Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Journal 6: Ten Reasons to Get Rid of Homework

Spencer, J. (2011, September 19). Ten reasons to get rid of homework (and five alternatives). Retrieved from http://www.educationrethink.com/2011/09/ten-reasons-to-get-rid-of-homework-and.html

Ten Reasons to Get Rid of Homework: This article, by John Spencer, puts forth reasons for teachers not to assign homework to students. His reasons cover multiple areas of schooling and argue for the abolishing of homework altogether. The most prospective reason in his article, in my opinion, is the "Inequitable Situation" reason presented by Spencer. According to him, many students have a disadvantage in that their parents do not provide the support needed for them to complete their homework at home. Many students have parents who are either too busy, too tired, or unwilling to assist their children in their work. The students with parental support gain the advantage in this case.

The least prospective reason, in my opinion, is that "Most Homework is Bad". Spencer argues that most homework recreates the school environment at home. What he fails to realize is that homework is the reality of schooling and always will be. Students must be prepared for intense homework if they plan to succeed in college and for a teacher not to assign homework implies that the teacher isn't looking out for his/her students' future and best interests. What a shame.

Five Reasons To Keep Homework: I've chosen to defend the use of homework by giving five reasons on why it should stay within our schools.
1. Homework promotes discipline and growth - Without homework, students can lose their sense of discipline and slow their academic growth. Do I believe that kids should have time to be kids? Of course, but there are many hours in a day and kids should devote some of their time to doing assignments. 

2. Many assignments address the problems facing our world today - If large assignments like essays and reports were done away with, then there would be two major problems as a result. First, what's to keep the students from doing any work at all? When I was in school, it was very easy to coast by and let other students participate while I sat back and listened. If a teacher called on me, I would say something similar to what another student said. If I had done all my assignments, I would be more motivated and more ready to participate in class. Second, without dedicated time at home to perform research, read, and write reports, students will lose out on examining many issues that are facing the world today. I know that if I was in school, I would rather watch television than read the news and find information about important topics. If there are no assignments, why should students care to engage in such information?

3. Homework provides additional feedback - Homework can be used to gauge student knowledge and understanding. Without homework, the teacher must perform additional steps and allocate additional time to figuring out whether his/her students are grasping the material. With homework, the teacher can spend time outside class grading and seeing common mistakes and subsequently plan to address the mistakes in later classes.

4. Homework is a great way for students to practice what they've learned - Students need time to digest what they have learned in class each and every day. Once they get home, students can play for awhile and relax and then begin to work on their homework. By doing homework, students can practice what they have learned and become better at what they do. After all, practice makes perfect and one hour periods each day do not provide enough time for students to practice the material. 

5. Group assignments promote collaboration - Some assignments can given as group assignments, where students get together and collaborate to form ideas. These assignments are fantastic ways for students to build relationships with their peers both in and out of the classroom. Let the students build things and perform experiments outside the classroom to solidify their understanding of the material and engage in collaboration. These assignments can show students the real world benefits of education, which often may not be present in the curriculum.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Journal 4: Join the Flock/Enhance Your Twitter Experience

            Ferguson, H. (2010). Join the flock. Learning & Leading with Technology, 37(8), 12-14. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/Libraries/Leading_and_Learning_Docs/June_July_2010_Join_the_Flock.sflb.ashx

Miller, S. (2010). Enhance your twitter experience. Learning & Leading with Technology, 37(8), 12-14. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/Libraries/Leading_and_Learning_Docs/June_July_2010_Join_the_Flock.sflb.ashx

Join the Flock: In the first article entitled "Join the Flock," Hadley Ferguson describes how she created and developed her own PLN (Personal Learning Network) using Twitter. She gives many suggestions and instructions on the uses of Twitter, including how to setup an account, how to follow someone, how to retweet and make friends, and how to expose yourself on Twitter. She also describes how hashtags can be very useful in exposure to streams of educators who use similar hashtags.

Q1: How do hashtags play a role in who sees what and what are some good hashtags?

A1:  Hashtags play an important role in linking information to a network of people who may find the information useful. After all, what good would sharing lesson plans with just your family or friends be? More people will see posts with hashtags added and the educational hashtags can directly funnel information to other Twitter users' streams. Some good hashtags, according to Ferguson, are #teachers, #educators, #web20, and #pln.

Enhance Your Twitter Experience:

The second article, "Enhance Your Twitter Experience", describes how to enhance one's experiences on the social website Twitter through various tools. She also includes a section on Twitter terminology, which she dubs "Tweminology" at the end of her article. Miller encourages new Twitter users to become active in their areas of interest and parcipate in discussions after they feel comfortable. With the right exposure, new Twitter users can adapt and join groups that will help build PLN's.

Q2: Why is it recommended that we acquire tools to organize our Twitter accounts?

A2: Miller recommends that we manage and organize our tweets with a Twitter organizer tool such as TweetDeck or HootSuite. Both tools organize the streams of data acquired from Twitter into easily managed columns. Miller herself says that she often has multiple columns which house her favorite lists so that she can be up to date on all the information.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Journal 3: Upside Down and Inside Out

Fulton, K. (2012). Upside down and inside out: Flip your classroom to improve student learning. Learning & Leading with Technology, 39(8), 12-14. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/learn/publications/learning-and-leading/issues/Upside_Down_and_Inside_Out.aspx

Summary: "Upside down and inside out" is an article that discusses a recent fad in the world of education called "flipping".

When an educator "flips" his/her classroom, he/she let students learn the material at home and do homework in class. This is radically different than the traditional classroom. In the flipped classroom, students watch video lessons at home prepared by their teachers and then work on their homework during class. Students can choose to work individually, in groups, or even outside of the classroom. Lessons are available via iPods and other MP3 players so that students can refer to them while doing their homework. According to the article, this practice has been very successful and student feedback indicates that students enjoy the new system.

Q1: Is this approach reasonable for all levels of Math?

A1: I would have to say that "flipping" can be very difficult depending on the subject matter. The problem I see is that students cannot ask the teacher questions while they are watching or listening to the video lessons. My belief is that any questions a student may have about the material should be answered immediately to avoid having the student guess or adopt a wrong method. This is especially important in Math because many students struggle to grasp the concepts behind the problems. It can be dangerous if students don't understand the foundational material in the video but continue to watch and attempt problems toward the end.

Q2: How would teachers deal with parents who object to this type of teaching method?

A2: I think that this question is very important because I can see many parents objecting to the flipping method. They may object simply because they do not want to change or they are uneducated about the potential benefits of flipping. As a teacher I would make sure that all of my students' parents were on board before I made the change to the curriculum. Any parents who object to the method I would talk face-to-face and explain to them why flipping the classroom could be very beneficial.

Journal 2: School 2.0 Reflection Tool

NETS-T 3: Model Digital-Age Work and Learning - Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.

For this reflection, I chose the module involving digital-age work and learning.  I chose to examine a resource article entitled "Grow Your Personal Learning Network �New Technologies Can Keep You Connected and Help You Manage Information Overload." Within this resource are helpful hints on creating and maintaining what is known as a personal learning network (PLN). There are two key elements to this: an aggregator and the learner. The learner uses an aggregator (such as Google Reader) to bring information to the forefront and expand knowledge. These aggregators come in all shapes and forms and are almost always free to use. An example given by the article is the social bookmarking site known as Delicious. One may perform a search on Google for a specific subject and receive millions upon millions of results. Delicious can be a great tool to limit these results to websites of higher quality (since someone took the time to view and bookmark them).

The article uses a metaphor on how information on the internet used to be hunter-gatherer type but today has shifted into domestication. As soon as one finds a blog they are interested in, he/she can subscribe to the blog and forever be connected to a valuable resource without any additional hunting. The blog is only one example--people may build their learning network using mailing lists, Google Docs, Twitter, comment boards, and other social tools. It is easy to see how powerful a personal learning network may become. The uses for the network are endless; I can think of many examples of situations where I would turn to the network for valuable, unbiased information that comes directly from the source.

Finally, the article stresses the importance of examining the one weakness associated with personal learning networks. This weakness involves human tendency to "incline" with information that matches or agrees with our worldviews. According to the author, "...we must try to cultivate networks that challenge our thinking and frames of reference. That is how we all learn."

Monday, July 9, 2012

Journal 1: 100 things that make you happy

1. Books
2. Numbers
3. School
4. Friends
5. Family
6. My dog
7. Food
8. Soda in general
9. Television
10. Facebook
11. Art
12. Computer
13. Wii
14. Tablet
15. Pizza
16. Mountain Dew
17. Pictures
18. Slurpees
19. The sun
20. Swimming
21. The ocean
22. Music (it took till #22 to think of music??)
23. Motorcycles
24. Hot rods
25. Jeans
26. Cool looking belts
27. Nike shoes
28. San Diego Chargers
29. Trees
30. Popcorn
31. Family Guy
32. PS3
33. Fishing
34. Bowling
35. Reading
36. Sushi
37. Subway
38. The beach
39. Flying a kite
40. T-shirts
41. Barbecue ribs
42. The gym
43. Visiting my parents
44. Cooking
45. Seeing old friends
46. Facebook
47. Tutoring kids
48. Watching movies
49. Tennis
50. Xbox 360
51. Chalkboards
52. Going to the lake
53. Frozen yogurt
54. Seeing my doctor
55. Game nights at friends
56. Movie theaters
57. Seeing my cousin Ty
58. Memories
59. Talking to strangers
60. Awkward moments
61. Macaroni and cheese
62. Apples
63. The zoo
64. Museums
65. Using all my cell phone minutes
66. Texting my girlfriend like crazy
67. Cable TV
68. The internet
69. Scholarships
70. American Dad
71. Snowboarding
72. Hiking
73. My bed
74. Sleeping
75. Sleeping in
76. Driving places
77. Disneyland
78. Getting paid
79. Saving money with coupons
80. Comic-con
81. Chat rooms
82. Disassembling items and putting them back together
83. Crunching numbers
84. Lava lamps
85. Cereal
86. Candy bars
87. Christmas
88. School breaks
89. Spring
90. Writing letters
91. Doing favors for others
92. Mario kart
93. Decorating
94. Building things
95. Designing things
96. Trying new foods
97. Going out to eat
98. Baseball
99. Walking dogs
100. Angry Birds