Video Project Proposal

For the past two projects, I have examined mostly the pros and cons of having digital tools in the classroom, and the possibility of these technological learning devices eventually making textbooks useless. For my video, I want to examine the other side of the coin, and make a case to try and “save” the textbook as a literary tool. I am not completely sure what I will include in the video, possibly some statistics and filmed interviews, but I know I want to personally interview some people and include their responses on why the textbook should never be taken from the classroom. I will utilize some inspirational music as well that will help propel the overall mood of my video. I also thought about writing a short skit about a student in the future who had never even seen a textbook, and then being introduced to one and exclaiming how much better of a learning tool it is. (Just some thoughts)


Audio Project Proposal

1. For my first approach, I would set up my audio project as an interview, using various audio clips from past interviews in which the people being interviewed were asked whether they believe digital tools could be helpful in the classroom, or whether they prefer more traditional literacy tools for learning or digital tools such as IPads or blogs.

2. The next approach I would take would be to combine more digital sounds with traditional ones. More specifically, including music with more traditional instruments such as the violin or piano, and combining it with new-age digital sounds such as new beats and electronic tones to signify which side the interviewers are supporting. (Digital tools in the classroom, or traditional ones.)

3. My third approach would be to include audio from news clips relying information on how digital tools are being used in the classroom, to give the listener some background to my focal topic. I would also want to explore how some news clips reflect the more traditional view of teaching, and perhaps the struggle some teachers face in incorporating digital tools in their classroom, and if a generation gap has anything to do with their problems.

Focal Topic Playlist

For my focal topic playlist I selected the songs “Technologic” by Daft Punk, “I Can Change “by LCD Soundsystem, “Bittersweet Symphony” by the Verve, “Fur Elise” by Ludwig van Beethoven, and Mozart’s “Violin Sonata in B-Flat Major”. In choosing these songs I wanted to establish a clear distinction in terms of sound, instruments used, and the year in which they were produced to showcase how digital literacy can be quite different from traditional forms of literacy in the classroom. The songs “Technologic” and “I Can Change” feature a much more digital sound with electric instruments used, and the songs can be somewhat categorized as digital music. I chose these two songs to represent the digital forms of literacy, because of their new-age sound that relies heavily on technology. In terms of “Fur Elise” and “Violin Sonata in B-Flat Major”, I put these songs on my playlist to represent the more traditional side of literacy because of the calmness these pieces present as well as their incorporation of the more traditional instruments such as the piano and violin. I did want to establish a sort of medium in my playlist however, so I chose the song “Bittersweet Symphony” to represent the compromise that can come out of using both digital literacy tools in the classroom as well as sticking to the more traditional teaching methods. This song features a very distinguishable violin sound as well as a few more digital sounds that present a good balance in terms of the new-age digital sound and the music of the more traditional instruments. In terms of a more metaphorical sense, I pictured “Technologic” and “I Can Change” representing a classroom that only uses digital literacy tools, (such as an IPad or a blog forum), to help their students learn, and “Fur Elise” and “Violin Sonata in B-Flat Major” representing an entirely traditional classroom that relies only on textbooks and pen/paper. Finally, “Bittersweet Symphony” is my interpretation of a balanced classroom, with some forms of digital literacy being utilized while still holding on to the more traditional styles of learning.

Digital Commonplace 2

25 Teaching Tools for the Digital Classroom

Through conducting my research on digital forms of literacy in the classroom, I found a great article that lists twenty five teaching tools to organize, innovate, and manage what a teacher does in the classroom on a regular basis. The article features an abundance of web-based programs and applications that serve a specific function and assist in the categories of, organization, project-based learning, classroom management, presentations, and assessment. Many of these digital tools I had not yet heard of before, but some were in fact familiar to me, either in my usage of them or my teacher/professor’s. In terms of organization, some of the programs listed are Engrade, MySchoolBinder, and Learn Boost. Engrade provides teachers an online all-in-one grade book that includes attendance charts, calendars, grade books, and behavior tracking. MySchoolBinder lets teachers organize and edit their class assignments in a much simpler way, and Learn Boost is a digital student progress tracker. In terms of project-based learning, one program that I found interesting was the app SonicPics, which allows students to combine pictures with recorded narration into a threaded story. I also found the program myHistro quite fascinating, since it allows students to create a sort of digital timeline using blogs, media, and Google maps to tell personal stories. In terms of Classroom Management, one program that stuck out to me was Edmodo. Edmodo is a sort of Facebook-styled platform that allows teachers to continue classroom discussions outside of the classroom, check for student understanding, and get students excited about coming to class to learn. ClassDojo was another interesting behavioral tracking tool, because it rewards students for good behavior by giving the teacher the ability to send “points” to his or her students’ smart phones or tablets. In terms of presentations, one of the more useful tools I saw on the list was Brickflow, which allows teachers and students to create their own presentations using content collected from social media, including youtube, twitter, Facebook, etc. Rather than just having boring slides, this form of a presentation offers a lot more visual types of learning through the use of different forms of media. Finally in terms of assessment, the program that I could see myself enjoying was ClassMaker. This program allows teachers to create secure online quizzes and exams that feature multiple question types such as multiple choice, short answer, and essay, and they are automatically graded.

Digital Tools by Colleen Young

Another site I stumbled upon through doing my research was another WordPress blog titled Digital Tools by Collen Young. The blog offers slides and various youtube videos that explain how to use specific digital tools such as Desmos, Moodle, ImageCodr. Young also includes PowerPoints on why digital tools are becoming more of a necessity in today’s classroom. One presentation explains why Digital Tools are needed in the classroom, while another portrays what kinds of Digital tools are being used most frequently, and which are the most effective in terms of a student’s learning ability. At the end of her blog Young includes two PowerPoints that list the top 100 digital tools for learning in the years of 2010, and 2011.

Commonplace Blog 1

Connecting In and out of school writing through the use of digital tools- Emily Howell and David Reinking

This article written by Emily Howell and David Reinking deals with various case studies that were conducted that involved the use of digital tools in the classroom to help connect students with the writing they do at home with the writing assigned to them in school. Some of the digital tools used during the case studies included online blogging and journaling, social networks, and document sharing. Some case studies had positive reactions from the students, but others felt that these forms of digital literacy should be kept out of the classroom. For example, the first case study conducted by Witte dealt with grade school students blogging about the novel they had read and shared their responses digitally through a classroom blog the teacher had set up. The students were so passionate about this blog that when an administrator tried to shut down the blog because of privacy issues, the students protested and petitioned for the blog to stay. The next case study discussed in the article referred to online journaling and a study conducted by Guzzetti and Gamboa that featured two high school AP students. They observed how their audience (blog followers) reacted to their posts and in turn the two students formed a strong bond with their readers. However, Guzzetti and Gamboa concluded that the two students chose not to blog about their classroom assignments, but rather their own personal thoughts about a particular topic that interested them. The final case study that really stood out to me was one conducted by Buck that had to do with the social networking site of Facebook, and how it could be seen as a form of digital literacy through audience interaction. Buck had students create a multitude of fake Facebook profiles and had them post with each profile daily about the same topic. What he found was that depending on the demographic of the person posting, the audience that responded usually consisted of that same demographic. I believe this article is a good start in terms of what I want to accomplish through my focal topic project. It does a good job showing how various form of literacy can affect students in a positive way in terms of education, and it also explores the negative effects of utilizing digital tools in the classroom.

Tablets vs. Textboks

The next article I found had to do with the pros and cons of using tablets or textbooks in the classroom and at home for school-related assignments. The article contains a variety of reasons why tablets or textbooks should be used in school, including higher grade point averages, health factors, cost, and preparation for the future. Some of the statistics seem a little far-fetched, but most of the information presented caught my eye as to why more students prefer tablets over textbooks and vice versa. This article gives me a basic understanding as to how large the push for more technology in the classroom is, more specially in regards to the tablet taking the place of the textbook.

Focal Topic Proposal

The focal topic I have chosen for this class is digital texts versus printed texts, and how our generation is shifting toward using more digital texts in schools versus printed ones. More so, I want to explore what kinds of digital texts are being used in the classroom today, as well as what professors or philosophers think about the printed text eventually becoming obsolete in the education system. I would also want to weigh in on the pros and cons of digital texts versus printed ones, by exploring various case studies that examine the advantages and disadvantages of both. I am interested in exploring this topic because I eventually want to teach one day and I would like to know different teachers’ and professors’ opinions on which text is more effective in terms of teaching material to students. I also took a class titled EDT 246 that had a unit on exploring digital literacy, and I was able to research someone who had an abundance of knowledge on that topic.

Most of the problems or concerns stemming from this focal topic have to do with where students are at in terms of a technological standpoint, and also where students will be in the future in regards to understanding how to utilize various forms of digital literacy. Teachers want to present information to students in the best way in which the students can learn, and in about twenty years teaching students while using a textbook or novel might even seem outdated or foreign to some students. I want to see if the textbook is a timeless tool for teaching, or if the use of online texts quickly eradicates that notion.

In terms of arguments I might take in regards to my focal topic, I might take the side of utilizing printed texts in school because I was primarily raised on them and taught with them through my early educational years. Then I would explore the opposing argument, and see if there are any compromises between the two texts that might be useful in the classroom.

Most conversations about this topic that I have come across are included in articles and blogs that are in pdf format or on online sites. Some are also available in textbooks, but those seem a little outdated. The people who are generally starting the conversation about printed versus digital texts are mainly professors, and high school teachers who want to know the best way to teach their set curriculum to their students. Most of them are English teachers, trying to figure out if an online text is much more convenient as opposed to a printed one. I have also found a few case studies that explore the benefits of various forms of digital literacy used in the classroom. Professors mainly created these case studies, and in doing so they had mostly high school and college students participate in them. In terms of people invested in this topic, I would say teachers are mainly the ones devoted, but also students as well. After all, the argument being made for using digital or printed texts in the classroom has mainly to do with them and how they retain certain information in the best way.