Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Should Students Be Able to Use Social Media in High School?

I just received an email from a high school student who was asking about my stance on filtering the Web in a school. She was taking a Law class in her school and they were researching what educators in the field said about which sites should be accessible and which should be blocked.  I have included my response below. You will notice that I have left it anonymous but I thought that it contained some interesting points:

Question: What are your thoughts about students using social networking sites on the new one-on-one laptops

Dear Student;

I am honored that you are interested in my opinion on this topic.

As frustrating as this may sound, my answer is "It all depends."

Providing one computer for each student is not about technology.  It is about providing students with individual tools that will allow them to take responsibility for their education. This means that you will have the ability to access the almost unlimited amount of information available on the web.  It also means that you must act responsibly in what you use and how you use it.

I am not a fan of blocking online sites. This reduces your access to the many resources that you may use for your studies.  However, if you have open access to these sites you must use them in a mature and responsible manner.

It is something like teaching a child about crossing the street.  You can't teach her to look both ways before crossing unless you allow her to cross it. We can't teach students about how to be safe and sane on the Web unless we provide them access.

This does not mean that you have free reign of Facebook or Twitter or YouTube. If you are Facebooking your friends in class when you should be using it to search for pertinent information, you should be disciplined for your actions as you would for any misbehavior in class.  These punishments should be identified beforehand so that both the teachers and students know what to do.

I would strongly suggest that you and your teachers read From Fear to Facebook.   It is 120-page book by a principal who was hired in Cupertino to convert their school to a 1-to-1 school. It is a wonderful narrative that explains how student, parents, teachers and administrators shaped the rules of the school. It costs $10 for a Kindle and you can get it immediately. It's twice the price for paperback.    I use it in my technology coordinator class.

I hope that this has been useful. To summarize, I don't believe in filtering content unless necessary. If it turns out that the students can't responsibly use some resources like Facebook, it should be removed. You responsibilities as a student increase as your access to technology and online resources increase. If you do not act responsibly, then appropriate disciplinary actions should be taken.

Good luck and keep me posted of your success.

Leigh Zeitz
Associate Professor.
Coordinator of Instructional Technology division
University of Northern Iowa

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

#3 - Empowering Students' Learning Through Technology workshop

The third of three workshops in the Technology-Empowered Learning workshop on 23 February, 2012 in Amman, Jordan.  This workshop is being presented to a group of TVET teachers and administrators. It is primarily designed to use the Florida Technology Integration Matrix to identify how technology is being used and how it can be expanded.

There will be some handouts that will not be posted until tonight.

The Empowering Students' Learning through Technology slideshow (in English)
Empower Students Through Technology
View more presentations from Leigh Zeitz

Here is the slideshow in Arabic:
Resources used in the workshop:

#2 - Creating and Using Problem-Based Learning in the TVET Classroom workshop

As the second workshop in the Technology-Empowered Learning workshop series I am giving here in Amman, Jordan, this workshop will be a hands-on experience where the attendees will actually go through the process of identifying a topic, authoring an essential question, designing a plan, and finishing the project with an external presentation.

This workshop includes some handouts that will be attached to this page in .pdf format (but maybe not until tonight.)

Here is the slideshow in English

Resources used during the workshop:

How do you use PBL in your teaching?  Please share your experiences and resources.


Broadcasting from Jordan

Photo of Skype Broadcast from Jordan
Even traveling to the other side of the world will not keep Dr. Z from his students. It is amazing that tonight I used three different formats of teleconferencing to connect between Amman, Jordan and Cedar Falls. This was all through my computer sitting in my hotel room.

My first electronic encounter was with my Classroom Computer Applications undergraduate class at the University of Northern Iowa.  I didn't want to teach a class from here, but wanted to provide my students with the opportunity to video conference with someone in the Middle East, me.  As you will see, I am here at a conference.

Jordan is 8 hours ahead of Cedar Falls, so if my students met for their 2:00 pm class it would be 10:00 pm here.  The content of this connection was yet to be determined, but it turned out quite well.

Sitting in the room with me were my colleagues: Andrew Thompson (Indonesia) and Aziz Aljardan (Saudi Arabia) were at my side when I Skyped back to our Technology Methods Lab in SEC 127 at the University of Northern Iowa.

Things went wonderfully well. Aside from my lousy backlighting, the connection was flawless (Thanks Rachel) and ideas flowed freely. Unfortunately, I didn't record the first half of the broadcast but we held introductions and my friends shared what they were doing here with my students.

We recorded the second half of the meeting and I am happy to share it with you.  Please watch this video and then share your reactions to it in the comments below.

This Skype video conference was followed by a 3-way video conference with my colleagues, Robin Galloway and Jason Vetter where we planned an upcoming meeting.

Fortuitously, my wife, Kathy, followed trend with a Google chat and Skype session.

The possible connections for individuals in today's world are incredible.

BTW, my Jordan adventure is occurring on many levels of experience. I will be sharing them with ou but in no particular order of sequence.

I look forward to your replies.


#1 - Trends in ICT Education in the USA workshop

On Thursday, Feb 23, I will be presenting a 75-min workshop, Trends in ICT Education in the USA as a follow-up day of workshops for the Conference on Vocational Training in Amman, Jordan. This will be part of an all-day workshop entitled Technology-Empowered Learning.

Here is the English Version.

Trends in ICT Education in the USA
View more presentations from Leigh Zeitz
Here are the resources mentioned during the workshop:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Technology-Powered Learning

On Monday, Feb 20, I will be presenting a 30-min talk on Technology-Powered Learning at the Conference on Vocational Training in Amman, Jordan. This will be an exciting opportunity to share and discuss ideas for 21st Century Learning and Technology Education with educators from 20 countries.

Here is the English Version
Technology-Powered Learning
View more presentations from Leigh Zeitz

Here is the Arabic Version
Resources mentioned in the presentation:
If you have additional resources, please leave them as comments below.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dr. Z Presents on New Ideas in Vocational and Technical Training in Amman, Jordan

Believe it or not, I was invited to visit Amman, Jordan this week to give some presentations and workshops at the Conference of Vocational Training: Advanced Models on Training, Business, and Governance for the Vocational Training Corporation. This is a conference that is supported by Jordan's Ministry of Labor as well as the Malaysian UTHM consultants. There should be about 100 attendees from many countries from the Middle East and south-east Asia. The goal of this meeting is to work with Jordan (and other countries) to re-envision their Technical and Vocational Education Training programs in their high schools. 

This will be a two-day conference where we will have keynote speakers and then breakout sessions where 4 panelists will speak for 30 minutes each and then have 60 minutes of Q&A. The tricky part is that English is not the basic language for the conference. Arabic is the language of choice. This means that my presentations will be translated into Arabic and distributed to those who would like them. Only the keynote presenters will have simultaneous translation while the panelists' presentations will not.  This should be interesting to see how many of attendees will understand what I will be saying in English.  The REAL challenge will be to see if my jokes transfer.  Well, people don't understand most of my humor in English anyway so at least this time there will be a reason for them not laughing.   =-)

My presentation which I will give on Monday, Feb 20 is called "Technology-Powered Learning."  I will be talking about creating engaging and enabling learning environments for today's vocational students. This will include a discussion of the Millennial generation and how to best address their learning needs. While most of the research on the Millennial generation has been done in the Western world, it appears (both in the research and in casual observation) that the 12-30 year old generation is quite similar in how they are "plugged into" their environment. I will also be sharing ways that vocational education might be made more relevant to the 21st century workplace by implementing collaborative problem-based learning curriculum.

I will be providing 3 workshops. They involve Trends in ICT in the USA, Creating and Using  Problem-Based Learning in the TVET (Technology and Vocational Education Training) Classroom, and Exploring New Opportunities in Technology-Based Learning,  I will post these in English and Arabic as they come available.

The trip over here and the wonderful assortment of new colleagues from around the world have been quite exciting. I will try to blog the events as they transpire or soon afterwards so that you may enjoy them with me.  I will begin this travelogue in my next post.

I will have to warn you that I tend to be a terrible blogger when traveling because I am usually too involved in the experience to take time to write about it.

I will be Skyping with my Classroom Computer Applications class on Tuesday at 2:00 CST (10 PM Jordan Time).

Keep in touch and leave comments if there are specific things you want to know or see through me.