Jacci Stier's Blog Response #5

Title: Happy World Maths Day!

URL: https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=33885919&postID=842130120782615425&page=1

Rachel Boyd wrote, "All classes at my school for the past 2 weeks have been participating in trialing Live Mathletics to celebrate World Maths Day (today - 5th March).

It has been a huge success with my class and definitely a favourite. The children have loved having their own log on names and passwords (although with 5 & 6 year olds logging in has proved testing at times)... but mostly they have loved playing against children from other countries.... Spain, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom to name just a few.

It has brought out the competitive side in most students and really challenged them to race against the clock to improve their maths basic facts.

In the past few weeks we have had students playing both at home and at school. Marnie in Auckland is my personal Mathletics expert as she has been using the entire programme in her mainly year 2 classroom during 2007. Our decision now is do we want to continue with the programme as a school, or just offer it to families...

Here are some thoughts on Live Mathletics from the 5 & 6 year old in my class.
You can view them on the embedded slideshare below or click here."

My Response:
    This is exactly what I was looking for! I scan educational blogs and read about things such as wiki spaces, twitter, and blogmeister. It's great that internet technology is playing a more active role in students' education but I'm always stuck wondering, "What about math?" How can math be represented the same way group discussions and collaborative thinking are on the internet? This website is the answer! After viewing your slideshow with the student responses as well as watching videos on www.mathletics.com with more student responses it is clear that they enjoy this game and it sparks their interest in learning and that, as current and prospective educators, is all we can ask for.


Jacci Stier's Blog Response #4

Title: Towards Reflective BlogTalk

URL: http://www.teachandlearn.ca/blog/2008/02/04/towards-reflective-blogtalk/#comment-157104

Konrad Glogowski wrote, "It's not enough to know how to grow a blog, to pick a topic and keep contributing to one's blog. Our students must also be aware of the class communities in which they learn. They have to have opportunities to think and respond to other writers. They need opportunities to engage in and sustain conversations about their own work and the work of their peers. Blogging is not about choosing a topic and writing responses for the rest of the term. It is about meaningful, thoughtful engagement with ideas. But a grade eight student may need additional support to learn what it means to be thoughtfully engaged. I find that for so many of my students blogging often becomes a race to publish, to write entries and receive comments. (Most of them measure the success of their blog by the number of comments they receive, and the content of the comment is often not as important as the mere fact that it is there). They rarely look critically at their own writing, preferring instead to judge their own work by the traffic that it attracts to their blog."


"In order to engage in truly reflective thought about their work, students must also have opportunities to analyze who they are as bloggers and writers. They must have opportunities to look critically at their own work and see how they fit into the class blogosphere.

Recently, I developed a handout that helps students accomplish just that.

The Ripple Effect Sheet is designed to encourage students to become aware of the class blogosphere, of other writers, of entries that define the environment in which they write, and of their own contributions to that environment. I begin this process by asking the students to reflect on one of their own blog entries:

The Ripple Effect

This handout gives students an opportunity to pick their single best blog entry and comment on how writing that entry contributed to their growth as a thinker or writer. In other words, I want them to think about the perceived ripple effect that this one specific entry - one specific topic and their subsequent engagement with that topic - had on them as individuals. How did it expand their understanding of the topic? What exactly did they learn? Was there a reaction from the class blogosphere?"

My Response:

I agree that most students see blogging that is required for their classroom as a race to the finish. It is interesting that you noticed many of them seem to judge the success of their writing based on the number of responses that entry receives. It is great that you realized these problems and came up with a great solution for it! Specifically, I like your Ripple Effect Worksheet. There is evidence through your entry that this self-assessment has changed the way students use and reflect upon their own entries as well as others'. One of the most intriguing aspect of this worksheet is the example you gave when Terry had realized his own weaknesses in grammatical and spelling errors because his peers had brought it to his attention! It is as if the students are playing the evaluator's role toward one another instead of the teacher which is awesome! I think you have definitely steered your students in the right direction with this self-assessment worksheet - keep up the good work.




Jacci Stier's Blog Response #3

Title: Spore - The Video Game

URL: http://remoteaccess.typepad.com/remote_access/2008/02/spore---the-vid.html?cid=105885780#comment-105885780

Spore is a completely new type of game that Will Wright is calling a Massive Single Player Online Game as opposed to games like World of Warcraft that are Massive Multi Player Online Games. Starting the game, a player begins with a single celled organism which they need to evolve. At critical points you will have control over what the organism eats, how it hunts to survive and what other organisms it crosses with, allowing it to evolve and change, gaining new traits. Eventually, your single celled creature becomes a multi celled creature, which builds a civilization for itself, gains new technologies such as spacecraft and then travels the stars to other planets. A pre build version was featured last year at TED with Will Wright himself leading us through it.

On my classroom mid term Social Studies exam several weeks ago, I asked the students how using video games such as SimCity is like conducting a science experiment. Many of them understood the idea that a simulation video game gives them the opportunity to test a hypothesis and then go back and make changes, looking for different results. I think this game fits exactly into that category and will prove to be an excellent resource for anyone who studies societies, societal development, or history as part of their curriculum.

This will be worth saving some of your tech budget.

My Response:

This Spore game sounds like a wonderful idea and opportunity for students! I am currently a student at Illinois State University in hopes to teach secondary education. I find myself torn between wanting to play video games such as World of Warcraft (WoW) or completing my homework on time quite often. WoW stimulates my mind so much more than homework simply because of the interactive environment it offers. Being able to connect an interactive game with educational curriculum, to me, is one of the best ways a teacher can motivate their students to learn. Students will get hooked on wanting to evolve their organism thus advancing into the game and all along they will be learning useful material while having fun! I wish more of my teachers in the past would have used programs such as Spore.


Jacci Stier's Blog Response #2

Title: Random Thoughts

URL: http://www.thethinkingstick.com/?p=633#comment-26289

Jeff Utecht wrote, "This coming from a generation who doesn't pay for music. Downloading is OK, but actually deleting or changing something that someone else wrote is just wrong! The Teacher made the point we've obviously taught them the power of ownership, but how does that change in a digital world? How do we teach students that you can't copy and paste off the Internet, but if you are working collaboratively in a group on a wiki, it's OK to edit someone else's work. Students would rather have their own personal space to add, create, and edit their own work on the Internet instead of working in a collaborative space. Maybe it's an age thing? We're talking teenagers here who are dealing with self-identity as well. Maybe personal space is what they need, what they crave at this age and is that reflected in trying to create collaborative knowledge? Or has it just been drilled into them that your work is your work and remixing and creating with someone else is called cheating?"

My response:

I think you hit on a very important topic here. I am currently working on creating a Digital Story with two of my classmates using a wiki space. I will be the first to admit that I have not used the wiki space at all so far. I think that the concept of students being able to collaboratively put together information on a single webpage is pretty neat! However, it does not feel right to me. All my years in school for group projects I have had to meet face to face with my peers and work together simultaneously to put together our paper, project, or presentation. When two people did not agree on something, or someone thought they knew how to improve a certain part that another student wrote, the two students would talk and discuss the need for change. I feel that element would be lost using a wiki space, because someone could be changing your work and you would not even know it until you logged on next. As you stated, I feel that some students would have a problem being told to never copy and paste off the internet but then all of a sudden they can copy, paste, add, or delete text that a peer has written. Perhaps I am just being old school and technologically shy, but when it comes to group projects I would prefer working face to face.


Jacci Stier's Blog Response #1

Title of Post: Play in the Snow

URL: http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/archives/1352#comments

I heard, a few days ago, from a teacher who was using Class Blogmeister, even though it was being blocked by their school district. The teacher gives assignments, which students submit and engage in conversations about outside of the classroom. The other day, she wrote:

..we had a snow day so the students were off. That day I had more students at home working on Classblogmeister than any other day. It felt good to know that the students were taking it serious and blogging.

On a snow day they should have been out sledding but instead some were taking the time to update their posts and answer the assignments. It was a great day for me!

This fascinates me, though I hope that those kids spent some of their snow day sledding or building snow castles. I think it's great that students are so engaged by communicative class work. But some of my fondest memories are of crackling snow crust, icy sled rides down the hill by our house (which seemed so intimidating then), and fierce snowball battles across West 2nd Street.

Of course I could count on the fingers of my hands the total descent snows we had, as I was growing up.

My Response:

As a current Illinois State University student majoring in secondary education, I am enrolled in a technology enriched curriculum and instruction class. We have been discussing the need for educational reform to entice students into learning once again. Instead of grudgingly reading books and writing with pen and paper all day I believe it is important to motivate students to learn because they want to not because they have to. It goes without saying that present day students are more technologically advanced than previous generations. They have things like AIM, Myspace, or Facebook where they spend their free time communicating with others. What if we were to integrate this into the classroom, allowing students to use a type of medium they enjoy using in their free time, to learn? This teacher who used Class Blogmeister saw a significant increase in her students' motivation to learn and attend to class work instead of enjoying their snow day! I know you would not find a class full of students sitting in their classroom waiting to be lectured to instead of playing outside in the snow. This goes to show with new technology in the classroom we can gain students' motivation back and they will look forward to class and learning instead of dreading it.

- Jacci Stier


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