Saturday, February 26, 2011

Blog Post #6

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.


  1. Hey Chelsea,
    I am your C4C this week. I agree that teachers will always be useful. Videos and instructional websites are helpful, but they are unable to provide the face-to-face instruction that many students need.

    Concerning SMARTboards, I have never used one, but I do think that they are overrated. Yes, they do provide better animations and graphics not available using a white-board. They are not cost effective and as you said, they normally are restricted to teacher usage only. Some students enjoy working on the board, but SMARTboards do not allow this.

  2. They -are- overrated and over priced. Besides, animations and whatnot can be added to Power Points and other programs, which are much much cheaper and student friendly.

  3. Nicole
    You commented "Some students enjoy working on the board, but SMARTboards do not allow this." What did you mean by this? Many kids use the SMARTboards, sometimes in a cluster while the teacher is working with other students. Maybe some schools or teachers wo't allow use of a SMARTboard by kids, but thecertainly CAN use it. Sometimes more effectively than the teacher.

  4. That's a good point Dr. Strange. I know plenty of kids who can use technology a lot easier than their parents, teachers, etc. They tend to learn how to use it faster too.

    I'm kind of on the fence about the whole idea. It's expensive and not all schools allow students to get up and use it, which makes it less fun. But, it does have it's upsides.

  5. "It's just a matter of whether we make use of them or not." That's it! A very fine commentary on the Networked Student! Well done.

    PLE - a way to "see" your network!

    "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." VERY well put!