Sunday, November 30, 2008
I need to get up close and personal with technology. I should not be afraid of it..nor should I surround myself by people who are hesitant in venturing out into the unknown and unfamiliar. Technology is all around me and as an educational leader I should know how and when to use it to make my job, my life, and my (and our) educational experiences (i.e. life) better. As a person who will earn three additional letters after her name, I recognize how important it is to push myself and those around me to think past the comfort of what we think we know. Isn't research about RE-searching topics and ideas from new lenses and perspectives? Isn't that we are charged to do as educational leaders?
Two is better than one. Well, when it comes to working on projects or assignments bigger than life itself. If anything, we should not be afraid of working with others on a project that we may not necessarily know what the final outcome may be. How often is that okay or supported by people in our everyday lives? Example, "Hey, I want to spend 30 hours of my time and your time working on a project that we may not know how to do or where we'll end up. Are you interested?"
How do I know I learned it?
What I have found is that I have learned the most when I am given the most ambiguous, yet thoughtful, directions or prompts for an assignment. The freedom of personalization is paramount in my learning experiences. If I make a mistake, I will learn even more from it because it was my mistake to make along my educational path. It is important to be comfortable working with and working past ambiguity. Isn't life ambiguous? We think we know what to expect or how to do things, but ultimately, "we don't know nothing." What I do know is that I do not know everything and somethings that I don't know, you may know. Some things I know, you may not know. The reciprocal relationship of humanity is essential if this world of ours is going anywhere positive. There is no I in team. And there certainly is no I in world. However there is an I in commUnity. Each of us, as individuals (e.g. "I's") must do our part to create a stronger, viable, and contributing community. And within a community, we must COMMUNE in UNITY.
commune: To be in a state of intimate, heightened sensitivity and receptivity, as with one's surroundings
unity: The state or quality of being one; singleness.
FUTURE OF EDUCATION
EDUCATION IS IMPORTANT
[listen to first 2 minutes)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
With the incorporation of gaming, virtual environments, simulation, and computer sites that "do the math for you," what is left for our students to do? Is the saying, "computers are only as smart as the people using them" still applicable?
Real time problems, solutions, interaction, and co-creative learning environments with people across the globe is a reality in today's (and futuristic) educational institutions. Computer technologies in the classroom bring new meaning to the word, "multitasking." Working or thinking about multiple things will be the norm and standard for learning. Will we lose anything as a result of such a wide array of thoughts and projects simultaneously being focused upon? Will a generalist or more liberal arts perspective be the desired educational experience? Where does a specialist mentality fit in?
Entertainment + Education = Edutainment
If educational coaches, e.g. teachers, made the educational experience fun, haven't we been edutaining our students for centuries? If I had to pick a key ingredient. or the X-Factor that increases "test scores" or raise GPA's and student engagement or increase student persistence, I would put money on FUN. How much do our students actually enjoy learning?
Saturday, November 8, 2008
We need to put a college education within reach of every American. -Barack Obama, Reclaiming the American Dream Speech, Bettendorf, IA, 11/7/07
What does this mean for our educational environments of the future?
Under the notions introduced by Dr. Faverty in last week's class....
---Use what we have to think DIFFERENTLY.
---Try to start where we're not.
---We need to use what we don’t have and recognize that a lot of the things we have we don’t use.
---We need to view educational environments in terms of humanity and what a social environment actually means.
Where does this leave us? We need to address the 4C's: climate, culture, context, content.
climate: What should the ideal college educational experience feel like for students?
-comfortable, safe, supportive, authentic, friendly, humane, resourceful, energetic, personal, connected, purposeful
context: What should it look like?
-warm, familiar, engaging, colorful, technologically compatible, clean, clear, accessible, inviting
After brainstorming the climate and context I have realized that many people (including myself) can readily identify the things they do not like or what may need to be changed. But what is more important as an educational leader is to identify the ideal environment for our organization(s). Then we can work towards changing and creating them. Sometimes it is important to forget all that we do know and for a minute pretend that we have the ability to create the ideal environment for our students and colleagues.
Ultimately, we need to CHANGE our habitual ways of thinking in order to CREATE new, innovative, practical and lasting positive CHANGES within our educational environments.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
The United States educational model does not reward group performance. It continues to be individualized in the nature of assessing and measuring student learning outcomes. Individuals receive grades based on individual knowledge and performance. How does Dewey's quote support or reject the current U.S. educational model? If the educational philosophy of John Dewey worked in the early 20th century, why can't it work 100 years later? What needs to change?
This reminds me of P.I.T.S....Personal Interpersonal Task Summary. If we, as educational leaders, bring the PERSONAL and INTERPERSONAL back into educational learning environments (both inside and outside of the classroom), then perhaps we will have better student learning outcomes. Perhaps they are no longer called student learning outcomes, but instead, global citizenship skills. Is learning about finding the right answer? Or is learning about going through multiple processes in discovering multiple answers?
Ultimately, we may have a greater and more positive impact on the student citizens we help mold and prepare for the locally/globally competitive workforce if we integrate more group-centered learning environments to hold students more accountable to the success and well-being of their fellow neighbors. The concept of "we" is both a familiar and foreign concept in United States education. The "we" is embedded in grouping students in cohorts based on age, reading ability, socioeconomic status, curriculum standards, primary language, etc. However, the "we" transgresses into an "I" within individualized assignments, standardized tests, and other measurable outcomes that allegedly measure student success. Just as classmate, Patty, said, "Are we placing more value in the outcome as opposed to the process of teaching [or student learning]?"
Have educational leaders come to a point where a liberal arts education is what all grade levels, P-20, strive to attain despite the requirements set forth within standardized achievement tests? Overall, don't we want a well-rounded, educated citizenry? Considering that a K-12 education is a right and a higher education is a privilege, shouldn't this expectation exist for K-12 since not all students make it to college? Is this an unfair expectation on primary and secondary educational institutions?
Sunday, October 26, 2008
What can I do--that incorporates technology--to move my organization in the right direction? Risk plays a significant role when incorporating technology into any organization. The irony is that the most risk may occur at a personal, informal level with colleagues who exchange ideas about how to improve learning with our students. Oftentimes, I think of the phrase, "work smarter and not harder." As educational leaders, I believe technology allows us to work smarter in both informal and formal ways.
If the four elements that make up a learning environment are climate, content, context, and culture, then it is important for educational leaders, parents, policymakers, and students to consider how technology influences each of those areas. The content of our environment is moving at a quicker pace then what the climate and culture can keep up with.
The Learning Web shares with us the Keys to unlock the future Revolution
- It’s personal
- It’s interaction
- It’s global
- It’s instant
- It’s mainly free
- It’s easily shared
- It’s co-creative
Since we continue to live in an environment that grows exponentially every day via the internet and other technologies developed by companies, what can I do locally to make a difference in the here and now? the day to day? If I had to choose from the Learning Web's list, I would select #1 and #2. As an educational leader I can continue to recognize the importance and value of personal and interactive encounters with students, colleagues, policymakers, and other interested constituent groups.As our real and virtual worlds continue to become more and more global, instant, free, shared, and co-creative, the PERSONAL and INTERACTIVE aspects of human relationships may become magnified as an integral component of our society.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
If we, as educational leaders, allow "pits" to influence our attitude and professional relationships, our personal value set will, in turn, be better received and embraced by those we lead. If we are emotional beings in a social setting, then "pits" is integral to advance educational policy, accomplish organizational goals, and foster a healthy & supportive work environment for our respective educational institutions. We live in a world compounded by infinite computerized and electronic technologies. A shared sentiment of colleagues and educational organization constituent groups is the demand for instantaneous, timely, and accurate information that positively effects progress towards the needed changes in K-20 education. Do we want to make the time to implement the leadership philosophy that "pits" portrays? Do we make time to personalize and/or interpersonalize the work environment? Is [inter]personalization valued within an educational organization? It is certainly not rewarded. What IS rewarded is the tangible outcomes of student scores/grades, graduation rates, and cutting edge published research. My hypothesis is that the intangible intrinsic personal and interpersonal relationships cultivated and developed within educational organizations positively effect student academic outcomes. But as budget cuts continue, [inter]personal types of support programs for educational leaders will diminish. As salaries continue to not fall into alignment with the time, energy, and work educational leaders put into their professions, their extrinsic motivation decreases. Intrinsic motivation only lasts for so long...
Sunday, October 12, 2008
if students come from underrepresented or underserved cultural communities, how is PC affected? How can one of these students be a "media creator" when she/he may not have access to the new media culture needed to create it? If learning outcomes and educational literacy become defined by new media culture and computer technologies, as educational leaders and citizens, do we automatically exclude those students who do not have access to such technologies? Although various computer technologies have become more accessible to more people, some students still do not have access to such resources. The social class hierarchy created by a society rooted in capitalism, perpetuates within the classroom. Not all schools/universities are "good." Some rise to the top, some fall to the bottom. Some get by on what that have, and others excel with all of the resources they desire. Who benefits or suffers? Our students. Our future. Our world.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
The NMC has a website at http://www.nmc.org It is an international 501(c)3 not-for-profit consortium of nearly 300 learning-focused organizations dedicated to the exploration and use of new media and new technologies. UCSB is not a member (but some other UC's are), however my two other alma maters are..University of Virginia and Pennsylvania State University. The organization has an interesting history about it's original origin and initial development.
I see the Horizon Reports as a proactive way at looking at the role and influence technology has in higher education. At the same time, the reports serve as a means of influencing the importance and perpetuating the significance of technology within higher education. After all, we're all trying to make a living and earn a dollar... I see the NMC as an advocate and supporter of higher education, yet it serves as a marketing mechanism for it's founding constituent members (e.g. Apply, Sony, Adobe, etc..).
Sunday, October 5, 2008
i like this quote.
I just wrote a long response to this but my web browser did something and i lost the entire thing. i guess this is demonstrative of the "new realities" of technology, information, learning, and knowledge sharing. although my original post is gone, it's content is still within me. was the intention of my post for me to digest and synthesize my own thoughts about the aforementioned quote for the sake of knowing and gaining a better understanding? or was it for others to read? it was the former.
the only constant is change. and the REALITY, is that technology, the internet, students, and in turn, educational institutions are constantly changing. how do we keep up?
as educational leaders, academic advisors, administrators, counselors, maintenance workers, do we speak the same 21st language as our students? how do we ascertain the complexities of their multilinguistic techie terminologies and slang? 20th century educational leaders "teaching" 21st century students in 20th century languages and dialects may not warrant the educational outcomes we expect or think our teaching pedagogies & methodologies deserve.
PBL allows students to establish "connections to life outside the classroom, addressing real world concerns, and developing real world skills" (http://pblmm.k12.ca.us/PBLGuide/WhyPBL.html). Isn't this what education should be about? What is the purpose of education? Essentially, the JDP is a project based learning model for K-20+ educational practitioners. I question if the JDP maximizes PBL due to the virtual classroom environment. I am inclined to believe that optimal learning and engagement is a result of the high frequency of face-to-face student/teacher interactions. Also, the smaller the group, the more individual engagement a student will have.
The purpose of education is to prepare, guide, and facilitate people, thoughts, intellect, and ideas (of all ages) with the hopes that their knowledge, skills, interests, and passions make the world a better place. I believe a large component of education is the expectation that educators assist in the development of responsible, caring citizens of the world. Is it our (i.e. educators', common folks') civic and humane responsibility to contribute to solutions and the overall betterment of humankind?
It seems like a principle component of PBL is for the "teacher" or other person in a formal educational authoritarian role to be willing to be flexible and adapt to the learning styles, paces, and unique ideas, opinions, and perspectives of all voices in the classroom. PBL places more responsibility on the students--they are active participants in shaping the "curriculum and educational learning outcomes" of a course.
COMPONENTS OF PBL: curricular content, multimedia, student direction, collaboration, real world connection, extended time frame, assessment (http://pblmm.k12.ca.us/PBLGuide/WhyPBL.html)
After reviewing the literature about PBL, I am left contemplating the similiarities and differences of SERVICE LEARNING and PBL. Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities (http://servicelearning.org/what_is_service-learning/service-learning_is/index.php). Should the outcomes of all educational settings benefit society at large? Or should we simply "teach" for the sake of teaching and saying we are "educated"?
Enculturation lies at the heart of learning. It also lies at the heart of knowing. (http://www.johnseelybrown.com/Growing_up_digital.pdf)
Monday, September 29, 2008
After reviewing a few websites that provide summaries of constructivist learning, I am left wondering if I have ever been a participant of such learning? I believe I may have experienced it in my early educational (K-3) years, but it seems rather non-existent during my secondary educational years. A few postsecondary educational experiences have provided constructivist classroom and non-classroom learning opportunities. I can reflect back and recognize that the most learning occurred in the courses in which I was an active participant, engaged in topics interesting to me, yet the courses challenged me to apply new concepts to my own interests. Unfortunately, several of these opportunities did not occur until my senior year in undergrad and later in my master's and doctoral programs.
As an educational leader, I am inclined to apply constructivist learning to organizational management, staff supervision, and even studnet advising. Bruner's principles of
1. Instruction must be concerned with the experiences and contexts that make the student willing and able to learn (readiness).
2. Instruction must be structured so that it can be easily grasped by the student (spiral organization).
3. Instruction should be designed to facilitate extrapolation and or fill in the gaps (going beyond the information given).
are extremely applicable to college student advising and staff supervision/support/development within an organization. Constructivist theory is an interdisciplinary application to all career fields and their respective constituent groups. I propose the assumption that learning occurs everywhere every day, hence the relevancy of accepting or rejecting constructivism is inevitable.
Educators who adopt constructivism as a philosophy to guide their classrooms, place more work and accountability on themselves. The intrinsic reward of student learning may not outweigh the preparation, work, and follow through needed for constructivist teachers over time. The ever declining extrinsic reward of salary does not help motivate educators to do even MORE work for less (or non-increased) pay.