My ideas, thoughts, and experiences

Category: Uncategorised

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

Module #4 Reflection

What?

OPEN SCHOLARSHIP

Veletsianos, G., & Shaw, A. (2018). Scholars in an increasingly open and digital world: Imagined audiences and their impact on scholars’ online participation. Learning, Media and Technology, 43(1), 17–30. http://ezproxy.library.uvic.ca/login?url=https://doi.org/10.1080/17439884.2017.1305966

  • More and more scholars are using social media for a variety of teaching, learning, and professional activities (e.g. share and disseminate research finding through their own blogs or on dedicated sites like ResearchGate, LinkedIn for professional branding, or use of Twitter to cultivate networks to connect, support, and share resources)
    • only a few post secondary institutions have clear and accessible social media policies in regards to engagement and sharing online
  • Being acutely aware of ones audience is an essential aspect of communicating effectively online
    • rely on limited cues
  • When engaging on social media for professional purposes, recognition of blurred personal and professional boundaries
  • ALL academics engaging online reflected on these: SHARING, FILTERING, and PROJECTING
  • Study adds to increasing evidence that scholars online participation is intentional and thoughtful

OPEN DATA

Atenas, J., Havemann, L., & Priego, E. (2015). Open Data as Open Educational Resources: Towards Transversal Skills and Global Citizenship. Open Praxis, 7(4). https://doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.7.4.233

  • Open Data is the name given to datasets which have been generated by international oganizations, governments, NGO’s and academic researchers, and made freely available online and openly-licensed
  • These datasets can be used by educators as OER to support different teaching and learning activities
    • good for developing critical analysis of data sets

MASSIVE OPEN ONLINE COURSES (MOOCS)

Rohs, M., & Ganz, M. (2015). MOOCs and the Claim of Education for All: A Disillusion by Empirical Data. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16(6). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2033/3527

OPEN ACCESS RESEARCH

Couture, M. (2017, July 12). Academic Publishing at a Crossroads. University Affairs. Retrieved from http://www.universityaffairs.ca/opinion/in-my-opinion/academic-publishing-crossroads/

  • There are 5 publishing giants that now publish the majority of academic papers – in excess of US$10billion
  • Librarians are hard pressed by finding cuts and subscriptions cost increases well above the inflation rate – but still need to meet demands of researchers

So What?

  • Teaching students about developing their online portfolio
  • How does the imagined audience impact what and how you interact online?
  • Developing of academic capital by engaging with a variety of people and providing insight on a topic over a period of time (George Curous talked about this in our summer course) – how to create a presence online
  • OpenData makes learning more relevant to students (information is real and not ‘made up’ for the purpose of doing the work)
  • Why would publishers move to open access when it is a profitable business right now? Pressure from users?
  • Librarians are big supporters of open access

Now What?

  • If we had not had the opportunity to see each other and connect over the summer, would our interactions in this course be different? Would there be as much discussion and conversation synchronously and asynchronously?
  • How can we use Open Data in the elementary context? Is there relevant, accessible, and easily understandable data out there for kids? How do we know it is valid and reliable?
  • Using OpenData to develop global citizenship – compare and contrast data from different areas and have conversations about the reason

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