Reflection on the presentation


Why Weebly?

  • User friendly. This is easy to use.Visually guided when students want to make a website or blog. Easy to edit, create, drag whatever you want from the top bar without any instructions to be read before you create. You can follow your instinct to create a website/blog.
  • Students and teachers know this site very well.
  • Security reason: The web/blog can be protected by a password /an account to log in. If a student has his/her website or blog, it can be supervised under teacher’s account. Each page/site, which is under student’s account is protected. (Applied the concept of mixi)
  • The school has got the pro-account, which can be used if this platform is officially approved.

Introducing my project

Vigorous students, who are fed up with playing outside during the lunch recess time were coincidently invited by our library teacher when she had a duty outside. She said I would need students’ help to do a project. Four of students came up to the library, and I said to them that I needed their help to set up a communication or an information space to support our mystery readers(parents/teachers/staff), who always came to our library to look for best books to be read to their audiences such as daughters and students in each class room.

One day one of parents introduced her recommendation to me very enthusiastically, and I thought her reflection on the book needs to be shared with other users.

I said to them

‘IF you could help this project, you would have to come to the library every  lunch recess time to set it up. Do you think you could do that? This means that you would lose your golden time. The target audience will be in/outside of this community extending to the reliable people living in overseas including teachers, parents, peers, experts.’

The reaction from students

They were so excited with the idea, and they said they had no problems not to be outside to play since they start getting bored with the time outside, and anyway there were nothing to interest themselves at that time outside during the playtime. They also said that they were LOOKING FOR something to enjoy themselves.

Outcome? Did you meet your goals?

  • 1.1.9 Although it has not reached the stage that it has already been collaborated with a lot of people outside, the infrastructure is ready and it has got its potential to be developed/improved further.
  • 3.1.4 They have achieved that goal in terms of the blog to be read to not only our school community but also outside of this community even accessible from other countries. They paid attention to the audience when the site was created.
  • 3.3.4 They certainly created the platform to be applied to authentic,  real-world context, and they learnt why the password exists, and what for it is used.

Reflection

To make things happen releasing from our school needs a lot of help, supports, agreements, understanding from students, teachers, parents, admins, school organization philosophy, peers, friends, experts. If our project could refer to challenged-based learning, students challenged the current necessity of our library to overcome.

The hardest part was that even I was doing this for a trial stage as if this were real, I had to get approvals from all sorts of people such as parents/homeroom teachers/our library teacher/principal, with whom I sat and had feedback from since what we have been doing was  involved in our library management and school community, which could be a school resource. However at this moment I realized that this should be completely independent of our school system or management since all the questions regarding this project would have to go to/through our library teacher, who would have to take a responsibility for this. This would be too much for her since this is my project.

In addition, Weebly for education had a lot of conditions to be read, and I did not get myself well prepared for it. I did not know students under the age of 13 cannot make the blog/website within the weebly education vendor unless the consent forms were submitted by those parents, whose support and understanding is also essential!

Sharing this platform with your colleagues?

Already this platform has been e-mailed to our school staff/teachers who work for Kinder/Junior school to spread this platform, which we hope they would find useful.

Meeting the definition of Redefinition?

This project needs the computer to ‘allow for the creation of new tasks, inconceivable without the computer.’ In this sense, it reaches the definition of redefinition closely.

This project has not been transformed into the level of ‘something inconceivable’ ,which is unprecedented. I notice the similar activity(, which any recommendation on books among students of a homeroom is seen on a page of the homeroom website.) already going on although this platform took the different approach from the point that it should be driven by the reliable community network, whose idea results from applying the strategy of ‘mashup, remix, reused and recombined’ implementation to existing popular resources multiplied by our own idea.

Be aware!

Be well prepared for reading through the conditional use of the media&communication tool or source, which would have to meet the criteria of your school. Even if it looks perfect media to be used for your project, it might lack something you miss, which would not follow your school conditions/regulations.

Student feedback about the project & their experience

When I asked them what the most difficult part they had experienced going through the project, they seemed very reluctant to answer although only positive performances they had had came up spontaneously.

I also received a lot of feedback from their parents, to whom students must have talked about their taking initiatives of the project. Most of parents said or e-mailed to me that they were so proud of what they had contributed to as initiators/creators and enjoyed so much.

They said their creative idea reflected on the platform had come to their minds as they talked to each other, and did something completely different things.

Weebly for education

School has got this pro-account, and everyone is familiar with its user friendly feature. In the case that this project might be demanded by users without any conditions and be approved by school officially, this could be integrated with its pro-account directly.

Successful points and things to be concerned….

  • In order not to be content-experts, I served for students or was only the secretary or the assistant of students. I raised the issue of a lack of our library service, and they were enthusiastic to help the deficiency. They are the 4th graders, each of whom has been taught to take an action autonomously by teachers through the years of this school days.
  • To remix/reuse/recombine the effective concept of the already existing social communication site. (It should be linked to recognized users, who could introduce this platform to their trusting people. Supposedly this should be spreading by mouth to mouth.)
  • During the lunch-time recess break time, which was the golden time for them to relax themselves they worked very well.
  • I had a lot of consultation with parents’ volunteers, one of whom gave me the inspiration.
  • Regular communications to their homeroom teachers/our principal /any relevant faculties are crucial.
  • Invitation to the site by students was  supposed to encourage parents/teachers/staff in our community…..
  • ‘I need their help, and please tell me how to do!’ I was taught by one of students who made an QRcode, which had been introduced by Jo as her classroom teacher!
  • I was like a secretary or an assistant to serve for their project.
  • I promoted this by means of sending it out to the other side of this world. Yet I have not seen so much interaction yet….. I want to promote this further. Do you have any good ideas?(I did not pretend being helpless, yet I was really desperate!) They gave me a hand. All of a sudden they started giving their strategies. It has been in the process. To be continued.
  • I should have connected to/communicated with one of Islamic schools in UK, with which my friend introduced to me to collaborate before the project got started.

Presentation Zen

According to Garr Reynolds, the following points are crucial.

  • The context and the content
  • What is appropriate and not appropriate

To make my speech understandable really depends on how you prepare. The content and context has to be matched each other, and I followed the above points when I prepared my presentation. First I  had to write the scripts, which I would not use for the presentation day, yet this is necessary process to go with the context and content of the pictures in slides and texts to support my speech and interaction with my audience. Secondly the time is limited, and the content and the context of my presentation should be selective enough to be completed within 10 minutes. Thirdly my eye-contact with the audience should help to deliver the message directly to the audience.

My greatest learning in this course and big 4Cs

We have been connected to each other. Technology aids us to collaborate, corporate and challenge unprecedented projects/tasks all together. We won’t learn ourselves to boost up technology, rather technology could bring up our potentials. Thinking/learning exists before the tools. Technology and its reflection on the education seems to be something, of which each of us needs to work together to make the best use. None of us could not be left behind its development and possibility, which otherwise might take control us.

Credentials:

 Presentation Zen Blog by Garr Reynolds, What is good PowerPoint design?, September 05,2005.

Resources in Hippasus by Ruben R. Puentedura, Ph.D., A Matrix Model for Designing and Assessing Network-Enhanced Courses, 2003.

The learning network in Education by AMANDA CHRISTY BROWN and HOLLY EPSTEIN OJALVO, Remix, Reuse, Recombine: Holding a Seminar on Mash-Up Culture, March 25, 2010. The New York Times posted on Saturday, November 24, 2012.


 

How it has been implemented!

Finally sent out

The platform circulated to accessible people via  e-mails was sent out to  peers/experts including other elementary international school library teachers/librarians from my e-account. It has started receiving some responses, yet still far to see users interact with each other by commenting on another person’s comment.

To get it really kicked off on line, I had asked my connected people around the world, and this worked for the first two or three weeks. However I could not see any constant reactions inside the blog furthermore. It  is very hard to be spread over. What is the reason behind it?

Interesting feedback

There are library volunteers in our library, to whom also I sent out the link as my role of the secretary of vigorous four initiators. (My students actually wrote the invitation messages, which were cited directly to the e-mail sent out to my connected people.) However no ones have left any comments yet. I had a consultation with one of our students’ parents, who loves reading so much!!! because she should have a plenty of recommendations in her head, which should be shared with us. In addition, she loves talking to anyone what she has read so far.

Giving pressure….

However her reflection on the link was not what I had assumed. She  said that  it would be very pressure thing to give comments  to especially the viewable on-line page, at which everyone would have a look to refer to a book s/he would look for to be read or read. It is very much ok to give suggestions or recommendations, yet s/he would have to think of the grammar/editing/careless mistakes/right or proper views on books, which would bother her posting.

In particular, she emphasizes on the fact that she is not native speaker or so(although her English or the command of language is superb, and for me she is a native speaker.) Moreover the platform in the blog looked educational purpose, which would also prevent her from posting any recommendations as casually or freely as she wants(even though I said to her not to care for those small things.)

Valuable suggestions

Then this is what she has suggested to invite more participants to the platform.

1) There should be no open-ended format designs on the comment space.
2)If it is possible, it needs a table or survey format inside the comment space, which just let them click on the appropriate/relevant check boxes having all sorts of answer examples/selections/range ready.
3)This would make it much easier and comfortable enough for accessible people to leave recommendations as casually as they want.

Weebly template

Weebly’s setting for the design of comment space has been already formatted and the whole design needs changing eventually if that voice is reflected on the platform maybe by way of using the HTML language. However she highlighted  the very core of a problem that no parents except a few of parents previously asked had left any comments yet.

Mouth to mouth

On the other hand, as my students discussed with each other including myself that this platform should not be like a communication tool for us to push someone to do. The most ideal style or approach is that this should be spread over to one person after another naturally.

Always there are very good social sites or interaction places or public spaces or even for community places such as shops/restaurants/cultural activities, where customers/users are driven by the information they get from their friends or neighbours. According to the natural selection, no matter if it is a bad or good thing, things selected by users stay long or sometimes for a while and without any assumption it is gone all of a sudden depending on if/how it has the right taste of the necessity that it is demanded within the current environment. The core of popularity leads to the fact that the recognition should be spreading by mouth to mouth.

QR code

I had a consultation with 4 initiators(as 4 students) how to promote the platform in/outside of this community.Promoting the platformThey came up with the idea that they would make a poster to introduce the platform, which is just efficient/effective way to get other students’ attentions. One of initiators also got the advice from her classroom teacher to put the QR code on the poster, which can be scanned through mobile phone. This impressed me so much since  I had absolutely no idea how to make the code(a kind of a square size of barcode). It has been posted along the corridor wall with the approval of our principle since this site has nothing to do with our school educational sources, which is the hardest part in this project to get an approval for each action beforehand especially since I am not in a position to teach them.

Their connections throughout the world

That student also said that she would spread the news to her friends living  overseas since of course they are all international school students, who have already got their friends in the other side of this world. They said they would invite their friends to this site.

In addition the other student said she would consult with her classroom teacher to give them an opportunity to introduce the platform since some of them have not noticed the poster yet.

I don’t know how it will turn out to be, yet they have got their own strategies already in their minds. They are creators as well as press center people. Their methods to promote the site looked to me so professional.

Now and then

On the other hand, Mrs I as one of our parents’ valuable voice should be notified. She was  actually the motivator of this project since she gave me the right moment to motivate me to start thinking this platform, which is not only for students but also for parents/teachers extending to peers/experts outside of this community.

When I had a consultation with her, she gave me the right path, which I have also been thinking of.

Sustainability

Her question is how it could be sustainable in the future? Since this is the student-centered driven force activity, its design/content should be controlled by initiators although I supervise it. When I also had talked to Hiromi to get her feedback before this project started, she had been concerned with who on the earth would control it eventually.

Since eventually the initiators go to middle school in the next school year, their interests would not stay although they would like to keep their eyes on it even if they go to middle school, which has more other things to care for.

Our current initiators could find or appoint the second generation. They can teach them the mainstream, or/and our library volunteers could monitor or supervise it constantly since the concept of this platform should be no borderline between students and parents/teachers/peers.

Publication policy

What are the elements, which could prevent the  effect on the platform from being exposed to the media?

This was the question I had asked our students to think before the platform was launched. I showed the publication policy made by Mitch, Gary, Hiromi and Joy last school year as  a part of the course 2 assignment.

Password protected or not

For our students this was not a surprising reminder, which had been taught to them already. They did not know the term ‘digital footprinting’, yet they know the concept of it. One of the students referred the risk to an analogy to tattoo, which had been discussed with her parents at home.

They paid their attentions to how things online would affect their lives continuously as any posts or comments on the social network stay permanently. They think that only the first name should be stated in the comments, and the password and the username to log in could be good for that protective purpose, although one of students suggested it should be working without any username and password otherwise the platform could not make itself global enough to be connected to outside of this community since it won’t be searchable via google.

How far should it be accessible via search engine? Kirsten showed me how to set up the weebly website accessible enough for viewers to reach via search engine. Is this necessary set-up in our case? In order to make the platform as authentic as possible, we want it to be passed on to someone, whom users know/trust. Then hopefully we could expect qualitative responses and comments.

Under the age of 13(Conditional offer)

On the last Friday, as I happened to know through my colleague, whose students have been participating in setting up the platform via Weebly that students under the age of 13 are not actually allowed to create a blog by the use of Weebly account by themselves according to Weebly.com. This is a quite shocking fact to me, and as I read the term/condition,

it says

Individuals under the age of 13 are prohibited from creating or using accounts through Weebly.com. Students under the age of 13 may, however, use Weebly through special student accounts created by their teachers through education.weebly.com, provided the teacher has obtained signed parental consent from the student’s parents.

I think most of the social network systems always pay attentions to the worst scenario  in the case that there should be any problems caused and it is also interesting for me to find out from students, with whom I have been working that they seem to have already got their own social networks of accounts outside of this school community. Yes there are tons of students under the age13 , who enjoy social communication with their friends, who live outside of this world.

It is very natural for them to have friends overseas, which is nothing special since they go to an international school, where many people all around the world get together to learn. Some of them stay in Japan a few years and leave this country all of a sudden. An international school is the physical miniature  of a social network around the world.

Your own school regulations

If you are working at school, your school has its own regulations/policies you/students need to follow. The hardest part of launching a project, which even seems to be good for students is that teachers/students need to get an approval of whatever you do or develop  from admins. You have to be very aware of things you can do and things you cannot do within such an organization. If there are no regulations/policies at all, upon which no responsibilities are taken, it would be easier for initiators to meet the project’s desire than you think. However vendors/schools/organizations need to be concerned with their regulations , rules and policies, which would be relevant to their philosophy or national laws. This is the dilemma every one of us experiences. How could it be challenged by students?

Credentials:

Terms of service‘ by Weebly.com on the 28th of October, 2012

The first day is always tough!

Initiators

Fortunately a few of students are excited at the news that I would have to work on a project to set up a platform for all users of our library to look for recommendations of good books to be read. Kirsten spreaded/released the news to them, whom she had encountered right after the lunch time. As she is a real professional teacher, she kindly facilitated the ground, where I could easily get  the project started even though I was not so ready to be confident starting although I had had enough reasons and resources explored beforehand. Kirsten suggested that once I should start, I could easily get to know which areas I prepare more and less.

Easy language

First of all I set up the smart board, where a gathering group of people easily could work on after I explained to them the reason behind this project and the accessible audience of this platform. The whole title of the blog was considered by all of them together, and the easy-language to be used for was suggested by two of the students since students themselves would have to understand the content at first even though the audience would include adults such as parents, teachers, experts and peers.

Readers favorites

They said that this should be a platform, where the students’ perspectives are highly valued. The simple is the best, on which they emphasize, yet to make the usage of language simple enough to be understood clearly could be the most difficult. However somehow they had already been accustomed to thinking of the attractive/objective description to represent the blog. All voices were coming in/out and in the end they all agreeded to ‘Readers Favorites’.

Since this platform idea was attributed to our reading activity called ‘Mystery Readers’, ‘Can You be My Mystery Readers?’ as an example was suggested to them at the first hand. They pointed out that it could not be applicable to everyone, which makes sense to the concept of this platform since it has to be useful one for all users out/inside of this community too. When the title was discussed, they said they would bring up the idea later, yet as they talked to each other during the allocated time, their unexpecting ideas, at which they were even surprised by themselves were coming out of their heads.

Vigorous students and their attention to the audience

They are also all volunteered/vigorous students,who want to ‘create’ something, and they look to me that this project is a part of play during their lunch recess time, which has to be something fun otherwise they would not have taken initiatives. They instantly allocated/assigned their roles by themselves since each student recognized her strength and weakness. There were 4 students gathering, and the first two took their parts in writing/editing and started thinking the descriptive sentences to explain the purpose of the blog to the audience. They were so eager to create the instruction on the welcome page, which needs to be clearly served to the students mainly since adults could understand childrens’ usage of language anyway. The level of the language should be focused on that of students. They seem to be hunger for the opportunity to create something, which is really extended format of playtime. This reminded me of the previous course, according to which play is the golden time to get our unprecedented ideas since all we are so relaxed during the playtime.

The rest of two were more likely to think of the fitted image of the each page according to a grade tab. They did not want to just point to the section of our library to have an image chosen, rather they wanted to create an extended image of the section integrated with those students’ physical expression. One day as I asked one student the reason behind the image they had created/chosen. She told me that selected books shown at the head banner of the G1/G2 page would have readers stop waiting for a second to inspire their curiosity to read the book, which has got the mismatched title with the illustration.

Since they seemed to enjoy the time so much, their ideas were seamlessly coming out/in and they loved editing their first thoughts, which were renewed again and again until they found their right sentences/words.

Ready to go!

Motivation

One of our volunteers as parents showed her favorite books to me so enthusiastically, and she explained those books in a lively way, which was a very motivating moment. I was thinking what are the reasons behind it. When you find or read a book, which more or less means to you a lot, you want to share how good it is with other people. Her direct reflection suddenly becomes so dynamic/reliable to persuade me more than any other vendors such as the library journal, subscribing magazines, and on-line reviews, which you do not know who is who. I thought this should be shared with other parents/students/teachers openly. They could be golden resources for students/parents/teachers out/inside of our community.

All remixed/reused/recombined again!

In addition, every Wednesday’s program titled ‘Smith’s bookshelf’ within World Business Satellite(WBS) TV Tokyo on air every weekday starting from at 11:00 pm has come to my attention. A well-known person recommends his/her beloved book ever read to the TV audience, and give enough reason to support his/her view on how it could/might have influenced on or/and changed his/her life. This is very dynamic enough to give a chance to the audience to get interested in a book, which otherwise you might not even get to know.

I was thinking of how or why it has been so successful that every book introduced to the audience every Wednesday via that channel tends to be sold more than ever after the program is released to the media. Is it  the person himself or herself that introduces his/her special book to the audience?

Extra value

The reason behind it makes sense to me when that thinking process reminds me of one of my days  in our library, in which one of our lovely/enthusiastic readers as parents’ volunteers shows her memorable experience via a book, whose story intervenes with some parts of her days spending with her children in another city/country.  This story has an appealing element of environmental issues exposed to readers, and all of a sudden, another extra value thanks to her story has been added to that book by one of our parents.

I always have difficult time when mystery readers come to our library to look for the best book to be read to the specific graders. There are plenty of books, and each book has its quality, which I recommend to them since they of course ask me to suggest any interesting books to attract students. There are three steps I always follow. I ask parents what kinds of book they want to read to students, and I show them the new book shelf and the mystery readers’ special collection, which I have already collected/selected beforehand.

Remixed with Mixi and Smith’s shelf

However in the end, it is parents themselves who choose what they want to read to students no matter how attractive a book I select is to me as a library staff. One of the solutions to such a limited information from me and her/his overwhelming will/vigorous power to look for a special book at a special occasion as a mystery reader’s role suddenly all get connected with an idea built upon Smith’s shelf, Mixi and our regular reading activity ; mystery reader organized by KG/JS classes. This is what we call remixed. As long as it is transformative, it could be away from copyright law/issues, and it could be protected by the notion of fair use. Let’s see how we could get it started!

Outline:

We will have an online readers’ suggesting book relay station for the whole community of our school in touch with other people, who live in outside of Japan including peers and experts in UK, Singapore, China and Switzerland.

Target audiences:

Possible connected/collaborated people would be our school community including our students, parents, teachers; the whole or some parts of families of my ex-colleagues, who live in other sides of this world ; my friends’ families  living in other countries ; students’ friends living overseas

Students→Parents→Students→Teachers in Japan get in touch with each other connecting to those people in other countries.

The autonomous participation:

Each parent/student/teacher will be a navigator of his/her loved book to be suggested to each other to read it to mystery readers(, which specifically relates to our school’s reading activity) for instance. Mystery reader is normally a signed-up volunteer as one of our students’ parents, who picks up a book to be read to a specific class. Students love this activity so much.

Hopefully this station will become a resource for them to look for books, which otherwise they would never think of.

This differs from other vendors in the sense that if your acknowledged/related people around you recommend their interesting books, they become more attractive/reliable ones to read. More intimate relationship to books might be made.

Technology tools:

Blog(Weebly)

How I should prepare:
Students will set up a main station using Weebly, which our school has got pro-account. Since this would be my trial project to see how it could work, I would register it by myself at first with free account.

In the case that this could work well, be developed into demanding and promising station(, which must be approved officially by our school.) its account could be upgraded into pro-one(premium). This stage’s necessity would depend on how well this is actively connected/collaborated with out/inside of our community.

Weebly for education and Mixi

For the whole summer…..

For the whole summer, I kept thinking of what I should do for the final project on course5, which needs getting collaborated/connected with people in/outside of our community. There was a possible idea, which I could not make it due to the lack of infrastructure or readiness in terms of the everything related to it. Then I had another thought about the role of our library, for which my project might be good.

A lot of talks and consultation

My consultation with many people including Kim, Kirsten, Hiromi, Reiko, Jo, Una as our K/JS principal and other COETAIL members at YIS helped me a lot to have a certain level of assurance to start this project, and as I talked to them, my ideas were getting clearer.

I shared this idea with my colleagues and had many feedback from them. In particular, the first person, whom I talked to was Kirsten, who is a librarian teacher of K/JS library. She showed/guided me a lot of tips to get it started. She suggested that I should take a couple of students, who want to start the project during their lunch recess time, which would not lose their class time. I can lead the questions to students as they would find it easier to build up their ideas to create the website. I should negotiate with our principle (Una) to get an approval in order to have our students in our library.

Hiromi showed the direction toward the sustainability of the platform, which should be maintained/managed by autonomous participants eventually. This was one of the most challenging issues to get the project started. I ended up talking to Kim, and explained my current limited situation, where I could not take any responsibility if this project were a part of our library’s resources officially. I would do this project independent of our school community or library management although it should still  follow our school’s philosophy to get this implemented as if this were a part of our school library. If this could work for all users around the world, our kindergarten/junior school students and their siblings in high school or their parents’ library volunteers could keep maintaining the account to monitor the site. In this project, creators/Initiators are our students in grade 4(, which the grade is the eldest in junior school). This platform then should be handed over to the next year’s fourth graders, their voluntary siblings and their parents, who come to our K/JS library or M/HS library for help regularly.

How I’ve decided to use Weebly as a platform

There are a plenty of good examples of how current social network community sites are actually involved/working in our society. The first thing to come up to my mind was Mixi’s(, which is similar version of face book) original concept that only users’ friend could register the community site as a member.

In this way, it could maintain its trustworthiness among users. This idea would work for especially the particular purpose in an educational field, where viewers of the websites/blogs(, to which kindergarten/junior students contribute) could be more reliable. Once all digital resources of a school community especially for kindergarten/junior students are exposed to the public, there should be a certain level of security, which could protect vulnerable students and their work. Here I am intending to have our students use ISSH publication policy created by Mitch, Hiromi, Joy and Garry when they create a platform.

Connected with other side of this world

However at the same time they should not lose any chances to get collaborated with/connected with experts/peers/friends in other side of this world. One of the challenges of transformation level lies here.  If you work for a company or a school or a whatsoever organization, it has got its own system, which needs to be followed according to the philosophy and the regulation.  Within the framework, your ideal project has to to be implemented.

Then I have been looking for a particular web/blog site designed for an educational purpose, which was introduced by my colleague when I explained to her my rough idea about creating a platform to be used for the audience to look for books to be read to students especially for an event like mystery reader.

She introduced Weebly to me as a user-friendly station so that students could also benefit from the ease of use , in particular, when they have to create a web/blogsite by themselves.

Attribution: ‘Weebly review: merits and drawbacks’ posted on @rticlehack.com on the 1st of May,2012.

In addition, Weebly already has been being used in all classes to have their common understanding/communication base, on which for instance students could post their assignments. Their experience of using the site also motivated me to have selected Weebly as a tool for this project. Moreover when I directly talked to our principal about my probable project(since at that time, I assumed I would have to get an approval from admins to start this as a part of our library property although it would not matter at all now due to my project completely independent of our school management), she showed me how each homeroom blog/site, whose host provider is ‘Weebly for education’ has been protected to the public. You need a password to log-in to view the site. I thought this would work for our platform with all necessary conditions considered.

My course4 final project: How would you get yourself prepared for the natural disasters?

Here is my unit-planner for the course4 final project.

 

Not enough infos ready at my district
I do not want to be negative for unpredictable situations you might come across, yet this is something you could not expect to know how it would be like when it happens. How much you prepare for those days might not make sense at all , in particular, in such days.

Yet we would not want to regret that the preparation is not enough. I am sure that there are tons of situations possibly thinkable depending on whenever/wherever/however you are on those coming disaster days. This is not something you could prepare for yourself and other people perfectly, yet at least sharing various simulations ready for the natural disasters would  help students to get more confidence to confront the tough situations.

When we had the huge earthquake disaster on the 11th of March, it terrified us a lot in many ways. The earthquake evacuation did not work so much. Some of students and faculties could not follow the emergency rules the school had set up. We had the meeting right after the 11th of March in 2011 to review the day. We realized that we could not follow our emergency procedures exactly, yet since we had practiced so many times, intrinsically we knew that where we should go, what we should do and how we should behave.

However there could be possible occasions, which you might be at off the school campus, and officially in our schools any other possible cases have not been shared with each other.

Since the course 4 is all about how we could urge ourselves to learn in this hyper-connected society, the possible  natural disasters would let us be proactive for creating the strategy to deal with the unpredictable situations. This might be something we could work together and/or collaborate with outsiders, who could be official people/experts/peers.

The reverse instruction and/or flipped classroom

First of all, I would like students to have the basic information or brief idea of the consequence of natural disasters at home via watching a short video/slideshows about how other institutions/organizations prepare themselves for the expecting natural disasters. By the time we have the first session, they should have the rough/fundamental idea to think ahead the strategy.

On the second/thrid/forth sessions at home/school, they will start researching their living area(for instance, Minatoku district, Shibuya district and Chiyoda district). I would suggest that they should go for the homepage of according district to find out the current status of the qualitative/quantitative release of information since a student/s is/are appointed to be a civil servant/s to improve the risk management of an area. For instance, Bunkyo-ku does not seem to have enough info of the case of emergency.

It would be great if they could find a way to collaborate with outsiders (, one of whom might be a real appointed director of his/her area). Since this is more likely to be challenged based learning leading to project-based learning, they should be expected to find their own strategies/solutions to their living area. It is totally up to them that they could make a video to show the citizens of a particular area of the district  the safe ways or tips to evacuate their living area. For instance they can take an advantage of the utility of Google Maps.

They could also think as realistic as possible how it would be like if they were in some sorts of situations such as sleeping at night, going out for dinner and staying at their friends’ houses.

On the final day, those simulation videos created by students will be loaded to the voice-threads, which could be shared and make other groups comment/feedback on their opponents’ simulations. This opportunity would give students other inspirations/approach/unknown- useful information.

Finally…

I hope that this topic itself is dynamic enough to urge students to learn autonomously, collaboratively and enthusiastically. At the same time, this would involve their physical field investigation on their area, which would not let them sit in front of lap-tops or i Pads all days. Hopefully this topic makes students find their own balance to get strong concentration on their work.

Credentials:

‘Are You Ready for an Earthquake?’ by CollegeoftheCanyons. Youtube. 2012/03/15. Online. Youtube. 2012.

Both in academics and (in)sports

Confronting with students using lap-tops

My first experience to have students in our library use lap-tops is my course1 project. We let them use the image search engine, which was taught by teachers beforehand during their computer class. When I oversaw students do their own research by way of open-ended survey strategy, they engaged in their work enthusiastically and many of them were not distracted by their own habits(such as checking-emails and going to facebook. ) The reasons behind this could relate to the facts that they were the 4th graders(, who are under 13 years old and are not allocated any accounts of e-mails, and  are not supposed to use any social network services for their own private/official social use due to their young age).

However regardless of the age restrictions made/released by those social network companies,  I am sure that there are tons of ways to sneak out and some students might have already created their own accounts for social network services, and if they were allowed to have their own accounts, I would think that they had probably been tempted by checking their own e-mails, facebook and personal digital relationships with their friends in real time. Moreover recently two kids, who are brothers in their family in USA have created a social network communication service available for kids.

In addition, it seemed to me that they wanted to explore any other applications or their frequent visits to their sites since they had been only told to use one of the application for the research. From this point, they would unconsciously think of their commitments in the digital world soon after they are in front of their lap-tops.

Both in academics and (in) sports

There is saying in Japan that ‘ Both in academics and (in) sports’. This notion could be extended/applicable to the post: ‘the amazing power of tech breaks’ by Larry Rosen, Ph.D.

I remember at my junior high school days that teachers or the whole school strongly recommended at that time that we should belong to at least one of sports/culture clubs during the school days.

Deep in the study of sport

Title: Sports and Academics. Attributions: By Wyoming_Jackrabbit.

Moreover they did not encourage us to belong to any kinds of culture clubs or only if it is the orchestra club, your choice of culture clubs was very welcomed. They did not encourage other culture clubs other than the orchestra club since some of them were not valued so much in terms of the universal/hypothetical recognition/assumption/biased view by teachers that members don’t do so much activities to be engaged in.

What they were saying to students, who are reluctant to belong to/commit themselves to any kinds of intensive clubs is the evidence, which shows that people, who engage in sports clubs have better academic results, and their social relationship with others/performances become healthier/productive than people, who have not so much other social activities/relationships outside of their own fixed-classroom.

Especially at that time, it was very hard for me to accept their encouragement since I was not sure if I could do both fair school work and busy club life. Each student had some sorts of pressures that we had to pass the competitive exams to enroll in one of the high schools. I ended up belonging to the orchestra club, which I assumed was a bit easier than any other options I had had since I was comfortable in that area.

However still it was very tough for me to do two big things in a time(, since the orchestra club does really make you engage in your time a lot for practicing the music piece by your instrument and have to get yourself prepared for the rehearsal or the collaboration with other music players for the concerts being held several times a year. ) In addition, the music teacher’s expectation was so severe and intense too.

Concentration and multitasking

The effective use of technology in the classroom, in particular, the lap-top would essentially or automatically ask students to engage in so many tasks in an occasion, which refers to the managing multitasking by Common Sense Media. If you see the tablet PCs, the concept behind the product is what you can do anything anywhere anytime, which is our human desire yet it requires multi-tasking capabilities more than ever. All current students live in an environment, where you are supposed to do so many things at the same. In order to do so, I believe that the concentration is a key word for this topic. We would have to let them have concentration to engage in their tasks.  

Now I can tell why junior-high school teachers strongly recommended that we should belong to any sports club for the holistic educational purpose.

If you could engage in one thing enthusiastically, you could apply that method to your other school performances such as academic life, social relationships and public/private life. In addition, if you feel very reluctant, or less positive toward anything you have to do, playing sports or being active in other committed sides of societies would help you to start thinking positively/approaching in different ways or be refreshed. Moreover even in a physical world, you would have to handle so many things in an occasion as you get older  if you like it or not, and it might have been a training opportunity for students to get prepared for the reality of society.

Since they are automatically in the situation, where students are meant to be multi-task players in the digital world,  they need time to organize themselves in different ways to control their private/social/academic lives, which could be all interrelated/circulated. Moreover if you know how to refresh yourself by mode of putting yourself in other social activities in physical would, you learn that this is an effective way for you to concentrate on your engagements/commitments better.

Within the digital world, it could be the same. Students would have to think of their many private/school commitments/communities anywhere anytime, and any sorts/notions of belonging to sports/culture clubs in physical world would work for digital world too.

Credentials:

‘Sports and Academics’ by Wyoming_Jackrabbit No real name given. Flicker. January 20, 2010. Online. Flicker. Yahoo! Inc. 2012.

No chances for the poor users of non/verbal communication?

Difficult society?

One of the commentators, whose occupation was the sociologist and the essayist said on TV last week in the Japanese documentary program relating to ’Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)’, that

we were living in this modern society, where the communication is heavily relied on / focused on and every company or social institution values people, who could have an excellent communication skills and collaborate/connect/socialize with others efficiently/effectively whereas there was a time prior to the advent of information era that it was ok to be a wordless person.

 

This is because there were all types of  labour/occupational opportunities available even for people, who don’t necessarily like to communicate with others in contrast to the mode of the current society. For one of  instances, almost everything is now automatic, which creates less human labour grounds whereas more jobs  for craftsmans existed in the early 20th century.

 

Because of the social trend,  this type of human-beings in Japan were largely accepted in our society especially during the time without any technology introduced to our society, and sometimes they were highly valued type of males respected by females.

 

Hence for those minority people or what we call ‘clumsy people’  the present era is more difficult to live in since we are in a society ,where the communication/social relationship is a crucial key element to create or/and make something happen. (For instance, IT enterprises, entertainments and social network systems.)

 

People, who have ASD are likely to be more outstanding and recognized than ever since they did not have so much difficulty to live in prior to the the advent of hyper-connected world. There were positions available even for less communicative competent people.

 

(I summarized her comment, which was interpreted into English.)

Connectivism as savior

Then would they be segregated by or left behind by hyper-connected society after all, where only highly communicative competent people are demanded?

As I read through the article: ‘Collaborative Learning for the Digital Age’ by Cathy N. Davidson,

Title: The Collaboration Pyramid. Attribution: By oscarberg Oscar Berg.

it makes me realize that they should not be so disappointed at the current trend. Moreover all about concepts/ideas behind connectivism, MOOCs(Massively Open Online Course), global collaboration  should support the deficiency that we are limited in our capability to receive all of the information and do the processing perfectly/efficiently since we are anyway unperfect organisms.

In my understanding for the definition of connectivism, since we are exposed to the hyper-network society, we are living in an environment, where other set-standards of notions(such as behaviorism: ‘reality is external and is objective, and knowledge is gained through experiences.’ ; constructivism: ‘reality is interpreted, and knowledge is negotiated through experience and thinking.’ and cognitivism: ‘reality is internal, and knowledge is constructed.’) are getting less appropriate to our understanding of current native digital students/citizenships, and we have been shifted to being or developed to have become  world-wide connected people more than ever in terms of time and space.

This would affect us in a way of thinking, sensing and learning anything of the outside of ourselves. For instance, within the idea of constructivism, the everything in a society can be learnt in or followed by a set-up standard of systematic vision/framework, which is constant and absolute. In our current society, we could find this idea difficult to be correspondent to our hyper-networked society, where every moment new information is in/out and facts are revised/edited/rewritten because nothing stays the same as before.

Supplements

Since thanks to the social network systems we are so connected to each other, we could help/substitute/supplement each other (, which result in some collaboration). For example, Massively Open Online Courses(MOOC) like University of People in the world might give us  an option or a clue for bridging a gap between passionate learners(, who are eager to know/learn the outside of their world) and reluctant learners(, who are negative to interact with outsiders).

 As for positive learners, our face to face learning is also a crucial thing. In our last workshop for course4, we again confirmed each other that interacting with others in an offline learning space had meant a lot to us too. I don’t think we could only rely on online learning environment, where each student does not have to come to schools/institutions.  Offline human relationship with others is inevitable,  so is online connection with others. Either interaction is not perfect, and each could cover for its deficiency and its limitation. Hopefully ‘poor users of non/verbal communication’ could be supported/supplemented/substituted by excellent communicators in on/offline environments.

Credentials:

  • “Collaborative Learning for the Digital Age” by Cathy N. Davidson. The Chronicle review. August 26, 2011. The Chronicle of higher education. Online. 2012.
  • “Connectivism-A Learning theory for the digital age” by George Siemens. elearnspace-everything elearning. December 12, 2004. elearnspace-everyting elearning. Online. 2012.
  • “MOOC: Massive Open Online Course” by . Open education news. July 30, 2008. Open education news. Online. WordPress.com. 2012.

  • “Autism spectrum” by Wikipedia-the free encyclopedia. 2012. Online. Wikimedia Foundation. 2012.
  • “The Collaboration Pyramid” by oscarberg Oscar Berg. Flicker. March 2, 2012. Flicker. Online. Yahoo! Inc. 2012.

‘For sport and play I think that we are born…..’

遊びをせんとや生れけむ 戯れせんとや生れけん
遊ぶ子供の声きけば 我が身さえこそ動がるれ(#359)

Title: Royal Visit to Ôhara, from The Tale of the Heike. Attributions: By peterjr1961 Peter Roan.

梁塵秘抄(りょうじんひしょう) ‘Ryoujin hishou: The Collection of Japanese Popular Songs’ Edited by the Ex- Emperor Goshirakawa in around B.C 1180.

For sport and play

I think that we are born;

For jesting and laughter

I doubt not we are born.

For when I hear

The voice of children at their play,

My limbs, even my

Stiff limbs, are stirred.

 

Translated by the reknowned Arthur D. Waley in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, April 1921.

(Please refer the above translation to the link here.)

Absorption

When you are absolutely riveted by your interests, you forget the time passing by. It seems to me the whole concept behind reverse instruction and game-based learning or play lies here.

Since we want students to be absorbed in what they learn, educators thinks of various possible teaching methods to have them interested in the subjects, which teachers teach to students.

Even extra schools, where students go after their commitments of compulsory schools attract  new/incoming students and their parents in innovative ways of coaching them. They could refer to things, which normally compulsory schools could not offer to students because there are not enough time to do relevant experiences such as experiments/practices for science/math, programming lessons for IT and following-up or going ahead of/some explorations of school curriculum.

Extra (cram )school and its developing coaching methods 

As I read through articles for this week, one of extra schools after regular compulsory schools in Japan came up to my mind. This school was a kind of cutting edge at that time when I used to go there to review or prepare for my studies at compulsory educational institutions. It introduced the concept of game-based learning, which had been integrated with school curriculum. By means of the game-based learning, students are supposed to learn the elements of subjects step by step.  However  this was not about ‘learning new things in new ways’ since the contents were all top-down contents, but rather ‘learning old things in new ways’ if we could still see this type of learning at the extra(cram) school, where I went.

At that time, this was quite innovative learning method at least for me, and it was OK to be left behind the progress of other students since the curriculum at that school customizes your according level. Every booth(, in which there is a desk-top computer with the integrated curriculum installed into the extra school’s system) was segregated by the board in your right and left, and there were no pressures at all compared to any other types of cram schools(Juku) in Japan since the school would have no rankings of your extra-school performances visually posted and you were graded against your previous scores and levels. In addition, you were welcome to call for coaches or teachers to ask inquiries as they did their work(answered the questions based on the game-based learning method) on the computer during your contact hours.

The process of the learning system was that the first cycle of each lesson has the lecture, and the other half of the lesson takes you to answering the questions regarding the topic. This was a kind of early developing stage of flipped-classroom since there were no hours spent for experiments or exploring your learning journey.

Your competitive rivals were yourself within the educational philosophy at the extra school. Customization of your lessons, the way each student is assessed within the institution and the lecture you could take on your demand in front of the desk-top at the extra school could be said to be ‘learning old things in new ways’.

It is your job to get yourself motivated/absorbed.

On the other hand, I enjoyed the first half year of the custimized program at the extra school since game-based learning attracted me in an easy-going way, and I felt or had illusions on myself if I could be on the better track or  learn better/more  to catch up with or enhance my understanding of the compulsory curriculum of the school.  Yet the attraction or my addiction to the method of using the desk-top PCs to take the lecture and answer the questions based on the curriculum did not last since I simply got bored with learning old things in new ways(,in particular, learning methods) although I kept going to the extra school for a while. You would get bored with some kinds of innovations once time passes by and you get used to it.

Although the new ways of learning such as game-based(or sound-like play) learning,the reverse instruction itself and even flipped classroom are applied to the provisional and novel educational methods, the contents have to be dynamic enough to attract learners. In other words, I personally think that this is something each learner has to find in his/her way to get himself/herself absorbed in enjoying to learn.

It could be you that can motivate or inspire yourself. Moreover no ones could help this point no matter what parents or teachers encourage learners or students to do their studies or research. Since nothing stays forever, everything is changing. Yet  the fact that each student’s curiosity needs to come from his or hers seems to be an unchangeable status or element for learning whereas all sorts of learning methods such as the reverse instruction, flipped-classroom,the gamification and the game-based learning could be replaced with far-out strategies at some points in some days.

Idling moments

In order to have learners motivated by themselves, educators should welcome idling or seemingly ineffective/inefficient time, which learners are confronted with or spend although more or less to educators or parents it could sound nonsense or unproductive.

Credentials:

  • “Shaping tech for the classroom” by Marc Prensky. Edutopia.12/2/2005. Online. The George Lucas Educational Foundation. 2012.
  • “The Ex-Emperor Goshirakawa (1127-93)’ under ‘Japanese Elegies Index’ categorized by ‘Modern World-surveys of poetical works’ by Kiyo. Repository of mythos and poesy-Welcome to Kiyo’s gleanings from literature. 02/06/2008. Online. GoStats. Hosted by Earth-Link. 2012.
  • “Royal Visit to Ôhara, from The Tale of the Heike” by By peterjr1961 Peter Roan. December 18, 2010 in Upper East Side, NY, US, using a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi. Online. Flicker. Yahoo! Inc. 2012.