Sunday, October 25, 2009

B9: Digital Storytelling Reflection

I rather enjoy doing this type of project. I think that if I had the proverbial option of doing things again with the knowledge I now possess, I would have gone to school to be a movie director or producer. I love the art of storytelling through cinematography. I think that the biggest challenge I face as a teacher and being able to utilize this tech in my class is the one of finding interesting enough stories to tell about math.
The flip side of that is that it may force my students to be creative and not just be content with the material I produce for them. If I lay down the challenge to them of making them either watch my boring material or create their own. I hope they would rise to the challenge and out do me.
I had a little trouble with coming up with new material just for this project. My previous classes have had me do similar projects and I'd all but used my material on those classes. After several failed attempts and several attempts that didn't please the creative side of myself, I decided to do digital storytelling inside of digital storytelling and add another layer to the project. I encountered only minor issues after that and was able to turn out a project that was somewhat acceptable in my mind. I realized through all of this that I have grand visions of what I would like to create which leads me to disappointment when I see the final product doesn't measure up.

A great link to information on integrating digital storytelling in the classroom is:
http://its.ksbe.edu/dst/
It also provides examples and plenty of guides and articles on the best uses of digital storytelling.

Monday, October 19, 2009

B8: Flexibility of Teachers

This is definitely something that I could agree with when it comes to the classroom and how a teacher needs to be prepared. Things can and will go wrong and as a teacher I find it challenging as well as exciting to have to adapt and change at a moments notice. "Chance favors the prepared." This is a quote that I have always tried to follow. Essentially the teacher who prepares for alternative plans is the teacher who is one step closer to becoming a great teacher. I constantly find that things happen even to the best laid plans and if I haven't prepared or thought of an alternative for just such a case, then I will be at the mercy of the students.

Boss, S., & Krauss, J. (2007). Reinventing project-based learning. Washington, D.C.: International Society for Technology in Education.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

B7: Ely's Conditions of Change and Webster's Smartboards

Below are Ely's (1999) eight conditions and how they are or are not being followed and why it effects Webster's ability to properly integrate the Smart boards into the classroom:

  1. Dissatisfaction with the status quo: The newly hired Superintendent wanted Webster to move into the 21st Century with it's educational procedures so that the school can better prepare the students for working in the current and ever changing job market. This led to a use of a grant and purchase of Smartboards for all high school classrooms.
  2. Sufficient knowledge and skills: Teachers in the secondary grade level are NOT properly trained at using the new technology. However, the purchase of the Smartboards was also supposed to come with training by the company. This has not been done as of today. Some of the teacher's boards aren't even installed properly and therefore they can't even try and teach themselves the necessary skills for implementation.
  3. Availability of resources: Boards are provided in each rooms of teachers in the secondary grade level.
  4. Availability of time: With furlow days being something that all school systems are having to deal with, professional development has been cut to a bare minimum. This also means time allotted during the day for teachers to be trained by a fellow staff member who may have enough of the skills and knowledge to aid others in learning how to implement the boards into their lessons.
  5. Reward or incentives: To date, I have not seen the use of rewards for encouraging teachers to take their own time to implement the new technology into their classrooms. I still see where the standards based classroom layout is being forced on teachers with no use of incentive. I wouldn't think that the implementation of technology would be done any different.
  6. Participation: Some teachers are asked their input on ideas and uses for the new technologies, but then the participation concept is forgotten and done by the administrator's way with know sign or hint of the suggestions brought forth by the teachers who will have to actually use the technology in their classrooms and their lessons.
  7. Commitment: The teaching staff is eager to use the new technology and has pledged the time it will take to learn the uses, but it now seems that other tasks take precedent over the implementation of the new technology. It seems that the commitment of the teachers isn't enough to encourage the training needed before the second half of the year approaches.
  8. Leadership: The leadership qualities and characteristics of the administration isn't being called into scrutiny. Many of the teachers support and appreciate the support shown by the administration. What seems to be the case is that the admin are having to "put out so many fires" left from the last administration that they can't turn their focus to their own.

References:

Ely, D. P. (1990). Conditions that facilitate the implementation of educational technology innovations. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 23 (2), 298-305.

Ely, D. P. (1999). New perspectives on the implementation of educational technology innovation.

Monday, October 5, 2009

B6: Digital Storytelling

Digital Storytelling just means that an ancient art has now been modified one more time. Storytelling is among man's oldest art forms. Many of the hymns, myths, legends, and historical events have been passed down from generation to generation through the ages by means of storytelling. Fire is one of the first technological improvements that allowed storytelling to move into another format. Around this time, was the use of cave paintings or carvings.
Jump forward a few thousand (or million depending upon your view) years and we now have moved past several other technological advances, i.e. pencil, paper, printing press, to an age where we now are able to tell our stories and immediately have them heard by millions of people around the world.
With such a powerful tool at our disposal, how could education not jump into the fray and start using this latest advancement in the quest to educate the youth. The big question is how long is the life of digital. Archeologists are still finding new cave paintings. In thousands of years, will the same be said for our digital stories?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Comic Life Article Review

Reading about comic life opened up several new ideas that I had not previously had about ways of engaging students. Normally when I have try to integrate a project into my classroom, I can't get other teachers to buy into the idea of expanding it into other content areas. With comic life, it shows the potential for being a great mechanism for allowing my projects to expand to other teachers and their content areas.
Teaching secondary mathematics means using Comic Life to engage students for different reasons that it would on an elementary grade level. Where a teacher might use Comic Life in the lower grade levels to "...help early readers connect words with pictures," (2007). On the secondary grade levels we teachers are often trying to get our students to reconnect with the learning. At this age students are wanting to express their creativity in various ways and Comic Life allows teachers to helps students do just that.

Thacker, C. (2007). How to use comic life in the classroom. Retrieved from http://www.macinstruct.com/node/69