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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

In The News

“In The News” – Building Learning Communities in the Graduate Classroom

After listening to a podcast by Alan November, it got me thinking about how I can form a learning community in my classroom. This class I am currently teaching is about how to effectively use the Internet as a tool to enhance the teaching and learning process. We will discuss learning theory, different types of learning online, developing a web page, etc. We need to understand these underlying concepts and be able to adjust our teaching accordingly. There are many ways to use the Internet; many of them I’m sure the teachers already use (Webquests are just one great example!). We also need to spend a lot of time on the concept of Web 2.0 and how to use these new tools to enhance the teaching and learning process.

In his podcast, Alan November discusses how currently many of us use the Internet to get data. We use the Internet like an encyclopedia. He makes a VERY important point that we need to consider at all levels: “Having data isn’t knowledge. Just because you have data, doesn’t mean you know what to do with it”(November podcast, 2008). Getting the data involves the lowest form of thinking on Bloom’s Taxonomy (having knowledge). We need to get students to use higher level thinking throughout the learning process. Andrew Churches put together an interesting analysis/comparison of Bloom’s Taxonomy – the Digital Format. He includes many of the Web 2.0 technologies and the higher level thinking skills our students should use.

Forming a learning community is important for my students because I believe that they need to personalize the information they are learning before they can use it to enhance the students’ learning. In order to form this learning community, I will stick with my constructivist style of teaching and encourage the students to experience, research, discover, etc. the world of blogging. Interestingly, a man named George Siemens has presented a “new” theory called Connectivism. He views learning as “network-creation”. He states, “…learning is the process that occurs when knowledge is transformed into something of meaning…” (par. 8). “During this process, learning is the act of encoding and organizing nodes to facilitate data, information, and knowledge flow” (par. 8). I want my students to form links and connections with content that they read, discover, hear, discuss, research, etc throughout this class. They will share the links and connections through their blog posts and comments on their peers’ blogs.

So, it all comes back to, how can I implement this in my classroom so that my students are doing this higher level thinking in a Web 2.0 world? I need to facilitate the formation of a learning community. We will do that through the use of blogs.

The Internet Miner: How will I find it? I have been researching and following several different professional bloggers through my aggregator and Twitter for about 1 year now. The bloggers that I follow publish new posts daily and notify their readers through Twitter. The problem that I find is that there is so much out there to read; I have to stay focused on the key ideas that I see each day and reflect on that. I have become part of an educational community with people I have never met but found on the Internet through the popularity of their blogs. I will show my students how to set up not only their own blog but also an aggregator (Google Reader). They will add their peers’ blog addresses and the addresses of other professional bloggers to their own Google Reader so that they can conveniently access these blogs.

Producer: To facilitate the use of a blog, we will go through several steps:
1. I will walk the students through the creation of their blog.
2. Each student will also set up Google Reader.
3. Students will set goals for their blog.
4. It’s not just about how they reflect and what they write in their blogs. It’s about reading others’ blogs and commenting that will facilitate the community of learners in this class. I am hoping that each student will become (if they aren’t already) a reflective practitioner.
5. Something else that is important to note is that we have a “blog comment rubric”. We will also discuss what makes a good comment which Vicki Davis summarizes so well in her post.

The Policy Advisor: I don’t think that it’s necessary to have a strict “policy” in my graduate level class but I can teach my students (teachers) how to implement this in their classroom (with their students). I will pose the question, “What do we need to think about in terms of blogging, posting in public, and commenting?”. There are several options to choose from as far as making your blog public. We will also discuss developing an AUP for blogging in our classroom. Here are two links that address the AUP issue:
1. Bud the Teacher Blog
2. AUP sample

Integrator: I expect that blogging will be beneficial for both my teaching and my students’ learning. Blogging is a daily part of the class and it will become a natural place for the teachers to reflect on their own learning. Through their blogs, they will make connections with other ideas; papers, podcasts, videos, articles, presentations, and/or blog posts. “…blogs are about communicating. You observe your experience, reflect on it, and they write about it. Other people read your reflections, respond from their perspectives by commenting or writing their own blog article. You read their perspectives, often learn something through their eyes, and write some more” (Klaus & Morris, p. 2). I am sure that my students will have deeper reflections and understanding of the course concepts because of the blogs; much more than they would from handing in a paper that never gets looked at again.

I hope that they will see that it’s an innovative way to connect with other professional bloggers and learn from them. I want to communicate to the teachers that we in addition to reading professional journals, books, web sites, newspapers, we should also be reading blog posts daily. Many educational researchers begin their thoughts in the form of a blog and then through many reflections, comments, revisions, etc. that blog post becomes a book or an article. I will immerse my students in the reflective process. Instead of handing in a paper, blogging is ongoing. They can continually revise their work and their projects may even emerge from their reflections. I will challenge them to “have a voice”.

References:
Klaus, D. and Morris, S. (N.D.). Retrieved 5-7-08 from https://consortium.wikispaces.com/BBResources#toc2

November, A. (Speaker). (2008). Using technology for building learning communities (Podcast No. 222). Retrieved 5-7-08 from http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2008/01/31/podcast222-using-technology-for-building-learning-communities-by-alan-november/

Siemens, G. (Nov. 2005). Connectivism: Learning as network creation. Retrieved 5-7-2008 from http://www.learningcircuits.org/2005/nov2005/seimens.htm
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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

In The News

“In The News” – Building Learning Communities in the Graduate Classroom

After listening to a podcast by Alan November, it got me thinking about how I can form a learning community in my classroom. This class I am currently teaching is about how to effectively use the Internet as a tool to enhance the teaching and learning process. We will discuss learning theory, different types of learning online, developing a web page, etc. We need to understand these underlying concepts and be able to adjust our teaching accordingly. There are many ways to use the Internet; many of them I’m sure the teachers already use (Webquests are just one great example!). We also need to spend a lot of time on the concept of Web 2.0 and how to use these new tools to enhance the teaching and learning process.

In his podcast, Alan November discusses how currently many of us use the Internet to get data. We use the Internet like an encyclopedia. He makes a VERY important point that we need to consider at all levels: “Having data isn’t knowledge. Just because you have data, doesn’t mean you know what to do with it”(November podcast, 2008). Getting the data involves the lowest form of thinking on Bloom’s Taxonomy (having knowledge). We need to get students to use higher level thinking throughout the learning process. Andrew Churches put together an interesting analysis/comparison of Bloom’s Taxonomy – the Digital Format. He includes many of the Web 2.0 technologies and the higher level thinking skills our students should use.

Forming a learning community is important for my students because I believe that they need to personalize the information they are learning before they can use it to enhance the students’ learning. In order to form this learning community, I will stick with my constructivist style of teaching and encourage the students to experience, research, discover, etc. the world of blogging. Interestingly, a man named George Siemens has presented a “new” theory called Connectivism. He views learning as “network-creation”. He states, “…learning is the process that occurs when knowledge is transformed into something of meaning…” (par. 8). “During this process, learning is the act of encoding and organizing nodes to facilitate data, information, and knowledge flow” (par. 8). I want my students to form links and connections with content that they read, discover, hear, discuss, research, etc throughout this class. They will share the links and connections through their blog posts and comments on their peers’ blogs.

So, it all comes back to, how can I implement this in my classroom so that my students are doing this higher level thinking in a Web 2.0 world? I need to facilitate the formation of a learning community. We will do that through the use of blogs.

The Internet Miner: How will I find it? I have been researching and following several different professional bloggers through my aggregator and Twitter for about 1 year now. The bloggers that I follow publish new posts daily and notify their readers through Twitter. The problem that I find is that there is so much out there to read; I have to stay focused on the key ideas that I see each day and reflect on that. I have become part of an educational community with people I have never met but found on the Internet through the popularity of their blogs. I will show my students how to set up not only their own blog but also an aggregator (Google Reader). They will add their peers’ blog addresses and the addresses of other professional bloggers to their own Google Reader so that they can conveniently access these blogs.

Producer: To facilitate the use of a blog, we will go through several steps:
1. I will walk the students through the creation of their blog.
2. Each student will also set up Google Reader.
3. Students will set goals for their blog.
4. It’s not just about how they reflect and what they write in their blogs. It’s about reading others’ blogs and commenting that will facilitate the community of learners in this class. I am hoping that each student will become (if they aren’t already) a reflective practitioner.
5. Something else that is important to note is that we have a “blog comment rubric”. We will also discuss what makes a good comment which Vicki Davis summarizes so well in her post.

The Policy Advisor: I don’t think that it’s necessary to have a strict “policy” in my graduate level class but I can teach my students (teachers) how to implement this in their classroom (with their students). I will pose the question, “What do we need to think about in terms of blogging, posting in public, and commenting?”. There are several options to choose from as far as making your blog public. We will also discuss developing an AUP for blogging in our classroom. Here are two links that address the AUP issue:
1. Bud the Teacher Blog
2. AUP sample

Integrator: I expect that blogging will be beneficial for both my teaching and my students’ learning. Blogging is a daily part of the class and it will become a natural place for the teachers to reflect on their own learning. Through their blogs, they will make connections with other ideas; papers, podcasts, videos, articles, presentations, and/or blog posts. “…blogs are about communicating. You observe your experience, reflect on it, and they write about it. Other people read your reflections, respond from their perspectives by commenting or writing their own blog article. You read their perspectives, often learn something through their eyes, and write some more” (Klaus & Morris, p. 2). I am sure that my students will have deeper reflections and understanding of the course concepts because of the blogs; much more than they would from handing in a paper that never gets looked at again.

I hope that they will see that it’s an innovative way to connect with other professional bloggers and learn from them. I want to communicate to the teachers that we in addition to reading professional journals, books, web sites, newspapers, we should also be reading blog posts daily. Many educational researchers begin their thoughts in the form of a blog and then through many reflections, comments, revisions, etc. that blog post becomes a book or an article. I will immerse my students in the reflective process. Instead of handing in a paper, blogging is ongoing. They can continually revise their work and their projects may even emerge from their reflections. I will challenge them to “have a voice”.

References:
Klaus, D. and Morris, S. (N.D.). Retrieved 5-7-08 from https://consortium.wikispaces.com/BBResources#toc2

November, A. (Speaker). (2008). Using technology for building learning communities (Podcast No. 222). Retrieved 5-7-08 from http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2008/01/31/podcast222-using-technology-for-building-learning-communities-by-alan-november/

Siemens, G. (Nov. 2005). Connectivism: Learning as network creation. Retrieved 5-7-2008 from http://www.learningcircuits.org/2005/nov2005/seimens.htm
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