Monday, December 20, 2010

Key concept from the book: Digital Lifestyles

Digital Lifestyles was a part of the book that I really reflected upon. I never really thought about how much technology has changed since I was young. I was born in 1978 and the book talked about changes that have happened with technology since 1975. It was amzing to see the list of devices that I use daily that have not been around any longer than I have been! Interesting to really think about. It also makes me think about how much things will change during the lifetime of my second grade students. Ten years ago my cell phone made phone calls. I liked it. I could call people from my car! Fast forward two years and I probably sent my first text message. I had to hit the number three or four times to choose the letter I wanted to use, but again I liked it! Now my phone sends and receives emails, makes calls, texts from a keyboard that is a touch screen, surfs the net, takes videos, takes pictures, runs facebook, and the list never stops. It really makes me wonder how our students will be motivated and learn five years from now. I never thought I'd own a device that would have all of the capabilities that my cell phone does.

Yet, the book brought up another very intersting point. The fact that parents almost require that we teach the same way that they were taught. They are successful, therefore, they want their students to learn the same way they did. We as educators are fighting a never ending battle. Students who are on a completely different wavelength with different abilities and motivations, and parents, community members, and collegues that want to have things the same way they have always been. The book provides interesting alternatives to how we can remedy this and all I can say is that in some ways I wish education would change as much as my cell phone does from year to year. Perhaps all in good time we will see things shift in education. The 21st Century Balance provided the most intersting analysis of how things need to be balanced in order for high quality learning to occur.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Final Relection

Reflective Post for 21st Century Skills by Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel

This was an excellent book selection for me. I am still processing the new tools and the accessibility for there use in the classroom. There are so many stakeholders in the learning process and the expected final product. Students, teachers, and parents need to work together in providing the workforce and society a productive citizen.
What is the classroom of the future going to be like? It is hard for me to comprehend how fast the digital age is moving forward. It was not too many years ago the television was making its way into classrooms. How many students even know what microfiche is or heard of the PET Commodore computer? Where is the digital age going to?
I was hoping by reading the book I would come away with a better understanding on what all the accolades for the use of these tools in the classroom are? I came away with a better knowledge of the different tools, how to use them, the impact on the classroom, and the fact students are leading the charge for change. The students are the most wired and digital savvy members of our society. The authors presented ideas to help reshape the educational landscape and ways to help build the foundation for future classrooms.
The P21 (The Partnership for 21st Century Skills) is leading the way to build into the future and is a collaborate effort of many organizations with same goals. Their guidance will help transform the new classroom and make it available for all students. I still see a gap in students and schools which are able to afford the new technology and the students and school not able to tap into the digital age. The gap is becoming smaller, but hopefully P21 will help bridge the gap quicker.
It was an easy read and I will pick it up now and then to reread parts of it as continue to learn more about the 21st Century skills. I was and probably still a skeptic on some of the uses of these tools in the classroom, but I am willing to change if their use will be a benefit for our students. I am slowly becoming to grips with the “digital age”.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Section IV 21st Century Learning and Teaching (Ch 6) & Powerful Learning Proven Practices, Researched Results (Ch 7)

The learning power of the P's and Q's is emphasized in chapter six. Other areas of interest of this chapter are:
1. Table 6.1, page 93, shows the breakdown of Scientific Versus Engineering Methods
2. Questions are what motivate scientists and engineers are motivated by challenging problems.
3. Inquiry-based learning versus design-based learning

A statement in chapter seven made me read the number referenced again. Page 108 "These summary conclusions are based on a thorough review of the fifty-year research base on inquiry, design and collaborative approach to learning by ...Linda Darling-Hammond and her colleagues..." Fifty-years of research on inquiry design and collaborative approach to learning that proves it works--and we are still having problems implementing and sustaining collaborative inquiry and design learning. Hopefully the 21st Century teacher's and student's skill sets can help overcome the obstacles to progress.

Section V

This section dealt with ways we need to retool our education system. I do believe almost everyone feels we need to make changes in the way we teach and to teach to what our students are currently learning with. Early on in the unit the authors stated we need to learn from each other's experiences, both (positive and negative) as new approaches and processes are being tried. Students, parents, teachers,administrators, government officials,community members need to be focused on the same 21st century skills. These groups of people need to be led by school leaders with a vision toward the future. There were several areas address to help schools get to the 21st learning environment.

There was a quote in the assessment topic of the section. "We need better summative tests and formative evaluations that measure a combination of content knowledge, basic skills, higher-order thinking skills, deeper comprehension and understanding,applied knowledge, and 21st century skills performance". I thought to myself it would an ideal assessment process if and when it will be accomplished. There is a need for better tests to measure student skills in what will make them successful in the future.

The section went on to cover curriculum and instruction, staff development,learning environments,technology infrastructure,and learning communities and leadership. I felt the authors did an excellent job in laying out what needs to be done to move forward with 21st century skills.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I chose this picture because it represents how the use of technology is changing and has changed. This represents resources that can be used to teach 21st Century Skills. Many of these titles I do not know anything about, but I would guess many of my students could teach me about them.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Blabber Kid

Section III: Digital Literacy Skills & Career and Life Skills

Wow! This section is JAM PACKED with information!

Digital Literacy Skills

This chapter really reminded me of the importance of teaching students proper technology use. The focus as upon informational literacy, media literacy, and information and communication technologies. The story of the king and the kingdom of Learnalot reminded me of what could happen with students when left to their own devices in regards to technology tools. The quote that was the most meaningful to me was, "Assessing the risks of using personal images and commercial music on social networking Web sites such as Facebook or YouTube often requires critical thinking, sound judgement, and an understanding of potential future consequences-considerations where students can certainly benefit from some firm adult guidance." Students know how to use these technology tools, in many cases better than parents and teachers do. What they don't know is how to use them educationally, as well as appropriately.

Career and Life Skills

"The ability to work effectively and creatively with team members and classmates regardless of differences in culture and style is an essential 21st century life skill." This quote really sums up the entire chapter. Sprinkle in flexibility, adaptability, initiative, self-direction, social and cross-cultural integration, productivity, accountability, leadership, and responsibility and we have the full package of what the work force is looking for. The area that really struck me as the most difficult for kids is flexibility and adaptability. In our society today kinds really have a "my way or the highway" attitude and this chapter really pushes us the importance of teaching students how to be able to incorporate feedback, deal with praise and criticism, as well as negotiate. Another important piece of 21st Century Skills is the need to be self-directed learners. So much of the chapter really feels like common sense, but at the same time I am not sure that we always give enough time to teach these areas well.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Section II-Learning Storm & Innovation Skills

Wow! This section contained a lot of information. It focused on the way that knowledge, learning, digital lifestyles and digital tools have changed the way we learn. The emphasis has shifted from individual learning of facts, which do not constitute thinking power to collaborative teams solving real-world problems.
The new technology that we have experienced in our lifetime is incredible, and to just think about what our future generations will experience in their lifetimes. One quote that stood out to me was, "These young people are the first generation in history to know more about the most powerful tools for change in our society-digital information and communications technologies-than their elders: their parents and teachers." The digital natives have come to expect and demand freedom to choose, customization, scrutiny, integrity, entertainment, collaboration, speed in communications and innovation in products. I liked the table on page 38 entitled "A New Balance." It brought into perspective what we need to accomplish. It is definitely a balancing act to incorporate the basics along with the skills our students need.

As an educator, my goal is to take one step at a time, because the task is somewhat overwhelming to me. I do believe that incorporating technology one project at a time can be done and that it will be more relevant and memorable for my students. In closing, I would like to include one more quote: "Learning for work and life in our times means helping as many children as possible learn to apply 21st century skills and a solid understanding of core subjects to the challenges of our times."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Section 1

The transformation from the Industrial Age to the Knowledge Age has changed not only our educational system, but our basic way of life as well. Table 1.2 presented on page 14 really shows the challenges our students are facing. We have gone from being members of a small, family oriented community to being members of a global community that are all interdependent upon each other. As our basic needs have changed to adapt to new technology, our basic education needs to follow.

I actually could not choose just one quote from this reading because there are two opposing thoughts that needed to be addressed. The first quote I chose from the reading is “when you apply these skills to today’s knowledge and innovation work, you are participating in a global network in which, for example, a product may be designed in California, manufactured in China, assembled in the Czech Republic, and sold in chain stores in cities.” We can no longer teach students to simply remember what they learn. We need to teach students to be able to continue the learning process and be able to quickly apply their knowledge to new situations. It reminds me of the old Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

The second quote is “At the same time, the potential for information overload, distraction, and analysis paralysis when facing demands for attention from too many sources.” With the vast amount of information at our fingertips, overload is a concern. Even last unit’s video expressed this fact when students were averaging 26.5 hours of media time in each day—proof that multitasking is a way of life. As I stated in our Unit 2 discussion group, “ … Their attention spans seem so short, and their multitasking keeps them from really focusing on one topic in-depth. Therefore, we need to find a way to engage students in core content areas.” Students need to realize that all the technology at their fingertips are tools that can not only entertain them, but help them to learn and grow as well.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Education in the 21st Century

I chose this image because of the many different types of learning, methods, resources, tools, and generally what education is about today that are listed. This is what our students and educators are facing each day in the classroom. Trying to pull everything together to provide a learning enviroment that will help students succeed is esstential. I see this as a busy image showing how difficult the task is.

21st Century Learners

This picture stood out to me, because our children hold the future in their hands. Technology has made our world a smaller place. Notice the hands are different sizes and colors. This illustration shows what will be accomplished through collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving. When we work together the sky is the limit!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Collaboration Nation

The future holds children interacting with technology as well as each other in many, many ways. This picture shows children collaborating to use a webcam to communicate with someone, somewhere. They are young children, but age is not a barrier when technology is involved. I chose to focus upon collaboration because in my opinion collaboration is the most important 21st Century Skill. Children are naturally using these tools, and skills, but are we affording students the opportunities to explore them.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Book Cover Image

I chose this image because this is truly what I see in young children today. They are very aware of the technology around them and can use cell phones, ipods, computers, touch pads, etc., with more mastery than most adults. It is natural to them to be involved with technology since they were born with it and have lived with it all their lives.
I have personally watched the vast changes in technology as I have grown. I didn't have a color television until I was in 3rd or 4th grade, and it was the only tv in the entire house. VCR's came in about my high school years. We didn't have computers in my school when I graduated, but we had them when I returned 4 years later to teach and they needed a floppy disc inserted before they would turn on. My first cell phone weighed about 5 pounds and was in a "bag" in my car. Sometimes I would drive a mile up the road to even get reception!
With each new change and new invention, I have tried to keep up but it just doesn't come "naturally" to me. However, my 5-year-old granddaughter can use her ipod like she's done it forever...hmm...I guess she has. :)

Digital Native Gets Restless

I chose this picture because it is a commentary on what students understand of 21st century skills and technology. Often times they are simply handed a piece of technology to do with what they please. A great assett to students of today is that they are not afraid to break the technology, and they simply play. They eventually figure out how to use this new skill, idea, or technology, but there way is not always the most appropriate.

Welcome to Literature Circle Six!

Your Super Summarizer schedule is as follows:

Section One--Due October 28, Cynthia DeMers
Section Two--Due November 4, Lynn Finkbeiner
Section Three--Due November 11, Carol Halter (Waider)
Section Four--Due November 18, Avis Jennings
Section Five--Due December 2, Dennis Rieckman
Section Six--Due December 9, Richard (Adam) Waider