Sunday, December 12, 2010

Flat Classroom Project

So I just finished up judging my videos and can say that some of these students really used a lot of creativity when developing their videos. It was great to see such great end results, especially since I was having a lot of frustration and problems when it came to communicating with the students that i was an expert advisor for. There were of course those videos that you could tell were just thrown together, btu then there were those videos that you could tell the students really put a lot of effort forward to develop.

Overall being an expert advisor and judge has shown me that students can collaborate with others from around the world if they use their tools effectively. The way that the directors developed the project really were beneficial. Wikis are great because they can edited by multiple people. Also, people don't have to be on at the same time in order to do such things on them. I also really like the nings, because they are unique and can be used to teach each other about themselves as well as communicate other items. Some of the students used them to show their videos. The one thing about doing this on the ning that I saw as a problem was when a student I was judging had his privacy setting to high for me to get in and judge his video. He really could have had an awesome video, but I never got the opportunity to view this. Although having your privacy setting high can be a very good thing, when it came to this it hindered him. All his time and effort he may have put into this video went down the drain. Also, my e-mail attempts as well as Julie Lindsay and Suzie Nestico never received any replies.

In the end, I believe that this project is the future. Outsourcing is becoming more and more common these days and therefore what could be more beneficial than for students to work with others from around the world. It is great to see such a project developed and I am looking forward to the future of education.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The World is....FLAT???

So way back in the day the world was said to be flat. People believed you would sail to the end of the ocean and fall right off of it. Today we know better than this, but begin to use the same term again in a different way. The Flat Classroom Project is one that brings people from all around the world together to collaborate on a wiki and create a video on something that has to do with technology, hence bringing the world together and seemingly "flat." I was an expert advisor for this project and now am currently a judge.

The videos that I am judging come from students all around the world. They are all centered around one theme ( Globalization and Outsourcing) and had very different and unique videos. The thing about judging these projects is that you can really tell who has worked on their videos and really collaborated versus who has not. It is amazing to see high schoolers from all around the world work together so well and produce some truly amazing and unique videos. I had a hard time narrowing it down to my ultimate favorite video from the top 4 that I had selected, because my top 4 videos were all so different. I really liked each of them for a very different reason. When it came down to it, using the rubric is what really made my final decision.

This project is very unique and I can see it becoming something that will be more common in the future. It is important to try and get people from all around the world to collaborate in the classrooms, because that is the way our world is becoming. The topic I judged was particularly relevant, because our world is becoming more globalized and outsourcing is becoming more and more common. Students need to try and build these skills early on in order to be more effective and efficient in the future. I really enjoyed judging this project and am looking forward to what the world has to offer our students in the future when it comes to projects such as this!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

S-K-Y-P-E...What does that spell?..SKYPE! :)

So I just finished coaching cheerleading (hence my title lol) and was just doing a little homework when I decided to log into my igoogle for a break. I decided to look at the professional blogs since I hadn't in a few days. I started reading over some and Dr. Z Reflects caught my eye yet again. It was talking about Skype, and I personally LOVE using it. ( Yes I just yelled love at you, because that is how much I love it lol) I always talk to other people and when discussing my future classroom, I tell people that I would love to incorporate Skype into my future classroom. Dr. Z's blog informed me that Skype is creating a something called Skype in the Classroom. Ta Da!! I can see this being very beneficial since it will be a place where you can find other classrooms who are wanting to Skype with other classrooms. Since I really do not know that many people in that many other parts of the country/world who teach, this will be amazingly beneficial. I am looking forward to hearing more from Dr. Z as well as looking into it more next semester when I will be student teaching. Hopefully, they will be further along with it then. Yay SKYPE :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Keyboarding Skills

When students are growing up in today's world, they are learning many different things than we did. They are beginning to learn information and show information in many different ways as well. One skill that is becoming more and more important in today's world, is keyboarding. I know when I was in school we did a little bit with keyboarding in middle school, and then when we entered high school we could sign up for it as a class. I remember we started at square 1 with the home row and that was in high school. When is the appropriate time to actually teach kids to learn this valuable skill? Is there a such thing as teaching them to early?

Dr. Z writes a little about this issue in his blog,
Dr. Z Reflects. He discusses working with a group of great 4th grade students in an amazing teacher, Amy Lockhart's classroom at Price Lab. (I have had many opportunities to work with these same students and also have had the privilege of having Amy Lockhart as my very own teacher.) These two worked together and collected information on their findings. The students learned how to keyboard in a different way than I grew up. Instead of learning the home row, they learned using three word phrases that helped them to remember different fingers positions and what keys for them to push. The information that they collected showed that the younger students in the class were quicker than that of the students who were older and the students who had a background in music caught on quicker. The students overall improved 36% on their keyboarding fluency.

This is very interesting to see and makes me wonder whether this is a best way of teaching keyboarding. Does it work better just for younger students, or would adults learning to type benefit from it as well? Should students who are younger begin to develop these skills, or is 4th grade the perfect age to start to implement keyboarding skills into their classes? Are there other methods out there that would be even more beneficial? I would love to hear how others out there learned to keyboard and if they have any answers to my questions. Also, I found a game online that can be fun and help you to perfect your keyboarding skills. Happy typing! :)