Instructional Media


Five Minds for the Future Video Blog
August 11, 2011, 9:08 am
Filed under: EDIM 508

Click here for the link to my video blog on how I will continue to develop my five minds for the future.

Source

Gardner, H. (2007). Five minds for the future. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.



Developing Respectful and Ethical Minds Using Google Earth
August 10, 2011, 10:50 am
Filed under: EDIM 508

As educators, we hope that children begin to develop respectful and ethical minds at home during their earliest levels of development.  In Kindergarten, we begin to foster their respectful and ethical minds through formal instruction of social skills and academics.  My Google Earth virtual field trip of North America has many instructional goals.  Pennsylvania Academic Standards require that Kindergarteners learn about American symbols, such as the American Flag, and that students begin using geographic tools such as maps and globes (PA Standards 5.1.5 and 7.1.1).  The School District of Philadelphia also wants our students to locate the continent of North America on a map, find the United States, and identify the countries that border the U.S.  I integrated all of these concepts into my Google Earth project while also including some Discovery videos and images to reinforce this information.  In order to become respectful and ethical thinkers, we must first understand where and how we live so we can compare and contrast our lives to those of people in other countries.

 I included points in my virtual field trip and in the final activity to encourage discussion as a class about similarities and differences that exist between the three North American countries.  Kindergarteners often see new information at face value and need to be guided towards making connections between their lives and the lifestyles, thoughts, and feelings of other people both in the classroom and as a world focus.  This guidance enables our students to think more respectfully of other people.  My final activity also breaks students into small groups and then pulls the thoughts of the groups into a class discussion.  Working together in groups is another way in which we can teach our students to develop their respectful minds.  There are always contrary opinions on topics and even how to work in a group.  Learning to respect others in a small group setting is a step towards learning to respect others globally.

The ethical mind can take more work with these young students.  Parents and teachers teach children right from wrong and good citizenship.  When trying to understand people of different cultures and backgrounds we need to encourage students to discuss what they are learning and help them reflect.  My virtual field trip provides my Kindergarteners with an introductory sense of where they live in this world and teaches them a little about our country’s neighbors.  This will allow them to further build upon this knowledge on their path towards developing ethical minds as issues arise at home or at school which require a sense of their responsibilities as members of our country’s and our world’s communities.

 Google Earth is a tool that can help our students experience their place and roll as citizens of our planet in order to begin their journeys towards respectful and ethical minds.

Source

Gardner, H. (2007). Five minds for the future. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.



Google Earth Virtual Field Trip
August 10, 2011, 9:21 am
Filed under: EDIM 508

Click here for my Google Earth virtual field trip for Kindergarteners to explore the continent of North America.

Go to the file labeled Kindergarten: North America.

Click here for the sources used to create my virtual field trip.



Using Technology to Foster Respectful and Ethical Minds
August 2, 2011, 1:50 pm
Filed under: EDIM 508

After reading Julene Reed’s online article: “How to create a world of success without leaving your classroom.” I realized that although I am currently assigned to a school that includes children from many cultures, I can still expand their worldview and help make them more respectful and ethical people for the world of tomorrow through technology.  The majority of our students come from a variety of Asian cultures, Hispanic origins, Middle Eastern cultures, as well as native born American children of varied backgrounds.  Our students are already learning about each others’ cultures and building relationships that cross cultural boundaries, but they must still learn to be good citizens and work on “project-based activities” and “collaborate with others” as Reed suggests.  Considering that the majority of my students interact with family and friends outside of the United States, but have very little interaction with students and adults outside of the city of Philadelphia here in America, I’ve decided that I could try to expand their worldview to include students who live in rural or suburban areas of the United States.  I would like to use Skype or another video conferencing platform for my young students to talk with and share their work with students outside of the Philadelphia region, thereby creating “Web Buddies”.  Curriculums are of course different from district to district and state to state, but there is common ground.  Students could discuss their school lives, home lives, show off work to each other, and maybe even work on a collaborative project with their “Web Buddies”.  Howard Gardner tells us in his book Five Minds for the Future that an ethical mind begins at home but is also influenced by the peer group children choose (Gardner, 2007, p. 131 & 133).   By opening our classrooms up to share our students’ experiences with a peer group outside of our schools, we allow them to experience others’ feelings, viewpoints, and experiences which will encourage our students to consider how events and interactions make other people feel and react.  This would allow our students to expand their knowledge of respecting other individuals and teach them to not create opinions of how they perceive people as a group, which according to Gardner makes people more respectful (Gardner, p. 113).  Through these live video interactions, I hope that my Kindergarteners could begin to experience relationships with others as more respectful and ethical young people which will hopefully make them respectful and ethical citizens of the world of the future.

Sources:

Gardner, H. (2007). Five minds for the future. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Reed, J. (2011). Global collaboration and learning: how to create a world of success without leaving your classroom. EDTECH: Focus on K-12. Retrieved from http://www.edtechmag.com/k12/events/updates/global-collaboration-and-learning-2.html



Reflection on Glogster
July 28, 2011, 1:15 pm
Filed under: EDIM 508

I created my Glog for Kindergarteners with the intention of reinforcing their lessons on the alphabet.  The PA Standard that my Glog addresses is 1.1.2 Word Recognition Skills in which students need to be able to identify, name, and write the upper and lower case letters of our alphabet.  My Glog provides an opportunity for the students to sing The Alphabet Song together, watch videos, play an online game to reinforce alphabetic order, an opportunity to practice writing letters using artpad.com, and finally a quiz to assess if the students can compete alphabetic sequences in upper and lower case situations and then students handwrite the alphabet to prove they can physically do so.  One item that I would like to add to my Glog would be a sound clip of The Alphabet Song.  I was not able to find one that allowed me to use it for free and I didn’t want to subject anyone to my singing.  It is something that I may record a future class singing and then add it to the Glog.

 My Glog would be used for whole group instruction and then for small groups or individually as a learning center to help foster the development of the creative mind.  My Kindergarteners speak very little English and are only beginning to learn how to read, so often we need to do activities with adult help at least to get them started.  I also like how work can be easily adjusted or laid out to differentiate for differently leveled groups or learning styles on Glogster. Glogster helps us foster creativity by providing students with a variety of engaging forms of digital media all on one screen.  Students can watch videos, play games for practice, sing songs, draw, research information, view pictures, and be assessed all via one “poster”.  Older students can also create a Glog to demonstrate their understanding of a topic and present original ideas and opinions.  Overall, Glogs allow us to blur the lines when it comes to right and wrong answers.  Students are given opportunities to explore topics and then demonstrate their understanding by pulling together information they find pertinent and organizing it in an eye-catching way to engage viewers and promote discussion. 

Click here to view my Glog!



Do our students value creativity?
July 28, 2011, 12:27 pm
Filed under: EDIM 508

What do students think about creativity in the classroom?  Well, what I’ve learned over the past few years is that they wish there was more of it allowed.  At the end of each school year I talk with my students about what they liked doing during the year, what they hated, and what they would do differently if they were able to.  We open this discussion up to class work, field trips, the layout of the classroom, technology access, etc.  The general theme is that the students are sick of test prep.  The kids (I’ve taught 3rd grade and Kindergarten.) want more art projects, building projects, music, plays, and more read alouds and free reading time.  They are tired of district mandated modeled constructed responses, benchmark tests, testing best practices, and so on- and so are most teachers.

 As far as what they want when it comes to digital media and technology being used to support creativity, they tend to want more freedom when using it.  Now, the schools I’ve taught in are lacking in basics such as pencils, erasers, and paper so when we talk about technology in class we often feel like we are discussing a fantasy world.  In our fantasy world the students talk about having computers that work and can connect to the internet, each student would have one, we would have a Smartboard, and of course they believe they should have their cell phones and gaming systems…they are only kids after all.  I’ve noticed that although both Kindergarteners and 3rd graders love online games and 3rd graders like to look up information on the internet, they take a genuine interest when they learn a new program that allows them to create.  For example, I taught my Kindergarteners how to use artpad.com and there were arguments over who had more time to “play” with the program.  I was amazed at the detail that some of the students added to their pictures, I could not have done better myself!  So when it comes down to it, our students value and desire to be creative whether with paper and crayons or with technology, they just need us to provide the opportunities.



Glogster: The Alphabet
July 27, 2011, 12:00 pm
Filed under: EDIM 508

Click here for my Glog on the alphabet for Kindergarteners.  It is intended to be used as a whole class presentation and then for small group or individual use as a learning center.



Blog on Creativity in the Classroom
July 18, 2011, 11:16 am
Filed under: EDIM 508

As an individual who loves the arts and enjoys exercising my own creativity and learning from others’ creativity, I would like to say that schools do not kill creativity.  If I were to say that, I’d be lying.  We are living in an age where schools are caught between educating the whole child and making AYP which is heavily based on standardized tests.  If funding and success is based off of a few bubbled in answers and a couple of brief essays, the focus shifts from art, music, dance, and other creativity based disciplines and falls heavily on what will be tested.  Frequently the arts are the first programs to be cut in an effort to fill budget holes in our districts. Sir Ken Robinson stated during his TED presentation that we steer kids away from the arts because they won’t be able to get jobs in them (Robinson, 2006).  At least here in America for certain, we also steer our students away from the arts because the material won’t be on a standardized test.

 As early as Kindergarten we prepare our students to take standardized tests: how to properly fill in the bubbles, how to narrow choices, how to explain answers, and how to double check work to be certain we have not made a careless mistake.  Sir Ken Robinson is correct; we stigmatize mistakes to the point where we are educating our students out of their creativity (Robinson, 2006).  Students learn to become focused on what is correct and it takes away from their desire to try other possibilities because they may fail.  The first few times I work with my Kindergarteners on how to fill in a bubble sheet, we see red bubbles, blue bubbles, and patterns of completed bubbles.  Practice continues throughout the year until one lone bubble is filled in, neatly.  I know this is what my district needs in order for the computer to be able to score my students’ tests when their testing time comes, but it is sad to see how the bubbles which were once a playground of colors and patterns decline into one graphite colored oval.

 Now, how can we nurture our students’ creativity using digital media while still maintaining the standardized testing scores our educational system is reluctant to give up on?  With the aide of drawing programs, music programs, cameras, and camcorders we can begin to integrate art, music, dance, and drama back into our curriculum.  Students can illustrate their essays to show characters, settings, predictions, etc.  PowerPoint or Prezi presentations can be assembled to illustrate the parts of a story, steps to a science experiment, or how to solve a math problem.  Students can create songs, poetry, dances, or skits about their subjects and record their performances to be reviewed and shared.  These are just a few very basic ideas of how we as educators can begin to use digital media to bring creativity into our classrooms.  We will have to step out of the textbooks and strict guidance of the planning and scheduling timelines to achieve this, but we can mingle what our districts need as well as what our students need.  Hopefully through this process of reintegrating creativity into our curriculum we will be able to successfully “educate the whole being” of our students so that they will be able to face the future as Sir Ken Robinson suggests (Robinson, 2006).

Robinson, Ken. (2006). Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity. [Video file].  Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html



Relflection: Using Media-Infused Presentations to Develop Disciplined and Synthesizing Minds
July 15, 2011, 9:28 am
Filed under: EDIM 508

A media-infused presentation, such as Prezi, can help our students develop both disciplined and synthesizing minds.  Prezi can be used to address the 4 steps that Gardner believes will help us achieve a disciplined mind (Gardner, 2007, p. 32-34).  Prezi allows us to present important topics within a discipline.  It is a presentation that engages students for a significant amount of time and can provide a variety of examples for students to reflect on.  Prezi also approaches subject matter from a variety of ways by using images, audio, written words, and video to interest several of the multiple intelligences.  Finally, Prezi can be set up to lead students to opportunities that will allow them to practice their understanding of a topic. Through these four steps, our students can utilize Prezi in their quest to achieve a disciplined mind.

Prezi helps our students synthesize information by giving the creator of the presentation the ability to include information necessary for a student to begin to piece together information for synthesis of a topic.  Gardner believes there are “four loosely ordered components” that enable us to synthesize information (Gardner, 2007, p. 51-52).  The Prezi creator can provide students with a clear goal to help the students know what they are trying to achieve.  Prezi is a great method to introduce a topic for students to continue to build their knowledge from.  A variety of information can be provided within the presentation to help guide the students to the method that they best synthesize information with.  Prezis can help us form narratives in our minds much as they can leave us to form a theory involving the information we have just interacted with.  Assigning a student to create a Prezi, would enable the student to create a presentation demonstrating what he or she has learned about a topic.

Overall, Prezi allows both the teacher and the student to incorporate many different angles and samples of a topic.  It permits us to “fly” from tidbit of information to another tidbit.  Students are engaged and we are able to increase the depth at which our students are able to learn thereby allowing them to create more meaningful connections and synthesize the information more easily than struggling to make connections from lectures or textbooks alone.  Through all of this, we are able to use a media-infused presentation, such as Prezi, to help create disciplined and synthesizing minds.

Source:

Gardner, Howard. (2007). Five minds for the future. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

My Prezi Link: http://prezi.com/dr-xmwyh1l0f/symbols-of-the-united-states-of-america/

 



Blog on the Synthesizing Mind
July 14, 2011, 9:44 am
Filed under: EDIM 508

In Kindergarten we teach our students the names of shapes and connect that knowledge to real life experiences by exploring our school and neighborhood environment to find shapes.  Of course this learning process takes place throughout the entire school year incorporating a variety of visual, hands-on, storytelling, and other learning experiences to address different learning styles and levels of interest and mastery.  One activity that I worked on with my students this past school year that involved digital resources to help the students synthesize information about shapes was by viewing Math Monsters: Shapes Around Us, a video on Discovery Education.  This video shows the Math Monsters trying to draw their town by discussing the shapes that made up the buildings.  After we watched and talked about what the Math Monsters did in the video we pointed out shapes that made up objects in our room such as rectangular walls, square books, a circle for the clock, etc.  We then explored the hallways, empty auditorium, and other areas that were not being used to point out shapes.  After all of this excitement we returned to our classroom to make drawings of places in our school by tracing shape stencils and shape manipulatives, drawing freehand, taking turns using the computers to make drawings on Artpad.com, and we discussed our work throughout the process.  This allowed the kids to identify shapes and demonstrate where they can find them in their school environment while creating a product to be discussed that showed the synthesis of this information.

Source:

Math Monsters Inc. (2003) Math monsters: shapes around us. [Video segment]. Retrieved from http://player.discoveryeducation.com/index.cfm?guidAssetId=BC11B2A2-38DF-4C33-B4BC-AEBCBE6C41B5&blnFromSearch=1&productcode=US