Category Archives: #reflecting

Mission…Accomplished!

mission accomplished

Photo Credit: Patti Leigh

Wow!  I can not believe that the end of the semester is here!  I am very excited to say that the summary of learning that I created along with Tyler is complete!  We had a lot of fun using the “Mission” theme for our assignment.  This is the third summary of learning assignment I have completed for Alec and Katia.  For my first summary of learning for EC&I831  I used an story telling app Toontastic to create a video that discussed the beginning of my journey and then I created a Prezi to explain what I learned along the way.  The Prezi ended with a song that I created to wrap up what I learned about in that class.  For EC&I832 I created a video of the book I wrote “Twas The End of The Semester” inspired by the book “Twas The Night Before Christmas.”  Since it was December I also created a short Summary of Learning Jingle to the tune of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.

Photo Credit: sumanmehta6548 via Compfight cc

magnifying glassFor this assignment Tyler and I had many conversations trying to decide on our direction for this project.  For our debate we used a green screen to record our presentation so we wanted to try something new.  I was wanting to use an app or website that I have not used before and so we turned to… of course Google!  When we looked up fun video presentation websites we saw PowToon was one of the options suggested.  Tyler and I decided to check out this website to see what it had to offer.  You can create your own presentation by scratch and they have some templates that you can use to help get you started for the first few slides.  We saw the template “Mission Impossible” and were inspired to use that template to help us create our vision for our project.  We got busy discussing highlights that we learned about from each debate and began to figure out what order to include our ideas in the script.  It was a lot of fun working with someone on this assignment and it led to many great conversations about the class and all of the different topics that were covered.  I am usually very long winded and sometimes struggle with focusing on key ideas and often want to discuss everything so Tyler was very helpful in that area.  In the video we had to complete “missions” through researching the topics and had to report back to discuss our findings in the different areas.  Tyler and I worked hard at talking up the key things we learned about from each debate and the assigned readings.  I would recommend PowToon! Once Tyler and I discovered that we were able to do voiceover per slide in the program that made it go by a lot easier.  Originally we were trying to take sound from audacity and transfer it onto the program, but that was not working for us. There were some really neat features and I know next year I want to try using PowToon with my students.  I think they would have a lot of fun and it would be great tool for them to use to practice many skills such speaking.  They could practice how to speak clearly with expression when they record their presentation.   There are so many great tools and websites that can be used in the classroom to allow students to showcase their learning.

Photo Credit: Source

summary-of-learning-experiencesI loved the debate format for this semester! So many colleagues from this class are at different points in their degree and in their career.  Each bringing in a wealth of knowledge and experiences.  Also some fellow colleagues were very familiar with educational technology while for others they did not know a lot about digital citizenship and other topics discussed in class.  This class shows the power of asking a question or leading with a debate topic can open the doors for a lot of learning to occur.  I have been lucky to have some background knowledge on the topics through previous classes and each week I learned so much.  I was able to expand on my prior knowledge and the debates allowed me to think critically about technology in many different contexts.  This class was a great way to finish my Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction because it has helped me to continue to shape my pedagogy.  The debate topics have allowed me to think a lot about technology and what I need to be teaching in my classroom to support my school division’s  motto “success for all my students.”  All of the classes that I have taken over the past two and a half years has helped me shape my philology of education and my education beliefs.

I encourage you to check out Kayla and Chaylyn’s summary of learning!  They used PowToon for their project and they even used the same template!  It is neat seeing how different  websites and apps can allow people to put their own creative spin on their project and allow each piece to look awesome in their own unique way.  There are so many talented educators in my class and I encourage you to check out the blog hub to read their reflections and check out the videos that they created to showcase their learning.

Here is our summary of learning!

A quick shout out and thanks to Tyler!  I enjoyed working on our debate and our summary of learning together.  Also a huge thank you to Katia, Alec, and everyone in our class.  I have learned so much in these last two months through the debates, reading your blog posts, and exploring the resources that everyone has shared through Google+, Twitter, and their blog.

“The journey of our lives is not just about the destinations we have reached. Our wisdom, education and personal growth come from the people we meet, the paths we choose to follow and the lessons we have learned along the way.”  

– Unknown

 


Have you examined equity lately?

Photo Credit: From Business Korea Article

equity in magnifying glassWow!  Tuesday evening  was filled with lots of learning! Bob, Katherine, Ian, and Ainsley did an amazing job presenting their sides on the debate topic- Technology is a force for equity in society? I have been struggling to begin this blog post because my mind has been bouncing back and forth not knowing where to start.  I decided to first to examine the word equity and I turned to the online Merriam-Webster’s dictionary to help me wrap my head around what equity was defined as.  The simple definition in the online dictionary states equity is “fairness or justice in the way people are treated” and the simple definition for equality is “the quality or state of being equal: the quality or state of having the same rights, social status, etc.”  Then I began to explore equity in education and began to reflect about my experiences as a educator and a student.

What does fair look like in education ? 

fair quote

Photo Credit: Source

Photo Credit: Source

soccer pic of equityI agree that “Fair doesn’t mean giving every child the same thing, it means giving every child what they need.”  As depicted in the picture as a teacher I could give each student the same the guide reading lesson or tool to use in the classroom, but is that equality helping each of my students?  No it is not…Every student is unique in their own way and deserve to have the opportunity to learn and grow through differentiated instruction.  In order for each student to be successful I need to provide my class with different supports to help make sure everyone can reach their full potential.

Does technology help bridge the gaps and make education more equitable?

With the use of technology students and adults are able to go online to help receive some education in a variety of courses.  Daphne Koller discusses Coursera in a Ted Talk-What we’re learning from online education.  Coursera gives students the capability to log onto the website to sign up for free online courses that were designed by prestigious universities. She talked about how Coursera:

  • breaks away from one size fits all model of education-personalized curriculum
  • helps people receive higher education
  • there are enrichment topics
  • education is a fundamental human right
  • allows for life long learning

In the video Koller explains that the course has even helped out a parent whose child was very sick since was not able to attend classes because he would be exposed to germs that would harm his sick child.  This child’s parent was able to log onto Coursera from the comfort of home while keeping his child safe.  Koller even talked about how people can present a certificate after they have taken a class or classes and some are actually able to get credit if they approach and talk to a university.  It was also discussed that these courses are free.  That is amazing because then it helps so many people from a lower socio-economic status to have the opportunity to take courses if they can not afford them, but are all the courses actually free?  When I looked into free courses there were 1093 matches on the Coursera website.  At the top of the website it stated, “Looking for free courses? For all courses on Coursera:

  • You can explore lectures and non-graded material for free
  • Prices shown reflect the cost for the complete course experience, including graded assignments and certificates
  • Financial aid is available for learners who qualify”

I thought the courses were free?  If I did not have a lot of money I would be disappointed that maybe a course that I wanted to take was not free and that I would not be able to take it because I could not financially afford it.  On the website does state “financial aid is available for learners who qualify”, but how do people qualify?  How many courses/classes can someone qualify for?  How much does the financial aid cover?

In the article Ed Tech’s Inequalities there was an excerpt written from edX CEO Anant Agarwal that stated,

One way MOOCs have changed education is by increasing access. MOOCs make education borderless, gender-blind, race-blind, class-blind and bank account-blind. Up to now, quality education – and in some cases, any higher education at all – has been the privilege of the few. MOOCs have changed that. Anyone with an internet connection can have access. We hear from thousands of students, many in under-served, developing countries, about how grateful they are for this education.

What about the students who do not have the access to the internet?  Are students still able to learn if they do not have access to the internet or devices?  As discussed in the article flipped classrooms are also a big trend in education.  Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry wrote an article called “What Is The Flipped Classroom Model and Why Is It Amazing?”  In the article there is an infographic that explains what a flipped classroom is, what the supports say about the flipped classroom learning, and what the critics say.  In the article, the Ed Tech’s Inequalities, and another article provided by the disagree side-Scaling The Digital Divide: Home Computer Technology and Student Achieve, all talk about the digital divide.  On the infographic is states “Not all students have meaningful access to model devices and the Internet.  The flipped classroom can further alienate students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.”  The infographic goes on further outlining how students who are privileged have access to:

  • “personal computer with high speed internet access in bedroom”
  • “owns latest smartphone and tablet”
  • “attends schools with large tax base and private funding”

While students who are underprivileged have:

  • “access to limited number of public computers for limited amount of time”
  • “family cannot afford fancy mobile device (or breakfast)”
  • “school is underfunded”

There are a lot of really benefits for using the flipped classroom model.  Students actually have time to be engaged in the learning in the classroom,have the chance to have meaningful conversations and more work time instead of just listening to a teacher lecture.  They can listen to their teacher from home and have the opportunity to play the lesson back as many times as needed to understand the material that is being presented.  If teachers use the flipped classroom model are they creating more of a divide in their classroom?  Are they adding more stress on the students who do not have the same access as other students in the class?

Does Technology Create Equity in Society?

 

yes no

Photo Credit: atayepley via Compfight cc

 

standardizedanimalsIn Stephanie Pipke-Painchaud’s blog post she reflected about her experience as a Differentiated Instruction Facilitator (DIF) and added this cartoon (Photo Credit: Image from Rockin Teacher Materials) onto her blog post as it her minded her of conversations she has had about differentiated learning.  I can remember seeing this cartoon in one of my undergraduate classes and discussing the importance of differentiation.  When I was looking into more about differentiation and the cartoon that Stephanie used on her post I came across an post written by Dave Mulder called The Teachers’ Lounge: Getting Real about Differentiation. In the post Mulder discusses a conference that he attended where Rick Wormeli was presenting on  formative assessment, summative judgment, and descriptive feedback.  Wormeli shared the same cartoon that Stephanie had used and often the argument is “that we should have different standards of assessment for different students, because the students are clearly unique individuals with different strengths and weaknesses and it isn’t fair to hold them all to the same standards.”  However, Wormeli put a twist on the cartoon and suggests that “we actually should hold students to the same standard.”  He explains that “If climbing the tree is a necessary part of the curriculum, then we simply must have every student get up that tree. Even the fish!” 

When I was first reading this I did not know what to think!

Wormeli stated that “it’s incumbent upon us as educators to do everything we can to help our students meet the high standard.”  I think it is important for all students to be given the opportunity to succeed and reach for a personal best.   How does a teacher help a student meet these standards?  In the post it was discussed it would “likely mean allowing different paths to reaching the standard, and providing ongoing, descriptive feedback to students as they are working to meet the standard that has been set: what is working, what is not working, what else they might try.”  To illustrate his ideas during the presentation he shared cartoons to show case how the other animals could climb the tree.  This picture of the fish (Photo Credit:  Mulder’s Photo from Wormeli Presentation) is just one of the examples of the cartoons that he shared to demonstrate the importance of providing students will multiple pathways. The pictures also made me think of our debate and how many of those animals used assisted technology to help them climb the tree.

The article “Assistive Technology Tools-Supporting Literacy Learning for All Learners in the Inclusive Classroom” that Bob and Katherine provided for us to read connects to differentiating for students.  It discusses how differentiation can be challenging, but “One way that teachers can support the learning needs of a range of students is through assistive technology, which enhances students’ ability to perform and complete tasks with efficiency and independence.”  As Erin talked about in her blog post I have seen first hand that assistive technology has opened up the doors for students in the school that I teach at.  I have also heard stories from friends who teach in different divisions and how technology is enhancing learning and providing students with opportunities in their schools too.  In Tyler’s post, Is There Equity in Education, he has included two videos that showcase how technology has not only helped two people at school, but has made their lives better.  Those two videos demonstrate truly how technology can make a difference in a person’s life.   Amanada Morin lists 8 examples of assistive technology and adaptive tools that can be used in the classroom.  In the examples listed some of the tools are low-tech while others are more costly.  I agree with Kyle Dumont when his discussed in his blog post:

While I am in this class because I believe using technology is the way of the future of education, I also know that you can not replace good teaching. Yes these tools are amazing and they can help your student develop a deeper understanding of what concept you are attempting to cover, but if you are not using them appropriately they are as useful as a dried up ball point pen on a Scantron sheet. 

I think Kyle made a valid point that these tools are amazing, but teachers need to know how to effectively implement them in the classroom.  He raises another great point in his blog post about the cost in time and money invested in teaching educators how to use the tools in their classroom with the examples he provided.  I also think it is vital that students need time to understand how to use the tools being provided to them.  If students are not trained in how to use it to benefit his or her learning then it just becomes another gadget that the child may not take good care of.   I believe if a student knows how to use it and they are benefiting from the technology then the child will take care of the device.  Student’s would not want to damage something that is helping them in a positive way.

 

money and roads

Photo Credit: Source

Technology can open the doors and provide so many opportunities and paths for people…But at what cost?

Bob and Katherine introduced me to a new technology that I did not know existed.  Technology can not only help in education, but in health care system as now there are robots delivering health care in Saskatchewan!  It is amazing how this technology gives people opportunity to see specialists without having to spend so much money on travel, but how much does this technology cost?  I am guessing that this technology is not cheap as there would be more robots made available and how much does it cost to train the doctors and staff to know and understand how to use this technology effectively?  Just like in education technology is helping to open the doors for equity within society, but it will not reach everyone as money is always a huge factor.  It costs money to train everyone and purchase the technology!  When students  and patients are able to access the technology/tools and everyone knows how to implement it effectively then I think technology is very beneficial. 


Let’s Google It?

Photo Credit: I created this Meme using Meme Generator

baby agree or disagree

Let’s Google it?!?  I was struggling with how to start this post, but this photograph on Meme Generator inspired me with my direction! Actually when I first read the debate topic I believe this is what my face probably looked like.  I had to first understand the wording of the topic for the debate before I could begin to choose a side.  I could relate to Ellen because I also found this one a little bit tricky.  Ellen raised an excellent point about if she was a History or a High School Social teacher that she “might not need to teach specific dates in History anymore, since these can easily be Googled” and that she “should, however, focus on questions about the events impact today.”  I would not have students learn about dates either.  I can remember teachers wanting my classmates and myself to memorize small specific details when we were in middle years and high school.  I created little verses, songs, or sayings from using the beginning letters of events, names, or dates to help me remember everything when I wrote a test.  As soon as the test was over I tossed it from my short term memory and I do not know if I would  have been able to recall the information a few days later.  For me personally I enjoyed when we were provided the time for class discussions and when we did hands on learning.

I believe it is important for students to be able to take part in experiential learning. The University of Texas describes what experiential learning looks like.  In one of the points is stated that “throughout the experiential learning process, the learner is actively engaged in posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being curious, solving problems, assuming responsibility, being creative, and constructing meaning, and is challenged to take initiative, make decisions and be accountable for results.”  Many of the points listed in the article reminded me of the Principles of Early Learning on page 5 in the Saskatchewan Play and Exploration guide.  As teachers we need to look at our curriculum and see what kinds of learning opportunities we can provide to our students. In science it is a lot easier to find experiments for labs and hands on learning activities, but there are learning opportunities in other subject curriculum documents as well.  The University of Waterloo also had a great explanation of experiential learning and good diagrams, such as the Kolb’s cycle-“Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience.”

kolbs learning cycle

Photo Credit: Source

In my second year of teaching I taught at the elementary school and I  also taught grade seven and eight arts education at Gordon F. Kells for the last period of the day.  My principal Tyler taught Social Studies and History at Gordon F. Kells at the time.  I can remember the students in his History class being so excited after class one day when he set up a learning experience outside for them.  They were learning about World War One and he wanted to teach them about the rolling barrage.  He could have gave them hand outs explaining what a rolling barrage was, have students do research, or they could have watched a video, but instead Tyler created a hands on learning experience using water balloons.  The experience was how he introduced rolling barrage to them!  If you teach History I encourage you to talk to Tyler about his lesson.  (I do not want to explain the lesson wrong.)  If was able to learn about History by doing interactive lessons I know I would have not tossed out so much of the knowledge I learned from my short term memory as I described earlier in my post.

Luke, Ashley, and Andrew gave us very interesting resources  to learn about the agree side of the debate.  I really enjoyed watching Rasmey Musallam’s TedTalk- 3 Rules to Spark Learning.  He caught my attention when he talked about the importance of teachers evoking real questions.   Musallam explains that those questions helps inform the methods of blended instruction and he stated that, “Students questions are the seeds to real learning!”  I believe that questions do ignite the learning journey and makes the learning more meaningful for the students.  If they are asking the questions then they will want to find out the answers.  In the video Musallum explains how he has 3 rules that he follows when creating a lesson.  They are:

  • #1 Curiosity comes first
  • #2 Embrace the mess
  • #3 Practice reflection
boy being curious

Photo Credit: stlcparks via Compfight cc

The way The University of Texas describes experiential learning and the principals of early learning in the Saskatchewan Play and Learning guide connects very well to what Musallum’s beliefs are.  I think often in schools teachers want to get to the content part of the lessons because there are so much to cover in just one year.  I think this leads to not providing  time or enough time for students to be curious and wonder about the topic.  I know personally next year I want to provide more time to my students to reflect about their learning and make connections before we move onto another unit.  A lot of learning can be discovered during the reflection process.  If students just went to Google to find the answers all of the time are they truly understanding and retaining the knowledge they are discovering?  Do students know other ways to find resources and information other than using Google? It is convenient that students can turn to Google to find the answers to questions, but is that the best learning experience for students?  Do students know how to tell if the information they found is authentic or from reputable source?  Now in the world of the Internet people are able to create and curate.  It is possible for people to upload documents on the Internet that may not be accurate.  Students need to learn and understand how to decide whether information they’re reading is accurate and creditable.

brain

Photo Credit: paulgabrinetti via Compfight cc

I was surprised like Chalyn when I read How the Internet is Changing Your Brain.  I had no idea that “the average number of Google searches per day has grown from 9,800 in 1998 to over 4.7 trillion today.”  It was very eye opening to me! In the article is also talked about a study and how “college students remembered less information when they knew they could easily access it later on the computer.”  This is problematic as “Our brains use information stored in the long-term memory to facilitate critical thinking. We need these unique memories to understand and interact with the world around us.”  What information are we not keeping in our long term memory because we know we can access it easily through technology?

I read another article provided by the agree side called  How Google Impacts The Way Students Think  written by Terry Heick.  I think Heick raised a very good point when he stated that, “if users can Google answers to the questions they’re given, they’re likely terrible questions.”  We need to model good questioning skills to our students and help them grow as learners, just as Tyler’s cooperating teacher did as it was described in Tyler’s blog post.  We want our students to be curious and learn how to ask great questions independently.  In the article Heick lists a few reasons in how Google is impacting the way students think.  One of those ways was how “Google naturally suggests “answers” as stopping points.”  I do not want my students to stop their learning once they think they have “found” the answers.  I want my student to continue on their learning journey!  When exploring a topic there is so much to learn about and the learning should not stop after finding the answer.  Students need to understand the materials and reflect after there assignment or lesson is over.

debate 2 twitter pic

Screen shot from Twitter

encyclodia twitter

Screen shot from Twitter

On Twitter Alec posted the debate question and some of the response caught my eye.  I thought it was very interesting when Marc stated “should we teach info in encyclopedias?”  I think that is a very interesting point.  Yes often we can access information, but as I talked about earlier in my post students are not retaining the information because they know they can access it again.  Lots of the information whether they can access the answers online or from another resources still needs to be explored by the students and taught.  Marc also talked about memorization which was discussed during the debate as well.  Amy Singh and Heidi provided us with information on why we should disagree with the debate topic and a lot of the resources they shared with us talked about memorization and automaticity.  I enjoyed reading Kelsie’s thoughts from Tuesday’s debate.  She brought up excellent points about Google and how everything is “Googleable.”  I agree with Kelsie that  ‘some amount of memorization is important.”  In the beginning of her post she explores Math Makes Sense and Mad Minutes.  I think it is important for students to know their math facts and to provide them time to critically think in math through problem solving and explaining how they reach their answer.  I think for the deeper understanding to occur that students do need a level of automaticity for their math facts.  Louise Spear-Swerling discusses in an article that “Automatic recall of basic math facts, sometimes termed math fluency, is generally considered to be a key foundation for higher-level math skills.”

 

In my classroom I have my students practice their math facts through playing games that I have created or other dice and cards games that I have learned from other educators.  The only way you can become more fluent in a skill is through practice and students can “build conceptual understanding and fluency through games“.  I really like all of the strategies that students learn now in math.  I think I would have learned my facts faster if I was taught about doubles, doubles plus one/minus one, think ten, etc.  Students also need a level of automaticity in reading as well.  Tim Rasinski talks about three components of fluency and one is automaticity in word recognition.  He discusses “Readers not only are accurate in word recognition, they are effortless or automatic in recognizing the words they encounter. The significance of achieving automaticity is that readers can devote their limited cognitive resources to the important task of comprehending the text.”  Memorization is not always a dirty word…by being able to recall math facts and words helps students focus on a math problem and understanding the text. 

Ainsley wrote an excellent post about another debate and the end of that post caught my eye.  She shared a link to an article that has a teacher describing what a classroom might possibly with look like and how it could be organized in the future.   It made me reflect on when I was talking about the goals of education, but I could not remember the details.  I was excited that Katia knew what I was talking about and shared the Goals of Education for Saskatchewan with the rest of the class.  This document has not been updated since 1985 (I was not even born yet).  It is time that we take a look at this document and update the goals with the vision of 21st century learners. In a previous post I reflected about my vision in what I want to do in my classroom after I took EC&I832.

What is your philosophy of education?  What should our education goals be??

 

I think it is important to know yourself as an educator.  I completed two inventories (Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI) & Philosophy of Adult Education Inventory (PAEI)) in my EC&I804 Curriculum Development class and then we had to reflect on our teaching beliefs.  I completed the inventories again and for the first inventory I ranked the highest in nurturing.  In the second inventory I ranked the highest in progressive and humanistic.  The PAEI inventory has a chart on the second page that breaks out the five philosophies into different categories: purpose(s), learner(s), teacher role, concepts & key words, methods, and people & programs.  The chart makes sense to me because in EC&I804 from over two years ago I described in an assignment that I felt most philosophically aligned with Dewey because my philosophy is strongly progressivism. 

After two years I still believe that my grade two students learn better through cooperative and experiential learning.  My job is to guide my students while posing questions to deepen their understanding.  Social process is an important part of education because students learn better through interacting with others. If a student can explain or demonstrate what they have learned that validates a deeper understanding. Students are also more engaged in the learning if they are interested in the curriculum and when their needs are being met.  I think it is important for teachers to take inventories because it was a good reminder that I need to include the other philosophies in my classroom.  Every student is an individual and learns in their own unique way!

“Learning is experience. Everything else is just information”. – Albert Einstein

 


Does Technology Enhance or Hinder Learning?

teens smiling at the computer Photo Credit: chandlerle025 via Compfight cc

Tuesday was a very exciting class as we had our very first debate and the topic was:  Technology in the classroom enhances learning.  Congratulations to Jeremy, Erin, Kyle, Kayla, Chalyn, and Steve for leading an excellent first debate.  Before the two teams (agree and disagree) presented their side of the debate I already had my own opinion based on my experiences of being a student and a teacher as well as the knowledge I have gained through previous classes and readings that I have been exposed to.  Does technology in the classroom enhance learning?  I believe that technology does enhance learning for students in the classroom, but there are certain aspects of technology that does need to be considered.

Benefits of Technology and How It Enhances Learning:

1.  Technology allows for differentiation.

Students can use assistive technology to help them reach their personal goals in the classroom, especially the students who are struggling or may have a learning disability.  Students can use the different tools to help them communicate with fellow peers in the classroom or display their learning to others.  For example, in my classroom I have some students who struggle with writing and with the use of talk to text apps and devices they are able to independently complete assignments instead of having to rely on myself or another adult to scribe for them.  I have also had students use iPads and other forms of technology in my classroom to help with verbal  communication.  In an article that the agree side shared with our class it explores differentiation and it lists the variety of types of assisted technology that can be used to help children learn in the classroom: written language assistive technology, reading assistive technology, mathematics assistive technology, listening assistive technology, and memory/organization assistive technology.  I have seen technology open the doors for so many students and can provide them with opportunities to be successful in the classroom.   All of the different technology can lead to equity for students in the classroom.  I agreed with the article that “the choice of the appropriate use of AT [assistive technology], whether available or improvised, the right selection depends on the individual child, the skills problems, the setting and the particular tasks the child wants to achieve” (p. 18).   “This implies that one tool used for a child may not be useful for another child in different setting” (p. 18).  Every child is unique and has different learning needs to compared to other children in the classroom and when planning to use the different types of technology it is important to keep that in mind.

equity-vs-equality

Photo Credit: Source

2. Technology allows for new learning opportunities to occur in the classroom.

When teachers use technology in the classroom students are able to learn valuable digital skills and digital tools are helping transform education.  Now students are living in a digital world and I believe it is critical to provide them with learning opportunities to learn new digital skills and improve their skills that they already know .  Those skills that they can learn are “essential for work and life in a 21st century global society” (p. 6).  I was reading through a report that focused on integrating technology with student-centered learning.  In the report I thought  Babette Moeller and Tim Reitzes  brought up some valid points:

  • “Technology can equip students to independently organize their learning process” and this leads students who use technology to “become active users” (p. 6).
  • Technology provides students to opportunity to take some responsibility for their learning (p. 6).
  • Technology can lead teachers “to deliver more personalized learning” (p. 7).
  • Technology can help provide feedback that can “guide the learning process” (p. 7).

During the debate Andrew introduced to us a website that he uses in his classroom called Zooniverse.  On the website it states that it “provides opportunities for people around the world to contribute to real discoveries in fields ranging from astronomy to zoology”.  Andrew talked very highly of the learning opportunities that this website has provided to his students.  There are so many more great websites that provide great learning experiences for students that they would never have access to if it was not for technology.  This week Tyler shared and posted a video his blog post that showcased how technology improves student learning for students who attend Minnetonka schools.  It would be amazing to have the opportunity  to teach using the technology that was showcased in the video and to know how to implement the technology used effectively.  While I was reading Andrew’s blog post “Learning With and Without Tech” he reminded me about a teaching experience when he talked about Chris Hadfield singing with students from across Canada during Music Monday.  My students in my grade two classroom were able to watch Hadfield sing and they sung along with him through the use of technology.  It was a very fun learning experience for my students and for the other students across Canada.  We were able to take part in a fantastic learning experience without having to live in an urban center.  Technology helps open the door for rural students!  For example students are able to take classes online that might not be able to be offered due to many factors that occurs when attending schools in a rural area.  They also can have access to many resources through using technology in the classroom.

3. Technology allows for students to make connections and learn from other people.

I think it is amazing how technology has evolved over the years and Rick Schwier’s presentation on the History of Educational Technology from EC&I831 came to mind.  I wrote a blog post after his presentation and reflected on how education and the tools we used has evolved when I was going to school as a young girl.  Not only did he talk about how technology has evolved, but Schwier discussed how social media can allow people to make connections with others.  He talked to us that humans are social people and communication skills is very important to have.  Another educator who believes in the importance of making connections is Rita Pierson.  In her Ted Talk “Every Kid Needs a Champion”  she discussed how we need to start talking about “The value and importance of human connection…relationship.”  Students can interact with others through apps, Twitter, blogging platforms, and many of the Google tools just to name a few.  My students enjoy exploring other classroom blogs and sharing what they have been learning about on our classroom blog.  I have not used Twitter before in my classroom, but it has been something that I have considered.  I have seen blogging has not only improved my students writing, but their engagement in learning as well.  It has also provided me the opportunity to teach my students how to be good digital citizens and teach them lessons about digital citizenship.

Connected Learning

Photo Credit: Connected Learning Research Network and Digital Media & Learning Research Hub

Some things that need to be considered:

1. Teachers need to be trained in how to use technology effectively in the classroom and what new digital tools are available to use to enhance individual learning.

For learning experiences using technology to be successful teachers need to have training in how to use the different tools and how to implement technology effectively in the classroom.  If a teacher is not prepared and does not understand the digital tools then it could lead to classroom management problems and teachers not using instructional time effectively.  The school division needs to provide professional development opportunities  and train their teachers in how to effectively to use the different tools, especially if they are expecting them to use technology in the classroom.  During the debate on Tuesday teacher training was discussed.  I also think that many teachers do not know about all of the amazing tools that are available for them to use to help students individually in the classroom.  Teachers need time to explore the different opinions available in order to choose the best fit for their students and provide time for the student to understand how the learning tool works through modeling and coaching while they are using the tool.  Someone in our EC&I830 class also made a great point on how teachers need to also take initiative in their own personal development. (I’m sorry my computer lost connection near the end of class and I was not able to save the chat to give credit to this person).  I agree that as an educator there are many ways to gain professional development in a variety of areas through accessing professional development online.  I could relate to Kyle DuMont’s blog post when he discussed how many people on staff go to him when they have questions about technology.  For example, I have also have many people come to me when they have questions about their Smartboard.  Over the past few years we have had a huge turnover of staff and they did not have the professional development that we had when the Smartboards were put in our classrooms. I have also experienced a problem when I plan for a substitute teacher because many of our substitute teachers do not know how to use some of the tools we use in our classroom.

2.  The use of technology can be distractive to some students.

I have heard many educators talk about how their students become distracted when they use technology in the classroom.  Tami Strang talks in post how many students are tempted to “take a moment and “peek” at sports scores, the latest headlines, or the number of “likes” [they have] accumulated on [their] latest Facebook or Instragram posts.”  She even posted a graph showcasing the “top means of distraction and technology misuse in the classroom.”

cengage.learning.distraction.classroom

Photo Credit: Source

Amy Scuka discussed about students being distracted in her blog post “Nothings Fine, I’m Torn.”  I have not had too many experiences of students being distracted using technology because my students are only in grade two. I can see how many teachers who teach upper elementary, middle year, and high school students can get distracted through using other tools or social media instead of completing an assignment.

3. Students are very connected to technology.

During our class Sherry Turkle’s Ted Talk “Connected, but Alone?” was mentioned.  She studies technology and people’s plugged in lives.  In the video she talked about how the devices people use are so powerful “that they don’t only change what we do, they change who we are.”  She explores how people are plugged in and how people “are losing the true connectedness with each other.”  I was introduced to Turtle’s Ted Talk when I took EC&I832 and I discussed her ideas she explored in a blog post that I wrote on September 21st.  Are we depending too much on technology?  Are we teaching students to be too plugged into the world instead of living in the moment and interacting with others face to face instead of behind technology?

There are many factors to consider when thinking about using technology in the classroom.  I have only talked about some of the benefits and negative side to using technology.  What are your thoughts on technology in the classroom? Does technology enhance or hinder learning in the classroom?

Even through their are many factors to consider when using technology I still believe that technology enhances learning in the classroom!