Thursday, December 14, 2006

End of Semester One Reflections-5

What changes have you seen this semester in regards to your education? What role did technology play in that change? What role did the constructivist philosophy play in that change? (constructivist-students becoming producers of imformation, students in charge of their own learning).

Make sure to include specific examples and expand on each other's ideas.

25 Comments:

Blogger Lane C. said...

I honestly will say that I haven't seen that many changes regarding my education this semester. I still learned the most in solid discussion about the books. It seemed to me that the discussion was the only part from which I gathered my information and the creative projects involving technology were merely sidenotes that were just there. The only place I find technology truly enhancing my education is where we use it for discussion, whether on the blog on using skype in class. I also don't see that we have actually "taken control of our learning" we merely have a bit more say and creative leeway(sp). I would say that my learning has not exactly changed just been put through a different process.

Thu Dec 14, 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger kenna_d said...

My education this semester has been enhanced incredibly. English has been so fun, and Smith and my classmates have made such an open and comfortable learning environment. The laptops have been such a gift. We have been able to do so much more in class research and discussion because of it. Learning has been much more hands on, and as students, we have learned how to teach each other in the best way fit for the whole class. I have learned so much not only from Ms. Smith, but from my fellow classmates. And the technology that has been provided for us has made learning so much more fun. We have been taught how to teach not only each other, but ourselves. This is NOT education as usual.

Thu Dec 14, 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Madisonm said...

At the beginning of the semester, I was very skeptical about using the laptops all of the time in class. I thought, at first, that I wouldnt like it at all. Which was odd because I really enjoy using computers, but I think that the thought of using them as a tool in learning at school kind of scared me: I hadnt really ever thought of it in a High School. However, I had heard of college students using laptops for their classes all of the time. I guess I just assumed that "learning with laptops" in class was part of college; not high school.

But as the semester comes to an end, I have had a lot of time to reflect on what I think about using the laptops as a learning tool in class. I think I have grown to like it; much more than I had ever expected. I find that it can make even the most boring kinds of assignments fun, and that it makes it easier to learn, at times. I think that now, I would most definitely recommend this sort of class to incoming freshman next year, or even to other people, already in high school. I find that it has give me a chance to learn in a new and different way, and it has opened up many opportunities to expand my way of working, and learning.

Thu Dec 14, 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger erinl said...

This semester has been an extreemly new and great experience. I think that I learned so much more than what I knew at the begining of the semester. I especially enjoyed using the laptops at our disposal. I found it useful to be able to look up information on projects that we might be working on in class. I havn't been in a honors class before so I had no idea what was going to happen. I think that I have learned to think differently and become more of a producer of information than a consumer. I have really enjoyed getting to know the people in this class as well. I have learned a great deal from them and Mrs. Smith. I wish that I could learn this much in all of my classes. I think that it would be awesome that if one day everyone in the school could have a wireless laptop. I just hope that I am still attending AHS.

Thu Dec 14, 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger sarahc said...

This semester, I've seen my knowledge grow so much. I found that I also do better at thinking deeply and expressing my thoughts. Computers have played apart in this because of Blogger and Skype. On these two internet services, I got to listen to my classmates' opinions and give them my own. In a conversation, I don't get to talk very much, but on Skype and Blogger, I feel like I am contributing to the conversation as much as anyone else. Constructivist philosophy has made me learn how to think for myself and become more confident in my ideas. Through the vocab activities, I learned how to make decisions in a group setting. I feel like I have grown in confidence and in knowledge.
I have also grown in my skills. I have learned how to type and write more accurately. I also feel like I have a better vocab, and even though I do not like vocab tests, I feel like I have kept most of the words in my mind and will be able to use them in the future.

Thu Dec 14, 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger lauraf said...

An obvious change for my learning this semester has involved the lap tops. Since I have never had this opportuinity before, it was amazing to see what an immense affect it had on my learning. One of the opportunities that helped me learn more in depth was online texts. When we studied Macbeth, the reviewing toolbar in Word gave me the ability to make comments, connections, and question directly in the text. Also, Internet access has provided a helpful way of discussions for the outside circle during fishbowl. However, I enjoy using Skype a lot more because it is faster and easier to keep a discussion flowing. The privledge of lap tops also comes with great responsibilty. I admit that their are so many temptations of doing other programs and messing around with the computers, but the expectation Smith has for all of us is incentive to stay focused and on task in class.

Thu Dec 14, 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Aylar said...

This year has been amazing for me!
I have been able to think more critically about what I am learning and apply to other areas of school.
The laptops have been such a wonderfull tool for me to use this year I love to be able to type notes and things of that nature in class!
Live blogging and Skype has also been a fun way to communicate during class discusions.
It's IM with an actual learning purpose. (What a novel idea!! :)
Mrs. Smith has realy made me have choices on assingments, she pitches us an idea and says go for it!!! There is no one telling us a way not to do something.
This had made class more interesting and fun for me and the class as a whole.

Thu Dec 14, 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger karib said...

Technology has definetely influenced my learning experience for the better. These laptops have opened up te world of the internet so much that I'm awestruck. Programs such as Blogger and Skype have allowed me to connect with my classmates in ways I never thought possible, both in and out of the classroom. Even when I'm not at school, I can still continue the education process. I have had multiple conversations at home with others in this class and in period 2 on Skype, both about school related topics and not. This would have ever happened without the technology in this class. The biggest change I've seen in my learning is learning about why things happen as opposed to just how, although that's not completely because of the computers. Now when I read, I try to analyze people's character and figure out why they act the way they do. This is especially true with the Chosen. If I would have read this previously, I would have understood the superficial details, but I would have found it boring and tedious. By participating in the Fishbowls through live blogging and Skype, I've learned to "read between the lines" and find out the true meaning of the literature. I'm also a much better typer, but that's not important in the scheme of things.

Thu Dec 14, 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger maria k said...

I think the biggest change I noticed about having the priviledge of laptops compared to my other classes is the overall lightness in the atmosphere. In most of my class, we're stressed, and come in just wanting to get through the day. But as soon as I walk into this classroom, everything just feels lighter and all the bad feelings go away. Although that's also because Smith is such an amazing person, laptops have definitely been a part of that too, and just looking around at everyone typing and working hard makes everything, even finals, seem a little less stressful.

I'm also so glad that I had the opportunity to learn how to challenge the system and take control of my own learning. I once heard a quote that said, "we're not raising children, we're raising adults," and by being expected to act like an adult and be more responsible, I feel like I am able to reach my full potential in this class, and shoot for the best in the rest of my classes.

Overall, I think that now school is more interesting and maybe even fun again, instead of middle school's everlasting pressure and stress.

Thu Dec 14, 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

I have definitely been a lot more interested and motivated this year. Coming off what was probably the worst Language Arts year of my education in 8th grade, it was nice to actually enjoy it again, not to mention actually learning. This year, things have changed because I have been expected to think for myself more. There has been a lot less busy work, and a greater expectation to perform up to standards.

Technology has been a great enabler for me this year. The use of laptops in class has been absolutely wonderful. I absolutely love technology. Being able to use it has brought me much closer to my full potential by letting me access and compile information more efficiently. For example, I can type about twice as fast as I can legibly write. Technology has been a tremendous asset this year. The use of flash memory devices have also been a great way to easily transfer files. Overall, it has been great.

Constructivism was a really nice thing, the thought that maybe students actually know whats good for them. I have liked being increasingly more in charge of my learning. I have always been an advocate for this sort of stuff in classrooms, and I am glad to see it actually happening without my whining for once. I appreciate the fact that we are now granted more responsibility. It really helps us to help ourselves.

Overall, it has been a great semester for me. I really look forward to next semester.

Thu Dec 14, 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger EmilyA said...

I have seen one big change in my eductation this year. That change is that it is our responsibility to do things we are asked. If we don't it is our loss whether its getting a zero on a project or not having it graded but doing bad on that part of a test. I can relate to this because I once knew that we had homework assigned but it was not going to be collected and graded. When the time came for the test, I did a terrible job on it. Now I never know to do this again and always be responsible for my own learning.
I think technology helped play a role in this because I thought it was much easier to remember homework, access homework and actually do homework with the help of computers. It was easier to be responsible.
Being a producer of information played a big part in this change because it makes me more involved in the class and want to learn more.

Thu Dec 14, 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Zachf said...

This semester I have changed the way I go about my education, if there is something I want to know I don't wait for someone to teach it to me. I now take the intiative of finding the information I want to know aout. Technology, especially the laptops, have allowed me to access that information.

The constructivist philosophy made me more interested in the things I was learning in class. I found myself wanting to know more, not only for my benefit but for the benefit of my classmates. I was able to present the information produced to my class and my classmates were able to do the same thing. When we are able to collaborate on all the information we gather it makes all of us smarter.

Thu Dec 14, 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Rileys said...

In regards to my education i have seen that i have grown in ways i never did in middle school. I actually study for my tests instead of realying on my wits to pass averything. The laptops enhanced this process by allowing me to search helpful tips and study guides to help me understand certain aspects of our studies more easily.
Also i can keep myself organized easier with the US-B/flash drive and laptop combo so i can carry all of my papers in my pocket or in my backpack without the paper. Meaning that i will always be prepared for my classes and i can therefore carry less items with me for each class in my folder. Though i am slightly hindered by this for not all of my classes use laptops and therefore takes away from my ability to be completely efficient, but it continues to help me with my organization and learning experiences.
Along with the technology learning piece of my education so far, i can take charge of my education more and recieve what i put in. As a class, fifth hour, Mrs. Smith likes to say that we teach ourselves most of the time and i have to say that it feels good knowing that i am learning and growing. In middle school i just breezed by in all my classes (except for science-thanks Mr. Genson) and didn't really feel that i learned anything, for i could solve any answer on a test through logic and by what else is on the test. Now, with the need to study and take charge of my education i feel i am actually creating a future for myself. After all, technology will be a huge part of the future when the time comes and i intend to be ready.

Thu Dec 14, 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger AnnaD said...

The biggest way that my education has changed this semester is with the introduction of laptops. This new idea has created a whole new realm in my education. I really enjoyed the way laptops brought about a way of quick, easy reasearch and opened the door to new applications of learning. To sound a bit cliche, we are doing things that have never been done before.

I particularily enjoyed Skype and Blogger. I felt that we were able to have productive, detailed discussions over the two, and think that they were an excellent addition to our learning.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the use of laptops in our class this semester, and I look forward to it next semester.

Thu Dec 14, 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger tomr said...

I think technology has changed my educational experience monumentally. The computers being integrated in class are significantly more efficient than old-fashioned methods and the variety of tools there are allow me to be oh-so much more creative. With writing essays and other such text-based activities (especially in-class tests), typing is much more pleasant than crippling my hand and allows me several more years without developing carpal tunnel.

As for constructivist philosophy, there has been a lack of it (this class aside) in my learning, so I can't really comment there. However, open-ended assignments and (somewhat) less emphasis on grades decreases stress and makes me not dread school quite as much. I still hope for more opportunity to pursue what I want to pursue and learn what I want to learn in the future, for certain.

If you exclude English, my experience is just another lateral step up from middle school. Ho hum. I want every classroom environment to be as flexible and comfortable as this one, more than anything. That has been the biggest change to my learning from the rigid instructors, rulers in hand, ready for discipline at every turn.

Thu Dec 14, 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger Maddyg said...

My education, I feel, has changed a lot this semester. 8th grade Socratic Seminars had an inside and outside circle. The inside circle would go around and each person would answer the question that the teacher asked while the outside circle would write down who they thought had the best and worst comments. Obviously, there wasn't much learning or discussing going on. I feel that our fishbowls have made a huge impact on how I have read and understood books. Instead of reading, we are absorbing and dissecting everything. And disscussing with other people makes you look back at things that you might have missed while reading on your own. The laptops have helped so much because now the outer circle actually has some way to learn and can also disscuss and not have to just sit there writing down names randomly. There are people who don't think that laptops are helping that much or aren't necessary, but with the fast growing rate of technology today, its essential to succeed in
education and with jobs. My whole outlook on learning and technology has changed and I do think that that is a good thing.

Thu Dec 14, 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Shelby B. said...

I have noticed that I can write so much better, even if it’s not amazing to teachers or other adults to me it has improved so much. I have noticed that I can do more things at once than I ever thought I could. Also, having a computer sped everything up so that we could move along much faster and more efficiently. I feel that know I am able to think outside the box and I question the world, wondering why things are the way they are. Before people would say think outside of the box and I would be confused because I didn’t even know there was a box, and I didn’t know how to get out of that box, that I saw as our comfort zone. This semester I have l have learned that it can be very good and in its own way comforting to know that there are things beyond our own imagination, outside of that box. I now, realize that for my whole life I have been a consumer of information and not the producer, while now I am that producer of the knowledge and information that I take in, and am learning.

Thu Dec 14, 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger lindseyc said...

I have seen lots of changes this semester in regards to my education, good and bad. I have been able to comprehend a lot more than I did in middle school, most likely because the environment is so much different. Its not just the same boring routine each day, it's so much more. We are able to interact with each other, not only using the technology but also by having such a fun place to learn. However, it has also put me at a disadvantage because with the laptops, even though I can type a paper faster than writing it, there are still a lot of problems. It might die, not save the work, or just not let me type what I want because 'it' says that the words not right. Whatever the problem is, I would much rather have to deal with that than not having the computer at all. And that’s another reason. I have become so dependent on the computer that I sometimes feel lost without it, which isn't good because I don’t want to build up a dependence on it; I want to be able to learn on my own. I also think that the constructivist philosophy of the class has added to success of it because we are not just sitting there reading from a textbook or watching a film, but we are active in what WE want to learn. I don’t think that I would have as much fun in the class without it because I would have been bored, but it helped me to stay involved and focused.

Thu Dec 14, 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Laurab said...

I think that this semester has changed my learning a great deal. The laptops have really made a big difference. To have the resources that the laptops provide is a immense gift. To have Powerpoint and Word at our fingertips is extrememly helpful. I can get assignments done quicker and mulititask much better than in the beginning of the year. Although, sometimes it seemed as if we were distracted a little and it took away from our listening/communication skills, the technology was amazing gift.
As for the contructivist philosphy part of the question, I think that it really depends on the extent to which the information is given to you, and you past learning pattern. In my case, I haven't really changed much. I am not sure how to explain it, but the one thing that has changed is my skills with the computers.

Thu Dec 14, 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger JoanneH said...

I got a lot better at typing quickly in this class, and the access to the internet made it easier to do projects with my groups. We had more resources and could learn a lot more through visual effects than we could before.

The internet access made it easier to be resourceful on my own and produce my own information based on what others have found out before me.

All knowledge comes from previous knowledge, and discovery blossoms from knowledge.

Without the knowledge of our predecessors, we would never progress as a human race. I think it is important to be given information and then use it to formulate more information. If we spend all our time relearning what those before us have already discovered, there will be no time for new discovery.

Thu Dec 14, 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Mphair said...

So. Personally I have noticed many things about my education this last semester. I shall list a few:

A. Concerning the computers

In using the laptops almost every day, I have personally become more, well, able, to use them. One might put it that I have become slightly more "technically minded." Please take your time to notice the "slightly." I have also noticed that in this class, it is a basic necessity to use the USBs as we take notes home, transfer files form one to another so we can edit eachother's papers.

B. Concerning Challenging the System

In all the books that we have read Mrs. Smith had us look for ways that the system is challenged. This and other things (in history)has taught me to pay closer attention to small detailes and really think on what they mean/symbolize.

I would yet again like to state my opinion that computers/laptops have their uses and their place. I believe that there are also deffinately places where they do NOT belong, such as in usage for quizes (taking quizes on-line). My teacher did thay last year, and the system would kick us off at any time (often on the next to last question)and one would have to re-take the entire quiz/test. It would also say that we got things wrong when we really didn't. Our teacher didn't believe us and so basically my enire class almost failed. MY POINT IS THAT I PERSONALLY BELIEVE FROM EXPERIENCE THAT QUIZES SHOULD BE ON PAPER, WHERE ONE CAN MAKE NOTES, CROSS THINGS OUT, AND BE ABLE TO SKIP QUESTIONS.

However, this year has opened my eyes to how computers can be used correctly in a classroom.

Thu Dec 14, 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger danh said...

I think that the impact of the new technology that we have been using this year really helps me get a grasp on the things we have been learning, in essence, the theme of challenging the system. The fact that the laptops make taking notes and writing papers faster and that they give us all the information we need for projects at our fingertips makes this class an upgrade of what learning was like last year. A major change from the past year to this one is the way we study books. In my old school, we used the traditional way of reading a book and taking notes on key points and important vocabulary. In this class, we analyze books and "devour" them. We dig deeper to find symbolism, deduct reasons why books have been written, and relate them to everyday life. The constructivist view we use is also a definite plus. Group work where we can use our own ideas and show how we prefer to learn and our grasp of English in general makes projects more enjoyable by giving us an opportunity to have fun with our friends while learning new things. Skype and blogger along with the laptops and the way we analyze literature makes this class a perfect example of the way high school learning should look.

Thu Dec 14, 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger EmilyL said...

As I look back on my semester, I see myself a different person. I have rudimentary knowledge of Publisher, Audacity, and Skype because of this class. What really amazes me is that I taught myself these things. The situation arose and I found myself ready to come and meet the challenge head on. I was used to being walked through the process of learning something new and know I can do it myself.
Like Lane said, this class isn’t all that different from a regular English class, just is English done differently. When a different method makes you challenge your comfort zone, then you know you are truly learning.

Thu Dec 14, 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger hannahs said...

Before I started high school, I had ideas of what school would be like. I figured the classes would be long and boring, and I would not enjoy school very much. However, on the first day of schoool, I was quickly convinced that school was going to be a blast-a challenging blast that is-. Anyway, I also realized that learning is taken to a new level at AHS. The poster on Ms. Smith's wall says, "This is not education as usual" and I am positive that that statement is true. One big change in my education was the use of technology (particularly in my english class, where we get to use laptops). At first I was skeptical of the laptops, and wondered how they would further my learning. Don't get me wrong, using laptops is awesome, but I am not a technilogical genius. But as the semester progressed, I realized that laptops are an amazing tool, and my education has been taken to a higher level. With laptops, the expectaions are much higher. Obviously, I needed to be responsible and respectful of the laptop itself. In addition, I now have access to the world wide web, a tool that expands my leanring in several ways. I wont go into details, but as Mr. Fisch said, we are being educated in the twenty-first century, and we need the technology of this century to further out learning. My learning has also changed because I have become a producer of information, rather than just a consumer.

Thu Dec 14, 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger TyC said...

This class has been the hardest of any of my classes so far, but it is also the best one. Learning out of the laptops is just one of the things that have changed the way I learn in English.
When I compare this to my math class, they are pretty much polar opposites. I feel like I could do my math class out of the book. In this class, we have to expand on what we know in order to learn. I am really glad that I am in this class, and I look forward to next semester.

Thu Dec 14, 12:39:00 PM  

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