Saturday, November 28, 2009

What do we teach our students through technology and information literacy?

I certainly agree with Mr David Warlick in this argument that 'if teachers' job was to help their students gain the technology skills they will need after graduate?' and the answer is No! He said" we do not know what word processing will look like in 10 years, 5 years or if it will still exist."
"Students simply learn how computer can help them do interesting things, gain the skills and confidence required to teach themselves with the guidance of teacher, the applications to make it happen."
( http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/?p=1954)
After all, It is not the technology itself that we want to teach, it is those standards beyond the tech, such as dispositions in action, the responsibilities and self-assessment strategies that come along with obtaining the skills and knowledge.

So why not require that every student accomplish a significant project as a final assessment? The only requirement would be that it applies to something they are learning or have learned in school, you have to hand it in on a thumb drive or via a URL.And it would be assessed by teacher.

I have tried this in my Mandarin II class. I asked my students to hand in a Mandarin oral project on the topic " Making appointment" as a final assessment for this chapter. They can choose to present it by either integrating technology (whatever medis tools they prefer) into the project or simply playing role-play or drama physically in front of the class. So at the end, 80% of the class chose to embed technology in the project. And the result is quite exciting. Some group uses Voicethread to upload the oral project,, some group prefer make a movie for this project. And they are all fantastic!




video

In this process of completing the project, students have to discuss about the distribution of the work, making draft, listing down the needed vocabulary, phrases and sentence drills, doing rehearsal, arranging time after school to do recording...and so on. They gain personal growth in how to work as a team, the importance of collaboration and communication, the friendship they have built among the team during this time, the responsibilities in sharing skills and understanding of the knowledge with each other...all these things are necessary to success in this project. And of course, these also apply to those students who prefer present the project physically in front of the class rather than the use of technology information methods. But when they watch their classmates' digital production of the project, they might think of trying it next time, after all their hard work can be displayed beyond the classtime and can be shared with more audiences.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

whose job is it to teach NETs and AASL standards to students?

Before we discuss on this question shown in the title of this post, let us have a quick look at the NETs and AASL:

NETs: http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/NETS/ForStudents/2007Standards/NETS_for_Students_2007.htm

  1. Creativity and Innovation
  2. communication and Collaboration
  3. Research and Information fluency
  4. Critical thinking,probelm solving,decision making
  5. Digital citizenship
  6. Technology operations and concepts

AASL: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/guidelinesandstandards/learningstandards/AASL_LearningStandards.pdf

  1. Inquiry, think critically, and gain knowledge
  2. Draw conclusions,make informed decisions,apply knowledge to new situations and create new knowledge
  3. Share knowledge and particapte ethically and productively as members of our democratic society;
  4. Pursue personal and aesthetic growth

Plus, under each of the above four AASL standards, there are four sub-categories which are: Skills, Dispositions in Action, Responsibilities and Self-assessment strategies.

So now, we come back to the question: whose job is to teach those standards to students?

Of course, we can say it is everyone's job including parents, teachers, learning communities and the whole society. Among these, I shall say the learning communities such as school is playing the crucial role in this. After all, students need to be put in an healthy and conducive environment where they can obtain those qualities required in those standards.

This video is just an example of how students can be taught in such a fantastic environment where the target language and its cultural are immersed in their daily life.













Apparently, teacher is standing in the front line who carries the standards into his teaching, and yet he needs to work within a system which makes that teaching possible and available. The individuals' effort can make difference indeed, but it depends on the quality teaching of the individual teacher whose knowledge and perspective varies from one to another, therefore setting up an good education system in which teaching and learning activities can be assured to follow the proper standards from top down to the bottom.