Friday, September 18, 2009

EME 5050: "The Networked Student" Reflection on Wendy Drexler's Video

EME 5050 Video Reflection from

1. "The Networked Student" video was quite interesting in my opinion. I watched it several times and each time I learned something new. At first I was quite intrigued by the idea of watching a video put together through art work and then manipulated into a story line to make the process of learning about a networked student and 'connectivism'. As soon as I realized that I was going to be able to apply this knowledge immediately I grabbed a pen and paper and began jotting down some notes that I found to be very helpful to me. After reading the chapter and the bookmarked sites, the concept of a personal learning network mentioned in the video resonated with something I did not have a name for, but knew existed. I had not quite thought of our classrooms as becoming our own and shared personal learning networks. By creating these PLNs we truly have created and more than likely will continue to take responsibility for our own learning as we become more digitally inclined learners.

2. I have been slow to pick up on much of the new technology, but now I can't seem to get my hands on it fast enough. Just this week I have had my tech coordinator at my school install new software for my students to begin creating podcasts and digital stories as well as Google Earth to begin creating Lit Field Trips to use with our new Literature textbooks that we just adopted. I've just recently become a fan of Twitter to follow and learn from fellow colleagues on digital learning in the 21st Century. Over the last few weeks I have picked up on using Diigo and how saving bookmarks really does save me time. I have not figured out how to share them easily just yet, but I am working on it. I have subscribed to several RSS feeds and receive them on my phone, so I feel like I'm connected to the rest of the world. One thing that I read in the book that I was unfamiliar with is not about the networking part of being connected, but the connection part of being networked. I was very interested in reading about PLC, also known as Power Line Connection, that is starting to replace/upgrade DSL which many of us have just upgraded to from the old telephone modem. In the classroom this could be especially a great technological advance and connection because not all schools are even fully connected to the Internet in remote locations with access for every student. So by eliminating the wires and being able to plug in and surf, students will only benefit that much more in the classroom.

3. At first I was uncomfortable thinking about the role of the teacher in the video. I think one of the reasons that I was slow to pick up on the digital trend was mostly because much of the lingo was very daunting to me. I wasn't quite sure what a wiki was or how it was being used in the classroom. I knew what a blog was only because I was required to create one in a professional development course I was taking on podcasting. Now after watching Drexler's video and seeing how the new roles of a teacher have changed and what the outlook is, I'm game. Having any part of being a "Learning Architect, Modeler, Learning Concierge, Network Sherpa, Connected Learning Incubator, Synthesizer, and Change Agent" sounds daunting and a little scary to say the least. I think though as teachers we already wear so many different hats in the classroom, that picking up some new titles that we already wear, is very exciting as well.

4. One of the biggest challenges I foresee with the new "connectiivty identity" that a teacher must fulfill is simply being able to do it all and learn the technology fast enough before it is replaced by something else. For example, finding the time learning how to do each of the steps that a networked student will need to have in their personal learning network (blogs, social bookmarking, RSS feeds, mp3s, wikis, etc.). For many teachers we are still learning what an RSS feed is, or how to load up our iPods with tunes from the iTunes store. We already have so much to do during the course of the day, it's going time to transition to a truly networked learning environment to create our "networked students" become truly connected with the classroom that is not truly digital at this point in our own lives.

5. As far as what I can take with me from this video, I like the idea of being a "Sherpa" and showing the kids new ways to search for that missing piece of information that they might be looking for and seeing the lights go on when they discover something that they didn't know. Instead of teaching down to them and doing what we've always done in the classroom, getting on their networked level and digging in deep for the long term will have a greater impact on their education in the future. This is a small goal, but it is an important step in education. I don't mind being a seeker and a sharer when I know there are others who willing to do the same for me to help me create my own PLN.

I think the video over all was very helpful and hopefully this year I can help the kids I currently teach to work on becoming better 21st century digital citizens.


1 comment:

  1. Katie,

    Thank you for your comments about the video. I have had many teachers express discomfort over the role of teacher in The Networked Student. One recently compared the teacher in the video to a travel agent. He said he would rather be a tour guide. I thought that was an interesting metaphor, but it reflected a mindset focused on the teaching rather than the learning. I try to keep my focus on learner empowerment, but doing so doesn't mean I have to step completely away from comfortable roles. A willingness to experiment and take small steps can make huge headway.

    Enjoy your course!

    Wendy Drexler