Monday, January 17, 2011

week 3 e-books

The only reading for this week is on the uses of e-books at higher learning institutes, mostly in India.  The author of the study claims that the use of e-books is very low at this point, much lower than e-magazines or e-newspapers.  Out of the students that the study included, many used the e-books mostly as a research aid, or some other academic pursuit.  The author claims that e-readers break down geographic barriers for those that use them, enabling the user to “borrow” books no matter their physical location.  However, much of the article is not about e-books being used, but about why they are not.  Many different reasons are given, but it mostly boils down to the incompatibility of one reader to another, one program to another or user refusing to adjust to new technology.
The main problem I have with this study is that it is very narrow.  They tried to have a wide study, but due to lack of response from the respondents, they ended up with a 1%-5% answer, less than 100 people all together.  In addition, this study seems to have concentrated on one university in a country far away from here.  I can only tell by looking at what my students bring to class everyday, but e-readers are very popular here.  I actually just bought my first kindle and it is supposed to be delivered tomorrow.  We are also adopting new textbooks at school this year and are thinking of using digital books rather than paper books for that reason-put technology in the hands of students and they may be more likely to use it.

Quote of the week “In total 101 questionnaires were completed, of which 16 were from staff (15.84%) and 85 from students (84.15%). The overall response rate was 2.94% (or 16/544) of faculty/staff and 5.07% (or 85/1676) of students.”

Friday, January 14, 2011

week 2-social media

First article today was Teens and Social Media from Pew Research.  This document tries to give percentages to tell use who is using social media, when they are using it, and how they are using it.  It breaks it down to age groups and sex of the participant, along with a more broad overview of how many use all the types.  Interestingly, it also tracks how private they are with their online lives.

The main things that stuck out at me in the Teens and Social Media article was the statistics on income and sex relating to what the teen was most likely to do when online. The largest percent of internet users are the kids who have family incomes of over $75K per year. This makes sense to me, because they are also the most likely group to have access to an assortment of different media that is able to access the web--the best internet enabled cell phone, iPod, laptop.  It also makes sense to me that girls are more likely to blog their thoughts, while boys would rather post videos.  In teens, girls tend to be more expressive, tend to find it easier to put their thoughts into words than actions.  they are constantly worried about how they look, how they are percieved by others.  The boys, however, want to show themselves and what they have accomplished, they want to prove to others that they could do the stunt on the skateboard, they can do something daring and get away with it, without minding if they look stupid and having it out on the internet on YouTube forever.  I did find it interesting that girls that are lower income, single parent homes are more likely to author those blogs than the rich kids of either sex.  My best guess on that one without more research is that they don't have someone at home to listen to their thoughts like some of the others would, and they don't want video because they don't want that visual record to reach their friends that may show the conditions in which they live.
Second was Connecting the Digital Dots.  The whole article talks about how we, and our students, need to learn new information and create new ways to do it, thus making our lives a complex web of a crazy dot to dot like we used to complete in elementary school, never quite knowing what the picture is going to end up being.
If we as teachers are supposed to connect the digital dots to ensure that our students get a full learning experience, but we are supposed to do it while still teaching the basic methods, how can we mesh those two schools of thought together?  We need to teach our students how to think instead of what to think, but ISTEP still wants to test them on the what.  We need to find a way to connect all the different digital dots, like facebook, wikis, email, text, etc. to see how well the students are able to put together the material they are being taught, how well they will be able to showcase their technological prowess, as they will need to do in their future employment.

Quote of the week from Digital Dots: "The challenge is in dealing with the complexity—the dots are
multidimensional, of varying sizes and colors, continuously changing, and linked to other, as yet unimagined dots. Nonetheless, to successfully connect the dots at any level in cyberspace means we must be literate, both digitally and visually."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

week 1-neomillenials

This week, I read Growing Up with Google, Neomillenial learning styles, and planning for Neomillenial learning styles.
First up, Growing up with Google.  This document throws around a lot of statistics that serve to prove the fact that many of today's students, up to age 27ish, base most of their relationships through technology, whether it be messaging, texting, facebook, second life, or email.  It pushes the reader to realize how much knowledge is available through people just like ourselves adding to it, and that our students know how to access it all. They move through their lives seamlessly jumping from virtual to reality and back, and look at us funny when we don't understand it.
Second, I read Neomillenial learning styles.  This backs up everything in the Google article.  It talks about the importance of handheld devices in the lives of our students.  Some of the facts and figures thrown out are how many handhelds are owned by each demographic of our students, and not for solely educational purposes, and would use it for education if it were more readily available.
Finally, I read Implementing Neomillenials.  This article focuses on ways that an instructor could embrace the technology focused on the the second article above.  It offers suggestions like wireless access everywhere, using alternate reality games, blogging tools, and many other ways to implement technology into your classroom. 

My opinion on Google is that the entire article is dead-on.  As a teacher, I see the effect the Google world has had on my students.  The demographic in the article is students born after 1982--I was born in 1982, so I am just on the cusp of the revolution.  I have that "give it to me now" mentality without the need to have all my personal relationships developed and existing on the web.  It claims that only 31% of searches are successful.  I'm surprised its that high. Plus, even if the students find what they are looking for, they can't tell if it is reliable or not, nor do they care much of the time.
 My opinion on Neomillenials is much the same.  It was good information to have and great ideas on how to put the plans into action to get students engaged, but I felt as if the article dragged on awhile. It got to the point where I just started skimming because it was making my eyes blur. 
Most of the implementing neomillienials paper breaks down what the first discusses and tells an isntructor how to implement learning while embracing the new challenge it presents.  However, this goes back to the issue of money.  Many schools, espcially here in Indiana, are having their budgets cut to the point that teachers are losing jobs, students are going without some materials that the school used to provide.  How is expensive technology going to fit in to that budget?  Yes, many students already have things like iPods or iPads, but what about those students that don't?  Can we, as teachers, ignore the fact that not all students can afford these things?  Can we honestly believe that we are doing our jobs by not using them to teach, denying many students the technological opportunities that exist, or move forward with using those things and leave others behind?

Quote of the week from Growing up with Google:
"An increasing number of students – and their parents – expect
academic success with little academic effort."
This makes for the quote of the week because I have to argue this with parents everytime I flunk their so called honor roll student because they did the bare minimum instead of their best work.  Welcome to the real world, mom and dad.


Trying to decide on the best format for my blog...think I will summarize my thoughts for the readings, then I will move forward to my thoughts on topic, finishing with a quote of the week from the reading--what will stay with me the most for the coming time, whether good, bad, or ugly.

new to this

So, I've never started my own blog before, so here goes nothing.  Setting this up for the critical friends thing.  Hope it works!