Do away with standarized testing!

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An exceptional point from Tom Whitby’s blog

“The biggest problem with technology is the pace at which it evolves. It moves faster than folks can catch up to it. Because of that, it becomes a burden on educators to learn what they need to know in order to teach skills in an environment close to what kids will be expected to live in. Many educators are running as fast as they can to catch up, but too many others are reluctant.”

Final Reflection Week 7

Looking west in the early AM from the Blue Water Hotel

I am really sorry the class is ending but look forward to continued learning in Todd and Thatcher’s ever-evolving PLN. Thanks guyz! I have really enjoyed so many of the tools learned from this class and want to quickly use them as often as I can so I don’t forget. Although the Jing sun peeking at me from my screen will be a constant reminder.

For Conor - Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy -

(No that isn’t really Jing following him around =D)

Below is a link to a screen capture using Jing (couldn’t figure out how to embed yet) of a course I designed using Eportfolio which is operated by Digication. This is a non-Moodle, non- Blackboard course.

Home page of an eportfolio course created in Digication

What I really like about it is that we can all comment on each week and be co-editors. So students can upload assignments, videos, pictures, etc. that they have discovered. Since we can all edit, this means that we can all delete. Eportfolio allows you to make a copy. Your permissions on the copy can be changed to be exclusive. That way a student can’t erase the course – which would be very easy to do!

All of the new tools available through this class will enhance student participation. What I am happy to see is that currently they are all free. Someday there might be a charge, but others will rise to offer their free services. Now I can SHOW my students how to open Audioboo or other programs, and they are relatively easy to install.

Again, as I have stated before, infusing learning with a sense of play will go a long way to overcome some of the frustrations of navigating the technology.

It seems to be getting easier…or is it just me (?) and all I have added to my knowledge base thanks to EDU255?

Reflection Week 6 – Personal Learning Networks

In week one of this blog I put a video of Sugata Mitra’s SOLE (Self Organized Learning Environment). Having tools like Youtube videos, Sound Cloud, Flickr, Twitter, and Skype – to name just a few –  opens up  the opportunity for students to create their own experiential learning, document it, and share it. (Like the example that Will Richardson in his video on PLNs uses of the Spanish Fashion Designer blogging with the student learning Spanish).

Addressing the different learning styles of students through a variety of assignment “showcases” can allow for even more inclusiveness. Many more students today want short online courses (but prefer face-to-face). This has been a constant challenge in the online field.

Traditional students in a classroom have been in the routine of listening, participating, testing. Online educators get into the rut of assigning reading, writing forums, and assessing (testing or otherwise), but it is often text dependent.

By giving students the tools to explore their subject content, share competencies with classmates and colleagues while having fun exploring what a tool can do has a bottom-up AND top-down effect. As I work through this course (bottom-up) and submit evidence of my ability to use a tool, I am thinking about how I will use these in my courses (top-down).

We are moving into a system of Higher Education that will be more competency based rather than tied to the Carnegie Unit. Students will have more opportunities to work at their own pace and detangle from sitting in their seats to learn!

Reflection Week 5

“Science and technology revolutionize our lives,
but memory, tradition and myth frame our response.”

Arthur Schlesinger Jr.    

(1888 – 1965)
American historian

   I really enjoyed both audioboo and sound cloud. I think that often times our syllabi for online classes can get very staid. In the education department where I work, students have 8 learning targets that they need to integrate into their course contract for mentored education courses. One of them is usually a power point presentation.

How does one critique a submitted power point? First, I want them to be able to delivery the presentation live – which implies that they shouldn’t overload each slide with information. I have been at presentations where I didn’t listen to the speaker as much as I wanted because I was reading. And what was on the projector wasn’t what they were saying.

So, I ask students to put their notes or “lecture” into the notes section of the presentation that they send me so I can check for learning.

But is learning happening? How do I know that they aren’t referencing other text?

By asking them to make an online recording i will be able to hear the depth of their research on a topic. Using Soundcloud I will be able to add my questions, compliments, concerns, add-ons, etc. once the student has sent it to me!

Challenges of Proximity