What’s next?

After taking two classes on technology with emphasis on Web 2.0 technologies, I have enrolled full-time and am working toward my masters of education in learning and technology. I hope to some day become the technology coordinator for my school district.

Reading through my old posts, I realize that technology is changing so quickly as some of the new innovations are already being phased out. Google Reader has been dropped and RSS feeds are on a decline.

Some innovations that teachers can use include: Webquests, blogs, wikis, real time lessons (Skype), learning platforms (Edmodo, Mybigcampus, blackboard), video archives (Youtube, NROC, NBCLearn), online curricula (Myhippocampus), learning websites, cloud services, Social bookmarks, etc.

There is a twofold need for the technology coordinator as far as teaching. There is the teaching of the technology so that staff understands how to use it as well as students and the teaching of subject content through new technologies. Both are important.

In addition to these two main areas, keeping good records and budgeting along with building relationships will keep me busy. This is a task I feel I am already up for and with the completion of my degree will be even better prepared.



2020 Technology?

What will school look like in the near future?  If I had been asked this question a few months ago I would have given a totally different answer.  One final assignment was to envision what technology will be in the future.

After taking a couple of online computer courses, I have realized that technology is happening faster than I can keep up.  The technologies can become obsolete while it is being used.

I envision school being taught in a completely different format.  Teachers will still be necessary but won’t be the source of knowledge but rather the liason to help students research and find answers.  I see learning becoming more module based with mastery learning before students move to the next lesson.  The teacher will help the students when they get stuck but programs such as Moodle will allow the teacher to easily keep students at their individual pace allowing differntiated learning.

Students will embrace online publishing. This has already begun with social sites such as Facebook but students are beginning to blog and an online portfolio of their writing will be easily accessible for future employers and evaluators.  This will allow students to be self-expressive.

Another technology beginning to be used at my school and will become more pertinent is the wiki.  The ability to have multiple people editing the same document will allow for students to collaborate and work together which is a job skill that will be invaluable as they get older and join the workforce.

I see Mobile technology also becoming a big player.  No longer are cell phones going to be banned from my school but will be encouraged to be brought to school.  These smart phones will become portals to learning.  Students will be able to take a trip outside and still be connected to resources should the need arise to find out an answer.  Nature will be able to be explored and the flora and fauna will be able to be researched in “real time”.  The smart phones will also allow students to take pictures and short movies that can then be turned into podcasts or powerpoints and can be shared with others.  The learning community will keep growing as more and more projects are added to the web.

Youtube.com and other video sites are going to be more and more used as they can quickly and easily demonstrate skills and show events that would take the teacher hours to research and find video the “old fashioned” way.  Teachertube.com has already been geared toward supplementing teachers by offerning lessons and extensions to the lesson.

By using the RSS and other bookmarking pages geared toward the individual, students will be able to have interests and keep updated as often as wanted by subscribing to the “feed”.  I see everyone having their own personal homepage with other website embedded in them.  One example of this is protopage.com, but I think there will be advancements in this area.

Skype and other video chat programs are going to allow smaller schools, who don’t have a resident expert, to bring in an outside expert to give meaning and value to lessons for their students.  An expert in physics, an author of a book read, or even a vocational expert.  This will allow real time problem solving and question and answer sessions where students are engaged and excited to keep the momentum going for learning to take place.

Role playing websites will also become big time players in the future.  Where users are able to load lessons and students are able to virtually take a 3-D field trip, these communities will be exciting and stimulating.  There are some problems with these that need to be worked out such as how to keep the student on task and not just off browing on their own.

The web is beginning to take the place of the brick and mortar classroom.  The school room isn’t going away but the papers collected, textbook, and pen and pad are disappearing as more and more space is alloted on the “cloud” for the school and students to save their work.  Teachers are able to access all their student’s work there.  This is saving money and is going green for the environment.  The only downfall to this is accessibility.

The school itself will be more of a hub with the idea of grade level moved aside.  With a curriculum with national and state standards, students move at their own pace and complete school when they do.  This can allow for non-traditional students who didn’t graduate to reattend school to complete their requirements.

So how are students going to get access to the web?  Right now not all students are able to afford a connecting device which causes the field to not be even for all students.  Laptop computers are coming down in price and many student who five years ago would not be able to afford a computer now have one.  Other devices such as tablets, Kindles, Ipads, notebooks, and phones are becoming more and more common.  Schools are rethinking their policies on bringing these items to school.  My school and a lot of other schools are replacing text book fees with fees for accessibility in the form of a “loaned” laptop or other device to allow the student to keep for the duration of attendance at the school.  This gives the student responsibility and ownership.  A pitfall to this is, “How to keep the equipment up and running?”  Part of the budget is going to have to be allocated to maintaining the hardware.

Wireless connection is another thing that will be more and more important.  Right now many schools aren’t wired for wireless.  Bandwidth is another impedement.  Schools need to purchase additional bandwidth since the use is growing quicker than it expands.

So there are many things to be excited about in the near future of education.  I’m sure there are going to be some surprises out there that I cannot imagine.  But right now, I am excited and a little anxious.  I started college right when the internet started to be widespread accessible.  Now we take it for granted.  I hope I can keep up with advancements and not become a relic.




Web Applications

Will I ever purchase Microsoft Office again?  This is a question I now ponder because these applications are available online.  If I find myself somewhere away from my home computer I can go to live.com and log in to access not only my documents that are saved in a cloud (online server), but have the ability to use the actual microsoft office programs.  The ease of use is simple due to most already having used these programs.  The only downside is accessibility if the serve goes offline for any reason.  One can save a hard copy or a backup but the programs may not respond as quickly as needed.  The benefits outweight the negatives especially since it is free.


Paperless Classroom

No stacks of papers to transport that have been who knows where.  “I don’t have a pencil.”  These problems will become something of the past with the embracing of a paperless class.  Coming in the not too far future.

This will be a shift in the teacher’s role. The teacher becomes a facilitator and the students produce a product.  Students would no longer fill out worksheets or take home papers destined for the trash can.

Will learning be affected?  Students become more engaged in research and have to become active participants.  This leads to higher level thinking and creativity.  By being product driven instead of regurgitating facts, interest and participation should increase.

Learning would become measured due to the contributions of the student online.  This could be participating in chat room discussions, input into a wiki or blog, or an artifact created by the student.

Bring in experts from around the world.  The learning network could be broadened to include people outside the student’s immediate vicinity.  The Internet is truly the gate to the world.  Posting a working document online where others can contribute to it makes the possibilities endless as to who has access.


Big Shifts

Will Richardson in his book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms states that there are some major shifts happening in education in response to the Internet.  Of the 10 he lists, of particular interest to me is his shift of “Writing is no longer limited to text.”  Teaching physical education, pen and paper writing to me is secondary if that to getting up and moving.  Now with the new literacy standards and the need to integrate writing into all subjects, technology allows students to write in audio and video.

I can now have my students producing clips of themselves explaining various sport/fitness components and they can publish their work for the world to see.  If they really want to produce great work, they will be scripting their production.

How cool is the future of education?


Skype in the Classroom

Imagine a professional athlete video conferencing with a class of physical education students.  How excited and engaged would that class be?  Well this is possible with the technology afforded in the free application, Skype.  Skype is a video conferencing tool over the Internet that allows people to connect from anywhere in the world to anywhere else as long as there is  an Internet connection.  The uses of Skype in the classroom can bring experts into the classroom with some advanced planning.

The website http://www.teachhub.com/using-skype-classroom has some examples of how Skype can be used in the classroom.  As long as some groundrules are laid and followed, this can be a beneficial tool.  There is also a recording function that can allow the teacher to save the conversation to show it at a later date or to another class.

As long as the school’s acceptable use policy allows Skype, it should be checked out.

Brad J


What is learning?  Connectivism is a theory that has learning as a fluid model of joining nodes together.  Making connections or associating things together is the basis of learning.  Piaget’s example of a toddler knowing a dog and seeing a cow for the first time and associating the cow as a dog because it has four legs is an example of the toddler making a connection.

Connectivism and informal learning in the classroom can elevate student learning as it allows students to take the prescribed (formal) lesson and give it meaning and value to the student.  As the student takes the core lesson and branches out to discover her interests and her classmates interests, they are making connections that will last longer because it is personal.


The above site lists some reasons according to Siemens about the relevance of connectivism to the classroom.  I remember thinking when learning a new concept back in school that I brushed off the information thinking to myself, “This doesn’t matter to me.”  If the teacher would have let me and other students internalize and share with each other, maybe I would have seen the relevance to my peers and ultimately myself and retained the learning better by making a personal connection.