Thursday, March 30, 2017

Making Learning Meaningful for New Gens
New Gens
This week we will be exploring who are the New Gens (Gen Y and Gen Z) and how they are changing the world. Most of you are members of the millennial generation (Gen Y) and you will be teaching Gen Z students. We will explore these students who you will find in your classroom. We can't teach today's students with 20th-century strategies.  We must first understand our 21st-century students so that we can provide learning challenges that address their needs.

Here are some resources that you should review before watching the lecture:

Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants
Let's explore how digital technologies have changed the world, the people and how we interact with one another. The work comparing the Millennial Generation (born 1984 - 2001) with the older generations (Gen X, Baby Boomers) was begun by Marc Prensky.  He defined your generation as Digital Natives because you have always grown up with digital tools and toys. He defined the older generations as Digital Immigrants because we have had to learn about using digital tools and it just doesn't come as natural to us. 

Begin by reading Dr. Prensky's article, Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.This is the classic article about generation differences. Reflect how this applies to your life and your associates.

To be an effective educator, you need to appreciate your students' characteristics. You will be teaching Gen Y and Alpha Gen  (born 2010 to present) students. That means that they are entering first grade now. Most of you are at the older end of the Millennials but that doesn't mean that you can necessarily identify the important characteristics so that you can address them in your class. Watch/Read the following resources carefully so that you will be more aware of these issues.

Here is a different perspective by watching this 20-minute TED Talk by Scott Hess telling us Millennials: Who They Are and Why We Hate Them.   No, this isn't a hate speech. It is a Generation X-er (Millennial) comparing and contrasting them with Millennials. This video builds a good basis for our discussion of Millennials.

How Millennial are you?  Complete this quick survey to see how millennial you are.  Keep track of your results, we will discuss them in the lecture.
How Millennial Are You Survey.

Generation Z and What Does It Mean In Your Classroom (article) 
You will be teaching Gen Z students. You are part of another generation (Gen Y or wiser) and you need to consider how you will need to frame your work in a way that will be more relevant and meaningful to your students.  

What do YOU see as unique characteristics of the NewGens?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

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 kid 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 an 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 teachers connection:
#2 d. Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning -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?

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Thursday, March 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, March 2, 2017

Mobile and 1 to 1 Learning

Will you be prepared to teach at a 1:1 school? And what's the big deal about going 1:1? Read on!

Laptops Vs. Tablets Which one is best for learning? That's an endless debate when it comes to what technology we should be giving our students in the classroom. Here are two interesting articles about each form factor. The Day of the Tablet Vs For the Love of Laptops. Read both and be prepared to share which one you would want in your classroom and why you would want it.

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're going to 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 you've got to measure how well you're integrating technology in the classroom. One of the methods that Cedar Falls schools use the SAMR model. To learn more about this model, visit this web page and watch a few videos at the bottom to make sure you understand how it works. Make sure you spend some time on this page! Here's a video to get you started.

Start exploring on your own the many resources available to you to make you a better teacher! Here at UNI we have a wonderful resource called that has a wealth of information and can teach you how to use different software packages. But did you know that it also has videos dedicated to K12 education? You can find videos on topics such as Classroom Management Fundamentals, Flipping the Classroom, Teacher Tips (using technology), Social Media in the Classroom, Foundations of Teaching with Technology and many more! Now I don't expect you will watch each one of these before our lecture Monday, but I do want you to watch the introductory video of each of them and look at the index of videos available in each course. Want more? Here's the whole list of K12 resources on Having the knowledge of where you can find help is key for teachers! This resource is FREE until you graduate, then you have to start paying so take advantage of this now. Click and log in using your UNI CatID to get started today.