Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Project Tomorrow!

  • Choose one of the reports from the link and write a brief summary of (3-5 sentences). In your reflection include your opinion, what surprises you, what doesn’t, and how you will use the information to inform your own teaching. (http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/speakup_reports.html)

Speak Up Report: Learning in the 21st century: A 5 year retrospective on the growth in online learning.
According to a report published by Project Tomorrow (1), the move toward online learning is growing each year and will continue to do so.  Students, parents, teachers, administrators and the general public are more connected than ever before.  The increase in popularity of flipped classrooms and websites such as Khan Academy has brought online learning to the forefront.  There are many benefits of online learning including flexibility, convenience, saving time, and customized learning.  According to the report, more than 50% of educators took online classes for professional development purposes. 
Prior to starting the Single Subject Credential Program, I participated in a couple of online classes to fulfill my pre-requisite requirements.  During the first few weeks, I was unsure about how much I would actually learn by participating in an online class.  How would we interact with each other?  How would I be assessed?  There were many unanswered questions going into it.  However, once I got started on Blackboard (the online format that we used), the process was very doable and clear (much to my relief).  We checked in with the instructor and classmates on certain days and received specific instructions on assignments and expectations.  Most of the interaction with peers was through forums when we were asked to comments on other student’s posts.
It’s not surprising to me that the online learning trend is moving forward and on its way to becoming the educational paradigm of the future.  I can foresee that I would incorporate some of the flipped classroom ideas into my own instruction.  For example, if an upcoming unit has difficult concepts and vocabulary, I may have my students watch a video on the topic (so they can review often) then have the students participate in activities that support what they learned on the video.  
  1. Project Tomorrow (2012) Learning in the 21st century: A 5 year retrospective on the growth in online learning. Speak Up Report Retrieved from: http://www.blackboard.com/CMSPages/GetFile.aspx?guid=bde5cb81-8bfa-43f4-abea-3437d37b4a44

  • Choose one of the “Videos from Speak Up” to view. In your reflection include your opinion, what surprises you, what doesn’t, and how the information informs your philosophy and practice of teaching. Videos are at the bottom of the page. (http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/speakup_presentations.html)
Dear Mr. President: Students Speak Up to President Obama  about how to improve their schools:
The video that I chose was Dear Mr. President: Students Speak Up to President Obama  about how to improve their schools.  I felt that this was fitting since President Obama was recently re-elected for a second term.  Students were asked “What is the one thing you would do to improve schools to ensure that all students receive the education and skills they need to be successful in life?”  The following are some of the suggestions from high school students:
Reduce class size, provide new textbooks, de-emphasize standardized testing, provide laptops and other types of technology, provide hands on experience, promote exploration, allow students to bring in their own technology, connect the curriculum to things that are relevant to the world, make school more affordable, nationalize the curriculum, hire passionate teachers, provide job skills for after high school, let students have more flexibility with class choices, and every class should have a great teacher.
All of these suggestions were not surprising to me.  I agree with each one because in my opinion, every suggestion and request by students on the video should already be the norm and provided by schools.  Some of these suggestions are in my control (connect curriculum to real life, provide hands one experiences, promote exploration) and I can strive to provide these basic needs to my students.  However, many of the suggestions were requests that I can’t control such as making school more affordable, nationalizing the curriculum and so forth.  I believe that doing my best to be a teacher that can make a difference in the lives of students is my priority as an educator.
  1. Project Tomorrow (Year N/A) Dear Mr. President: Students Speak Up to President Obama  about how to improve their schools. Retrieved from: http://www.tomorrow.org/DearMrPresidentVideo.html

  • Have a look at the “youthTEACH2Learn resources.” How would you start such a program at your school site? You will be leaving your site, of course, but find out how you can start programs, clubs, etc. at your school site. What would be the benefits of starting a “Future Teachers” type of organization? (http://www.tomorrow.org/programs/teach2learn.html.)
YouthTEACH2Learn:
A program like YouthTEACH2Learn is a great way to introduce teaching as a career to high school students.  In the program, students learn how to teach, experience what it’s like to be in the classroom working with children, and gain valuable insight to what a career as a teacher would be like.  It is similar to our teaching credential program, but at the high school level and not as intense.  When attempting to start a program like this at my school site, I would try to include groups like ASP (Associated Student Programs) and other student-run organizations as well as the career center/counseling department.  Starting a program like this at my school site would provide students with the opportunity to explore teaching as a career option, without the high-stakes pressure.  This is especially useful for students who are undecided and would like to gain some experience before making decisions about college programs or career choices.  The world is always in need of good teachers and providing a program that focuses on teaching will give students a head start on beginning their careers as teachers.

(3) Project Tomorrow (Year N/A) YouthTEACH2Learn. Retrieved from: http://www.tomorrow.org/programs/teach2learn.html

2 comments:

  1. In regards to the Obama video I agree there are many things as teachers we cannot control, yet there are a few things we can such as being enthusiastic/motivated and allowing students to bring their own technology into the classroom. I watched the video of "Is ANYONE Listening to Students?" and students addressed the issue of allowing technology in the classroom as well as letting students bring in their own devices. There was disagreement amongst the students whether or not to allow mobile devices to be used for internet access. What do you think? Since you watched a video where students advocate allowing their own electronic devices in the classroom what is your opinion on the matter of allowing phones? How would you structure the class if you did allow it?--Nicole

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  2. I also watched the video to President Obama. I too was drawn to view the video from the perspective of Obama's first term (when the video was created) to the beginning of his second term. The students' suggestions were awesome. I like how you considered what is possible for you to do as a teacher, now. It's easy to become overwhelmed by all of the requests, but looking at what is in my control (to promote exploration, provide hands-on experiences, integrate technology, connect to the real-world) that helps. It also gave me the idea of contacting my students' parents to find out if there are any opportunities for students to complete internships at a few work places, or to bring in experts from their parents' workplaces into the classroom. The video brought out some ideas I hadn't considered, too. Thanks! Dawn

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