Alan November–NECC 2007 Notes

July 1, 2007

Expanding Boundaries of Learning: Designing Rigorous and Globally Connected Assignments

Alan November

Recording of presentation

Location: GWCC Murphy 1 Tag: n07s722

 

Questions by Alan

 

  1. Have you traveled outside U.S.

    1. Yes

  2. Will you students compete globally?

    1. Yes

  3. Do you students connection w/ others outside U.S.?

    1. Yes

  4. Do you students have a global work ethic?

    1. No

  5. Have you been to a presentation by someone not from U.S.?

    1. Yes/no

  6. Web 2.0 tools blocked

    1. Majority block 3

  7. Who currently owns the learning?

    1. 38 government

    2. 26 teachers

  8. Who should own the learning?

    1. 95 students

 

Alan

Shares idea that students should own learning.

  • Not a technology issue

  • Question is global work ethic

Brother MIT educated engineer

  • Team is now in shanghai

  • Once he is done training unsure what to do

  • Not motivated to work on own, organization dependent not self directed

  • Culture of school is dependent on students to be managed

  • Should reverse dependency to interdependence

  • Daughter’s graduation speaker said students ready to conquer the world

  • Alan states student able to but only ready to take courses

 

To create students who control learning teacher must create authentic audience

  • Research says students need instant feedback

    • Students recording poems needed second takes

    • Not happy with first recording

  • Students need global, not paper, voice

    • Students need to be taught courage with their voice

  • Teacher from Maine, Bob Sprinkle 3rd grade

    • Every Mon producer review of academic matter from previous week

    • Jobs: writer, reader, producer, actor

    • Kids rotate

    • Evolved into math corner, writing show, everyone wanted their own show

      • Student show work ethic

      • Must know content to create show

    • Teachers do not need to know how to podcast, kids will do this

    • Teachers need to know when and what to podcast

Marco Torres

  • Video produced by former students who graduated already

  • Students realize the need for a change in the system

    • Technology allows students to be with teachers

    • Teachers are not ready to hand over classroom

 

Teaching in a prison school

  • Student motived by real problems

  • Motivated those who do not want to learn

Teaching American history in Lexington

  • Should we teach American version or British version

  • If you confront people with a version of the truth they do not know they interact

  • Have students find this information

  • Textbook limits this information

  • Allows students to build curriculum and build research skills

Great Gatsby

  • One version read across the world

  • How do those outside the US view the work?

  • Then you can fully understand impact of book

  • Students own learning when they bring in the assignments to complete rather than given assignment

 

Do not need technology integration team, rather global integration team

 

Hiroshima

  • Read essays by student in Japan written in English

  • Need to understand views of others

  • Can hold debate via Skype

  • Class debate or debate b/w two cultures: which is more authentic?

 

Searching for authentic audience

  • Need to understand how to search properly

  • Using country code when searching

 

Closing

  • Underestimated ability of students

    • Need job and can create podcasts

  • Need for global audience

    • Fill iTunes will content rather than block it

  • Need global interaction

    • Skype groups

    • Ability to receive comments from audience listening

  • This will allow for boundaries to go beyond time and space

  • RSS will allow for control to shift to students while viewing results

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Utopia High and the power of blogging

February 28, 2007

Recently our Freshman Pre-AP class finished reading selections from Plato’s Republic and applied our new knowledge. To apply our knowledge we outlined the guidelines for a new high school, Utopia High. Following our discussion of the selected book, the student outlined their ideas in groups, supported their ideas in a class discussion and finally wrote about the new school. The areas cover include the following:

Categories of people at your high school (e.g. Students, teachers, etc.)
School schedule
Curriculum
Extracurricular activities
Facilities (e.g. Libraries, labs, etc.)
Admission requirements
Causes for expulsion

Coincidentally, Edutopia published and article outlining futurist Alvin Toffler’s idea on the future of schools. I noticed this article in reading my wife’s blog, Musings From the Academy. After conducting a Technorati search on Toffler I found another blog posting on the article at CreativeClass.org. I pointed out the other blog posting to my class and they proceeded to extend the conversation outside of the walls of our class by leaving comments on the Musings blog. Angla noted to the CreativeClass audience of the discussion and expanded our audience again. When I explain to the class how many people were now involved in the discussion they were amazed. Just another example of the power of blogging. And yes, I realized following my posting of my comments of the typo.

Enjoy your day,


Student Narratives–This I Believe

August 27, 2006

This past week our English I Pre-AP class wrote narrative autobiographical essays. Within class we read and analyzed a selection from Arthur Ashe’s autobiography Days of Grace. We also listened to three selections from the NPR series This I Believe. I provided the students with the link to the NPR series to listen on their own. I elected to listen to the essays by Tony Hawk, professional skateboarder, Josh Rittenberg, a junior at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in Manhattan, and Sen. John McCain. I wrote my essay back in April and the link to my essay is still viewable under teacher entries on our Class Blogmeister page.

Besides working on our understanding of narrative essays, my goal for our class is to work on the editing process. This class is also taking AP Human Geography and will be taking the AP exam in May. As we work on our writing, my first goal is to get students comfortable with the revision process. I am publishing the originally submitted drafts; however, I am requiring students to submit a revised copy before we record these essays for publications. We will be revising and podcasting these essays later this week. Check back for the student podcast.


Classblogmeister

July 11, 2006

Mark Ahlness has written a great posting on Classblogmeister, the blogging website designed specifically for classroom use. I have used Blogmeister in my sophomore English and sophomore History classes through out the past six months. Personally I found Blogmeister as great way to engage my students while focusing on the writing process. It allowed them an opportunity to not only focus on writing, but also allowed them the opportunity to view the writings of fellow classmates. It also provided them a venue to a larger audience, the world, as supported by the Clustrmap displayed on our website.

While the website did have some technical issues, the listserve is a great way for quick responses from teachers using the program. Often tech support comes in the form of a computer specialist; however the listserve is support from fellow teachers. It is also a great way to share ideas. David Warlick has worked hard to make corrections to the program; most of which were the result of a feverish increase in popularity. He continues to improve the service while still not charging its users.

Feel free to check out my previous posting on classroom blogging for other ideas.


Educational uses of Audiocasting

July 6, 2006

Yesterday I posted on how to create an audiocast.  At the end of my posting I ask everyone to think about how to use audiocasts in an educational setting.  Notice that I posed the questions as audiocasts for educational purposes.  What I did not say was audiocasts in the classroom.  One of my primary reasons for supporting the use of technology in education is to expand education beyond the walls of the classroom.  The key to realize is that there are no new answers to this question; rather audiocasting presents a new medium for the same activities teachers have been using for years.  What is new is that this medium opens countless opportunities to use these new activities.
1)      Teacher lectures

The most obvious use of audiocasting is recording lectures.  When to record and how to use these recording vary depending on the comfort level of the instructor and the accessibility of the students to such recordings.  Two options exist for teachers to record lectures for use as audiocast.  One is during class.  A teacher can do this easily using a handheld recorder such as the attachment to an iPod or the internal microphone on a Creative Zen.  Recording during a presentation presents some limitations as to the use of the audiocast.  Primarily this audiocast can only be use by students for reviews.  Students preparing for an exam or a presentation can replay the lecture.  Students who missed a lecture due to an absence in class can review the information missed.  While this is a nice gesture, I see more advantages to recording lectures prior to class.  That said, I have enjoyed several lectures recorded in this fashion.  The difference I have noticed in those audiocast of lectures recorded while the instructor is presenting is those lectures seem to be geared toward fellow teachers; a professional development session.  My belief is that most instructors realize that few students will replay an entire lecture, so the instructor realize that he or she can better spend the time making an audiocast for other reasons.

 

The second method for teachers to record lectures is those lectures recorded prior to class.  This provides various opportunities of use, depending on student availability to technology.  “Why would I record my lecture prior to class?”  Obviously when you are planning your lessons recording your lecture gives you a chance to preview your information.  We always tell our students to proof read their work; occasionally we should follow our own advice.  Second consideration when pre-recording lectures is the access to technology of your student.  While teaching three sections of World History last year I began to record my lectures prior to class and combining the recordings with visuals using Microsoft Producer.  This added a concrete image to the words.  My students had access to computers during class.  After providing my students with an outline my students were able to listen to the lecture at a self-guided pace.  This allowed me to pace around the room answering specific questions in a less intimidating environment.  It also allowed my students to replay portions of the lecture without the fear that associates itself in asking “what did he say”.  It also ensured that my lectures were consistent, at least in basics.

 

While I was able to do this because of consistent student access to computers, students with iPods or similar MP3 players could still complete such an activity in class.  Our class schedule is block, so typically I would follow a lecture in this format with a partner activity applying the lectured information.  I found through trial and error that students use twice as much time to listen and write down notes from a recorded lecture as the actual time elapsed if the lecture played through without interruption.  Therefore in a block setting I would record twenty minutes of information and students would complete the lecture in about forty minutes.  If I wanted my students to download from iTunes the audiocast for Friday’s class, I would make that available for my students beginning on the Monday prior.  This four day time gap will ensure ample opportunity before or after school or at home for students to download this audiocast.  Then in class I would handout copies of the visuals and the accompanying questions/activities.  If the students had a video iPod or similar video player you could create an enhanced audiocast.  (Information on this comes in future postings.)

 

But not all of my students have iPods or access to computers, how can I use audiocasts?
 

2)      Exam reviews

Over the past year I have listened to several teacher audiocasts providing students with exam reviews.  Remember that students can listen to audiocasts directly on a computer.  Even students with slow internet connections can download the audiocast and then listen after the download completes.  I have listened to some teachers who provide bonus points for students who can name the music played during a review or provide bonus information that only students who listened to the audiocast would know to review.  This type of bonus information also provides the instructor with an unscientific means of assessing the use by students of such reviews.  And since they are bonus, students who do not take advantage of these opportunities face no penalty.

 

These ideas are great (thanks), but what if my students listen to Friday’s lecture before Friday or stop listening to my lecture because they know I am recording it and will post it online?
 

3)      Application of Knowledge

If those teachers who find this to be a problem could please share with me how they were able to do this I would appreciate the secret.  If you can get the students to review the information for class before the class day reserved for that information you are in my circle of envy.  This means that you can spend your entire class completing activities and applying the information they have gained.  This is like students reading the textbook before the class. 

 

I recall a discussion from a professor at Duke who cited just this complaint.  I wish I bookmarked the comment, but I could not believe what I read.  He was actually upset that students did not attend his classes because students could pass his exams by listening to his audiocasts.  I had a professor who did the same thing, only we could pass his exams by reading the book.  Had the availability to download the lecture existed I would have save the money spent on the book.  I would assume that a professor at a university with the reputation of Duke would understand that if students can come to class with the information then this provides you the opportunity to use this information.  Imagine never having to lecture again and guiding students through creative assessments where they apply rather than regurgitate the information.  Alas, these thoughts are becoming a separate monster that we should save for a future discussion.

 

While these general ideas are great do not forget about student audiocasts. 

4)  Student Created Audiocasts

This is truly an avenue of endless opportunities.  In my World History courses my students created on-line text books and recorded brief (three minute) lectures highlighting three items they viewed as significant.  As soon as we linked these recordings to their blogs, you could not believe the sense of accomplishment I saw.  In my English course my students recorded an audiocast of a personal essay based on the NPR series “This I Believe”.  I received more positive feedback from this activity than any other throughout the year.  The written portion of this activity was my focus, but I allowed the students to record their essays after we listened to some from NPR.  They recorded while other students edited their essays. 

 

These are just general thought on audiocasting.  While I am of course bias toward the social sciences and English, think of how useful this would be in any discipline.  After all, every discipline is just a new language.  My historical people are French nouns.  My literary terms are scientific formulas. 

 

I recommend subscribing to some of the audiocast listed below.  Either access the websites directly by clicking the link below or search iTunes’s podcast directory for key words.  Listen to a few and start jotting down your ideas.  If you are worried that you will lose your list before you finishing planning your lessons for this fall; I have a great idea.  Post your list as a comment to this article.  Then whenever you need to you can refer to this posting.  This will give you a reason to view the ideas of other teachers and see what new ideas arise.  If you have written a similar blog posting link us to it.  I am curious to all the various ideas we can pile up.

Speaking of History 

AP World History

Literature Circle

Econ 100 UC Berkeley

French for Beginners

Learn Japanese  

SMARTboard Lesssons 

Wichita Public Schools IT department

St. Thomas Aquinas High School–link does not work, but do an iTunes search for the morning announcements

 

Enjoy your day,

Kyle

 


Classroom Blogging

June 13, 2006

Now that we all have had the opportunity to load up our aggregators with various blogs, let’s discuss what can be done with a blog. I mean, blogging is nothing more than a trendy buzz word. Politicians do it to be hip and win votes. Reporters do it get the scoop on the competition. Mark Cuban does it to rally support for the Mavs and complain about the NBA. Right? Maybe not.

How can we use blogging in the classroom? There are a lot of examples and ways teacher across the country and the world use blogging. In my classroom I used blogging for a variety of exercises. First of all, I truly believe that blogging helps a student with his or her writing. While students can just as easily write answers and essays on paper, that format limits the audience. Even if a student exchanges his or her paper with classmates before they submit the writing to the teacher at best this limits the audience to a handful of readers. By submitting an answer as a blog entry everyone in the class can read the student’s answer. Everyone in the same course can read the student’s submission. Students in other school and even parents can read the submission. With the potential to increase exponentially the audience I witnessed my students taking more seriously their responses.

Additionally, it allows high achieving students the opportunity to review the position of equally motivated students. It allows a student who understands the question, but lacks the confidence to express properly in writing his or her position the opportunity to view how their peers articulate their responses. Furthermore, it provides a chance for students who lack the confidence to understand the activity to check their facts before submitting and revise the work following submission.

Another benefit that I see from blogging positions is a possibility for a student to view the progress of his or her writing. While in an ideal classroom setting students will keep previous assignment and refer to past positions when reviewing; the reality is that many students use the textbook as both a source for information and a binder. By blogging answer previous assignments stay on the student’s blog page and every time a student submits a new writing the previous writing are right in front of them. While not every student will take advantage of this, at least the opportunity is in front of them.

In my classroom I used Blogmeister, a free service provided by David Warlick, to create a blog page for each of my students. I like Blogmeister because it provides me with control of all of the information posted on the website. When student submit an article, it does not appear on the web until I approve the information. This makes it easier for me to ensure that I have given credit when a student submits an entry. It also assists me to ensure that students are reviewing the information they submit. In an instance that a student does not submit work that addresses the activity, I can request the student edit the response. This past school year I used the class blog page as a venue for students to answer chapter assessment questions, SAS in School activities, and personal reflections.

Mr. Warlick’s designed his site as a free service for schools and requires that school request a pass code to ensure that only teacher use this site. If you are a Bishop Dunne teacher, e-mail me and I can give you the pass code and assist you in creating your own site. If you are not a Bishop Dunne teacher, they I would recommend e-mailing Mr. Warlick for a pass code. I would also recommend subscribing to the Blogmeister list-serve. Using this list-serve it a great way to get quick answers to common questions when creating a blog page. It is also a great venue to share ideas and learn new ideas from teacher currently blogging.

For those of you wanting more information on the benefits of blogging in the classroom I would recommend reading a blog post by Angela Stephens, my pre-wife. She recently conducted a training seminar on blogging and posted most of her research and a step by step process to creating a blog in her site.