Thursday, September 29, 2011
Blog Post Assignment #6
The Networked Student
By: Wendy Drexler
This video by Wendy Drexler made some good points about a student learning by having a their own network of educational tools. It was interesting how there are so many ways a student can look up things on Google, and even make a virtual textbook from it. The word connectivism is something I have never heard of, but it means educators or anyone else who believe that a series of connections to other people and networks can help students learn more and understand subjects through opinions and a diverse collection of facts. Such sites as Wikis and Blogger can help students branch out what they know to other students. A 21st century student can have all online classes and maybe go to class once a week. But the teacher is very involved and hugely important.
The teacher is important because they can help the students understand networks, and teach the class how to utilize any information. We also help the students by giving them advice on which sites to look into more, and which sites may not be very useful on any given subject. The students will not just know how to gather information and put it together in the right order; we are there to instruct the students on how to collect all the information they have gathered properly and put all the pieces in the right spot. Also, the teacher can help the students analyze all the facts they have collected so the students can understand the material better. Also, as educators but also students in a way that we are always learning new things too, we should inspire them to get excited about these new techniques of learning and sharing what they know with others. Teachers guide the students where they need to be and we hope that in their future, all this knowledge they have gained will help them to do bigger and better things in their lives.
My reaction to this video was actually me being kind of surprised that teachers were doing this, or thinking about doing this. I can understand high school teachers trying this out on the older students to get them prepared for how college will be. I just would never think middle school students already were doing this possibly, but if they are then I am VERY impressed. Until now, I knew very little about blogs and uploading videos from YouTube;Twitter is still a mystery to me. But Ms. Drexler is very smart about having young students involved in this project because they get a preview of true social media. Most of them probably have Facebook and Myspace, so they are already very familiar with how different networking strategies work. I think this is a great idea for most students to try out, because it gets them really involved with technology at a different level and makes them savvy about connections and reliability or validity of certain information.
Wendy Drexler's Blog
Ms. Drexler's blog gives more details on the networked student and what the puts and takes are from trying it out. One of the bigger challenges is making sure all the students understand and can apply computer knowledge, since many 7th graders only know the basics of how to use one. Also, the age restrictions for some sites require that the user be thirteen but many in 7th grade aren't quite thirteen yet. A big issue is making sure you fit everything in so it will match the standard curriculum and don't go overboard with it. Having a the freedom of topics while also sticking to a certain subject can also be a bit tricky, since the students need the freedom but must also comply to the curriculum standards for the subject.
The hardest part fall on the teacher being able to design assessments that help the student understand and put together the content they are learning. Also, providing the opportunities for classmates to learn from one another and communicate about the subjects the class is learning about. If it were me, I would definitely see an issue with finding other teachers who would be willing to help out and experiment with this project a litte. I commend Ms. Drexler for even trying this, and think it's really great that she is integrating this much technology with a middle school class.
A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment (or PLN)
I really though this girl's personal network was excellent! She had many sites already on the tiles and a lot of different methods to find her information. This student s is a pro at what she does, and talks like she truly understands it. Our PLNs have some similarities such as Facebook, Google, Symbaloo, Blogger, and a few others. This student's PLN is more middle school science based, with sites for teachers around the world related to science and biology. Though, I will admit hers is much more impressive and she seems to have been around it a lot longer. I saw that Ms. Drexler used her PLN as an experimental trial for the networked student which I thought was very interesting the way it turned out. I enjoyed getting tips on how to use my Personal Learning Network more to my advantage, and also seeing a younger student's PLN for a nice reference.