My ideas, thoughts, and experiences

Technology Plan Template Document – Master’s Thesis Project


My overall perspective during the last two years while completing this master’s degree has mostly been, honestly, to survive. Let me tell you – being a new administrator, teaching almost full time, and working to complete a master’s degree all while during a global pandemic has been a challenge.  

(CC BY-NC 2.0 photo / Flickr user michaelclesle)

As a new administrator, trying to balance the competing roles and responsibilities, I realized that what I needed was to do was find information that would help be build and develop more leadership skills. That is where my research started. As I read and learned more, I was able to apply it to my practice, get feedback, and try new things. I spent the first year as an administrator as more of an observer – noticing how things were done, learning the processes and protocols, and building connections. As I transitioned into my second year, I started to think about ways in which I could support my staff and students in more effective ways in regard to technology education.

Our little community school has gone through much administrative turnover in the past five years. The teachers, students, and families are an amazing group of people that really care. There are amazing things going on in all classrooms in regard to technology, however, I have noticed that there is little discussion and sharing of resources and information. I really wanted to find a way to support staff in building a more cohesive plan for technology understanding and use in our building. I started by exploring Change Theory (Fullan, 2007) and components that are important to have when facilitating change. I then looked at Technology Adoption Theories (Roger, 1962; Fishbein, 1967; Hall, 1979; Davis, 1989; Ajzen, 1991; Venkatesh et al., 2003) and identified components that made the most impact to individuals when implementing new technology. The information that I found was insightful and important to share with others. I took the information that I found about change and technology adoption and applied it to the creation of a document.

Page Four of the Technology Plan Template Document by Emily Miller

What I created was a template for effecting educational technology change within a school system. It is a Technology Plan Template that school teams can use to discuss and plan for educational change within their teams. It includes important components from technology plan exemplars as well as ‘Questions to Consider’ which link to outcomes in the literature.

How to Use

This document is meant for schools to reference and use as they navigate and plan for technology use and implementation. With the Creative Commons License, Attribution 4.0 International, you are free to:

Share – copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format

Adapt – remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially

I hope for this to be a living document. As I work through this with my own staff, I will update and change it to reflect what worked for us. In addition, I hope to engage schools across the country to use this document as a place to start with planning for technology change.

If you want to share out your experience with the document or ask questions, please reach out on social media (@MsEmilyMiller on Instagram and Twitter) or use the #techplanteam hashtag on Twitter.


Click below for a link to a PDF version of the Technology Plan Template


Click below for an editable Word Document of the Technology Plan Template


Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 179–211.

Davis, F. D. (1989). Perceived Usefulness, Perceived Ease of Use, and User Acceptance of Information Technology. MIS Quarterly, 13(3), 319–340. https://doi.org/10.2307/249008

Fishbein, M. (1967). Attitudes and the prediction of behaviour. In M. Fishbein (Ed.), Readings in attitude theory and measurement. Wiley.

Fullan, M. (2007). Change Theory as a Force for School Improvement. In J. M. Burger, C. F. Webber, & P. Klinck (Eds.), Intelligent Leadership: Constructs for Thinking Education Leaders, 27–39. Springer Netherlands. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6022-9_3

Hall, G.E. (1979). The concerns-based approach to facilitating change. Educational Horizons, 57, 202-208

Rogers, E. M. (1962). Diffusion of innovations. Free Press of Glencoe.

Venkatesh, V., Morris, M. G., Davis, G. B., & Davis, F. D. (2003). User Acceptance of Information Technology: Toward a Unified View. MIS Quarterly, 27(3), 425–478. https://doi.org/10.2307/30036540

EDCI 565 Assignment #3 – Personalized Learning

This assignment is written by Emily Miller and Lindsay Morton.

Part A

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent school closures around the world put huge pressure on the education system to pivot and quickly find an effective alternative to in-class instruction. During the time of remote teaching and learning, educators were trying to gather as many resources as they could and put together a comprehensive program, however, it was done as an emergency response. Student engagement is difficult at any time, let alone transitioning to fully online classes from Kindergarten to Grade 12. As time went on for remote learning, teachers noticed a decrease in student engagement as students interests and enthusiasm waned. Teachers are now worried about possible gaps in understanding as well as loss of academic growth during school closures and (optional) return to school. 

Comparing research on impacts of school closures due to extended absences, summer vacation as well as inclement weather, it shows that “students will likely (a) not have grown as much during the truncated 2019-2020 academic year and (b) will likely lose more of those gains due to extended time out of school. Based on our projections, students will return in fall 2020 with approximately 63-68% of the learning gains in reading relative to a typical school year and with 37-50% of the learning gains in math” (Kuhfeld, Soland, Tarasawa, Johnson, Ruzek, & Liu, 2020).  Access to parent and teachers support for learning during the school closure will produce a wider variation than what typical summer break would imply as well (Kuhfeld et al., 2020).

As a result, teachers need to find innovative ways to engage students in online learning to close the academic learning gap. One way to do so, is to consider personalized learning approaches to teaching and learning. It has become clear through years of research, “well designed personalized learning environments can transform both teacher and student behaviour and encourage students academic growth in ways that might not be possible” before (Basham, Hall, Carter, & Stahl, 2016). This was the impetus for the creation of a page focused on personalized learning on the collective blog site. 

People learn in a variety of different ways, however, there are some constants for all members of the human race. These consistencies are: learning informally and incidentally, through self-directed, intentional study, monitoring progress and adjusting strategies, when our objectives are explicit and get plenty of practice, through discovery, and are motivated to learn when the teacher connects personally with us (Redding, 2013). If teachers can find ways to build this into their in-person and digital classrooms, their students are more likely to have better academic success.

There are five foundational components of personalized learning for students, which build off of the ways in which people learn effectively. The first component is self-regulated learning environments. In order for students to develop independence in their learning journey, they need to develop self-regulation strategies of forethought, performance, and self reflection (Basham et al., 2016). The second is transparent and actionable data. This means that when data is collected from students’ academic achievements, it is being communicated in a clear and concise way within a reasonable timeline so students have an understanding of what they know (Basham et al., 2016). Alongside this, is the third component, personalized learning, which is continual feedback. Continual feedback is timely and allows for students to know how to improve and make a plan for where they need to go next with their learning (Basham et al., 2016). The fourth component is the integration of learner voice. Integrating a learners voice can be anything from having the students come up with their own inquiry questions to co-creating assessment criteria for assignments and activities (Basham et al., 2016). The final component is Universal Design for Learning (UDL). This means that when teachers are planning their learning activities, they are considering accessibility for all students (Basham et al., 2016). These foundational components helped formulate the sections of the blog for teachers to consider when planning. In the blog, the sections have been separated into strategies to support a variety of learners. These sections include: ELL, students needing math support, students needing literacy support, students with visual and auditory issues and considerations teachers should make when planning for the fall – communication, flexible content, pacing, Learning Management Systems (LMS), and assessment.

These foundational components were also taken into consideration when designing the personalized learning section of the blog. Each section includes different modes of communication – visual, video, auditory, and text. In addition, the content is flexible, editable, and is open for suggestions based on learners’ experiences and input. While viewing the content, there is no pressure to get things done all at once, so the pace is flexible and personalized. The platform and design is consistent across the blog which is acting as our learning management system. And finally, we have assessed, critiqued, and evaluated the content that we have included in the blog to ensure that it is well researched and applicable for teachers transitioning into the fall teaching term. 

Part B

According to Patrick, Kennedy and Powell (2013), “personalized learning means tailoring learning for each learner’s interests, strengths, and needs. This approach encourages flexibility to support mastery and enables learners to influence how, what, when, and where they learn” (Basham et al., 2016).  It is not a new concept or idea; the personalized learning theories of today are heavily influenced by educational philosophy from the Progressive Era – especially John Dewey – with a focus on experimental, child centered, social learning, and preparing students for a changing world (Redding, 2013).


The idea of personalized learning requires a fundamental shift in the way we think about education as teachers and learners. A personalized learning approach not only “requires a shift not only in the design of schooling (i.e. time, curriculum, and instructional delivery methods), but also in how educators view and use technologies” (Redding, 2013). The increase in access to technology and abundance of platforms and applications, has made personalized learning online more realistic for teachers and students. It is something worth considering and exploring as research has found that “both learners with and without disabilities can be successful in these personalized settings. In fact, there is some indication that learners with disabilities cannot only be successful but thrive in personalized learning environments” (Basham et al., 2016). 



Basham, J.D., Hall, T.E., Carter, R.A., & Stahl, W.M. (2016). An Operationalized Understanding of Personalized Learning. Journal of Special Education Technology, 31(3), 126-136. https://doi.org/10.1177/0162643416660835


Kuhfeld, M., Soland, J., Tarasawa, B., Johnson, A., Ruzek, E., & Liu, J. (2020). Projecting the potential impacts of COVID-19 school closures on academic achievement. EdWorking Paper, 20-226. Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University https://doi.org/10.26300/cdrv-yw05 


Patrick, S., Kennedy, K., & Powell, A. (2013). Mean what you say: Defining and integrating personalized, blended and competency education. International Association for K-12 Online Learning.


Redding, S. (2013). Getting personal: The promise of personalized learning. In M. Murphy, S. Redding, & J. Twyman (Eds.), Handbook on innovations in learning (pp. 113-129). http://www.centeril.org/


Additional Resources

Pane, J., Steiner, E., Baird, M., & Hamilton, L. (2015). Continued Progress: Promising evidence on personalized learning https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1365.html


Redding, S. (2013). Through the Student’s Eyes: A perspective on personalized learning and practice guide for teachers. Center for Innovations in Learning 


Evaluation of Created Resources – Personalized Learning

During the time of emergency remote learning, it was difficult to find ways to engage learners effectively online. In the classroom, teachers have been fostering personalized learning to ensure they are providing equal access to all students. However, when it came to it, teachers were left with little awareness and resources to do so online.

As a result, our cohort of masters students in Educational Technology through the University of University have worked collaboratively to create a site with resources to help teachers prepare and plan for the year ahead. Below we have listed two outcomes that can help teachers plan for personalized learning in their digital or blended classrooms as they transition into the Fall 2020 school year. 

Outcome #1: Be able to identify new and diverse personalization needs that have come out of the pivot and blended/online learning

Focusing specifically on supports for:

  • English Language Learners (ELL)
  • Students requiring Literacy support
  • Students requiring Math support
  • Students with special needs
  • Students with visual or hearing impairments

Outcome #2: Be able to plan for flexible personalization and accommodation for subject/activity/student

Specifically considering:

  • Communication 
  • Flexible Content
  • Pacing
  • Learning Management Systems (LMS)
  • Assessment

During our curation of resources we noticed a few gaps in what relevant and reputable content was available online and what we believed teachers would benefit from in regards to personalization of learning online. Therefore, we created three of our own resources to meet the learning outcomes below. 

In order to critically evaluate the content we have created, we are going to the Berkeley Library Evaluation Resource Tool. This tool focuses on determining: 

Outcome #1 Resource(s) Evaluation

The podcast and visual were created by Lindsay Morton, who is currently a masters student at the University of British Columbia in Educational Technology. While discussing the pivot to remote learning with colleagues the challenge of providing support to diverse learners and ensuring equity amongst the class was something we agreed was difficult and required more support amongst educators. 

The podcast was created on July 22nd, 2020 with Kim Ashbourne. I met Kim during my summer courses in 2020 where she spoke about the importance of web accessibility. Kim is a web content specialist and project manager who is also enrolled in her masters of education technology.  When we met, she discussed why it is important to consider web accessibility and how we can make small changes to resources to ensure all students can access the content. We decided this was an important part of personalizing the needs of diverse learners to ensure equity. The podcast discusses different tools and ways we can make resources more accessible. We hope the conversation will inspire and provide educators with the beginnings of creating accessible content. 

The visual was created through brainstorming with colleagues and discussing the challenges we faced during the pivot to remote learning. As an educator, my administration team was consistently putting social and emotional health at the forefront of our planning last year. As a school team we felt there was no need to worry about students’ academic growth until we were certain all of their basic needs were being met, including their mental health. As the pivot created many changes in students and families lives, it was crucial we focused on this connection before moving towards the learning side of the isolation period. The importance of supporting families reminded us of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which was used as an initial idea and adapted to support educators. When faced with reluctant students or families that are difficult to connect with, I hope this visual can be a starting place for decision making and communicating with their community. The visual was created on July 22nd, 2020. 


Click on the picture below to listen to a podcast about creating accessible content for all learners. 

Click here for a link to the transcript of this video interview. 


Click on the picture below for a video explanation of the hierarchy of needs visual we created.

This image breaks down the needs of students through the following steps. Each need should be met before moving onto the next. Step 1 Are students safe at home? Are their basic needs being met including, water, food and shelter. Step 2Do students have a sense of love and care at home? Do they have family members who support them? Step 3Do students have access to adequate technology to support learning? Step 4 Are students supported by themselves, schools or their family to use this technology to access the learning and engage in instruction? Step 5 Students are accessing online learning.

This visual was created by Lindsay Morton, a masters student at the University of British Columbia, July 2020.

Outcome #2 Resource Evaluation

The author of this resource is Emily Miller, who is currently a masters student through the University of Victoria in the field of educational technology as mentioned in the introduction of the video. In addition, she has completed a Diploma Program in Personalized Learning through the University of Victoria as well as had five years of teaching experience. During her Diploma Program, she met Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt who was keenly interested in inquiry and personalized learning. Since their program together, Rebecca has co-authored a book with Trevor Mackenzie called ‘Inquiry Mindset’, taught an undergrad personalized learning course through the University of Victoria, and continues to share her learning experiences through her social media sites. They both have a contemporary understanding of personalized learning which is guided by research as well as personal experience, which is evident in their discussion.

The resource was created so that teachers could hear from another classroom teacher, who is well versed in personalized learning, talk about their successes and struggles during the remote learning period. It is important for teachers to not only see what is possible, how to do it, but also hear that it is okay to fail. In addition, this resource is more effective as a video than a podcast as it is important to see people’s physical reactions when talking about personal experience. It was filmed in July 2020 which has allowed for both teachers to reflect and pull out the important learning from that time with more clarity. It helps to meet the learning outcome above as it suggests topics and concepts that teachers can and should consider as they move towards the next school year. Rebecca and Emily talk to each of the categories listed under the second outcome in their conversation. Therefore, we believe that this is an effective resource to support teachers understanding of personalized learning.


Click on the image below to watch a video interview with Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt for some inspiration and ideas around personalized learning both in the classroom and online. 

This video was created by Emily Miller, a masters student through the University of Victoria in the Educational Technology cohort, July 2020.

Click here for a link to the transcript of this video interview. 


Curation and Evaluation of Personalized Learning Resources

Diverse personalized needs were more difficult to support during the remote learning period as this was uncharted territory for educators. In the classroom, teachers have been fostering personalized learning to ensure we are providing equal access to all students. During remote learning, this became a challenge without face-to-face interaction, educational assistants, and in-class resources. We hope this page can be a starting place of gathered resources where educators can come to when trying to support the following students during remote learning:

  • English Language Learners (ELL)
  • Literacy support learners
  • Math support learners
  • Students with special needs
  • Students with visual or hearing disabilities

According to the British Columbia Ministry of Education Curriculum Overview (2016), ‘personalized learning acknowledges that not all students learn successfully at the same rate, in the same learning environment, and in the same ways’. As teachers, found ways to try to support all learners in our classrooms. However, the recent time of remote learning made it more difficult to do so. Teachers were often unfamiliar with the online learning landscape, and because of the ‘emergency’ nature of the response, there was not much time to explore ways to do so.

Now that we have had time to process and reflect, we can consider new ways to set up our learning environments (in person and online) in order to support all learners in a more effective way. Personalized learning is a great way to do this. It “focuses on enhancing student engagement in learning and giving students choices – more of a say in what and how they learn – leading to lifelong, self-directed learning” (2016). As you move into Fall 2020, we have included some things to consider as ways to create a more personalized learning environment.

British Columbia Ministry of Education. (2016). Curriculum Overview. Retrieved from

We found a vast range of resources through searching social media, blogs, and recent research on personalization in classrooms.  Most of our resources stem from educational boards, organizations, or foundations which are written by highly educated staff or experts on the subject. Others are written by teachers for teachers through blog posts or resource sharing. We also found many posts through social media and were able to learn more about the authors through their social media pages. As we work towards narrowing down what are the most useful to support our learning outcomes, we found the following resources to support the personalization of diverse populations. To support our findings, we will use the Berkley Library Evaluating Resource Tool to ensure the following.

Personalization Resource(s) Evaluation

While looking for resources, we were also confronted with the issue of accessibility and how these sources will be best used by teachers and students. We hope to continue this journey while creating our post by using the most accessible design and layout to support all accommodations. The remote learning period brought on new challenges to navigate. As the weeks went on, educators became more adaptable and adopted new learning management systems, assessment procedures, and teaching practices. As we move into another unknown in the fall, we hope this page can become a place of specific targets Educators can use to personalize and support specific needs in their diverse classroom.

Additional Resources and Research:

Three Tips for Personalizing in a Pandemic by Paul Emerich France 
Personalized Instruction to Address COVID-19 Learning Gaps by the Institute of Educational Sciences (Part of the US Department of Education)
Personalized Learning and Mathematics Teaching and Learning
A Special Education Teacher Explains Why Virtual Learning is so Hard on Her Students
Imagine Education Research Group through SFU
Basham, J.D., Hall, T.E., Carter, R.A., & Stahl, W.M. (2016). An Operationalized Understanding of Personalized Learning. Journal of Special Education Technology, 31(3), 126-136. https://doi.org/10.1177/0162643416660835 
Redding, S. (2013). Through the Student’s Eyes: A perspective on personalized Learning and Practice Guide for Teachers. Center on Innovations in Learning. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED558042.pdf
Pane, J.F., Steiner, E.D., Baird, M.D., & Hamilton, L.S. (2015). Continued Progress: Promising Evidence on Personalized Learning. RAND Corporation. (CORPORATE)


Curriculum Conversation

Today in our EDCI 532 course we spent some time in small groups comparing and contrasting K-12 curriculum and looking primarily through two lenses – indigenization  and digitization of curriculum.

Here are the links to each of the Provinces and Territories curriculum:

British Columbia






Newfoundland and Labrador

Nova Scotia

New Brunswick

Prince Edward Island


Northwest Territories


Here are some of the overarching ideas that came out of the sharing and discussions today:

  • provinces/territories are at varying levels of including and integrating indigenous content and supports for technology to enhance education
  • BC is definitely ahead of the game with their ‘new’ curriculum document(s), digital literacy framework, and First Peoples Principles of Knowledge resource
  • they seem to all follow Tyler’s Model of Curriculum Development
    • Determine the objectives of the province (what content is important)
    • Developing learning experiences that help students achieve the objectives
    • Organize the experiences (modeling? writing? etc.)
    • Evaluation of the objectives (how do the students demonstrate their mastery/achieved the objective)

“Really” by Acinapurag is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

As came up in class conversation yesterday, this seems common knowledge to us. This is because we do not know any better and is ‘how it has always been done’ – at least in this part of the world. Some  wonderings that continue to circle around my head these days are:

  1. How is curriculum developed in the third world?
  2. How are teachings determined/shared/assessed in different cultures?
  3. Is there much research into these things and integrating into how we do things in BC?

If you have any experiences or thoughts on any of these questions I would love to hear them and engage in conversation!


Taking Learning Design To A Whole New Level

“Neighborhood of Chaos” by byzantiumbooks is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The end of the 2019-2020 school year was one of pure CHAOS. Now that I have had some time to step back , I have been able to do some reflecting.

This summer, I continue to move through courses for my Masters Degree. My focus has been on Educational Technology, which has been extremely beneficial during the recent (and ongoing) COVID-19 Pandemic. The uncertainty of school closures, transition to online teaching, followed by another transition to a blended teaching and learning model has been extremely stressful for everyone within the education community.  Everyone was trying to manage during a crisis – we were doing what we could with the information and tools that we had at the time.

But September is going to be a different story. We are still unsure what it is all going to look like, but we do know that we have learned from the past four months and can use that knowledge to create and develop and even more engaging and effective learning experiences for our students.

As a result, based on our combined experiences during the recent Pandemic, our EDCI 565 course is attempting to create a website to help teachers feel better prepared for teaching in this new era of education. We are doing this in the hopes that we can help fellow teachers feel more prepared and informed during this next transition, as well as experience a whole new kind of course learning design! It is still in the planning phases, but so far we have put together a list of outcomes that we think teachers will need. To go with each outcome we are working on gathering resources, creating resources, and trying to put it together in a way that is clear and easy to navigate.

If you have any suggestions for outcomes, things we should look into, resources you have found and loved, or just want to know more – please leave a comment below!


What is curriculum?

My Metaphor

“Glasses” by shyb is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

To me, curriculum is a pair of eyeglasses. Growing up, I always wanted a pair for myself. I was jealous of the different look they give as well as how it changes the way the people see the world around them.

For this metaphor, the frames provide a solid structure similar to the predetermined content of prescribed curriculum. The style of frames can depend on different regions or countries around the world. Then from that large selection, an individual gets to choose which frame works best for them.

The glass are the lenses in which the viewer looks at the world. The wearer can look at things as a whole, see things out of focus on the periphery, or focus on something quite specific depending on the direction they look and what they are interested in. Everyone has a pair with their own specific perspective in which they are seeing the curriculum through. And as learners – both the students and educators – age and move through the education system, the prescription changes and you are able to see a little bit clearer and with more understanding of your individuality and the direction in which you want your learning to go.


My Context

I graduated with a Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Victoria in 2014. Unfortunately, that year the teachers were on strike, so I was unable to obtain a teaching position until January of 2015. Since then I have taught primary grades and spent the last four years teaching a combination of grade two and three students at a school in West Vancouver in British Columbia (B.C.).


Therefore, I have been referencing the ‘new’ B.C. curriculum throughout my whole career. The only exposure I had to curriculum before what is currently available, was selecting specific prescribed learning outcomes (PLO’s) while writing lesson plans throughout my practicums in my undergrad program. They were overwhelming in number as a new teacher, but they provided a specific scope and sequence in the learning for each grade which, naturally, I lacked as a brand-new teacher. As a teacher who has primarily engaged in only the current curriculum in B.C., it was daunting to lose the specific learning outcomes per subject. However, as I have progressed in my teaching experience, I have enjoyed the flexibility it provides me in the classroom.


This last year has given me even more perspective on curriculum and instruction. I was fortunate to be given the amazing opportunity to take on the role of Vice Principal at my current school. Now, not only am I responsible for the learners in my own classroom, but the school as a whole. This unique position allows for me see things in a bigger picture way and think critically about how I can engage in conversations on curriculum and instruction for our school as a learning community.


My Response to Week One Articles

As made clear by my metaphor above, I believe that curriculum is the content, not the container (Egan, 2003). In the K-12 teaching world in B.C., the curricular outcomes are already predetermined and what our governing body “values and has given priority” (Blades, 1997). My job as the teacher is to then work with the students to determine how we want to move through content in a way that is engaging and follows their interests and curiosities. The curriculum documents that I reference tell me the ‘what’, but I (and the learning communities I build relationships with year to year – colleagues and students) work together to determine the ‘how’.


In reference to Blade’s (1997) article, I believe in the importance of including students in the process of curriculum and instruction in order to build ownership of the learning and allow for deeper understanding of content. As a new administrator I have needed to remind myself about the importance of including student voices in the decisions we make. In meetings there can often be so many decisions made at a high level, and our school leadership team often has to take a step back and think about what is best for our small community of learners and ask for their thoughts and feedback. We saw this very clearly during the COVID-19 school closure and transition to online and blended learning.



Blades, D. (1997) Procedures of Power in a Curriculum Discourse: Conversations from Home. JCT, 11(4), 125-155.

Egan, K. (2003) What is Curriculum? JCACS, 1(1), 9-16.


Week 8 – Technology Operations and Concepts Reflection

Course Readings:

Sterling, L., “Session L : Coding in the curriculum : Fad or foundational?” (2016). 2009 – 2019 ACER Research Conferences. 4.
https://research.acer.edu.au/research_conference/RC2016/9august/4 Retrieved from:  https://research.acer.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1297&context=research_conference

  • issue – what concepts are being addressed in teaching coding and how essential are they for engendering an understanding of the digital world around us, and improving productivity and innovation?
  • we (teachers) tend to take advantage of the fact that computers are now essential in schools, and students need basic computer literacy skills
  • how to teach computational thinking? and where should it be placed in the curriculum?
    • general lack of agreement in whether computational thinking should ultimately be incorporated into education as a general subject, a discipline-specific topic, or a multi-disciplinary topic
  • to teach computer programming in school or not?
    • ‘coding in the curriculum’ seems to be the current preferred option to programming
    • benefits to teaching code from an early age?
      • thinking engendered by coding (general problem-solving and design skills)
      • appreciation of what computers can and cannot do
      • providing exposure (encourage more students to take up careers in coding)
    • objections to placing coding in the curriculum
      • does not come from an adequate pedagogical basis
      • no evidence base establishing that coding is beneficial (not correct, but evidence is primarily anecdotal)
      • push for coding is primarily about vested interests
      • current popular ‘Scratch like’ environments are too limited to learn the important programming concepts
    • space can be made in the curriculum to connect coding to math and science lessons
  • Important to provide opportunities to children

My Experience:

Our district has been on board and supportive since the beginning. We even have a district coding arcade put together each year where kids create coding games and showcase them to other students and families in the district.

As a Grade 2/3 teacher over the past few years, I have seen the growing fad of incorporating coding into the curriculum. I agree with the author of the article for this week in the sense that it is important to provide these types of coding opportunities to children as exposure to what is possible in the world of technology. My young students are still learning what coding means, but by engaging in activities such as the Hour of Code each year and practicing their game creation by progressing through step by step instructions on Code.org, they are developing computational thinking and gaining a deeper understanding of how technology works.

My Perspective:

Is coding a fad or is it something that needs to be integrated into every curriculum? Why or Why not?

I think it is something that can easily be integrated into the BC curriculum in a variety of ways at each grade level. In the primary years it can be taught without the use of technology by coding and giving directions in play. In the middle years it can be integrated into literacy by having students tell a story using Scratch, and in the older years it can be coding robots to complete a task in shop class! I think coding teaches computational thinking and exposes students to a different way of engaging with technology that they didn’t know was possible before.

Just as the author of the article mentioned, we engage students in other creative endeavours (music, art, etc.) and this is another form of creative expression that students might really gravitate towards.

What is the role of computer science in digital literacies?

The study of computer science (coding) allows students to explore a relationship and language with technology that they did not know existed before and manipulate that relationship to get their desired outcome.

We are becoming more and more digital (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic) and students are engage with digital platforms more than ever before. But they don’t necessarily understand how they do what they do. I think it’s important to provide students insight into that.

How are emerging educational technology trends impacting your learning context?

As a young millennial teacher who is interested in all new technology – I am always game to explore the new trend (with district approval if need be). Personally, I find this process very exciting, and the more experience I get as a teacher, the better I get an integrating them into what I am already teaching in the classroom.

What I am learning now, through my ongoing masters project research, is how to build an environment and a space where I can help the whole staff be risk takers when it comes to technology. I am very happy to say that during this uncertainty in remote teaching and learning, most of our teachers have tested and tried things that they never thought they would! And I am so proud!

Week 7 Communication and Collaboration Reflection

Course Reading:

Rothwell, D. (2017). Social Media in K-12 Schools. BOLT Multi-authored Blog. [Weblog]. Retrieved from http://bolt.athabascau.ca/index.php/2017/09/01/social-media-in-k-12-schools/

  • should school policies be framed in safety (to monitor and block student access to new technologies) or should policies be framed in media literacy (to integrate and teach students how to utilize new technologies within the classroom)?
  • the use of social network sites have been cited as having potential to support collaborative knowledge construction, timely access to information, academic help – seeking, development of communication competencies, and blurring the lines between learning, social, and leisure spaces
  • research uncovered five common themes in the studies of SNS integration in K-12 classrooms:
    • students informal learning outside of school
      • spaces to organize group activities , seek social support, and validate created work
      • platform of self-expression
      • can be easily distracting to students (research encourage use of ‘technology breaks’ to improve focus and stamina)
    • students formal learning in schools and classrooms
      • students are keen to use the social networking platforms to connect , interact, and develop new literacy competencies
      • teachers need more help recognizing how to utilize SNS as a learning and teaching tool
    • connections between in-and out-of-school learning
      • “the more time students spent informally with social network sites and similar technology, the more they craved the use of those tools in their learning environment – especially for visualizing difficult material”
      • students feel that current use is limited and mainly used for assignment submission and grade management
    • pre-service teachers perceptions and practices
      • although they are often willing to try new things, they lacked experience and expertise in integrating these technologies into learning
      • intend to use SNS to increase student-to-teacher and student-to -student interactions, foster collaboration, and share content knowledge – HOWEVER – there is a need for teacher education programs to simulate these experiences for these beginning teachers to improve their effectiveness at employing these technologies
    • in-service teachers perceptions and practices
      • teachers’ positive shifts in their teaching practices by gradually ceding control over the use of technology to students, and the positive impact of this on students ICT skills and science learning
  • studies showed that SNS MAY enhance motivation, higher-order thinking and digital literacy development – HOWEVER – it lacked a review of studies that monitored the social impact of SNS
  • nothing to show best practices
  • people looking for evidence based data to support the use of technology in education

Couros, A., & Hildebrandt, K. (2016). Designing for open and social learning. In G. Veletsianos (Ed.), Emergence and innovation in digital learning: Foundations and applications. Edmonton, Canada: AU Press. Retrieved from: http://www.aupress.ca/index.php/books/120258

  • theoretical foundations
    • the open movement
    • complementary learning theories (social cognitive theory, social constructivism, and adult learning theory)
    • connectivism
  • concept of ‘open teaching’
    • the facilitation of learning experiences that are open, transparent, collaborative, and social
  • important to develop a PLN and promote the continued development within your context

Expansion of Couros’ research is the Open Learning Continuum

My Experiences:

My experience as a teacher using digital tools to support communication and collaboration is limited as I have been primarily teaching grade 2/3 these past 5 years. There are very few digital tools that have been approved by my district for use and are easily accessible for the age group of my students.

However, as classroom education evolves during the time of this pandemic – we are looking at exploring some different options. Right now I am using FreshGrade as my primary communication platform. It is a great way to communicate information out to families and engage with students online, however, there is no way for students to engage with each other.

One of the platforms that one of our grade one teachers is using right now is Padlet as a way for kids to share ideas and photos of what they are doing throughout the week.

As school administrators we are using Twitter and Instagram to connect and share information with families. We seem to have increased our following by quite a bit over the last few weeks!

I have really enjoyed my experience in this M.Ed Technology cohort as it has exposed me to this firsthand – in the world of post secondary education. I have not been able to connect with any of my classmates face to face as I live in Vancouver, however, there have been many opportunities provided inside and outside of our learning environment to connect and collaborate.

We have:

  • a class website
  • we each have a blog and our feeds are aggregated on our class website
  • used BlueJeans and Zoom to connect with each other virtually each week to discuss course readings (led by the course instructor)
  • have been able to have small group conversations using BlueJeans and Zoom (monitored by the course instructor)
  • Whatsapp group (which didn’t have everyone included on it – so it is not being used as much anymore)
  • Slack channels for coursework, random, and a locked student chat
  • Twitter hashtag to follow (#TIEgrad) discussions and thoughtful posts related to our learning

My Perspective:

What are some examples of digital tools that support communication and collaboration?

  • Google Classroom
  • Google Meet
  • Zoom
  • Padlet
  • Blogs
  • Social Media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, etc.)

How can digital tools expand learning beyond classroom walls?

  • helps to develop class community (sharing and hearing from others)
  • allows students to communicate and connect with classmates (brainstorm, ideate, etc.) that are not in the same place
  • allows students to develop different forms of digital literacies
  • allows students to make connections to things they are seeing outside of the classroom – news, current events, etc.
  • an opportunity to share their thoughts (especially if they are socially isolated)

How does your project promote communication and collaboration between students in your class and with others outside your learning context?

  • students share their poem with others digitally (Google Classroom, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc.) for review and feedback

Digital Citizenship – Developing & Designing for Safe Learning Spaces

Course Readings:

Kral, I. & Schwab, R.G. (2012). Chapter 4: Design Principles for Indigenous Learning Spaces. Safe Learning Spaces. Youth, Literacy and New Media in Remote Indigenous Australia. ANU Press.http://doi.org/10.22459/LS.08.2012  Retrieved from: https://press.anu.edu.au/publications/learning-spaces%EF%BB%BF

Design Principle 1: A space young people can control

  • historically learning is controlled by institutions (usually with a deficit attitude towards Indigenous students)
  • adolescents tent to be early school leavers or not attending classes regularly
  • policies are often punitive
  • there are few spaces in the public domain where Aboriginal people experience a sense of control
  • access to technology in many remote communities may still be mediated through a non-indigenous ‘gatekeeper’ (new affordable mobile devices are changing that)

Design Principle 2: A space for hanging out and ‘mucking around’

  • ‘digital bedroom’ – one of the most vibrant digital learning spaces for adolescents
  • adolescents in remote communities often do not have that luxury
  • informal learning spaces such as media centers, youth centers, and libraries perform an important function as a communal ‘digital bedroom’
  • access  to new technologies and control of digital practices is allowing young people to gain control, not only over the production process and editing, but also self-representation (structuring their own learning environment based on what is available in the community)

Design Principle 3: A space where learners learn

  • what makes a good facilitator of learning?
    • passionate about what they do
    • ability to teach complex technical skills which engaging learners
    • give agency to young people (don’t seem themselves as ‘bosses’)
    • highly collaborative and respectful (respect for and interest in the language and culture of the learners)
    • facilitated productive learning activities that are project based, rather than assessment driven, and built upon a sense of mutual respect, development of relationships, and recognition of learners existing knowledge
    • allows for peer training

Design Principle 4: A space to grow into new roles and responsibilities

  • expert mentors and other enabling adults play an important supporting role help keep kids engaged in ongoing projects
  • opportunities for students to take on meaningful roles and responsibilities (e.g. video making in a group)
  • ‘rules’ or expectations created by those engaging in the activities in the space

Design Principle 5: A space to practice oral and written language

  • new forms of interactions with adults in the project sites are allowing young people to negotiate different types of social relations where they engage in complex turn-taking interactions with an expectation of high communicative competence
  • young people listen to and interpret instructions, request clarifications, and initiate ideas and actions (become risk takers)
  • mother tongue is valued
  • critical that we conceptualize literacy not only as a skill learned at school, but also as a competency acquired in community with others (without the need for formal lessons)

Design Principle 6: A space to express self and cultural identity through multimodal forms

  • minorities need to see themselves in their learning

Design Principle 7: A space to develop and engage in enterprise

  • cultural values important
  • activities tied to meaningful community projects
  • collaborative intergenerational activities

Design Principle 8: A space to engage with the world 

  • integrating history and the past with digital and contemporary methods

Regan, P., & Jesse, J. (2019). Ethical challenges of edtech, big data and personalized learning: Twenty-first century student sorting and tracking. Ethics and Information Technology, 21(3), 167-179. DOI: 10.1007/s10676-018-9492-2

  • “one of the most heavily marketed, exciting, and controversial applications of edtech involves the varied educational programs to which different students are exposed based on how big data applications have evaluated their likely learning profiles”
  • these raise ethical concerns, especially at a K-12 level
    • information privacy
    • anonymity
    • surveillance
    • autonomy
    • non-discrimination
    • ownership of information
  • are personalized learning programs similar to concerns raised about educational tracking in the 1950’s

My Experiences:

How I have been considering this in my own context?

In the district that I work in, we have district staff the approve digital resources. This team looks at all of those ethical concerns above and works with platforms to help mitigate the risk or walk away from it all together.

This has been a relatively new phenomenon. In the past, teachers have introduces new platforms and applications as a way to engage in a new, fun, and exiciting way. However, there was not much thought about how this could effect our students data.

We are now more aware and things are approved at a district level before being passed off to classroom teachers to integrate and use. However, I have become even more cautious after learning so much in our summer courses last year about data sharing online.

Something that came up once this year was one of our Grade 1 teachers wanted to use an aging app to take pictures of students and age them in order to print pictures of them for 100’s day. However, I heavily suggested against it as it is an application that then has all these little childrens photos saved on it.

I am happy to know that it is becoming second nature for me to questions the privacy and policies of all digital platforms.

We are especially feeling this right now as a conversation has arisen around video conferencing in many districts.

My Perspectives:

How does  a safe learning space influence student learning?

  • its crucial to develop a safe learning space in order for students to become comfortable enough to take risks (academic, social, and emotional risks) in the classroom
  • this can be done in the 4 walls of a classroom, but also online (as I am learning to how do)

How can educators ensure student privacy and safety is considered in digital environments?

  • reading privacy policies before signing students up
  • communicating with their district technology support person
  • finding out what kind of data is linked to their Google Suite
  • teach them about sharing online and examples of some popular sites and the prevalence of data mining

How does your project consider individual student digital identity, safety and choice while encouraging individual cultures and perspectives?

  • working on it….
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