Project Four #1
C4T#1, comment one
In her latest blog post, Ms. Tolisano elucidates the use of the device "Popplet" in a foreign language class. Popplet is basically the high-tech version of pen and paper graphs. Students were encouraged to, in this particular case, to build a “web based mind map” of Portuguese words relating to health and illness. Tolisano repeatedly mentions the use of Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR Model which consists of a series of steps: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition as a means of standardization of this technology. Substitution is a relevant step in this process as students no longer have to depend on pen and paper to create these graphs. Students were allowed to create their mind maps any way they please—some building linear maps, others arranged circularly—all varying in the ways the content was connected. The huge advantage of this application of Popplet is its ease of organization; instead of having to start over or erase considerably to move or rearrange (what we all struggled with in the pen and paper days) Popplet allows students to simply click and drag to reorganize, thus satisfying Puentedura’s “Augmentation” stage. For the “Modification” stage, Tolisano’s students were able to add images and videos to their work. However, Tolisano does mention a copyright concern while using the program which, unfortunately, is still unresolved. By posting their blogs for everyone to see, the students enter the “Redefinition” stage as a previously inconceivable task is achieved. My comment, though it never appeared on her blog, consisted of thanking Ms. Tolisano for introducing me to "Popplet" (as I had never heard of it before) and for her thorough explanation of the program itself. I further thanked her for mentioning the "SAMR model" as a relative rubric to follow when executing a new teaching technique.
C4T#1, comment two
In this blog post, Ms. Tolisano explores the benefits of using Skype conferences to expand the knowledge of her 7th grade students who are currently creating a story line. By consulting an authority on the topic, students were able to practice professionalism, internet courtesy as well as gain expertise in a more engaging and more personable way than by consulting a reference book. To reinforce the effect of the conference-call, Ms. Tolisano asked her students to answer questions on the school blog for homework, which also provides her with an excellent outlet for feedback. Ms. Tolisano posted portions of a few comments in her blog post. It seemed that most students agreed that having a Skype call with a professional was more beneficial than consulting a reference book and the students were able to learn more specifically about their project. Tolisano leaves her readers with these encouraging questions: "I am asking YOU the same questions than we asked the students. How have you, as an educator, taken learning off the pages of a book by bringing in “experts” via video conferencing? What are some other opportunities in school, when bringing in an “expert” via Skype could help students learn?". In my comment to Ms. Tolisano, I appreciated her willingness to share this technique with the world through the web. I told her that I found her follow-up blog post particularly brilliant as it reinforces the knowledge her students gained while providing a useful outlet for their feedback.