Thursday, April 19, 2018

Mobile and 1 to 1 Learning: Now What?

So for the November 27th lecture we have a treat for you! We're inviting the Cedar Falls Schools District technology integration staff to come and present about their Instructional Technology Kits. In order to prepare, you MUST watch the Mobile 1:1 Now What? lecture BEFORE you attend. (Use the UNI eLearning login and your Cat ID to get in.) Be ready to ask questions about their kits as you will be broken up into smaller groups during the lecture.

ONLINE STUDENTS: Please try to attend one of the face-to-face lecture times on Monday, April 23 if you can. The times of the lecture are at 10am and 2pm in SEC 220. Even if you cannot stay the whole time, you would benefit in seeing some of the demonstrations.

If you end up teaching in Iowa, there's a pretty good chance that you'll be in a school district that already has a 1:1 initiative. During the lecture we explore what the Cedar Falls school district is doing with their 1:1 program. To prepare for 1:1 CF schools had to update their network infrastructure. Please read here about what they did, even before they completely made the decision to go 1:1.

With going 1:1, school districts need to measure how well they're integrating technology in the classroom. One of the methods that Cedar Falls schools uses is the SAMR model. To learn more about this model, visit this web page and watch a few videos at the bottom of the page to make sure you understand how it works. Make sure you spend some time on this page (quiz, cough, cough)! Here's one of the videos to get you started.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Being a Change Agent in Your School

As we are approaching the end of the semester, you are encouraged to look back/reflect on what you have learned from the course and look forward to thinking how to transfer the knowledge, skills and your understanding from this course into your current real life situations and future teaching practices. 

In this course, we have explored various topics and big ideas on educational technology and design. One of the big ideas is related to the framework of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)  that identifies the knowledge base that teachers need to teach pedagogically and effectively with technology. 

Another topic is related to the Framework of 21st Century Learning, which "presents a holistic view of 21st century teaching and learning that discretely focusing on 21st century student outcomes". Please visit the website of Partnership for 21st Century Skills to know more about this topic.

Here is the link of Iowa Core: 21st Century Skills. "21st century skills bridge the knowledge, skills and dispositions of students from the core academic areas to real life allocation."  

21st Century Learning requires teachers and students to transform their classroom teaching and learning. Please watch the following video: Technology, the New Pedagogy, and Flipped Teaching, presented by Dr. Michael Fullan, who is an advocate and well-known researcher on the topic of teachers as change agents: 

"What should a 21st century teacher be?" Please read the blog: 15 Characteristics of a 21st Century Teacher and see whether you are ready to be a 21st century teacher. 

In addition to being a 21st century teacher, you need to become a change agent in your school. Please answer the questions: Are You a Change Agent? 10 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself - Please think deeply about these questions on initiating change.

You may wonder: "I only want to become a classroom teacher, why should I bother to become a change agent in my school?" 

In a classic article on Why Teachers Must Become Change AgentsMichael Fullan (1993) argued that there is an increasing recognition that teachers are on the front lines of educational reform, and therefore teachers must become change agents in their classrooms and schools. He outlined four core capacities of a change agent: Personal vision-building, Inquiry, Mastery, and Collaboration. These four capacities can serve as most comprehensive lenses to analyze and measure whether teachers become change agents.

Since you are familiar with ISTE Standards for Students, as a teacher, you need to know about the ISTE Standards for Educators, which is your road map to helping students become empowered learners. 

Teacher leader is one of the ISTE Standards for Educators. This standard highlights the importance of becoming a change agent. 

"How can I become a change agent?" maybe your next question.

Edwards (2007) proposes that teacher preparation programs should encourage and support preservice teachers to share their existing expertise—their strengths— in the interpretations of problem spaces to construct their individual agency. Therefore, preservice teachers’ capacity to work with others and to negotiate meanings should be seen as valuable strength and not a weakness. 

Liesveld, Miller and Robison (2005) defined “a strength as a combination of natural ability, education and training that produced consistent, near-perfect performance in a specific task” (p. 57). In their book, Teaching with your Strengths: How Great Teachers Inspire their students, the authors show teachers how to avoid the pitfalls that lead to mediocrity, and work best with what they have--discover and capitalize on their strengths. 

Your last question may be: "Is it possible for me to become a change agent as a novice teacher?" The answer is "Yes!" The Positive Psychology provides a new insight into discovering and capitalizing on one's strengths. 

Watch Shawn Achor's TED speech: "Happy Secrets for Better Life." The message that you can get from this video is that we need to have the right mindset to look for positive things in our environment to alter the constant stream of negative self-talk and fear based appraisals in such a way that we can become successful in our life by building on our strengths.  

You can tap on your tech-savvy strength and become a change agent in your school. The research shows that beginning teachers can develop teacher leadership potential from their strength-based practice(You only need to read the abstract of the paper): 
 This study suggests that beginning teachers can learn to teach with information technology and lead in technology integration at the beginning stage of teacher development."

Please watch the following video: Teachers as change agents and get ready to answer the question: "Why should a teacher know not only what to teach, but also NOT to teach?"

You can get a systematic support from Teacher Leadership and Compensation System (Iowa Department of Education). One of its goals is to "attract able and promising new teachers by offering competitive starting salaries and offering short-term and long-term professional development and leadership opportunities." 

We are very sure that you will become a change agent for technology integration in your school placements first at UNI and then in your future school. We are looking forward to hearing from you about your success stories. 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Gamification, Gaming and Badging

Do you think that games are just for passing time in your living room? Think again.  Everything from credit cards to McDonald's treats to Starbuck's Rewards have been gamified so that you will be rewarded for doing simple things. 

How many of you are actually gamers or have a gamer in your house? Statistics say that 2/3 of households across the US have gamers in them. Are gamers typically kids? No, the average age of a gamer is 35 years old.   Gaming provides a rewarding opportunity in all sections of your life. Let's explore how we can use an already popular past time and turn it into an important activity in the classroom through gamification.

Learning is about building new sets of knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Learning doesn't happen unless the learner is feeling a sense of accomplishment. Accomplishment turns into fun. Ralph Koster said that "Fun is just another word for Learning

Volkswagen explored this theory in their Fun Theory experiments. They used to have a website where you could see the various ways that they gamified simple activities like taking the stairs instead of the escalator or throwing things in a trash can.  Here are some links to videos about these project.  Search YouTube for other examples under Fun Theory.

When you apply game elements to non-gaming situations, it is called Gamification. It is a process that provides specific rewards to motivate or influence behavior. Sometimes you compete against others to win recognition.  Sometimes you are working to make a Personal Best.  

Educationally, gamification in the classroom can provide the relevant and speedy feedback, learning reinforcement and competition that can enliven learning.  Gamification can engage students with motivation to sharpen their abilities, problem solve, and become involved in a subject area like never before.

Read 9 Things that Educators Should Know about Gamification for background in how this can be used in your classroom.

Most of you are part of a gaming generation and your students will see gaming as just a part of life. As millennials and Gen Z, you spend a great deal of time outside of class problem solving, exploring, and questioning. You bask in being challenged. You crave immediate feedback on how well you achieve. You have access to information and tools like no generation before. This is even more true with the students you will teach. We can't approach teaching and learning using the same paradigm that we have in the past. In the following article, Miller explains what you need to consider when working with gaming generations.   

Read What's a Gamer Brain and How Can We Harness It in Class?  What do you recognize in how you learn and how you can apply this to your teaching?

Read What Teachers Need to Know about the Video Game Generation to develop some insight into how students think and how it can be harnessed in the classroom.
Badging is a form of recognition for gamers. Whether this gaming is in the classroom or the gameroom, it can be considered a micro-credential that signifies success in learning.  You may have experienced badging in Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4H, or some other organizations where you were acknowledged for achievement.  This can work in your classroom or, as a teacher, you might earn your own badges through professional development opportunities.

Read this article by Mathew Farber to see how all of these gaming aspects can be brought together. 

Gaming is a process that can be extremely motivating and challenging.  It is all a matter of taking the time in your classroom to create an engaging environment where students can learn and maybe even have some fun too.


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Interactive Learning

Listening to lectures and reading books is one way to learn but few people will say that it is their preferred way to learn. It may be their favorite way to go to school, but is it the most effective way for them to actually learn and master a topic?

Interactive Learning 

Interactive learning is driven by the learner.  The learner engages in the lesson and receives immediate feedback about how well she has done.  Based upon the learner's success, the learner will then encounter learning opportunities that are at the appropriate level of difficulty. Unlike lecture classes where the teacher is teaching to what s/he considers the average student, Interactive Learning provides a learning environment that is tailored to each learner's needs. 

Does Interactive Learning require technology?  No. Before the personal computer, teachers were able to provide interactive learning environments using carefully selected worksheets and textbooks. Students would be pretested to identify their skill levels and then they would work on activities that fit their needs. Upon completing an assignment, it would be corrected and if enough answers were correct the student would move to the next level. 

Does technology make Interactive Learning easier?  Yes. Instead of worksheets and correcting keys, computerized systems can quickly assess a student's skill level and then provide the appropriate learning activities. Technology increases the speed and accuracy of the Interactive Learning experience which can enable the learner to master the content more quickly.

Let's Try this Out!

Visit one of these Interactive Learning systems:   ALEKS or Khan
Each of these systems uses Artificial Intelligence to present instruction that fits your needs. Each system will spend some time getting to know you by asking you questions.  First, they will ask you about what you want to learn and then they will ask you specific questions about the topic you selected. The questions will begin with the basics and then expand your horizons based upon your answers.  Once they get to know you well enough, they begin to instruct you in your selected subject matter. 

ALEKS began as a mathematics tutorial system. Using artificial intelligence, ALEKS identifies what you know.  
Go on the Journey Yourself.  Get a free trial subscription and spend 20 minutes experiencing the artificial intelligence pathway to knowledge.   Here are some hints for your journey through ALEKS.
  • Click on Free Trial
  • Select Independent Users
  • Explore the Student Module
  • Sign Up for the free trial account.
  • Enter your information and then select Independent User Type: College or K12 Student.
  • Choose your market as K-12
  • Select a level and then Select a course.
  • Enter ALEKS.  You will encounter some tutorials at the beginning and then you will get your artificial intelligence-driven pretest.
Want to try a Video Tour of ALEKS?  

Khan Academy is another system that uses AI (and some selections by you) to identify where to begin and the uses interactive learning to take you down Knowledge Lane. KHAN began with mathematics but now it teaches everything from Math to Science to Humanities to Economics to SAT Prep.

Begin Your Khan Academy tour with the Learners, start here button. 
  • Select a Subject Area and Sign Up.
  • Continue with your UNI Google account
  • Enter Khan Academy and explore the Interactive Learning environment.

Flipped Learning/Classroom

Flipped Learning is another form of Interactive Learning. It involves watching lectures at home and then engaging in activities using your newly-found knowledge in the classroom.  This form of interactive learning is available because technology empowers you to watch a lecture on your own and then come to class to engage in activities using what you learned at home. 
What is the Flipped Classroom? - provides a basic understanding of the flipped classroom structure. 

Building a Flipped Lesson Plan - introduces you to a method for creating the actual lesson activity that will help you flip a lesson in your class.  Notice that they are using the format similar to the debriefing that the Face-to-Face Ed Tech and Design classes use on Wednesday to discuss the week's lecture.

Virtual Reality in the Classroom

The foundation of Interactive Learning places the learner in the center of the learning event.  We have discussed situations where content is presented at levels appropriate for the learner's learning. Flipped Learning emphasized engaging the learner in activities that facilitate understanding.  Virtual Reality takes book learning and places it in the experiential realm of our learners. Our students can experience a 360-degree view of the 1969 moon landing. Hearts can be held or dissected using a 3D Virtual Reality system (Z-Space). Virtual reality can provide ways to immerse learners into places they have never before experienced.  This is truly Interactive Learning.

Read and visit the article, Will Virtual Reality Drive Deeper Learning?  It is filled with links to websites that demonstrate the capabilities of VR.  Spend some time enjoying the article and clicking on the links to see examples of Virtual Reality in Education.

Interactive Learning Tool

Interactive Learning provides learners with opportunities to become engaged in their learning content.  Another way for learners to engage in learning is to create tools that can produce the products that fit their needs.  This is a Learner-Centered way to Learning.

Your final assignment in Ed Tech and Design will be to create an Interactive Learning Tool.  This challenge will involve you identifying an activity to address one or more of your thematic unit's learning objectives and then use multiple mobile apps and/or online tools to create an instructional learning experience for your students. We call this App Smashing!!  It is the "process of using multiple apps in conjunction with one another to complete a final task or project."

Prepare to smash some apps/tools while producing a learning tool for your students.


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Information Literacy

image source HlwikiCanada
Information literacy is more than possessing information. Information literacy is the ability "to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information." (ACRL, 2000)

What kind of practical steps can you and your students take to critically evaluate information found on the Internet?

Big 6 and Super3
The Big6 is a process model of how people should solve information strategies. Super 3 is a simplified model for the youngest students.
EdTech fastest growing minor - fake yahoo news

Additional resources :
ISTE Standards for students connection:
Standard # 3: Knowledge constructor: Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.
  • 3a Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.
  • 3b. Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility, and relevance of information, media, data or other resources.
ISTE  Standards for educators  connection:
#2 c. Educator Leader: Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.

Battling Fake News in a classroom

10 Questions for Fake News Detection (pdf)

Kathy Schrock guide to Critical Evaluation of Information - TONES of resources for  your classroom - Don't be fooled by media bias. Think for yourself. See news and issues from multiple perspectives, discuss like adults. - The International Fact-Checking Network is a unit of the Poynter Institute dedicated to bringing together fact-checkers worldwide. - Follows the money. Data on campaign finance, Super PACs, Industries ect. -Reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation - nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. Address public policy issues at the local, state and federal levels. - Get the truth about rumors, inspirational stories, virus warnings, hoaxes, scams, humorous tales, pleas for help, urban legends, prayer requests, calls to action, and other forwarded emails. - dedicated to" debunking email hoaxes, thwarting Internet scammers, combating spam, and educating web users about email and Internet security issues" - a collaborative resource for  documented information about the corporations, industries, and people trying to influence public policy and public opinion - a collection of domain name ownership records in the world (also look  ; ;


During the lab group work:

image by R.Galloway

Using Stephen Downe's Principles for Evaluating Websites and other resources above analyze the following websites:

Exhibit A: (elementary):

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C:

Exhibit D:

Exhibit E:

Exhibit F: 

Scrutinize the websites above. Can you find an argument to support or discredit the legitimacy of your website? How can you prove it? Can you see the purpose of the website? Could you use it in your classroom?

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