Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Global Education

Global Education is HERE!!

We have the tools to communicate with our neighbors who live down the street, across the state, across the nation and around the world. We live in the digital world where the world is "flattening."  
Until the end of the semester, you will be involved in the Flat Classroom Project as advisors and judges.  This is a program that is based on the work of Thomas Friedman.  It is described in his "The World is Flat" book.

Watch Friedman's Lecture: To get the necessary background, you could read his 400-page book (and you really should do that over Winter Vacation), but you can get the idea by watching Thomas Friedman's 75-minute lecture at MIT on "The World is Flat."   Pay attention to what he says about the Flatteners and how they have changed the world.  These flatteners are the basis of the Flat Classroom Project.

The Flat Classroom Project was originated by Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay. They are high school business teacher.  Vicki teaches in Camilla, Georgia, USA and Julie Lindsay teaches at an international school in Bejing, China.  The story is an interesting one.  Please read their article call the Flat Classroom in Learning and Leading Through Technology.  Yes, this is a 2007 article and things have changed a good deal since then, but it shows the premise for the program.

Flat Classroom Conferences
Every 2 years, the FCP group likes to get together to talk and share their FCP experiences. This is an opportunity for teachers and students from around the world to meet and learn from each other.

The first conference was based upon the question of "What happens if we empower students with the ability to design an educational project that will address a global social issue and allow them access to any and all community online networking tools?"

Here is a video that covers the first Flat Classroom Conference:

Flat Classroom Conference in Qatar, 2009

Flat Classroom Conference in Bejing, Feb 25-27, 2011

Dr Z and Ms. KZ traveled with 8 UNI IT graduate students to Beijing, China to participate in the 2011 Flat Classroom Conference. They gave a presentation on Instructional Design as well as worked as facilitators for the program strands where teachers from around the world will be developing International Flat Classroom curriculum.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How Integrated is Integrated?

Technology integration in the classroom is not a simple thing to understand. Does PowerPoint count as technology integration?  How about going to local merchants and video recording them to create an overview of Main Street?  What about using technology to send a Thank You card?  How do you rank it?  Is one better than the other?

This is an ongoing question that needs to be considered by teachers, technology integration specialists, and administrators.

What we need is a yardstick of some sort to measure the various levels of integration.  Fortunately, the Florida Department of Education created the Technology Integration Matrix. This is a table that cross references five levels of technology integration with 5 levels of characteristics of meaningful learning environments.

Become familiar with this chart and the various activities. This should take at least an hour. Here is a suggestion for learning about this matrix:

  1. Begin by learning about each of the measurement criteria. Start with the Levels of Technology.  Click on the box labeled Entry. It will take you to another page that will define Entry and then explain how the Student/Teacher/Environment are structured in relation to each of the Learning Environment characteristics.  Read through these to get the idea about what Entry level technology integration means in these differing situations.  There are some short videos dealing with different subject areas in the right column. Watch a few of those.
  2. Review the various levels in the Characteristics of the Learning Environment section.  Use the same procedure. Click on Active. Read how it is characterized by Student/Teacher/Environment in each of the Technology Integration levels. Watch the videos at the bottom.
  3. Return to the matrix and try to identify the various forms of technology-integrated teaching we observed or discussed at the Iowa R&D School. 
  4. Consider learning experiences you have observed in your classes at UNI or in-field observations and try to identify where they land in the chart.
Review this because we will discuss this in class on Thursday.

Thank You Cards:

It is important to express your gratitude about being allowed to have an experience as we had at IRDS. I have selected VoiceThread as a tool we could use express our gratitude.
If you haven't used VoiceThread, it is a website where you can post a picture, video, or document and then have others comment on it. Dr. Z has created a couple of VoiceThread sites and would like you to add your commentary. 

The unique capability about VoiceThread is that it allows you to respond using text, audio or video.   Please follow these steps to learn about VT and then contribute to the VT page.  (BTW, we will know who didn't do their homework by looking for those missing on the VTs.)
  1. Watch this video on how to add your contribution to the VT page.  You will have to register for an account at the beginning and then you can share your ideas.   Using VoiceThread for Thank You Notes.
  2. Visit the VoiceThread site for Mrs. Breitbach and leave your thank you.
  3. Visit the VoiceThread site for Mrs. Hanna and leave your thank you.
  4. Now that you have used VoiceThread, watch this video that tells you more about it.
I look forward to our discussions on Thursday.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Project-Based Learning

When we have so many students who are active learners, it doesn't make sense to create a learning environment that is based upon introspective, individualized learning.  It is much more challenging for students to be given problems or projects or challenges to address and solve.
What is your preference?

Read through the Edutopia Project-Based Learning module. This is something that we will be doing next week and it is important for you to know the background.

Once you have an idea about the concept of PBL, it is useful to look at various projects that students have done.  Review these two articles by Eeva Reader: The PBL Launch Pad, Worthwhile Projects for High School Students  (parts 1 and 2)
Look to see what they are doing at High Tech High.

Spend some time thinking about what you would do in your classroom. These are limited to high school.  What can you find about using PBL at the elementary level?  Jot down some notes about what you would do.

Get ready to learn, do and create some Project-Based Learning activities.