is, what it means to me, and where I think it’s going. (What’s funny is that I mentioned in my interview that I thought Facebook was on its way out and that something new had to be in the works and about a week later, Google+ was launched… we’ll see what happens!)

I was so excited to see Eric’s tweet this morning with a link to the final product. I was interviewed along with some of my fellow conference attendees, and their words are enlightening and inspiring to me, as a future educator. 

It’s always a bit uncomfortable for me when I attend conferences or participate in twitter’s weekly #edchats. As an undergraduate, I’m never quite sure what to hold on to… what applies to me and what doesn’t, or how I can make meaning of the brilliance that I’m lucky enough to interact with. I only hope that conferences like #ISTE11 will make more room for undergraduates and acknowledge our place in the pre-working world!

Keep questioning,
Sara 

June 30th, 2011
Tumblr teachers! Hey, tumblr teachers! Have you heard of Storify?
If not, you should click through the above photo to @HeidiEllis' story about the #ISTE11 kickoff the other day in Philadelphia. Storify is a tool that creates stories using social media. What a neat way to synthesize the information you read every day on the internet.
Great for current events, conference recaps, and social research!
Keep questioning,Sara 

Tumblr teachers! Hey, tumblr teachers! Have you heard of Storify?

If not, you should click through the above photo to @HeidiEllis' story about the #ISTE11 kickoff the other day in Philadelphia. Storify is a tool that creates stories using social media. What a neat way to synthesize the information you read every day on the internet.

Great for current events, conference recaps, and social research!

Keep questioning,
Sara 

June 27th, 2011
Where do I begin? What a whirlwind the past 24 hours has been! The photo above is of Dr. John Medina, developmental molecular biologist, and author of Brain Rules. Dr. Medina was the keynote speaker last night, and he addressed the impact neuroscience has on how we teach. His presentation was funny and engaging, and a great way to kickoff an inspiring conference!
I caught the train bright & early this morning (hellooooo, 5:45AM!) to set up for my 8-10AM poster session: Teaching STEM With Google Earth: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Geospatial Technology at the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s Broad Street Atrium. Around 7:45, with barely enough time to brush some make-up over my sleep-deprived eyes, people began trickling into the atrium, and I just dove right in to the pool of questions from fellow attendees.
After interacting with a few people, I realized what my messages to the ISTE community were:
Google Earth is an amazing and vast resource for teachers to breach boundaries into multidisciplinary education.
Providing an interactive platform for Earth science-based literature allows for students to put what they’ve learned in a real world context, and engage with the content, making it easier to swallow than a static, 200-page book.
Creating your own content in Google Earth is EASY! Your students can do it! Give them ownership of the content. It makes it more meaningful to them.
I was so excited to share these messages and was literally talking non-stop for two hours. It was thrilling to be extending my activities to the ISTE participants as gifts for them and their classrooms. I had a few special interactions, too, that will definitely stick in my brain. I was invited to potentially speak at a conference/panel discussion next spring, talked to a bunch of educators who, I could tell, were inspired by the platform that is Google Earth, and I was interviewed for a video, too! 
I’ve been having so much fun, and I am completely exhausted from all of the exciting & stimulating brain food I’ve been munching on!
Also… this conference has provided me with the COOLEST name tag I’ve ever received:

I mean, right?!
Keep questioning,Sara 

Where do I begin? What a whirlwind the past 24 hours has been! The photo above is of Dr. John Medina, developmental molecular biologist, and author of Brain Rules. Dr. Medina was the keynote speaker last night, and he addressed the impact neuroscience has on how we teach. His presentation was funny and engaging, and a great way to kickoff an inspiring conference!

I caught the train bright & early this morning (hellooooo, 5:45AM!) to set up for my 8-10AM poster session: Teaching STEM With Google Earth: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Geospatial Technology at the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s Broad Street Atrium. Around 7:45, with barely enough time to brush some make-up over my sleep-deprived eyes, people began trickling into the atrium, and I just dove right in to the pool of questions from fellow attendees.

After interacting with a few people, I realized what my messages to the ISTE community were:

  1. Google Earth is an amazing and vast resource for teachers to breach boundaries into multidisciplinary education.
  2. Providing an interactive platform for Earth science-based literature allows for students to put what they’ve learned in a real world context, and engage with the content, making it easier to swallow than a static, 200-page book.
  3. Creating your own content in Google Earth is EASY! Your students can do it! Give them ownership of the content. It makes it more meaningful to them.

I was so excited to share these messages and was literally talking non-stop for two hours. It was thrilling to be extending my activities to the ISTE participants as gifts for them and their classrooms. I had a few special interactions, too, that will definitely stick in my brain. I was invited to potentially speak at a conference/panel discussion next spring, talked to a bunch of educators who, I could tell, were inspired by the platform that is Google Earth, and I was interviewed for a video, too! 

I’ve been having so much fun, and I am completely exhausted from all of the exciting & stimulating brain food I’ve been munching on!

Also… this conference has provided me with the COOLEST name tag I’ve ever received:

I mean, right?!

Keep questioning,
Sara 

world-shaker:

What happens every 60 seconds in the tech world.

I’m completely in love with infographics. On the train home yesterday, I skimmed the #ISTE11 conference program and noticed a couple of sessions/papers/posters on infographics! Will definitely have to check those out.
Keep questioning,Sara 

world-shaker:

What happens every 60 seconds in the tech world.

I’m completely in love with infographics. On the train home yesterday, I skimmed the #ISTE11 conference program and noticed a couple of sessions/papers/posters on infographics! Will definitely have to check those out.

Keep questioning,
Sara 

(via world-shaker-deactivated2013092)

June 26th, 2011

Update #1 from ISTE 2011

So far, I’ve been completely overloaded with information, inspiration, and motivation, and I’m only in the midst of hour 2 of the annual ISTE (International Society for Technology Educators) conference here in Philly.

Although I’m still a bit shy and haven’t made any meaningful connections yet, I’ve seen some of the twitter #edchat PLN superstars that made me fall in love with using social media for educational purposes. I’ve heard some inspiring stories from fellow educators during the kickoff presentation (with the coolest music video ever featuring @BroadStreetLine and a class of 4th graders!), and I’m ready to start networking… have to just dive in, I guess! I think Tuesday night’s bowling & karaoke with the ISTE Young Educators’ Network is going to be EXTREMELY helpful with that.

Keep questioning!
Sara 

June 25th, 2011

buzziebeeteacher:

Well, it is just two days till ISTE. Actually, I leave tomorrow so maybe I should say only one day. I have never been to an ISTE conference before so I am rather overwhelmed with the idea of being with 7,000 other attendees trying to find the conference rooms in a mass of moving bodies. We have about a 6 block walk to the Convention Center from the hotel so that part should be good. Can’t wait to get in a big city again. There is something magical about visiting one after being stuck in rural America for several years.

There are to be some big heavy-hitters at this conference. People on Twitter and Facebook whose tweets and blogs I have followed over the last year will all be there. Wondering if I will recognize any of them. Names escape me but their faces are stuck in mind. I know Kathy Schrock will be there but her face I don’t know very well. Just have to wait and see how this plays out. Either way it will be a good time because I will be immersed in technology, which always brings confusion at the end of the week. Too much information causes brain overload.

I can’t believe it’s already here! I, too, am really excited to see people I’ve been following on twitter (@mbteach @aleaness @ksivick @hadleyjf @tomwhitby @web20classroom, and lots more)!

I started a twitter account for the Earth & Space QUEST a little over a year ago, in the hopes of bringing my educational activities to as many people as possible. With a little rummaging around, I found a tight-knit community in a group of Philadelphia-based teachers. Some of the aforementioned tweeters/teachers were organizing #edcampphilly, an unconference for local educators. Although I didn’t end up going, I had fallen in love with the idea of an online PLN, or personal learning network.

I’ve been socializing online since the internet made it big in the 6th grade. Connecting with people through the internet was nothing new to me, but this world of educators — global educators — was something fascinating. It was a group of people who had discovered a meaningful, personal use for the internet and social media. Not only was I interested in learning more from these established, knowledgeable educators, but I was intrigued by the dynamic role social media played in their lives.

I reached out to one of the educators I met, and hoped to help her with some of the educational technology she was using for geography-based lessons in her classroom. I was so excited to make a tangible connection to an intelligent person I’d met online! Shamefully, I let our plans fall through. I hope to see her at ISTE and bring up the possibility of working together again.

I’m so excited for ISTE! I get completely, overwhelmingly inspired when I attend conferences. Out of all the conferences I’ve been to, ISTE (read more about it here, for those who aren’t familiar!) is the most relevant to my interests.

Shameless promotion!: I’ll be presenting during Monday morning’s poster session from 8-10AM on the multidisciplinary uses of Google Earth in the classroom.

I know I asked this before, but who’s going?! Let me know!!

Keep questioning,
Sara

June 10th, 2011
“Stack of thinly sliced trees" by bionicteaching @ flickr’s creative commons
One of my summer goals is to better organize the content on my computer (and I should probably back it up, too… right? Eek!). Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be posting relevant essays I’ve written over the course of my (almost-finished) college career. First up? An essay on learning styles & educational technology for my EDTEC440 course via Penn State’s World Campus, Spring 2011:
Learning Styles & Educational TechnologySara Neville, March 2011

As more research is done on the science of education, educators are becoming acutely aware of the growing number of different learning styles. Instructors are now accustomed to differentiating class material for the range of learning styles in their classrooms. As technology advances at such a rapid rate, there are more tools for teachers to use for differentiation. Roschelle et al (2001), highlight some of the most effective pedagogies for teaching today’s students, including active student engagement, group participation, frequent interaction and feedback, and real-world connections (p. 5). In order to cater to the different learning styles of every student, instructors must effectively utilize every tool they can to help their students gain a deeper understanding of important concepts. A variety of educational technologies have proven to be effective in such endeavors.
As tools are evolving over time, so too are the instructional methods used to integrate them in the classroom. Teaching used to be purely instructional — tutorials that were mostly lecture-based. Now, educators implement inquiry-based, skills-based, technology-enhanced, individual and group learning in addition to relying on lectures (Donovan, Bransford, & Pellegrino, 1999, p. 18). Emphasis on hands-on, student-centered learning has increased, and teachers are finding ways to incorporate technology into these new pedagogies. A variety of tools have been developed to encourage deeper understanding, but, inevitably, not all of them are effective. According to Roschelle et al (2001), computer programs that attempt to make learning “fun” are not as effective as programs such as computer-based math tutoring that encourages reasoning skills (p. 4). Students learn better when they focus on the “how” instead of the “what” (Roschelle et al, 2001, p. 14). Rote memorization of math formulas and repetitive mathematic practice is not as effective as providing students with a reason to learn. Why do the formulas matter? How do they make sense? How do they work? When a student focuses on the “how” instead of the “what,” they develop a deeper understanding of the material, which leads to better performance. This is a widely studied pedagogy that not only applies to educational technology but all areas of education, from preschool through adult life.
Part of a student’s deeper understanding develops from active engagement. “Students learn best by actively ‘constructing’ knowledge from a combination of experience, interpretation and structured interactions with peers and teachers” (Roschelle et al, 2001, p. 6). When students passively engage in learning by either listening to lectures or practicing rote memorization, they are absorbing information that will inevitably be lost. When they actively engage in discussions with their peers or applying knowledge to real-life situations, understanding is reached, as opposed to piecing together facts and formulas with no real context. Students frequently piece together information they’ve memorized and they may form misconceptions about important concepts. Instructors must be aware of their students’ misconceptions, as they can often make subject mastery a difficult task for both the teacher and the student, especially if the teacher does not have a deep understanding of the subject material themselves (Donovan, Bransford, & Pellegrino, 1999, p. 16).
Active engagement is one of the pedagogies Roschelle et al (2001) highlight as most effective to enhance learning (p. 5). By practicing active engagement, instructors will be easily led to practice other effective methods of teaching, including group work, using real-life experiences, and providing opportunity for frequent interaction and feedback. Engaging frequently with students by using real-world examples also promotes another common pedagogy: inquiry-based learning. “Before a teacher can develop powerful pedagogical tools, he or she must be familiar with the process of inquiry” (Donovan, Bransford, & Pellegrino, 1999, p. 16). Studies have proven that teachers who  work with students’ preconceptions, teach subject matter in depth, and teach internal inquiry skills have enhanced student achievement (Donovan, Bransford, & Pellegrino, p. 17).
Instructors must utilize these pedagogies on an everyday basis before they approach educational technology. Technology is only effective if it is used correctly. Roschelle et al (2001) give three reasons for technology’s mixed effectiveness results: varying hardware and software among schools, how closely educational technology is intertwined with reform in curriculum, assessment, and professional development, and the “rigorously structured longitudinal studies that document the isolated effects of technology,” which are expensive and difficult to implement (p. 4). As educational reform moves toward the pedagogies above, more instructors will be able to gauge the importance of educational technologies in relation to the vast number of learning styles in a given classroom.
My personal learning style is a mix of several styles. Donovan, Bransford, & Pellegrino (1999) outline five major ways in which people learn including lecture-based, skills-based, inquiry-based, individual vs. group learning, and technology-enhanced (p. 18). Each of these teaching styles is supported by various learning activities including writing, listening, self-study, drill and practice, models, simulations, case studies, projects, and communication. Depending on the subject, I learn in a different way. For math, I do well with listening to lectures, taking copious notes, and enhancing learning by drilling myself with practice problems. For science, I do best with visuals (often using technology), cooperative learning, and various inquiry-based activities that help me better understand the real-world implications of specific topics. I’m currently taking an Earth science class at Penn State Brandywine, EARTH111, called Water: Science and Society, and it is heavily focused on group discussion and case studies. In the first four weeks of the semester, I’ve learned an immense amount about the global water crisis. I felt comfortable enough to ask about certain misconceptions I realized I had, and was able to re-route these misconceptions to better understand what was going on in some of the specific case studies we looked at. By participating in mock debates and other group activities, I was able to see other students’ points of view on the mining vs. salmon battle in Bristol Bay, Alaska, and the water privatization crisis in Cochabamba, Bolivia. We also took a geography quiz on the first day of class to test our knowledge of the places we’d be studying this semester. Through a Google Earth tour, the class was able to see where Lesotho and Bolivia were if they did not know. On one of the many snow days we’ve already had this semester, our professor had us write a personal reflection on a ninety-minute documentary on Amazon.com on the water crisis. All of these teaching methods have made me more knowledgeable about the topic at hand.
According to Roschelle et al (2001) “Computer-based technology is only one element in what must be a coordinated approach to improving curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, teacher development, and other aspects of school structure (p. 3). I fully support the statement. It is only when a teacher embraces various learning styles and well-studied pedagogies such as inquiry-based learning, active engagement, real-world application, and group learning, that educational technology can be effectively used in the classroom.
References
Donovan, M.S., Bransford, J.D., & Pellegrino, J.W. (1999). How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
Roschelle, J., Pea, R., Hoadley, C., Gordin, D., Means, B. (2001) Changing How and What Children Learn in School with Computer-Based Technologies. The Future of Children,  10(2). Los Altos, CA: Packard Foundation. 76-101.

This past semester was full of really great classes. I loved doing more research on educational technology, which I did for my EDTEC class as well as my thesis prep class, and the water course was amazing.
Keep questioning,Sara 

Stack of thinly sliced trees" by bionicteaching @ flickr’s creative commons

One of my summer goals is to better organize the content on my computer (and I should probably back it up, too… right? Eek!). Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be posting relevant essays I’ve written over the course of my (almost-finished) college career. First up? An essay on learning styles & educational technology for my EDTEC440 course via Penn State’s World Campus, Spring 2011:

Learning Styles & Educational Technology
Sara Neville, March 2011

As more research is done on the science of education, educators are becoming acutely aware of the growing number of different learning styles. Instructors are now accustomed to differentiating class material for the range of learning styles in their classrooms. As technology advances at such a rapid rate, there are more tools for teachers to use for differentiation. Roschelle et al (2001), highlight some of the most effective pedagogies for teaching today’s students, including active student engagement, group participation, frequent interaction and feedback, and real-world connections (p. 5). In order to cater to the different learning styles of every student, instructors must effectively utilize every tool they can to help their students gain a deeper understanding of important concepts. A variety of educational technologies have proven to be effective in such endeavors.

As tools are evolving over time, so too are the instructional methods used to integrate them in the classroom. Teaching used to be purely instructional — tutorials that were mostly lecture-based. Now, educators implement inquiry-based, skills-based, technology-enhanced, individual and group learning in addition to relying on lectures (Donovan, Bransford, & Pellegrino, 1999, p. 18). Emphasis on hands-on, student-centered learning has increased, and teachers are finding ways to incorporate technology into these new pedagogies. A variety of tools have been developed to encourage deeper understanding, but, inevitably, not all of them are effective. According to Roschelle et al (2001), computer programs that attempt to make learning “fun” are not as effective as programs such as computer-based math tutoring that encourages reasoning skills (p. 4). Students learn better when they focus on the “how” instead of the “what” (Roschelle et al, 2001, p. 14). Rote memorization of math formulas and repetitive mathematic practice is not as effective as providing students with a reason to learn. Why do the formulas matter? How do they make sense? How do they work? When a student focuses on the “how” instead of the “what,” they develop a deeper understanding of the material, which leads to better performance. This is a widely studied pedagogy that not only applies to educational technology but all areas of education, from preschool through adult life.

Part of a student’s deeper understanding develops from active engagement. “Students learn best by actively ‘constructing’ knowledge from a combination of experience, interpretation and structured interactions with peers and teachers” (Roschelle et al, 2001, p. 6). When students passively engage in learning by either listening to lectures or practicing rote memorization, they are absorbing information that will inevitably be lost. When they actively engage in discussions with their peers or applying knowledge to real-life situations, understanding is reached, as opposed to piecing together facts and formulas with no real context. Students frequently piece together information they’ve memorized and they may form misconceptions about important concepts. Instructors must be aware of their students’ misconceptions, as they can often make subject mastery a difficult task for both the teacher and the student, especially if the teacher does not have a deep understanding of the subject material themselves (Donovan, Bransford, & Pellegrino, 1999, p. 16).

Active engagement is one of the pedagogies Roschelle et al (2001) highlight as most effective to enhance learning (p. 5). By practicing active engagement, instructors will be easily led to practice other effective methods of teaching, including group work, using real-life experiences, and providing opportunity for frequent interaction and feedback. Engaging frequently with students by using real-world examples also promotes another common pedagogy: inquiry-based learning. “Before a teacher can develop powerful pedagogical tools, he or she must be familiar with the process of inquiry” (Donovan, Bransford, & Pellegrino, 1999, p. 16). Studies have proven that teachers who  work with students’ preconceptions, teach subject matter in depth, and teach internal inquiry skills have enhanced student achievement (Donovan, Bransford, & Pellegrino, p. 17).

Instructors must utilize these pedagogies on an everyday basis before they approach educational technology. Technology is only effective if it is used correctly. Roschelle et al (2001) give three reasons for technology’s mixed effectiveness results: varying hardware and software among schools, how closely educational technology is intertwined with reform in curriculum, assessment, and professional development, and the “rigorously structured longitudinal studies that document the isolated effects of technology,” which are expensive and difficult to implement (p. 4). As educational reform moves toward the pedagogies above, more instructors will be able to gauge the importance of educational technologies in relation to the vast number of learning styles in a given classroom.

My personal learning style is a mix of several styles. Donovan, Bransford, & Pellegrino (1999) outline five major ways in which people learn including lecture-based, skills-based, inquiry-based, individual vs. group learning, and technology-enhanced (p. 18). Each of these teaching styles is supported by various learning activities including writing, listening, self-study, drill and practice, models, simulations, case studies, projects, and communication. Depending on the subject, I learn in a different way. For math, I do well with listening to lectures, taking copious notes, and enhancing learning by drilling myself with practice problems. For science, I do best with visuals (often using technology), cooperative learning, and various inquiry-based activities that help me better understand the real-world implications of specific topics. I’m currently taking an Earth science class at Penn State Brandywine, EARTH111, called Water: Science and Society, and it is heavily focused on group discussion and case studies. In the first four weeks of the semester, I’ve learned an immense amount about the global water crisis. I felt comfortable enough to ask about certain misconceptions I realized I had, and was able to re-route these misconceptions to better understand what was going on in some of the specific case studies we looked at. By participating in mock debates and other group activities, I was able to see other students’ points of view on the mining vs. salmon battle in Bristol Bay, Alaska, and the water privatization crisis in Cochabamba, Bolivia. We also took a geography quiz on the first day of class to test our knowledge of the places we’d be studying this semester. Through a Google Earth tour, the class was able to see where Lesotho and Bolivia were if they did not know. On one of the many snow days we’ve already had this semester, our professor had us write a personal reflection on a ninety-minute documentary on Amazon.com on the water crisis. All of these teaching methods have made me more knowledgeable about the topic at hand.

According to Roschelle et al (2001) “Computer-based technology is only one element in what must be a coordinated approach to improving curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, teacher development, and other aspects of school structure (p. 3). I fully support the statement. It is only when a teacher embraces various learning styles and well-studied pedagogies such as inquiry-based learning, active engagement, real-world application, and group learning, that educational technology can be effectively used in the classroom.

References

Donovan, M.S., Bransford, J.D., & Pellegrino, J.W. (1999). How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Roschelle, J., Pea, R., Hoadley, C., Gordin, D., Means, B. (2001) Changing How and What Children Learn in School with Computer-Based Technologies. The Future of Children,  10(2). Los Altos, CA: Packard Foundation. 76-101.

This past semester was full of really great classes. I loved doing more research on educational technology, which I did for my EDTEC class as well as my thesis prep class, and the water course was amazing.

Keep questioning,
Sara 

April 19th, 2011
abbeydufoe:

Skype is the leading social media outlet.. awesome!

I’ve heard so many great things about how Skype can be used in the classroom and I still don’t know how to use it.. eek! Better get on that!
Keep questioning,Sara 
P.S. Can’t believe myspace is still above twitter & linkedin!

abbeydufoe:

Skype is the leading social media outlet.. awesome!

I’ve heard so many great things about how Skype can be used in the classroom and I still don’t know how to use it.. eek! Better get on that!

Keep questioning,
Sara 

P.S. Can’t believe myspace is still above twitter & linkedin!

March 29th, 2011

Just an update

girlwithalessonplan:

world-shaker:

I wanted to share with everyone that I’ve accepted a full time position as an Associate Educational Technology Designer at Kent State University, and will start on April 18th. This is an incredible professional opportunity for me, and will help me be an even more valuable resource for all of you.

Proud Tumblr Hugs!

MORE TUMBLR HUGS!!

March 21st, 2011

toseealambatschool:

1. The Great Wall of China Virtual Tour

A 360 degree your of parts of the wall. You can advance on the wall as if walking.

2. Ellis Island Interactive Tour

Explore different rooms in the main building at Ellis Island and view original photographs, listen to audio,…

This is a pretty neat list. Yesterday, one of the talks at GSA #NENC11 focused on how we can effectively change the way we look at science education. Components of this change include:

  • an attitude adjustment toward the sciences
  • especially Earth science
  • & especially for girls!
  • more hands-on experiences, and more time in the field

How can these problems be alleviated when an instructor only has his/her students for 50 minutes a day? Virtual field trips were briefly discussed, but I wish we’d had more time to talk about the pros, cons, potential, and pedagogy that could enhance student experience in science classrooms.

Does anyone have any success stories, suggestions, criticism, ideas, anecdotes about using virtual field trips in the classroom? Let’s talk!

Keep questioning,
Sara

(via positivelypersistentteach)

March 10th, 2011
world-shaker:

Here’s a great write-up on a lesson using fake Facebook profile for literary figures (with a link to download the template yourself).
Quick note on the template: When you go to download it, select the option to download the original. Being public, anyone can edit it (so it’ll look terrible). The original is the clean, unaffected version.
via ilearntechnology.com

I’m thrilled this came up on my dashboard today! At the beginning of the semester, my Water: Science & Society class was told that we’d be creating case studies based on domestic and global water crises, and we’d be teaching one of the cases to the class. For my first case on malaria and hydropower in Africa (specifically, the Koka dam in Ethiopia), I utilized a GigaPan image to generate discussion and to use as a focal point. I hope to better develop the lesson and eventually put it up on the Earth & Space QUEST website (filed under the K-12 exercises tab).
For my second case study, I chose to study the N-aquifer and the Black Mesa mine in Arizona, and its effects on the local Hopi and Navajo population. I had seen this facebook template floating around the internet over the past few months and knew I wanted to use it in one of my future curricular endeavors… this case seemed like the perfect choice! 
I’ve done all the background research on the history of mining operations, the over-pumping of the aquifer for coal mining, the measures the tribes have taken to protect the waters that are so sacred to them, and the ruthless nature of Peabody energy, and now it’s time to play around with this template!
More to come… stay tuned :)
Oh, and keep questioning,Sara 

world-shaker:

Here’s a great write-up on a lesson using fake Facebook profile for literary figures (with a link to download the template yourself).

Quick note on the template: When you go to download it, select the option to download the original. Being public, anyone can edit it (so it’ll look terrible). The original is the clean, unaffected version.

via ilearntechnology.com

I’m thrilled this came up on my dashboard today! At the beginning of the semester, my Water: Science & Society class was told that we’d be creating case studies based on domestic and global water crises, and we’d be teaching one of the cases to the class. For my first case on malaria and hydropower in Africa (specifically, the Koka dam in Ethiopia), I utilized a GigaPan image to generate discussion and to use as a focal point. I hope to better develop the lesson and eventually put it up on the Earth & Space QUEST website (filed under the K-12 exercises tab).

For my second case study, I chose to study the N-aquifer and the Black Mesa mine in Arizona, and its effects on the local Hopi and Navajo population. I had seen this facebook template floating around the internet over the past few months and knew I wanted to use it in one of my future curricular endeavors… this case seemed like the perfect choice! 

I’ve done all the background research on the history of mining operations, the over-pumping of the aquifer for coal mining, the measures the tribes have taken to protect the waters that are so sacred to them, and the ruthless nature of Peabody energy, and now it’s time to play around with this template!

More to come… stay tuned :)

Oh, and keep questioning,
Sara 

(via world-shaker-deactivated2013092)

January 26th, 2011
If every teacher tomorrow or the next school day takes twenty minutes out of the day and says to every student ‘what are you passionate about?’ and writes it down and then thinks about it in the back of their mind how they can use that, education will be much improved overnight. The same goes for passions as for equipment. We cannot spend enough time asking our students what they have, what makes them tick, what they think of their learning and what they need help with.
How do you or does your school/district ask you students about what equipment they own and access they have to technology? (via gjmueller)

(Source: edu.blogs.com, via gjmueller)

January 20th, 2011

"I have found that incorporating and integrating technology into the curriculum promotes higher level thinking in my students.

The medium invites children to become more analytical about the fundamental elements of communication.

The medium helps them to become more cognizant of the idea of communication as well as to gain a more appreciative perspective about what needs to be included in written work for effective communication to take place.

Their work becomes more developed and complex as they construct a more articulated paradigm of the reader. The reader grows in importance when young authors’ work is showcased within the medium.

They become enthusiastic producing work that will be seen by others. They feel challenged, stimulated and deeply motivated to produce work that will be appreciated and understood.

The medium gently coaxes children to view their work through the eyes and minds of others and encourages them to internalize the need of their readers for clarity.”

- Margaret O’Connor (bold & italic emphasis added by me)

December 10th, 2010

Wrapping it up - EDTEC498A - Part II

In re-reading Chris Lehman’s post Evolution or Revolution… or something else, I’ve found a new way to look at the blog post. As I’ve learned more about educational technology, educational reform, and the struggle to engage students in learning, I think that the question of evolution vs. revolution is addressing two different things.

EVOLUTION: I think that educational technology is going to be an ever-evolving field of study. It is a piece of learning that has not yet been implemented in every classroom, though it serves as a great means of communication between teachers and students. I think technology has the opportunity to break communication barriers in the classroom — if used correctly: not for the sake of using it, but for enhancing existing lesson material.

REVOLUTION: I think revolution comes into play in terms of the education overhaul our country needs today. Lehman says,

  • "I worry that revolutions are often bloody. I worry that revolutionaries aren’t always the most reflective or humble types. I worry that the fervor of revolution doesn’t always lead to good things. And I worry that the rhetoric of revolution will lead us to ignore or devalue all the good work that has been — and continues to be done — in schools."

And I agree with him here. I agree that revolutions cause conflicts, they ruffle feathers, they overlook issues, they cause more issues, they make messes that often take too much to clean up. However, even though our fast-paced society is not necessarily the best way to go through life, I think innovation and recreation need to happen at a faster pace than the crawl of steady evolution. I think we must make those sacrifices or today’s students, who are waiting for evolution to change education, will be left in the dark without an education.

I just read an article in Newsweek by Michelle Rhee, a trailblazer in educational reform. She said that the generation of learners currently in school will be the first generation to be less educated than the one that came before. And so, she is causing a revolution. It started in Washington, and now she’s moved on by creating her own organization, StudentsFirst. From the little I know of her, Rhee does seem like the reflective and humble type. She’s made bold moves to enhance education, and yes, her choices led to disasters and heartbreak for some, but ultimately her work paid off and she increased the effectiveness and value of Washington D.C.’s education system.

Purposeful evolutionary change requires patience. Perhaps it’s a virtue that we simply don’t have or perhaps it requires educational sacrifices (like this generation of students) that we simply don’t want to make, which is what makes it more difficult than purposeful revolutionary change.

My thoughts are all over the place on this subject and I hope I’m being as articulate as I intend to be, but to sum up I think that educational technology and other burgeoning types of innovative learning tools are going to evolve and ultimately make schools a more effective place to learn. Until then, however, we do need an educational revolution.

Keep questioning,
Sara 

(photo via _sarchi, Flickr’s Creative Commons)
I have so much to catch you all up on, but with the semester’s impending end, I’ve been scrambling to get projects done in addition to keeping up with my part-time jobs. I want to share more about the GigaPan conference, my experiences in my research methods course, and my latest research project for introductory-level engineering design classes, but first I’m going to reflect on what this semester has done for me — specifically my research methods course and my educational technology course.
In HONOR301H: The Role of Knowledge in Society, our professor had us complete individual, semester-long research projects of our choosing. I paired up with her and another professor at the school to create a learning model to teach ethics in introductory-level engineering design classes using the case study approach. Today was our last class of this course, and we handed in our final papers today (30 pages… cross your fingers for me, eek!). Dr. G asked us to reflect on our experience with our projects, and here are my answers:
How did this research experience change my view of the discipline? The disciplines I researched were within the field of education: engineering design and curriculum development. I had very little knowledge of engineering design and, specifically, how it was related to ethics, and this project opened my eyes to the relevant issues in today’s world that require ethical decision-making. Curriculum development is the field I am more interested in, and I’m glad I got to expand my professional prowess by diving into developing curriculum for a subject I was unfamiliar with. My views of curriculum development expanded because of this project. I did my best to create a teachers’ guide that allowed for personalization, since every class and every instructor are so different! This exercise made me appreciate the detail that goes into creating lesson plans.
How did my education at PSU Brandywine prepare me to do this project properly? What helped me the most to complete this project successfully was my previous experience as an undergraduate researcher. I was familiar with the process, the details of publications and poster-making, and the dedication and self-discipline required. That paired with my professor’s timely and frequent deadlines (which broke up the project into smaller, more manageable pieces) helped me to pace myself accordingly on my individual journey to a finished product.
Why do I care about this work? What will the meaning of this work be to me in 5 years? 50 years? I want to go into educational technology and outreach, and the experience I”m gaining here at Brandywine will serve as a memorable first foray into the field. Educational technology is a burgeoning field of study, and many people view it as an amorphous or even trivial focus. To be able to identify this as a future career at this early stage of its development and at this early stage in my life is a blessing I’ll never forget.
How does this project fit into my evolving life story? Who was I when I came to Penn State and who am I now? My life has evolved so much in the short two years I’ve spent at Brandywine. I was an excited and easily discouraged 20 year-old who found an interest in math tutoring and decided to pursue a career in education. Little did I know how many jobs are in the field! I thought my only option was to become a teacher. With the research opportunities I’ve found here, I’ve discovered an evolving field of study that excites me and I can’t wait to get out into the world and do what I love!
Keep questioning,Sara 

(photo via _sarchi, Flickr’s Creative Commons)

I have so much to catch you all up on, but with the semester’s impending end, I’ve been scrambling to get projects done in addition to keeping up with my part-time jobs. I want to share more about the GigaPan conference, my experiences in my research methods course, and my latest research project for introductory-level engineering design classes, but first I’m going to reflect on what this semester has done for me — specifically my research methods course and my educational technology course.

In HONOR301H: The Role of Knowledge in Society, our professor had us complete individual, semester-long research projects of our choosing. I paired up with her and another professor at the school to create a learning model to teach ethics in introductory-level engineering design classes using the case study approach. Today was our last class of this course, and we handed in our final papers today (30 pages… cross your fingers for me, eek!). Dr. G asked us to reflect on our experience with our projects, and here are my answers:

How did this research experience change my view of the discipline? The disciplines I researched were within the field of education: engineering design and curriculum development. I had very little knowledge of engineering design and, specifically, how it was related to ethics, and this project opened my eyes to the relevant issues in today’s world that require ethical decision-making. Curriculum development is the field I am more interested in, and I’m glad I got to expand my professional prowess by diving into developing curriculum for a subject I was unfamiliar with. My views of curriculum development expanded because of this project. I did my best to create a teachers’ guide that allowed for personalization, since every class and every instructor are so different! This exercise made me appreciate the detail that goes into creating lesson plans.

How did my education at PSU Brandywine prepare me to do this project properly? What helped me the most to complete this project successfully was my previous experience as an undergraduate researcher. I was familiar with the process, the details of publications and poster-making, and the dedication and self-discipline required. That paired with my professor’s timely and frequent deadlines (which broke up the project into smaller, more manageable pieces) helped me to pace myself accordingly on my individual journey to a finished product.

Why do I care about this work? What will the meaning of this work be to me in 5 years? 50 years? I want to go into educational technology and outreach, and the experience I”m gaining here at Brandywine will serve as a memorable first foray into the field. Educational technology is a burgeoning field of study, and many people view it as an amorphous or even trivial focus. To be able to identify this as a future career at this early stage of its development and at this early stage in my life is a blessing I’ll never forget.

How does this project fit into my evolving life story? Who was I when I came to Penn State and who am I now? My life has evolved so much in the short two years I’ve spent at Brandywine. I was an excited and easily discouraged 20 year-old who found an interest in math tutoring and decided to pursue a career in education. Little did I know how many jobs are in the field! I thought my only option was to become a teacher. With the research opportunities I’ve found here, I’ve discovered an evolving field of study that excites me and I can’t wait to get out into the world and do what I love!

Keep questioning,
Sara