missmillerslearningjourney

My ideas, thoughts, and experiences

Category: EdTech Research

Reflection on Technology Handbook Summaries – What’s in it for me?

What issues were the most interesting for you and why?

It is clear across all articles in this book, that knowledge has not increased at the same rate as technology innovation has. New technology applications and platforms are being introduced faster that teachers and students have time to experiment with and dabble in. The important thing that Information Technology leaders in schools need to remember, is that it is not the quantity of technology or even the usage of current technology, but how it is helping the learners in the space. Just because a platform or software is new, doesn’t mean that it is the best thing to support students. There is no perfect delivery system, it depends on the individual what is going to work best.

“good usage is the usage that matches instruction and gets the best outcomes for students”

Something that really stuck out to me from one of the chapters was the idea that just because students are exposed to a lot of technology at home, we should not assume that because they are competent technology users. I have seen this first hand as a primary teacher. Students self-report extended technology access and programming at home. This usually entitles video games and YouTube. However, these applications do not help students develop skills to use technology appropriately. For the most part, they do not know how to type, do not know how to search information, use technology to make life easier, or what applications are outside of the gaming ones they are always on.

One thing that my district is quite interested in right now is assessment. As our curriculum in BC has changed, our assessment practices need to change as well. With the increase in technology, assessing the use of technology and using technology to assess has revolutionized assessment. As mentioned by one of the groups, assessment needs to be multifaceted. In our district, we have developed an assessment visual that shows the different things you need to consider when developing your assessments – insure its clear and intentional, timely and ongoing, inclusive, communicates student learning, and is a shared responsibility between student, teachers, and family.

Another aspect of technology that I found interesting was the use of game simulation to help solve real world problems. Students are building engagement through the use of this new approach and not only developing technology skills but also problem solving and collaboration skills. It is something very interesting in theory but something else in practice I think. I was in one of our Grade 6/7 classes last week doing coverage and I decided to bring in something fun. I decided to have the students do a Breakout EDU game. I made quite a few assumptions before bringing it into the class – such as, they had knowledge of breakout games and that they had strong problem solving and persistence. I was quickly shown otherwise. Students were quickly frustrated when the instructions did not tell them exactly what to do. And they did very little to move closer to the answer. I had to start providing hints in order to get them re-engaged and successful. For next time, I will ensure I start with an easier activity and maybe do one as a whole group before having them engage in small group work.

Technology is an interesting concept in elementary classrooms. There are so many opportunities to provide students in order to develop curricular and core competencies, however, it’s hard to know what is best.

 

Which issues have implications for you in your own personal situation (both in your current position and in your current research topic for your MEd project.?

I am coming to understand this more and more. I originally thought of my job as constantly bringing in new things to staff to explore. But that can be extremely overwhelming, especially for those staff members that are already uncomfortable with technology and are hesitant to change their ways. I am coming to the realization that instead, it is important that teachers feel that they have input, time to practice, and support from other teachers and admin in the building. Trevor and I’s chapter was all about Educational Leadership in the field of IT. The main message was about how to create the space for optimal learning and growing and how to foster that as a leader within a school staff.

This means spending time having discussions as staff about our pedagogy and values around technology in education. Until you do that, as a leader, you will not have a solid understanding of where the staff are coming from and will not be able to choose new technology initiatives that fulfill the schools needs, wants, and goals.

It’s also important as a leader, to understand what the possible factors for disruption there are, in order to mitigate as many as we can. There can be a lack of time given to staff to experiment and play with technology before bringing it into their classroom. As a result, there is a lack of experience which leads to being uncomfortable. And we all know that no teacher wants to teach from a place of discomfort. In addition, depending on what generation you grew up in – you may have more or less risk tolerance and self-help strategies when it comes to technology. Availability is a huge factor as well at schools around the world. It is a rarity that all students have access to a device. Therefore, it’s important to have some supplemental devices and activities that do not need to be completed online. And access to funds could either help or hinder this. In many schools in my districts, there are strong PAC’s which raise a lot of money to help buy and maintain technology. Whereas in other schools, that is not always the case. There is also the agendas of stakeholders to keep in mind. When  technology is introduced to a school or a district, there are usually already agendas that administrators have before presenting. It’s difficult to get buy-in from teachers when it is an initiative that is being done to them and for them instead of with/alongside them.

One thing that I really liked from the K-12 Tech Usage Report linked below, was the Batavia district strategy in regards to technology integration. It consists of 3 levels:

    • Core materials that get widespread use
    • Supplemental materials for remediation or enrichment
    • Materials that might just meet an individual school/student/teacher need *these are few and far between and often transition into the second section

This provides a good way to categorize technology apps and usage with staff in a way that is clear.

Something I would like to learn more about, connected to my M.Ed project:

  • How to use technology to enhance assessment – especially when job sharing/have multiple teachers?
  • How to use technology to share the learning that is going on in my classroom/community through digital portfolios for primary students?
  • Where is the balance between technology use in classrooms and place-based learning outdoors? What skills can we develop with the use of the one over the other? Or both?
  • How to harness students experience with social media/technology to share their outdoor learning experiences? (YouTube? Class Instagram? FreshGrade?)

Resources:

  • Voogt, G. Knezak, R. Christensen, & K-W, Lai (Eds.) Second Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education, pp. 3-12. Springer International Handbooks of Education. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-71054-9]

Models for Technology Implementation in Schools – TPACK vs. SAMR

My context is that I am currently a grade two teacher, the Vice Principal, and the technology support teacher at my school. The school district that I am a part of strongly supports technology use in the classroom and are often pushing out different types of opportunities. With the school and PAC funds that we have access to, our school is equipped with iPads and Chromebooks and students in Grades 4-7 are strongly encouraged to invest in a personal device. We also have dropdown projectors in all classrooms and a SmartBoard in our school library. I would say, for the most part, that the technology devices and applications that we use within our school have either been suggested by the district or apps that are gaining public popularity. As I applied for this Master’s program, I was hoping that it would help me to tighten up our systems, develop a vision for our school, and a structure to more thoughtfully reflect on what and how to implement ‘new’ technology into our practice.

Through these readings, I am leading more towards the TPACK model. There seems to be more research behind the implementation and use of the model to develop and create deep learning experiences for classroom teacher and students. As an administrator, it would push me to be extremely thoughtful and intentional with what I brought to staff. I would have to think about the content knowledge, technologic knowledge, and pedagogical knowledge of all staff.

“The basis of effective teaching with technology, requiring an understanding of the representation of concepts using technologies; pedagogical techniques that use technologies in constructive ways to teach content; knowledge of what makes concepts difficult or easy to learn and how technology and help redress some of the problems that students face; knowledge of students prior knowledge and theories of epistemology; and knowledge of how technologies can be used to build on existing knowledge to develop new epistemologies or strengthen old ones” (Koehler & Mishra, 2009).

Teaching is a complicated and confusing profession and with the addition of technology, it often just becomes an add on. In the past, I have found that our school brings in technology that is new and exciting but it often sits unused because teachers don’t have an understanding of how to use it, how it will assist in developing their pedagogical understanding, and how it will help enhance content knowledge – a perfect example of that is our SmartBoard. Something that could change the way that technology is perceived and understood would be to go through the different types of knowledge need to be developed before the full introduction of a new technology or application. Providing the research, having conversations with staff about our collective understanding and vision in regards to technology, providing sessions for educators to play around an explore with the technology, and building content capacity before introducing a technology to support.

However, I think the SAMR model also has a place in the school. I think it serves as a great reminder to implement a variety of technology in the classroom. We shouldn’t be spending all of our time at the bottom with substitution and augmentation and challenge ourselves to modify and redefine the learning in classroom with technology. The reference of the SAMR model with staff, could provoke thought provoking question and reminders about what we are doing in our classroom – such as why are we using what we are using in the first place? Is it the best thing to do? Is it going to have an impact on the learning? It provides a starting point to have conversations about technology. Based on the articles given for this week’s readings, there doesn’t seem to be much research about the process of implementing the structure and many questions surrounding the efficacy of the SAMR model. In the education community, there seems to be concerns around the contextual implementation of the model, rigid structure where activities are only supposed to fall within one of the four levels, and the primary focus on product instead of process of learning (Hamilton & Rosenberg et al., 2016). Therefore, I would start by moving through the TPACK model when implementing or introducing new technology, and use the SAMR model to facilitate discussion around what we are already doing and what we can move towards.

 

Resources:

Hamilton, E.R., Rosenberg, J.M. & Akcaoglu, M. (2016). The Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) Model: a Critical Review and Suggestions for its Use. TechTrends 60(5), 433-441. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-016-0091-y

Koehler, M. & Mishra, P. (2009). What is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)?. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70. Waynesville, NC USA: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education.  https://www.learntechlib.org/primary/p/29544/.

Clark vs. Kozma – Media and Learning

Image result for technology fighting
The Clark versus Kozma debate on the connection between media and learning has been going on for decades.  It all started in 1983 when Clark stated that media “are mere vehicles that deliver instruction but do not influence students achievement any more than the truck that delivers our groceries causing changes in nutrition” (Clark, 1983, p. 445).  Based on articles on the topic at the time, Clark made the definitive argument that there are no learning benefits to the use of technology and to not continue wasting effort on the question until a new theory was developed. He was hoping to start a conversation – and start one he did.

Kozmas response to these findings are that we should not have to change the question, but reframe it – not does technology influence learning, but will media influence learning? In his perspective, educational technology is not a natural science but a design science. That meaning that the relationships between the two might not yet be there because we have not yet made one.  As we have come to understand, learning is not a static activity or something done to us. It is “not the receptive response to instruction Image result for kids on computer with friendsdelivery, but an active, constructive, cognitive, and social process by which the learner strategically manages available resources to create new knowledge” (Kozma, 1994). Learning is the interplay between the individual and the environment – which includes the mode of instruction

As I reflect on this debate, I wonder what repercussions it had in the field of education. Did it stop schools from investing in technology? How did this affect classroom teachers? Was it an excuse for teachers? What was Clarks motivation for negating it in the classroom? What does he believe are the benefits of technology? How would  he suggest we prepare students for the world we live in today – which is primarily digital.

As we think educational technology in the 21st century. Many things have changed since this debate started. Technologies have changed, access has changed, families have changed, schools have changed, and the economic environment around us have changed. Although there remains to conclusive evidence that any one medium is more effective than the other, I believe technology plays an integral part in the education of young people today.

As our third perspective on this topic stated, “five decades of research suggests that there are no learning benefits to be gained from employing different media in instruction, regardless of their obviously attractive features or advertised superiority” (Becker, 2010). In my own experience, this has been the use of technology in the past. Educators have used technology as a way to improve student engagement on the conceptual topic. However, as times, technology, and the world around us have changed, students need to learn the skills to utilize technology to their advantage.

Image result for bc core competency visual

The new BC Core Competencies are the skill that we want students to leave our school system knowing and demonstrating. These skills will allow our youth to transition into successful roles and relationships within their communities. And technology is an avenue in which they need to be able to demonstrate those skills. Students need to learn how to be effective communicators, thinkers, collaborators, and connected to each other and their environment. All these things can not only be accomplished in the four walls of a classroom, but through the use of different applications and resources online. According to an article by Visual Capitalist, over the past decade, the technology industry has created more than 1 million jobs across the United States. Between 2010 and 2017 there was a job growth average of 6% – more than four times the national average across all industries.

Visualizing Job Growth in Top Tech Markets in North America

I agree with my colleague Rochelle’s perspective on the debate: When content is the goal I fully agree with Clark, media is not going to make a difference to the learning. However, when building skills and competencies is the goal, I believe Clark’s argument is outdated and no longer applicable to education.

The most impactful and truthful quote came at the end of the third article in;

“the truth of the matter is that technology, in and of itself, can neither improve or impoverish instruction. Instructional technology only works for some kids, with some topics, and under some conditions – but that is true of all pedagogy. There is nothing that works for every purpose, for every learner, and all the time” (Mann, 2001, p. 241)

This quote accurately describes teaching approaches clearly.  As educators, we try to use as much as we can that is available to us in order to both engage students and provide new opportunities for learning. This, all in the hopes that it will reach one of our students in the right way and push them towards learning in a deeper way.

Resources

Becker, K. (2010). The Clark-Kozma Debate in the 21stCentury. Paper presented at the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education 2010 Conference. Published under Creative Commons. (http://mruir.mtroyal.ca:8080/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11205/143/clark_kozma_21century.pdf?sequence=1)

Clark, R.E. (1994). Media will never influence learning. Educational Technology Research and Development. 42 (2),  21-29. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02299088

Kozma, R.B. (1994). Will media influence learning? Reframing the debate. Educational Technology Research and Development. 42 (2), 17-19. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02299087

EdTech Trends – from MSN Messenger to VR

Photo from: https://www.nsnews.com/news/virtual-reality-brings-the-world-to-west-vancouver-students-video-1.23298859

 

Introduction

Our generation has seen a large shift in technology over our lifetime. Growing up, personal computers were just coming out. Our home computer was in an open space and it was not used much. As I transitioned into school, we would have weekly visits to the computer lab for typing practice (All the Right Type). In high school, I had my own device and was using it to take notes, type papers, research information for school projects, and instant message friends of course! As we got older, Apple products started to be released, personal computers become more prominent, and the wealth of knowledge shared on the internet has grown substantially.

As we have gone through these different phases of technology use, we have adapted extremely well. Most people my age are quite technology literate and can adeptly problem solve and troubleshoot.

However, just a few generations above and below, they both seem to be at a loss. As the resident technology support at school and at home, I am constantly asked questions from students, colleagues, and family members about how to stop pop ups, how to reset passwords, and how to change the settings to project presentations.

It was been exciting to watch and engage with new and exciting trends in the world of technology. Especially as I have moved into my role as an educator. As I moved into the classroom, the conversation about students and technology was that students were more technology literate and we, as educators, needed to start leveraging those skills in order to increase engagement and excitement for learners.

However, in my experiences. That has not been the case. Students come in knowledgeable about how to use and access specific apps on phones and tablets, but when it comes to using devices to find information and share ideas – which I believe is the primary purpose – they seem to be unsure.

 

Summary

As Leanne mentioned in her blog, here are the top trends in educational technology as per our course readings:

  1. According to Labullier  the top trends are: 1:1 learning devices, mobile devices, wearable technology, cloud computing, collaborative computing, robotics, internet of things and game based learning, STEAM/STEM and AR (augmented reality).
  2. Randles identified computational thinking, Professional Learning, AR, VR (virtual reality) and mixed reality, AI (artificial intelligence) and global learning, learning sciences and digital citizenship and student centered learning.
  3. Jobanputra identified them as customizable learning experiences, cloud computing, speech to text options, VR/AR, 3-D printing, learning analytics.
  4. Lambda Solutions identified coding, seamless resource access, remote learning and gamification and learning management systems.
  5. According to Technology in Education 2019: 5 Trends to watch, the top trends are classroom learning as a supplement to online learning, MOOC’s ( Massive online open courses), AR, 5G ( faster networks), content on demand, inclusivity/ exclusivity and collaboration.
  6. Jarman, sees them as: Smartboards, AI, AR, VR, blockchain technology, learning analytics and adaptive learning.

The commonalities between all of these are: AI, AR, VR, anytime/ anyplace learning (enhanced by mobile devices, 1:1 devices), global/collaborative computing/ learning and student centered/focused learning results.

 

Reflection

There are many things to consider when reflecting on these readings. When looking at these articles, it is important to question and wonder who is writing the articles. If an author has a connection or relationship with a technology company, it could easily persuade and direct the messaging that comes out. It is also important to think about how the author got their information, and for what audience is it for. It would be important to know if these trends were city, province, state, or country specific. And because the articles are not academic pieces of writing, how can we determine how reliable the information they are providing are.

I am currently teaching grade two in a small affluent school district in Metro Vancouver area. In our district, we are very lucky to have support and access to a variety of technology. At our site, we have iPads, Chromebooks, SmartBoard (not that anyone uses it anymore), access to the district set of VR headsets, use of Google Suites, FreshGrade learning and reporting portfolios, coding arcades, Math IXL, and free access to the Discovery Education platform. Students from kindergarten to grade seven have exposure and access to these different avenues. And our teachers are adept at making sure that the learning is developmentally appropriate and that it makes sense for their context.

We are also lucky enough to have quite a high ratio of students to devices. Students in grade four to seven are required to bring their own device and younger students have access to iPads and are starting to explore the use of a Chromebook. This access is invaluable as it allows learners to develop a sense of independence and connect with peers in their classroom, a classroom down the hall, or half a world away.

The exciting thing about AI, AR, and VR as mentioned in one of the articles, was that the predictive nature of it, it could take some pressure off the teacher and allow them to work more closely with the student in developing a learning plan and providing targeted support based on feedback from the automated device that is designed to catch irregularities.

In addition, many trends in education seem to be moving in the direction of student centered – as it should be! The classroom is a place for students to be excited and engage with the curriculum. With the addition of inquiry and concept based teaching, students are pushed to think critically and ask questions that go beyond what you can search on Google. Technology helps everyone to access information to help them on their learning journey.

However, here is where I agree with Holland and Holland. I strongly believe that students shouldn’t be given the technology just for the sake of using it. As they mentioned in their article:

“Students still need to have the knowledge and command of effective two-way communication skills including recording their thoughts, knowledge, opinions, discoveries, and inventions in a clear and concise way” (Holland & Holland, 2014).

There are many applications that can help students explore and practice those skills, but they are not the only way. Adoption of programs and types of educational technology is projected to increase, however, we as educators need to make sure that we are supplementing with other ways of knowing.

 

Biggest Trends in Educational Technology – My Perspective

In my context, things seem to change from year to year as excitement for the latest and greatest technology shift and change. But as it stands right now,  these are the biggest trends in educational technology in my context.

  • Global Learning – Not only connecting globally, but also connecting online with peers in order to be inclusive of students who are not able to make it into the building. Also, by connecting with people from all over the world, gaining real time news and information from all over the world, communication platforms (e.g. Mystery Skype, KidBlog, FlipGrid, etc.).
  • Collaborative Computing – GoogleSuite, Kidblog, Padlet, FreshGrade – Allows students to share their information with a community in order to gain feedback and develop their understanding of a topic or concept.
  • Coding – Learning the mechanics of computers and how to get it to do what you want (Coding Mice, BlueBot, Wonder, Dash, etc.)
  • AI, AR, VR – Programs could not only help the teacher manage and catch any inconsistencies and patterns in student work, AR and VR are extremely motivating and exciting opportunities for students (Google Expeditions).

As you probably noticed, all of these trends are student centered and accessible for all learners.

 

Conclusion

I am so excited for all the amazing things that technology is bringing to the world of education. I think it is great that we are providing opportunities and the audience in which to safely share ideas, thoughts, and work. However, this quote really stuck out to me as thought provoking:

“It is not a bad things, but there are implications, whether it is simply a new medium, or whether we might be missing some of the underlying bits of important knowledge needed to carry us forward in a digital era” (Holland & Holland, 2014).

Is new always better?

There are so many new technologies out there and we want to ensure our students have access to exposure to the latest greatest thing. however, I am finding that we did so in the past, with out taking the time to consider the consequences. Something that is starting to come up more and more now is data security. Where is the information that students are sharing being housed? What information is being shared? What am I agreeing to in the Terms and Conditions? These are just a few questions that are now coming up.

I look forward to continuing on my edtech learning journey this term!

Resources

Holland, J. & Holland, J. (2014). Implications of Shifting Technology in Education. Tech Trends. 58(3), 16-25. http://vincross.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Holland-Holland-2014.pdf