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Are Teachers Necessary in the Future?

So what I’ve been struggling with is the role of an educator in our society. While the idea of bringing the classroom into the 21st century is exciting, there are a couple of things that worry me. First, the financial reality of school districts is bleak. Classrooms with broken windows, falling ceiling tiles, leaking roofs – that is what I know. And these schools are located in decent suburban areas. In these dire times, how are districts supposed to provide technology for teachers and students to use? On the flip side, I have seen private schools where every student has laptops, iPads, and every other digital device. Because their families are wealthier, their children and these schools are able to take that step into the 21st century with ease. There is a huge disparity in the quality of education youth receive in our society under these conditions. So then what is the role of the educator? Are we supposed to assign homework to students centered around technology that they may or may not have in order to bring edu-punk into the classroom? Is this exciting era one that students from public schools will not even get to experience?

The second worrisome thought I have is will teachers become obsolete? Will technology and self-directed learning make teachers unnecessary? Many people believe the adage,

Those who can do. Those who can’t teach.

So maybe students will start learning from professionals in the subject area of interest. Studying chemistry directly from a chemist via digital media. Studying accounting from a finance guru in a mooc. Who knows what our future holds – will teachers become obsolete? I am going to a conference in DC on the future of higher education next week. Will K-12 follow suit? What is the role of an educator in our society, and what will it be in the future?

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Breaking Barriers

Discovering the learning possibilities as a student has excited and motivated me to promote the same type of learning in all institutions, both public and private, from K-12 to post-secondary. It seems that a big challenge in education revolves student perfomance and teaching effectiveness. I think that going edupunk helps to reduce some of those challenges.

First, the concept of edupunk gives teachers more flexibility in planning because in many ways it allows the students to take control of their education. This is exciting and teachers would be more effective because the students would be directing their education. It opens the world up to them and helps them to connect with people all over the world who are on the same quest for information. Student performance would increase because motivation for learning would increase. If I were teaching a tenth grade literature class about Poe, and I wanted students to explore some of the themes and topics in his writing, there would be so many directions the students could go. Using blogs to post findings and responses would get them engaged in learning in more depth than having them pick a theme and write a paper on how that theme is evident in his writing. Let’s face it, they are using technology more often than most adults, so why not introduce them to a broader scope?

More on the edupunk debate: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=418124

Commentary on edupunk: http://elearnmag.acm.org/featured.cfm?aid=2076443

I’m going to this conference! Anyone want to come? http://fhe.gmu.edu/

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DIY Learning

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time trying to determine what I want to learn about to make me a better teacher. And then it hit me – I have always struggled with making my classes more student-centered rather than teacher-directed. I think this is partly due to the fear of my classes getting “out of control.” I always want to make sure than everything will go just right, and it scares me to think that something that I didn’t plan for will happen. Because, what if it’s bad? But this semester I taking two courses in a technology-driven, interactive environment. In both classes there are obvious class plans and goals, but they allow students to have freedom to explore topics of interest and therefore shape the specific class learning. This has excited me to the possibilities of how I can bring this environment into my own classroom.

So then I started developing a game plan to integrate a student-centered environment that excited and motivated them to learn and make class their own. A big part of that plan is incorporating technology into the classroom effectively. But I realized that I know how to use technology for my own purposes, but I didn’t really know how to develop its use into my lessons. And I also know that students know much more than I do about it, so if I am going to be an effective classroom manager, I had better know what I am doing or I will not actually reach my goals.

There are several online professional development courses that the state of Delaware offers that are free. E-Learning Delaware, http://www.dcet.k12.de.us/elearning/index.shtml, offers courses throughout the year for Delaware teachers. I was excited to see that they offer so many options that are centered around technology integration. The courses last about six weeks, and there are specific objectives each week that participants must meet and a final project due. This really meets my needs, so I am excited to see what the winter course offerings will be!

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Brand Tammi

This week’s assignments were really fun! It’s such a great idea to reflect upon who you are and what you want others to know about you. As a result of the readings and then my reflections, a number of important things happened. First, my klout score is totally unacceptable. 10? Really?? I guess that’s not surprising since I am relatively new to this realm of society, but still, this is not something to be proud of. Second, I realized that the ideas that I have about me, and the ideas that my family and friends have about me are not what I project to the world. So now my task is changing that. Afterall, I want people to know the real me. That’s important. I don’t want to be a number or a faceless name. When the world thinks about Tammi Canty, I want them to see me: smiling, excited, intense, loyal. I want them to automatically know that I am THE go-to person!

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Week 5

Okay that is it! I am not going to attempt to publish my blogs on my iPad anymore!!!! Seriously, it is so frustrating because I am having to redo my post again. Ugh…if only I had learned my lesson.

This week, I was yet again so excited by the vast information out there in Cybertania. It is just awesome. I am so excited to learn more every week. I just hope that I can take the time to really use all of the valuable resources out there to connect with other educators. I know that many people are saying, come on really, it only takes about 15 minutes a day to connect, but 15 minutes is a luxury for me. I’m lucky if I get 15 minutes to get ready for the day. The other night at 11:30 when I was sitting down (literally for the 1st TIME  that day), I was able to get onto the computer and get some work done for both of my grad classes I’m taking this semester. I also have a 6-year-old whose school I am very active with, my 12-year-old nephew whom I am temporarily homeschooling, 4 part-time jobs, a household to maintain, a very old cat who needs constant care… I will stop now because I’m whining. It’s just that I am tired, and the longest night’s sleep I have gotten this week was 5 hours on Thursday. But alas, onto business.

I checked out the Education Week Teacher website: www.edweek.org/tm/. It was very informative. I was so excited about all of the information they put out there. They are very socially connected: twitter, Facebook, linkedin, google+, and RSS feeds. On twitter, I felt validated about my choice when I saw that UD and NPR follow EWT, especially because I follow their organizations, and I believe they are very credible. On Facebook, Best Colleges Online, Pivot Learning Partners, and Asia for Educators were three groups that had linked and posted on EWTs page. I didn’t find them to be not credible, but I also didn’t find a need to follow their pages. Of the three, Pivot Learning Partners had some good links and ideas, but I could get the information from EWT, so there was not a need to follow them. Journal for Adolescent and Adult Literacy was another group that follows EWT, and I did follow them. I found their site visually compelling, I found them to be credible, and I think their articles are useful and interesting.

Some links that I found about assessing credibility were:

http://www.newsu.org/social-media-credibility (webinar, so I didn’t pay to watch it)

http://conversionxl.com/website-credibility-checklist-factors

http://www.communityorganizer20.com/?onswipe_redirect=yes#!/entry/what-makes-a-blogger-credible-,4941

Well, that’s all for now because I have been sitting for far too long, and I need to get to the park to play disc golf!

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Lions and Tigers and Mr. T, Oh My!

This week I got started on the sequence as soon as it was posted. I thought to myself that I’d finish it lickity-split. Boy was that not the case! It seems the more I delve into this cyber world, the larger it gets. It’s not like anything I’ve experienced, except maybe cleaning, because it has no end in sight. But at least this is enjoyable. Now my only real issue seems to be the sedentary lifestyle cyber discovery is leading me toward. This next week I am going to figure out how to do this while still being physically active. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d really appreciate it!

As I suspected, I really liked Hootsuite, but Netvibes was pretty cool too. I haven’t really used them that much though because I have been so busy just reading all of the content out there. My favorite application we tried this week was Ifft. I just love conditional statements for some reason – maybe from my logic class a million years ago. But Ifft really simplifies my life – a little bit anyway.

Now onto the matter of curation and aggregation. I really had no idea at first how these words related to social media, but then I started researching. I couldn’t believe how many posts there were on the topic, but I should have realized it would be significant because assigning something insignificant would have been a big waste of time. Although some of the posts out there reveal how tired people are becoming of the subject. There seems to be a few main opinions out there. One is that they are very different; one that they are interchangeable; and one is that they fall somewhere in between alike and different. One of the simplest ways that I found to discern between the terms is this:

“Curation goes one step beyond aggregation by adding an active, ongoing editorial component. Curation and aggregation are similar in but a few ways.  They both want to take lots of content and put it in a place [framework, feed, database, etc.] and they both seek to separate the wheat from the chaff.  Most importantly, they both require a strategy.  Why is this content being put together? Who will use it?  How will they use it?  Are they getting it somewhere else right now?  What are the staffing impacts? What are the potential outcomes?”
Now I’m not sure if it was the explanation I really like, or if it was the image of Mr. T, but either way, the is is the link to the site:http://www.content-ment.com/2009/11/curation-versus-aggregation.html

Another site that offers further clarification:

“The words ‘aggregation’ and ‘curation’ are tossed around online, and have a variety of meanings – mainly due to the print media’s insistence on debating what they actually mean. Put simply, aggregation is content creation, and curation is content sourcing and sharing. The thing is, on Twitter everything is really content curation, but it’s known as an aggregation site. Confused? Even if you’re sharing an article you’ve written, you’re still recommending it to your community on the platform. It’s no different than recommending that they read someone else’s article. The act of organizing and sharing information on Twitter is curation. You select which articles of your own you want to syndicate. But, it’s not this simple either!”

http://socialmediamagic.com/blog/difference-aggregating-curating-twitter/
Now this site goes into a lot more detail, and it gets a little confusing. But I like that it specifically focuses on one area of social media, twitter, to point to the distinction between curate and aggregate.

Ok my head is spinning, so that is all for now!

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This is a test

And only a test of the emergency social media system. Ok so now that I downloaded the app for word press on my iPad, will I be able to post a blog? Better yet, will it show up on my twitter feed????

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