Open Education

When you hear or see the words “open education” what do you think?

Let’s see open = not closed off/free..hmmm free education?? Excuse me, I will take that!!!

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Open Education is something so vital. We all must take a look into. Imagine a world where knowledge is free to those who pursue it. Let’s remember that knowledge is power. With that said we can change the world for the better. Early Childhood Education is the foundation for success. Let us work on young children being able to attend school where their parents who are making minimum wage, would not even have to pay. Quality education can be free. With hard work, passion and determination- its feasible!! Let’s go!!!

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What would you set forth to accomplish if open education was available for all as of today??

Some Helpful Links

http://www.openeducation.net/

http://whyopenedmatters.org/

Open education is a trend. It is a movement. Like many other trends, the positive aspects are presented first off. Just by the term open education alone brings a sense of peace and fascination. How can we pull off open education? After the initial learning of open education, the real concerns and questions arise.

Open education means to be free and available. How great would this be if everyone can get a free readily available education. Education should be a right and if it was truly open, how many people would exercise that right. Open education means eliminating barriers in education (McNally 2012). Just the term, open education alone seems promising. It is exciting to think that people can have an open education. But like with all great promising notions, especially that have to do with education, there are some big challenges that are to be faced along with it.

It is exciting to think of open education and to know that people who never even thought they had a chance at getting educated can have a chance to learn, thrive and succeed in this world.

It is free. Who wouldn’t go for it. Open education is available and out there ready for the whole world- the resources, information – all for everyone located in every part of the world (McNally 2012).

Without even having to pay to learn about information from authors, colleges and universities there is information ready to be soaked up by eager learners. Open education is an exciting trend. A while ago I came across a site from Yale which offered the syllabus, course content and all things pertaining to those certain subjects online. If one wanted to learn about it, the information from actual Yale professors were there. Of course in that situation, the only thing is you do not get a college credit for it but it was great to see that available.

Open education is a new idea but seems to be becoming quite popular now a days. We do not know everything about open education and as much as we know we will still need to find out so much more like how will open education survive? Where will the money come from? things of that nature.

It is so true that we want to learn. For the most part people want to learn and many obstacles, especially financial are hindering their desires. Knowing that people all over the world despite culture, ethnicity background and creed, poor etc. can receive a higher education is remarkable. It brings hope and promise to our world as a whole. So many people would like a higher education but money seems to always be like the first negative factor on why they are unable to further their education. Open education can rid this. “People want to learn. By providing free and open access to education and knowledge, we help create a world where people can fulfil this desire” according to article on openeducatioweek.com (Admin 2013). This access will be amazing but I can not help to keep thinking of the money issue and how we will truly reach the time where open education is available for all, used by many, taught by many. I love teaching. It is my passion but how will educators survive with open education? The student in me of course loves this idea greatly. As I wish our MEd courses were free ; ).

McNally, Michael. (2012, March 22). Democratizing access to knowledge: find out what open educational resources (OER) have to offer.  Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2IPOgl0ZE8

Admin. (February 26,2013). About open education. Retrieved from http://www.openeducationweek.org/about-open-education/

One Upping the Web

One-upping the Web

“Between the explosion of Web connectivity and increasingly complex tools for handling information, the only valid tasks we can ask of our students are evaluation (of non-statistical inputs) and creation of original work. Everything else is more easily and accurately completed online. Don’t just have students research a period in history, have them write a song about it or create a diary to tell the story from a historical perspective. These are tasks that the Internet can’t (yet) accomplish. Anything else? Just Google it.”

The closing paragraph is very intense and thought provoking. I had to read it several times and let it sink in. Overall I do agree with Harris’ closing statement. Going to school, doing assignments, researching and so forth has been facilitated with the web and use of internet. The web has made it so much easier to get papers done, do research and find out information we need for school assignments. Everything is at hand and ready for our use. It is out there on the internet we must have to look and it will be there for us whether it be scholarly articles, online encyclopedias, articles etc- it is all there for us. Makes it easy then years ago when we were using a paper card catalogue at the library and actual paper encyclopedias that we had to look through for information and that took a lot of time. Now it is one, two click and we got it. Well sometimes we need to do a little more searching but overall the internet has made studying and completing work so much more easily and super readily available

We are all connected through the web an all of its tools that we can use to search, gather and handle information. What we can get from our students is the evaluation of these tools, how they worked for them and how the tools aided them in the learning process. Many students create great original work after exploring the internet. Browsing the web can inspire and motivate students to embar on their own creative expressive journey.Many original works comes from the heart and souls of students which can truly be evaluated by them- the process, the meaning, the feeling. This can not be found on the internet but cues that aid in their process may do so. Everything other than a student’s original work can be found online and that is true. Whatever we may need we just google it if we do not have an exact web site where we would find the information.

Harris stated don’t just have the students research a period in history, have them write a song about it…this is a very good idea when you think about it especially because research sometimes can take just one click. Teachers want to know if a student is really learning, or is really putting in the time to research therefore now a days with the us of the web, it can be done in an instant and it is so easy to do so that sometimes students do not use their full potential. By writing a song or creaing a diary, this forces students to use their imagination, their own self expression, indiviaduality and creatitivity. This will stay with them. This will become an original creation that they will learn from and remember because they have to put thought and feeling in to it to complete the task/assignment. It great that these tasks mentioned previously can not be created by the internet as of today or “yet”as Harris stated. And to close it off, anything else we need from a recipe, thesis, quotes etc we just google it. I very much agree with Harris.

Reference

Harris, C. (2010). One-upping the web . [Article]. School Library Journal, 56(11), 14-14.

Types of Learning Environments

 

We do not need to sit in a classroom to learn nor do we have to stand in front of a classroom full of students to be able to teach. Learning and Teaching are evolving. Below is a quick take on 3 types of settings…….

Learning and teaching can be done in a variety of settings and situations. We can learn in a traditional face to face classroom and we can also teach our students in a traditional classroom setting where we see each other face to face.

In a traditional or face to face classroom, the students and teacher always experience learning inside a classroom together as a group and always meets in person.Technology can be a part of the classroom learning but all types of learning and associated projects and activities  are done in the classroom except for homework.

Another type of classroom is the hybrid classroom. It is called a hybrid class because half (more or somewhat less) is carried out online and the other part of the class is taught in a classroom setting, face to face. So basically hybrid classes are a mix between online learning and traditional learning. Technology is a major part of the course.

The online classroom, is totally 100 percent internet based. The students and teachers do not meet face to face and there is no actual classroom setting. All teaching and learning is done virtually. All communications are done online and all work and assignments are completed in the same manner.

When we are in a traditional classroom all of us are being taught the same ideas at the same pace. When we are in an online classroom, we are learning at our own pace and different things. Although we are presented with the same assignments and projects, we as students set the pace in how and when we read as well as where we want to do so. We can have class in the middle of Starbucks where as if we were face to face we could end up daydreaming and losing quality learning time because our minds drift.

Teaching online is different that teaching face to face. Questions may not be answered in real time. If a student has a question and is stuck on the matter he or she can not just raise their hand and get a response but rather  stop, email professor and wait. The same thing as if a teacher has a question for the students.

PBL or problem based learning is a good method to use in online learning  because it challenges the students to learn how to learn. When we are online, we are not alone but we have to be disciplined and really learn how to learn in order to succeed. We can work virtually in groups to find solutions to authentic real life situations. It focuses on finding real world  problems and figuring them out in ways that drives students to find their correct chosen career path. Another great method for online learning would be games, simulations and experiments because students today have grown and are used to playing games, using internet and doing other types of things using technology and tools.The simulations and games help students solv ereal world problems n a safe environment while having fun doing so.

Humor in the classroom can be a good method to use in a traditional classroom. Sometimes students become disengaged, unmotivated and bored. By using humor, it can enhance student learning by improving retention and understanding.

Critical Thinking is a great method to use in all learning settings especially the hybrid setting. It forces students to really think about situations and find solutions to problems. When they have the chance to meet with their teacher face to face they can talk about it. In the mean while, while they are learning online, they can search for the answers themselves making them more involved with learning.

http://pedagogy.merlot.org/TeachingStrategies.html

The learning activity really got me thinking about my learning activity. It is awesome because I am learning in an online environment and at the same time I am teaching young children in a traditional setting. I believe that all learning and teaching can come full circle. It is great to live in this day and age where we have options.

What is your preferred method of learning and why?  Also, for educators -What is your preferred method of teaching and why?

 

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Look forward to hearing from you!!!

EDU520- Motivation and Engagement

Engagement and motivation are two very important aspects of education. Educators must understand and learn how to really engage the students. It is our job as educators to get students interested into the subject matter at hand. Once we have the students interested we must also engage them. We need to engage the students into the work we are presenting them whether it be a hands on activity, writings, arts or whatever else, the important fact is to have the students be involved and engaged to what they are working on. Having a motivated student really encourages educators to work hard and smart for them, this is turn would have educators planning on how to better engage students in all aspects of learning.if educators would understand the concepts of motivation and engagement we would have more successful students taht would be encourgaed to reach their goals and try hard to never give up. According to Wlodkowski, there is a problem with motivation and it is that we can not see or touch it. This causes teachers to need to want to learn a student’s personality.We can not observe motivation nor measure it in an accurate manner (1999).
Educators can really influence students motivation and engagement. One way is by focusing on the students interests and make lessons surrounding that topic. If a teacher really focuses on the interests of the students the students will notice. This will cause them to be more a part of the class and naturally they will become engaged. Making classes and lessons fun and up to date causes for motivation. Having a hands on activity and or projects is great engagement as well. Engagement can be synonymous with active learning (2011). Engagement is co discovery. It is being in the moment and paying attention while being immersed into a topic at hand (2011).
According to Garret, engagement is a coming together between a student and teacher more like a fusion. An open back and forth dialouge.
Technology is great. I think that when students, no matter how young or how old, when they see a computer, SmartBoard, iPad or another electronic device that they can use to”play” when actually they are really learning is wonderful. It sparks interest and creates curiosity. Students are more willing to try it out. It cause for engagement and it is like  a circle. The teacher creates engagement and this motivates the teacher to do more while motivating students to become involved with technology and the world around them.
When I do an activity with my students I always want to make sure they are happy. I want to keep them interested for the whole time. I motivate them to become interested in a subject if they do not know too much about it or lack interest. The key factor is engagement. I always ask myself how can I get the children negaged and motivate them to finish the task/assignmnet. I use a reward sytem and positive reinforcement. I get on their level and ask them many questions. Getting to know them and what they would like to learn. From a young age children trust you and they get the vibe that they are loved and we are their to help them. I always want to make it about them. To get students to love to learn and enjoy school is  a teacher’s priority.

Garrett, C. (2011). Defining, detecting, and promoting student engagement in college learning environments . [Article]. Transformative Dialogues: Teaching & Learning Journal, 5(2), 1-12.

Wlodkowski, R. J. (1999). Motivation and diversity: A framework for teaching . [Article]. New Directions for Teaching & Learning(78), 7.

EDU 520

Communities of Practice or CoPs are people who work together in the same field. They are a group of people that share the same profession and work together. These people form a community. This community works together and supports one another regarding the specific field. CoPs are where everyone works together and while the student is mastering the skills, the teacher is a learning partner in the process. It is face to face and they are present. The teachers work together to enhance learning and at that same time, teaching is being supported. Learning from one another as professionals while teaching others and gaining from that experience to better ourselves and those around us. This is building a community. The community or group have a common bond and interest. When sharing and working together in a group, we are creating a process wher we gain strengths while strengthening others.CoPs support learning as well do PLCs or professional learning communities/
PLCs are where teachers get together and learn from each other.  According to Cranston (2011), personal learning communities focus on binding three concentric circles. The outermost part of the circle shows a representation of the teaching  faculty and the community and the innermost part of the circle shows the teachers and children while the centre of the circle represents the relationship between the school and faculty members. (Cranston 2011). The teachers share what is going on with the students and what may be going on inside their classroom. It is a way for teachers to learn from each other and better themselves which in turn will benefit their students. In a professional learning community teachers work together on problems and situations on may be facing. The colleagues work together to help find solutions.Teachers are talk about their experience and they are there to learn. We as teachers are lifelong learners. When we form a community to be encouraged by fellow educators who actually support us it is a great thing that we can do. Looking to share our mishaps and get advice for our weaknesses and downfalls with others in our fields prepares ourselves to better the lives of those we teach.
Technology can really enhance PLCs. According to Adams, when PLCs work correctly, they can transform schools.(2009).
Technology can aslo benefit CoPs as well. The internet brings us all closer together. Virtually we can support each other and learn many things as well as share our experiences as educators whether we are at school, home or anywhere. Technoly may take away from people coming together and sitting face to face because now everything can be done online basically but it can also go back to even though we may not actually be in the presence of one another physically we are all there in a virtual world lending our supporting and ready to learn. There are huge changes in the web. It is now Web 2,0. Social media is a common thing we all use to learn and to teach. We use social media to experience and exchange building a sense of togetherness even though we are not face to face,This way technology changes and enhances both CoPs and PLCs. According to Gunawardena (2009),  the web 2.0 has many applications that provide support for people coming together as a community and learn collectively as whole while sharing experience.This develops a sense of community and learning together as a team although it is all virtual.

References

Cranston, J. (2011). Relational trust: The glue that binds a professional learning community. Alberta Journal of Educational Research57(1), 59-72. Retrieved from http://post.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/courses/EDU520.901169014975/Resources/Documents/Relational Trust_The Glue that Binds a Professional Learning Community.pdf

Gunawardena, C. N., Hermans, M. B., Sanchez, D., Richmond, C., Bohley, M., & Tuttle, R. (2009). A theoretical framework for building online communities of practice with social networking tools . Educational Media International, 46(1), 3-16. doi: 10.1080/09523980802588626

Adams, C. (2009). The power of collaboration. Instructor, 119(1), 28-31.

This learning activity was interesting. I enjoyed getting to know what CoPs  and PLCs are. There is so much that we can do for others and so much we can all learn from each other to better the lives of the ones we teach.

What would you contribute to a Professional Learning Community and why?

http://educationinnovation.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/05/how-to-have-beautiful-professional-learning-communities-explore-your-differences.html