Posted by: Navy Teacher | February 10, 2012

Googlease ~ Opportunities are endless

Prior to our most recent class, we watched some videos and read information about utilizing Google documents to enhance your ability to reach out to peers, students, and parents.  I consider myself to be extremely proficient in operating the Microsoft Office suite. I’ve used PowerPoint, Word, and Excel at work and for scholastic purposes.  Until this class, Google Documents has been a tab that I never investigated in my personal e-mail account.  Why has it taken me so long for me to realize the benefits of utilizing this amazing service?

The opportunities for enhancing the classroom experience for students through the use of Google documents are endless.  The presentations that provided 115 different ways to utilize Google documents and forms were tremendously insightful.  I believe that Google documents provide yet another avenue for creative learning.   I really like the interactive function that we explored in the computer lab.  Another great feature is the ability for multiple users to edit a single form.  Students could complete a joint homework assignment from the comfort of their home.  As a teacher, it is a great way to provide real-time feedback on student projects.

Unfortunately, there are potential hurdles to overcome for some students outside the school campus.  I will use my experience in the Navy as a case in point.  Part of the reason we didn’t use Google documents in the Navy was the fact that internet access was intermittent while deployed.  We would go days without internet service due to mission requirements, bad weather or other factors that were beyond our control.  The lack of internet access is an issue that is a reality for students in low-income school districts.  I’d be interested to know how RCSD teachers overcome that obstacle.  There are other options for students like the public library for example.  Motivating your students without internet access to utilize that resource is a challenge.  I’d be interested to know what teachers do for students who don’t have access to the internet in the class or at home.

Posted by: Navy Teacher | February 3, 2012

Can a computer be an effective tutor?

There is an obvious answer to this question, right?  Yes, of course a computer can serve the role as tutor.  Robert Taylor wrote about the role of a computer serving as a tutor way back in 1980 in his book “The Computer in School: Tutor, Tool, Tutee.”  He provided explicit directions about how the computer must be programmed to serve in that role.  In an ideal situation, the computer presents the essential subject material and based upon the student’s response, the computer would then determine the next appropriate action.  Although it requires numerous hours of programming, the end result could be an effective tool that is capable of teaching many students.

It sounds like a great idea.  That is what the United States Navy thought when it bought into the idea of computers serving in the role of tutor.  The Navy spent millions of dollars to develop software that is capable of serving the role of tutor.  The programming was called Computer Based Training (CBT).  It was developed to train thousands of young Sailors the essentials about how to perform their job.  The idea was that the initial investment would pay off in the end because CBT would reduce the number of human instructors at school houses around the globe.  The Navy also launched Navy Knowledge On-line (NKO) which would provide numerous other tools to include career tracking and several CBT courses.  Sounds like a wonderful idea, right?

The initial CBT program was a failure.  As a leader, I expected my Sailors to report to my command ready to do the job they were “taught” to do.  For instance, if the Sailor was an electronics technician, he/she should be able to perform basic electronics troubleshooting.  A weapons technician should be able to perform basic maintenance on his/her weapons.  Unfortunately, soon after the transition to CBT courses, Sailors required extensive on-the-job training upon arriving to their first command.  Teaching someone how to use an oscilloscope or take apart a 9MM handgun is more effective when it is done utilizing kinesthetic or tactile instruction.  It was unrealistic to expect the student to learn those tasks by watching a computer screen and answering multiple choice questions.  The NKO career tracking software never gained steam and died before implementation.

Fortunately, the Navy realized that it was a mistake to depend primarily on CBT; especially for those jobs that require hands-on training.  A combination of CBT and classroom instruction has resulted in a better-trained Sailor who is more capable of performing his/her job when they report for duty.

That has been my experience with computers serving the role as tutor.  Do you have an experience with computers serving in the role as tutor that contradicts my experience?  Perhaps you have an experience that mirrors my experience.  Your input would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by: Navy Teacher | January 24, 2012

Oh, the agony…

The angst of posting a blog!  Perhaps I’m being facetious but the reality is that I have never been a fan of social media.  I didn’t have a MySpace account nor do I currently have a Facebook account.  I do not utilize any instant messaging services.  One can argue that social media is responsible for a new form of depression in America.  I attribute my aversion for social media to my service in the Navy.  It would frustrate me to no end when I’d stumble across one of my Sailor’s who was playing Farmville or some other game on their phone instead of completing their assigned job.

So, here I am posting my first blog.  I believe that blogging will be the most challenging part of the course for me.  However, I believe that it serves an important purpose.  As a future teacher, I believe that the technology tools we learn in this course, to include blogging, will help complete my teaching tool kit.  The Wallwisher and serve as excellent examples of education technology that is exciting to me.  As we progress into the 21st century, technology has become an important aspect of society and within scholastic institutions around the globe.  It behooves me as a future teacher to learn how to effectively utilize technology so I can positively impact the learning process of my students.  I am excited to learn about education technology this semester.

Side note – this one goes under the category of “don’t try this at home.”  I bought a new 16 GB thumb drive for this course.  After verifying that the thumb drive worked I placed it in my pocket.  The thumb drive managed to stay in my pocket until I washed those pants.  Fortunately, I found the thumb drive before it was placed in the dryer.  Good news ~ after allowing the thumb drive to air dry for 24 hours it still works!  I highly discourage anyone from washing their thumb drive yet I do recommend the sturdy and compact 16 GB sandisk cruzer which is available at your local Staples.

« Newer Posts