Archive | September 2012

Importance of Reflection

I’ve been hearing a lot of talk lately about how students are sick of doing reflections. Sure, I will admit, we do a lot of reflections in each of our classes but I think that reflections are really important, especially in education. Reflections can increase your learning from the experience, whether they were good or bad. If you were reflecting on a reading or a class, this could increase your learning because most times, you have to go over the information that you are reflecting on and so you are refreshing it in your mind.  This is the most effective when reflecting within 24 hours of the experience.  Like studies have shown, if you go over the material that you have just learned within that time range, you are more likely to remember the knowledge.  Also, reflections can help you to realise what was good, what wasn’t so good, and allow some time to think about alternatives to enhance your experience the next time it occurs (also it can enhance everyone else’s too!).  Also, sometimes writing down your thoughts helps to clear your head and allows you to look at the situation/experience in a different perspective.  For most people this works, especially for people like me.  I am someone who takes a long time to organize my thoughts and figure out my feelings on material that I’ve just learned or a situation that I’ve just experienced.  I find that things usually don’t seem as bad as I first make them out to be and it allows me to calm down if need be.  Also, I usually only see things from my perspective at first until I’ve either reflected on it or have spoke with someone who then suggests an alternative.  So I suppose for others, it might just seem like a big waste of time but I know for me it is a huge help!

I found a website that has a slide show about doing reflections.  Not all of it is really necessary to read to understand reflections but slides 9 – 14 list some tips for writing effective and practical reflections if anyone is interested.

http://www.slideshare.net/kheru2006/reflection-tips

 

Thanks for reading my blog! 🙂

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy

This week’s reading focused on Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy by Andrew Churches.  This article discussed a little bit about Bloom’s taxonomy and the revised version of Bloom’s Taxonomy by Anderson and Krathwohl.  Then Churches went on to discuss his own revised version of Anderson and Krathwohl’s version of Bloom’s taxonomy.  In his version, he basically adds technology to the categories outlined in Anderson and Krathwohl’s version (remembering, understanding, applying, analysing, evaluating, and creating), with a few changes, and then discusses the subcategories.  While discussing these, Churches explains a variety of websites, how they relate to the categories and subcategories, and how to use them in a classroom.

One thing that I wanted to mention about the reading was that I found it a bit of a frustrating read because there were so many grammar and spelling mistakes.  It made me just want to whip out a red pen and start fixing all of the mistakes (the whole typical English teacher thing if you catch my drift).  Other than that, I actually really enjoyed this reading.  It was long, but there were a lot of interesting, informative points brought up in this article and there were even a few websites that were listed that I had never heard of until now.  One other thing that I really enjoyed about this article was how Churches explained how to incorporate the websites and technology into the classroom (which were free for the most part), how to actually use this technology, and gave alternatives to use in case we didn’t want to use the suggested website.

http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/file/view/bloom%27s+Digital+taxonomy+v3.01.pdf

Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge

Hello!

So in my very first blog ever (Yes I know, EXCITING!), I will be discussing the article “Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Framework for Teacher Knowledge” by Punya Mishra and Matthew J.  Koehler.  Now, my initial reaction to reading the title of this article was: “Oh boy, I can tell this article is going to be FUN to read!” (Yes, I was being sarcastic).  However, reading this article, it turned out to be not as bad as I had originally thought it was going to be and actually had some interesting ideas.  Throughout this article, the authors discussed what Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) is, the subcategories of TPCK (TPK, CPK, TCK, TK, CK, and PK), and also the learning-technology-by-design approach which is an approach that has lead to the development of TPCK.

Reading this article, I found that I mostly agreed with many of the points in this article, although there were a few where I didn’t agree with them or felt they didn’t fully address the topic.  These are listed below in which they have been ordered in when they appear in the article:

–          On page 1018, one statement I definitely agree with is when the authors state “Part of the problem, we argue, has been a tendency to only look at the technology and not how it is used.”  This statement is explaining why the reality of education is significantly lagging far behind the people’s vision of what education should look like.  Now I think what this statement is saying is crucial, especially in the business sector of schooling not only because the business sector mostly deals with introducing and using technology (this is arguable to some people), but because I hear so many stories of students taking these business classes and learning for their own personal use instead of learning how to use this technology for business uses (which is what it should be since it is a business course).  One specific example is in the later section of the  Computer Productions Technology curriculum where students are to learn about designing animations.  I have heard many stories of students only working on animations involving moving a stick figure (or some animated figure) from one side of the screen to the other.  I understand that this could be used as an introductory step but I never hear anything about students actually applying animations for business purposes.

–          A point that I feel the authors missed out on as to part of the problem about why education has lagged far behind the vision is because of the rapid growth of technology.  It’s hard to keep up-to-date on teaching technology when it is developing so fat.  It’s hard to know what is new and “in” and what is old and out-dated.  Teachers also need time to figure out and understand this new technology and learn its applications in education first before they can teach it.  In addition, the curriculum has a huge impact on this lag.  Teachers are supposed to stay within the guidelines of the curriculum and if the curriculum hasn’t changed to address this new technology then it becomes quite difficult for teachers to integrate this into their teaching when they have a tremendous amount of other material that needs to be covered in order for students to successfully be able to complete the required learning for the course.

–          A statement that I agree with is: “The basis of our framework is the understanding that teaching is a highly complex activity that draws on many kinds of knowledge.” (pg  1020).  Before I began university and went through some of my experiences in the classroom, I didn’t realize how complex teaching really was and how it wasn’t just simply following a textbook or anything simple like that.  I’m sure those who are not educators  may have believed this as I used to, but now that I’ve had experiences in the classroom and taking education classes, I know realize how complex teaching really is and that it does draw on many kinds of knowledge.

–          Shortly following this statement, the author goes on to talk about the different knowledge systems that are fundamental to teaching: knowledge of student thinking and learning and knowledge of subject matter.  I think that having both of these knowledge systems  as an educator is extremely important.  You cannot teach a subject you know nothing about and you cannot effectively and efficiently teach a class when you don’t know how your students learn the best.

–          “Traditional classrooms use a variety of technologies, from textbooks to overhead projectors, from typewriters in English language classrooms to charts of the periodic table on the walls of laboratories.  However, until recently, most technologies used in classrooms had been rendered “transparent,” or in other words, they had become commonplace and were not even regarded as technologies.” (pg 1023).  I found this so interesting because up until about a year or two ago, I didn’t consider these to be technologies until one of my professors brought up this very topic.  This also makes me think of how much technology has changed in the past 100 years and how most of us only think about the word technology as the more common use which refers to the new or more recent technology such as computers, laptops, and calculators.  I think it really is amazing how much technology has changed!

–          I agree with “An emphasis on merely learning the technology may lead to an emphasis on students learning technology (technology as the subject and content learning) rather than the subject matter that they are supposed to learn” (pg 1032).  Technology is supposed to assist us with learning not what is supposed to be learned.

–          “Central to situated cognition is the notion that learning is best supported when the content is part of a context that the students can service as meaningful, assign value to the subject matter, and develop an understanding of the relation of it with their lives” (pg 1034). When students can make connections and see learning as meaningful, this leads to authentic learning which I believe is one of the most important ways that students learn.

–          Finally, I actually do like the overall concept of TPCK.  In another course in which I am currently taking, we discuss how everything is connected which includes technology, pedagogy, and content.  An example that they use in this article I think really shows the usefulness of TPCK is: “consider the group redesigning the astronomy website for fifth graders.  Teaching astronomy to fifth graders requires understanding not just about astronomy but also what fifth graders know, the various misconceptions they have and how these misconceptions can be fruitfully addressed and rectified, and how to involve and motivate learners at this age” (pg 1040).

Overall it wasn’t that bad of a read but it was a very long read. 😦

If anyone has any comments, suggestions, or feedback feel free to comment below or message me!  I am still new to the blogging world so I would definitely appreciate any helpful comments/feedback!  Thanks 🙂