Tuesday, October 16, 2007

TOK Blogs. The Research begins...

So now that tennis season has ended and my TOK class is in full swing, my formal research has begun.

I'm having the students each host the blog for a week in an attempt to get them to record for me how people are responding on the blog. All of my expectations, including my "Blog Log", are found here.

Now that my students are thinking, writing, and recording for me... it all begins. Now we'll just see where it takes me.

In other classroom blogging news...
In 2 weeks or so, a new TOK blog will be set up for an international audience. Schools from Colorado, Chicago, Munich, Singapore, the UK, and Equador will be talking to each other. I'm still in the process of formalizing how that will look but I'll post more info. when I know.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Back for now...

This is the point where I would normally rant and rave about how I've been MIA on my personal blog and now it is the time where I will recommit and go forward with it on a consistent basis. Well we will see...

For now, I'm in the middle of the summer again... AI going strong... considering where I am in my research.

In terms of my question and research... I'm just now beginning the data collection phase. I have prepped my kids for how I'd like them to help me with data and I have my basic tools ready, I just need the time to finalize the forms and begin next week with my student hosting of the blog. This is all based on my classroom blog for my TOK class.

I am in a good place and looking forward to taking data but since I am not presenting at the Jan. Conference, I am not feeling the pressure to be in a different place. My data will take the year I can begin compiling in April/May.

As for the inquriy group, I'm not sure I need anything... I'd just like to hear where they are, both successes and failures.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

What do we bring to the table?

Steph’s Morning Pages Prompt (tweaked and rebuilt by Renee)

How does your investment in your research question and the students’ background knowledge about your topic affect the research?

As I try to establish a confident, comfortable online community for my students, I need to consider this question…

1. What do I bring?

I know what I “bring to the table” as my TOK students like to point out. I realize that my investment in blogging and how I believe it can contribute to my students experience in TOK is strong. Does this make it easier or more difficult for my kids? I initially say that it is easier. I’m motivated and comfortable in that world and I would like to believe that this would rub off on my kids as I slowly nudge them towards being part of that community. My wonder though is, on some level, does this make it more difficult? Is it intimidating for some of them that I am pushing them in while I may not be aware of their own fears and trepidations of diving in? My hope is that I can just be more aware of this specific issue.

2. What about them?

What may be of greater importance is what they are walking in with. One assumption that I know I get caught with is that I assume that all students of this generation are computer-savvy. I assume they all text, blog, mySpace, eBay, IM, game, and surf the web with regularity. I know that this is a terrible assumption to make, which takes me back to the issue mentioned above about intimidation. What if they aren’t comfortable or confident? Worse… what if they have no interest or even a desire to stay out of that world? Where do I go from here? How do I motivate those students to try something new, build their skills and participate freely in a community that I believe can have a great impact on their overall understanding of the TOK class and curriculum? Or is this just another assumption that I’m missing?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Blogs in my classroom

So as I've ranted before, it is important for me (very important) to utilize technology and blogs in particular to assist my students in refining their critical thinking and TOK skills.

Now that AI has begun, I get to focus on that. As I listened to E. Jason talk about his plan for his AI research, I found my kindred spirit. We are interested in exploring the same issue. What is cool is that we are starting our explorations from completely opposite ends of the spectrum. To see what Jason is looking at in detail, check out the "CSUWP Advanced Institute" link under Other Posts to Check Out.

Both Jason and I are interested in getting kids to utilize blogs to increase their critical thinking but Jason presently approaches blogging from a limited perspective. He has kids only blog during specific units on focused topics. He wants to push them farther. I presently use my TOK blog as a holistic exercise to generate discussion during the year about a variety of topics, very rarely concentrated on specific issues in class. I wish to use it in a more focused manner. Both Jason and I have had success but it sounds like we need to meet in the middle.

So my teacher research just got better. Hopefully, I've found someone who can push me in a direction I need to go and along the way I will do the same for him.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The summer has begun...

I always say that good teachers don't have their summers off... so I'm trying to be a good teacher. As I have for the past 4 years, I'm involved with the CSU Writing Project. We are beginning this week and I'm already inspired to begin teaching again... though my "time off" right now is amazing and needed. The Summer Institute is getting me back to blogging, writing, and researching, all needs and desires I have right now. So the summer has begun... time off (kind of) but time involved in what I need and want.

Advanced Institute begins soon... another challenge on the way.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wow... I'm still in shock.

I'm actually sitting at my computer at school writing this post.

My district FINALLY decided to unblock Blogger for educational purposes. They used my TOK blog as evidence for its usefulness and they finally agreed... so now you are free as PSD teachers to utilize it in your classroom... and please do. The more of us that stand up and show how we can properly use blogger for students and teachers alike, the more likely that they will see it as a step forward in our use of technology.

Thanks Bud, Krista, and whomever else helped fight the good fight.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Lost Curiosity


my favorite unit has begun... Evolution.

Not because I have any desire to indoctrinate my kids or because I want to see them change their views. I couldn't care less. What I'm after is the debate, the desire to dig deeper into the depths of knowledge and the language behind it all.

I just finished an activity that has kids rank the following concepts by how important they are to scientists... its amazing what they come up with.

(in no specific order)
1. Facts
2. Laws
3. Theories
4. Hypotheses

The view that kids have is that facts are the most important to scientists because they are "truths" such as "the sun rises in the east; life is carbon-based; we have 8 planets in our solar system (a nice debate in itself)". But the funny thing... who cares? What can scientists do with that information... nothing. They are just "confirmed observations".... no testing to be done, nothing to be explored... so to scientists, they are the least important.

Funny how language so often is misunderstood and misshapen by society and the media. That's why evolution is so fun... the debate, the curiosity...

"Mr. Malone, what is the big deal with Intelligent Design?"

I love that the kids wonder... the curiosity that is lost sometime during Junior High reappears. It was always there, its just often shadowed by hormones and what makes them cool. But bring up what everyone is arguing about and they suddenly pipe up. Not that they aren't interested otherwise... but how can I tap into that innate curiosity all the time?