Tag: EDCI571

Making Connections

Making Connections and Further Considerations with Research in Educational Technology
Mackenzie Hubbell
October 15th, 2019

It was both enjoyable and encouraging to watch my colleagues’ videos and read the handouts while trying to relax this past weekend. Some of the videos were encouraging about the use of educational technology and others made me think about the basic needs of implementing its use as well as the “real” value of educational technology. In looking at the groups, there are a few questions that come to mind.

  • What kind of training is required by educators to successfully use the technology?
  • How do we evaluate the use of technology?
  • What are the overall implications of implementing the technology: ethical, moral, issues of equity etc.?
  • How will the technology affect my learners?
  • How does the technology support the goals of the learner and enhance the overall learning objectives?

In exploring options for my Med project, I am particularly interested in looking at educational technologies that may support the use of fully incorporating Indigenous Education into every day teaching practice. I see the abundance of resources within Aboriginal Education, and question where the limitations lie in the implementation of its use. Providing educators with options to incorporate more digital technologies will support the effective and consistent teaching of Indigenous curricula, but I haven’t entirely hammered out all of the details. What I recognize in my current district, is that we are incredibly “resource rich”, yet there are obvious hesitations with incorporating Indigenous Education into everyday teaching practices.

One particular group that I enjoyed, was Emily and Trevor who looked at the role of leadership for information technology. This topic resonated with me, as we look at how to successfully implement the use of technology in our everyday teaching practice. It boils down to training and having access to people who are confident in using these technologies to assist and support school staff. We have literacy support teachers, math helping teachers, language helping teachers but often don’t have technology specialists, or at least not in my small community. Staff definitely need to feel supported and need to have the opportunity to learn themselves to become proficient with their use of technology.

In looking at the different presentation formats from our groups, its difficult to look at this from an evaluative approach. Using the basic video technology and looking at how each group choose to summarize and make their presentations engaging, entertaining but also knowledge rich, begs the questions when looking at implementing technology into the classroom.

What are the parameters for evaluation?

How do we deconstruct the content and information in a given presentation versus measuring the quality and engagement factor of the presentations?

I think about this as a real challenge in the classroom setting, especially when you give students the autonomy and freedom to explore educational technology, which is both exciting and frightening to me from an evaluative standpoint. If we continue to narrow the parameters and freedoms of expression when looking at student presentation styles, are we limiting our student’s ability to fully demonstrate their level of understanding

I can appreciate many of the new novel ways we look to engage our students and get them excited about learning. We often do this by introducing new technology into our classrooms. We are encouraged to explore new ways of learning and teaching, which in many ways enhance learning opportunities in the classroom. One thing that really resonates with me, having worked in Special Education for quite some time is looking at how of these technologies can be used in an equitable manner. Often the technology is used to present new material, just in a different way. My hope is that some of these new technologies allow all students to be active and engaged in their learning experience and creates more meaningful learning opportunities, rather than simply being a catchy new way to present the same information. Technology should support educators to make learning more meaningful and increase engagement and allow teachers to teach smarter not harder.

For this project, the learning for me was two-fold, understand the content, while also learning to navigate and use the technology required to present it.

What are the future implications?

The educator needs to have a solid foundation and understanding of how the technology is to be used and how to trouble shoot potential pitfalls. I think many teachers stray away from using tech because they don’t give themselves enough time to get comfortable with using the technology themselves, or perhaps aren’t provided with enough training opportunities to get fully acquainted.

In addition, I think its really important to think about how the technology will enhance the overall learning experience. Technology for the sake of using technology is not sufficient if the learning objectives are not clear and it is not made obvious how the educational technology will support the learning experience. Providing students with technology without an understanding and knowledge base of the technology itself, its capabilities and how it intends to enhance the overall learning experience is a common mistake.

More opportunities to explore, play and learn new educational technologies before we teach with them will see them used more effectively in the classroom.

Reference:

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/10.1007/978-3-319-71954-9

Blog #3 SAMR and TPACK

Blogging in Week 3: Looking at SAMR and TPACK
EDCI 571
September 24th, 2019

These readings were helpful and allowed me to have some good reflections when it comes to evaluating two new models that can support the development and evaluation of using new technologies in my everyday teaching.

The readings lent themselves well to considering how teachers are using and incorporating technology into their instructional practice, this idea of looking at collaborative practices to further enhance and influence student engagement and motivation for learning.

I had not previously heard of the SAMR model before so it was interesting to read about this approach in looking at how technology can be used to go from simply enhancing learning to transforming learning. I definitely see as we shift to using the new curriculum in our province that the use of promoting technology in the classroom, further supports many of the core competencies and “big ideas”. Specifically looking at how the use of technology can be used to transform learning that leads to higher level thinking skills.

I am particularly interested in exploring how the use of technology can be used facilitate and improve literacy. Improving our literacy rates is always something our district strives to work towards and is something we have had embedded in our school improvement plans the last number of years. I think that technology can certainly support and improve the learning needs and perhaps lend itself to make the learning more interesting and meaningful. We do a lot of work around supporting our students to read for pleasure and interest, and I think about the potential use of technology and how this might aid students in their efforts to improve phonological awareness, increase fluency and accuracy and support with comprehension skills. I think after reading about both the SAMR and TPACK models, they will help to support me to further determine how I will choose to use technology better in my everyday teaching.

Both tools can be used to support and inform the use of technology in the classroom setting.

In looking at the SAMR model, the acronym can be broken down in the following way. The examples provided came from the online video: https://youtu.be/9b5yvgKQdqE

The example provided with the writing assignment made it clear to see how technology can be used to transform the learning process rather than simply enhancing the learning process.

Substitution: Tech acts as a direct tool substitute, with no functional change to the task. An example of this might include writing a story using a laptop to type the story rather than print the story.

Augmentation: Tech acts as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement. The same example could be used, only students would use the same technology (laptops) to type their stories, while also being able to use additional features such as changing formatting, fonts and using spell check just as an example.

Modification: Tech allows for significant task redesign. The same story could be written using Google docs, where students can also use collaboration through feedback.

Redefinition: Tech allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable. In this example students could create the stories and then bring them to life using video to create multimedia story boards, create animation and include voice over. In this example students are able to employ the use of technology to enhance their skills in creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication.

The SAMR model allows for educators to think about how the use of technology can be used to transform the learning design.  “Transformational learning activities that are truly personalized, situated, and connected through the use of a mobile device will go beyond merely using a mobile device as a substitute for more traditional tools. The SAMR model provides a framework that can be used to classify and evaluate mLearning activities. (Romrell et al. (2004).

They encourage educators to think about the following types of questions to inform their decisions around implementation of technology.

Q: What will I gain by replacing the older technology with newer technology?

Q: Have I added an improvement to the task process?

Q: Does this modification depend on the new technology?

Q: How is the new task made possible by the new technology?

If I have to make a criticism of this model, it is that classroom teachers may find this somewhat frustrating as they work to try to incorporate technology despite level of comfort, access to adequate training as well as access to adequate technology. Teachers are often skeptical and resistant to using technology in the classroom, and in my experience a lot of the resistance comes from a lack of training and exposure with technology. Teachers often do not feel they have the appropriate training or opportunity to utilize the available technologies. The technology changes so quickly, we often don’t feel that we get to use the technology enough before it is changing yet again.

 

TPACK: Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge

Koehler and Mishra (2009) outline the TPACK model allowing teachers to evaluate and analyze their everyday teaching practices through three particular areas or lenses: content knowledge, technology and pedagogy. This model allows for teachers to recognize the value of each skill-set, while looking at how each of the areas compliment one another. This model is student centered and promotes more informed planning from educators and speaks to the intentionality of each area (content knowledge, technology and pedagogy). This model will require ongoing analysis and adjustments as teaching practices change and technologies evolve. In addition, this model allows educators to identify and focus on their strengths and also evaluate their “stretches” or areas to further explore and work on. Educators are able to explore, much like our students explore their learning, reflecting on learning needs and styles when exploring how they will best employ the use of technology in their classroom. However, if I have to make one criticism of this model, it is that the TPACK appears to be teacher centered rather than student centered.

I have worked to evaluate my own intentionality of incorporating the use of technology in my everyday teaching practice. I feel that the SAMR model works well with evaluating how I can use technology to better my practice and think about how it will contribute to improving students learning.

 

 

Clark/ Kozma Debate

Blog # 2
September 17th, 2019
EDCI 571
Discussion around the Clark/ Kozma Debate

This was a challenging read, and what was even harder was reading the position Clark took on the media having little or no influence on education and learning. It didn’t speak to the fact that technology is evolving, or that education changes and develops over time. It felt narrow in scope if I am being both honest and critical. Clark suggests that it really doesn’t matter what you use to get the material across, which makes me question how anyone could feel inspired, motivated or challenged in their own teaching practice. If it really doesn’t matter how curriculum is delivered, it would suggest that both learning and teaching is somewhat static. If all we had were textbooks and basic word processors, and learning consisted of regurgitating information and rote memorization, Clark to me is suggesting the outcomes of the learning should be consistent over time. Clark does not account for students needing differentiated instruction and unique learning styles, he does not account for teachers autonomy to choose how they teach and deliver curriculum or whether they choose to use technology. Furthermore the author of this debate suggests that we should not use media in education primarily because it is too expensive. While I do appreciate that finances are always a concern in the public education sector, I have to wonder how long he thought teaching students with textbooks or worksheets would last? It costs a lot less than many of the technologies available today, however it works for a minority of student learning styles and would bore me to tears.

Kozma on the other hand did a great job providing us with examples of how technology is and can influence education and student learning. I had not previously explored the Thinker Tool Program, however this example provided, definitely had me thinking about other tech options used in education to make learning more engaging and meaningful. He suggests that we can use the capabilities of media and technology to our advantage to influence learning in a positive way. This I can completely agree with. The key is ensuring that the scaffolding or pre-teaching of why the technology is being used is important and not a missed learning opportunity.

In reflecting on my own teaching practice, I think there are lots of great things that we as teachers can use that make learning inviting and engaging that does not require media or technology. Having said this when talking to students, most have access to Ipads, computers and cell phones at home. I can use this technology that in many ways is already in place for most if not all children that I teach to augment what I am doing in the classroom. It is important to provide instructional strategies however, so that students understand the skill set they are learning, not to confuse this with just playing with technology. There are many examples that demonstrate how media influences my own students learning. For example, student video projects can be a powerful learning experience and can support varied learning styles.

Does media really have an influence on learning?

Media, in my opinion can provide a positive influence on active learning strategies. Examples of media used for meaningful education include film clips, songs you hear on the radio, a podcast of a lecture or an online newspaper article. Furthermore, opportunities to use social media in the classroom to increase engagement can be helpful, however I feel that I would approach these options with caution, consider for what purpose I am intending them to be used, and at what grade level they are appropriate. Specifically when I am speaking about social media I am referring to the use of networking sites such as MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter as well as students personal blogs.

Media does in my opinion have a great influence on meaningful learning and can be used to enhance teaching, support or compliment many traditional teaching practices. Some of the positive aspects of using media to improve or influence education in today’s classrooms include:

  • Bridging the gap between students’ knowledge and the learning objectives
  • Increasing student engagement
  • Supporting retention of skills taught
  • Motivating students through interest areas
  • Creates greater sense of meaning and relevance of concepts

I feel that the best learning happens when students are able to establish meaning. When the learning is made meaningful the learning is richer and more likely to resonate with students. With the increase and accessibility of technology, it seems obvious that such use would be hugely impactful on the learning experience and not likely to go away anytime soon.

Overall I found the debate a bit confusing and somewhat frustrating with the fact that it felt really outdated. It is difficult to choose sides in this debate, although I think I would tend to side more with Kozma. Learning is not one dimensional and there are so many ways of learning now that it seems that the use of media and technology would positively influence education today. I feel like the Clark/ Kozma debate is looking for its readers to arrive at a definitive answer or opinion, and how do we get there when what we know and love about both education and technology is constantly evolving, nothing is static.

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