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Learning Log- Assessing Digital Content

Using rubrics is one of the great ways to assess any type of content.  Rubrics allow you to weight different areas of the content as you see fit while allowing students the knowledge of what you are looking for and to the extent they need to complete the work.  I use rubric most commonly on laboratory reports.  This way the students get an idea about what I am looking for.  Another area where I like to use rubrics is for any type of project.  I choose to use them here for the same reason.  I completely support using rubrics in assessing digital content.  When  completing a project the students can use it like a checklist to cross off tasks as they complete them.  I feel that this is the most transparent way to communicate a grade to a student.  The key to using a rubric correctly is to make it available to student before or at the start of the assignment.  This just provides more clarity and less surprises for students work with.

Learning Log- Universal Design for Learning

To summarize what I understand this principle to be is, “allowing all students to learn any way they want or are able to.”  This is a great principle to get behind, in fact text book manufacturers are getting behind this principle when they are selling texts to school.  Two years ago I was on a committee to decide what text we would like to purchase for the county.  The competing companies were showing off all of their extra perks to buying their texts and many of them were going into the digital realm.  They now offer pdf versions of the text but then allow for narrated versions to accompany the text.  The laboratory exercises are also digitized and virtual so students can complete them at home.  This is fantastic in terms of differentiation of material and allowing students to learn at their own pace.  Now I need to be skeptical.  Ultimately, as educators, we need to prepare students for the next step.  I feel that there needs to be delivery of information to go along with the ability to have students learn at their own pace.  Employers are not going to allows their employees to complete assignments at their leisure.  This is not preparing students to work within timeframes, but teaching them that they can do what they want, when they want to do it.  In my opinion this is not logical and is a disservice to students.  I am all for meeting the needs of learners, however, within reason.  All students need to learn in an unhindered way as importantly as they need to be pushed.  There needs to be compromise on both ends to make this truly universal.

Learning Log- Bloom Goes Digital

Bloom’s is always a great tool for designing lessons.  With everything turning to the digital world I feel that it is about time that Bloom does the same.  This is a great way to see how the taxonomy of learning and understanding can be shifted into the digital realm to include student collaborating.  Overall, I do not see a huge change in how Bloom’ s is described it just now seems like it fits more online activities that students can participate in.

Learning Log- School Improvement in the 21st Century

When I read through this portion of the module I could help but be skeptical.  There are so many hurdles that would need to be overcome in order to meet the requirements set forth by this plan.  Lets take my Honors Chemistry class.  There are 34 students in this class so from the start I would need 34 computers to ensure that students are being assessed on their ability.  Then, I need a place to store the computer and the bandwidth to support the streaming video and podcasts that are part of 21st century learning.  Now that this is happening I will need to simultaneously provide oversight on each student surfing the internet while replying to specific questions from students and steering the collaboration in the right direction.  Finally, near the end of the block the students need to be informally assessed to see what misconceptions are out there to ensure that they are corrected the next day.  Does this sound functional with a class of 34?  The plan sounds great, I would have loved to learn this way.  But, there are fundamental flaws that need to be fixed in the system.  In the end students need to gain knowledge in the subject area.  How they do it is still up for debate and there is no doubt in my mind that technology will always be a big part of it.  Sooner or later there will be a realization that we need to fix the logistal bugs in the system before we advance.

Social and Collaborative Media

VoiceThread Link

This tool is an easy to use presentation application.  I am surprised by how simple this application is to use in terms of adding presentations and editing them.  I would use this tool as an assigned long term project.  Students could choose a topic at the beginning of a unit and then have the link submitted upon completion of the unit.  This would allow student creative freedom as to what should be uploaded and what they should discuss.  Furthermore, students can then respond to other students presentations.  I think this would be great for the student who is terrified of standing in front of a class to give a presentation.

Learning Log- Module 3

I hope I was organized for this module.  There were so many individual assignments that needed to be completed it was extremely difficult to keep track of everything.  I liked most of the technologies and I feel like I put together some good uses for them.  ie- Twitter can be used as  a continuous feed to keep parents and absent students up to date with the class.  Skype was a pleasant surprise.  I never knew that you could upload picts and docs while in a conversation.  That is so great for collaboration.  There were technologies that I really do not see myself using like GoodReads.  Based on my curriculum, we do not have tons of time for pleasure reading in my class so I feel that this could be better utilized in a lit or language arts class.  Diigo is another example of something that I would not use.  This is not because I did not like it, but for the reason that I already use delicious.  They are basically the same service however, Diigo has more tools.  I am not about to go back and research all my bookmarks, a major issue with continuously evolving technology.

Learning Log- “Goodreads”

This is a great site for any class.  I would use this as an incentives program.  Students could read books off of my “incentives” list and submit book reports on the material.  The students would have to relate the selected book to the classwork.  I could then use the credit received to supplement missed points on exams or laboratory experiments.