Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Planning for the 21st Century

Once again and as usual, Jeff Utecht has left me with a lot to think about after reading his chapter in “Wired for Learning” – An Educators Guide to Web 2.0 by Terri Kidd and Irene Chen. In this chapter (case study) Jeff discusses how schools need to embrace the change that is 21st Century Learning with includes and should focus on open access to the cloud, systems that are designed for both teachers and students that have all in one solutions. An integrated system that is web based and allows for instant access to teacher and student websites, instant access to lesson plans and assignments along with the ability to upload, plan and reflect. It would be great if school districts across America could lose the large file systems of old and replace them completely with a course management system that was completely web based. Talk about a reduction in cost and support,( though support of the new infrastructure ie. The CMS is definitely important and required.) It has been my experience that districts are not ready to make the jump or are just well “stuck”. Why is this? Are districts afraid to make a complete jump to a 2st century infrastructure or do they have unreliable internet access or it is just habit? The failsafe of knowing you have that hard copy even if it is not easily accessible or sometimes found.. I found this to be a wonderful chapter that left me with a great deal of insight and curiosity as to when I will see that new technology plan fully implemented for 21 century learning.


  1. After reading “Reflective Learning”, there were many things that stuck out to me. I guess the first major point is that I love that digital storytelling can be used in any subject area at any level (middle school, med students, etc.) I think the way it allows students to reflect on learning is really great; I can see myself giving it as a summative assessment option (or even a formative assessment) to have students show what they know about particular content knowledge. Also, I feel that digital storytelling gives kids an option of expressing their knowledge in an alternative way than we normally require or expect here at school.

  2. Sorting through ALL the information in the “Virtual Learning Environments” piece, there were certainly pieces that I felt left me with something to think about. I felt that a much of the terminology (technology “lingo”) was advanced (as were some of the explanations), but I did my best to sort through it and pick out the parts that most helped me better understand this topic.
    1- There is relationship between how something is structured and represented in a virtual learning environment and how it affects one’s ability to learn from it and interact with it.
    2- I didn’t agree with that statement that a book can’t be a learning environment. I think some students are absolutely capable of reading a book, processing what they’ve read, and answering very insightful questions about it. That being said, discussing it with others and sharing their knowledge is also valuable. I can see this comparison between websites and virtual learning environments.
    3- Virtual Learning Environments vs. Traditional classrooms. Both have value, but I feel that the technology piece needs to support the regular teacher. Technology totally has a place in all classrooms, but the value of a real human being teacher is unmatchable!!

    I appreciated that this study really looked into all sides of a point and a position. It provided valuable thoughts and insights on virtual learning environments.

  3. “Technology and Collaborative Teaching” and “Collaborative Learning”

    Collaborative learning and teaching are both vital in the classroom. Technology allows students to collaborate in a way that their generation is very used to; for some of them, there’s an element of familiarity and comfort. Collaborative teaching helps teachers bring new ideas into the classroom that they may have not thought of on their own. I found that some of the websites listed in Ms. Draxler’s summary post are worth investigating. I am most intrigued by the site NowComment…a place for digital conversations about digital texts.