Web 2.0 Learning Experience – So Far

My Web 2.o learning tool is Wikispaces. I have a little experience with Wikis for school, but I never made one myself. I’ve used them for something as simple as a sign up page for when I did observations in undergrad. I also used them for a whole semester last fall. The professor posted all classwork and assignments on his Wiki. As for creating a Wiki myself, I had to do some research. I learn best by seeing and doing. Because of this, I looked up “how to create a Wiki on youtube.” This helped me visualize what I am suppose to do and where are the options are on the website. I also learn by doing. So, I played around on the Wikispaces site until I understood how to do it. I’m excited to share my findings and work with my partner to create a cohesive presentation.

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Media Ecology (Weekly Reading Reflection Week 4)

Heather A. Horst, Becky Herr-Stephenson, and Laura Robinson, authors of Media Ecologies, suggest that a child’s media ecology plays a detrimental part in their lives. Media ecology can be described as, “the study of media environments, the idea that technology and techniques, modes of information and codes of communication play a leading role in human affairs.” After reading this article, I was interested in learning more about media ecology. It is a tough term to understand. I found video that really helped me grasp what the term media ecology means. In the video, Neil Postman states,

A medium is a technology within which a culture grows; that is to say it gives form to a culture’s politics, social organization, and habitual ways of thinking.

In other words, technology helps make us who we are as a society. I think the chapter, Media Ecologies, echoes that sentiment.

Young Children’s Technology Experiences in Multiple Contexts (Weekly Reading Reflection Week 4)

Christine Wang, Ilene R. Berson, Candace Jaruszewicz, Lynn Hartle, and Dina Rosen, authors of Young Children’s Technology Experiences in Multiple Contexts, aim to compare the similarities between Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory to current Information and Communication Technology (ICT) principles. They believe that doing this will help us make sense of children’s ever-growing practices with technology.

I liked how these authors presented their findings with a real world scenario, “Jessica’s World.”This helped me visualize the concepts more, which in turn created a deeper understanding.

I do think it makes sense, that technology has changed the word of young children today. As educators, we must:

  • provide developmentally appropriate ICT strategies
  • determine which skills are needed, for both us and our students
  • provide support and guidance in multiple contexts

 

 

Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year Olds (Weekly Reading Reflection Week 4)

The Kaiser Family Foundation conducted the study in which they surveyed more than 2000 participants, ages 8-18, on their media use. The foundations defines media as TV content, music/audio, computers, video games, text, or movies. The foundation conducted this survey to collect data. They hope that the analysis of this data will aid: policymakers when creating national media policies, parents who want to maintain their child’s media habits, educators and advocates who are concerned with the impact of media on youth, and those who want to determine the educational and informational potential of media in young people’s lives.

I think that this was an interesting and necessary study to conduct. It is important for us to have a basic understanding of a topic before creating policies, laws, or restrictions on it. For example, maybe the survey results would show that now, children 8-10 spent most of their day watching TV. It also could show that children ages 8-10 have lower test grades than they did in 1999. It can be assumed that those two events are correlated. Therefore, policymakers may take that into account when making media policies.

It is also important for use to be knowledgeable on a topic before investing time and energy into it. For example, if the results of the survey showed that many of our youth use mobile devices for 20% of their day, maybe educators would want to determine the potential of using mobile devices for educational use.

 

Technology in the classroom; Yay or Nay? (Weekly Reading Reflection Week 3)

I’ve always been a firm advocate for integrating technology into the classrooms of any grade. There are numerous advantages for having technology and interactive media integrated into curriculum. It presents the information in new and engaging ways. In this day and age, it is silly to say that our students are not using technology at home. Why not bring that knowledge and skill into the classroom?

Douglas H. Clements’ and Julie Sarama, authors of “Strip Mining for Gold: Research and Policy in Educational Technology—A Response to “Fool’s Gold,” explain the misconceptions of a research report called “Fool’s Gold.” In this report, the results deem to be misleading and half-true. Clements and Sarama explain how using the results to “Fool’s Gold” to frame how we use technology in education can be dangerous and unfair. I agree with them in that while there were valid concerns included in the report, the conclusions made from those concerns do not represent what is it really like to have technology within the classroom.

Unlike “Fool’s Gold”, “Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8,” lays out some valid concerns for using technology within the classroom. However, the author explains that the research done on this subject it divided and conflicting. He or she also admits that there is more research needed in the long-term effects of using technology in the classroom. I agree with the author of this article. I do think that we still have a lot to learn about the long term effects. However, I also believe that the use of technology in every day life is going to be unavoidable. To not bring this skill-set and source of information into our classrooms would be doing our students a disservice.

“Those who can, do. Those who understand, teach.” (Weekly Reading Reflection Week 3)

Lee S. Shulman, author of, “Those Who Understand: Knowledge Growth in Teaching” opens up his article with the age-old quote, “He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.” As a teacher, especially when I was in college, nothing aggravated me more than to hear someone say those words. I agree with Shulman in that many people do not understand how much goes into being an educator. To take one’s own knowledge and transform it in a way that is teachable is not an easy task, and it is not something that everyone can do. To understand how to transform our teacher knowledge into concepts to be understood, it is important to look at what we know as teachers in our field. Included in that is understanding elements that we are missing, as well as things we still need to learn. I believe that knowing what you still need to learn is the most important element of all. It allows you to become a better educator. I have both my general childhood education certification and my childhood special education certification. I chose to represent my teacher knowledge as follows (click to enlarge): week-3-teacher-knowledge-web

I chose to represent my teacher knowledge in a form of a tree chart because it lays out my thinking in an aesthetically pleasing way. To do this I used Google Drawing. I decided to list all of my current experience within special education under my “what I have” section. As for my “what is missing” section, there are elements that I know I want to receive eventually in my field. The elements in my “what I need to learn” section are things I find myself wanting to know more about while working in special education classrooms. I think that overtime, every section will continue to grow and I will continue to learn more and more about the world of special education.

Results of the Technology Survey

Viewing the results from the Technology Survey was interesting! The first thing that struck me was that our class seems to be quite tech savvy. The majority of feel that we have been sufficiently exposed to new technology and have the skills needed to use those technologies. I do not find that too surprising. In this day in age, especially in this field, I feel that it is important to keep up with the every-growing technologies in order to give our student the best education possible. The survey shows that we are average with our content knowledge. This also makes sense because as childhood educators, I would think we would know most content knowledge subjects. I do find it interesting that many of us voted for “strongly disagreed” on questions that asked if we knew about technologies to implement those specific subjects. I do think there is more professional development to be done regarding using technology for specific subjects.