Monday, October 31, 2011

C&I 489.05 Journal 4

I'm very excited because, as prompted by Dr. Toledo, I have just finished submitting my first poster proposal (or any proposal) to present at a major educational conference - Illinois Computer Educators (I.C.E.) in the spring of 2012.  I am currently feeling the nervous joy of anticipation as I bask in the glory of having actually submitted the proposal, the mild curiosity of wondering if it will be accepted, and wondering about what it will be like to actually follow through and present if, indeed it is accepted.  At any rate, I am very hopeful and eager at these prospects, and hope that they will only continue to become more commonplace throughout my career.

Additionally, one thing which made this possible was that the idea for my proposal came from a course I had with Dr. Toledo two semesters ago.  In that the course was managed on a Wikispaces platform, I still had access to the information there, and was able to go back and retrieve the necessary information to complete my proposal.  This is an added benefit of using Wikis, that they are permanent for students to access even semesters (or years) afterwards.

Thanks, Dr. T!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

C&I 489.05 Journal 3

At this point in Emerging Technologies, one thing that is increasingly relevant is the personal nature with which I am connecting to and implementing these technologies in my own life and teaching.  It may seem like baby steps, but slowly and surely technology is taking hold of how I operate on a daily basis.

I now use Google Chrome exclusively (or almost exclusively) as a result of this class.

I am preparing to submit a poster proposal for ICE - and very nervous and excited about it!

I attempt to open my students' eyes to the realm of technology (emergent and otherwise) that will be present when they enter the teaching ranks.  Admittedly, this is not too challenging of a task.  While not necessarily cognizant of the depth of technology's impact on education at first, the majority of them seem very open and accepting of the idea.  They are used to technology and they like it.

I am continuing to gain from this class, and I am excited about some of the emerging technologies on the horizon, like Learning Analytics and Artificial Intelligence.  Can;t wait!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

C&I 489.05 Journal 2

After reading the 2011 Horizon Reports, my interest was really piqued by the mention of Learning Analytics - the process of gathering information on students, their academic performance, and their students trends, and based on the courses they are taking - in some cases while they are taking them - predicting their success rates for individual classes.

As this is an emerging technology, not much information exists surrounding it, but I have been searching.  Certainly, Purdue University seems to be taking the bull by the horns in this regard.  Purdue's campus wide SIGNALs learning management system incorporates learning analytical data.  The program is capable of giving students a report on their success rate as early as two weeks into the semester.  Through "Red light, green light, yellow light" indicators, it continues to monitor students' progress throughout every course they take.

Aside from Purdue, some Ed Tech innovators in Canada (some of Captain Toledo's pals, undoubtedly) Stephen Downes and Dave Cormier have been doing work with and surrounding learning analytics.  I could see that Dr. Downes even taught a masters level course through Athabasca University, but I could find out how to access the course.  I will keep searching.

Regardless, my curiosity has been peaked, and I could certainly see myself doing some sort of research, or some sort of writing regarding learning analytics.  It's predictive nature of student success rates is right up my ally - wanting to be able to predict teacher success rates and ultimately to measure a teacher's ability to bring about student improvement.  I'm very very excited about these prospect, and yet again, my head is swirling with Ed Tech possibilities!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

C&I 489.05 Journal 1

As I am onto another whirlwind Ed Tech course with Captain Toledo, I will be journaling throughout the course of the semester, and this is my first entry.

Thinking back on a meaningful assignment that we have completed so far, I certainly enjoyed putting the Video Remix together.  Collaboration with my classmates was certainly critical to completing this, as Sara gave us some incredibly helpful tips on how to easily rip video off the internet.  From there, continuing the (paramount) process of educating myself in iMovie was very enjoyable for me - and I am happy with my final Video Remix.

Going forward, my task will now be to quickly rip and file videos that I often return to in my teaching and practice, just in the event that they may one day no longer appear.  I am very grateful to have been assigned this project and look forward to using my newfound skills all the more.

Another aspect of the collaborative process surrounding this project was the opportunity to assist my peers with their own projects, particularly how to use iMovie.  I know all too well the frustration of not be able to get it to work when you are new to the software, and it was nice to be able to help my classmates through some of that - and to continue to learn new aspects of the program in the process!

You can see my final Video Remix by following this link.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

C&I 438 Blog Post 4

I can't believe that the final week of this course is slipping away. What happened? What a crazy summer!  Just last night I was thinking, "Gee, I can't wait for the semester to start up so that things will slow down a little." Huh??? What's going on here?

Still, despite the fact that I have been on the road a lot - some planned, some unplanned - that's one thing that makes this course, and all of online education, so appealing.  I was still able to complete the course work and learn new skills, even remotely.  As always, through her preplanning and organization, Dr. Toledo (aka "Captain Toledo") has directed a challenging, at times exhausting, course that has leaned heavily on our own work ethic and our ability to create real-life, tangible products that will be beneficial and useful to us in the future.  In this way, I will certainly not forget these lessons tomorrow.  Although I was familiar with Wikis prior to this course, I am now steeped in them having wrestled with creating my own CMS.  Also, as much as I was able to do, seeing my classmates' projects and being able to evaluate them has given me even more ideas for how to make my CMS and Wikis even better in the future. This peer-collaboration was a very important aspect of the course design of 438.

One thing I might recommend for the future, although I recognize that it must be insanely difficult to manage an online class of this size, would be to mix up the groups.  We were syphoned off into our groups and never deviated from them throughout the course, despite the connections we may have initially made during the large group introductions ("Why can't I pick my own group?!?!", right Dr. T?).  I know it might be a logistical nightmare, but mixing up the groups from time to time might make it feel like I am taking the course with more than just 4 other people.

Finally, my recommendations to future 438 students would be to, as Dr. T says over and over, create your Course as you go, so that the end process is relatively simple.  I even tried to make sure that I was doing this, and thought that I was for the most part, only to still be scrambling a little at the end as my CMS was missing some elements that I had initially overlooked.

Overall, I thought this was a great course, very interesting and informative, and especially valuable from a hands-on approach to learning about online education.  This course will definitely impact the way that I teach, regardless if I am teaching online or face-to-face, as I will incorporate the tech tools, CMS organization, and peer evaluation strategies and skills that I have gained.

Thanks so much!!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

C&I 438 Blog Post 3

What I like best about this course, and really, why technology has the capability to make Education so authentic, is that the hands-on nature creates a sense of permanence.  Sure, the readings are interesting supplements and necessary, but the real learning has occurred as I have been creating my Course Management System and preparing to produce my own online class.  No amount of reading could compete with actually doing it.  When I have run into problems, it's up to me to fix them - and it isn't as if I'm all alone.  My best resources are my own classmates, who I have leaned upon, and beyond that, I can access my entire Personal Learning Network.

I certainly appreciate the organized framework that Dr. Toledo has set up.  It has allowed us to be successful.  Were the assignment just: Go create a CMS, even with my prior knowledge of WIkis, the task would be daunting.  Dr. Toledo has broken each component down and allowed us to create the CMS step by step, and it has proved to be a highly effective strategy.  I will remember this step by step procedure and attempt to implement it when I teach online courses myself.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

C&I 438 Blog Post 2

So far, I have really been enjoying 438.  The entire framework that Dr. Toledo has created is an excellent model for how to run an organized and efficient online class.
Furthermore, many of the concepts that we have encountered, through the readings, discussions, podcasts, and especially the embedded videos, have been thought provoking and challenging.  Particularly - the notion that the current public educational system in this country is woefully outdated.  We, as inspiring and enlightened educators need to utilize 21st century tools and methods in order to prepare our students to succeed in a 21st century society.  The strategies and online CMS platforms that we are learning are helping us to do this.

Previously, and thanks largely to C&1 579 - Educational Technology - I already had a working knowledge of Web 2.0 tools and Wikis.  However, this course is allowing me to explore them more completely, as I use them to create my own online course to teach.  

Tomorrow, I will certainly not forget the importance of making education fun and relevant to our students' lives, especially through the use of technology and web 2.0.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

C&I 438 - Blog Reflection 1

For my C&I 438 Distance Learning course, I took 2 quizzes assessing my strengths as a distance learning student and educator.  Not surprisingly, the results showed that I was an "excellent candidate" for both learning and teaching in an online capacity.  This is largely because of my technological aptitude - not that I'm a genius or anything, but I am certainly very capable; as well as the fact that I recognize that meaningful learning and critical thinking skills can be utilized and enhanced in a non face-to-face setting.  In previous online courses I have taken, I have found this to be the case.

If my scores on these assessments ever showed that I did not favor an online learning format, I'm sure it had to do with the questions regarding procrastination.  Certainly the procrastination is a negative in light of the organization and planning that is required in an online format, but I feel this is a common problem - not specific to just me.  If there is a silver lining, procrastination is probably most easily overcome in an online educational format - one that is devoid of specific structured meeting times.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Reflection 3

The attitudes and skills that I have gained in my C&I 579 course have been nothing short of monumental.  From a skills perspective, I am capable and comfortable with using several 21st century Web 2.0 skills such as Wikis, Blogs, Twitter, Diigo, Voicestream, Prezi and Google docs.  Previously, I didn't even know what the term Web 2.0 meant!  From an attitude perspective, I have realized the critical nature of the symbiotic relationship between education and technology, and that in order to hook students and make learning as relevant and pertinent to their lives as possible, we should use technology as a vehicle to knowledge in our classes.

Certainly, these are skills that I will not forget tomorrow.  I'm fairly entrenched in twitter.  I'm an advocate for Google docs.  I have created entire units revolving around Diigo and social bookmarking.  My experience with Prezi was exciting and I love to share that with others.  And I'm having so much fun with my blog that I created a second one dedicated to my Fantasy Baseball League, and it is soaring in its infancy, so far.

In my classroom, I will certainly use diigo in the future.  I have already created a pilot project regarding social bookmarking and PLNs that I assigned to a select group of my honors 212 students.  But more than that, I will make sure to reexamine my own teaching, and ask myself - is there another way I could present this information?  A better way?  A way that utilizes real world, 21st century technology and make the learning even more meaningful to my students.  Furthermore, I will also challenge my students to think outside of their well worn ruts, and push them to challenge their own comfort levels in regard to technology, to implement 21st century tools wherever possible.

Thank you, Dr. Toledo - your challenging course has been intense and enlightening.  I appreciate it !!!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

C&I 579 Blog Post 4

Here is my newest blog post.  It comes on the 21st Century Collaborator's post on "Dream Schools".  I particularly like the video about 'The Independant Project":
Jay Percell April 14, 2011 at 6:08 pm #
This is fascinating – truly empowered students operating independently and designing their own learning. What a scary concept. We teacher may be somewhat uncomfortable “getting out of student’s way” and leaving them to their own devices. Perhaps that is our fear getting in the way. Still, the best way to connect with this generation is to allow them to take charge of their own learning and their own pace. As scary as it is, we must trust that they are capable of learning on their own, and we must trust that we have set up support structures strong enough to allow them to do so.
Fascinating stuff!
Thanks for sharing!
Here is a link to the Original Blog Post
And here is the video link about the Independant Project.  It's worth the 15 mins it takes to view it!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

C&I 579 Reflection 2

The skills and concepts that I continue to learn in C&I 579 are so thick and so dense it sometimes feels as though I am drowning in an ocean of new knowledge.  Specifically, and lately, I have learned an important lesson about the importance of analysis and synthesis in doctoral writings.  Being an emergent doctoral student, this is a skill I will continue to hone throughout this process.  Although I don't expect to have it mastered by tomorrow, hopefully it will not be forgotten.

What will also not be forgotten tomorrow that has been incredibly valuable so far are the connections I have begun to make with educators in the blogosphere and in the world of educational technology.  It is exciting to foster these new and emerging relationships, and there is no telling exactly what great accomplishments they will ultimately lead to.  But it's exciting to think about...

As for application for my future teaching, I am excited for the Ed Tech Project, to nail down a concrete unit or lesson for my students to engage in and begin exploring the world of educational technology themselves.  While I don't have all of the details in place yet, ideas are swirling and forming in my imagination, and I am hopeful that the final product will be useful and valuable in my future endeavors.

C&I 579 Blog Post 3

I replied to Shaun Johnson's blog At the Chalkface for Blog Post 3. Incidentally, At the Chalkface is a fantastic blog, and I am greatly inspired by Mr. Johnson's rhetoric and ideas about bringing actual change to a broken education system.

This was my response:
I certainly appreciate your impassioned and “light” educational rhetoric.
Your voice is something, at least, even if it feels redundant.
Let me encourage you not to waiver.
Yes, the fear you speak of is very real, but from my colleagues I also feel a sense of resignation. Almost as if the boulder we push up the hill flattens us each time it rolls back down. My colleagues, like you, are tired – tired of fighting and screaming and pushing for change only to watch their hard work and efforts amount to nothing, their words lost in an echoing abyss. Even the most passionate and optimistic of my teacher colleagues now seem wearied, that spark in their eye far dimmer. This is a bad place to be, and we must change. We must do something.
Improve the status of teachers? Absolutely!
Pay them more? Indeed!
Personally, I am kind of inclined to your notion of justified heated resistance. I think it might be just the thing to rekindle that dimming spark in my colleagues’ eyes.
Please keep this rhetoric coming. I am encouraged to enter this fracas and to do my part in this struggle for respect and rationality.
PS – thanks for the add on twitter!

Friday, March 4, 2011

C&I 579 - Reflection 1

Per Dr. Toledo's instructions, I will reflect on the following questions regarding our C&I 579 Ed Tech class:
  • What attitudes, skills, and concepts have you gained from participating in the course so far?

So far, the amount of knowledge and skills that I have acquired are monumental.  Even though I considered myself relatively tech-savvy, I had no idea of the depth of the technological revolution zooming past me.  This class has opened my eyes to web based software like: wikis, blogs, twitter, and digital bookmarking tools, and what's more - how to apply them to the world of education.  Even though at times I feel overwhelmed almost to the point of drowning, it is a good feeling, knowing that I am being inundated with new applicable knowledge.

  • What have you learned in the course that you will not forget tomorrow?

I certainly won't forget about PLNs tomorrow.  Everyday I get on line and ingest educational information form my network of blogs, articles and websites.  I can literally feel my brain swelling with new knowledge.  I also won't forget about our Eluminate class sessions, where we were able to hold class from remote locations, but still feel very engaged and together, almost as if we were in the same room.

  • How will you apply what you have learned to your teaching and future learning?

I'm attempting to apply this learning as immediately as possible.  I am running a pilot PLN networking and webliography project with some of my honors C&I 212 students, largely utilizing Twitter and Diigo I am eager to see the results and hope to possibly expand it to even more students in the future.
Additionally, as I gain more information about the current perspectives and mindset of the younger generation, I am attempting wherever possible to more my teaching from teacher-centered to student-centered as much as possible.  Even though my curriculum is fairly fixed, I am attempting to achieve this through collaboration and group projects.  Still, the more I can model this for my students, the more useful it will be for them when they become teachers.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What if we Treat Doctors like Teachers

Here's an excellent article by Shaun Johnson ( published in the Huffington Post.  One of my students (Mary L) shared it with me.  Check it out, give it a good think, and then let's take some action people.  Like Tupac said, "I gotta make a change..."

What if we Treat Doctors like Teachers

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

C&I 579 Post 1

For my C&I 579 Ed Tech Class I have been scouring the web reading Educational Blogs.  One I have stumbled upon and am now Following religiously is The Innovative Educator.  Reading a post from February 1: "Why “The Race to the Top” is nothing but a race back to the 20th century, I was intrigued by Marc Prensky's ideas regarding Education Reform and how to make it more authentic for our students.  In the post, The Innovative Educator suggests we move away from "The 3 R's" towards Prensky's offer of "The 3 C's":
"Marc Prensky shares some smart ideas in his latest piece, “The Reformers Are Leaving Our Schools in the 20th Century - Why most U.S. school reformers are on the wrong track, and how to get our kids’ education right for the future.” In it he shares some big ideas about ed reform that sound much different than what we’ve been hearing lately in national conversations.  Prensky suggests we replace the current three “R’s” (readin’, ritin’ rithmetic) with the “3 C‟s”: Character and Passion, Communication and Problem Solving, and Creation and Skills. I’d explicitly add Publishing and Sharing authentically  (sorry couldn’t think of a “C”).  While he does have that embedded in the other components, I think it should stand at the forefront."

I posted a reply to this article in which I offered my 2 cents:

jaycpercell said...

Great article. We need more voices advocating for Authentic Ed Reform, not just ed reform.
How about calling them "The 3 P's: Passion, Problem Solving, Publishing and Sharing"?

Keep up the good work!
Overall, I thought this was an intriguing article, and I agree with the Innovative Educator that Prensky's thoughts on Education Reform are refreshing and novel.  I hope to see more ideas like them implemented  wherever possible.

Well done Innovative Educator!
Keep 'em coming!


The Innovative Educator: But How Will Kids Know?

The Innovative Educator: But How Will Kids Know?