Wendy Drexler: The Networked Student
This video is great. It's simple, but highly entertaining and thought provoking. Many teachers and soon-to-be teachers are finding themselves a little fearful of becoming obsolete. Why? Well, because of things like the tons of apps and websites like SparkNotes that allow students to learn on their own.
However, students needed teachers way back when, they need teachers now, and they'll need teachers in the future. Think about it. Have you ever been in class and your teacher gives you an assignment that is very broad and you have no clue where to begin? What did you do? You probably looked around at your friends and asked if they had any clue what to do and when they shrugged at you, you went to the teacher. Anyway, my point is, is that you have to start somewhere when you begin on the road to becoming a networked student, but the question is "where do you start" and even "how do you start".
That's where the teachers come in. Teachers are there to help students learn about networking and set up the ties they need. Granted, there are plenty of websites and how-to videos floating around that students can access to help themselves, but even those can be confusing. Teachers are still going to be useful, regardless. It's just a matter of whether we make use of them or not.
A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment (or PLN)
This video was great. It was a perfect representation of all the things students can use a PLN/PLE for. This is a great way to teach students more responsibility, since lesson plans can be posted online for them to view and for them to complete. It also allows students to use their brains to gather needed information, instead of it being spoon-fed to them.
Why Smartboards Are A Dumb Initiative and Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards
When I saw the titles to these two blog posts, I was thinking that the authors might be slightly nuts. Now that I've read the posts, I'm thinking maybe I was the one that was nuts; I was under its spell. You know, the "oooh look it's a pretty, new board that doesn't use markers or keyboards" spell. Well, these two authors sure weren't fooled.
One point is that it's not any more student friendly than normal white boards, and it's true. They're sparkly and dazzling in that they require no keyboard nor uses markers/chalk, but that's about it. It's nothing but a more expensive, more frustrating white board. Not to mention, only the teachers are given clearance to use them, more often than not. Which means, all the teacher is doing is presenting the same old information, only on a prettier board. Same tricks, new dog.
Using Electronic Whiteboards in Your Classroom: Benefits
So, this isn't exactly a blog post that opposes the two above, but it clearly is for the use of SMARTboards. It offers a list of why these interactive white boards are useful. Such as, "The board can accommodate different learning styles...". Well, yes and no. Yes, in that you can incorporate animation and music a little easier. No, in that some people are hands on learners and if teachers are the only ones who have permission to use them, then the hands on learners are kind of left out. The site also provides outside sources, like studies that were conducted. And according to those, SMARTboards are beneficial.
So, are the boards good or bad? Are they worth all that money or not? I suppose it's a matter of how you use them. It's also a matter of how interesting the lesson is.