[SWF]http://brueckei.org/jsb_content/currere_engage/pinar.swf, 440, 260[/SWF]

Full Screen Version of Learning Object

This semester I’m enrolled in an independent study with Dr. Lisa Lenhart and Dr. Jennifer Milam from the University of Akron. The course is Introduction to Curriculum Theory, one which isn’t currently offered as a part of the College of Education’s Curriculum and Instruction doctoral program. The main text we are using to guide our discussion of curriculum theory is William F. Pinar‘s 2004 work, “What is Curriculum Theory?” From the course syllabus:

Curriculum theory is, then, about discovering and articulating, for oneself and with others, the educational significance of the school subjects for self and society in the ever-changing historical moment. As a consequence, curriculum theory rejects the current “business-minded” school reform, with its emphasis on test scores on standardized examinations, academic analogues to “the bottom line” (i.e., “profit”). It rejects the miseducation of the American public” (Pinar, 2004, p. 16).

As I’ve been working my way through the text, one of the concepts I’m trying to understand more deeply is the significance of the re-conceptualization of curriculum studies. After reading the first few chapters, it’s quite clear that Pinar has some issues with the historical context of curriculum theory. In fact, he is very intent on voicing his opinion regarding the complexities and contradictions of curriculum theory and practice as most educators know it.

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Friday November 13, 17.37.39

For the past year, Dr. Kathleen Roskos from John Carroll University, Dr. Karen Burstein, Director of the Southwest Institute for Families and Children and I have been researching use of eBooks with early literacy learners. Most recently, our team has started a study that will look at instructional interactions with eBooks that promote early literacy development and vocabulary. After viewing the David Merrill TED video and blogging about it in this post, I began to consider how our research team might incorporate these devices as part of our work. I was so excited about this possibility that I decided to email the Sifteo team to see if they might be open to collaborating with us on research in the future.

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Siftables

Have you seen the TED talk with David Merrill yet? The one where he demos these little building block thingies that are actually computers and can communicate with one another? While it’s over a year old, if you haven’t seen it yet, I’d highly recommend you take a look at it. The objects in the video are called Siftables and they are a product of work that Merrill started at the MIT Media Lab along with his partner Jeevan Kalanithi. Recently, Merrill and friends formed a start-up company called Sifteo to continue their work. They are closing in on a commercial launch of the product. From their website, Siftables are:

…sets of cookie-sized computers with motion sensing, neighbor detection, graphical display, and wireless communication. Siftables act in concert to form a single interface: users physically manipulate them—piling, grouping, sorting—to interact with digital information and media. Siftables provide a new platform on which to implement tangible games...

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I’m creeping closer towards the completion of my doctoral coursework. This means that the beginning of my own educational research study and dissertation writing is not to far from my future. As a part of my coursework at the University of Akron, I’ve been participating in a Doctoral Student Research Forum that includes students from three research method classes (Data Collection Methods, Advanced Statistics and Advanced Qualitative Methods) and their respective College of Education faculty.

In a fairly progressive undertaking by UA College of Education faculty, Dr. Kristin Kosksy, Dr. Susan Kushner Benson, Dr. Xin Liang, Dr. Jennifer Milam and Dr. Sandra Spickard Prettyman, doctoral students from 5 different sections of those classes have been assigned to small discussion groups. From the course requirements we were provided, the purpose of the forum is to:

…provide College of Education doctoral students with an opportunity to work with other doctoral students and faculty in a collaborative and collegial manner while exploring and reflecting upon contemporary research topics.

Most recently, we have been reading and discussing articles relating to the purpose of a dissertation literature review. We began with David N. Boote’s and Penny Beile’s Scholars Before Researchers: On the Centrality of the Dissertation Literature Review in Research Preparation. From there, we moved on to Literature Reviews of, and for, Educational Research: Commentary on Boote and Beile’s “Scholars Before Researchersby Joseph A. Maxwell.

Wordle - Role & Purpose of Literature Review

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EduCon 2.2 2014 January 29201331, 2010 2014 Philadelphia

Educon 2.2 has come and gone, but I certainly have not forgotten it. I had intended on posting my reflections in a more timely manner, but a few things over the past few weeks have kept me from finishing this post. So while I’m a little behind the other Educon attendees who posted reflections, I still think that it is worthwhile to finish this post and to contribute my thoughts and take-aways back to the community. Thanks to all those I was able to meet and learn with in Philadelphia.

Take-Away #1: Students own the event.

From the moment Kim and I walked into the doors of Science Leadership Academy until the time we left, I was impressed with how students were the center of the event. Dressed in their white lab coats, we were greeted at the registration table and escorted around the building to tour the school facilities. Along the way, our gracious hosts gave us a first-person account of the ins and outs of SLA. They started by providing us with a thorough overview of the core values that guide the learning at SLA. Students were extremely articulate in explaining the admission process, describing the types of classes they are taking, the schedule that they follow, the assessment methods they’re involved with and what they like most about attending SLA.

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TweetDeck

Jennifer Johnson and Carol Kliesen are second grade classroom teachers at Spoede Elementary School in the Ladue School District in St. Louis, Missouri. I had the opportunity to attend their session, “Liven Up Learning – iPods and Classroom Blogs” at METC 2010 and find out how they are using iPods and blogging in their classrooms. From the conference planner:

Liven up learning by using simple tools like iPods and blogging applications. Students independently use iPods to learn new material, review important concepts, and extend learning. Students use communication and collaborative skills as they create blogs that engage and empower them to integrate technology skills as they become 21st Century learners.

Below are my notes, in tweet format, from their very informative session. Thanks for sharing Jennifer and Carol!

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METC 2010

I’ve been attending the Midwest Educational Technology Conference in St. Charles, Missouri, for the past two days. One of the highlights of my trip the METC 2010 has been having the opportunity to meet Scott Meech in person for the first time. I first began to communicate virtually with Scott through the I Education App Review (IEAR) community that he founded. Dedicated to exploring the educational value of iPhone and iPod Touch applications in the classroom, IEAR has a growing online community that has a lot of great conversations going on. I provided more details about the benefits of IEAR in a previous post.

Earlier this morning, Scott gave a spotlight presentation at METC where he talked about the IEAR community and highlighted a number of apps that he feels have strong educational potential for classroom use. From the conference planner:

The potential for mobile learning devices such as Apple’s iPhone and iTouch devices are very high. This presentation will take a closer look at the educational possibilities of these devices for students, teachers and administrators. We will focus on the work being done through the online community “I Educational Apps Review.” This community is focused on helping school personnel to effectively and safely use these devices for their personal and educational productivity. Apple’s “Application Store” has thousands of educational applications and yet, are they really educational? We will walk through some fantastic applications and their potential with schools. Additionally, we will discuss issues surounding these devices such as how to effectively implement these devices with students in classrooms to the highlighting of concrete lessons.

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Today’s students were born digital but those responsible for their education were not. Youngsters arrive at school in tune with the social context and experience the Web offers. Children thrive when teachers find ways to educate them in a more flexible, hypertext manner. This space focuses on development of and support for teachers in their use of technology as they cultivate 21st century content knowledge and skills in their students.