Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Here is my posting for Chapter 4 Challenge #4. This book is really making me think out of the box.

Challenge #4 Communicate with new tools.

Asynchronous Communication Tool
An asynchronous communication tool is a tool used for communication. When using an asynchronous communication tool, the communication between the people does not happen at the same time.

I have personally communicated with others using asynchronous tools like email, blogs, discussion boards, and social networking sites. This week I have done a lot of communicating/posting on My PLN page. Reading posts and other information shared on the site has been very insightful. In our textbook, the authors stated that asynchronous communication tools do not allow two people to communicate in real time and face to face. I think for a child, and myself at times, you don’t feel like you are collaborating with a person. It sometimes feels like you are collaborating with another computer.

Synchronous Communication Tool
A synchronous communication tool is another type of communication tool. When using this tool, the communication happens in real time and in some cases the people communicating can see each other.

The synchronous communication tool I used this week was Skype. I Skyped with a colleague after work hours.  Skype allowed us to communicate with each other at a time that was more convenient for us. As teachers we all know how hard it is to find time to talk to colleagues during the school day. Because the conversation was happening at a mutually agreeable time, we were able to discuss things at a greater length. I can see that Skype is almost essential for any global collaboration. The fact that you get to see someone face to face and talk with them in real time allows for a deeper conversation. The face to face contact probably leads to more learning for the students.  
I was unable to use Skype or discussion board posting in a synchronous and asynchronous way. I do see how people could communicate synchronously via discussion posts. They would just have to be on the discussion board at the same time and reply immediately to each other’s post. Skype could also be used asynchronously. A person could record themselves talking and send it to someone else. A teacher could also record themselves presenting a lesson and share it with their students.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Well I have had a very productive afternoon. I am working on Challenges 1-3 in the Flattening Classrooms Engaging Minds textbook by Julie Lindsey and Vicki Davis.  Let me give you the low down.

Challenge #1 sign up or create an RSS Feed.
I did it. I created one on Net Vibes. You can check it out at this link.  So far it looks pretty interesting. I know that I will have to tweak it a bit to better meet my needs but it does look promising. In my personal life, I belong to a RSS feed of sorts for diet tips. The chance articles I have read on that feed have given me lots of information on health issues that I would never have read about.

Challenge #2 Create a Blog.
I had already created a blog for a previous class that Dr. Kinney taught. I decided just to add to that blog. It was originally created for a discussion on  Acceptable Use Policies but I have now turned it into my thoughts about flattening classrooms. They are a plenty.

Challenge #3 Connect and Reflect
For this challenge I created a My PLN page. Here is the link to My PLN page. Check it out.  I also created a PLN on the Flattening Classrooms page. But they are the exact same thing. Here is a link to that profile.  I am still trying to get my profile picture up but my computer is not cooperating. I will keep trying.
So what have I learned from this challenge. I learned that connection is very powerful. Especially connecting with the right people. For example, before I started this module I checked the course discussion board. I read posts from other classmates that said they  were having trouble creating RSS feeds. I also noticed that one classmate shared her connections and blog URLS with the class. By looking at her connections and using the information she shared  showed me pathways that allowed me to complete this module quickly and easily. By creating a Flattening Classrooms page I stumbled upon a discussion about the Challenges in the this book. The people having the discussion lead me to the Netvibes page that allowed me to create my RSS feed in a matter of minutes. Some of my other classmates are and were not having that same experience. Collaborating outside the walls or confines of the classroom is powerful. I am sold.
Greetings fellow educators!!!

I am once again enrolled in a technology class that is challenging my entire teaching belief system. This semester I am taking a class that deals with the flattening of your classroom. If you are like me you are thinking what does flattening mean.

Flattening in this case refers to taking learning and teaching outside of the physical four walls of the classroom. This is accomplished by using student, teacher, or outside resource collaborations.When a classroom is flattened, the instruction, or learning, is student centered. The students create the knowledge pathways, styles, and learning for themselves. The teacher is just a guide on their path to learning.

As a graduate student in education and drawing on incidental experiences I have had with collaboration I can clearly see that this is the future of education. My only question is has anyone told the people who create learning policy about this?  Correct me if I am wrong, but don't Alabama public school teachers need to use the Scott Foresman reading series and spend ninety minutes a day on reading?!?! Well if a classroom is flattened and students are directing their learning, they probably won't use Scott Foresman to learn about sequence.

Just something to think about. I will keep you posted on my findings.