“Higher education is the…


“Higher education is the single most important investment you can make in your future” – President Obama


To: The 21st Century Educator, Student, or Parent

Over the last few years, I have attempted to become a 21st Century Educator to mirror that of our students who are 21st Century Learners. Through speaking with parents (the first and primary teachers) of both students and other teachers, I have discovered that not everyone is familiar with what 21st Century means in terms of learning and education. I have also discovered teaching with one-to-one devices in the classroom that there is a degree of fear of the unknown and how the technology fits in the classroom. To help calm the fears of the unknown and if I could stand on my soapbox and share my edtech ‘geekiness’ with all parents and teachers out there about 21st Century Learning I would share three things to help share how necessary Educational Technology is:

1. First, I would share a YouTube video titled A Vision of K-12 Students Today. I would point out the video was created in 2007 and is in my opinion out of date at this point. Then I would ask them to think about how far things have come (or should have come) in education and how different the picture of the classroom should look from what it was when they were in the student desks.

2. I would then share the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for Students. I would point out the title terms such as creativity, communication, collaboration, research fluency, information fluency, critical thinking, problem solving and decision making. These are all things that we would hope our students and children are capable of and that will help them be successful in any job or career.

3. Finally, I would point out the Common Core Standards which have been adopted in most states. I have found some of the same words from the NETS sprinkled in the Common Core standards. In my opinion, this means that (educational/instructional) technology is absolutely necessary.

Luv it….BYOD (Bring your own device) to the classroom.

Teacher Tech

Nothing gets a kid more excited than when you tell them you will be using their cell phones in class. Talk about instant interest! AS IF you are actually going to let them text and “get away” with it!

I tried this experiment today with my 8th grade classes. We talked about Wiffiti,  a dynamic bulletin board that is sort of like Wallwisher on steroids. It provides a place where a person can create a “board” with a specific address to text to. It looks like this:

(see the actual board here)

Students can contribute to the board in one of three ways. They can text to the number at the top of the screen. They can send a “tweet” from their twitter account. Or, they can go to wiffiti.com and search for a discreet tag you have put to identify your board. Because they come up…

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Web 2.0 edu

Wiffiti is quickly becoming one of my favorite apps for using cell phones in the classroom. It has a clean interface and the time for text to screen takes only seconds. What this gives teachers is a platform for instant feedback that can also be seen by the entire class. I did a little searching this morning to see how others are using Wiffiti. Actually, I was surprised that more people haven’t written about using the tool in their classrooms. Information was sparse, but here’s a few good ideas that I came across:

1. The Traveling with Technology Blog shows using Wiffiti in a Spanish class to learn the subjunctive by having students write their examples on the Wiffiti board.

2. Liz Kolb, one of the pioneers on using cell phones in the classroom, has a great blog post showing how to use Wiffiti as a brainstorming tool.

3. The Teacher Tech Blog mentions that Wiffiti…

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Synchronous Learning

Face to face communication in classroom is an example of synchronous learning. This means that individuals have a continuous chain of communication. It enables individuals to monitor each other’s reactions. E learning is another example of synchronized communication where instructors and learners meet through the internet. The receivers of information are keen because instructors monitor their reactions (Randolph, 2007).

Synchronized communication takes place in real time and this means communication has no delay. In a classroom setting, questions receive answers in real time and this leaves learners satisfied. All participants of synchronized communication must be available for it to be effective. A human element that results in bonding is another benefit of synchronized communication applications. This is where learners and instructors become united because of sharing information and ideas.

Examples of synchronized communication applications are text chats (yahoo messenger, MSN messenger, and learning management tools), Skype (text, voice, and video abilities), and telephone calls. These applications require all participants to be present for effectiveness. The virtual classroom falls in this category and it is an extension of the chat. It provides options for asking private questions, breakouts for teamwork and a collaborative whiteboard (Monahan, 2005).

Synchronized communication applications help learners and instructors to reach an understanding in the classroom setting; these systems make work easier for instructors and learners. These developments mark the shift in technology enjoyed in this century. The beauty of these systems is the convenience and ease of using them for educational purposes.

Monahan, T (2005). Globalization, Technological Change, and Public Education. New York: Routledge

Randolph, J. J. (2007). Multidisciplinary Methods in Educational Technology Research and Development. Hameenlinna, Finland: HAMK