Archive for August, 2007

Paradigm shift anyone?

August 31, 2007

As one gets older your ideas about and perceptions of the world changes Currently I am returning to college for the third time. The first time I attended college I studied chemistry and physics right after high school. My first foray into the world of post high school learning, as for most undergrads, focused on grades and just getting out. I realized that most industries will teach you the specific knowledge that you need to do the job they hired you for. So in light of this I did not care if my professors wanted me to knit them a sweater for their cat, as long as I eventually got the BS in chemistry and got out in the real world I did not care what I was getting from the class.

Later in life, 3 years to be exact, I decided that industry was not for me and I needed to go back to school and I would venture into the world of high school science education. This foray into an environment of learning was different in that I knew I needed a certain set of tools to be successful in my own classroom. Most of my education was concentrated on being prepared to deliver my material in the most efficient/timely manner. My major emphasis was making sure I was trained sufficiently to meet state learning goals and how to handle discipline issue in my classroom.

I returned to school two years ago with a different learning goal in mind. After teaching for a few years and reading The World is Flat I realized that the administrators did not have all the answers to educational questions and they were just complying with their job duties to meet state/community standards and . As a technology oriented person I noticed a huge hole in the way that things could be and the current state of affairs. So I set myself upon the path to explore these things by pursuing my doctoral degree from UK.

This time my focus of my learning has changed yet again. In my classes now I focus on the real life application of the information of that I am getting. I feel that I have eventually learned that everything is subjective and to look at all the variables in a problem to find a solution. I know realize that the information that I am gaining is useful but only for a limited time since technology changes at a rapid pace and will continue to do so.

In hind sight I think that I am also reconciling my deterministic viewpoint of a scientist with the real world application of education. So my paradigm and approach to things has definitely changed instead of using the things I learn in classes to one specific topic that the instructor wants us to look at now I can see the interconnectedness of knowledge and the dynamic nature of the world we live in as a whole.

Apples are Cool!!!!

August 30, 2007

O.k. for the last few years I have been one of those people who was an ardent “Mac Hater”. In other words I didn’t really understand why people would want a computer that didn’t use the same software as everyone else and was a little more expensive than most other machines.

Well tonight I have drank the Kool-Aid of the cult of apple computers. I went to a training  on the Dataseam  project that is putting macs in public schools and selling the processor time to cancer and other research projects. So my first few key strokes on the Imac where a little slow, eventually I was finding all kinds of neat features that  Microsoft doesn’t have.  After awhile the system seems almost intuitive

The media programs such as Imovie were great because they talked to other programs to automatically upload photos without a bunch of unnecessary key strokes. One of the neatest features from the distance ed. standpoint is the built in camera that would make video conferencing a snap.

So in summation I have had a change of heart today, I guess I should have actually used a mac before I downed them for all those years. I stand corrected.

Were the “good old days” really that good?

August 27, 2007

 I found a neat post here that talks about some of the issues facing today’s schools.  But one of the points that they make is that the “Golden Age” of education never really existed.  I think of it as cognitive dissidence, we may have taught the 3R’s of education so everyone assumed that is what we need to teach.  Further inspection by modern educational research shows us that there is more to education that just the reading, writing and arithmetic, students must be able to use what they have learned.

The discussion also goes on to  talk about what the schools are expected to do to do now. The school acts as surrogate parents taking care of all of the problems of the child and at the same time teach ALL students no matter their background.

I guess that upon reading this article I feel that we as educators have more resources but we also have much more heaped on our plates. I don’t want to sound negative because I feel that the teachers of today can see if learning is really occurring. With tools such as LCD projectors and the Internet we can simulate phenomenon such as nuclear reactors which could not be conveniently used in a classroom setting otherwise.

Where education will go in the future will be an interesting process to observe.

Wow, you mean I can say whatever I want?

August 26, 2007

So I am getting my head around the blog and its abilities. So I can post anything that I want whether it be what happened during my day or I can pose questions about “stuff” that I am thinking?

As an educator/closet geek blogs seem like a really useful and dynamic tool for instruction. I attempt to teach interactively in my classroom and I guess that I should explain that. I try to make my classroom an area where learning takes place in context to the rest of the world, it may be best if I give an example.

I am currently teaching heat so my students are viewing,doing and discussing situations dealing with heat. The discussing seems to be the part that allows the students to make connections to the real world of their learning. For example after a discussion of water temperature and kinetic theory of energy of molecules students were able to figure out that due to the kinetic theory water can evaporate at temperatures close to freezing. That is a real life application that shows that students were able to use their new information that they discovered to explain phenomenon that they see in their environment.

Anyway back on task. I think that these blogs can be used to stimulate learning at a distance because people can still work as a group to form these learning communities to exchange,challenge and create new ideas, thus learning takes place.

So the week has been a success, somewhat reminiscent of drinking from an open fire hydrant but a good week nine the less. Classes start at UK tomorrow so I am not sure hiw the extra workload will be but I have broad shoulders;)

Breath in, breath out. Repeat as necessary.

August 26, 2007

Keeping your head above water requires many operations to be performed at once the kicking of legs the movement of your arms and above all the intake and release of air at the necessary rate. The last week has been a keeping my head above water week, I have kicking and moving my hands getting blogs set up and posts read and now I can concentrate on that whole breathing thing, plus catching up on some posting.
As a person who is more technically inclined than most ( in my opinion) I feel as if I have been missing the boat on a large number of intellectual exchanges. I did not realize that a blog could be used effectively to teach during a distance learning course. Blackboard usually bored me since the discussions were so dry and I had to continually log in between screens to check and see if anyone had posted a reply to my post, but the blogs and gators solve that issue. I feel as though everyone can communicate much more freely and quickly with the blogs and feeds we can look at the topic that the prof is covering but are also allowed to air topics that the learners find interest in.

I guess that you could say that I am finally a distance learning convert. With the use of blogs I think that you could make a decent argument that a learning community could be produced with the use of blogs.

Exactly what is distance education?

August 22, 2007

Distance education of today has changed dramatically from correspondence courses that originally constituted distance education over the last 10 years.  Today distance learning can be anything from a list serve discussion group that discusses ideas via emails or it can  be as  in depth as virtual classrooms that  allow students to conference via web cams and microphones.

Anything that allows the instructor and student to interact and share ideas about the subject of interest. Technology has increased the effectiveness and viability of distance education since the communication can be almost instantly versus traditional mail that is dependent upon geographical separation.

Distance education has opened up many opportunities for individuals to return to school and receive training to pursue new careers.  To succeed in today’s “flat” world the ability to learn new skills at a convenient time and at a distance is an indispensable ability.

Hello

August 20, 2007

This is my first blogging experience so bear with me. More info to come!!!!!

Hello world!

August 20, 2007

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!