The Curriculum Redesign Project

As the final project for my W540 class (and my final grad school project) I have updated this blog to act as an E-portfolio showcasing my work for the class. You’ll notice in the header a link to the Redesigning Curriculum tab which acts as the main portal to the work that I have done in redesigning several of my units with a focus on increasing technology and 21st Century Skills.


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Redesigned Curriculum: Lesson 4

Here is the final of the four redesigned units.

This one is more of a Project Based Learning approach as we look into Genetics.  We also plan on attempting to incorporate Literacy skills as we examine the novel, My Sisters’ Keeper.

Nuetzel 3.4 Final

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Redesigned Curriculum: Lesson 3

Here is a link to the third of 4 redesigned units.  This one focuses mostly on critically analyzing sources and is important in improving students’ digital literacy skills.

Nuetzel 3.3 Final Draft


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Redesigned Curriculum: Lesson 2

Here is a link to the unit that I have redesigned for my second project.

It focuses on Global Awareness and has a unique tie into Visual Art for a science class.

Nuetzel 3.2 Final

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Redesigning Curriculum: Lesson 1

Here is a copy of the first lesson that I redesigned.

The theme is Critical Thinking and Collaborative Learning.

Nuetzel 3.1 Final

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Technology Professional Development

The long awaited debut of the Web2.0Training4Teachers website has finally come! Kathryn Linderman and I have developed a website that can walk teachers through learning to understand what Web 2.0 tools are and how to utilize them in their classes.

The site currently consists of four lessons. Each lesson is designed with the intent that the educator learns by participation in a larger community and produces an artifact demonstrating some knowledge. Each of these lessons also enable the educator to gain practical experience in various examples of Web 2.0 tools that can be later used in the classroom.
The first lesson is designed to introduce the educator to the Digital Native and what learning on the internet can look like. The second lesson focuses on the ability to collaborate with multitudes of people online. If knowledge is socially constructed what can be more effective in learning than having millions of people around the world who want to learn alongside you? The second lesson also seeks to help the educator develop a Professional Learning Network, so that they can be self-sufficient after completing the training. (By self-sufficient I really mean linked into a knowledgable collective that can further refine your practices.) The third lesson focuses on introducing the teacher to specific Web 2.0 tools and has them learn how to use them on their own. Another major aspect of this lesson is learning to think WHY one would use such and such technology. The fourth lesson is for the teacher to create their own lesson plan utilizing a Web 2.0 resource and incorporating it into their classroom. This is then reflected on, and then shared back to the site to provide knowledge to other users in the Web2.0Training community.

The goal of this website is two-fold. The first goal is to introduce teachers to resources. The other goal for the future is to become a digital storehouse holding thousands of lesson plans and reflections developed for teachers and by teachers on various different Web 2.0 tools. The fourth lesson serves as the means of developing those reflections and lessons. At this time there are only one or two lesson reflections on there so be sure to check them out.

This site cannot learn and grow unless educators incorporate their experiences so be sure to invite all your friends!

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Deeper Reflections on A New Culture of Learning

With my Computers in Education class we read Thomas and Brown (2012) New Culture of Learning. The new culture of learning, according to Thomas and Brown, “comprises two elements. The first is a massive information network that provides almost unlimited access and resources to learn about anything. The second is a bounded and structured environment that allows for unlimited agency to build and experiment with things within those boundaries” (Thomas and Brown, 2011, p19). The major learning group is no longer the school, but the collective, “a community of similarly minded people who [help others] learn and meet the very particular set of needs [they have]” (p.21). With the vast network of information and a collective people have the opportunity to learn incredible amounts in very informal ways. The authors also point out that as the world’s accumulated knowledge is constantly being added to and the culture is moving so fast, that change is not only inevitable, but those who will succeed will be those that embrace it wholeheartedly (Thomas and Brown, 2011).
The authors point out how this new culture of learning needs to change the way we think about education. Learning in the collective happens all of the time, because people choose to learn more about their interests (Thomas and Brown, 2011). When teachers can make learning happen that is personal and passion based then learning ceases to be work and becomes an imaginative mode of play.
Traditional education has always focused on explicit knowledge because knowledge of the majority of our history has been relatively static. In the new culture of learning, where change is the norm, then we need to help students gain tacit knowledge. Citing Michael Polanyi, Thomas and Brown (2011) define tacit knowledge as, “the component of knowing that is assumed, unsaid, and understood as a product of experience and interaction” (p.74). Tacit knowledge can not be taught, but is learned by “doing, watching, and experiencing” (p.76). While the authors seem to suggest that this use of tacit knowledge is new, John Dewey talked about the same ideas back in 1903. Dewey (2009) in The Child and the Curriculum, distinguishes between the ‘adult’ knowledge as a clearly defined logical map of a journey. The students could not just study the map, but must experientially go through the journey to learn themselves. In his words,
“The map does not take the place of an actual journey. The logically formulated material of a science or branch of learning, of a study, is not substitute for the having of individual
experiences… but the map, a summary, an arranged and orderly view of previous experiences
serves as a guide, to future experiences.” (Dewey, 2009, p. 31)
While I agree with the authors that education needs to foster tacit knowledge and this has been neglected in traditional education, the ideas are not necessarily new.
Towards the end of the book the authors lay out the cornerstones of the new culture of learning. Instead of focusing on learning answers (what knowledge), students need to be learning to pose questions (where knowledge). Thomas and Brown (2011) say, “Reframing knowledge as a where question underscores the increasing importance of context. In a world where context is always shifting and being rearranged, the stability of the what dimension of knowledge also comes into question” (p.93). The second cornerstone of the new culture focuses on bringing knowledge together through the process of making. Hands on, learning by doing can go “far beyond a simple transfer of information and becomes inextricably bound with the context that is being created” (p.94). What the authors are saying is that by creating content we come to a much deeper understanding compared to just remembering facts. This is the same idea that is illustrated with Bloom’s Taxonomy of Knowledge. The third cornerstone is play where the authors discuss how in play the goal is not to finish, but to find the next challenge which is useful in the context of learning. We do not want our students to end our course and then think that they do not need to go to the depths within our field. As Dewey (1967) explains, “Any experience is mis-educative that has the effect of arresting or distorting the growth of further experiences” (p.25).
I would say that this is book does a good job merging some progressive education ideals from the past to the incredible technological revolution of today. I would recommend it to teachers who are trying to understand how to incorporate some new ideas into their classroom. This along with Brown’s Digital Media and Learning video can provide understanding of the context of change and why we need to ‘tinker’ with things even if we don’t utilize them for the next 25 years. For me personally, I like the dimensions of questioning, making, and play. I feel that these are easily connected to my subject area of middle school science. While I do have to get through the state standards, any chance that we can do authentic inquiry is needed.

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Reflections on Learning with Mobile Technology

I have made a podcast concerning my reflections on learning with mobile technologies.  You can find a link to my podcast here.

Some of the sources that I used for this reflection can be found below.

APA citation of these sources can be provided at another time, but I felt that having every source hyperlinked was more useful.

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Learning on the Go

(This post is actually a copy of my new page that I have added.)

I am developing a list of Apps that I think can help students through mobile learning.  At this time, the list will feature only apps for the iPad because this is the only mobile device that I own that can support apps.  In the future this list may grow to include more formats.

Dropbox (free) -In a mobile technology world many applications are used and transitioning from different technologies is commonplace.  With Dropbox’s online storage all files can be saved to the ‘cloud’ and accessed anywhere there is an Internet connection.  This is probably my most used app.  Folders can also be shared between users, and I plan on sharing folders with each of my students so that they will be able to turn in their work from home.

GoodReader (4.99) – this is a file reader that allows you to read PDFs and mark them up with annotations.  I plan on syncing this with Dropbox so that all work can be returned online, with written feedback.

Flipboard (free) – I have been learning about all the ways in which I need to become a “Connected Educator” and so far it is a little exhausting.  It would be useful to have a Facebook, edmodo, Mybigcampus, Twitter account, and subscribe to several blogs through an RSS feeder.  I do not have the time to check 15 different feeds a day so I tried to find one place that could store all those feeds.  Flipboard allows me to open up my Google RSS, Facebook, and Twitter newsfeeds in one program.  I also have access to basic news and science news.  Flipboard also organizes content into a nice magazine type feel so the information is not overwhelming.  There is still the possibility of missing out on updates due to the amount of content generated, but at this point I am still trying to just slowly immerse myself into the connected world.  (If anyone else has another feeder conglomerator type program I am interested in learning more.)

Videoscience (free) – I haven’t had the chance to use this in class (we got the iPads at the end of the year) but I like the ability to have nearly a hundred lab demonstrations right at my fingertips.  With an idea of the videos listed, this could provide an opportunity to allow students to see demonstrations that align to their interests when a topic is near what we are studying.  When my iPad is connected to the AppleTV then I’ll have the ability to show these videos in class when the occasion arises.

iTunesU (free) – This is another app that I haven’t had the opportunity to fully investigate.  iTunesU allows schools and universities to publish their courses online for the general public to learn from on their own.  For example, you could learn the introductory physics course from MIT or study 2009’s Anthropology course from USC.  While some of these courses have already been availible for free online, the app allows a consolidated learning platform.  The learning possibilities from this app are almost endless.

Useful Web 2.0 iPad Apps.  

These apps also have an online website that correlates with similar learning experiences on a traditional desktop or netbook.

Prezi (free)- This app allows for easy modification of Prezi presentations from the iPad.  To me, Prezi seems like it was created by apple to begin with (in that non-traditional recreating way).

ScreenChomp (free) – This is Techsmith’s Jing for the iPad.  You can create short videos showing how to do math problems for example.  Having a class set of iPads and ScreenChomp could be really impressive for learning benefits from students.

Khan Academy – While Salman Khan may not be the best teacher according to some, he has developed nearly 3,300 free videos viewed by more than 100 million people that explain the basics of math through upper levels of differentiate equations.  He also has taught science, humanities, and finance.

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Pedagogy of the Oppressed – Part 2

In the second half of Friere’s, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970) he discusses the use of dialogics and the theories of dialogics or antidialogics of cultural action. Focusing on the theories, the elite oppressors of a society will practice the antidialogics of conquest, divide and rule, manipulation, and finally cultural invasion. In conquest, the oppressor are depositing myths into the culture “indispensable to the preservation of the status quo: for example, the myth that the oppressive order is a ‘free society’” (p.139). The antidialogic of divide and conquer is rooted in the idea that by separating different peoples, it is easier to control and repress people. Manipulation can, even in the form of welfare programs, “act as an anesthetic, distracting the oppressed from the true causes of their problems and from concrete solution of these problems” (p.152). The final antidialogic that is used to keep the oppressed dominated is cultural invasion where the invaders, “impose their own view of the world upon those they invade and inhibit the creativity of the invaded by curbing their expression” (p. 152). All four of these forces are utilized to keep the masses stupefied and unconscious of the inequalities.
The revolutionary leader cannot utilize the antidialogics in bringing about an authentic revolution and therefore utilizes the dialogics of cooperation, unity for liberation, organization and cultural synthesis. Cooperation as opposed to conquest is utilized by ALL Subjects “who meet to name the world in order to transform it” (p.167). The leaders of a revolution act in accordance with the oppressed to problematize the world and then act as dialogical Subjects to change/solve the problems. In unity for liberation the leaders must unite themselves and the peoples together in order to achieve liberation. Organization is, “a highly educational process in which leaders and people together experience true authority and freedom” (p.178). The final component, and the antithesis of cultural invasion, is cultural synthesis. “In cultural synthesis, the actors [revolutionary leaders] become integrated with the people, who are co-authors of the action that both perform upon the world.” It is through these four dialogics that the revolutionary leaders, WITH the oppressed can overcome the burdens and faulty worldview to transform the world in a positive, humane social construction of reality.
While beginning to understand the difference in theories concerning dialogics and antidialogics, I still wonder what the author means when he refers to cultural action. While Friere explains that the purpose is to “clarify to the oppressed the objective situation which binds them to the oppressors” (p.175), I still do not necessarily know how this works in practice.
These dialogics and antidialogics play out on a smaller scale in the classrooms across America. When teachers direct instruction utilizing the “banking method” of education they are operating on antidialogics. The teacher who pulls students into dissecting and reconstructing their view of the world regardless of the content, are more likely to be utilizing dialogics. The teacher who empowers alongside learners is fulfilling Friere’s “creation of a world in which it will be easier to love” (p. 40).

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