Thoughts on Education, 1/30/2012

Continuing to think about education, using articles I have saved in Evernote.

“Tips and success stories for effective mobile learning”

Mostly focused on K-12.  It talks about “bring your own device” schools, much like the Weatherford ISD is trying.  I’m curious how that will go.  The question, of course, is what do you do with the students who do not have a device?  That’s as far as I got though, as the second and third pages of the article require you to log in to read them.  It was not particularly relevant, and so I didn’t think it worth logging into a random site I’d never heard of.

Click to access mobile_star.pdf

“Education‘s Guide to Mobile Devices: Everything You Need to Know About Mobile Tech and Your Schools”

OK, so I registered for this one.  It is much more interesting, even though it is, again K-12 focused.  I just wanted to note a couple of things here.  I fully agree with the following:  “To make the most of mobile technology, teachers must have proper training, and schools must go through a change management process, says Greaves.  Technology-rich schools whose principals ―have formal training in change management far outperform the technology schools where [principals] don‘t have this formal training,‖ he says.  ―At a lot of schools, they just provide the technology and think that, by itself, will carry the day.  But if you don‘t actually give [educators] the training of what to do with it, nothing changes.‖  A change management leader looks at the students within a class and evaluates to what extent they are working on a fully personalized basis. ―If 30 kids in class are all doing the same thing,that‘s a clear sign that you haven‘t changed anything,‖ Greaves adds.”  I totally agree, and I find that to be the hugely limiting thing for me with adopting new methods of teaching and integration of technology.  I always feel that I am doing it all on my own.  I feel that I am way out in front of where most people are, and I often feel lost in trying to decide what to do.  I also feel limited in resources, although being part of the QEP this year has helped in that regard.  Still, I feel like I’m wandering in the wilderness and could use a lot of help to develop the random ideas wandering through my head.

There is also an interesting resource there called PD360, which is, unfortunately aimed at K-12 only.  There is no option to sign up as a college instructor, but it is apparently hundreds of hours of professional development online.  Maybe I should check out Starlink, if that’s anything like it.

“Shifting the Classroom, One Step at a Time”

OK, so this one has me pegged from the first paragraph:  “Teachers who are interested in shifting their classrooms often don’t know where to start. It can be overwhelming, frightening, and even discouraging, especially when no one else around you seems to think the system is broken.”  I feel like that all the time.  So, of course, I’m going to read this closely.

The whole post is interesting, and I need to explore it in more detail.  There are three links to talks here that I need to watch at some point when I can have some time at a desk with headphones rather than sitting in the living room with my computer as I am doing now.  That’s always the thing, creation is hard.  Doing something new is hard.  I want to dive in and recreate very soon.  Do I have the time/resources for this?

I highly recommend this as a starting point to rethinking the classroom!
“What’s So Great About Schools in Finland?”
I like these things:
  • All administrators have worked as teachers
  • They don’t focus on tests
  • Teaching is a revered profession
  • They trust teachers
An interesting, short piece.  It talks about turning the classroom into a learning experience for everyone, including the teacher.  Unfortunately, it is focused on a small liberal-arts college model, which makes it hard when you have many more students to deal with.  Still, an interesting idea that would be nice to integrate.
“Blogs vs. Term Papers”
OK, so I really want some feedback here!  What do people think about the blog idea?  I’m thinking of reconstructing the classroom.  This would be a total reconstruction, ditching papers for weekly blog posts and a requirement to respond to other blogs in the class.  Would that be a good idea?  Would that be crazy?  Let me know!

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About Scott Williams

I am an educator, community-college instructor, thinker, husband, parent of four, student of life, player of video games, voracious reader, restless wanderer, and all-around guy.

4 responses to “Thoughts on Education, 1/30/2012”

  1. Megan says :

    I think this is the way education is going… it’s not about what is taught, what really matters is what helps students learn. They need to learn how to use their phone/computer to learn and blogs and texting would make them more apt to learn even when they are outside of the classroom! We as teachers need to stay current – and teach technology blended right into our specific content.


    • Scott Williams says :

      I totally agree. That’s where we are going, whether we want to or not. Staying current and aware is key, and assuming that the old model of teaching works in the current age is basically arrogant. I know there’s a certain level of arrogance implicit in teaching, but I certainly never assume that I have all of the answers.


  2. William Smith says :

    Just a response to your last question. I tried the blog approach last Spring (though it was a supplement to the formal assignments, not a replacement of them). I liked it in general and considered it a success in some ways, though not in others. It was great for encouraging students to make connections between ideas discussed in class and outside materials, and it spurred some really interesting discussions. As you might expect, though, participation in the blog was spotty to say the best. The hardest part was getting them to respond to each others’ posts in meaningful ways. I tried modeling the kinds of responses I expected, but they never really got the hang of it.


    • Scott Williams says :

      And that’s what I wonder, could it work as a full on assignment. How would it be graded? How would you hold the students responsible for the work? I like the idea, but I’m not sure what form – weekly posts, a certain number a semester, a unit, or what.


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