Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Global Learning Experience

For one week in mid-February my professor, Dr. Z, was in a Middle Eastern country named Jordan. He was over on the other side of the world giving a lecture based on educational topics. While he was there my class had the opportunity to Skype him along with a few of his colleagues. This experience was something new to me. I have not talked via a video call to someone who was many time zones away. This really blew my mind. I really had to think about what was happening. Here I am in Eastern Iowa, U.S.A. talking to someone who is more than 6,000 miles away! Now that is GREAT technology! During the Skype call I did not speak, a few of my fellow classmates volunteered to share their Project Based Learning projects and I was just soaking in this unique video call. I am very glad I was able to be a part of this global learning experience. To those who are not familiar with what global learning is all about check out the linked website. It gives a brief overview of the nature of this new educational exprience. I believe this type of learning will be very beneficial in the future and it has opened my eyes to the world of technology and how impossible things can really happen.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Using Problem Based Learning

Problem Based Learning or Passion Based Learning is a great way to engage students to think "outside the box." My group, the Middle JAARS, created a project for 7th grade math students. This project allows students to go out into their community and make a difference while getting a great math lesson. The project starts with an essential question: if you were to select a playground from your community, which one would you select and what would you do to remodel it? This open-ended question allows for students to expand their thinking and to get out of the classroom to help their community. By being involved in this project, students will feel more empowered as active learners. This term "active learners" is explained very well in the linked video. By playing an active role in education, students will become much more engaged in their tasks and their knowledge of the subject will be deepened. By using PBL students will also be able to apply it to the real world.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

PLS Visit

I had a wonderful opportunity to take a trip down to Price Lab School and it was very interesting. I enjoyed the question and answer session we had with Mrs. Hanna, a high school English teacher. She is an extremely brave and intelligent person who seems to be doing wonders with new aged teaching methods. She has implemented project based learning into her classroom by having her students create a website that shares their knowledge on genocide in a third world country. This linked website explains very well which countries fall into each category: first, second, and third world. I had not realized how many of the world's countries were underdeveloped, and I believe that Mrs. Hanna's class is doing a great project by creating awareness to this unfortunate issue. When we left PLS I had a better overall understanding of what project based learning is all about. Our textbook for CCA explain it, but after listening to Mrs. Hanna and her own personal experiences with PBL I just had a better grasp on how it works. I can see PBL becoming very popular in schools everywhere and I think the students will be more engaged and excited about learning. I also had a chance to sit in on a class lesson. The students in the physics class were so interested and engaged with their ramp lab, and I think that the use of computers enabled that interest to grow. Rather than doing their lab by hand on a piece of boring paper--the students had the chance to use a computer program to arrange their data in a way that makes sense to them. Overall, I really enjoyed the visit and I hope to visit other schools soon!
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Friday, February 3, 2012

Global Learning's Effect on Education

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Learning takes place everywhere and the idea that learning can happen globally is amazing. Global learning is taking education to a new level and is expanding curriculums everywhere. Students today are knowledgeable with technology and find it more exciting to be working with different technologies such as: applications and software programs, computers, and tablets- just to name a few. By using these pieces of technology students and teachers alike are able to communicate and collaborate to others around the world to enhance their educational experience. The future of education will be completely different from what we know it to be today. These new tools and strategies will only make learning better for students everywhere.

The world is "flat" and I am beginning to see that more and more each day. I highly encourge everyone  to listen to "The World is Flat" lecture by Thomas L. Friedman. He gives wonderful insight to how our world operates. The barriers that once stood in the way of business and education have diminished over the years. Websites such as Wiki and Google Docs and instant video calls are transforming our educational systems. Global learning will connect our world more and make human beings more aware of the world around them. No one in this day-in-age should be oblivious to the global society they are a part of.