Saturday, June 18, 2011

Blog Post 6

Group of students holding hands.

The Networked Student
By:Wendy Drexler and Alec Couros

This video is about connectivism. According to Wikipedia "Connectivism, is a learning theory for the digital age, has been developed by George Siemens and Stephen Downes based on their analysis of the limitations of behaviorism  cognitivism and constructivism to explain the effect technology has had on how we live, how we communicate, and how we learn." The main purpose of connectivism is to allow the student to be in control of their learning process and access it through the internet. The student builds a personal learning network. He/She  does this by finding valid websites on the the topic. The student then publishes it to his or her bookmarking site. This allows other students that have bookmarked the same topic to share what they have found. The student also uses Itunes U to listen to the lectures of professors around the world. Thus, giving the student access to the greatest professors around. 

The teachers role in connectivism may at first seem obsolete. But, the teacher plays a rather important role in connectivism. The teacher helps students by teaching the students how to build their network. He/She also teaches the student how to communicate properly, gives guidance when the student is stuck, helps validate sites, and teaches students how to respectfully ask for help from experts. The teachers role is like the framework of a house. It is the first place you start but, it is nothing without a roof, walls, and all the details. 

I think the idea of connectivism is really good. However, not all students have the access to technology as others do. In the near future I am sure all schools will be technologically advanced. Until then we must be sure all students can access the internet before assigning at home internet projects. I think connectivism is increasing and one day it will be the main source of learning. Textbooks will eventually be obsolete and accessed through the internet. Teachers will not be at school to lecture or stand in front of the class. They will be there to navigate children through the internet and help build the foundation of their networking skills.

A personal learning enviroment graph.

A 7th Graders Personal Learning Environment
By:Mr.H's 7th grade student and Wendy 

In this video the 7th grade student walks you step by step through her personal learning environment. I think she did a wonderful job at organizing her PLN. I loved the way she separated work and play from each other. I have just started my very own PLN. My PLN consists of tiles such as the EDM 310 blog, Facebook  YouTube, Skype, and CNN. I am going to use her idea of separating work and entertainment in my very own PLN. 

I think many people could learn a lot from this 7th grader. Organization is one main thing that everyone needs in their life. Having a PLN is a great way to do so. I plan to  introduce this to friends and co-workers so that they too can become proficient and organized. I also plan on in the future using this in my classroom. This would be a great tool for the rapid technologically growing students.

SMART boards 
For or against?

In Why Smartboards Are a Dumb Initiative, by Michael Staton, Staton writes how smartboards may be a "cool" tool but, " They are just the least cost-effective way to improve learning I’ve ever seen." Michael goes on to state that smartboards are just a cop out for administrators and are way too costly. 

In Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards, by Bill Ferriter, Bill mentions how he believes interactive white boards (IWB) do not make any changes in the lesson plan. He mentions after  a year of having his own he gave it away because, besides a few neat lesson plans, he determined it was "basically useless." He also goes on to mention how expensive the IWB  are. In another blog, Why are we STILL Wasting Money on Whiteboards?, Ferriter mentions other ways he could spend  18k on technology that would be more useful in the classrooms than a IWB. 

In my quest to find positive feedback to the IWB I found The Whiteboard Blog. This is a whole blog dedicated to the use of IWB. The blog has tools and tutorials on new and fun ways to interact with the children through the IWB. 

I believe an IWB is a good tool for the classroom. I have recently just been introduced to IWB's. After being able to work with it myself I fell in love with it. It allows students to actually get up and interact with the board. Thus, allowing hands on learning for every subject. And yes, just like every other tool out there that is not a book, the IWB does require some "training". What ever happened to the saying "practice makes perfect"? Teachers should use their IWB's all the time and not be scared that they will mess something up. I think the students enjoy the IWB's as well. 



  1. Hey Heather! Your comments on connectivism are very well thought out. I agree with you when you mentioned that all schools are not technologically advanced yet so we need to make sure that all assignments and homework aren't maintained through a computer. More than likely the assignments that need a computer to complete are probably only given to schools who have access to a class set of computers. Great post!

  2. Heather,
    Don't forget to take the color of the font into consideration. This blue is very very hard on the eyes. (Ow I have a headache -__-)
    Connectivism is growing and becoming more popular, but you made a great point about everybody not having access to a computer. Maybe you can be the advocate to change this!

  3. "Until then we must be sure all students can access the internet before assigning at home internet projects. " Really? I am not willing to wait that long. There are other alternatives such as open access to the internet at all schools. Of course, that may be a long wait also. But with smart phones almost ubiquitous we may have what you require very soon! Jacey-Blaire has a good suggestion for you. Take the lead in making it happen!

    The primary constituent of your PLN should be people!