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Elizabeth Ferry
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Elizabeth Ferry commented on a post on Blogger.
I agree with Nancy, the resources were excellent.  I shared the Primary Source with my school, especially the Black History month section.  I will be sitting with my principal this week to discuss possible activities for our students to take part in next year and I will be bringing with me the information from iEarn.  I really liked a lot of the projects and I know we could implement a good number of them at our school.  Thank you again for providing us with the information and opportunity to hear the presentations.

Hello!  I am a middle school math teacher in New Haven, CT.  I am currently taking courses through the University of New Haven in Instructional Technology and Digital Media Literacy.  This is my first MOOC.   I am very excited to take part in the MOOC and make connections.

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Here is my reflection from Module 5.  What a great module to tie together all of the information we have learned through this course!

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Module Four Reflection:  Challenges of online "text" creation

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Have you ever been fooled by information you read online? You bet I have!  Hopefully I am not the only one.  Here is a entry on my blog from how I was fooled.

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Hi everyone.  I have entered a post on my blog about the module two readings and videos.  I included them it in my blog instead of just here in the community since it sort of deals with the Networked Learning Project.  I would LOVE any additional thoughts or comments.  I cannot express enough how motivated I am to take this to the next level.

Reflection: Module 2

Part 1:   What challenges exist as students work collaboratively as opposed to working individually?

Part 2:  Students working collaboratively and co-constructing knowledge is a powerful learning experience. What scaffolds can the teacher put in place to support all students as they collaborate?

For the purpose of not repeating myself in two separate blog entries, I combining the first and second part of my reflection together since they overlap.

There are times in my classroom where I pair the students up to work collaboratively on projects or assignments.  In every class I always have one or two students who always want to work alone.  Instead of allowing them to work alone immediately, I ask them to list out their concerns as to why they do not want to work with others.  The lists that students have provided to me in the past I think really sum up the challenges that exist as students work collaboratively as opposed to working individually.  To keep it as short as possible I will list the three top challenges that my students have identified and that I feel are involved with collaborative work.  In addition, I will list a brief description and any differentiation or scaffolding that I use in my classroom to overcome these challenges.

-  Students fear they will do all of the work for their group and others will do nothing.
- This is the most common challenge I think anyone faces when working collaboratively whether they are an adult or child..  In my classroom this concern primarily comes from the higher level students who do not always want to carry their group members through a project.  To avoid this challenge I create partner rubrics that each student has to use at the end of the project to grade their group members on their contribution to the group.  It has seemed to help keep everyone contributing an equal amount of effort to group projects in my class.

-  Those that may not have a great understanding of the material are afraid they will not be able to keep up with the work due to a lack knowledge.
-  As educators I think we all have a pretty good idea as to what level of work our students are capable of completing.  When there is a student who may not have the same understanding level of others in their group, differentiation should be used.  Whether assignments are made for each group member or a teacher provides extra resources and assistance to those who may not have the same understanding of the information, a teacher can help those less knowledgeable feel as if they are contributing to the group.

-  Everyone in the group will not be on the same page with the topic of the work or with each other.
-  From an adolescent standpoint, I have students complain that they do not like certain individuals and will not work with them in groups.  Of course as an adult I give them the speech about how as they get older they will have to work with people that they do not like and for their job no matter what.  Another thing though that I tell them is that no matter who they work with they should be open to their ideas, because it may be different or it may be the same as their own.  A huge component of education is learning from others.  Not just adolescent, but adults as well can learn from other individuals even if they do not share the same perspective as others.  It is one of the greater attributes of human beings, we are all not alike and our differences can allow us to share with others, but also learn from others.  This of course is a little too deep for my students but as with the partner rubric that I make them complete on their group members, I also ask them to tell me at least one thing that they learned from their group members that they did not know before.  It is actually very rewarding to see the collaboration that occurs when students know that they will have to educate their group members, whether it be with an idea, process or some fact that they know, real collaboration and learning is inspiring.

Module One - In what ways do you now authentically and effectively use digital texts and tools in your classroom?

Before working my way through the information in Module One, I looked at the question above that I was going to reflect on.  I then wrote down on a piece of paper a list of what digital texts and tools I used in my classroom.  As I was reading the information and going through the module, I made notes next what I thought was authentic and effective uses of technology in my classroom and if they related to the readings in the module.

What I noticed was that my uses of digital text and tools in my classroom were not as authentic and effective as they should be to align with the information I read.  The information in the Mozilla Web Literacy Standards article made me realize that although I use technology in the classroom, there are changes I could make that would enhance the competency of my students.

We have Polyvision Eno boards in our classroom.  They are very similar to Smartboards, but as we were told when we received them, just smarter!  I use the board primarily for notes doing a class period.  It is interactive so I can pull up websites to use online graphing calculators and other resources.  In addition, I can take a worksheet and project it on the board and use the Eno pen to complete the worksheet with the students, very similar to an overhead projector.

One thing that I do not do, which I should do to better align my students with the Mozilla Web Literacy Standards, is make whatever we work on in class available to them online so they can refer back to the lessons.  It would take a little bit more work, but really not that much, to make the material available to my students almost immediately after it was presented.

The students could refer back to the lessons from the class when they go home to complete their homework.  There could be links under each lesson to more examples of sample problems like from Khan Academy or other resources I might find.  In addition, we could create a classroom blog or discussion board where students could post resources they found helpful or any problems they are struggling with from the homework or classwork.

Looking back I always mentioned some of these ideas to my students, but never provided them with the instruction on how to implement them into their daily lives.  If I can organize the material and guide the students to my school webpage, they would have a good starting place to begin to explore, build, and connect the information from the classroom to information on the internet.  I am getting so excited just thinking about it!
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