Groups 1 & 2

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Michael Vetere (Group 2)
As I understand form the 21st Century Skills website (www. P21.org) youth need to develop master several skills in order to succeed in work and life. These include Core Subject Themes, Learning and Innovation Skills, Information, Media, and Technology Skills, and Life and Career Skills. Personally, I believe these skills are crucial to the young child and necessary for a convergent and constructive citizen. As an individual passionate about the arts and arts education and learning through the arts, the skills outlined are often noted in National and individual writings. For example, a blog by Shelley Hardin, Development Associate of Young Audiences notes the key for successfully obtaining 21st Century Skills is integration (Hardin, 2012). When integration is introduced students are able to “collaborate, plan ahead, and to think critically and creatively through the arts, effectively addressing both curriculum requirements and the need for 21st Century Skills (2012).
I was unaware Illinois aligned itself with P21 and it gives me mixed reactions. On one hand I am excited that we are and will be educating our youth to be more creative, independent thinkers, and ultimately developing constructive citizens, yet on the other…when we try to standardize and measure everyone on one scale we run into problems. Silva’s article does caution on the amount of politics and the large amount of money we will be or have invested in this program with limited communication among policy makers and educators (2008).
One way in which I evoke 21st century skills in my classroom is by providing a framework without a picture. I find that room for creativity and independent thinking is necessary for constructive work. I often have my students develop a resource file with a set framework , yet how they complete the task is up to them. Often the students today revert to the computer – by providing the creative freedom to investigate and construct the students make websites, PowerPoint, spreadsheets, word documents, prezi, and a variety of other methods to achieve their goal.
Personally, I need the resource and time to investigate online and technology tools that would be accessible to everyone. My schedule is often crammed full and finding the time to play around with technology and discovering what works and what doesn’t is my biggest downfall.

Reference:
Hardin, Shelley. (2012, May 29). Developing 21st Century Skills Through Arts Integration.[Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://artsforlearning.wordpress.com/2010/02/13/developing-21st-century-skills-through-arts-integration/
Silva, E. (2008). Measuring skills for the 21stcentury. Washington, DC: Education Sector. www.educationsector.org/usr_doc/MeasuringSkills.pdf


Response to Michael Vetere:

I totally agree that time plays against teachers and it is so hard to find the time to discover technology. I think your idea of providing a framework without a picture is a great one! I oftentimes wish I had been taught that skill to be creative with my work, because I feel like when I was in school there were strict guidelines to every assignment and I find myself in college stressing out when I am not given those guidelines.
In response to your mixed reactions about P21, I think there is definitely less standardization in P21 than there are in state standards. In fact, the website says they provide “tools and resources,” which I feel leave a lot more up to the teacher. Do you think, though, in this age of high-stakes standardized testing, that P21 will survive?
~Michelle Schwartze

Response to Michelle Schwartze:
I know exactly what you mean about missing out on the opportunity to use creativity in my work while in grade school and high school. I too find myself still craving those specific guidelines in graduate courses for fear that I will do something incorrectly or leave something out. I am working on adapting my own habits and trying to leave assignments more open-ended for my students. Sometimes this can be challenging, even at the college level, because I teach many mandatory courses and the department requires very specific assignments. Although, I am working to integrate more in depth or fresh technology into those assignments I can develop myself. I love being in classes such as this one and another tech course I was enrolled in last semester because it allows me to learn more about the technology available in which I was completely unaware.
Does anybody have any additional suggestions for programs or educational technologies that would be helpful in a Speech 101 course? Three speeches are required (demonstration, informative and persuasive) and there is some freedom on my part for how the assignment is designed.
-Megan Griffin


Response to Michael Vetere:
In Section 2 of Knowing Knowledge, Siemens (2006) describes the power of emotions and creativity in learning, “We advance humanity’s potential through knowledge. We advance humanity through emotion,” (p. 103). Michael, your description of providing a framework without the picture for your college students seems to acknowledge that we have a need to make associations and create new understanding from these associations, and we don’t necessarily need this laid out clearly for us. Did you find that this section of the text really resonated with you?

Addressing the C of creativity with the P21 skills is a difficult task within the context of over-standardization and assessment for not only our young students, but also the teacher candidates that we are preparing to teach them. I found Becker, Hodge, and Sepelyak’s position on using project-based learning as a way to bring creativity, technology, and assessment together to be a fantastic strategy. I used project-based learning to engage my young learners, meet standards, and assess them. This type of teaching is one of the best ways to allow for the connections that Siemens (2006) consistently refers to, and we know children and adults need to make connections in order to make sense of their world. This approach also permits creativity through every aspect of a project as students’ and teachers’ questions drive the project and answers cannot necessarily be planned in advance. I encourage everyone to check out the work of Lillian Katz and Judy Harris Helm at http://www.projectapproach.org/ where you can read about project-based learning for young children. I plan to send info on the PBL teaching and assessment that Becker, Hodge, and Sepelyak (2010) discuss to my old colleagues working with intermediate, middle, and upper grades. Has anyone else used PBL or project work in their teaching? With/ without tech? I’d love to hear how others have interpreted the creativity and learning inherent in this type of a model.

References:
Becker, J. D., Hodge, C. A., & Sepelyak, M. W. (2010). Assessing technology literacy white paper: The case for an authentic, project-based learning approach. GenYes website:http://genyes.org/media/freeresources/assessing_tech_literacy_whitepaper.pdf

Siemens, G. (2006). Knowing knowledge. eLearnspace Blog: http://www.elearnspace.org/KnowingKnowledge_LowRes.pdf

:) Kira Hamann

Response to Kira Hamann:

I have used PBLs before. At Bradley a large part of what was taught in education was about PBLs. I wish I used them more because I have found that they really get the students engaged. I agree that it is a great way to enhance students' creativity. Some teachers may be more unwilling to use PBLs, though, because of the time to prepare and the inability to plan for many aspects as you had stated. I do think that if teachers are more comfortable with the subjects, though, that they are more willing to implement these more creative lessons for students. So, I think teacher preparation should focus on giving teachers confidence in the subject as well as teaching them these methods of teaching and assessment. I also think PBLs are a great place to integrate technology, possibly within the problem itself, but also students can use technology to explore the project and present possible solutions. Kira - I'm glad you brought up PBLs because it has reminded me of how effective they are and I am now going to try and implement them more this upcoming school year!!

~Michelle Schwartze

Response to Michelle:

Michelle, I haven't stopped thinking about our PBL discussion. When I was setting up a YouTube channel for myself today using Lucy Gray's tips from the SlideShare presentation in Module 2, I discovered an awesome PBL video from Edutopia. Check it out here. My question after viewing was how do we get the knowledge of the powers of PBLs to more teachers? Let me know what you think!

:)Kira

Response to Kira:
Thanks for sharing that! Edutopia is a great resource for PBL information! I was hoping to hear more about Hunger Games from the beginning of the video, but then there wasn't anything about it. But, it was a good video. I think this is a great start to getting the knowledge to teachers, and I think higher education should definitely be making preservice teachers do these! But, of course when they get into their own classrooms there is always a set curriculum to follow and we all know that being a first year teacher is so hard that few of them will go out of their ways to create their own PBLs, but instead will follow the curriculum. And, then I think teachers just get into a rut. I'm not sure how we get around that...maybe creating curriculum that is easily adaptable might be a start so that teachers don't have to put it aside because of a lack of time. Kira - you want to create some curriculum with me. ;) But, really, another thing I think we need is research showing the effectiveness of PBLs...I feel a dissertation coming on. Sharing is always necessary, too, so we all need to keep sharing these ideas with colleagues and future teachers.
~Michelle



Michelle Schwartze (Group 1)

Before this class, I had heard of the 4 C’s (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation), but not in the context of 21st century learning. The 21st century skills that P21 talks about are the 3 R’s fused with the 4 C’s, technology/media skills, and real world/career skills (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2011). I wholeheartedly believe that students need these skills.
I was unaware that Illinois had aligned itself with P21. I have heard a lot about the Common Core, but very little about this. I think that Illinois’ focus on school leadership (Illinois, 2007) is a good one because I think that great education begins with great leadership. Also, what better way to teach collaboration to students than by showing them how schools can collaborate with others in positive ways?
I think technology needs to play a huge part in providing environments for students to learn 21st century skills. But, it cannot just be “on the surface” technology – for example, using a Smart Board to give notes to students every day. It needs to be proactive and allow students to get involved. Utecht (2010) talks a lot about Web 2.0 and how that allows people now to be producers and consumers, a term he cites is “prosumers.” Educators need to be teaching their students how to be prosumers. Personally, I have a lot of work to do in this area, but being in graduate school helps me better prepare my students because I can stay up to date on technology much more easily. Another reason why those collaborative relationships between schools and higher education institutions is so important!
In order to choose appropriate educational technologies for students I think educators need to know what is available. Each student is different, though, so I think it is also important to look at the class you are currently teaching and decide what skills they need developed further. A teacher lecturing while the students just sit is slowly becoming a thing of the past thankfully, and more and more classrooms are integrating group work and critical thinking. I believe P21 is a great step in the right direction for education and I will do my part in educating teachers I know about this national organization and the importance of 21st century skills.
References
Illinois. (2007). Retrieved from http://route21.p21.org/?option=com_content&view=article&id=197&Itemid=273
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/
Utecht, J. (2010). Reach: Building communities and networks for professional development. San Francisco, CA: Creative Commons.

Response to Michelle Schwartze:

Michelle,
I agree that teachers need to know what’s out there with technology. I too am thankful that the master’s program here at ISU has introduced me to so many new technologies to use with my students. Before I began working on my master’s degree I would attend the Moveable Technology Feast sponsored by the University of Illinois. I think 8 teachers from my building are attending the conference this year. I plan on attending the conference again once I’ve completed my degree. Have you ever considered attending this conference? Check out the link below to learn more about the Teacher Feast.
http://thefeast.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=74&Itemid=58
Stephanie Willette

Response to Stephanie Willette:
Thanks for the link, I have never heard of Teacher Feast. I will definitely consider attending - my boss is always asking if there are conferences we are interested in attending!
~Michelle Schwartze
Response to Michelle Schwartze
Thank you for your post! I agree prosumers allows individuals to be both actively engaged in the technology which helps individuals know how and what is best for others of technology. It is like the old Confucius quote, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” When individuals interact with technology today they seem to understand more of the program and process because of the interactive nature of the programs. I wonder how much more they will become interactive ten years from now?
-Michael Vetere

Response to Michelle:
I just wanted to send a quick thanks to you, Michelle, for organizing the color-coding of our posts. It does make them much easier to read! Thanks!

:)Kira Hamann

Response to Kira:
Thanks for getting on board - I like this better! :)
~Michelle Schwartze


Stephanie Willette (Group 1)
To begin, the Framework for 21st Century Skills includes building a foundation of core subject knowledge. These core subjects include English, world languages, arts, mathematics, economics, science, geography, history, and government/civics. In addition to the core subjects, interdisciplinary themes are weaved into the core subjects. These themes include global awareness, economic literacy, civic literacy, health literacy, and environmental literacy. The students must also obtain learning and innovation skills. These skills have been labeled the 4Cs and include critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. The framework also includes teaching information, media, and technology skills. Finally, the framework includes life and career skills as well (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2009). After reading about the Framework for 21st Century Learning, I definitely feel that it is vital for our students to learn these skills. In order to be successful in life, students need to know more than just basic skills. It is important for our students to learn how to communicate, think critically, and solve problems in our competitive world.

I had no idea that Illinois had aligned itself with P21. I was not surprised that Illinois had joined the initiative, but I was shocked that I had not heard about it in my previous course work here at ISU or through my school district. Overall, I’d have to say that I felt a sense of pride in Illinois considering only 15 states have joined the initiative.

In order to provide an environment for my students to develop 21st century skills I would need to incorporate more authentic learning into the classroom. Authentic learning involves creating real world experiences in the classroom. Technology plays a huge role in providing authentic learning considering the wide range of educational tools available to teachers. For example, when teaching children about the life cycle of a butterfly, teachers can access web cam videos to show actual butterflies going through the life cycle. Technology can also be used to create performance based assessments to assess student learning. I would eventually like to create digital portfolios to assess my kindergarteners.

I would need to know that I had the support of my school district to choose educational technologies that will help build my students’ skills. I would need ongoing quality professional development that included time to implement new technologies as well as time to reflect with my peers. Through trial and error, I could gain the knowledge base needed to choose the technologies that will enhance my students’ learning.

Reference:
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2009). P21 framework of definitions. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org
Response to Stephanie Willette:
Knowing that you teach kindergarten, what are your thoughts about the feasibility of incorporating technology into your classroom other than just whole group? There are so many opportunities for children to use technology to support learning but would you feel comfortable letting five and six year old take the reins? Have you ever considered using the mobile lab? You might be surprised at what they can do! I let my third graders have some creative license with programs such as word cloud, power point, and word this year and I was shocked at what they could do with very little instruction and assistance. Any way you could get volunteers to give you a hand?
Amy Hubble

Response to Amy Hubble:
Amy,
I definitely feel comfortable letting my students take the reins with technology. I have a computer center in my classroom and I rarely have to go over to assist my students. I think technology comes quite naturally to my students since they are exposed to computers, video games, and smart phones at such an early age. I have never considered using the mobile lab with my students, but I think they could handle using the laptops. It would be fun to do a book buddy activity with older students using the mobile lab.
Stephanie Willette

Response to Stephanie Willette:
"It would be fun to do a book buddy activity with older students using the mobile lab." Maybe that can be arranged! ;)
Amy Hubble

Response to Stephanie Willette:

I was also impressed that Illinois was one of the states that had aligned with P21, but I do wonder if its success will be endangered by the fiscal crisis in which Illinois is currently involved. As other classmates have mentioned, it looks great on paper, but do you think P21 can be feasibly carried out at this point in time?

Response to Stephanie Willette
Good question! It does look good on paper, and I believe we were once teaching these ideologies of the four C’s, but with the huge paradigm shift in the last ten years it will take a lot of momentum to start the pendulum swing in the opposite direction…something to keep our eye on….hmmmm maybe there will be grant money on the horizon!
-Michael Vetere

Amy Hubble (Group 2)

-The website P21.org describes 21st century skills as combining the 3 R’s with the 4 C’s (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration and creativity and innovation). When asked if students need these skills, the answer is absolutely. Today’s workforce is tougher than ever and these types of skills are crucial for success in the workplace. With the advancement of technologies and completion globally, these types of skills with help students gain the knowledge they need to put themselves out there and be qualified for different jobs.
-I was unaware that Illinois had aligned itself with P21 but it doesn’t surprise me. I have been studying the common core standards for two years now and these new standards are centered on critical thinking and problem solving. It makes sense that Illinois would want its students to be focused on these skills.
-Creating an environment conducive to promoting these 21st century skills will not be easy, especially for those who have been teaching for many years. It’s hard to let go of the control when we have been so centered on the standardized tests and preparing for them. I used technology in several ways this year promoting problem solving, creativity, and collaboration. I had students create projects via the internet and other programs which I had not previously done before. I was surprised how well they did when given the opportunity. Technology will play a huge part in promoting 21st century skills. I think we owe it to our students to incorporate it as much as possible considering it will be all they work with in the future.
-I think that professional development will be crucial in helping teachers choose educational technologies to help them develop 21st century skills. I am amazed at all the different things I have learned already in this class and the last technology class I took. Making teachers aware of what is available to them and also giving them access to technology will be crucial. Time will also play a huge part. It takes a lot of time to research, learn, adapt, and integrate different technologies into the classroom.
Reference:
Illinois. (2007). Retrieved from http://route21.p21.org/?option=com_content&view=article&id=197&Itemid=273
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/

Response to Amy Hubble:
Amy,
You stated that you’ve been studying the common core standards and that the new standards are centered on critical thinking and problem solving. For this reason, do you think it will be an easy transition to weave the P21 skills into the common core? When I was searching the P21 website, I found a P21 Common Core Toolkit which is a guide to aligning the P21 framework with the common core standards. This gives me hope that the transition will go smooth. Hopefully, the fiscal crisis will be solved soon so that Illinois can dedicate time and money to incorporating the P21 skills into the common core standards. I uploaded a pdf of the toolkit for you to review.

Stephanie Willette


Response to Amy and Stephanie
- Although I am not surprised that Stephanie, you mention that you haven't heard of these skills in all of your work with the standards, or Amy, your response that you have not seen/ heard of them in your work with the Common Core, I am wholly disheartened that these are not more clearly integrated within the intense set of standards that Illinois places on its students and teachers. The state does not seem to see the importance of integrating all of these standards sets together! Siemens writes extensively about the fact that we learn and acquire knowledge through making connections, and yet our state maintains a disconnected view of that which our students should learn. This not only makes teaching and learning more fragmented for students, but also much more challenging for teachers as they try to decipher what are the most important skills and concepts to teach. Because I know that the state has supposedly aligned to the P21 standards in the professional teaching standards, I can identify components of life and career skills, as well as information, media, technology pieces. In addition, there is quite a bit of collaboration and communication, but really no mention of critical thinking nor creativity. Although these pieces can be found, they are buried within the abundance of what P21 would call the 3R's or the core subjects. In an ideal world, when Illinois so proudly joined the P21 Initiative, they would have layered their core subject standards and expectations within a more similar framework, which would have highlighted the gaps that remain. They could also have made it clearer across all contexts (not just in a few web pages) that this emphasis was being made. This would make it easier for practitioners to identify these skills and be ready to teach them. I'm attaching the updated 2010 professional teaching standards here for review. Check them out and let's chat more!


References:
Siemens, G. (2006). Knowing knowledge. eLearnspace Blog: http://www.elearnspace.org/KnowingKnowledge_LowRes.pdf

:)Kira Hamann


Response to Kira
So where are we with the ITPS these days anyway?
-Michael Vetere


Kira Hamann (Group 2)

- Although 21st Century skills do not seem novel, the combination of them within this framework and presented for use at the local, state, and national level does! 21st Century skills are those that help children develop the attitudes, behaviors, and skills that will help them be successful for the world today and tomorrow. These skills include Core subjects and 21st Century themes, the 4 C’s of critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity, life and career skills, and information, media, and technology skills. Although the core subjects (the 3 R’s) and 4 C’s are represented in the middle of the framework, they are of equal importance with life and career and information, media, and tech skills.
- When I attended the T21 Conference at ISU this past winter, I learned that Illinois had become aligned. Although I am extremely familiar with the updated Illinois Professional Teaching Standards because of my GA work, I have not seen the updated high school standards set that supposedly represent work that Illinois has done to show that they are meeting 21st Century Skills. Having seen firsthand how state standards and certification committees operate, I wonder how much the state has truly taken 21st Century skills to heart—it all looks good on paper, but in reality, the focus still seems to be on the 3 R’s as the most important component, at least in the standards.
- Because I now teach college students (instead of pre-k children), I have to think about how I will help them acquire skills somewhat differently. My students come to C&I 277 (which is a social studies methods course) with a large bulk of their 3R’s covered. This will make it extremely important for me to focus on the 4C’s, those life and career skills specific to the roles of educators, and the information, media, and tech skills that they can use in their own professional development and with their students. I have already been planning to layer in many more opportunities for collaboration and creativity using various pieces of media and technology, as well as those that will link my teacher candidates to a wider variety of real teachers and real classrooms.
- I could use support in identifying information, media, and tech components that will expressly benefit my teacher candidate students, as well as those that they can then use with their young students. Being in this course will help!

References:
Illinois. (2007). Retrieved from http://route21.p21.org/?option=com_content&view=article&id=197&Itemid=273
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/

Response to Kira Hamann:

I thought what you said about wondering if the state has truly taken 21st Century Skills to heart was a good point. If they had, I would think I would have heard more about it by now or at least been told by someone, somewhere that Illinois had aligned itself. Do you think educators and leaders will ever be able to move past the 3 R’s as a bulk of the standards? I think they might but it is going to take a considerable amount of time. I think about my first day of teaching 13 years ago and how I was still writing with chalk and had 3 classroom computers with no internet. How far we have come! It is important for us to draw some focus to the 4 C’s and I appreciate that as a college teacher you are doing that!
Amy Hubble

  • Also, thank you for the attachment! I will check it out!!


  • Response to Kira:
I agree about questioning whether the state has truly taken 21st century skills to heart. Also, if you think about who is in charge of Education for the state it is mostly older people who have not been in a classroom for education in awhile and so they are unaware of how important those 4 C's are. I think as the state of education becomes more modern in terms of people in charge it will be able to catch up to the modern need of P21, but until then I don't think they will move too quickly in implementing this.

  • Response to Amy:
In response to will educators be able to move past the 3 Rs - I agree that it will take time. But, my question is will the entire system change? I think implementing more of the 4 C's in a classroom takes time and many times educators may be unwilling to do it because of a lack of time to implement. Creating lessons takes longer and grading sometimes takes longer as well because it is so much more open ended. I agree that it is so important to incorporate these ideas into teaching, but I just wonder will teachers become overworked and will this lead to higher teacher retention?
~Michelle Schwartze


Response to Michelle:
Similar to what we have discussed in prior courses, there are many areas in which teachers can improve their teaching styles and relationships with students, yet all of these things take time and energy to successfully implement. For example, we have discussed the idea of funds of knowledge (Gonzalez, Moll & Amanti, 2005). This is an excellent idea, but will take that extra effort on the teachers’ part. Similar to P21, I think it will be up to the educators to decide what should take priority for them and organize accordingly. If teachers are taught how to best integrate these different practices into their daily work, I believe retention can be decreased rather than increased.

Reference:
Gonzalez, N., Moll, L., & Amanti, C. (2005). Funds of knowledge: Theorizing practices in households and classrooms. Mahweh, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
- Megan Griffin


Megan Griffin (Group 1)
Hi guys, sorry about the belated discussion, my mom had surgery Monday and I got a bit sidetracked. Happy discussing!

21st century skills aim to fuse core content (traditionally known as the 3 Rs) with the four Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation). The goal of 21st century skill implementation is to examine the knowledge and skills currently being taught, and then coordinate the educational environments to assist with teaching knowledge and skills which are needed for the students’ success in their lives and future careers. According to the P21.org website, ideally 21st century skills would focus on life and career skills, learning and innovation skills, information, media and technology skills, core subjects and 21st century themes.
I believe 21st century skills would be beneficial to students in the long run. As a college-level communication instructor (working mostly with freshman), I find these skills are clearly absent in many students. For example, I have witnessed multiple cases that displayed a lack in the following 21st century skills: inability to reason effectively (during discussions or exams), communicate clearly (oral presentations and discussion), access and evaluate information (research), manage goals and time (timely presentations). Being on the receiving end of K-12 outcomes gives me a divergent insight into how students can be better prepared for college, career and ultimately life.
I was not aware that Illinois had aligned itself with Partnership for 21st Century Skills. After visiting the ISBE website and reviewing the actions Illinois is taking thus far to implement 21st century skills, I believe it is a positive move on Illinois’ part. Although with the current budget crisis, the resources necessary to see this through may be endangered, especially in populations outside of Cook County.
I feel as though I should view this question through a bit of a different lens due to my working with college students as opposed to K-12. I would provide a 21st century skills-friendly environment by reiterating the skills taught previously to my students. I would focus on the course’s content, while incorporating the use of 21st century skills such as encouraging creativity in innovation with all assignments, assigning more group projects, and focusing more on effective research and resources. Technology will provide students with the tools necessary to do all of these things. Students could be more creative by utilizing different technologies such as Prezi. Also, they could interact and collaborate in groups via a wiki.
I need to further familiarize myself with 21st century skills and what is being done thus far in K-12 education to implement the practice. By knowing this information, I can choose appropriate technologies for my students to use. This will also assist me in identifying which skills need strengthened in my students and adjust accordingly.

References:
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2009). P21 framework of definitions. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org

Illinois State Board of Education. (2012). The New Illinois Learning Standards Incorporating the Common Core. Retrieved from http://www.isbe.net/common_core/default.h

Response to Megan Griffin:
Megan,
I’m so glad to hear you say that you would encourage creativity and innovation with all assignments. I think it’s very important for professors at the college level to incorporate working creatively with others. I have had many professors who would simply present lectures about assigned readings instead of having the students work collaboratively and have discussions about the reading. I learned so much more in the classes where I worked with others compared to when I just sat and listened to the professor’s lecture. I also agree with your idea about incorporating more group projects into your instruction. When I first entered the master’s program I dreaded group projects because of the scheduling issues. However, I now really appreciate group projects because I have learned so much from participating in group projects with other professionals. I also think creating a class wiki would be a great way to incorporate more technology into your instruction. I am currently taking two classes that have class wikis and it makes it so easy to collaborate with my classmates. Have you looked into what type of wiki you would use? I would suggest using wikispaces.com over pbworks.com. In my opinion, wikispaces.com seems to be much more user friendly.
Stephanie Willette

Response to Megan:
I think colleges are for the most part doing a great job integrating technology into the curriculum (at least the ones I am most familiar with), but I am just curious - with the increase of technology do you find any increase in plagiarism? Are students finding things off the web and claiming them as their own? Just curious what you have seen at the collegiate level.
~Michelle Schwartze

Response to Michelle:
I have encountered only a couple of situations where students plagiarized parts of their speeches on their outlines. Luckily, students are made very aware of the consequences of plagiarism at the beginning of the course. I think the threat of expulsion or course failure at the collegiate level instills a bit more fear than it does for younger students. I have also utilized "Turnitin.com" to help minimize problems and I make sure students are aware of this as well.
-Megan Griffin

Response to Megan Griffin
A lack of P21 skills is truly evident! I run a Saturday Creative Drama program for youth K-6 for five weeks every semester and we focus on a varity of skills necessary for the theatre arts as well as life skills – including: empathy, collaboration, respect, communication, and of course creativity. It is amazing to watch how the kids transform over the five weeks! They are challenged to be indipendant and collective thinkers and many times we have kids and families return semester after semester and find that their skills in their everyday classroom improve thanks to creative drama. This program is only an hour and a half once a week – could you imagine what could happen if it occurred more often!
-Michael Vetere

Response to Megan Griffin:
Thanks for sharing how you deal with plagiarism in the college classroom. Interestingly, in teacher prep, we encourage teacher candidates to borrow lesson plans and their components from other teachers and from what they've found on-line and make them their own (with their own standards, goals, and accommodations). Unfortunately, I have not had a way in the past to know if students have copied word-for-word or truly individualized these plans. I checked out turnitin.com. Does your school pay for this service? And do you think it makes a big difference?
- Kira Hamann





Response to Group-
Did you see this article from the Chronicle? - found it intersting
http://chronicle.com/article/A-Tough-Love-Manifesto-for/46823
"A Tough Love Manifesto"
-Michael Vetere

Response to Michael Vetere:
Thanks for sharing this Michael. It made me think about conversations that we had in C&I 563 last fall. I love his straight and narrow shooting about what will take place in the course. Call it a manifesto, guidelines, whatever--every class needs these from both parties--student and teacher. I especially appreciated his lines, "I demand respect. I am a professor." When I taught in a tuition-based pre-k program, the parents tended to treat my teaching team as he describes how college students treat professors, in large part because they were paying. Interestingly, we had black-and-white policies and guidelines--similar to his manifesto. What they really struggled with was being able to say to their young children, "I demand respect. I am a parent." I used to say I wanted to print a giant banner to hang about our school's entrance that would say, "You are the parent. BE the parent." Now, it seems that we need this for others:)
- Kira Hamann