Pixlr is a free online photo editing website that is similar to Photoshop. It provides advanced features for creating personalized images by using the phone app or desktop computer versions. Pixlr can be used as a web based application, providing access to users of all platforms that have Internet access.
Students who are spatial learners can use this tool to create unique photos that relate to the course content. These students can create flashcards for vocabulary words that incorporate images and text. In my class, students have to create advertisements and newsletters; Pixlr could be used to make images that relate to the products they are promoting. They can take the role of advertising agents, applying the principles learned to create print ads. For online classes, students can use Pixlr to create profile pictures that share their personal characteristics without displaying their photos, so that their personal images are not used.
How would a paperless class change your role as a teacher?
My role as a teacher wouldn’t change much with moving towards a paperless classroom. Assignments would still need to be distributed and collected, just like they would in a traditional classroom. It would require more work on the back end to establish the classroom as paperless, since most of my coursework is designed for a paper classroom.
How would paperless classes change learning?
Being a paperless classroom enhances the way students learn. They are able to incorporate various components to assignments, such as video and audio attachments. This allows students to make more connections to the content while using various learning styles.
How would you measure learning in a paperless class?
Learning in a paperless classroom can be measured in similar ways that it is measured in a traditional classroom. Formative assessments could be used in the form of online polls or responses to discussion questions. Students could also take summative assessments using online testing sites. While both types of assessments are used in a paper classroom, the format of each would be the main different in a paperless class.
Would a paperless space make it easier or harder to build a learning network? Why?
A learning network would be much easier to grow in a paperless class. Students would have access to content from other classrooms all over the world. The technology component would allow for easy sharing and communication of their ideas.
Big Shift 1: Open Content
My school has moved away from textbook renewal orders for teachers. So, most of the content that teachers and students are using today comes from resources on the web. As teachers, the focus on knowing content has shifted to becoming contributors of the content. Richardson (2006) mentions that textbooks have been replaced with an “open-sourced classroom in which everyone contributes to the classroom.” Students are much more active in the learning process.
I see the open content of learning affecting the way I plan my instruction. As a teacher, I will need to be more of a leader, as opposed to a facilitator. The classroom environment will have to be designed to foster creativity and input from students.
I find myself gradually shifting towards using more and more technology in my classroom. This course has opened my mind up to using the technology in an online collaborative environment. I can understand the value of having students contribute to the curriculum.
Using the various tools that we have discussed in this class can facilitate this shift. Blogs, wikis, and social media sites are some of the great ways that allow students to contribute to the classroom.
Richardson, W. (2006). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
For this task I had the opportunity to connect with Tom using Skype. It was nice to be able to communicate with another educator and classmate using a video chat. One of the best parts of using this type of technology in an online course is the ability to create an authentic feeling. There seems to be a more natural flow of conversation when speaking to someone through a video chat, then through text. It’s much easier and efficient to share information using this method. It often takes me twice as long to type a message because of concerns with how it may be perceived. Using Skype can save time while ensuring the correct message is being delivered.
While Skype can be a great way to bring outside presenters into the classroom, it can also serve as a tool to connect students with each other and the teacher in an online classroom. Similar to a break room discussion, instructors could set up a Skype room to allow students to connect throughout the semester. Students can get to know the students in class and create a better association with the discussion boards. Also, instructors could use Skype as a way to have meetings with students helping to create an authentic online classroom. For students taking their first online course, it could ease some of their concerns with not feeling connected like they would in a traditional classroom.
One assignment that I could see Skype being used for in my online classroom is for job interviews. Instead of students needing to come into school to complete a mock interview, I could have students use Skype to conduct the interview. This also gives students the experience of doing video chat interviews that are becoming more popular amongst human resource managers.
“The only way this is relevant to teaching practice is if students have access to technology in the classroom.”
I agree that connectivism is most relevant with classrooms that have technology. However, the basic idea of connectivism has been around before technology and its theory could be applied without the use of current advancements in technology. In George Siemens’ definition of connectivism, “the integration of principles explored by chaos, network, and complexity and self-organization theories,” he does not mention the need of technology in his theory.
These types of skills that define connectivism, can be applied in other ways with classrooms that lack the technology. For instance, students can network within their school and community by participating in face-to-face interactions or by using other forms of communication. In today’s world, technology has made it much more efficient and easier to apply the principals of connectivity, making it seem impossible without it.
The podcast that I chose to subscribe to is the Knowledge at Wharton podcast, which is offered for free from the University of Pennsylvania. In the podcast by Ted Leonsis: ‘It’s the Greatest Time to Be an Entrepreneur,’ he discusses the needs of customers in today’s market. This is a great way to introduce students to being an entrepreneur and the impact they play on advancing society. While listening to the podcast, students will list the needs of customers that were mentioned. They will then partner with another student to discuss products that satisfy these needs. As the teacher, I will call on each group to share their results. This will lead into the challenge of having students think of developing their own product inventions that satisfy these needs, getting students to think like an entrepreneur.
The Knowledge at Wharton material is a well-known worldwide reputable resource for business content. A lot of their online content is geared towards high school students and includes up to date content. I chose this podcast because it shows that entrepreneurs should have a passion about making something better, rather than just making a profit. I want students to think of entrepreneurs as making a change in the world and that customers are constantly seeking new products. This is a great resource to start off the course as we explore the possibility of students creating and running their own school business.
Link to Knowledge at Wharton Blogs:
For my career and financial readiness class, I start off the semester with students writing short-term and long-term goals. These goals help with making choices for careers and financial situations later in the class. I can have students use Flickr to collect photos that represent each of their goals. The photos can be combined to create a collage on Google Drawing. Students can print these out or use them for a desktop background to always have a focus on their goals. The Flickr photos will allow for a quick reference of their goals throughout the course.
Christoph, Florian. (2014, December 5). Goal! Retrieved February 8, 2017, from: https://flic.kr/p/q1ZYNw
Wikis provide a unique way for students to collaborative on assignments. They’re simple to set up and for students to learn how to use. One of the most challenging aspects of using Wikis with a group was allocating the workload among group members. Since everyone is working at an individual pace, those that start earlier in the week naturally becomes the leaders and can end up completing more of the workload. This creates a challenge in which the early starters want to make sure the assignments gets completed on time, while trying to allow input from all of the group members.
I learned that wikis could be a quick and easy way to get students collaborating on a topic. Anyone in the group could make edits and additions without needing to obtain approval. This allowed everyone to participate in completing the assignment. I also learned that organization and structure on a wiki is key in accomplishing the task. Having group members who know how to use the various formatting tools helps to identify areas that need improvement or editing.
Most of the resistance in using wikis in my class comes from myself. With a collaboration activity like this, it can be difficult to determine grades for each of the group members. I would consider using self-assessment rubrics, like for this assignment, to determine each student’s grade. I think with more personal experience, I will become more comfortable with using them in my classroom.