Friday, September 30, 2011

I am copyrighting every single word in this post. Please see me for permission to say any one of these words in the future.

Another great day getting pushed to the limit… I’ve been working on my copyright presentation – any of the rest of you in the same boat? Seriously, I don’t know who made the time chart on the full course syllabus, but I think they should re-examine that… 120 minutes of research? Really? The first link had an hour webinar embedded into it. There’s the first hour of research right there… the webinar had multiple videos embedded into it that were not part of that hour. It was great stuff, but 120 minutes was quite the conservative estimate.

Also, there was some conflicting information in the webinar too. The guy (Wes Fryer) was really pushing Creative Commons – which I’ve been pushing as well. But when talking about copyright, he mentioned how the law changed in the 80s so that created works are automatically copyrighted, even if you don’t take it and make it official. So, essentially you need permission for anything – which is why on Flickr he suggest you use the attribution license when choosing pictures to use in presentations, etc… But someone at the end of the session asked if teachers could print out pictures they found on the web, or if they would have to be a 1:1 school and let all the students look at them online. He said they’d be on safe legal ground to print them out and distribute them. Sound conflicting to you? It did to me. If anybody wants to comment on thoughts about that, I’d love to hear what you think. I’M TALKING TO YOU CLIX! I just hope I get an A on the assignment.  (He muses aloud, aware that his prof may or may not be reading this...)

Thanks for letting me rant. Mwahahahahahah… you (collective) have so little control over what I say. (But, I’m going to address the prompt right... now…)

Am I prepared for 21st century learning? Sheesh… maybe the question should be “Is the 21st century prepared for 21st century learning?” I’m as prepared as the next guy without being Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or some TED presenter. I use various tech media when presenting material to students. I’m excited about the prospect of becoming a 1:1 school. (Probably not this year, or the next… but I’m sure it will happen while I’m a teacher here.) I’m continually learning and exploring ways to incorporate technology into the classroom. I’m prepared, but definitely not over-prepared.

Do my students leave my classroom equipped for success using 21st century skills? My students leave my classroom as 7th graders, so probably not. Although, I believe they’re leaving with more skills than when they came in. We use problem identification/solving skills, and critical thinking skills every day. We are constantly creating and evaluating. Are they prepared? Probably not. Like so manyof the videos we watched for this course said: we’re training them for jobs that don’t even exist yet. Are they more prepared than when they entered? Indubitably.

My strengths are exploring and getting students to look at issues critically from varied perspectives. I’m good at using the technology I’m comfortable with, and exploring new technologies. My weakness lies in incorporating technology I’m uncomfortable with into the classroom. With limited time, it’s easy to rely on what has worked as long as it’s still working. We all know the old maxim: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Yet, just because something’s not broken doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fear And Introduction

Can the world sustain its current number of bloggers, or will the world implode?  I fear.  I fear for us all.  Personally, I’m just following orders.  I was ordered to create this thing.  And maybe it’s senseless to create an introduction to something no one (go ahead, check out how many followers I have) will read, but I’m hoping to gain a sense of progress with this Frankenstienian beast I’m creating.
Of course, there’s the first question of anonymity.  Should people know who I am, or should I hide behind a cloak of hypertext markups, onion routers, and wikileaks protections as I daftly expose all the hidden evils of our current education system?  (Or the evils *evil font* THE STATE *evil font* is perpetrating on our teachers?)  I mean,  I’ve heard our State Superintendent is up to no good, but he’s not going after bloggers the way these guys are.  So, you know my name.
I’m starting this blog for a technology class.  I bet they’re hoping I get all tech schnavvy and all.  Oh I will be.  I’ll be incorporating many of the NET standards NET standards for teachers that I read about in activity 1.3.  (I hope my professor notices that flawless transition into topics I’m actually supposed to write about… flawless…)  Truth be told, I think I already meet them all at some capacity.  I “use technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, etc…”  I “incorporate digital tools and resources” in my lessons.  I use technology to communicate to parents and the community.  I model respectful and appropriate ways to use technology – including copyright laws… laws that I’ve seen teachers take a more or less cavalier approach to following in the past.  (My scholastic experience was filled with copied papers marked, “Do Not Copy.”)
I guess the NETS fall into the category of “Practicing, But Could Be Doing More.”  There’s plenty that falls into that category… studying for tests, prayer and Bible reading, calling Great-Aunt Ethel…
My school does a good job of encouraging and supporting teachers when it comes to technology.  That’s not to say there are no barriers.  I’m typing this during prep using MS Word because the internet is down.  (Apparently it’s a “state problem.”  I’m not sure what the means, but I think it means I’ll be in trouble next class…)  As is pointed out numerous other places – technology can let you down, especially if you don’t understand it.  Furthermore, we’ve got a ton of academic standards to cover before the standardized test.  I don’t know if I’ll have time to teach students to use movie making software, then film and edit, and finally present with the increased pressure coming from the state to focus on tests.  We’ll cross that bridge eventually, social studies hasn’t seen the testing pressure that math and LA has.
So, we’ve got this Biblical command to “Fear Not.”  I don’t fear technology, not even after reading Isaac Asimov.  Robot uprising, yes.  Technology no.  I may get annoyed by it, but I won’t fear it.  The Bible also has many commands about worrying, and I think that might be a better interpretation of some of the “Fear Not” commands.  Don’t worry about it, let God handle it.  I’m not going to worry about the technology failing, or my own personal ignorance about a program.  As long as I’m not using fear as a pretext for inaction, it’s out of my hands.

I’m looking forward to this class.  I’m looking forward to keeping this blog.  Maybe I’ll get some ideas about incorporating technology into my classroom more efficiently.  That’s what I’m hoping for at least.  If not, maybe it will allow me to clarify my own muddied thoughts.  Like Anna Kamienska said, “I write in order to comprehend, not express myself.”