Why technology works

Here’s my video on the action research project I did in regards to looking at how technology incorporation moves student learning. (NOTE: a “mock” pecha kucha.)

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9 thoughts on “Why technology works

  1. First of all…breathe!

    Secondly, I had firsthand experience of hearing your students question that leap into technology. As a general rule, I think students are hesitant, even at the 12th grade level, to try something new in the classroom. Students have been conditioned to the “traditional” classroom and they don’t know how to react when a new way of learning or interacting is presented. I was honestly surprised to hear how unwilling students were to use the wiki and the blog you presented, as I thought seniors would appreciate originality. That being said, it sounds like it turned from merely a blog to an interactive, enjoyable and collaborative environment. I know you received criticism for your ideas (I heard some of it myself), and I respect and admire that you didn’t give in and you proceeded with confidence in your ideas…not that I’d expect you, of all people, to do anything different.

    By the way, I loved the phrase “blogging dagger” and the pictures of your dog. Nice touch – the visuals definitely complemented your words.

    “Conjunction Junction…what’s your function?” I like that you included videos on the blog and didn’t leave it up to students to add material. You listened to their interests and contributed to the blog, as opposed to leaving them to work on their own. I think working with students and showing them that you’re not just a dictator will yield beneficial results.

    I hope to create such a collaborative environment in my future classrooms. I didn’t use blogs or wikis with the 9th graders, mainly because of technology issues, but you can bet I’m going to use both next year.

    • HAHA! Hey, I had a lot to get in 5 minutes! 🙂

      I like that you used the word “conditioned” when talking about how students have been working within classrooms. And I think an important point is made here…if our students aren’t flexible and open to change, how will they interact when they are in the “real” world? (Because we all know the “real” world has structure, but is full of change every day, hour, minute, and second!

      You know, I never really thought about myself as a contributor to the collaboration going on until you mentioned it here. Interesting….and true. I think then that even though we create these things for students to collaborate and be interactive through, we, as teachers, still need to be players in the process, too. Hmm…a blog posting might be in the works about this!

  2. I really enjoyed listening/watching your action research response. I loved how you paired images with your reflection; it really added an extra element to your post! I am glad that you found using a class blog really added to fueling the fire of discussion with your students.

    Creating a class blog was something that I toyed with since the beginning of this semester. I would love to know more about how you structured the blog and your working with the blog. Did you require students to make posts or just offer it up as an extra forum for discussion? How did you keep track of all of the students’ posts?

    I have been trying to figure out a way to handle a blog for a vast number of students. I have been thinking of maybe creating a separate blog for each class period, but I was wondering if you found the number of posts to read overwhelming.
    I am glad that you found that a blog really allowed for the students to take ownership of the class. It is always exciting to see students have authentic learning experiences and to really be excited about contributing thoughts and ideas. Having a blog lets students who would tend to be shyer in offering up discussion in class a real forum for thought provoking discussion. It is also a great way for students to have notes to look back through to continue pushing their thinking. Congratulations on a successful project!

    • Yes, students were required to post (well, really reply) to the prompts I provided, and then respond to a classmate’s as well. Basically my CT wanted it required as a HW completion grade, but once I handed out the blog rubric, their prompts were counted into their writing assignments grades. I actually had a blog for all three of my blocks, and didn’t find the tracking to be overwhelming, but I also only had them respond to one prompt a week. BUT I think as a teacher, using something like a RSS reader would help with the tracking part because then you can see who wrote what, when, etc. in all one central place.

      I thought it worked really well, but as I mentioned in the video, I’m thinking that next time I’d like my students to have their own blogs, so they are the actual creators of the “prompts.” I think this would provide a more dynamic, interactive environment that I am excited to see play out one day!

  3. What I truly love about your use of blogs and wikis was that it gave EVERY student the opportunity to participate and communicate in class – quite possibly in a way that was more comfortable and more meaningful for them. Like you said, by using these technologies, your classroom turned into a student collaborative learning environment where everyone was involved. And isn’t that the ultimate goal? As teachers, we want to move all of our students and give them the opportunity to contribute to the learning process as much as possible. It’s great that you realized that it’s not just about what the teacher has to say – students have a lot to teach us as well. Sounds like the ultimate goal was reached through this project and your incorporation of technology – congrats! I look forward to seeing what you do in the future, especially with incorporating a class Ning!!

    • Yes, and then we can hook up our classes via our NINGS! 🙂 A little cross-state collaboration perhaps?

  4. I also discovered that blogging provided one avenue for transforming an unproductive, teacher-centered classroom. I remember the first time I tried to lead a discussion in class. It bombed. This was for a number of reasons: I mirror-taught the lesson, it was about a poem, the author was a dead white guy, and well, it was sixth period. But looking back, I can see that is was the method of discussion as well. I was trying to operate in that teacher-centered mode. When I used the blogs later on, students felt free and motivated to write extensively about a wide range of topics.

    Did it surprise you that there weren’t many self-proclaimed “digital natives” in your classes? I found that although many students were familiar with different media, blogging was completely new. I like how you created a rubric for the blogging task. I think that would be really helpful for a lot of reluctant and/or confused students.

    • To be honest, I don’t think I was very surprised about the lack of digital natives in my class. I think this is because the classroom environment before I entered my placement was not one that integrated technology at all. With that said, students were digital in the sense that they all communicated via various e-means (whether it was email, IM, or texting), but I think the intro. into the blogging world was one they had never really considered before.

      The rubric definitely helped clarify and make expectations more clear. As with any assignment, I think this is something that is really important and I will try to incorporate down the road as well.

  5. I’m glad you noted that “integrating even the smallest form of technology” into the classroom is challenging. But, your goal (and eventually your outcome) is worth the challenge! Giving students a place to engage comfortably is something every teacher strives for- whether it’s in a classroom or online.

    When at first your students were hesitant you gave them exactly the push they needed. By providing a rubric they knew exactly what your expectations for them was. Brilliant!

    Watching your video was very inspiring for me. Not only did your project turned into something you hadn’t imagined at first (a place to ask for help) but it also turned into something you had only dreamed of (students actually taking ownership over their own learning). So often as an educator you may provide the space for learner but you can’t force the connections to happen. You just have to plant the seed and hope for growth. Sometimes it happens, sometimes not so much. It awesome that your students recognized that the blog worked best when they all worked together (the “intricate circles” you discussed).

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