Thursday, November 30, 2017

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 topics and 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."

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 successful stories. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Mobile and 1 to 1 Learning

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, November 27th 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, November 9, 2017

Gaming to Learn by Learning to Game

Did you think that video games were just for passing time in your living room? Think again.

How many of you are actually gamers or have a gamer in your house? It's almost 70%.

Let's explore how we can use an already popular past time and turn it into an important activity in the classroom?

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. "Fun is just another word for Learning" Raph Koster

Volkswagen explored this theory in their Fun Theory experiments.  
  • Visit their website and watch some videos of the finalists in their contest to use fun to teach/motivate people to do things.
Most of you are part of a gaming generation and your students will see gaming as just a part of life. As millennials, you spend a great deal of time outside of class problem solving, exploring, and questioning. You bask in being challenged. They 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, Simpson explains what you need to consider when working with gaming generations.   
Saving the World
Jane McGonigal talks about how gaming can change the world. She estimates that we spend 3 billion hours per week gaming. She supports the idea that gaming induces problem solving and innovation. She suggests that we need to game 21 billion hours per week to solve the world's problems.
Gamifying education seems like too much fun for the classroom.  How can games support learning?  Interestingly, there are a number of aspects in gaming that we see in the learning process as well. Gamifying Student Engagement by social studies teacher, Matthew Farber, describes how Leveling Up, Modding, and working with the in-game economy are also important parts of an effective learning process.

Optional Reading about World of Warcraft:
Based upon a student's request, here are a couple of references about how Peggy Sheehy used World of Warcraft in her 6th-grade class.


Your Choice Assignment*  
AFTER  you have reviewed ALL of the resources above, I am going to ask you to complete a serious assignment . . . Play Kingdom Rush or Food Street for 60 minutes. 

This is NOT about playing a game.  It is about learning how gaming can relate to learning and then testing it out on your own.

Kingdom Rush is a tower defense game where you place defenses and use those to repel invaders.
Food Street is a restaurant simulation and management game that puts you in charge of your own business. 

Both of these games are available for iPhone, iPad, Android, PC and Mac.  Just Google their names and you will find where you can download them.

Based upon what you have Read and Watched, consider the process of gaming:
  • How does it relate to learning? 
  • How does this change your ideas about gaming?
  • Think of the thought processes you go through to problem solve throughout the game.
*It is your choice if you want to do this assignment. You won't earn any more points for it but think of how cool it would be to play a video game for homework. =-)

SUGGESTION:  You might want to write a couple of paragraphs about the insights you gained by playing a video game after Reading and Watching the resources that you just experienced.  How did this relate to learning?  How did some of the points mentioned in the resources emerge while playing the game?  

We will be introducing blogging in a few weeks and you could post these reflections as your first blog posting.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

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 a 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 enables the learner to master the content more quickly.

Let's Try this Out!

Visit one of these friends:   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 you 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 (SpaceZ). 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, October 26, 2017

Become an Ed Tech Minor THIS Semester!

Sign-up for our
Ed Tech Minor

It can change your life!!!

Prove to your future principals that you can lead change in the classroom using technology to support learning. There is not Ed Tech endorsement in Iowa, but earning your Educational Technology Minor can be the difference that helps you land your dream teaching position.

This minor is only 17-18 credits (6 classes) but Ed Tech and Design is one of the courses so you will only need 5 more classes.

Watch: this 5-minute video to be introduced to our Ed Tech Minor which will supercharge your professional career.

If you prefer the printed word, follow this online slideshow to learn more about our Ed Tech Minor.

This Spring we offer: 

INSTTECH 1030: Creating Technology-Enhanced Learning Environment
T-Th 2 - 3:15 SEC 133 with Magda Galloway #ctele   (you will engage in project-based, hands-on learning opportunities. This involves connecting with local schools and technology specialists in the area, experimenting with the new interactive classroom tools, and engaging in problem-based learning. Techniques will be used to expand learners’ creativity, collaboration and other higher-order thinking skills, while building the educators’ digital backpack.)

INSTTECH 4139 Planning and Producing Instructional Media
online with Jarod Bormann (This course will involve integrating leading-edge research about using digital and social media in education with hands-on experience. The course will actually use social media in the learning process to model the process. Students create an interactive instructional environment and document their pedagogical choices as a final project)

Want to learn more about our Ed Tech Minor?

Visit our Ed Tech Minor webpage.

collage Ed Tech minors in classes
Ed Tech minors in action

collage of Ed Tech minors in classes

Ed Tech Minor Promo Page

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.

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 - Don't be fooled by media bias. Think for yourself. See news and issues from multiple perspectives, discuss like adults. -Reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation - 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" - collaborative resource for  documented information about the corporations, industries, and people trying to influence public policy and public opinion - collection of domain name ownership records in the world (also look ; ;


During the lab group work:

image by R.Galloway

Using steps from the Internet Detective website,  the Detective Work section and Stephen Downe's Principles for Evaluating Websites 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 behind the website? Could you use it in your classroom?

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Diversity in the Classroom and Media Influences

Begin by analyzing short “State of the village report” from 2005 originally created in 1992 by Donella H. Meadows

Ask yourself: Could I be racist? How to tell if I am?  Racism is when you draw conclusions about people based on racial stereotypes and believe that some races are better than others.  Consider the questions, answer to yourself.

Take a quick visual "snap judgment", gender bias, test on  Explore resources there

Read a short article about challenges in defining Multicultural Education and also about the areas of social transformation.

Read about “Key Characteristics of a Multicultural Curriculum” by P.Gorski

image source:

Read a short article “Transforming Myself to Transform My School: with the special attention to “Ten Critical and Self-critical Things I Can Do to Be a Better Multicultural Educator:

The following video was posted in 2011. Are men and women really equal today?

Watch the kids reaction to the Cheerios ad.  In the ad, a white mother tells her bi-racial daughter about Cheerios' benefits to the heart. The little girl grabs the box and leaves. The next scene shows her sleeping African American father awaking to finds Cheerios piled on his heart. Unfortunately, many people thought the video was offensive. It received such a large amount of angry and hateful remarks on YouTube that the comments section was shut down. Fortunately, when the commercial was shown to the kids, they did not see race in a  family as an issue.

Watch the videoMisconceptions; Do’s & Don’ts of a 1st Year Teacher” created by Mississippi State University students about racial stereotypes (4 min)

Pin and Browse the Kid World Citizen organization on Pinterest  for a variety of multicultural activities and resources

Additional resources (not required):

ISTE Standards  for students connection: Standard #2 c: Students develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures

ISTE Standards for educators connection:  

#3a Citizen: Educators create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community.

#3b Citizen: Educators Establish a learning culture that promotes curiosity and critical examination of online resources and fosters digital literacy and media fluency.

# 4d Collaborator: Educators demonstrate cultural competency when communicating with students, parents, and colleagues and interact with them as co-collaborators in student learning.

To read: We use media in different ways. The same media content may gratify different needs for different individuals. The resources below explaining the effects of the media from the point of view of audiences.
Needs and Gratifications model of the Media by Blumler &  Katz)

Books Matter! See the list of titles collected by ADL with the power to instill empathy, affirm children’s sense of self, teach about others, transport to new places and inspire actions on behalf of social justice.

To read: 10 ways Youth can Engage in Activism

To watch:  the An Anti-Bullying Message From the NOH8 Campaign (2.27 min)

To watch: 10 Misconceptions about Muslim: 

To read: Information for Teens: The Media &Your Life - How the media affects Teens & Young Adults

To watch:  The digital story about the depression and issues faced by Asian American girl - pay attention to the poem in the story (also typed under the video) (5.29 min)

To watch: Worlds Apart’ An Experiment by Heineken. Can two strangers with opposing views prove that there’s more that unites than divides us?

To watchElders React to Nicki Minaj - Anaconda  (Age diversity)