Monday, February 28, 2011

Blog Assignment 6

The Networked Student
By Wendy Drexler

This video truly shows the schools of tomorrow! Through this video Wendy Drexler gives us an insight to learning in the 21st Century and working with "networked" students. Teachers are no longer there to dole out fact after fact, but they are there to teach their students what they need to know in today's world. Wendy shows a student who, after being taught how to use the internet effectively, strives to learn on his own instead of relying on his teacher to do all of the work for him. How does this student "teach" himself? Read on to find the answer.

This student uses his knowledge of the internet and all it has to offer. I really liked all of the tools that Wendy included on this "networked" student of the 21st century's journey. He used scholarly journals found on Google Scholar, he read blogs posted by people from all around the world, and he used Skype to interview professors from top rated colleges. While these are just a few of the tools shown in the video, I believe they are quite impressive. This student has learned so much about the human psyche and created his own opinions to be shared with the world. All of this done with only a little help from his teacher.

While some people would fear that this type of learning would mean the end of teachers, I believe differently. Teachers will always be needed to give students the guidance necessary to form connections and build networks. I am truly excited about being able to give my students the skills necessary to survive in today's society and become life-long learners. I believe the idea of connectivism that is discussed in the video is important in the learning experience. One can never have enough connections in the world, especially if those connections help in the learning process. I can not wait to see the results of how the middle school students and teachers reacted to this type of learning! While I may not feel completely secure in my abilities to teach the "networked" student right now, I will not quit trying to learn everything I can about technology's role in the classroom. I want to make sure that I give my students the best opportunities I can- in the classroom and in life!

A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment

This 7th grader's PLN was really impressive! Everything was very well organized, with all of her school stuff grouped together at the bottom and all of her personal sited at the top. I am inspired to start working harder on my PLN and have got some great ideas on things to add. I also thought that this student was really responsible. Even though she had Facebook and other personal sites on her PLN, she understood that schoolwork comes first. Everything about her PLN looked professional, and I hope with some work mine will be as good as hers.

Why Smartboards are a Dumb Initiative & Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards
By Michael Staton & Bill Farriter

In Michael Staton's "Why Smartboards are a Dumb Initiative", he list two arguments for why he does not like Smartboards. His first argument is that Smartboards don't change the way a teacher teaches their students, it only makes it more expensive to teach. He also goes on to say that Smartboards do not allow for social interaction and allow for adaptive learning.His second argument says that teachers want to buy Smartboards, not for enhancing the way students learn in the classroom, but in order to tell their administrator exactly what they are planning to spend their money on. Staton believes it is just another way for teachers to waste school money, instead of spending that money on really helping the kids.

While Staton had a lot of good points, I found a website that went against many of his points. The website, , had an article titled "Why Use an Interactive Whiteboard? A Baker’s Dozen Reasons!" written by Dr. Mary Ann Bell. In Dr. Bell's article, she lists thirteen reasons for why Smartboards should be used in the classroom. One of her points is that the Smartboards really do get the students to become active in the lesson. Students can work at the board or the computer and change things from suggestions from other students. This work can then be saved and printed for the whole class. The students are no longer sitting bored at their desks, but are able to learn for themselves. Dr. Bell also discusses the cost of the Smartboard. She says that while Smartboards can be expensive, the pay off of being able to use one computer to incorporate the whole class is worth the expense. Dr. Bell gives even more great reasons for why Smartboards should be used in the classroom, and I encourage you to go to her page.

The next article I read was one written by Bill Farriter. In Mr. Farriter's article, he discusses his believe that IWBs are useless in the classroom. He goes on to say that you can do the same lessons with less expensive means and that even with proper instruction on how to use the IWBs, they still show no real use in the classroom. Farriter also believes that schools only incorporate the IWBs into the classroom so they do not seem behind other schools. If a school down the street has an IWB, then we should too!

I do believe that teachers need to be properly trained to use the IWBs and only then will they be effective in the classroom. In Amber Price's article, found by clicking , she discusses how teachers at her school were not to enthused about Smartboards until they learned how to use them. Once learning how to use the Smartboards in the classroom, the possibilities are endless. Price also gives many ways to use the Smartboards in the classroom. You can use the Smartboard for brainstorming and note taking, playing games to get the students involved, using click-and-drag activities, telling fairy tales to preschoolers, using interactive websites, and creating interactive Powerpoints. Amber Price does a great job of showing how beneficial Smartboards can be when teachers are given the right intsruction!


  1. Jenna,

    I love your response to the networked student, and I think it is great how much you love the idea. I too think it is wonderful how much the student is able to learn on his own, and I also believe teachers will always be needed. The networked student is one who can research and feel confident about his or her learning without the teacher constantly giving him or her affirmation. Students these days rely too much on the teacher and the teacher's opinion. By implementing this idea, we are helping our students become independent learners. I love this: "I will not quit trying to learn everything I can about technology's role in the classroom. I want to make sure that I give my students the best opportunities I can- in the classroom and in life!" I think this is the best attitude you can have, and by believing this, you will make an excellent teacher! Keep up the great work!

  2. Jenna,

    First, I wanted to say that you have a wonderful blog and done some really nice posts...I really enjoyed watching you read to your son. I also have a 4 year old son and that is one of my favorite things to do with him. Like Jamie Lynn, I loved your response and your ideas about the networked student. Your desire to learn and carry that into the classroom is awesome! I am somewhat intimidated to know that I need to become a networked teacher in order to teach a networked student, but I know that practice makes perfect. If Dr. Strange has anything to do with it, we will become networked students AND teachers. Also, after reading your comments on Smartboards, I wondered what your conclusions were and if you had ever used a Smartboard before. I have only used one a few times and am excited to learn more through our upcoming group project. Thanks for all your great posts!