EDTC 6431: Educational Research

I felt that Chapter 8 Improving Education Research by Christensen and Johnson (2011) made some strong points in regards with the educational research seen today. Typically research is done based upon the majority groupings when in reality the focus should be on the diverse populations and individuality of each student. Christensen and Johnson (2011) state that “education research must move toward understanding what works best from the perspective of individual students in different circumstances as opposed to what works best on average for groups of students or groups of school” (p. 3166). Christensen and Johnson (2011) further claim that “no longer will research on best practices or what works best on average across education suffice” (p. 3166). I believe that these points merit much consideration especially when research is constantly being done to improve our schools.

eReader screenshot

There is no “one-size fits all” model that works for each individual student, though this may be the easiest or best method for the majority of students. Still students are being left out or simply falling through the cracks because of the teaching styles does not cater towards their needs. I agree with Christensen and Johnson (2011) that research needs to shift towards understanding the different circumstances of the individual. Through this I feel that specific issues students are facing in schools could be better identified and resolved. Christensen and Johnson (2011) mention that students are not motivated to learn because schools continue to use monolithic ways instead of methods customized by circumstances (p. 3173). Students are individuals and learn in unique and different ways from one another, therefore research should focus on this individuality rather than what works best on average. Current methods tend to focus on fixing the problem with what works for the majority, rather than identifying the source of the specific problem then proceeding to make appropriate changes. Not only do teachers need to focus on individualizing lessons, research must head down this path as well so that evidence can support and promote these methods.

My overall experience with the eReader was a pleasant one. I thought the eReader was simple to use and had many convenient features like highlighting, bookmarking, and searching for specific words or phrases. Also the feature to right click on a word for a definition was extremely helpful. If I had a tablet (I used this eReader on my laptop) I could see myself in the future to use the eReader mostly because it is cheaper to purchase books and easier to find sections I want to reference back towards, but until then I will have to stick with using actual texts.

Christensen, C., Johnson, C.W., & Horn, M.B. (2011). Disrupting class: how disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns (kindle). McGraw-Hill.

EDTC 6431: Language Dancing

The chapters by Christensen and Johnson (2011) were very interesting. Since I have had classes that have discussed in some detail about student motivation, I was more intrigued by Chapter 6: The Impact of the Earliest Years on Students’ Success. The one fact that jumped out was Christensen and Johnson (2011) stating “the children whose parents did not begin speaking seriously to their children until their children could speak […] suffered a persistent deficit in intellectual capacity, compared to those whose parents were talkative from the beginning” (p. 2592). I have always known that early development for children was extremely important, but never thought about the importance of the child’s intellectual development between 0-12 months and how communication can affect it. Christensen and Johnson (2011) talk about “language dancing” which is essentially talking, thinking aloud, and commenting on what the child or parent is doing or planning. This has shown to cultivate curiosity in children (Christensen & Johnson, 2011, p. 2614).

How can a teacher who may work with children as young as 3 (for pre-k) help facilitate growth and development that occurs at home? The solution Christensen and Johnson (2011) give is to teach children how to be parents before they become parents (p. 2683). They state that high school can be a place where classes could teach students early cognitive development for future parents (p. 2683). I personally feel that this could be beneficial and could be a lesson added on to the sexual education unit. Even though I think that this could be beneficial I am not convinced that students would care or get enough out of the lesson or unit to have a significant impact. My fear would be it would just be another thing that “goes in one ear and out the other” as students would not pay attention because they don’t have kids and won’t have kids for some time so why does it truly matter to them. It may be difficult for high school students to see and understand the big picture of the importance of “language dancing”.

This chapter also reminded me of the importance of demonstrating the proper use of words and language in the classroom. Not communicating at the cognitive level of your class, but communicating using dialect rich in vocabulary. For elementary, this could be to use the new vocabulary words throughout the week so that students become familiar with the sound, articulation, and the usage of the new words. The importance of using high levels of communication rich in vocabulary is similar towards the importance of “language dancing” for infants. Children may not totally understand the vocabulary or sentences but the exposure is important and will require students to explore definitions and sentence contexts.

E-Text Screen Shot

The research article shared about E-Texts was really interesting to me. On one hand I do understand and believe the E-Texts are extremely easy to use and can be much more portable then the standard textbook. They offer quick and easy ways to highlight, bookmark, make notes, and organize information. Students won’t have to worry about losing a textbook or damaging from writing inside when using E-Texts. On the other hand I think having technology such as smart phones, tablets, and laptops allows for more opportunities for students to be multitasking or doing other work. How many times have you been in a computer class and had another window open for something unrelated to what you were working on? I believe this problem would be significant for students and the reason why they like using E-Texts. They can easily go from their E-Text to checking their facebook with the teacher even knowing.

Christensen, C., Johnson, C.W., & Horn, M.B. (2011). Disrupting class: how disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns (kindle). McGraw-Hill.

EDTC 6431: Students as Teachers

Textbooks are something that has been a part of education for some time now, and I personally do not see that changing anytime soon. More and more texts are available online, but I still do not see actual texts going anywhere. I agree with Christensen and Johnson’s (2011) frustration with the current education using textbooks. Christensen and Johnson (2011) mention that the industry focuses on creating and commercializing books for the large undifferentiated masses of students (p. 2296). Furthermore, textbooks by their very mature are fixed and static (p. 2296). In the course EDU 6133: Diversity in America, I was given an assignment to review a textbook. What I found about the textbook is that the material presented followed the traditional or typical elementary social studies texts for the information that was introduced. Just as Christensen and Johnson (2011) is that textbooks are typically fixed and static meant for the majority of the population. Those students who excel at reading and interpreting information from texts will learn from utilizing textbooks, but what about those who struggle in this academic area?

The solution that Christensen and Johnson (2011) foresee in the near future is through the usage of integrated software. Integrated software “can incorporate pathways for different types of learners as methods for teaching in these different ways become understood” (p. 2333).  In essence students can learn from other students as well as share their findings or methods to others on the network. I am not totally sold on this digital approach, but I do believe that these efforts to meet the needs of the individual students are extremely important. Christensen and Johnson (2011) best puts it by saying “we often learn better when we teach than when we listen to a teacher” (p. 2437). Students need to be actively engaged and this can be achieved by having students teach their classmates. I really like the idea of students sharing what they have discovered or how they came for their answer. Some students just learn better when other students articulate their answers rather than listening to the teacher. Online learning is not the only way to differentiate instruction, teachers can still create lessons that stray from the traditional elementary approach of worksheets or high school lectures. I believe there is no denying the potential towards these online approaches and even in the next five years it will be interesting to see their educational impact.

Dropdown Bar

I feel totally comfortable and familiar with using the eReader now. A new feature that I used this week was the dropdown bar in the notes and markings section. It makes it much easier to find the specific note, highlight, or bookmark by organizing through the specific category. Instead of having to scroll through all my notes and highlights to find the one bookmark, I am able to view just the bookmarks. This function especially now that I have a bunch of markings comes in handy.

Christensen, C., Johnson, C.W., & Horn, M.B. (2011). Disrupting class: how disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns (kindle). McGraw-Hill.

EDTC 6431: Technology & Information Fluency

Christensen, Johnson, and Horn (2011) walk through the educational development from the late 1800’s to the early 2000’s. This chapter references “Sputnik” and the resulting educational push for American math and science education. In other words, for America to be competitive in technology and innovation – at the time with the Soviets something must be changed with the educational system. This resulted in schools providing more rigorous science and math courses. The article written by Brian Grismore (2012) states that students and educators need to know and become efficient with technology and information fluency, which are necessary skills for today’s students to succeed in tomorrow’s workforce. Each reading was in reference towards a different time period, but each had the same implication. Both are indicating the importance of technology and information literacy in our schools. It is not only for students to become familiar and efficient with technology, but for teachers to be able to teach and share these technological tools. Technology is one of the fastest evolving industries in the world, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Thus it is important as educators to be up to date with current technological trends. More and more classrooms are equipped with smart boards, computers, iPads, or laptops – with the amount of resources out there; it would be a waste not to utilize these tools. Furthermore, I see technology as a great way to differentiate instruction by allowing various ways to do one task. Technology is not going anywhere, and as teachers we must be ready to effectively integrate these tools in our curriculum.

Highlights and Bookmark

This week’s experience with the eReader was much more pleasant than the previous. Overall, I still would prefer a book in my hand – this may not be the case if I had a kindle or a specific eReader as I am doing the readings on my laptop and I don’t have the luxury of reading wherever I please. One new tool I used this week was book marking specific pages that I thought were particularly important. What I like about any markings done on the eReader, is the notes & markings tab where all markings done is clearly referenced. I can easily go back and see what I have marked or made notes on. As I become more familiar using the eReader, I can see how it can be a lot more efficient than reading and highlighting an actual book.

 

Christensen, C., Johnson, C.W., & Horn, M.B. (2011). Disrupting class: how disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns (kindle). McGraw-Hill.

Grismore, B.A. (2012) Information literacy skills: comparing and evaluating databases. Unpublished Manuscript.

EDTC 6431: Multiple Intelligences

The first chapter of the text covers a very important aspect of teaching, which is of differentiating learning.  As Howard Gardner states in his theory of multiple intelligences are people that have different strengths and learning should be tailored to these strengths. This is applicable to teaching because if teachers are able to align educational approaches with an individual’s stronger intelligences, understanding and learning can become easier and be done with greater enthusiasm (Christensen, Johnson, & Horn, 2011). This makes it quite evident that in teaching there is not a one size fits all model and as teachers we must continually adapt and change our methods to better suite students. I believe this notion is especially important at the elementary level where a teacher will be with a group of students the entire year. The teacher will be able to learn their strengths and weaknesses at greater detail, in doing so develop appropriate lessons in accordance with their strengths while continuing to improve the areas of weakness. New web based tools such as wikis can be used as an effective way in differentiating instruction. Kawahata and Chung (2013) states wiki technology is an effective tool for collaborative learning and sharing knowledge.  This is especially the case for students who may have more of an introvert personality. I believe that it is not only important to be aware of the multiple intelligences one will have in the classroom, but also be aware of the new technological resources available.

I have never used an eReader before so this was my first experience. I personally do not like to read things of length on the computer as I feel my eyes get tired quickly. Additionally, doing the reading on the computer allows for the opportunity of more distractions. I find myself stopping reading and taking more breaks to check the news, sports, or emails. I considering myself to be pretty computer savvy and I found it easy to use the tools on the kindle reader. Highlighting and making my own notes was very simple. It also was very easy to navigate and search throughout the book. The one aspect I like about reading on an eReader is the ability to search for key words to find my way back to a page that I could not exactly remember.

Screen Shot Ch. 1

Christensen, C., Johnson, C.W., & Horn, M.B. (2011). Disrupting class: how disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns (kindle). McGraw-Hill.

Kawahata, C., & Chung, C. (2013). Increasing student motivation and engagement in the peer editing process through the use of wiki technology. Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2013, 4492-4496.