The group of readings that were to be done for November was full of irony, simply for the fact that it focused purely on technology and how teachers learn and develop it in their classroom. Ipads were another big focus, as well as GoPro’s. The thing I loved about each article is how well they played off each other, even if at first glance three of the readings: “Snowfall,’ ‘The New York Times Fights Snowfall Fatigue With More Snow Falls-And It’s Working,’ and ‘A Game of Shark and Minnow,” didn’t fit with the two longer readings, “How Teachers Learn and Develop,” and “Exploring The Use Of The IPad For Literacy Learning.” However, once you explored the sites the previously mentioned readings were on, you realized that the way they are set up is due to some of this technology that is spoken of in the longer readings. It all blends together nicely.
The first reading that really sets a good tone is “How Teachers Learn and Develop,” by Hammerness, among others. These readings were divided into multiple sections, however some stood out more than others. One that really caught my eye was “Teaching Strategies and Efficiency Versus Innovation.” According to the text, “Teaching strategies vary according to the degree to which they emphasize the innovation versus efficiency dimensions.” Some educators push for strategies that are highly scripted to promote consistency, but others argue that teaching needs to be highly interactive and needs to change and vary depending on the needs of each student. I believe that these educators that only want to follow a script need to find a new occupation because technology is affecting innovations and interaction. The world is an interactive environment and educators need to be on the forefront. But it’s not just as easy as assuming that since there is so many technological tools out there that it makes teaching it to students easier. Educators still need to be able to get through to students, some of whom may know more than you about certain devices. According to the text, “A principle of learning that is extremely important for helping teachers become adaptive experts who can manage complexity involves the concept of metacognition-or the ability to think about one’s own thinking.” This is an important concept to be aware of, especially when implementing technology into a classroom. You must think to yourself if the students already know a lot about what you’re teaching and if there’s a better way. Technology changes and so should your metacognition. The reading is quick to remind the readers that new teachers develop knowledge about teaching, students, culture, development and other things like subject matter over time. It’s important to keep in mind to always keep up with the changes in the technology world, and you will be better suited to keep up with it in the classroom.
That reading flows right into the next reading, titled “Exploring the Use of the Ipad for Literacy Learning.” Much like metacognition, teaching strategies and innovation, this article speaks in depth about “Integrating Digital Technologies.” According to the text, “integrating digital technologies into literacy instruction and equipping students with the new literacy skills needed for reading, writing and communicating in digital environments is already a priority for many literacy teachers.” Some struggle, but it’s important to be aware of the need to do so. Ipad’s are at the forefront of integrating technology and are shaping how teachers strategize and innovate their classroom management, simply because they are so incredibly versatile. Teachers are taking simple activities usually done on a piece of paper and transferring it on to the Ipad. Take for example a teacher named Mrs. Dill who decided to focus on the reading comprehension strategy of visualization. She decided to use and app called Doodle Buddy that students could use to draw their illustrations. Instead of the classic worksheet where students would have to draw with pen or pencil, Doodle Buddy allowed them to create a drawing that accurately conveyed their meaning. So not only is this more efficient, but according to the article students loved using it. The app also encouraged students to reread their text and edit their work. Other students even wanted to experiment with the different tools for other purposes. Ipad’s don’t come without their pitfalls. Manipulation can be difficult with some apps, especially the nuts and bolts of some of the programs. Sensitive touchscreens that prematurely allow students to choose something, troubleshooting and difficulty creating word documents are some of the other complaints and hassles with Ipad’s. But overall, they are an incredibly large force that is becoming more and more evident that they will be driving education one day.
So you teach students all this technology; how to navigate through websites and create different animations and movements and other things that would leave adults in the technological dust. The remaining readings are shining examples of the future of websites. Personally, I had some problems navigating through some of them, simply because they are so stimulating. Taking a look at “A Game of Shark and Minnow,” it’s amazing how the site is put together. It has sound and the water is even moving. All the pictures are HD, there’s even a page where a guy is searching with a flashlight. There’s interaction as well, such as when you’re searching the map and it moves as you’re trying to find things. “Snowfall” is similar and just as stimulating. These are the websites of the future. Some claim that they are bad for the web and bad for the readers, but nonetheless they are evolutionary. It even says at the top of the last reading that The New York Times is perfecting is multimedia design, and these websites are examples of it. Print newspapers are quickly becoming a thing of the past. People are turning to their computers for the news, and have been for quite some time. However, people are going to eventually want something more than just words on a screen. These kinds of websites and articles keep people, especially young readers, interested and stimulated.
As a culmination of the readings, these websites that have tons of stimuli are the future of news stories. The quicker we can get students up to speed and used to using devices like Ipad’s, the quicker students can create websites and more importantly, use them and others that are being created. It’s just as important to teach them how to navigate through as to how you can possibly create one. As educators, we must stay on the cutting edge of technology, attempting to remain one step ahead. In conclusion, it all hearkens back to the first article I read about how teachers are learning, developing, integrating and innovating. The sooner educators get on board and efficiently teaching these things, the sooner we can send students out into the world that are producing these kinds of things, as well as understanding and navigating through them.