Saturday, March 10, 2018

EME2040 - Blog Post #9

I believe gesture-based media holds the most promise for education. With it, students are able to do things such as geomapping where they can get a true hands-on experience in social studies and science especially. In social studies/history, students can "visit" virtual places that parents may never have the money to ever actually visit. In science, students can manipulate atoms/electrons, etc. and create new molecules or compounds (according to the text - I didn't do any further research but I'd wager to bet gesture-based media could be useful in other subject areas as well). To me, these things hold the most promise for education.

The Digital Divide affects education by creating a "gap" between students who do and do not have access to the internet and technology. This podcast reminded me of something I saw on Facebook recently. In that video, there was an academic challenge between two teams of four students. The teams were divided by a curtain and could not see each other. As the challenge went on and the questions got more intense, one team (unbeknownst to the other team) received laptops and internet access while the other team received some textbooks and other paperback resources. When asked the new, harder questions, Team A (with laptops) answered within seconds while Team B (with textbooks) struggled to find the answers. In the end, the curtain was moved and Team B suddenly realized how Team A managed to get the answers correct every time.

This also reminded me of something else in real life. I have been working as an in-home private tutor since August 2017. The students I work with attend a school that relies HEAVILY on apps, smartphones, and the internet. EVERYTHING the students receive - homework assignments, grades, etc.  - is available ONLY through apps the school uses. Even afternoon dismissal is done with...yep, you guessed app (actually, two apps......). It's insane! And then, at the other end of the spectrum, you have schools that cannot afford to even supply their students with computers, let alone assume they all have internet access at home.

Needless to say, I realize that the Digital Divide is real and in full effect. As a professor (eventually), I'm not sure how this Digital Divide will affect me. I mean, if I am teaching classes online - as you are, Prof. JiYae - then obviously we're relying heavily (almost exclusively) on the internet and online platforms (hello Canvas...). On the other hand, if I am teaching at a brick and mortar campus, then the amount of time I spend online and that I require of my students may be more limited. I do expect that, in either case, whether I'm teaching online or in person, that my students will rely on the internet to some extent. If I can help it, we won't be reliant on any apps (shudder).

So, as far as Prof. JiYae's blog post - First of all, I'm impressed she's actually reading our posts. Sometimes I do wonder if she has the time to actually read all of these blog posts and/or follow all of our Twitter accounts to make sure we're tweeting regularly. (I would like to point out that I AM and HAVE BEEN tweeting regularly all semester with the hashtag #FSU2040! Look to the right and see my Twitter feed....)

That being said...I think Prof. JiYae and I would somewhat disagree on the learning styles issue. She's entitled to her opinion of course, just as I'm entitled to mine. However, I think there really is something behind the "learning styles" theories. In fact, I just wrote a blog post titled "Homeschooling to Your Child's Learning Strengths." (At this point, it hasn't been published but if you Google the title, by the time you see this post it should be published. It goes out 3/12/18.)

So, in my blog post, I discussed teaching to your child's learning strengths and how beneficial this is. Instead of focusing on your child's weaker areas, why not focus on his/her strengths and pull the weaker areas in on an as-needed basis? For instance, if your child naturally excels at math or science (or both), then focus heavily on those areas and try to base the other areas on those strengths. Find science passages to use for assessing his/her language arts skills (not talking basic phonics; I'm assuming a child old enough to read here). Things of that nature.

In addition, I read her views on digital immigrants vs. digital natives. I loved the blog post quotes she posted about those! I would say I agree with the vast majority of what was shared there. As a digital immigrant (I'm 37) and yet still a digital native (this is why I'm considered Generation Y....), I see both sides of the coin here.

**Blog posts I commented on: Brooke's and Fernanda's.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

EME2040 - Blog Post #8

Adaptive technologies have made using "regular" materials accessible for those individuals who may not otherwise be able to use them. One of the main features I've noticed on my own keyboard is the "Sticky Keys" function. If I accidentally hold down the "Shift" key for too long, a prompt pops up asking me if I want to use Sticky Keys (I always say "no.").

Another adaptive technology is MouseKeys which allows you to use your 10-key keypad (the numeric portion) as a mouse. I've never used this and have no idea if my computer does this or not. According to the text, there are also "alternative mouse devices" and "alternative keyboard devices." Again, I've never used either of these but I can certainly see how this adaption would be handy for those who need it. Similarly, "on-screen keyboards" and "customizable keyboards" would be useful for those with different abilities.

The only challenges I foresee using these in my future classroom are the fact that I'm going to have to get to know how to use some of these technologies myself if any of my students do! I'm not the greatest at learning new technologies, but I'll do my best.

As for the WebQuest - you know, funny thing is, ever since that assignment, it seems like I keep seeing WebQuest everywhere! Every lesson plan I look at or ed-tech website I've browsed has something about WebQuests. I'm going to be honest and say, I do not see myself using such a thing in my future classroom. I plan to just discuss whatever it is we need to discuss face-to-face OR using something like Google Classroom. I have no intentions on creating WebQuests. :)

Here is a screenshot of my WebQuest:

**Blogs I commented on: Fernanda and Katy