Thursday, March 1, 2012

I thought tonight's class was thought provoking.  I like the idea that books aren't going to go away on some levels, but was disappointed the interactive book wasn't a better teacher than the paperback.  I guess that means the real 'teacher' is still the teacher.  I have enjoyed reading books on my iPad, but haven't really done much with interactive books.  I have seen my nephew's son (who is 3) play with his books on the iPad and it's fascinating how well he navigates them.  His parents still read him paper books most of the time, though.  It will be interesting to see how screen time impacts the current generation.  From my perspective, the most promising use for interactive books is with students who have disabilities that prevent them from accessing typical text materials.  They will have the opportunity to develop the same higher level thinking skills as their peers by using alternative platforms.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wow! Lots of powerful ideas.  I always look at things from a Special Education perspective.  The idea of using technology to help students with autism communicate is not new to me, but the idea of having those students be the 'expert' on an application in the general education class is powerful.  It's interesting that 2nd graders are more receptive to some programs than middle school students (the middle school students wanted to know the rules rather than diving in).  It reminds me of the Harry Chapin song (I know I'm dating myself) "Flowers are Red."  Sometimes education seems geared to taking the creativity out of students. Technology can level the playing field for special needs students -- for all students, really -- but I think that's what concerns some people.  If we completely change what's important in education, parents won't know how to guide their students to the best colleges and the best opportunities and they worry they'll lose their 'edge.'  This class is such a great opportunity to explore how things are changing.  This is an exciting time!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thoughts from class 2/9/2012

iMovie was great fun to play with!  I can think of so many personal uses -- I just wish I had time to play more.  I'm thinking it might be a great tool for transitioning parents from Early Childhood Education to School Aged Special Education services.  Parents are so nervous about Kindergarten and what school will be like for their children.  I could pull some pictures from the BSD archives and film our specialized program classes so they can get an idea of what the classrooms look like.
The Daniel Pink Video was powerful, too!  Such a great way to keep people focused and emphasize specific points.
I always leave this class so energized and excited about ideas and opportunities.

Monday, January 30, 2012

class reflection

  Class reflection

As I reflect on our last class, I keep going back to Sir Kenneth's words – what we need is not evolution, but revolution.  Sometimes, in my current position, I feel powerless to affect change – but I think everyone feels that way on some level.  I was talking with Ken and Annikke about the article we read and wondering at the variety of  schools and school systems throughout Oregon – let alone the US.  Annikke's school has grades 7 – 12 and fewer than 400 students.  Ken's school has 3 grades (6-8) and more than 800 students.  I work with Special Education classrooms in 28 schools ranging from K – transition (18 – 21 years old).  In Beaverton, we have greater infrastructure and more resources for technology but a larger system is more reluctant to accept change.  I wonder what the optimum conditions for the needed revolution are?  What are the components?  Is technology the answer, or do we need a whole new way of thinking about what students learn?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Reflection:  Sir Ken Robinson TED video.  I agree it is a revolutionary time in Education, indeed, it's a revolutionary time in the world.  Twitter, Facebook, Instant Messaging have recently brought down entire governments.  If educators are not able to embrace social media and use it to reach students, we will lose their interest.  Social media can be a powerful tool and a powerful waste of time depending on how it is used.  Some educators fear social media because students might use it as a distraction -- the best way to avoid this is to use it.  In addition to teaching reading, writing and math, we should also focus on media literacy.  Empowering students to embrace social media as an educational tool requires navigation to separate fiction from fact.  The ability to synthesize information quickly, accurately and efficiently is the challenge today -- and the wave of the future.  If we are not using technology to educate our students or teaching them how to sort, sieve and evaluate information quickly and efficiently, we are doing a particular disservice to students who do not have access to technology at home.   Affluent students have a world open to them through technology that will create a greater divide within our society if students without means do not have the availability through public education.  The video, however, makes the broader point of using technology to completely revise the way we educate.  While I agree completely, I question whether parents are ready for changes like this.  Education remains in the Dark Ages because parents and communities resist change.  Proposed changes are met with skepticism and frustration so, without revolutionizing society, it will be very difficult to move from the current system.