This is the End. The Real End.

From personal experience, I can say that being an online student is much more challenging than being a traditional student in a face to face class. I feel that being an online teacher is very similar. There are many more challenges that are presented in the online environment. First and foremost, looking at the students themselves, we learned in previous modules that the majority are adults. The National Home Study Council (NHSC) reported in 2000 that the average online student is 34 years old; “66% are male; 25% have a college degree; over 50% have had some college education; and over 75% are married” (Dabbagh) The large majority of these students hold jobs outside of the education they are pursuing. I am reminded of myself when I look at these findings. I myself am married with a prior college degree; I have two children and I work full time in addition to taking full time college credits in an online environment. I can sum it up in many ways but I will go with stressful and challenging!

 

I think the aforementioned description of the online student defines online learning. Online teachers are dealing with students who are not the traditional student who has the majority of their time to devote to their school work. Being an online teacher, you must understand what your students are enduring outside of school. Guidelines and limitations must be set, expectations must be made, but there must also be an understanding that the online students, much like the online teacher, are dealing with a great deal more than just school.

 

I have been pleasantly surprised by my online teachers. I am not one to let homework go overdue or to skip an assignment. Honestly, it gives me anxiety so I tend to avoid that situation at all costs! I did have a situation this semester when my four year old son had to stay overnight at the hospital (obviously I stayed with him and neglected my homework). Both my statistics instructor and Dr. Gusa were understanding of my situation. They understood that I have a child who is my priority and he comes first, I was allowed to submit my work late without penalty. Being an online instructor means that you have an understanding that life happens.

 

The online student is not all that defines online teaching. In this module, we discussed “technology is not pedagogy.” I think there is a stigma around online learning that it is very computer and technologically oriented. As online students, we do much of the same work as traditional students; it’s simply a matter of handing in an electronic document rather than a printed one. I have recommended online classes to people in the past and received the statement “oh no, I’m not that great with computers.” A basic understanding of a word document and an Angel or BlackBoard tutorial is all one really needs to begin. Frankly, taking an online class is a great way for the student who isn’t great with computers to learn more. I am quite seasoned on the use of computers and still learned a lot this semester especially in regard to web 2.0 tools.

 

I like the point that Lorraine made in her discussion post. She stated: “Teachers still need to collaborate, communicate, find and share resources, manage student behavior, deliver content of the subject being taught and assess students.” (Moroder, 2012) However, I believe that technology should be integrated into the teaching and learning process. “ I completely agree with Lorraine that incorporating technology is a wonderful aspect of online learning but it most certainly does not define it!

 

Lorraine stated, “The most important reason for discussion forums is that it empowers students to express themselves.” (School of Social Work, 2011) I think discussion boards bring such a great community aspect to online learning. I feel that online we have often a more meaningful and well thought out conversation about a topic than we do in a traditional classroom. When we are in an online environment, we consider our response, we research, we ponder and finally articulate a thought to our peers.

 

mKat stated, “I agree that technology is not pedagogy rather I consider technology an application or tool that can be utilized in pedagogy to support and enhance instruction.” I think it is important for both teachers and students to understand that technology is an adjunct to teaching and learning. By use of technology, we have more exposure to the resources that are available to us and in that sense, pedagogy flourishes.

 

EDUC 210 and EDUC 300 have been great learning experiences for me. As Dr. Gusa stated on her twitter, “When you enter a new learning format, according to research, it is similar to trauma; shock, confusion, resistance, and finally acceptance” I think it is a very valid statement! It took me a while to reach acceptance, I was resisting the learning format and trying to compare it to previous classes. I have finally come to terms with it and I think I definitely benefitted from the experience.

 

SA: I believe I deserve an A as I have met all attributes.


References:

Linked within text.

Module 3 – Building a Technological Learning Community

The past couple weeks have nearly killed me! I’m surprised I made it out alive! I have been drowning in statistics homework… not to mention the crazy, 2 part, impossible final! Luckily, I came out alive; I survived and the class is now over! Phew!! I was glad to have Kassidi, a fellow online student to rant to over Twitter with about our frustrations! I am thankful to Dr. Gusa for implementing Twitter into EDUC300, it has tremendously helped create connections between students in the online environment. Without Twitter, I would not have known that Kassidi was taking statistics with me… In fact, I haven’t a clue as to who else was in my statistics class!

 

Now that I have rambled and ranted… back to education! Module 3 was interesting for me but also challenging. I feel like I may have gotten lost along the way while putting a great deal of my attention on statistics (and as usual, life in general). One of the primary focuses of this module was the discussion board which was focused on the statement, “Learning relies on interactions with others”. I enjoyed reading the discussion board posts and replies because we truly had a variety of responses to the statement.

 

Katherine and I share similar views in regard to learning and interaction. Katherine stated, “I do agree with the above statement that learning relies on the interaction with others but also on many other factors as well.” Katherine discussed the fact that motivation is a large factor to learning. As stated in our provided reading, “How Learning Works,” motivation plays a huge role in the outcome of student learning and progress. “In the context of learning, motivations influences the direction, intensity, persistence, and quality of learning behaviors in which students engage. (How Learning Works. Pg. 66)

 

mKat’s statement really resonated with me, she said, “I can practice yoga virtually anywhere I can place my mat.  I know the sequence of vinyasa flow and your time on your mat like heutagogy is self-determined, but there is something to be said about the energy that is created in a room full of yogis.” In reference to yoga, mKat and I agree that having interest and passion with a topic is a great motivator for learning. Research has repeatedly shown that when the topic is personally interesting and relevant, learners achieve much higher-order learning outcomes. Connected learning views interests and passions that are developed in a social context as essential elements.” (Connected Learning)

 

I also believe that Lorraine made a very good point in regard to teaching and learning in an online learning environment. “Technology plays a large role in the facilitation of interaction in the e-learning world.  As an online instructor we have to work harder at conveying a presence in a course.” “Using the conferencing options in course management systems (e.g., WebCT®, Blackboard®, Lotus Notes®), learning activities can effectively be designed as an interactive partnership between and among the teacher and students.“ (Kanuka)

 

SA: I believe I met all attributes for an A.

 

References:

Linked within text, photo also contains link.

Module 2 – Online Teaching and Learning

Online learning

 

Another online education class has brought me back to the blogging world! I have always enjoyed reading blogs especially ones devoted to family life and cooking. I have dreamt at the thought of having my own blog but never desired to because of the time that needs to be devoted to it. I am definitely thankful for the blogging experience I have gained through Dr. Gusa.

 

Module 2 was focused on online learning and teaching in an online environment. I will admit that before taking courses on education and teaching, I did not realize the extent of work and involvement that teachers must put into online teaching in order to facilitate success for their students. I saw online teaching in the same light as face to face instruction but in reality, my reading has brought me to the conclusion that online teaching requires an extensive amount of involvement and support.

 

The online teaching and learning videos found on Minilogs were very informative. They were first hand accounts of teachers living the reality of teaching online. Phylise Banner spoke about the fact that teaching online actually changed her teaching method in the classroom. She learned to step back and allow more student led teaching.

 

Learning about the typical online student body was very interesting. One interesting statistic is the fact that 81% of online students are employed. I think this statistic shows how beneficial online learning is to today’s society. Most households with two adults and at least one child have both adults working. It is becoming more of a necessity in today’s world. This makes it difficult for one to obtain a degree on campus where they would have to quit their job in order to attend classes. Online classes have changed the lives of many.

 

Misty had a thorough discussion post. She discussed the fact that an open classroom encourages involvement of all students, even those who are shy or have other drawbacks from opening up. “Creating large open spaces does not constitute open education; individualizing instruction does not constitute open education. . . . For the open classroom . . . is not a model or set of techniques, it is an approach to teaching and learning.” (Open)

 

Katherine discussed the fact that there are both pros and cons to technology. Technology can be extremely beneficial but it also has an opportunity to be abused in a classroom environment such as a classroom that uses Twitter. When I began watching “The Twitter Experiment”, my first thoughts were that students would be taking advantage of the opportunity to use Twitter in the classroom by spending the allotted time for personal social media browsing or even texting. By the end of the video, I realized the teacher really used her skills to motivate the students so they were quite enthused about tweeting for class.

 

Michelle made an interesting comment in regard to the nature of select online teachers. She said, “I’ve learnt that some online teachers take a “back seat” approach to learning and do not engage in routine dialogue with students.” I think she made a very valid point. I have personally taken over a dozen online classes and there is definitely a difference between the class in which the instructor is involved versus the ones where the instructor takes a back seat. Being involved is important no matter what type of classroom it is (online or on campus) and it could drastically affect the student learning and overall outcome of the course.


SA: I believe I have met all attributes for an A.

The End

 

This course has been very enlightening for me in many ways. I have learned a lot along the way. I will admit that the first week of this course scared me. I was frightened by how many assignments were due in such a short period of time. I like organization and I like to take my time while organizing to ensure everything is in a manner that satisfies me. I felt like I had to skip a lot of the organizing I generally do for all of my courses during the first few days of the semester which was uncomfortable for me.

As the weeks went on, the routine became familiar to me. I knew what was expected of me and when it was expected. Self-assessments and peer-assessments were new territory. Initially I felt weird grading myself but it became very helpful in ensuring I received a satisfactory grade. I was excited to learn about different assessment techniques in our text because self assessment was listed as a recommended option. I was very surprised by how successful it was for me. I wanted to ensure that I could always self assess myself as an A which I accomplished by following the rubrics. There is no reason for failure in this course if the rubrics and due dates are followed.

With that being said, I will surely not deny that it was A LOT of work. Whenever my husband asked what homework I had to do, this class was always on the list. I work full time, have two children ages four and two, and, like myself, my husband is also a full time online student; so I felt a lot of pressure this semester to stay afloat. I think the course started to get easier for me around Module 3 when we started reading about Common Core and standardized testing. This is an area I have a lot of interest in mostly for the fact that I have young children who will enter elementary school in the next couple years.

One of the assigned module reading/videos that sticks with me the most is the video from Module 2 titled “Changing Education Paradigms” by Sir Ken Robinson. I feel like the video truly encompasses many of my own judgements of public schools and the education that our children are getting. Sir Ken Robinson spoke about the mass amounts of medications that are being fed to children like candy in order for them to sit still and listen like robots. In my private practice work as a dental hygienist, I have worked with the low income population. I knew exactly what the zombie robotic children looked like as Sir Robinson described them because I saw them numerous times in the low income setting. Now that I work in a private office that serves patients with private dental insurance, I rarely see a child with prescription drugs for ADD or ADHD listed on their medical history.

As we learned in this module, education is key. We must educate and create understanding to enable change. I personally believe that there is a large educational barrier for people in a lower income setting because as children, they learn so much from their surroundings. I know that as a hygienist, I would attempt to educate my patients on good oral hygiene and the children on medication were so zoned out that they did not even have a reaction to the words that I was speaking. Seeing this in a short half hour appointment made me realize how frustrating it must be for teachers to try and educate a student who has checked out.

We must make more of an effort to teach based on learning style. Everyone learns differently which was discovered in detail in this course. I knew a lot about my personal learning styles prior to this course but I was interested to learn more about the learning styles of others. In order to be a successful educator, you must be able to reach all students on their preferred level.

I have not come to the conclusion regarding education as a career for myself. I feel that I would personally enjoy teaching students clinically rather than didactically since I have worked clinical dental hygiene for the entirety of my 6 year career. I think I would find great satisfaction in watching students grow clinically as they discover and understand proper techniques and as they relate their clinical experience to their lectures.

Thank you for an enlightening semester, Dr. Gusa!

SA: I believe I deserve an A for this final blog entry.

 

The-end

Module 7 – The Soul of Education

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I was very interested in this weeks topic. The thought of creating a dream school that is perfect for me personally was very exciting. I have always been excited by learning. I would say I generally enjoyed my school experiences in elementary school. Middle school was a rough experience for me as I started it in a new school and I felt a lot of pressure from my peers. High school was a combination of positive and negative for me. I was overall satisfied with my high school experience but I became tired of test after test and essay after essay.

This week we were asked to complete an adventure study which I must say has to be my favorite assignment of all time! An adventure study entails removing yourself from your everyday life and going somewhere near or far that is relaxing. After relaxing and enjoying the scenery you have surrounded yourself with, you simply think. I became an instant fan of adventure studying. I do most of my school work including research, preparation, and thinking while at my laptop. Admittedly, my laptop houses a number of distractions, specifically social media and online shopping. Going back to the basics with a pen and notebook while becoming reunited with nature was very refreshing.

Nature became a big topic of discussion this week as we all reviewed the module reading and video assignments and created our dream schools. Cedarsong Nature School is a preschool / kindergarten that is entirely outside. I was intrigued by the video of Cedarsong Nature School and decided while watching it that I would without hesitation send my kids to Cedarsong. The founder of the school, Erin Kenney stated, “Children cannot bounce off the walls if we take away the walls.” (Therapeutic… 2011) I think this is so pertinent to today’s society because of the large number of students who are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Teachers like Kenney are becoming rare because more and more teachers are expecting robotic students who sit still at their desk and listen attentively to long lectures.

My research also led me to Albany Free School which I enjoyed. “At The Free School there are no grades, no mandated curriculum, no standardized tests, no homework and unnecessary rules are generally avoided.” (Albany…) With limited stress of grades on testing and homework, there is much less frustration in regard to understanding. Children are allowed to learn at their own pace without being compared to other students. I think this is a great way to reduce peer pressure.

I also believe that a focus on social and emotional learning would be very beneficial in a school environment. In my opinion, this focus which helps students foster a sense of empathy would truly help decrease the incidence of bullying in schools. In my research I was able to find several articles that found a correlation between the two. “Compared to control groups, not only do students who participate in SEL programs demonstrate significant gains in their social and emotional skills; they show higher levels of prosocial behavior, more favorable attitudes toward school and others, and better academic achievement.” (SEL…)

Classmates:

I truly enjoyed reading about the dream schools of my peers. I was fascinated by the multitude of concepts we came up with as a group. While reading many of the posts I found myself relating them to my personal life and judging whether or not I would enjoy such a school. I found Rachel’s school very relatable. She focused a lot on social and emotional learning which I think is a huge factor to the adults we become. Rachel said, “I believe that schooling should focus not only on students’ intellectual development but also help them to develop social and emotional abilities and grow as human beings.” Many schools have focused on teaching to the test rather than teaching to develop mature and respectful adults.

Another dream school I felt relatable was Susan’s. Susan said, “There will be in classroom plants, pets and cleaning maintenance jobs for each student that change every week.” In addition she mentioned a garden. I think chores such as the ones Susan suggested are wonderful for children. Not only does a garden provide healthy food for the students at school but it provides them with valuable life lessons. Such activities will serve as an outlet for energy as well.

Another great point made was by Samantha who honed in on the fact that students are more excited and tolerant of activities and assignments that they select for themselves. Samantha stated, “I never enjoyed school until I was able to choose what I wanted and do what I liked.” Samantha referred to vocational schooling in which she was able to select a program that best suited her. I think allowing students to seek careers in this manner or through job shadowing would be extremely beneficial to them after graduation. This would help greatly reduce the amount of time and money wasted on college courses and degrees that students ultimately discover are not what they want.

SA: I believe I have met all attributes of the rubric for an A.

References:

Albany Free School. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2015, from https://canton.sln.suny.edu/section/content/default.asp?WCI=pgDisplay&WCU=CRSCNT&ENTRY_ID=D082183D0D6F426D8591D85F1C627E0A

Cedarsong Nature School. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2015, from https://canton.sln.suny.edu/section/content/default.asp?WCI=pgDisplay&WCU=CRSCNT&ENTRY_ID=4C6724538AF84D0AAE848C8195016F63

SEL and Bullying Prevention. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2015, from http://www.casel.org/bullying/

Module 6 – Measuring What Matters

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This weeks readings and activities were based on assessments that are used by teachers to evaluate the level of understanding of their students. I was personally surprised by the number of various assessments that are used. I feel like standardized testing has become the “norm” in relation to assessing students so we tend to forget about other less daunting forms of assessment.

My research on intelligence and reified ideas was eye opening for me. Intelligence is a concept; not a thing. By means of reification, we have taken an idea and turned it into a concrete thing that we attempt to measure with standardized tests. (Polgar) “Reified ideas are not real in any material sense. Rather, they are ideas and abstractions about human attributes and behaviors-what social scientists call constructs.” (Oakes, p. 204) I never personally thought of intelligence in such a way and through consideration have found the concept to be very accurate.

There are many forms of assessments that can be utilized in a classroom setting. Formative assessments are non-graded assessments that enable educators to formulate a road map for instructing their class. “More than anything else, non-threatening, informal assessment can disarm the process of checking for understanding. The less formal the form, the less guarded or anxious the student might become.” (60 Non… 2015)

“Authentic assessment is an evaluation process that involves multiple forms of performance measurement reflecting the student’s learning, achievement, motivation, and attitudes on instructionally-relevant activities. Examples of authentic assessment techniques include performance assessment, portfolios, and self-assessment.” (Callison) These assessment techniques are a much better indicator of understanding. In lieu of standardized testing, “many teachers are turning to alternative assessment practices that better match new theories of intelligence and learning.” (Oakes, p. 214) Since formative assessments are non-threatening, they do not put pressure on students. “Stress and worry can quickly shut down the student’s ability to think, which yields misleading results–a poor “grade” which implies that a student understands a lot less than they actually do.” (60 Non… 2015)

 

Classmates

 

I liked the aspect of writing a letter to the SUNY president as our discussion board this week. I thought that many students held a very good argument and made valid points about alternate assessment methods within their letters. Susan’s post referenced the very need for assessment beyond standardized testing. She said, “Students will spend the entire semester in fear of lacking the knowledge on the test that will dictate their GPA and final grade. This is far from accurate knowledge of the information we have learned throughout the semester.”

Samantha created a very strong argument in her post. “According to the Oxford Dictionary, knowledge is facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.” This statement is relatable to the six facets of understanding that explain how to determine when a student has learned or understood a topic.

Rachel made very good points in relation the need for alternate assessment methods. “Testing puts low-income and minority students at a disadvantage, as schools in low income communities do not receive enough funding to provide resources for struggling students. Teachers are also forced to limit their instruction in order to “teach the test” (Fairtest, 2012). Students and teachers are the ones at risk with standardized testing. The very people who should be getting help are being hurt. We must advocate for alternative assessment options to ensure success in future years.

 

SA: I earned an A because I met all attributes per the blog rubric.

 

References:

60 Non-Threatening Formative Assessment Techniques. (2015, March 16). Retrieved April 7, 2015, from http://www.teachthought.com/teaching/60-non-threatening-formative-assessment-techniques/?__scoop_post=a15f62d0-dc68-11e4-de2c-90b11c3998fc&__scoop_topic=4037263#__scoop_post=a15f62d0-dc68-11e4-de2c-90b11c3998fc&__scoop_topic=4037263

 

Callison, D. (n.d.). Authentic Assessment. Retrieved March 28, 2015, from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslpubsandjournals/slr/edchoice/SLMQ_AuthenticAssessment_InfoPower.pdf

 

Fairtest. “How Standardized Testing Damages Education.” 07 2012. FairTest: The National Center for Fair and Open Testing. Electronic. 03 2015.

 

Oakes, J., Lipton, M., Anderson, L., & Stillman, J. (2013). Teaching to Change the World (4th ed.). Boulder, Colo.: Paradigm Publishers


Polgar, S. (n.d.). Intelligence. Retrieved March 28, 2015, from http://www.psych.purdue.edu/~willia55/120/10.IntelligenceMM.pdf

Module 5 – Art and Science of Thinking

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I found Module 5 very interesting as I was able to relate a lot of the readings to personal experiences I have had with teachers. Teaching is a combination of both art and science. While the two differ, they are directly involved with one another. “If good teaching is an art, it does not follow that there is not an important science of teaching.” (Paterson, 2010) The art of teaching varies from teacher to teacher as it is relatable to the personal approach they make in relation to their teaching strategies, discipline, etc. The science of teaching rather relates to the underlying concepts behind learning which relate to instructional methods of teaching.

Our SEE W assignment was challenging this week as we were not provided with a definition for the key term. We were asked to define teaching which really posed as a challenge. Most definitions that I found online related to the occupation of teaching. I find that teaching occurs in a multitude of ways; it does not solely occur in a school setting. The definition I formulated for teaching is as follows: Teaching is the transmission of knowledge from one person to another by means of varied instruction. Teaching is considered successful when it has caused someone to learn or understand the intended concept. Teaching has a direct correlation with learning; the purpose of teaching is to facilitate change. (Hoobitron, 2006)

I truly believe that student led teaching is a positive experience for both the student and the teacher. Using Scoop.it! I found some wonderful stories about teachers who allowed their students to flourish by allowing them to control their learning. I found a very touching video on YouTube that really showcased how teachers learn from their students. The video shows a rowdy classroom of kids with no drive for learning. They do not listen to their teacher and simply act as rebel students. A new teacher to the classroom allows the students to have a voice by allowing them to be the teachers. She allows the students to take turns teaching the classroom about their passion. Topics vary from music to writing, even paper airplanes; but what they all have in common is the fact that the student presents it with passion and captivates the interest of all other students as well as the teacher. (Salute… 2014)

This is truly an example of a teacher who these students will have “written in their hearts” for their lifetime. They will always remember and cherish their experience. They were all keenly aware of the changes that were made within their classroom. Bullies became friends and the class came together as a whole creating an entirely new class of motivated students.

 

Classmates

 

Hannah had a post that was very relatable to the module readings. She said, “sometimes being put into this labeling system makes you think you are incapable of things you aren’t.” Hannah’s analysis reminded me of my research on self-fulfilling prophecy. “A self-fulfilling prophecy is a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it is already true.” (Kaufman, 2012)

Lorraine stated, “Caution needs to taken academically as well as diagnosing learning disabilities among our children.” I think she hit the nail on the head with this because all too often students are diagnosed with learning disabilities when in reality they simply need some assistance and understanding. Being quick to diagnose a student with a learning disability could inhibit their education for their future. “Being in a low-level class most often fosters lower achievement, poor self-concepts, lowered aspirations, negative attitudes, and even dropping out.” (Oakes, p. 311) Being in a low-level class places students in a negative or “loser” frame of mind which sets them up for failure.

In my original discussion board post I spoke about the fact that students that require additional assistance with school were deemed special education students and were segregated from the rest of the class body. mKat stated, “My school also grouped students by academic ability rather than race or social class.  My mother was a special education teacher in the same school district and I remember visiting her classroom which was tucked away in a wing of the school which was far from the rest of the classrooms.  The special education students had their own lunch hour and were not mainstreamed in the elective classes such as phys. Ed, music, or art.” I personally feel that allowing these students to interact with the rest of their class is the best for their development. Students learn a lot from each other.

SA: I earned an A because I met all attributes per the blog rubric.

 

References:

Hoobitron. (2006, July 28). Do You Teach or Do You Educate? Retrieved March 23, 2015, from https://canton.sln.suny.edu/section/content/default.asp?WCI=pgDisplay&WCU=CRSCNT&ENTRY_ID=99B515BFCF474409B9CE4BD8E021E858

Kaufman, C. (2012, October 11). Using Self-Fulfilling Prophecies to Your Advantage. Retrieved March 17, 2015, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/psychology-writers/201210/using-self-fulfilling-prophecies-your-advantage

Oakes, J., Lipton, M., Anderson, L., & Stillman, J. (2013). Teaching to Change the World (4th ed.). Boulder, Colo.: Paradigm Publishers

Paterson, C. (2010, December 9). Teaching as an Art. Retrieved March 18, 2015, from https://canton.sln.suny.edu/section/content/default.asp?WCI=pgDisplay&WCU=CRSCNT&ENTRY_ID=6C2BA28579134653A5E8F1BC8843A51A

Salute to Teachers ! how good teacher can change students. (2014, November 25). Retrieved March 24, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CggeApZBTYQ

Module 4 – Learning and Thinking

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Module 4 is coming to a close and this one definitely required a bit more brain power. Professor Gusa forewarned us that this would be a difficult module because we were given a direction but not told completely what to do. For me, I found it kind of nice to have a little bit of freedom rather than all students answering the same questions; it gave the discussion boards some life and variety. Module 4 focused on learning and thinking. We read a lot about different learning styles and teaching concepts.

Learning is a gradual process. As one concept is learned, it can be built on to further education. “Rather than development being seen as stepping up from Level 1 to Level 2 to Level 3, it is envisioned as a gradual ebbing and flowing of the frequencies of alternative ways of thinking, with new approaches being added and old ones being eliminated as well. “ (Paul, 2014) Learning is a lifelong process. We never stop learning.

In order to exhibit learning we must also be able to utilize what we have learned in a practical setting. This is very relatable to science courses that include laboratory sessions. Through instruction in lectures students learn facts and concepts that can be utilized in a lab setting. We can also relate this to life in general. Students learn mathematics such as addition and subtraction and can show their understanding on paper during a test. Utilizing the information in a practical sense is what shows that learning has occurred. If a student can correctly process transactions and give change while operating a cash register, they would be exhibiting the learned concept of addition and subtraction.

The growth mindset is an academic concept which believes in continued growth. “It is based on the belief that the brain does not have a fixed capacity, but is instead a muscle that can grow with effort, hard work, and dedication.” (Winkler, 2014) Students and teachers need to showcase a passion for learning that persuades students to dive into learning with a desire to succeed understanding it will require a lot of work and determination.

Having passion about learning makes us more eager to understand and try. Implementing passion and the growth mindset in schools would be beneficial to all students in the short and long term. Creating passion for students creates a desire. “For instance, kids shouldn’t learn about soil ecosystems because it’s in Chapter 7 of the science book. They should learn about it because they’re planning a community garden so they can take vegetables to the local food bank.” (Wolpert, 2011)

Learning relates to everything we do in life. Education really does equal success. In today’s world, it would be very unlikely for someone with a ninth grade education to get an entry level job over someone with a high school diploma. I would not be writing this paper right now without the education I was provided by my teachers throughout my years in school. Having a passion for learning is really about having a passion to succeed.

I have always been the person who wanted to understand they ‘why’ to everything. The passion for learning was instilled in me from a young age which is what we need to do for all children in school now. “If we in the educational community can incorporate these Mindsets as a fundamental cornerstone of our educational system, we can help students succeed not only in school, but also in every part of their life.” (Winkler, 2014) I understood that I needed an education to be successful and that was the drive that forced me to have a passion for learning.

Classmates

The discussion board was interesting in that many of us interpreted the video Learning to Fly similarly. I thought that Hannah’s post was very relatable. She related the video to our text stating that she was able to relate her reading on social and emotional learning to the song. She further stated, “Part of this learning is self-awareness and responsible decision-making.” In our discussion, I stated, Taking responsibility for our own learning is what gives us great pride in our success. This is very relatable to Cognitively Guided Instruction. “Teachers become students of their own learning” (Oakes, p. 180)

Hennessy had a very touching discussion post that related to her hardships in life and desires to further her education. Hennessy stated, “Through failure I learned how to take notes better in class, study for my exams, actually learn the material taught to me and keep trying.” I found her point interesting because we really do learn a lot about ourselves through mishaps that occur. In my reply to Hennessy I explained, “There can be no success without failure. You should welcome failure as an opportunity to learn and you will learn from failure.” (Long, 2013) While none of us want to fail, we must understand it as a learning experience. Mistakes and failures are two different things. You can try very hard, for example at starting up a business and still fail; this is not a mistake, it is a lesson of what needs to be done differently.

Katherine made very good points about learning and the fact that it is becoming a chore for many students. She stated, “There is more to education reform than improving test scores. An educator’s ability to inspire students plays a large part of students learning.” I feel that Katherine really honed in on what is important in teaching. Creating inspiration and passion in education creates a desire for students to want to learn and succeed. Education is becoming so mandated that is no longer about the students; it is more about statistically being “the best” based on test scores.

 

SA: I earned an A because I met all attributes per the blog rubric.

 

References:

Long, Y. (2013, April 9). How To Learn From Failure. Retrieved February 26, 2015, from http://www.careerealism.com/how-learn-failure/

Oakes, J., Lipton, M., Anderson, L., & Stillman, J. (2013). Politics and Philosophy & Policy and Law in Teaching to Change the World (4th ed., pp. 60-121). Boulder, Colo.: Paradigm Publishers

Paul, A. (2014, June 3). How Students Make Progress in Learning. Retrieved March 1, 2015, from https://canton.sln.suny.edu/section/content/default.asp?WCI=pgDisplay&WCU=CRSCNT&ENTRY_ID=9D466D4569AF4F5392E628B4333C88FE

Winkler, D. (2014, June 10). The Growth Mindset: The Important Concept NOT Taught Under the Common Core. Retrieved March 1, 2015, from https://canton.sln.suny.edu/section/content/default.asp?WCI=pgDisplay&WCU=CRSCNT&ENTRY_ID=C89E577964744B10A2FBE27C83515187

Wolpert, H. (2011, May 12). Passion-Based Learning: An Interview with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. Retrieved March 1, 2015, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/passionate-learning-teaching-heather-wolpert-gawron-interview

Module 3 – Education and Policies

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We are now at the end of Module 3, I feel like I am getting the hang of the flow of this class and what the expectations are. The first few weeks are always stressful so it is nice when a rhythm is finally formed. Module 3 focused on education and policies. We read a lot about factors that change education overtime. The concept of public school has changed tremendously from the days of Thomas Jefferson to today in response to a multitude of factors: philosophical ideologies, competition with other countries, political ideologies, etc.

Education in relation to public school is becoming more and more regulated by the federal government. Politics are taking a huge toll on our education system. The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act as well as Common Core (CCSS), aka “Race to the Top” are both examples of ways politicians have changed education directly. “During the past thirty years, education has become federalized through dynamics both indirect (“A Nation at Risk” spurring state-based accountability systems) and direct (No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top).” (Thomas, 2012)

By implementing educational goals based on standardized test results, the federal government was able to control schools in the United States with money. Approximately 11 percent of school funding comes from federal sources. This funding is hard to obtain as it comes with tight restrictions since the passing of the NCLB act. (Oakes et al., 2013 p. 96) When it comes to funding a public school, 11 percent is a large amount of money that schools need to uphold staffing, programs such as sports and music, etc.

Standardized testing has not been viewed in a positive light for most citizens, especially those who have school age children at home. “Turning whole schools into giant test-prep factories is rationalized as being in the best interest of poor and minority students – the ones who actually suffer most from high-stakes testing” (Kohn, 2002) Standardized testing is hurting the ones who politician claim it will help. Children are becoming very discouraged and frustrated with school especially poor and minority students who likely have other setbacks to begin with.

All of this federal intrusion is for a reason. In comparison to other countries, the United States is not high in the ranking for “best performance.” “The U.S. scores below average in math and ranks 17th among the 34 OECD countries. It scores close to the OECD average in science and reading and ranks 21st in science and 17th in reading.” (Ryan, 2013) In addition to these statistics, the US is ranked fifth in the amount spent on each student. “The Slovak Republic, which scores similarly [in ranking] to the U.S., spends $53,000 per student. The U.S. spends $115,000.” (Ryan, 2013)

When we look at the statistics and find that we are spending such a large amount per student yet scores are not revealing as such, we look at someone to blame. Accountability is the reason that the federal government is interfering so much. I have to say that I do not blame them. I understand wanting to get to the bottom of the educational crisis in our country but I do not believe they are going about it in the correct manner.

Utilizing test results for accountability is not the answer. “Higher test scores do not necessarily reflect higher quality teaching and learning.” (Kohn, 2002) This thought process relates back to the concerns about NCLB in which teachers feel the need to teach “to the test” in order to ensure their students pass high stakes exams. Teachers are focusing solely on material that will be covered on standardized testing while nixing all other material that was once pertinent to a childhood education.

Classmates

I found Gian’s discussion board post very relatable. He states, “My mother has been teaching for many years at the elementary level, and this has put such a strain on the entire school and workplace and is effecting everyone. Many teachers, including herself are scared that in any point of time they could lose their job and be on the street looking for a new career.“ I personally know many teachers in the same boat as Gian’s mother. They are worried that the accountability for their students performing well on standardized tests could be an issue for the longevity of their career.

Grace made a very valid point in her discussion post. She said, “Everyone learns differently and there are so many philosophies on how education should be taught, that it is hard to create a national curriculum. It is an educational conundrum that has been present in schools for decades.” I find this very relatable because of the many “learning style quizzes” I have taken in my online courses. Everyone learns in a different way. Some are more responsive to lecture while others learn better from hands on lab experiences. We cannot create a “one size fits all” educational system as it is completely unfair for students and sets them up for failure.

Karen stated, “I feel the federal government should not be involved in specific school policy and funds should not be withheld if the school decides not to adopt specific programs.” I could not agree more with Karen. I can understand the federal government being involved in education but as Karen said, not in specific school policy. Funds should be available to schools and there should be leeway on policies so we do not have 100,000 cookie cutter school factories in the country. The policies for schools and education should be created and organized by educators and not politicians.

 

SA: I earned an A because I met all attributes per the blog rubric.

 

References:

Kohn, A. (2002). Standardized Testing. Retrieved February 15, 2015, from https://canton.sln.suny.edu/section/content/default.asp?WCI=pgDisplay&WCU=CRSCNT&ENTRY_ID=9E1A31F119294C17B67B8688985A0B7C

Oakes, J., Lipton, M., Anderson, L., & Stillman, J. (2013). Politics and Philosophy & Policy and Law in Teaching to Change the World (4th ed., pp. 60-121). Boulder, Colo.: Paradigm Publishers

Ryan, J. (2013, December 3). American Schools vs. the World: Expensive, Unequal, Bad at Math. Retrieved February 15, 2015, from http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/12/american-schools-vs-the-world-expensive-unequal-bad-at-math/281983/

Thomas, P. (2012, April 26). Politics and Education Don’t Mix. Retrieved February 15, 2015, from https://canton.sln.suny.edu/section/content/default.asp?WCI=pgDisplay&WCU=CRSCNT&ENTRY_ID=687062A2B09F4A338A9E22E418FCF233

Module 2 – History and Culture

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This week we focused on the history of the public school system in America. I never thought about school as in depth before and I found the textbook very interesting in regards to all of the ways public schools support and affect our country. For example, “Public schools should support the nation’s workforce and economy.” (Oakes et al., 2013 p. 40) When we look deep into the roots of public education, it was primarily proposed by Thomas Jefferson as a way to give citizens a few years of basic education to ensure they were an educated member of society who could uphold a democracy. Public school is now largely viewed as a golden ticket to a career.

We read and discussed a lot about social capital. Social capital, is defined by the OECD, as “networks together with shared norms, values and understandings that facilitate co-operation within or among groups” (OECD… n.d.) These shared values and norms are concepts that we as society agree upon as being the correct way of doing things. Getting a high school diploma and furthering your education in college is one of these shared values that are expected in our current generation. “Years of acculturation – the process of internalizing cultural values – leave us with a set of rigid categories for “good” and “bad” parents, narrow conceptions of how parents should look, talk, and behave toward their children.” (Thinking… n.d.) All aspects of our lives are defined by such social norms and values. It is a social norm/value to graduate high school and further your education in college in order to avoid working at McDonalds.

In addition to school climate, we talked about school culture. Mission and value statements that are presented by schools are a key into their culture. “Sociologists recognized the importance of school culture as early as the 1930s, but it wasn’t until the late 1970s that educational researchers began to draw direct links between the quality of a school’s climate and its educational outcomes.” (Jerald, 2006) Research has discovered that there is a correlation between the climate and the culture of a school. A happy and positive climate will promote a positive culture.

Classmates

While putting together discussion board posts and replies takes a lot of effort, I enjoy reading the posts made by my classmates as it furthers my understanding of what I have read in the text and module readings. I replied to Karen’s post because I enjoyed reading the story about her dental hygiene instructor who paid attention to a student’s needs and rectified the situation with the approval of the other classmates. It is a wonderful example of positive culture in a school.

I also replied to Elena in regards to her recount of the Module 2 video, “Changing Education Paradigms.” Elena states, “Students are placed in groups by age and taught standardized courses, and evaluated with standardized testing. It is time that we begin to look at each student individually and identify their interests, strengths, and weaknesses and look to providing a curriculum to expand their knowledge based using such findings.“ The video provided an eye-opening synopsis of what public schools are becoming and that changes must be made to ensure the success and education of our students.

I enjoyed Kassidi’s post as it honed in on the fact that an education is available to any of us. Kassidi states, “I came from severe poverty with no chance of anyone providing me with a college education other than myself. Here I am, working on my bachelor’s degree just as easily as anyone else could.” I can completely relate to Kassidi as I put myself through college as soon as I graduated high school. I was always envious of the “rich” kids that had nice cars, apartments, and loans paid for by their parents. My parents could not provide for me in that way. I was so proud of myself when I graduated college, I had a dental hygiene career shortly after my 20th birthday! My family could not support me financially but emotionally they were so positive. They expressed how proud of me they were and are and that is such a driving force for success. That positivity and encouragement is what is needed in our schools!

SA: I earned an A because I met all attributes per the blog rubric.

 

References:

Jerald, C. (2006, December). School Culture: The Hidden Curriculum. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.ldonline.org/article/26095/

Oakes, J., Lipton, M., Anderson, L., & Stillman, J. (2013). History and Culture In Teaching to Change the World (4th ed., pp. 29-59). Boulder, Colo.: Paradigm Publishers.

OECD Insights: Social Capital. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.oecd.org/insights/37966934.pdf

Thinking Critically, Challenging Cultural Myths. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2015, from https://canton.sln.suny.edu/section/content/default.asp?WCI=pgDisplay&WCU=CRSCNT&ENTRY_ID=24BA36D1CA3D41789542459A370922D8