Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Week 7 -- The Youth Edge

This is the last official week of the book club. There will be an opportunity next week to share your thoughts on the Afterword, if you would like. But this week, we get to talk about how kids factor into changing how their education is being delivered. As Dr. Chen said in the Foreword, "Today's youth are building a pathway to change education." How are you involving your students in changes being made in your classroom or school? Are you allowing them to have a say in how technology is being utilized, maybe in projects they are completing? Or have students had an opportunity to do any teaching, either with peers or younger students? Has the fact that today's students are constant and natural users of technology led you to meet them where they are? Share what you've done, what you want to do, and/or questions you may have.


  1. This section was interesting because it made us think. At our school, we do give some choices to students, and do ask their opinions sometimes when choosing technology. We do these things, but probably not enough. This made us think again about the benefits of student choice, and involving them in their education.

  2. In some cases, we are allowing our students to have more choices in demonstrating their learning, but it's a shame that many times they have to produce their projects at home. Sometimes it's because needed resources are not available at school, or there is no time for someone to supervise them at school. Students do help each other out more when it comes to figuring out how to use a particular tech piece; there is a wide disparity among our students as to what they have available at home. Some have all kinds of computers, iPads, wireless, etc. at home, while others trek to the public library just to check their Facebook pages. We have to be sure that we are not holding students back! I loved this piece about Cameron, the hockey player from Indiana (turns out he's Cameron Murray and lived in Westfield then) http://d3t11qjpnf3c9u.cloudfront.net/digital-generation-profile-cameron-video?page=1

    I read with great interest the article this week about the high school students who created their own Genius Bar; made great sense to me. I have integrated things like edmodo for book groups and my academic team, have tried to give students more choices for projects, such as creating videos, using moviemaker, Photostory, or other programs (they are getting tired of PowerPoint) I have students who produce daily televised announcements. (following in Eric Strolberg's footsteps; he was on this blog earlier)

    I would really like to use students to help create videos we could have on our school website to describe some basic processes and procedures. And, there are times I ask them to help me, because they are often more familiar with some programs than I am. I also want to help them set up some type of curation system where they create some type of knowledge base for themselves.

    I looked up quite a few of the things in connection with Generation Yes and Tech Yes; some of the posts seemed a bit dated, but I realized that I have met Sylvia Martinez and Jonathan Becker at ISTE (both mentioned on the site)

    The student qualities listed near the end of the chapter gave me pause: it listed such things as well-rounded curiosity, an interest in history, science, literature, and the arts. I am concerned that many of our students are not even exposed to some of these things early enough in their schooling. With our emphasis on test prep, many of our elementary students get very little science exposure at a time when their curiosity could be at its peak.
    Susie Highley

  3. As one of those digital immigrants mentioned in the text, I am constantly striving to learn and I am constantly amazed at how much faster our students are at learning the same skills. Many times, technology is simply intuititve for our students while we have to "figure it out".

    Last week, I attended the ICE conference. During the keynote on Friday, the speakers noted that we must remember that just because our students may have grown up with technology doesn't mean that they automatically know how to use it in a productive way. We (as teachers and librarians) must teach them the productive, safe skills they need to use their technology.

    I like the concept of the 3 themes of the Digital Generation Project: Creating, Collaborating, and Teaching. This gives a focus that our school has been missing. We have been exploring one-to-one and how to implement it from K to 12. I would like for us to use this model in our plannning process. Using these 3 areas of focus, our teacher can refine thier ideas of how they see these 3 things in their classes. Our first grade teacher's will have different visions than our 8th grade teacher's, but if we all follow the common theme, we will come up with a cohesive plan.
    My vision for our high school would include creating higher level movies and presentations (breaking out of the PowerPoint mentality), collaborating both at school and online and teaching their classmates and school mates. Two specific examples that I will present after Fall break include 1. our French teacher has an 8th grade "enrichment" class. She could have her French IV students produce movies or screen casts for the 8th grade students. (Or they could just teach the students in person-to-person small "guest lecture" sessions.) And 2. Our AP calculus teacher has flipped her class this year. She is always looking for a unit at the end of the year (after the test) for her students. Why not have these students produce flipped sessions for the lower level math classes?

    Individual teachers are working to reach the higher levels for our digital natives, but we need a cohesive k-12 plan where all teachers learn the skills they need to move together. Our student's are ready for this move. Our teacher's are beginning to see the light. Hopefully, we will develop a plan this year that will start moving us in right direction.

    **just a note...all of my blog posts have been written on a Galaxy tablet with a portable keyboard. While this allowed me to write these on my couch in a non-wireless environment, I did not have the spellcheck and grammar check that we are all accustomed to using. So...please excuse any major typo or grammar errors I have made. Thank you**

  4. First, thank you for the mention Susie, I am glad to hear that the morning news program is still up and running. We had a lot of fun creating morning announcements for the building and the students ran 100% of it! Took total ownership from day one and passed on the sense of ownership to the lower grades as they moved on.

    I think choice plays a huge role when it comes to technology. Gone are the days of simply teaching a student how to use a piece of software. Students today need to be taught how to choose the correct piece of software to effectively complete a task. The best way that I have found to teach this decision making process is to always offer the students multiple software options and give them time to play with each one before deciding on which software will work the best for them. The other thing I do is always include a "why did you choose this software" section on the reflective rubrics they complete. My students don't always think of technology as a tool for learning, even when they are using it to learn. I am planning on adding the teaching element in my Microsoft office unit this year. I am planning on dividing the class into groups and assigning each a different suite. They will then be in charge of leading a training session for a different class and possibly a group of parents who are interested in learning about the software. I think the teaching piece will push their learning over the top.