Newoldschool.org Horizons

Over the next twelve months my goal is to make technology more accessible in the classroom while adhering to my pillars.  The only way Newoldschool.org can be successful is if technology is used in a user friendly way.  One problem many schools face is not being able to log on to youtube.com because of restrictions.  Through Newoldschool.org, teachers and students will have access to youtube videos.  Under the menu labeled “videos”, I hope to have a library of watchable videos catalogued by category.  There can be histoical documentaries, math videos, or health related videos that students can access or teachers can use in the classroom.  The benefit is that by uploading the videos onto Newoldschool.org it bypasses the restrictions some school distrcits have, making the videos playable.  Under the pillar of diffentiation students can use the youtube videos or access the cache of powerpoints that can be uploaded to serve as not only visuals, but also as written information students and teachers can use.

Above is an exampe of how the powerpoints can serve as visuals and notes for students.  The teachers can access these powerpoints as well as students.  The purpose of this, as I stated before is differentiation.  “Differentiated Instruction gives students a range of ways to access curriculum, instruction and assessment. DI engages students to interact and participate in the classroom in a richer way. It is based on the assumption that all students differ in their learning styles, strengths, needs and abilities and that classroom activities should be adapted to meet these differences.”

Click the picture above to read an article on differntiated instruction and the importance of this process in the classroom. 

Above all Newoldschool.org’s aim is to make the technology user friendly to allow the pillars in our mission statement a possiblity.  As the students take ownership of their learning by accessing moodle, it’s necessary that educators keep updating moodle to provide different lessons to their students.  As Newoldschool grows the Moodle activites can be stored and teachers won’t have to create new lessons, but access relevant lessons that are already created.  This saves time not only for the teacher but for the students as well. 

 

References:

Schoolnet.com http://www.youtube.com/user/eunSchoolnet?feature=watch

Tolerance.org http://www.tolerance.org/activity/differentiated-instruction

 

Moodle a love hate relationship

Newoldschool.org is featuring Moodle software.  I mentioned in my pillars that we need to differentiate our instruction for our students.  Moodle, although not as user friendly as I would like is a valuable tool in and OUT of the classroom.  The reason why I emphasized “out” is because what the students have available them when they are not under your instruction is crucial.  As a student, I remember being home and forgetting what I learned in class or wishing I had more material.  With Moodle, students have access to whatever the teacher wishes to put up.  As an educator, I tend to use powerpoints, however powerpoints can have a negative connotation because they can be tedious and boring.  I use a lot of visuals and minimal text when possible.  This technique works well for my students and with Moodle, I can bring Newoldschool.org to the forefront of educational technology by being able to bring the classroom to the students.

 

 

Here, you can see (hopefully) the link on the image that would bring you to the powerpoints.  Following my initial statement on differentiation, assessments are a huge part of this.  Not all students learn the same, so obviously not all students would test the same.  Moodle allows educators to mix up the testing process in a seamless process.  (probably the most user friendly portion of moodle).  There are essay portions for students that favor explaining their thoughts as well as multiple choice, true false, etc. 

 

 Following the pillar taking ownership of their learning, students can access thier own cache of powerpoints, notes, study guides, etc to give them everything they need to be successful in the classroom as well as out of the classroom.  Out of the classroom you ask?  Yes, by using this software our students will be using software, software that keeps them in the technological world they live in.  Most compaines require you to navigate their software, not a text book.

What’s all the “Skype” about???

 

The last pillar I mentioned was learning to live together.  With Newoldschool.org, we are embedding Skype software to allow students to communicate with each other, not only all over America but all over the world.  Now, there are more reasons to use Skype other than to just say hello to a complete stranger.  One website offers an array (50 to be specific) of ways to use skype in the classroom. (click on skype icon to see the 50 ways you can use skype in the classroom).  People always wonder when the future is going to get here thinking of flying cars and beaming up to places like Star Trek.  Well, if you ever watch Star Trek, they do a lot of video conferencing on the main screen when talking to other ships.  That my friend, is Skype, and the future is here.  Students can log on to this site and use Skype to do projects.  For instance, If a student was doing a report on Australia, they can use skype to actually talk to someone from Australia.  As teachers we always stress usiing primary sources and first hand accounts, well this is the primary source machine.  Other than sharing information, students are learning to see people from different cultures which has value well beyond their years in school.  In the workforce, you can’t choose who you work with.  You have to be able to work with people of all different races and creeds, and if students are using skype in school and are subjected to these experiences, then you will see prejudice and racism decrease over the years.

 

On the site that talks about the 50 ways to use skype in the classroom, they mentioned another cool point.  How awesome would it be if you could have an author of a book you are reading skype into your classroom and hold a discussion?  This tool is invaluable as a teacher .  You can skype politicians, atheletes, authors, and anyone that has access to the software.  This is brinigng students into our society instead of telling them what it will be like “when you are in the real world”.  With skype we can bring the real world to them first.

Together, teachers and newoldschool.org can bring students, people, and educators together in a combined effort to give our students experiences that can only be dreamed of.  So please, tell me what you all think!!!

My experience setting up this site :-/

Follwing the PDF file was quick and painless.  Well, somewhat painless.  This is my story of the lowercase “w”.  So I follow the PDF file word for word, when I should have been following it letter for letter.  I set up and install my wordpress website, and everything is going according to plan.  I then go to see my site in all it’s infant glory,a nd the internet says it’s broken and the website can’t be pulled up.  Now, combined with the stress I had from having the power outages last week and trying to do two units in one week, I’m trying not to throw my computer out a window in pure rage and frustration.  Out of pure panic I email Prof. Kurti.  I get a reply very quickly saying did you use an upper case “W” when you redirected the domain to the “W”elcome site.    I promptly responded in my head something along the lines of &@(#)*.  Other than that….painless.