Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Learning to Unlearn

The idea of unlearning something seems a bit odd.  How can you unlearn something?  What does that even mean?  Well unlearning is the process of leaving behind old ideas or ways of doing something and basically trading in those for new, more efficient ideas or ways of doing things.  This can be extremely difficult for many because they were so used to the old way of doing something and the new idea seems so foreign to them.

As an educator there are certain things that truly need to be unlearned in order for us to become better at our job.  Some of these things are the idea that learning only occurs in schools, that learning is limited by time and space and that it is an individual pursuit.  As educators we need to unlearn the old way of education and realize that in order to better our students we need to create independent learners who know how to utilize personal learning networks.  We need to unlearn the idea that leaders in the classroom should always be the ones with the degrees and the titles.  The kids need to learn to lead groups in order to become leaders for the rest of their lives.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Interactive Whiteboards in Today's Classroom

The Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) is one of the newest fads in classrooms across the United States.  Schools are investing thousands if not millions into this new technology trying to become more innovative.  The only issue raised is whether or not IWB's are actually helping the learning of the students.  One teacher said in an article published by the Washington Post stated, "It just allows you to create digitized versions of old lessons. My kids were bored with it after about three weeks."  I can speak from my own experiences that most kids find the IWB as just a fancy white board.  Especially when you have teachers who are trained well enough or aren't talented enough teachers to really utilize the IWB's. 

Along with the fact that some students and teachers find the technology boring or hard to use there are a lot of things that the IWB does bring to the table.  I have been in many classrooms where a teacher has used an IWB effectively and in a way that engaged the entire class.  I have had teachers use separate pads away from the screen that allows them to write on the screen from anywhere in the classroom.  So as many people doubt whether or not the purchase of the IWB's is worth it I believe that it all comes back to whether or not the teachers have the ability and motivation to use this technology in a productive way.

There are still so many questions that come up when talking about IWB's.  Such as whether or not they actually work, which studies have show that they do.  The only issue with these studies is that there is really no way that these studies truly show whether or not this technology works.  Another question, one raised in an article by Patricia Deubel, is what about participation? While students can go to the board for interactions, will all students be physically engaged at some point in the lesson or at least mentally engaged with what's going on?  I think that the answer to that question is that good teachers can find good ways to use the IWB's.  If you have teacher who aren't motivated and aren't trained correctly then you wont be able to get the most bang for your buck.  At the end of the day I do believe that this technology allows for well trained teachers to help every student no matter what reading level or learning style.  Differentiation can be achieved with help from IWB's because it allows teachers to post notes online and more of the information discussed in class.  Yet the fact remains that if teachers are not motivated and trained to use the technology then it just becomes a fancy whiteboard or projector.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I see differentiation as being able to use every student's strengths and create a lesson plan and assignments that can allow every student to reach their full potential in the classroom but as an individual learner as well.  As a teacher trying to implement differentiation you need to have the ability to assess everyone of your students learning styles and intelligences and then come up with ways to make sure that all of your students can learn at their own pace and learn all of the material necessary.  This not only means making sure that students have enough time to learn the material but also allowing those students who master the material faster than others to move on to more advanced subjects and material.

I experienced this in our project in which we needed to take three students and assess their learning styles and their intelligences and then come up with ways to teach all of them using the way they learn best.  I saw this as a pretty big challenge because it's hard to differ from the way you learn and try and realize that your students may not be able to learn the same way as you do.  Another thing that was tough was trying to find ways to allow every student to use their learning style to learn the material and making sure that they all have enough time to do all of the work.
Technology could definitely be an important part of differentiation in the classroom.  Technology would allow students to have access to material and work which would allow them to work on the material for an extended period of time which would insure that all of the students could get their work done.  You could also use PowerPoint's and other presentations in order to offer a presentation that incorporates all of the different learning styles.  You could provide tests and other presentations through Google Drive which would also allow the students to access all of the material as much as they feel is needed.  I really feel that if technology is implemented in an effective way

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Twitter and Me

In class we have been learning how to use twitter in a productive and creative way the past few days.  One of the biggest things that I have learned is the value of the hashtag and how you can use it to work with a whole class and have a real in depth discussion by using them.  Using hashtags makes twitter an incredibly useful tool that can be utilized in any sort of classroom.  Since twitter accounts are easy to make as well a teacher could use it in even an elementary classroom (with the parents permission of course).  One of the best things about using twitter as an educator is that you can connect with fellow educators across the world, share ideas, come up with new strategies and techniques, and share experiences.  There are some issues that come along with twitter, and we experienced some of them while using it in class the last few days.  One of those issues was the fact that the internet can get in the way at some points, computers don"t load, servers slow down, and we even had an issue with the formatting with the browsers.  Yet, when you look past those problems if it all runs smoothly the internet ad twitter especially can really be a useful tool for everyone involved in the classroom.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Final Frontier

The assignment was to read the article "Teacher Pedagogical Beliefs: The Final Frontier in Our Quest for Technology Integration" and then use the information provided in the article to create a presentation convincing other teachers to integrate technology in their classrooms.  The article talked about how teachers struggle to change their views on technology and integrate it in their classroom because of their beliefs of having a teacher centered classroom.  The article then explained that almost all school have the capability to bring technology into the classroom and that teachers have some of the knowledge to do so as well.  The articel then described why teachers are hard pressed to change their teaching ways but that a student centered, technology based classroom can actually enhance a students abilities intellectually. 

Our collaboration went very well in my opinion, we really worked well together and did a great job using eachothers ideas, compromising eachothers inputs and coming out with a good final product.  our presentation is simple but I believe that it really gets to the point and shows that students do and will use technololgy in a productive way if teachers begin it integrate technology into their daily routines in their classrooms.  Thus, teaching students to become independent learners by allowing them to be the leaders in their learning experiences

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

All About Me


I'm Joe Bowen, I'm a freshman at Edinboro University, and I plan to major in Secondary Education in Mathematics. I am from Lower Dauphin High School in Hummelstown, PA which is about 10 minutes east of Harrisburg. I play offensive tackle for the football team here but was redshirted this season.  I hope to play football for the next 4 years while I am working towards receiving my degree.  Some are my hobbies are playing video games, working out, and just hanging around enjoying life. 

One of my life goals is to go into teaching in high school and coach high school football.  Ideally my dream job would to eventually move out of the classroom and become a head coach for a college football team, and if I could I would love to coach Division-I at a major college football program in the BCS.

I see technology as an extremely important part of the future of education. I believe that it allows teachers to share information, techniques and ideas effortlessly allowing for teachers across the world to better themselves and their teaching for their students.  Eventually students will use teachnology to study more effectively and even teach themselves concepts if they feel it would be useful.  Overall technology will enhance our countries ability to produce education young adults.

My biggest belief about teaching is that every teacher shoud show their students the same kind of respect that they expect to see from their students.  If you're students treat you as their teacher and come to class and all of that then I think that there is no reason why you should treat your students any different.  I think that this kind of enviroment would allow for the classroom to run more smoothly and make kids be more interested in what you are teaching because you're showing them that you care about what they think too.