Friday, November 9, 2012

521 Blog Post 4—Digital Age Literacy and Project Tomorrow

I participated in online learning experiences that provided me with an opportunity to reflect and understand digital age learners. I also collaborated with my colleagues, online via our blogs, to share and expand my thinking.  

Project Tomorrow Report Refection
I read the Project Tomorrow "Leveraging Intelligent Adaptive Learning to Personalize Education" report. My opinion is adaptive learning is part of the future of education. I’d like to have CSUSM include adaptive learning in our training so that I arrive for my teaching position with experience in adaptive learning tools.

What surprises me is “28% of administrators are calling for an “individualized education plan” for every student, not just special needs students.” Are they both “calling for” and helping to make it possible? That would be amazing. Is this only in high performing, highly funded schools? How do we make this a reality in the poorest areas with the least amount of funding and limited computers and computer access?

It doesn’t surprise me that, “district administrators rank intelligent adaptive learning #1 for improving student achievement.” It makes perfect sense. Also, it’s essential that “Two-thirds of principals (67 percent) noted that the use of digital content in the classroom increases student engagement in school and learning, and 45 percent see digital content as a new pathway for personalized instruction for each student.” Also, it’s great that “parents want technology solutions that provide individualized instruction-- 57 percent of parents see online learning as a way for their child to work at his/her own pace.”

I’ll use the information to inform my teaching by working with my district and school site to use Dream Box as part of our instruction. In addition, I’d like to have computers for all students in my classroom (or at least more access to the computer lab). Also, I’d like to use some type of digital games within instruction and include online and software games as part of my instructional toolkit.


Videos from Speak Up
The Speak Up video I chose to view was the “Dear President” video.  

In my opinion, Speak Up is a wonderful way to help students advocate for social justice and their own educations. In this video, students tell the newly elected President Obama and Congress in 2008 "What one thing they would do to improve schools to ensure that all students receive the education and skills they need to be successful in life."

It surprises me that students framed their conversation with, “If I were president,” which is an excellent way to get attention and communicate from a place of power and possibility. I agree with everything that the students mentioned (except for the student who mentioned that we should treat schools like for-profit corporations in our capitalist system—which is basically how schools were structured during the industrial revolution making students mass produced products!).

What doesn’t surprise me is that students are articulate, intelligent, professional, logical, passionate, and creative about solutions like, "reduce teacher-student ratio, make education apply to the real-world, have more field trips and hands-on work, increase funding for tech advancements, purchase new textbooks each year, stop focusing on standardized testing, stop teaching to the test, provide each student a laptop, bring education outside of the school walls for a new, exploratory, and real-world perspective, have mandatory computer classes for student mastery, allow students to bring their own laptops if they have them, have teachers discuss industry and politics in the classroom, individualize instruction and test based on differences instead of similarities, make higher education more affordable, change school start time to later morning to work better with high school students’ natural rhythms, teach from a global and world perspective, hire passionate teachers, instead of no student left behind have no school or community left behind, teach real-world adult skills, give students autonomy and job-focused specialty courses, make school more like college, have students work in businesses during the school day, use technology to gain job skills in school, and treat school as job training.” These are amazing and excellent ideas. Now, how do we make it happen? It’s time for an education revolution. Who will lead the charge?

It’s my job to help lead the charge and to help students find a way to lead the charge, too. This information informs and supports my philosophy and practice of teaching by having students continue to consider their lives from a Postmodern viewpoint by discussing power systems (the government, school board, district, and voters) and oppression (students not building the skills they need to successfully compete in an evolving economy due to lack of technology and funding in old education models steeped the past) and use their creativity and knowledge to exert their own power of expression to get what they need in life. My postmodern philosophy supports Speak Up because I believe in the classroom being democratic, and offering a platform, such as this, for students’ to voice their different perspectives on issues that matter to them.


Youth TEACH2Learn Resources
The YouthTEACH2Learn Resources is a “career exploration program where students explore teaching as a career. During the course, the students gain practical experience by observing elementary school classrooms, learning how to teach science and math, developing and teaching standards-based lessons to younger students in neighboring elementary schools and participating in local community service projects. In addition, students also have the opportunity to meet local educators, attend career panels and visit local college campuses in order to determine if the teaching is a "good-fit" for their professional goals.” This is a great way to help students understand the other side of teaching science and math, and try it on to see if it suits them. It’s always a great way for students to volunteer in their communities and help younger students learn.

If the program also included English and Language Arts, I would start such a program at my school site by generating and documenting interest among parents and students, discovering who would want to take the class as an elective, and discussing the idea with the administration and other teachers. I’d start the conversation with my department informally to see if they knew of any students interested in teaching. I’d add the topic to the agenda at a department or site-wide meeting. From there we’d begin to promote the idea of starting the program within my classes, and I’d ask other teachers to do the same. The clubs are student-based. A student would need to attend a club meeting in the ASB room and complete an application to start a club. Clubs and programs are best started through the students, with support from teachers and administrators.

The benefits of starting a “Future Teachers” type of organization would be limited to science and math teachers and students. The program would include benefits for students such as, “career exploration, increased interest in science and math for elementary students, development of academic and professional skills (leadership, teamwork, meeting deadlines, and public speaking), earned units (three) of transferable college credit, company and career exposure, resume building, college reference, and work experience. School benefits include, “creating an interest in science and math, developing future teachers, on-site resource to track student interests and trends, teacher-students pairs where students help grade papers and develop lesson plans, direction after graduation, and creation of a college culture.”



  1. Hello Dawn,
    I really enjoyed reading your response to the "President" video because I watched it and reflected in the complete opposite direction. It really made me look at myself as the true skeptic that I am; never taking anything at face-value. The quality of your work is impeccable, thank you.

  2. To add a bit of specifics, as mentioned, I watched the video as well and thought that the students' resonses did not seem genuine, but after reading your response, "that students are articulate, intelligent, professional, logical, passionate, and creative about solutions" it made me see the students in a different light.