Friday, September 30, 2011

Blog Post #6

The Networked Student

I really enjoyed taking certain points of view from Mrs. Drexler's "Networked Student;" however I don't know that I feel comfortable or that it is appropriate to apply this student's learning experiences to all classrooms and subjects. I fully believe that students should be familiar with the various tools offered on the internet. Once students realize that they are fostering, creating, judging, and planning their own learning experience, I can only imagine their interests will sky rocket. By teaching students to use the infinite resources just a click away, children will become much more eagerly involved. Students are no longer being forced to sit still at a desk, look up information through an outdated textbook and copy it back just as they saw it. What is the point in that? Isn't that the question Dr. Strange has been asking for years?
Empowering students through technology as well as positive support is of utmost importance; but how do the students learn the proper tools and how to implement them to enhance their learning experience? The teacher! We are still an integral part of their learning experience. Educators must be present for moral and academic support equally. Students first need to be aware of the safety of the sites from which they obtain their information. Teachers will also guide the students on how to use many different tools to further expand their knowledge, such as blogs, wikispaces, and social media. While our cartoon paper student did a remarkable job finding valuable information and I am sure is infinitely wiser about the human psyche than when he first began, it is the act of finding, organizing, and being proud of his work that should really speak for itself.
As I mentioned earlier, I do not believe that the networked student should make an appearance in every classroom, every hour of the week. I truly love the idea of implanting students with the knowledge to create their own intellectual journey and fully believe that this idea will empower students to achieve a new level of learning. I also agree that students who are taught these tools, how to use them, and their benefits will appreciate learning in a whole new light. For this, I am jealous. I know many of you reading this can go back to your school days (some of us that requires a little longer trip down memory lane) and the first thing that comes to mind is trying not to fall asleep as your number two pencil slowly rolls of your desk, teacher still mumbling along, as you peacefully slip into dreamland and away from trigonometry. Getting students involved on the web and connecting with others is an incredible way to ignite interest. However, I also believe there are other tools besides the web that can be used to spark children's excitement. I agree with Dr. Strange, Mrs. Drexler, and others that lecturing is becoming out of date and for that we should celebrate! I would love to integrate my new found love and exploration of technology into different activities throughout the classroom. For example, when teaching a lesson on Mexico, I could let the children make sombreros and wear them as we learn the salsa. Next, the students could upload the video of the class doing a salsa dance as well as their sombrero picture onto their blog! The students would be able to get feedback from others all over the world, possibly even Mexico! I am so excited to learn more about the networked student and how to appropriately incorporate him/her into my classroom.

This is a peace sign made out of flowers.

A 7th grader's PLN

The first thing that spoke to me about this video was how proud I would be of this young lady if she were my daughter or student. She enunciates her words very well and clearly explains the points she means to get across to her viewers. One of the things that immediately impressed me was how organized all of her projects, agendas, and networks look. She later brings up the fact that network learning is different from pen and paper in the sense that it looks "cool" and "neat" when finished. Her PLE perfectly demonstrates this. I couldn't believe how helpful this learning environment would be to students, especially those who are disorganized or are very busy with extracurricular activities. I loved the notetaking program, and social bookmarking account. The idea of creating a certification report and publishing it in order to allow the students to hold animals is a perfect example of how I would like to integrate technology into my classroom as well.
I can honestly say that this student's PLN is a bit more extensive than mine would be at the moment. Yes, that is a little embarrassing but also motivational. I would love to include the notetaking, social bookmarking, glogster, and blog accounts in my PLN also. This young lady has really opened my mind and given me new ideas of websites and web related activities to investigate. I was a bit unfamiliar with PLNs, so I googled PLN in education and was taken to this wonderful website. It has links to several videos, forums, and blogs by educators we have already read about. Check it out! That's what I'm going to do right now!
During my brief view of this website, I came across this video. Watch it. If the Classics Academy doesn't appeal to you, what does that say about you as a 21st century teacher?

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