Wednesday, January 26, 2011

K12 Online Conference 2010 Echo: Seeds to Success with Skype - Reflection

Being faraway from home, it would only be natural that I use Skype almost everyday in order to see my family and friends, it brings us together and without that technology we might not get the chance to do so.

This being said, I thought it was a great idea that these two teachers were using it to bring their classrooms together to share a common learning environment. It gave the students in the classes a chance to share something with each other while they were both studying the same book. I liked how they took turns reading "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" a loud to one another, alternating pages so that each classroom got a chance to read.

I feel that these teachers did a great thing in introducing this technology into their classroom environment. The children then get the chance to show off their reading skills to other students in a classroom that could be anywhere in the world. Not only that, but they are also getting a valuable lesson in technology, they were learning while being engaged in the classroom which can be challenging for teachers to do in today's classroom environment. The students would more likely be excited about the upcoming lesson as well if this kind of technology was involved, because then they are not just sitting at their desks and learning it, they are learning it with other students who aren't in their class. Its something new and exciting for the students to experience, while still being educational. 

The teacher also used Skype for math lesson purposes, she had her fourth grade class Skype with a fifth grade class, and the fifth grade students would take turns quizzing her students on their multiplication. This was an amazing idea, I think because again it engages the students in the learning and makes them want to learn the material so they can impress the fifth graders with their knowledge. It would also be good for those students who were not that good at multiplication because the fifth grader would act almost as a tutor.

There were many other things that the teacher listed as use for Skype in the classroom such as, to conduct interviews with authors or other people, to gather information about another state, to see what is happening in another classroom, to read to younger students, to have another teacher read to your students, in learn about natural disasters, to include a student who is out of school for an extended period of time. But I think one of the best things that came out of this experience that the teacher had was that the students were so excited about using the technology that it extended past the classroom. They went home and showed their parents how to use it and now it has become part of their everyday lives.

It was great to see this teacher making such an impact on her students with the technology of Skype. The students were being educated and informed at the same time and it was great to see the students be excited about learning with other classrooms across the country. It was encouraging to see, because she was telling other teachers that they should use it too, because it is a great educational tool. It was also good to see a teacher who wasn't afraid to introduce this kind of technology into the classroom, it is what this generation of students needs and it was great to see her playing into that.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Reflection on Digital Natives

It is hard for me to remember a time when I didn’t have a computer to use and now sometimes I wish that I were more disconnected. I think that it is overwhelming knowing that I have to check my e-mail everyday. I think that it was interesting that this was mentioned in the movie, that its hard to get away from technology because the people on the other end will get angry.

I know that I wouldn’t mind leaving technology behind for a few days, but it was scary to me to see the children in Korea who were placed into a camp because they are addicted to being on the computer and playing games. It was sad to see how disconnected the child was from his mother, and that he barely spoke to her because he would rather play games. It is interesting to see how Korea is approaching this issue and has developed camps such as these to help students who are spending too much time online. To me, it was shocking to find out that they have to take kids to camps like this in order to encourage normal childhood behaviours, these kids were over saturated with the amount of technology they are consuming in a day.

On the other hand, where technology was added in the classrooms at the school in the Bronx, things were made better. The school was embracing technology and using it in the classroom to blog with classmates and foster an online learning community, which I feel is definitely engaging for the students, because that is what today’s generation of students need, is engagement. Basically, there is a fine line of how much is too much and when does technology stop helping children and start hindering them. They need to learn about technology because in their lifetime it is important and constantly changing, but as kids, they also need to other sort of engagements as well, like riding bikes or playing in a sandbox. I feel as though technology, such as the Wii, can take away from that nowadays. 

From kids using technology, to adults using it for meetings and creating new realms to meet in. I think the whole idea of virtual meetings is a little weird, and that it means losing the personal connection with people. Having an avatar go to a meeting for you is not what I would see as ideal. I think it would be awkward because you might not ever get to know what that person actually looks like. There are other technologies that are being used right now that would be far better suited for this purpose, such as Skype. Using virtual reality for something like World of War craft and gaming, is understandable, it’s play not work. When it comes to being professional, I find holding online meetings in an imaginary world a little childish, especially when the people are already in the same room and they would just rather meet in their virtual world because their office is better there. I feel as though bringing the virtual world into the work place in this way is not very professional. Not only that, but the interaction with human contact is lost in the sense that you have to get motivated to go to work and do something with your life, as opposed to sitting on your couch on your laptop meeting in your virtual world wearing your pyjamas.

That isn’t to say that virtual reality technology can’t be good for some things, such as the unmanned aircrafts and as a post traumatic stress tool for troops, but again, it is all about the fine line that needs to be drawn.

Technology can be a good thing, but I think that this film has opened my eyes to the fact that it can make human beings lazy. Why would we read a book, when we could have our computer do it for us? Why would I go to work for a meeting, when I can meet online and not have to leave home? Why would I go out with my friends, when I can play virtual reality games with my online friends whom I have never met? It is still normal to sit around a campfire outside in the wilderness, and not a virtual one for a meeting online. Technology has made our lives easier, there is no doubt about that, but people need to figure out where to draw that line and when it is too much. We need to not let technology over take our lives and still be involved in the real world, if people are even able to distinguish what that is anymore. 

About me :)

My name is Erika, and I am from Ottawa, Canada. I recently completed my undergrad in the BASHA program in August 2012. I am a grad student in business education and I would eventually like to teach hospitality at the college level in Canada, once I am done working in the hospitality field. I also want to become a certified wedding planner so I can work in the event department in a major hotel chain. 

I like being around my friends and family to laugh and have a good time. I am a creative person and I like to paint and use my creativity in any way I can. I enjoy photography, both looking at pictures and taking pictures of my own. I love to travel and I have lived in several places across Canada. I would love to go to Paris! In my spare time I am teaching myself to play the guitar, I love to skate and play ringette. I like to watch the NHL and the Detroit Red Wings are my favourite team.