Learning Illustrated

This week’s challenge to reflect on “Learning Illustrated” compelled me to search back over my lecture notes and readings from the past four weeks.  Although we are barely into this two year program we have already covered an immense amount of pedagogical theory, teaching techniques and how to incorporate teaching methods of the past, present and future.  I decided to illustrate this with key concepts.  Pulling from each week the lessons and curriculum those core ideas that compel a teacher to teach with passion.

Learning Illustrated

(Click on above link to view)

I also wanted to reflect on a teacher that I had in the 3rd grade.  Her name was Mrs. Wiley and to this day I remember her class.  Not because she was the easiest, hardest, nicest, meanest, greatest or worst teacher.  I remember Mrs. Wiley because she was the most creative.  In Mrs. Wiley’s class we learned math, reading, writing just like everyone else in the 3rd grade but in our class we learned it in a way that compelled an 8 year old.  You see, at 8 years old I still liked to sing and dance and play and that is exactly what we did in her class.  We performed plays, did art, had story time and sang songs all the while learning what we needed to creatively.  Two songs in particular still to this day are stuck in my head, 3 times table and 4 times table. We would sing these songs walking from activity to activity, from the playground to our classroom even when it was time to get settled.  It became over time a memory that I would never forget.   I have even taught these to my own children and often hear them singing them while doing their math homework.  I thought about Mrs. Wiley’s creative classroom as I read Quintilion this week and was struck by this observation,

For as a rule the result of the dry textbooks on the art of rhetoric is that by straining after excessive subtlety they impair and cripple all nobler elements of style, exhaust the lifeblood of the imagination and leave but the bare bones, which, while it is rights and necessary that they should exist and be bound each to each by their respective ligaments, require a covering of flesh as well.

So yes, teaching the standards is important but compelling your student with curriculum through activities they enjoy and that they are interested in is a gift, thank you Mrs.Wiley for this gift.

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Module 8 Self-Generated EDTC-6431

Module 8 Self- Generated Topic

New and Improved Poster Boards

I this last reflection I would like to discuss a few ideas. First, in this Module 8, I introduced two tools Glogster.com and Tagxedo.com.  Both of these tools are helpful with the ISTE standards of communication and collaboration.  I think they could benefit and enhance students and teachers creativity.  Secondly, I also would like to expand on my feeling about this class throughout this summer quarter.

Glogster.com is a tool that supports students and/or teachers with projects and presentations.  This tool allows the user to create a “poster-like” arrangement and to add video, pictures, music, links, etc.  Additionally individuals can develop a visual experience for the audience that is unique and impressive.  Glogster.com takes the user through processes that foster creativity and individuality.  Whether students work together or in a group each piece that is brought to the “poster” would be a distinctive part of the whole.  This could be a great way to have students and/or teachers collaborate on projects and still give them a sense on individuality.  This could empower students and/or teacher to expand on ideas in a different way than the old cut, paste and draw with markers on poster boards while refining their skills through multiple types of media.

I also explored  Tagxedo.com that is similar to the tool Wordle.net that I presented earlier in the class. As stated on the website “Taxedo -turns words — famous speeches, news articles, slogans and themes, even your love letters — into a visually stunning tag cloud, words individually sized appropriately to highlight the frequencies of occurrence within the body of text.”  This is another way of expressing individuality and turning an idea, speech, song, presentation into something more visually stimulating.  This in turn could promote critical thinking and help to simplify confusing ideas or heavy text by highlighting or emphasizing key words or ideas.

Lastly, I wanted to focus on the class as a whole.  I was extremely scared at the start of this quarter and especially for this Learning with Technology class.  I think my first thought was “what the heck have I gotten myself into!”  Once I recovered from the initial straight uphill climb out of my ideas of yesteryear and into the present focus on embracing technology it wasn’t so scary.  I felt comfortable expressing my apprehension and then my understanding of the tools presented throughout this class.  I even enjoyed telling others, outside the class, of my new technological discoveries.  I have enjoyed the discussions and the thoughtful sharing of ideas and encouragement of fellow classmates. The continued support from classmates for the different uses of each tool presented was great.  The self-generated topics posed another wealth of knowledge and individual expression of what each individual’s strengths and focuses are.  I found these two last modules to be very interesting and full or rich resources (almost overwhelming at times).  I hope to go forward with a new sense of taking chances and trying new things whether it be a technological tool or a new experience.  I think that this class became an opportunity for me to grow and I am thankful for this growth.  I found this quote that summed up what I was feeling, “Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”  I do believe that my mind is more open because of this class.

References:

Malcolm Forbes (1919 – 1990), in Forbes Magazine, http://www.quotationspage.com/search.php3?homesearch=education&startsearch=Search