Sunday, March 9, 2014

C4T My Choice Derrick Williams comments 1-4

The teacher that I have chosen to follow is Mr. Derrick Willard whom is, as quoted from his blog, Tearing Down Walls, “the Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs and a science teacher at Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC. He has been integrating social media applications as instructional tools for the last five years, as well as piloting classes employing iPad2 tablets for the last three years”.

Comment #1
The first post that I read, from Feb 08, 2014, was about how using a little Idea paint can change the whole perspective of a classroom. One of his teachers used the paint to cover two of his four walls making them white boards where the students can share ideas. The teacher describes the result as “Teaching from what would typically be considered the back or side of the room shifts the sense of student and teacher space. The boundary or line of demarcation between the two kinds of space blurs. The walls feel more collaborative as a result giving the students added willingness to write in a space that hasn’t been claimed or identified as teacher (or teacher permission requisite) space. Unlike the whiteboards on the opposite walls of the room, these writing surfaces seem less confined given that take up the entire wall. Instead of being bound in frames and placed at the traditional front of the room, the white walls provide a more inviting writing surface that students have already used to write up whatever they might like to share with a classroom audience. The fixed quality of the white walls lends a special sort of credibility to whatever happens to be written there. Students seem more willing to share their ideas on the board and more willing to respond to one another’s writing on the wall next to some earlier comment or idea.”
I commented that I thought it gave the students freedom of expression as a graffiti artist has on the city walls and that now the classroom was their canvas.  The walls can be used like a Facebook wall for science or whatever subject that the teacher is teaching. Students are already communicating daily in that manner so it should be easier for them to feel comfortable writing on the class walls.

Comment #2
Mr. Willard’s blog post from 9/23/2013 on the iPad pilot classes.
I commented that I think that the 1:1 program that he is initiating in his school is a great program for developing digital literacy and global citizenship and that I would love to see our school system in South Alabama implement a similar program but, unfortunately, we are only just breaking into the digital scene. I told him that this year many of our schools have initiated a program where the students can bring their own devices to class and use them on the “my own devices” internet for in class work. But not all of the students have devices and some may not even have internet service at home. I also told him that I have big plans as a teacher to create a blog for my students where I can post lessons, class projects and informative videos and I would also like the students to be able to share what they are doing with the rest of the world. I wanted to know how they used technology like before implementing the 1:1 program. I asked if he survey the students to see who had internet access at home and did he provide computer lab time for students before or after school? I let him know that there are so many things I want to do but right now limited resources seems to pose the biggest problem. I told him that I would love to hear his thoughts and know the steps that he took to get to where he is now. Me Willard replied back and told me that he had a mentor from Canada when he was in college that he has still never met and that he wanted to help me in any way that he could. We have had additional correspondence about the EDM510 class and he is very interested in what we are doing. I believe he will be an asset to our program in the future.

Comment #3
In his blog post form Aug 20, 2013, Mr. Willard writes about the importance of establishing good relationships between students and teachers. He is reminding new teachers that the first day of school and into the first two weeks is the time to build trust and let the students know that you really care about them because “students don’t care what you know until they know that you care”.
My comment was: “I completely agree with you about the importance of building relationships between students and teachers. I think that a teacher’s job encompasses so much more that just relaying information to students. Students need mentors and confidants that they can confide in and trust. Some students may even lack someone like this at home and a teacher is an adult that can fill that role.  A teacher must be someone who loves kids, not just conveying knowledge to others.  I just finished an assignment for another education class in which we had to write first day of school lesson plans. My entire first day revolved around getting to know my students and letting them get to know me as well as letting them know what I expect of them. I also let my students know that I am willing to work hard for them if they are willing to also put in the effort. I want my students to see our class as a team of learners so they do not feel intimidated and so they are motivated to do their best.”

Comment #4
Mr. Willard’s post was about his upcoming trip to China aimed at strengthening their New Oasis program which they are a partner with China. The vision of the New Oasis Company is “a world of learning, a place where society is empowered to change international education, study abroad and cultural exchange for the better”.
I commented that I was excited to have a connection with him and was looking forward to hearing about what he learns. He was particularly interested in writing about the differences that he observes between Chinese and American Education. I think that this is a fascinating subject and cannot wait to see what he has to say about the differences and to see if there is anything that he feels we should be doing more like China.

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