Monday, March 5, 2012

Things That Have Me Thinking This Week - March 5, 2012

Here are three of my favorite posts/articles from the past week...Enjoy!

#1
When the Internet Goes Down: Banning Handheld Technology - By Peter DeWitt

This post from Edweek Blogger Peter Dewitt asks a very important question for schools who restrict student use of technology because of fears that there will be misuse.  These schools are the ones that are so overwhelmed with technology that they ban because it is much easier than constructing a comprehensive plan for constructive use. As Dewitt notes, "banning them is a lot easier because it gets rid of the problem. Or, does it create a new one?" 


Dewitt certainly echoes the sentiments of the BHS community in his colnclusion:
"Blanket rules have a place in school districts because there are reasons where one rule does apply to an issue. A blanket rule of banning technology or social networking tools such as Twitter or YouTube does not make sense. Teaching students how to use those tools properly and finding a balance between technology and other hands-on methods of learning is what really makes sense."
#2
Supplementing Textbooks With Student Constructed Knowledge Bases - Sam Gliksman

While I am very excited about the possibilities of the iBooks Author tool and the fact that it allows us to create our own textbooks, I found myself disappointed at the large role that the textbooks companies played in the announcement by Apple. Personally, I do not see the construction of e-textbooks by the textbooks companies as a major change for schools. Gliksman also shares this sentiment stating the following:
"While the eTextBooks initiative is a wonderful stride forward from our old paper textbooks it’s still essentially a re-constituted content delivery system that wasn’t designed or intended to change the one-way process of educational exchanges...iBooks could have included aspects of social reading so "friends" could exchange questions and notes right within the pages of the book. It may have included a system for immediate feedback, formative assessment and corrective branching - that would have added to its value. "
Like Gliksman, I think we need to focus on tools that allow our students to easily organize their own content and be careful about moving from a reliance on physical textbooks to e-textbooks that will actually cost us more in the long run.  As Gliksman notes, there are a number of tools that we can utilize that will allow students and teachers to organize the data themselves (i.e. LiveBinders, Evernote, Instapaper, etc.)


#3
Thinking Strategically About Badges - Audrey Watters


This post from Audrey Watters great Hack Education Blog focuses on the discussion of badges as a means for tracking ones digital accomplishments.  Watters talks about "Badges as Rewards Cards," "Digital Recommendations and Reputations," and the potential of "Badges as Personal Data Lockers?"

The final part of the blog post is what intrigues me the most and one that I really hadn't though of in regards to badges, the use of badges for personal data lockers that help us to organize and control all of our on-line learnings
"With the vast amounts of data that we create (around all our online transactions -- learning endeavors or otherwise) and with it scattered across numerous sites, there has been a growing interest in and demand for data liberation."



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