Monday, October 22, 2012

C4T Summary #2

Andrea Hernandez & EdTech Workshop
For my next C4T, I was assigned to Andrea Hernandez and her blog is called "EdTech Workshop". Andrea Hernandez labels herself as a "passionate educator" and is currently exploring the usage of blogs as a platform for personalized learning and documenting the changes & growth in each subject. She is currently a 21st century learning specialist and instructional coach at Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, facilitating online classes for Professional Learning Board and co-creating a conference called "EdJEWcon".

I commented on her post, "Where is the Authentic Audience?" and this heavily relates to what we are doing in our class. She talks about an authentic audience for bloggers. Students use to have the class and the teacher as their audience. The audience provides guidance, critique, feedback, opinions, conversations and etc. But in the blogging world, who and where is the audience? What does "authentic audience" mean? As bloggers, we need to write a quality post and need to keep the readers in mind. As teachers, they need to understand the concept and usage of blogs in a deep way. They also need to teach their students how to write a blog effectively with quality. The students should be taught how to write in a powerful manner, doing the assignment because it's more than an assignment and know how to create a conversation in a blog. There is also the question of are we writing for ourselves or for the audience? In some of her comments to other educators or commenters, she talks about how sometimes the comments she gets are not that insightful. Sometimes the audience doesn't understand the post and they might be commenting just because it's an assignment.

In all honesty, I went to comment and admitted that I might not have understood her post entirely. I was not sure if it's on my end or that face I was not taught how to comprehend other people's writing well enough. I also commented because it was an assignment. I tried to make it more than just an assignment. I learned something new in the end. In my comment, I told her about my experience and what we are doing in our EDM310 class that is related to what she was talking about. Our authentic audience is the class but I asked the question, "who will be our audience after the class the over?” In this class, we are learning how to be effective writers and Dr. Strange is an educator who is guiding us through the process of 21st century learning. Like how she claimed her tweeting with no replies was ironic, I have to agree with her. It's really different from getting valuable feedback in the physical world versus the web. In our class, we have C4C assignments but most students find it too mean to leave an honest critique. Most students end up with comments that won't help the student. This is not an authentic audience. If we were to do this as an in-class assignment where we exchanged papers to edit, we would actually gain the authentic critique we want. It's hard for us, bloggers, to gain an authentic audience. Blogging and commenting is not something many people will do. People also like to keep their opinions to themselves than use the time to write a long and effective comment. In the end, she replied to all of us claiming, "This is the power of authenticity", because in this one post she received more than 15 comments that are insightful. We were the examples of her authentic audience. I still think I may have misunderstood her post.

In the second post, "Creating a Target- A Work in Progress", Andrea Hernandez talks about the change in education and how educators have to accommodate to this change. A 21st century learner should receive a 21st century education. Change is inevitable. She and other educators are working together to create a structure to support their school's growth and change as the society/world changes around them. They summed their rubric into a one-page-summary. Below is a picture of that one-page-summary:

In my comment, I wrote "...Education has changed/shifted and I think we all need to be 21st century learners and educators, not the 19th. What you are doing is great because you are trying to cope with the change. Not many educators would do that. When there is a change in society, there will be a change in learning and education. When there is a change in education, educators need to re-define their purpose and tasks. The chart you provided is superb." I think it is very important that as time changes, we have to change with it. As a student of the modern era, it's difficult to learn things the old fashion way. Penmanship is thrown away, chalkboards are starting to disappear, and technology is making their advances into the classrooms. SMARTboards are being placed, we are allowed to use our laptops, do our research online and etc. Teachers/Educators have to change or re-define their purposes and tasks. Teachers need to change their roles in order to accommodate with the changes around them. Our way of learning is different than how it was 20 years ago. Like what Kevin Roberts says in his video "Teaching in the 21st Century", teachers are filters for their students. I think Andrea Hernandez has the right point. It's great that teachers/educators are putting in their efforts to improve teaching, learning and education rather than going against it.

At the end of my comment, I asked her a question. It's the same question I asked David Truss when I did my C4T with him. I asked her, "What advice would you give to a future educator? Or what would you like to impart to us future educators?" Instead of replying as a comment, she made a blog post answering this question! In her recent blog post, "So, You Want to Teach?", she gives future educators her advice! In her post, the usage of bullet points and images are highly effective. It makes the post have distinct qualities. At the end of her post she wrote, "Your craft is the art of learning. And learning is the art of living. Teaching is not easy. You might sometimes wish you worked at the car wash instead. But remember that you are touching lives." The beauty of teaching is that you are touching lives. It's not just touching but you are changing, influencing and helping as well. As an educator, you need to be passionate and dedicated in what you do. You have to be responsible, reflect on yourself, willing to learn more than what you know and etc. She points out that we need to take care of ourselves. To most people, it may sound selfish but it's true. Like she says, we are the energy of the classroom. We need to take care of ourselves before we take care of others. We need to be healthy in order to work. It's a wonderful post! I highly recommend future educators to read this post and her blog. It's very useful and it makes you think. Thank you Andrea Hernandez for giving us valuable advice.

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