Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Global Learning Experience

This past week my college course instructor was unable to meet with us for class in person.  No, he wasn't sick our on vacation we all know that teachers don't ever get time for themselves to take a personal day or to even get sick.  He was at a conference about technology in the country of Jordan.  For those of you who don't know where Jordan is it is by the country of Saudi Arabia.  For those of you who don't know where Saudi Arabia is then you need to get yourself a map and possibly take a geography course because that's just embarrassing.  Most of the world's oil comes from this area and you should know where it is because we depend on it so much.  Anyway, back to the topic at hand.  Even though we were unable to meet in person we unfortunately had to Skype with the professor instead of just cancelling class like we should have done ;).  Just kidding!  Even though I did not know it at the time this was global learning.  Global learning is where you connect with people from all over the world.  I have never Skyped before and it was amazing that we could still hold class from thousands of miles apart.  Not only did we get to speak with our professor, but we got to speak with an Australian man that was at the same conference as our teacher.  To recap my experience we held class with our teacher who was in the country of Jordan while we were in Cedar Falls, Iowa in our classroom, we heard about what was going on in a place very far away from us, and spoke with a man from a place that is even farther away from us all in one quick and easy Skype session.  Before participating in this Skype session I didn't really see or even believe that this global learning could actually exist or even work.  But, because this experience was so amazing I am seriously considering using this approach in my future classroom.  I think that many students would be engaged in this process if it were used in a classroom.  This is something all teachers should consider using.  It may take some time to set up, but will be worth it in the end.  It was for me.  Well, that's all for now and don't forget to get a map if you don't know where Jordan or Saudi Arabia are. Oh, and if you want more information on global learning check out this blog.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Using Problem Based Learning

Photo from flickr.com by Schilling 4th Grade
So far from what I have heard and read about using problem based learning it sounds like something that I will consider using when I am a teacher.  The only problem with it is that I don't know if I will be able to handle it.  It seems like a lot of preparation and work goes into creating and doing problem based learning projects and I am not sure if I will be able to do it.  However, I see the value that this type of project has within the classroom and I feel as if it is important to give the students the opportunity to get the chance to do this.  As teachers we want our students to enjoy learning to the point that they will want to continue their education.  By giving the students the choice of what they want to learn it will foster their learning because they had a say in what they were learning.  When they have their own say then they will feel more motivated to do the project and all of the work that goes with it.  These projects also hold the students accountable with their work because these projects involve the community and usually are made public, therefore the students take more pride in their work because other people will be viewing it.  Overall, the benefits that problem based learning gives outweighs the negatives and I believe that all teachers should at least try to do one problem based learning project before they right them off altogether. While I did mention a few pros to PBL there are many more.  For a more detailed list of the pros and cons check out this website.  Once you see all that PBL entails you can make the decision for yourself on whether or not you want to include PBL in your classroom.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Visit to Iowa R & D School

My Classroom Computer Applications course was given the opportunity to visit an R & D school to see how technology and problem-based learning is not only incorporated into the classrooms but strongly encouraged.  This school is Malcolm Price Laboratory School.  It is widely known for the innovations it implments in its teaching style.  To form a better understading of this school visit its homepage.  In my classes we have been told that technology is becoming a rapidly used tool within the classroom and that it is important that we have a wide knowledge base of different types of technologies that are out there and that the students are using on quite a frequent basis.  This is why I decided to pursue a minor in technology because of the increasing amount of technology being created.  In light of this it was great to be able to go into a classroom where each of the students had a laptop in front of them and to actively use them during the lesson.  Many teachers would be afraid to allow students the access to computers during instruction time because they may abuse it.  However, the students in this class used their laptops to help facilitate their learning.  After our trip to the classroom we spoke with another teacher about project-based learning and how she uses it in her classroom.  We also got the chance to hear from one of her students and how much she enjoys doing these projects.  After hearing what they had to say this about type of project I feel it is something that I would be willing to use when I am a teacher because of the benefits that it will provide to my students as well as to myself.  Teacher directed instruction is a thing of the past; its time to embrace the future where student directed instruction is used.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Global Learning's Effect on Education

Photo from flickr.com by Andrew Forgrave
In our education classes we have been told that it is important to incorporate diversity into our classrooms.  There are two distinct types of cultural classrooms that we could use as an example for our future classroom that we will be teaching in.  First, there is the assimilated classroom.  This type of classroom does not promote diversity at all.  In fact this type of classroom wishes to assimilate all children into the mainstream culture.  By doing this it is said that every student will have an equal opportunity in the classroom.  Also, they believe by taking note of the cultural differences in the classroom they will be alienating those students that are different from the other students.   The second type of classroom we could have is one where diversity is celebrated rather than pushed under the rug.  This type of classroom embodies what global learning is all about.  Global learning is about connecting to the rest of the world outside of your community.  As we have learned promoting diversity is something that students need to be subjected to especially here in the United States.  This country is so diverse that it would be irresponsible of us as future educators not to teach our students about the world that we live in.  Students need to see how people from other cultures can relate to us as well as see how people are different from each other.  Through global learning students will be able to learn about different stereotypes and prejudices and be taught how to overcome them.  It is imperative that students get the experience that global learning has to offer so that we can all work together as one world instead of many individual countries.  If you are wondering how global learning can fit into your curriculum check out this website to find the answer to this question.