ETEC 533: A Course in Review

Pragmatism & Real World Applicability of Concepts

Perhaps unsurprisingly, anytime that I am introduced to new concepts, themes, or ideas in the edu-sphere, my first thought is, a la Simon Sinek, “Start with Why”. As I continue my journey through the MET program, and in the education sphere in general, I often begin searching for the pragmatic reality of situations and research. While there may be best practice from a research base, I’m more concerned with the practicality of this research.

As with much academic research, (due to the nature of the pursuit, and I am not arguing that this is a flawed viewpoint) there can be excessive attention paid to best practices without thinking how this research can be applied in the real world. I am aware that this is the purpose of basic research. My issue with an intensive focus on best practices is when this regimented approach spills into the real world and is placed upon teachers without understanding of individual circumstances. Teachers are stretched thin enough with content as it is, and being able to pragmatically apply these best practices, (while still being honest enough to know when one is not implementing best practices simply due to laziness or being misinformed) is in my mind, the best approach for functional teaching. 

Throughout my journey in the ETEC 533, technology in the mathematics and science classrooms course, there have been two main themes that developed over the course of my reflections:

  1. How to pragmatically apply best practices to the classroom

  2. Implementing Constructionist design in learning

Interview with a Veteran Mathematics Teacher

In my interview with M., we found agreeance in the importance of the real world applicability of concepts, and grounding ideas. 

“For math and using tech, the simplest tech is the best and im trying to get my students to be ready for the real world; because my background is in engineering. To your question specifically... most applicable technology is excel. Just getting them to use the program...getting the students to be comfortable to be using excel in a practical application... because that's the one that they’ll use the most often as engineers.”

- M.

My interview with M. gave me a re-discovered knowledge for the importance of having real world experience in the designing and influencing of curriculum. Not coming from an engineering background, I have little knowledge of what skills are needed in an everyday position in the life of an engineer.  Having that experience, or being able to interview those with that real world experience is critical for helping our students to develop the 21st Century skills that they will need in order to succeed in the job market, and become productive citizens of societies. 

 

The Design of Technology Enhanced Learning Experiences (TELE)

Similarly again, when engaged in a debate of semantics about the definition of a “technology”, again, I sided with the most pragmatic definition from Roblyer, 

“technology is us -our tools, our methods, and our own creative attempts to solve problems in our environment."

- Robyler, 2012

Which extended to my reasoning for choosing this definition, and my thoughts have not changed in this regard.

 “[this broad viewpoint] allows students to apply different tools to new situations, and to have a large "toolbox" of strategies that can be applied to new situations for high levels of flexibility within their learning.”

- Brogan Pratt

With a working definition of technology under my belt, I extended this pragmatic practice into Resnik’s four P’s to enhance the design of TELEs, 

“[student] Projects are made about their passion, in collaboration with peers while discovering ideas through play” 

 

PCK & TPACK

Even under the broad concepts of PCK and TPACK, I related them as ideals to strive towards, not necessarily being concepts that could ever be achieved, or reached.

“I see the concepts of PCK and TPACK as ideals to strive towards, not necessarily as ideals that will ever be reached, but rather as a "heaven" for teachers to strive towards in their practice, and for organizations to strive towards in their hiring practices. “

- Brogan Pratt

 

Jasper & Anchored Instruction

While the Jasper content itself is getting on in years, the idea behind anchored instruction gripped me with mathematics and applying their concepts to the real world. For obvious reasons,

“Anchored instruction methods are highly collaborative, problem-solving based, and have more than one “right” answer.”

-Brogan Pratt

The ideas behind Anchored instructions hit a chord with myself, and as my post entails, It is one of my most well thought out and defined responses to any reflection in the course; almost definitely due to the fact that the content was so engaging for myself. 

 

Learning for Use, and Embodied Learning

Two more ideas I found influential for my own practice were Learning for Use (LfU) and Embodied Learning. In learning for use, I was drawn to the universality of the framework, as well as the ability to prepare students for deep understanding of content versus memorization.

“educators need learning models that encourage deep understanding and learning in our students, as well as being able to teach skills that can be applied to many situations rather than memorization of content”

- Brogan Pratt

 

WISE, & InfoVIS

Unfortunately, WISE as a program was a bit of a let down for me as it was out of my own scope of practice, as well as scope of educators that I could hope to influence while in my current role (mostly due to age demographics of students). I’m sure that were I more able to influence high school educators in my current role, I would have seen more interest in the content.

Similarly, the InfoVis and PheT programs followed the same realm. While I could see the benefits of using computer simulations in explaining detailed concepts, such as with my variable simulation explanation

“Essentially, [Phet’s Variable Equality Explorer] allows players to place 2 variable “blocks” onto either side of a scale, change the value of said variables at any time, in order to have students match the weight and discover that variables can be in constant flux (and are not constants).

Imagine trying to work this problem out on paper. One has 2 blocks (of unlimited quantity), they need to balance a scale, be able to change the value of a variable at will, and see the effects of the scale change in real time. Even if one had a scale, it would be impossible to change the value (weight) of a variable in real time; and this is where the beauty of a computer simulation can come in to play.

...students can get a better understanding of what variables are, simply containers that can hold different values. They can get a better understanding of this through the ability to make changes in real time, and to see them change on the screen before them.”

- Brogan Pratt

It was difficult to relate much of Phet and InfoVIS’s content to my own practice. While I gained valuable resources for sharing with colleagues, it was difficult to see how, in my process based curriculum, I would involve simulations into my own practice. 

Tying it All Together

Pragmatism & Real World Applicability

Wrapping up this course, it makes sense to both start and end with the “why”. There’s an old saying that runs in Hindu mythologies, that it’s just, “turtles all the way down”. The saying eludes to the idea that the world is supported by a world turtle, which is supported by another turtle, and so, “it’s just turtles all the way down.” Going off of Descartes idea’s of foundationalism, I believe that eventually, a circular argument must rest on a single “turtle”, ie, the root of the problem. For Descartes, that was “I think, therefore I am”. For the education system, I’m privy to Martin, “Jeff”, Sugarmann’s idea of Education’s resting “turtle”:

“The purpose of the education system is to create functioning citizens of society”

- Sugarmann (Paraphrased)

At the end of the loop of turtles, the final resting point is the reason we send citizens to schools in the first place; to become citizens in our society. Because of this, we as a society (or rather appointed members) decide what is important for students to learn in order to best function in our world as it stands today. For the Spartans, being citizens of war and soldiers was their main function and educational roll. For Canadians, having a generalized knowledge of hard and soft sciences, mathematics, and literature is important (at least in the last 100 years). 

Today, we are seeing enormous shifts in our society, and the job sphere is changing rapidly. Educating students to formulate diverse, transformable skills is more important now than the simple memorization of facts and figure, something that the internet has largely done away with. We need to have students learning skills and concepts that can be applied to a diverse range of settings, things like Communication, Creative & Critical Thinking, and Collaboration skills (often toted as the 4 C’s). Using frameworks like LfU allow for deeper understanding of content with the intention of teaching transferable skills. Looking back on my learning, I’m seeing a wave in my own thinking developing about the importance of nurturing transferable, flexible skills in students within mathematics and science classrooms. 

This course has given me an appreciation for strong design that incorporates real world problems for students to solve together with their peers. With regards to my own practice, it has slowed the brakes on my own adoption of new technology. I can sometimes get caught up in the latest and greatest, rather than taking the time to pause, think about why I’m incorporating this technology, as well as how I’m going to incorporate the technology into my own practice. 

Further Points for Exploration

For context in this moving forward section, I’m currently developing a video game to teach high school students about financial literacy (you can play an early-prototype here). Looking forward, questions I have are how can students construct their own experience inside of a video game, and how do active narration styles that video games allow for (players making choices, despite say, a linear style of a book) students to construct knowledge? 

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References

Alibali, M. W., & Nathan, M. J. (2012). Embodiment in mathematics teaching and learning: Evidence from learners' and teachers' gestures. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 21(2), 247-286. http://ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/login?url=http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1080/10508406.2011.611446

Clements, M. K. A. (2014). Fifty years of thinking about visualization and visualizing in mathematics education: A historical overview. In Mathematics & Mathematics Education: Searching for Common Ground (pp. 177-192). Springer Netherlands. Available from UBC. https://libphds1.weizmann.ac.il/Dissertations/Mathematics_and_Mathematics_Education.pdf#page=175

Edelson, D.C. (2001). Learning-for-use: A framework for the design of technology-supported inquiry activities. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,38(3), 355-385. http://ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/login?url=http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1002/1098-2736(200103)38:3<355::aid-tea1010>3.0.CO;2-M

King, A., (1993). From Sage on the Stage to Guide on the Side, college Teaching, Vol 41, No. 1 (Winter, 1993). pp. 30-35. Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27558571?origin=JSTOR-pdf 

Linn, M., Clark, D., & Slotta, J. (2003). Wise design for knowledge integration. Science Education, 87(4), 517-538. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/sce.10086/abstract

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. The Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054. Text accessible from Google Scholar.

Shulman, L.S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4 -14. Text available on Connect.

Sinek, S. (2009). Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action. New York, N.Y.: Portfolio.

Martin, J., Sugarman, J., & Hickinbottom, S. (2010). Persons: Understanding psychological selfhood and agency. New York: Springer

Resnick, M. (2018). Lifelong Kindergarten. October 2018. MIT Press. 

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2012). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. (6th Edition ed.) Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Winn, W. (2003). Learning in artificial environments: Embodiment, embeddedness, and dynamic adaptation. Technology, Instruction, Cognition and Learning, 1(1), 87-114. Full-text document retrieved on January 17, 2013, from: http://www.hitl.washington.edu/people/tfurness/courses/inde543/READINGS-03/WINN/winnpaper2.pdf





ETEC 524 Portfolio Reflection

CHANGING FLIGHT PATHS

When I initially started the ETEC 524 course, my goals were threefold.

  • One, I wanted to have a better understanding of technology from an administrative end in order to better assist my colleagues with the implementation of technology in their elementary classrooms.

  • Two, I wanted to better understand how to develop strong pedagogy in a 1:1 device classroom, and how to train teachers to work with these devices in their classrooms. 

  • Three, I wanted to examine constructivist pedagogy (and more pertinently, constructionist) and how this pedagogy can support learners in cross-curricular specific environments. 

 

LOOKING BACK

Perhaps for me and my future goals of being a (hobbyist) educational video game designer, the second week’s readings were the most beneficial. Reading through the SECTIONS model allowed me to think of various audience frames of view that I had not considered before. The thing that I loved about the SECTIONS model was how broad the categories were and how I could quite easily apply this model onto just about any technology for any purpose within my classroom. This allows me to come to a better understanding of not only how to implement this technology in my classroom, but to truly understand why I was choosing this technology over another. As a lifelong pragmatist, I also loved that the model was sort, sweet, and to the point. It was functional, and everything I was looking for. I imagine that SAMR would have been more impactful had I not already been using SAMR regularly since its inception back in 2010. 

Unfortunately, the next few lessons and readings became more unrelated for me in my current situation, as well as for my goals in the course. As I work within an in-person environment, examining the uses and design of solely online work like in Benade’s 2017 paper, felt disjointed to me (outside of my own personal experience being in a fully online program). Mobile technologies became of particular relevance to me as I wanted to examine 1:1 courses, and Ciampa’s paper on the motivations of students was particularly useful in my own practice. While the results of the study were not particularly surprising or groundbreaking, it is nonetheless, a good reminder to continue to capture student’s motivation for work. 

Perhaps one of the more surprising ideas that I came across was CAST’s universal design for learning (UDL). I did not know it at the time while studying the content, but looking back on the content now, and what my future goals are with personal projects, the UDL framework will greatly assist me in development of a financial literacy game. I would have continued to view this game through my own lenses, without considering how I can make this game accessible to all parties interested in financial literacy. 

Discussions & Assignments

What was great about the course was the weekly discussions, and being able to converse with my peers about the content week to week. Unfortunately, the in-class discussions were not as lively as I had hoped, perhaps due to the restrictive nature of many of the case studies versus being able to talk about content that was of interest to myself as a student. 

To combat this, after the first assignment was finished, our small group continued to talk with one another on a Google Hangout separate from the course structure. Here, we could flush out ideas informally with one another and not have to worry about developments for grading purposes. I believe that much of my learning around concepts for the week was had during these informal discussions as we could focus on specific points of interest, rather than case studies that I found irrelevant to my own practice (which I am aware was not the experience of everyone). 

The most frustrating part of the course for me was assignment 2, including both parts. The criteria was unclear, and I ended up completing an assignment that was very much different from the criteria outlined in the assignment itself. This was frustrating to have to complete the assignment again, and to criteria that I felt was baited and switched once handing in the assignment. In any case, it was completed, but the vast frustration I experienced in the completion of these assignments to fit them to the changing criteria caused me to mentally check out of this assignment in order to fulfill criteria, rather than completing a course that would I perceive would be relevant to my own practice. 

Looking Forward

Next steps for me are to work on projects of personal interest. I have been, up to this point, an excellent example of being a lifelong learner and love to acquire new skills. It is almost as if being a Jack of All Trades is a hobby of mine. In the past, I’ve learned how to weld, forge gold & silver, built an igloo, and even made a bed float. Most recently, I’ve been learning how to program in the Open source, Godot game engine. Programming has been a lot more difficult than I had originally anticipated, however, it has given me a stronger appreciation for all of the technology that I do use inside of my classroom. 

Over the next few months I will continue the development of my video game in the Godot Game engine. I’ve begun prototyping a simple game, INVESTios: Moving on Up. INVESTios: Moving on Up is a Novel style RPG that follows James, a recent new highschool graduate, on his way out to university. The player will need to balance their budget while living away from home and become more financially literate along the way. If you’d like to play the short demo, you can check it out here

I’m passionate about financial literacy, and realized that there is little financial literacy content in the curriculum that exists in an exciting format for students to engage with. Most of it is worksheets, or doing sample tax work in grade 10, which students find irrelevant and mostly forget by the time they make it out into the real world. Through the use of the SECTIONS model, I’ll be able to better design my financial literacy game to not only be engaging for students, but also make the game consider all players on the implementation decision panel of the game, in order to best extend the potential reach of my game into schools. 

REFERENCES

Bates, T. (2014). Choosing and using media in education: The SECTIONS model. In Teaching in digital age. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/part/9-pedagogical-differences-between-media/

Benade, L. (2017). Is the classroom obsolete in the twenty-first century? Educational Philosophy and Theory, 49(8), 796-807. [LOCR]

CAST. (2018). Universal design for learning guidelines, version 2.2. Retrieved from http://udlguidelines.cast.org/

Ciampa, K. (2013). Learning in a mobile age: An investigation of student motivation. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 30(1), 82–96. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcal.12036/epdf

Cullen, T. A. (n.d.). EdTech for K-12 classroom: ISTE readings on how, when and why to use technology: Instructor's guide. ISTE publication. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/docs/pdfs/instructorguide.pdf?sfvrsn=2

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2017). Standards for teachers. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-educators

Puentedura, R. (2010). The journey through the SAMR model. IPad Educators: Sharing Best Practice in the use of Mobile Technology. Retrieved from www.padeducators.com/a-fresh-look-at-the-samr-model

Roblyer, M.D. & Doering, A. (2016; 2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching, (6th or 7thEd.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.






InfoVis & Computer Simulations to Enhance Learning

Below is a reflection prompt & response for my class, ETEC 533, technology in mathematics and science classrooms.

Why is visualization necessary (or not) for student understanding of math or science?

As pointed out by Edens and Potter, students who used “schematic” style drawings versus “pictorial” style drawings to assist in solving word problems, performed significantly better in their mathematics scores. As a review, a schematic drawing is one that may not included buch superficial details like the sun, houses, etc, that are irrelevant to the word problem, and instead includes figures and numbers that are pertinent to the problem at hand.

Below are examples of a schematic versus pictorial drawings. Imagine a word problem asking students to discover how much water is displaced by a boat in the water.

An example of a schematic drawing. Little superfluous data is present, and there is specific content related to the canoe itself.

An example of a schematic drawing. Little superfluous data is present, and there is specific content related to the canoe itself.

An example of a pictorial drawing. There may be little to no data present that would assist a student in solving the problem.

An example of a pictorial drawing. There may be little to no data present that would assist a student in solving the problem.

Often times, being able to draw out one’s thinking can assist in being able to solve the problem. This is where computer simulations can come in handy, as many concepts are difficult to draw out or visualize with paper or in a child’s mind.

Try out this game below on balancing two variables for mathematics.

A screenshot of a sample setup in Phet: Equality Explorer

A screenshot of a sample setup in Phet: Equality Explorer

Essentially, the game allows players to place 2 variable “blocks” onto either side of a scale, change the value of said variables at any time, in order to have students match the weight and discover that variables can be in constant flux (and are not constants).

Imagine trying to work this problem out on paper. One has 2 blocks (of unlimited quantity), they need to balance a scale, be able to change the value of a variable at will, and see the effects of the scale change in real time. Even if one had a scale, it would be impossible to change the value (weight) of a variable in real time; and this is where the beauty of a computer simulation can come in to play.

By using the above variable explorer, students can get a better understanding of what variables are, simply containers that can hold different values. They can get a better understanding of this through the ability to make changes in real time, and to see them change on the screen before them. Computer simulations are capable of taking complex problems like variables, and simplifying them down into easier to manage visualizations like the above example.

REFERENCES

Clements, M. K. A. (2014). Fifty years of thinking about visualization and visualizing in mathematics education: A historical overview. In Mathematics & Mathematics Education: Searching for Common Ground (pp. 177-192). Springer Netherlands. Available from UBC. https://libphds1.weizmann.ac.il/Dissertations/Mathematics_and_Mathematics_Education.pdf#page=175

Edens, K., & Potter, E. (2008). How students “unpack” the structure of a word problem: Graphic representations and problem solving. School Science and Mathematics, 108(5), 184-196. Available in Course Readings.

Embodied Learning

The following is a reflection for my ETEC 533, Technology in Science & Mathematics classrooms course in my Masters Program.

How could you use what is developed in these studies to design learning experiences for younger learners that incorporates perception/motion activity and digital technologies? What would younger children learn through this TELE (technology-enhanced learning experience)?

First, some rough definitions will be helpful for this discussion:

Embodiment: Representing an idea in a tangible form.

Embeddedness: The degree to which a student is engaged in an activity’s physical location/presence.

Dynamic Adaptation: The changes that occur to a student and the environment, simultaneously.

Below is an example lesson of using embodied learning, and artificial environment with the help of robotics, to better create an environment that fits within a child’s zone of proximal development.

Computational Thinking (CT), Embodiment, Programming, & How Robotics can improve Grade 1 students’ understanding of Angles

In order to better apply the concepts of embodiment, embeddedness, and dynamic adaptation, it makes sense to anchor our discussions and musings. As I am a technology teacher, programming is a large portion of my curriculum, but the concepts of computational thinking apply immensely towards mathematics as well. I’ll be discussing how grade 1’s understood angles (concepts not introduced until 3rd grade) through the use of dash and dot robots.

Lesson Overview

Previously, I had taped out “mazes” using coloured masking tape on the ground. Each maze length was in 10cm units, and turns were selected in 15 degree units. It is helpful to know that to the App for dash and dot allows them to move in 10cm increments, and turn in 15 degree increments. Mazes made various shapes such as squares, L’s, Z’s, etc, and students had to make the robot move from one end to the other. 

Analysis

As this was an artificial environment, or Umwelt, as Winn would claim, I was able to know what the robots were capable of creating, and thus, create an environment in which I could control a student’s experience within this environment. While not truly artificial like a VR experience or video game, the limitations of the robotics themselves allowed me to place constraints on students to experience simple maze such as an “I”, then incorporate turns like an “L” and then more advanced turns like a “Z”. Students advance through levels of mazes, and in each new maze they encounter a “break” in their current understanding of turns, and must draw a distinction from previous knowledge (such as a left turn 90 degrees and a right turn 270 degrees are the same, if a particular maze was limited to only turning 1 direction). The student can ground their distinction in other turning knowledge from previous mazes, and right away embody the knowledge with seeing the robots in action. This lesson allows for students to interact with geometry concepts within an artificial, restricted environment in an engaging way to better support their learning in scaffolded chunks.


REFERENCES

Alibali, M. W., & Nathan, M. J. (2012). Embodiment in mathematics teaching and learning: Evidence from learners' and teachers' gestures. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 21(2), 247-286. http://ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/login?url=http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1080/10508406.2011.611446

Miller, C & Doering, A. (Eds). (2013). The new landscape of mobile learning: Redesigning education in an App-based world. Minnesota: Routledge.

Novack, M. A., Congdon, E. L., Hemani-Lopez, N., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2014). From action to abstraction: Using the hands to learn math. Psychological Science, 25(4), 903-910. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3984351/ (Links to an external site.)

Winn, W. (2003). Learning in artificial environments: Embodiment, embeddedness, and dynamic adaptation. Technology, Instruction, Cognition and Learning, 1(1), 87-114. Full-text document retrieved on January 17, 2013, from: http://www.hitl.washington.edu/people/tfurness/courses/inde543/READINGS-03/WINN/winnpaper2.pdf

ETEC 524 Assignment 2 Part 2: Reflection

The below is a reflection for ETEC 524, part of my Masters of Educational Technology. I was asked to

Explain your choices for interaction and communication, and how they foster engagement. Analyze your multimedia content and why the tool/technology you selected is the best way to present your content from a pedagogical perspective? Justify your design. Be sure to cite relevant literature to support your decisions.

The course designed was for a Grade 4 Technology Literacy Course. You can find the whole course by clicking the button below. If you would like to join, the google classroom code is g285jte.

INTERACTION, COMMUNICATION & ENGAGEMENT

As a brief review of the project, Grade 4 students are working in partners to create a project of their choosing from various Scratch “starter projects”. They’ll have 5 weeks to complete their game, at which point they will share their games with their peers and get to play one anothers projects in a final showcase. They also have the opportunity to comment on and copy to change one anothers games after the project is finished. There are a few key points in this projects design:

  • Scratch itself has numerous benefits for engagement, and has been shown to support engagement in students (Resnick, 2017, 2019).

  • The project follows Mitch Resnick’s ideas of the Four P’s: Students work on projects they are passionate about, working with peers while engaging in play (Resnick, 2017, 2019).

  • Partner work, and specifically pair programming, has been shown not only to benefit student soft skills, but is also advantageous for improving student performance both in short and long term scales (Smith, Giugliano, DeOrio, 2018; Papadakis, 2018; Burnett, 2016).

  • The final sharing of the projects, an e-folio style presentation, has also seen significant support in the literature with regards to authentic projects for students. The project created is one the students are passionate about, and they get the chance to share their finished product with peers and receive peer feedback in the end as well. (Gozuyesil, 2017). While authentic assessment has been shown to be less effective in primary settings, I still believe that an audience of student’s peers will improve engagement in student work efforts, albeit while not improving their performance directly, more motivated students perform better (Tokan and Imakulata, 2019; Ciampa, 2013), hence the decision to present their finished projects to peers.

MULTIMEDIA CONTENT

As a reminder, the multimedia content created can be found below, or by clicking on this link.

A few key points pedagogically that relate to this design choice:

  • The content is not used to teach students how to use scratch directly, but rather indirectly. As Scratch game creator is an incredibly open project builder, on purpose, students can have difficulties “anchoring” their minds on a concept, or what is possible on scratch. By giving them a small view into the types of things that are possible with Scratch, it can give younger students something to “hang their hat on”.

  • The content is highly engaging. Anecdotally, I’ve found that students enjoy playing games (The revelation of the century!) and by starting the unit with an engaging game for students to play, they should be more hooked in to the project and want to create their own.

  • The content is created on the same platform that the students are going to be creating their game on. The game displays an exemplar project of Scratch programming for students to model their own game off of. While a major criticism of including exemplars is the risk of plagiarism (Newlyn, 2013), Scratch programming encourages kids to “steal for good”, as long as proper credit is given to the user where content was “remixed” off of. If a student doesn’t know how to create gravity, they can take a gravity code from another game, put it into their “backpack”, and then copy that code to their game. Once they share their game, they can give credit to users who helped them along the way, paving the way for collaboration and future endeavors.

References

Burnett, C. (2016) Being together in classrooms at the interface of the physical and virtual: Implications for collaboration in on/off-screen sites. Learning, Media and Technology, 41(4), 566-589

Ciampa, K. (2013). Learning in a mobile age: An investigation of student motivation. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 30(1), 82–96. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcal.12036/epdf.

Gozuyesil, E., & Tanriseven, I. (2017). A Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness of Alternative Assessment Techniques. Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, (70), 37–56. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/login.aspxdirect=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1150242&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Newlyn, D. (2013). Providing Exemplars in the Learning Environment: The Case For and Against. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 1(1), 26–32. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/login.aspxdirect=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1053990&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Papadakis, S. (2018). Is Pair Programming More Effective than Solo Programming for Secondary Education Novice Programmers? A Case Study. International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies, 13(1), 1–16. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1161722&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Resnick, M. (2017). Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passions, Peers, and Play. MIT Press.

Resnick, M. (2019). Scratch3: Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play. Hello World magazine, January 2019.

Smith, M. O., Giugliano, A., & DeOrio, A. (2018). Long Term Effects of Pair Programming. IEEE Transactions on Education, 61(3), 187–194. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1192581&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Tokan, M. K., & Imakulata, M. M. (2019). The Effect of Motivation and Learning Behaviour on Student Achievement. South African Journal of Education, 39(1). Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/login.aspxdirect=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1210343&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Learning For Use (LfU) Framework

With an increasing trend of educators needing to be prepared to teach 21 Century skills like inquiry, communication, and critical thinking, it is difficult to continue to create schooling methods based on lecture styles. Instead, us educators need learning models that encourage deep understanding and learning in our students, as well as being able to teach skills that can be applied to many situations rather than memorization of content. Daniel C. Edelson has proposed a model of learning, Learning for Use (LfU) in 2001, and this simple model easily fits the bill of applying learning to achieve 21 Century skills in our students. What is great about LfU is that it can be applied to a variety of situations as well.

LfU is designed as a model for learning, and if you’re familiar with Piaget’s “The Learning Cycle”, then LfU will sound similar, except that it focuses on the act performed by the student in each section, rather than the cognitive process that the student is undergoing.



LfU is a generalized theory of learning that can be applied to specific situations or content, and is defined by three main sections:

  1. Motivation

  2. Knowledge Construction

  3. Knowledge Refinement


Each section is built into two subsections that satisfy the requirements of each step.

  1. Motivation: Students experiencing the need for new knowledge

In the first stage, students experience the hunger, the need, for understanding and constructing new knowledge. They either Experience a demand for new knowledge by facing a problem they do not know how to solve, or they experience curiosity about a situation that they may want to learn about. Motivation is different than traditional conceptions of emotional motivation, in that this first stage assumes that the learner is already motivated to learn; in essence, LfU is not concerned with emotional motivation for learning.

2. Knowledge Construction: Building new knowledge structures

Based on the concepts of constructivism, LfU next stages that students should observe and have direct experience with situations that will allow them to develop new knowledge through experience, or receive communication from others, experts, or structures that allows students to build new knowledge based on this communication.





3. Refine Knowledge: Organize and connect knowledge structures

Lastly, after experiencing first hand and developing new knowledge structures, students are finally given the change to apply and reflect upon their newfound knowledge structures in order to reorganize their cognitive schema’s, or to apply their knowledge in meaningful and authentic ways.

Motivate, construct, and refine are the backbones of the LfU model of learning. Given students a reason to learn, the ability to construct their own knowledge through experience, and the ability to apply their knowledge, and according to Edelson, as well as many other scholars in the educational fields, you will have created an excellent opportunity for students to develop deep knowledge and understanding of a concept.

References


Edelson, D.C. (2001). Learning-for-use: A framework for the design of technology-supported inquiry activities. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,38(3), 355-385. http://ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/login?url=http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1002/1098-2736(200103)38:3<355::aid-tea1010>3.0.CO;2-M

ETEC 533: Web-Based Inquiry & Scaffolding Online

The following is a reflection for several weeks worth of conversations about the WISE software and the SKI model for learning scaffolding.


  • What was the motivation to create WISE?

    • WISE, or web-based inquiry science environment, was designed to create customizable, evidence based, and reputable resources for teachers in science classrooms to teach content in an inquiry style. Each customizable WISE project can be tailored to fit a teacher’s needs in the classroom, and was developed by a team of educational pedagogy researchers, scientists in that field, science teachers, and technology designers.

  • In what ways does SKI promote knowledge integration through its technological and curriculum design? Describe a typical process for developing a WISE project.

    • SKI has four main goals: make thinking visible (generally through reflection), make science accessible, help students learn from one another, and promote lifelong learning. Each WISE project starts an inquiry process through guided instruction, and generally scaffolds off the guided support in order for students to inquire about the process for themselves.

  • How does this design process compare with the Jasper Adventures?

    • The design is very similar to Jasper, except that WISE attempts to use multimedia tools more relevant to this day and age (I say attempt as many models are outdated in their design and use) rather than just video. Jasper also requires an in class teacher to structure the lesson, where as WISE could theoretically be used as an independent module for student inquiry.

  • What about WISE would you customize?

    • WISE is in drastic need of a User Interface (UI) Rehaul. The whole website, as well as the student experience of the website, feels straight out of 2006. Changing curriculum pages is clunky, using online models are slow and unresponsive, and the design choices are tacky and uninviting for using the platform. Overall, and as unfortunate as it is, the slow use of the interface, slow adaptations of websites (needing to edit in html code without a live interface builder?), and the tacky design is enough to push me off using WISE in my own classrooms, or recommend using WISE in your own classrooms.

References

Linn, M., Clark, D., & Slotta, J. (2003). Wise design for knowledge integration. Science Education, 87(4), 517-538. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/sce.10086/abstract

Williams, M., Linn, M.C., Ammon, P. et al. Journal of Science Education and Technology (2004) 13: 189. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JOST.0000031258.17257.48


ETEC 524 Assignment 2 P:1 Reflection on Designs

Below is a Reflection assignment for a project in ETEC 524: Learning Technologies. It required me to put forth justification for a course design, as well as assessment.

Quasi-Blended Learning Design

Before reading this reflection, be sure to view the above course outline. All academic references, context, and course content will be available there and is required for understanding this reflection.

As this course is designed for grade 4 students, I decided to make this course mostly face to face in interaction for three main reasons.

First, I am a teacher within a schooling environment, and as such am subject to the day to day, bell routine set up of my schooling system. I have tried my best to incorporate cross-curricular knowledge, and project based learning styles into this curriculum to combat this traditional method and bring it into the 21Century (as have many of my colleagues, and my school in general), however, logistically, we are still on a bell system so I needed to work within this time strain and physical space.

Second, the course is a “quasi-blended” classroom, in that a lot of the content is taught in a guided/enhanced discovery method, so students can begin to learn how to self-teach simple skills in a supportive environment with a mentor looking over them. This will help students to develop self-regulatory skills, as well as self-guided learning skills under the guide of an expert mentor who can “check in” and provide support where needed (allowing for many assignments to be intuitively low floor & high ceiling). The lessons are taught in a partial instruction, partial workblock, and partial online interactivity, all while being in the physical classroom itself.

Finally, I decided to make each lesson package neatly into 50m time blocks, and not assign any homework. At my school, students have 8 different specialist classes, as well as 4 homeroom classes, so homework can quickly pile up for young students if given excessively (on top of the poor results given to homework in the first place A. La Alfie Khon). On top of this, South Korean culture also has an extensive obsession with homework and academic intensity, so assigning more homework through a blended or online format would be detrimental, I believe, to life balance in my students.

Digital Citizenship Assessment

Rather than include a rubric style assessment for a summative project, I decided to use a survey to measure the rate of change in my students digital citizenship skills throughout the course of the first unit. I chose to use the modified Digital Citizenship Survey because it had been shown to reliably and validly measure digital citizenship skills. As the main goal for this unit was to improve student’s digital citizenship skills, it makes sense then to pre-test and post-test these skills in my students and see how effective the unit was in improving their skills, as well as gain another assessment on the students themselves to see how their own skills in practicing empathy online has changed over the 5 week curriculum.

This is a rather unique way of assessing student’s skills as rather than extrapolating a skill from a project finished by the students, there is a way to accurately measure the skill itself without the necessity of extrapolating from a project related to the content itself.


Improving Math Problem Solving Skills: Anchored Instruction

ANCHORED INSTRUCTION

Anchored instruction is an idea that purportes the necessity to “anchor” learned ideas, especially in the realm of mathematics, to real-world ideas. Students and teachers “engage [in] problem-rich environments that allow sustained exploration” (Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1992). The idea behind anchored instruction stems from constructivist pedagogy, and is intended not to increase computational skills in students but rather to improve problem solving skills in real world situations. It’s the difference between

25 x 3

and

Frederick has 25 potatoes on his farm. He grows his potatoes for 4 more months and triples his number of potatoes. How many potatoes does he have now?

The first is computational, and the second is problem solving.




Is Anchored Instruction a Good Thing?

Anchored instruction necessitates a change in pedagogical style, and with it, a change in the way that we assess and teach. Anchored instruction is a part of the “Guide on the Side” vs. “Sage on the Stage” movement popularized by Alison King (1993). Rather than instructing up front in a lecture style, anchored instruction puts students into “real world”, or at the least certainly more authentic, problems than if students were to complete worksheet upon worksheet of math problems. Complex, real world problems are not overly difficult to create for students either. Anchored instruction methods are highly collaborative, problem-solving based, and have more than one “right” answer.

Jasper Adventures: An Anchored Instruction Example

Up until now, we have only talked about how amazing anchored instruction can be, without much evidence to back up these claims. Let’s take a look at Hickey, Moore, and Pellegrino’s study of the “Jasper Adventures”, a video anchored instructional mathematics series from the 80’s (more information here).

The long and short, Jasper had 12 video “adventures” that students would watch. While watching, students would hear facts and figures as a part of the story that they would need to use to solve a final problem posed at the end of the video. Jasper was based on the idea that students needed to become independent thinkers, rather than only being able to regurgitate mathematics proofs and formulas (Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1992). Jasper seeks to make learning relevant, instead of creating inert knowledge.

Inert Knowledge: Knowledge that is not used spontaneously, even though it is relevant
— Bransford et. al., 1986; Gick & Holyoak, 1980, 1983; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 1985)
 

Overview of Hickey, Moore, and Pellegrino

  • A quasi-experimental design in which the authors studied 19, fifth grade classrooms from two well-matched schools.

  • One school was higher in socioeconomic status (SES), the other in low.

  • Half the classes used Jasper materials, half did not.

  • Classes were split into “more consistent” use of new reform mathematics curriculum encouraging research based practices, or “less consistent” to the new reformed curriculum. (USA National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) curricular standards)

  • Had 4 groupings to study:

    1. High SES and more consistent classrooms using Jasper

    2. High SES and less consistent classrooms

    3. Low SES and more consistent classrooms using Jasper

    4. Low SES and less consistent classrooms

  • I found their research parameters and practices sufficiently rigorous in its methods. However, as always, be sure to check out the research for yourself. The research generalizability should be relatively high for other high and low SES classrooms in the united states and similar countries, and provides strong support for using constructivist style practices in mathematics education.

Research Goals

(a) consider student subjective motivational experiences,

(b) study a large-scale implementation that was initiated and carried out by the school system

(c) using newer ostensibly more appropriate standardized achievement measures

d) comparing consequences in classrooms that are more consistent and less consistent with the broader curricular reforms [NCTM & Jasper]

(e) comparing consequences in higher-achieving, high-socioeconomic status (SES) classrooms and lower achieving, low-SES classrooms (2001. pp. 615)

Main Findings

  • Teachers using Jasper materials had goals to use mathematics to solve real world problems, but did not define using collaborative methods as a goal (despite allowing for more collaboration in their classes).

“ All six of these Jasper teachers listed their first (or only) goal for the activities as something like "showing students how math problem solving is useful in the real world." Meanwhile, none alluded to the broader goal of supporting extended collaborative investigation around complex problems” (p. 634)

  • Increased Problem solving skills in students using anchored instructional methods.

“The mathematical achievement results in the area of problem solving and data interpretation clearly showed that the Jasper instructional implementation had very desirable consequences, with no evidence of negative consequences.” (2001, p. 648)

“ In other words, the scores in every Jasper classroom increased while the scores in every non-Jasper classroom stayed the same or went down slightly” (p. 638)

  • Improved conceptual knowledge and estimation skills were limited to high SES Jasper classrooms, not low SES classrooms.

  • High SES students using Jasper report lower subjective competence in mathematics than non-Jasper students. The researchers note that this is most likely this is due to the highly complex, challenging, and novel ideas of the Jasper activities. Low SES students reported increased subjective competence in mathematics.

  • Low SES students had more positive outlooks on mathematics education.

  • High SES students perceived the Jasper activities as “effectively delay[ing] their progress through [the] levels of curriculum” (p. 637).

  • Support against the idea that lower achieving students will not be able to handle high levels of complexity in problem solving style mathematics problems and are better served with traditional mathematics teaching methods. Using Jasper materials with lower SES students:

“supports the argument that academically disadvantaged students can profit from the complex problem-solving activities associated with the Jasper materials and that such students do not suffer negative academic or motivational consequence".” (2001, p. 648)

Conclusion

Given the above evidence, it seems clear, at least in the continental USA, that there is strong support for the idea that anchored instruction improves mathematics abilities in grade 5 students. The question now becomes, how can we, as educators, best incorporate anchored styles of instruction into our own practice, and how much time should we spend teaching a skill before sending students off to problem solve? Should we teach the skill parallel as students need for the skill arises, or should we front load this instruction?

REFERENCES

Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, (1992). The Jasper Experiment: An Exploration of Issues in Learning and Instructional Design, Educational Technology Research and Development, Vol. 40, No. 1, pp. 65-80. Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30219998

Daniel T. Hickey, Allison L. Moore and James W. Pellegrino, (2001). The Motivational and Academic Consequences of Elementary Mathematics Environments: Do Constructivist Innovations and Reforms Make a Difference? American Educational Research Journal, Vol. 38, No. 3 (Autumn, 2001), pp. 611-652. Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3202494

King, A., (1993). From Sage on the Stage to Guide on the Side, college Teaching, Vol 41, No. 1 (Winter, 1993). pp. 30-35. Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27558571?origin=JSTOR-pdf






Raspberry Pi on the Go: EzBlock Pi

A Whole New Piece of (Raspberry) Pi

Learning about computers can seem like a monumental task. Coding, soldering, parts compatibility, debugging, and the like are enough to discourage many users from breaking into this awesome realm. Thankfully there is a simple, low cost alternative to learn about how computers work, from the group up.

Enter, the Raspberry Pi.

If you’re not familiar with the raspberry pi, essentially, it is a mini programmable computer about the size of a credit card that you can program with text based Python or visual Scratch coding languages.

For those really unfamiliar, check out this “as fast as possible” video on the Raspberry Pi, and this game I made Scratch Coding, using Scratch!

Raspberry pi as fast as possible

introduction to scratch coding

 

Sample Raspberry Pi Projects

The Raspberry Pi is incredibly powerful and diverse in its ranges. Many K-12 schools, universities, and DIY tech enthusiasts use the Pi on a daily basis to solve tasks that you would not have even though were a problem, or thought you would need, until now. Just look at some of the cool things you can make!

 

On a side closer to home, here is a highschool student project (at my school, Korea International School), that combined woodworking, 3D printing, electronics, and AutoCAD engineering with the Raspberry Pi to create a retro arcade gamebox!


 

Wireless Raspberry Pi: EzBlock Pi

Up to this point, coding on the Raspberry Pi required a desktop computer and a USB type B connection to be able to connect to the Pi and code. While this is convenient, it does not allow for mobile computing, or for the ability to run code from a mobile device like a tablet or smartphone. This is where SunFounder’s extension board, EzBlock Pi, comes in.

ExBlock Pi introduces two new features to the Raspberry Pi with it’s extension, add on board to the original Pi:

  1. The ability to “flash” (essentially execute and run code) wirelessly without needing to plug in the Pi to your device. This wireless & bluetooth board also opens up the functionality of the Pi for IFTTT integration, Bluetooth remote control, and voice control.

  2. To tag along with the board, a mobile App was created that allows for programming the Pi “on the go” from a tablet or smartphone using either Python or (unfortunately) Blockly programming languages. (The decision against scratch’s new, non-java based code for the Pi is unfortunately disappointing)

Take a look at SunFounder’s Kickstarter video, it has been funded over 4x above the project’s original goal of $10,000 (as of the time of this writing).

Note: the English translation in this video is not amazing, nor across the entire website (the company is located in ShenZhen, China). Taking the time to find an English translating service would certainly help with Sunfounder’s branding. As noted in other Amazon reviews (2,3,4), the products themselves are great, however, the English translations/manuals are typically broken and hard to comprehend.

Should you Buy/Invest in it?

For our purposes, we’ll be using the Cube Method to decide whether you should, as an educator, buy, or invest in Sunfounder’s EzBlock Pi board & App. The Cube Method consists of 6 “faces” for facilitating the decision as to whether a venture is worthwhile for investing or not. Scoring will consist of a 6 tiered rating scale, with a maximum score for any face at “+++” and a minimum score of “- - -”.

1. Type of Market ++ (K-12, Higher Education, Commercial)

2. Type of Offering ++ (Service, Content or Infrastructure)

3. Who is the Buyer? + because learners don't often choose their own learning technology products.

4. Global Target +What piece(s) of the global market are we talking about - because learning technology doesn't always "go" everywhere the Internet does.

5. Market Status + How developed is the local market? - because the sweet spot for success is in the middle of the development curve.

6. Competition ++ How integrated is learning technology with the rest of the educational system - because without that integration learning technology struggles.

Market & Offering

++

As with other Raspberry Pi devices, these credit card computers are geared towards middle school and beyond, branching into DIY techies and university students. However, with the introduction of a mobile app that functions on the iPad, albeit with Blockly as opposed to Scratch, this opens up the very real possibility to use this add on board with upper elementary students as well. There is an excellent, wide open market opportunity for EzBlock Pi without any other competing wireless boards that are functioning on the market at the moment.

This being said, the market for the Raspberry Pi is highly specialized, however, in the specialized nature of this market this product is highly unique and likely for high(er) sales than other custom boards on the market for the Pi. Unfortunately, the App itself, while still in beta, is mediocre at best. While it does allow for the use block style coding, as well as Python, Sunfounder’s history of English translations have been subpar at best, and downwrite incomprehensible at worst. This makes the likelihood of this app being a working interface slim. That being said, as long as it has the main syntax blocks translated fine, which it does currently, and the end user typing Python uses correct syntax, there should not be an issue in flashing the code itself to the product, even if the translation is a little off.

Buyer Potential & Global Presence +++

Thankfully, the EzBlock Pi has a wide open market as it works with current Pi’s on the market, and, supposedly, new Pi’s on the future market as well. Educators can buy this for K-12 through higher ed, as well as personally for DIY tech projects. Seeing as the Raspberry Pi is already a low cost alternative, starting at just $25, and the add on board at $35, there is a huge potential for a large market with this add-on board all around the world from Level 1 Income countries all the way through Level 4 income countries. (Income classifications of countries vs. first/third world distinction description here)

Market Status & Competition ++

While the EzBlock Pi is filling a need in the Raspberry Pi market, it is only for a narrow window in time. While there is no official word from Raspberry Pi, it is likely that the next iteration of the Raspberry Pi will include wiFi and Bluetooth built directly onto the board for flashing code to the Pi without the need to connect physically to the device. This unfortunately means that the ExBlock Pi has a limited shelf life as a new product. That being said, the latest Raspberry Pi, 3 Model B+, was released in March of 2018, and still does not natively support Flashing code over wiFi, despite being WiFi & Bluetooth compatible. However, even once a WiFi compatible (for flashing code) board is released, the EzBlock Pi can still be a useful add on for legacy boards.

As for the App itself, while unique at the moment in its ability to code the Pi on a tablet or smartphone, it is also only a matter of time before another developer comes along and creates a similar App in functionality.

Given all of this, the EzBlock Pi has a limited shelf life for new Pi’s, but still gains the ability for users to upgrade legacy boards to gain WiFi compatibility. While the EzBlock Pi is not released yet, it has an estimated shipping date of Sept 2019, though the reliability of Kickstarter projects to ship when they say they will is questionable, with 84% shipping late, so take this shipping date with a grain of salt.

 

TL;DR (++)

SHOULD YOU BUY THE EZBLOCK PI?

Like many things in life, it depends.

Buy If you are a:

  • DIY tech enthusiast

  • Like to be on the leading edge of tech change

  • An elementary/middle school teacher who already owns a legacy Raspberry Pi and wants a functionality upgrade

  • Don’t mind writing in python, or working with a mobile App in beta

This would be a good investment to make. The WiFi flashing ability is incredibly useful for users and this is a solid upgrade.

Do Not buy if you are a:

  • Person who does not need the latest and greatest, and is willing to wait several years to make an upgrade

  • Are a beginner programmer who is not willing to work through bugs

Designing Tech Enhanced Learning Experiences

We are teaching in a modern world, and teaching in a modern world constitutes the necessity to design a Technology Enhanced Learning Experience (TELE) for use in our classrooms. The problem is, most teachers hop on to the “new is better” train and don’t think about why they incorporate the technology they do within their classrooms. Simply sticking an iPad into a student’s hand will not magically make their learning any more “transformative” than a worksheet. It’s how we use the technology and for what purpose that makes the difference.

Technology is a Tool to Solve Problems

I'm partial to Roblyer's description that (2012) describes technology as "technology is us -our tools, our methods, and our own creative attempts to solve problems in our environment." Technology is a tool that students use to solve problems they are faced with. This broad view could mean that interviews are a technology tool, as are books, apps, experimental manipulatives, etc. 

The broad viewpoint of a technology is appealing to me as it allows students to apply different tools to new situations, and to have a large "toolbox" of strategies that can be applied to new situations for high levels of flexibility within their learning.

 

Ideal Design: Collaboration focussed and Problem Based

The ideal design for a TELE in my opinion has students focused on solving a problem that they themselves are faced with in real life, through collaboration. I'm privy to Mitch Resnick's idea of the four P's, Projects are made about their [students] passion in collaboration with peers while discovering ideas through play. Students are more engaged in projects that matter to them, and collaboration has students focussing together to learn from one another, a 21C skill necessary in the real world. 

 

References:

Resnick, M. (2018). Lifelong Kindergarten. October 2018. MIT Press. 

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2012). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. (6th Edition ed.) Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Pedagogy & Content Knowledge in Teaching

Best Practices & Most Efficient Practices: Striking a Balance in the Classroom

I want to agree with the ideas behind PCK and TPACK.

PCK: Pedagogy knowledge vs. Content knowledge in the classroom. Essentially, knowing why we teach/how students learn vs. what they learn and understanding multiple ways of teaching/understanding content.

TPACK: Similar to PCK, but with the additional layer of complexity involving technology in each layer.

In a perfect world, all teachers would have sufficient pedagogical knowledge for why they teach the way they do, and their theoretical frameworks for how children learn (regardless of framework chosen, at least be aware of why they do what they do and be able to back it up with sound evidence. I also want to see teachers aware of their content that they teach, to understand it from multiple perspectives, and to be able to apply this content knowledge to best practices in their teaching. However, not every school district has the ability to hire teachers with diverse amounts of pedagogical and content knowledge in their practice. 

For instance, during a teacher shortage, often times we end up hiring any teacher with a certificate. Many school districts have turned to pre-service teachers as taking over mat leave positions and long term substitution due to low staff. The same is true of trades and specialist teachers, often times a tradesman with their red seal will be given special permission to teach a trades class based on their content knowledge, despite having no pedagogical teacher training. Many elementary math teachers still have difficulties passing basic math fluency tests, especially with regards to algebra and problem solving skills without technology uses. 

I see the concepts of PCK and TPACK as ideals to strive towards, not necessarily as ideals that will ever be reached, but rather as a "heaven" for teachers to strive towards in their practice, and for organizations to strive towards in their hiring practices. 

 

New Teacher Training & Over-Influential Instruction of Pedagogy

In my own pre-service teacher training, I noticed an over reliance of pedagogy over content knowledge being stressed. Even in my Master's program, a Masters of Educational Technology, it was possible to design a course load to graduate without ever using technologies outside of websites & a word processing program. Seems a little strange to me. 

As for my own experience, I most recently discovered my own lack of content knowledge in teaching a lesson, and due to this lack of content knowledge, I was unable to effectively teach a programming course using Scratch for Grade 3-4 students until I was able to do enough independent practice to be able to effectively teach the program to students. Without this content knowledge, and the ability to apply programming concepts to the point that I could browse through code to discover where the issue lay, my lessons were ineffective for getting students to ingrain coding concepts beyond simple "if this then that" statements. 

How to Decide on a Learning Management System

The purpose of this project was to create a rubric for other educators to use in order to assist with deciding on a Learning Management System (LMS) with which to use in their organization or classroom context. It is our hope that if you are a teacher or organization deciding on a LMS to use, that this rubric, along with its SECTIONS framework foundation, can assist you with deciding on a LMS that best fits your organization.


Brogan Pratt, Ariana Debreuil, Mike McDowall, Greg Regehr, Sarah Hain & Brian Ham

University of British Columbia


Our Mission  

We want our students to be engaged in a learning platform that showcases their learning journey in authentic, purposeful, and creative ways. Students should also be able to collaborate with others to help deepen their understanding. We believe that if students have a choice in how they share their learning, then they will have increased engagement and therefore deepen their understanding. We also want to allow teachers to give descriptive feedback to their students so that students have a clear understanding of their strengths and next steps as learners. Ultimately, our hope is that we connect our school community to our families so that we are all sharing in the successes, challenges and next steps together.

Criteria

The criteria for a platform that will best meet the needs and goals of our organization are as follows:

·      Student-friendly and teacher-friendly (simple and intuitive for students and teachers to navigate)

·      Communication tool (students, teachers, and parents can communicate)

·      Design and organization is simple and appealing (for K-5)

·      Choice (on how to showcase student learning)

·      Assessment component (ability to provide descriptive feedback for formative assessment, next steps)

·      Compatibility (can use a variety of devices)

·      Sustainable (the platform is regularly updated and serviced)

·      Security (privacy concerns)

 

Our Organization

The organization of focus is a public, inner-city elementary school in British Columbia.  The school has 18 divisions, with 450 students attending. Students come from varied socio-economic circumstances and ethnic backgrounds, including Indigenous, Asian, South-Asian, African, and Caucasian.  There are also a variety of specialized needs within the student population, including English Second Language (ESL) services and students who are on Individual Education Plans (IEP).

Given the mosaic of different experiences within our school, integrating a Learning Management System (LMS) can be hugely beneficial.  We looked at two LMSs that will meet most needs of our organization. The use of Schoology or Google Classroom would highly improve the efficiency of our organization as they would both allow complete control over administration, automisation, and communication with students, educators, and course content management.  All information is centrally located, structured in an organized manner and accessible to all users which will improve overall communication between students, educators, parents, and administration.

 



LMS EXAMPLE REVIEWS


Schoology

Looking at the needs of our organization, we have created an original rubric with input from the SECTIONS model of educational technology decision making. This rubric has been created to evaluate Learning Management Systems within our organizational context.

SCH 1.png
SCH 2.png

Schoology Rationale 

Schoology meets the needs of our organization in a variety of ways. Implementation of Schoology will allow for the creation and use of digital tools such as chat platforms or online forums.  Schoology will also allow the design, personalisation and transfer of assessment reports charting the development of the learners either as a group or individually. With the implementation of Schoology, our school will save time and money doing all of the above when compared to traditional methods. (Blog CAE, Learning Management System, 2019). It is possible to imbed links and content from other sites such as YouTube or Khan Academy, providing opportunities for blended learning. Educators are able to create and publish assignments, use different grading systems (rubrics, numeric, etc.) and create online tests and quizzes. Students can complete lessons at their own pace, use the calendar function to stay organized, and message their teacher for assistance with an assignment. They can also make portfolios to display their learning in a unique way. Biswas (2013) indicates that the “different innovative applications and tools in the Schoology website can facilitate both teachers and students to build a collaborative community of learners and also fulfill the need of current educational goals”   (p. 193). Parents can receive a weekly progress report for their child and can check their child’s account to see what is going on in their classes. Schoology has a familiar and easy to use interface, similar to that of Facebook. As Biswas (2013) summarizes, Schoology “holds a strong potentiality for connecting and collaborating school stakeholders at the same platform” (p. 195).

Schoology has an active support team that consistently updates its platform. There are several limitations however; most notably the lack of offered languages, excluding Mandarin and Korean. The servers are based in New York which makes getting support difficult and may impede the data and privacy regulations of local organizations. As well, currently Schoology does not integrate with MyEdBC, the provincial student information management system. Schoology, like any new software, takes time to learn, but can become a powerful learning tool once all users are acclimatized.


 

Google Classroom

Looking at the needs of our organization, we have created an original rubric with input from the SECTIONS model of educational technology decision making. This rubric has been created to evaluate Learning Management Systems within our organizational context.

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Google Classroom Rationale

Google Classroom is an intuitive, well integrated system that meets our organizational needs in a variety of ways. After a brief exploration of the interface, learners can easily navigate through the program and its resources. Google Classroom has a clean, modern look that makes newcomers immediately comfortable with the layout. More advanced learners (Grades 3-5) are provided options for more detailed content upload and/or assignment criteria, which benefit both the teacher and student as there are multiple ways to make learning visible. For teachers, there are numerous options to assess student learning through the platform, including automatic grading. The application is also platform-agnostic, being available on every major mobile and computing device. Both the mobile and desktop layouts are visually similar, making transition between devices painless. One of the biggest benefits of Google Classroom is its cloud-based storage system, where students have access to their material anytime and on any device. The affordances of using the Google Suite for Education in regards to collaboration are the best that are currently available. Students can collaborate on assignments in real-time and teachers can watch it happen from any device. For our purposes, Google Classroom meets many of the criteria which are required for our organization. However, there are some areas to keep in mind going forward. First of all, in regards to data storage, we must ensure that Google Classroom meets the standards of the organization's data regulations (Zhang & O’Reilly, 2016). As well, since the layout of Google Classroom can take some getting used to, we need to ensure that students feel confident with their knowledge of the platform before it becomes essential.

 

 

References

Bates, T., 1939. (2015). Teaching in a digital age. BC campus.

Biswas, S. (2013). Schoology-supported classroom management: A curriculum review. Northwest Journal of Teacher Education, 11(2), 12.

Google Classroom. (2019). Retrieved from https://classroom.google.com

Schoology. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.schoology.com/

Zhang, M., & O'Reilly for Higher Education. (2016). Teaching with google classroom: Put google classroom to work while teaching your students and make your life easier (1st ed.) Packt Publishing. 


Reflection

The purpose of this project was to create a rubric for other educators to use in order to assist with deciding on a Learning Management System (LMS) with which to use in their organization or classroom context. It is our hope that if you are a teacher or organization deciding on a LMS to use, that this rubric, along with its SECTIONS framework foundation, can assist you with deciding on a LMS that best fits your organization.

For the purposes of this rubric, we decided to examine Schoology and Google Classroom in the context of an inner-city elementary school located in British Columbia, Canada.

This was a group project involving 5 peers and myself working in collaboration. To collaborate, we used G-Suite’s “google hangouts” as a chat platform. This worked well for the vast majority of our group, however, one group member was left out of our conversation until the final day before our assignment was due. Initially, I had sent out an invitation to each group member 3 weeks prior to our project beginning and all members (sans 1) were able to be a part of the chat and initial project phase. The one project member did not reach out again until one day before the project was due. I still strongly believe in the success of using G-hangouts as a collaborative tool as it assists both with chat functions and with video hangouts. The document creation was done on G-Docs, allowing for real time collaborative work.

Overall, I am pleased with the outcome of our rubric. It allows teachers and organizations to effectively and efficiently decide on an LMS to use. As it follows the SECTIONS model for the decision making process, this rubric allows for the ability for decision makers to consider all interested parties involved in use of a LMS. Often times certain questions get pushed under the rug, disregarded, or were not brought up in the first place. This rubric allows organizations to deeply look into many aspects of the decision making process that they may have not considered in the first place.


Developing Computational Thinking Skills in Students

Can Man Survive on Mars?

Developing Computational Thinking Skills in Students in TransDisciplinary Units:

An Annotated Bibliography


FRAMING THE ISSUE

As a K-5 technology teacher, a large portion of my curriculum (8 weeks, 7/28 total classes, or 25% of my year) focuses on developing the computational thinking (CT) skills of my students with respect to computer programming. CT has many proposed definitions, however I am privy to Riley and Hunt’s (2014) idea that CT is the way computer scientists think and reason, as well as Garcia-Penalvo et al.’s idea of using an algorithmic, step by step approach, to solve any kind of problems (2016). As an American International School in South Korea, our school uses a standards based assessment approach and in Technology, we use the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) standards for assessment. A power standard for ISTE is, “Computational Thinker” which requires students to:

Develop and employ strategies for understanding and solving problems in ways that leverage the power of technological methods to develop and test solutions” (“ISTE Standards for Students,” 2016).

This power standard breaks up CT to encompass four realms that relate to a student’s ability to problem solve and make decisions:

a: Formulation of problems and defining technology-assisted solutions

b: Data collection, analyzation, and representation

c: Chunking of problems to extract key information, and developing models

d: Understand automation and algorithmic thinking to create and test automated solutions (“ISTE Standards for Students,” 2016).

As CT is one of the standards that I assess, it is relevant to my practice to answer this question: How do we develop CT skills in elementary, specifically K-5, students?

It is also important to situate this question into the context of my particular school’s pedagogical and curricular framework. My school teaches in a similar style to British Columbian schools in respect to cross-curricular units, however, we call them “TransDisciplinary Units” (TDU). Teachers from the various specialist areas collaborate together on thematic units with the outcome of having students solve an authentic problem. For example, Grade 5 students this unit sought to discover, “what skills and understanding would humans need to survive on mars?” It is clear to see how science, mathematics, language arts, and various other STEM specialties could relate learning to this driving question. The development of CT skills could have great carryover to learning in Science, Mathematics, and Design & Engineering classes as CT models have been shown to be effective for learning math and science concepts (Hambrusch, Hoffmann, Korb, Haugan, & Hosking, 2009).


LITERATURE SEARCH

I started off my search examining “coding or programming AND computational thinking” (in the literature, coding, programming, and CT tend to go hand in hand), and refined my search keywords until I had less than fifty articles to sift through. I also wanted to focus on elementary students in my research, and required that the studies be empirical so as to know whether treatments were supportive of improving CT skills. In the end, these were my search parameters:

        Computational Thinking

AND Programming or Coding

AND Elementary or primary

AND students

NOT secondary

       Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) YES

       2003:2019 Publication Date

      Language: English & French




RESEARCH REVIEW

Introducing Computational Thinking to Young Learners: Practicing Computational Perspectives Through Embodiment in Mathematics Education

Woonhee Sung • Junghyun Ahn • John B. Black (2017)


The purpose of the authors’ study was to identify key factors in the design of elementary lessons that allow for the integration of CT skills into non-computing domains. Using a Pre-post mathematics test, the authors examined two K-1 classrooms that consisted of 66 underrepresented minority students. Using a randomly assigned, 2x2 factorial experiment (4 experimental groups), the authors designed a coding program using the iPad App, “Scratch Jr.”, to examine two factors:

Factor one: they embraced a constructionist, “embodied approach”, and looked at whether full body movement (embodied), role play, and hands on approaches were more powerful for learning abstract STEM subjects versus low-embody styles (hand gestures);

Factor two: they examined the importance of “computational perspective taking” (CPP), thinking like a computer scientist. High CPP had students programming a surrogate (machine or character) to solve the problem, while low CPP had students simply walk through the code themselves.

The authors found that the level of embodiment used had a statistically significant positive impact on student mathematics scores, as did high CPP. The Full embodied with CPP significantly outperformed the low-embody and no CPP group as well. The authors also found that high CPP instruction increased the accuracy of student programming skills.

The authors took significant rigor in randomly assigning their control, as with their experimental design. However, they introduced a major confounding variable in the fact that they themselves taught the four different lessons, and may have been influenced to be more enthusiastic about the high embodied/high CPP group than when they taught the low-embodied/low-CPP group, resulting in lower student achievement. If they had trained other teachers to teach the curriculum without knowing the goal of the study, the reliability of their findings could have been improved.

As the authors showed, CT skills and programming are important to the mathematics and science classrooms as programming also teaches planning abilities and the problem-solving process (Wing, 2006). This is evident by the statistically significant increases in the various groups, though as mentioned above, this should be viewed hesitantly as instructor bias was almost certainly present to influence the data.



Computational Thinking Equity in Elementary Classrooms: What Third-Grade Students Know and Can Do

Yune Tran (2019)

Tran’s study was concerned with two research questions (2019, p. 4):

What changes, if any, are evident in third-grade students learning of foundational CS concepts and CT over 10 weeks of coding lessons?

How can 10 weeks of coding lessons influence third-grade students’ CT in and out of school?

To answer these questions, Tran exposed over 200 elementary students to a 10-week, puzzle based code.org coding curriculum and examined a pre-post test assessment on CT and computer science (CS) skills. There was no control group as this was the first intervention of its kind in Oregon, USA, and the 13 third grade classrooms were located in suburban and rural areas. Code.org was an affiliate of this study and was present in the decision making process of classrooms chosen, a conflict of interest in this study as the curriculum used was Code.org’s.

Tran examined the students using Kolb’s constructivist style experiential framework of Feeling > Watching > Thinking > Doing (1984,1999).

Tran found that after her intervention, there was a significant improvement in CT skills based on her self-created pre-post test of CT and CS skills. Student motivation and positive outlook on coding was also significantly improved post test, as is evident from the interview findings; Lastly, students noted in interviews that their teamwork, cooperation, and resiliency skills improved from the partner coding challenges.

A large limitation of Tran’s study is the measurement of CT. Tran, in collaboration with her university, used a self created model for measuring pre-post test scores with an internal reliability of .63 and .61 on pre-post tests respectively (and she notes this is a problem). With low internal reliability, the findings should be viewed hesitantly.

As well, since CT has not been solididly defined in the literature with many competing opinions, measuring CT tends to be done on a program by program basis, and the aptitude a student possesses within this program. As such, having an in-depth review of CT skills is difficult with changing definitions from scholar to scholar. This muddied waters means that the improvements in CT skills should be taken with caution.

That being said, the improvements to positive attitudes towards CT programs, problem-solving skills, and interest in STEM fields seems well supported based on interview responses. Whether this increase will survive in the future for these students is uncertain.

As noted by Tran, CT development initiatives have been largely in secondary schools with little emphasis on elementary CT skill development, in the USA at least. However, we know that earlier engagement with STEM concepts increases student motivation and initiative to learn STEM skills (Tran Y., 2019). The importance of early CT skills development is likely to further CT further down a student’s educational journey.



A Study of Primary School Students' Interest, Collaboration Attitude, and Programming Empowerment in Computational Thinking Education

Siu-Cheung Konga • Ming Ming Chiub • Ming Lai (2018)

Building upon Seymour Papert’s conception of CT and its proposed ability to empower students, the authors of this study sought to define and measure “programming empowerment” to fill the gap in measurement of CT skills. Operationally, they define CT similar to the initial proposed definition in this paper, and they defined programming empowerment to compose of four components: meaningfulness, impact, creative self-efficacy, and programming self-efficacy (p. 1). Though part of a larger, unpublished as of this writing, study on the promotion of CT skills in elementary schools, this specific portion of the study sought to answer if greater interest in computers, and more positive outlooks on collaboration, led to greater programming empowerment in students.

The 30m likert-scale survey was completed online with 287 Gr 4-6 students. The survey was satisfactory in its rigorous analysis, as well as found to be reliable to measure the constructs designed to measure.

Researchers found that their data supported their initial hypothesis that a student with greater interest in programming also viewed programming as more meaningful, impactful, and had greater creative self-efficacy and programming self-efficacy. However, more positive attitudes towards collaboration suggested higher creative self-efficacy, but not greater programming self-efficacy. The data also supported the hypothesis that interest was critical to programming empowerment, and that older students viewed programming training as less meaningful, and that boys showed more interest in programming that girls did.

The minor flaw in this study is that the instrument used is only mentioned to be validated by experts, but what this means or what rigour was used in the study of the reliability of this tool was not discussed. The authors did include the full measurement tool for examination.


DISCUSSION & CONCLUSION

Perhaps the most frustrating issue with discovering how to develop CT skills in students is that there is no clear, well defined definition of CT in the literature that has been agreed upon. The studies examined in this annotation seem to be privy to the 3 systems approach of CT that defined CT as both algorithmic thinking skills, using technology and automation to solve problems, and perceiving a situation like a computer scientist would; so it is good to see a resemblance of scholarly consistency when defining CT. Having a more consistent running definition of CT, or at least having the river of scholars beginning to flow in the same direction, will certainly help to aide future research.

There also needs to be a more reliable and valid measurement tool for measuring CT skills, rather than the current method of needing to extrapolate CT skill development outside of programming performance within a specific coding program. However, this may also be a limitation of the CT concept itself in that CT requires a computer programming software in order to fully understand the notion of CT in the first place. This will need to be further discovered.

Lastly, it is useful to see that CT skills can be developed outside of the computing environment like the Tran study suggested, and that CT skills can support further mathematics and science learning through generalized problem-solving skills. Having scientific data to support the divergent capabilities of programming knowledge will provide further support for the inclusion of programming courses within elementary curricula.

REFERENCES

D.D Riley, K.A. Hunt, (2014). Computational thinking for the modern problem solver. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA (2014)

F.J. García-Peñalvo, D. Reimann, M. Tuul, A. Rees, I. Jormanainen. “An overview of the most relevant literature on coding and computational thinking with emphasis on the relevant issues for teachers”. Belgium TACCLE 3 Consortium (2016)

García-Peñalvo, F. J., & Mendes, A. J. (2018). Exploring the computational thinking effects in pre-university education. Computers in Human Behavior, 80, 407–411.

ISTE Standards for Students. (2016). Retrieved from: https://www.iste.org/standards/for-students

Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Kolb, D. (1999). The Kolb Learning Style Inventory, Version 3. Boston, MA: Hay Group.

Kong, S.-C. sckong@eduhk. h., Chiu, M. M. mingchiu@eduhk. h., & Lai, M. mlai@eduhk. h. (2018). A study of primary school students’ interest, collaboration attitude, and programming empowerment in computational thinking education. Computers & Education, 127, 178–189. https://doi-org.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/10.1016/j.compedu.2018.08.026

Tran, Y. ytran@georgefox. ed. (2019). Computational Thinking Equity in Elementary Classrooms: What Third-Grade Students Know and Can Do. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 57(1), 3–31. https://doi-org.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/10.1177/0735633117743918

S. Hambrusch, C. Hoffmann, J.T. Korb, M. Haugan, A.L.Hosking. “A multidisciplinary approach towards computational thinking for science majors”. Proceedings of the 40th ACM technical symposium on computer science education, SIGCSE '09, March 4-7, 2009, Chattanooga, TN USA, ACM, New York, NY, USA (2009), pp. 183-187

Sung, W. W. columbia. ed., Ahn, J. J. columbia. ed., & Black, J. B. columbia. ed. (2017). Introducing Computational Thinking to Young Learners: Practicing Computational Perspectives Through Embodiment in Mathematics Education. Technology, Knowledge & Learning, 22(3), 443–463. https://doi-org.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/10.1007/s10758-017-9328-x

Wing, J. M. (2006). Computational thinking. Communications of the ACM, 49(3), 33–35. doi:10.1145/ 1118178.1118215.






ETEC 533: Interview with a Mathematics Teacher Veteran

Below are several excerpts from an interview that I had with a colleague, “M.”. Our conversation concerns the benefits and drawbacks of technology inside of a Middle School mathematics classroom. Below, M’s words are italicized while my own are in regular font. M.’s name has been written as a changed initial for privacy reasons.

About M.

M. has been a teacher for 12 years and previously worked as an engineer in a municipal role, designing builds for bridges and roads. He has a passion for teaching students applied mathematics, and has taught in Kuwait and South Korea during his teaching career. Presently, he is a Middle School Mathematics teacher, as well as an instructional coach for teachers K-12 in our school.


Real World Applicability of Mathematics

“For math and using tech, the simplest tech is the best and im trying to get my students to be ready for the real world; because my background is in engineering. To your question specifically... most applicable technology is excel. Just getting them to use the program...getting the students to be comfortable to be using excel in a practical application.

Working in an engineering firm, the type of program that we use...is basically excel or a spreadsheet on steroids...so i try to get student comfortable with area and volume...and make the worksheet look like a form... and get them to use excel in real life because that's the one that they;ll use the most often as engineers.

This was surprising to me, that M. believed the best technology that he has used in his classroom was simply using an excel program. However, the above transcript points out a few important things.

Many teachers often have not had real world experience in their field before they go in and teach the content. M., having been a city engineer before, has knowledge of what content he can include in his classes that will have the most carry-over to the real world. This means that he can look past much of the glamour of new technologies and design lessons that would transfer well to the real world of engineering for his students.

I realize that it is not possible for all teachers to be able to have had real world experience in their field, and in this case, having a course on real world applicability of technology in various careers, watching recorded interviews, or speaking with employees from a variety of careers would help teachers assess what technologies would be more applicable for use in the classroom.  

With technology, there is a growing notion that “newer is better” as the technology is the newest, most flashy piece of information on the market and this gets kids engaged, and teachers, as it looks cool. However, teachers need to take a step back and think pedagogically why we include the technology that we do in a classroom from the basis of an entire curricula. Excel, working off real world experience, seems to be an incredibly robust tool to use in a math classroom as it is a piece of software that students, should they decide to become engineers, will use every day in their lives. Not only do teachers need to stay up to date with technology, they must also wrestle with what technology is most applicable as well as fits in with the rest of their curriculum as well.





The Four Uses of Technology in Classrooms


One of the more interesting offshoots of our conversation was M’s notions of various uses of technology in the Classroom, and how he categorized the use of technology in his Math classroom.

1.Student interacting with technology

This is the Direct Application use of technology.

The most obvious category is students interacting with digital technology in the classroom, using applications to solve problems, and working with digital technology throughout various projects.

 

2. Formal & Informal assessments

“Here you can use [technology] as an exit ticket, informal assessment, formative assessment; You know, let’s check in and see [how you are doing]... let’s practice what we just talked about it.”

Using technology as a “quick and dirty” exit slip to check in on understanding of a concept for the lesson, was a low pressure way for students to engage and get involved in the content. Rather than using it as a formal assessment, it allows a quick check in with students to see if they understood the lesson content. As most digital forms can mark automatically, it can serve as a quick and efficient formative assessment option for teachers.

Using tech as a formal assessment method has been difficult for M. so as to not let students open another program in order to cheat on the exam. NWEA Lockdown browser may be a good tool for his formal assessments with technology as it locks students into an application and a single website/tab for the completion of a formalized test.

 

3.Presentation

“Not student[s] engaged [with technology], but presentation style. Using an ipad for drawing a picture and projecting that up on the board... there are a lot of different ways to present material [with technology]”

When designing curriculum, a teacher needs to decide what concepts should receive priority, and with this, what concepts can be taught in a more inquiry fashion versus a “typical” lecture style format. Depending on whatever structure chosen for the lesson content, technology can assist with the presentation of information. Obviously, apps like powerpoint, keynote, videos, and even video interviews come to mind when thinking about various presentation styles. However, technology can also assist with showing off one’s learning on an individualized basis, such as 3D printed models, laser cut objects, or even an interactive digital textbook.

 

4.Backend Assessment & Grading

“[This is] the backend students don't see. Putting together ways that we can directly input in grades and calculate grades using spreadsheets.”

The last use of technology in classrooms was on the backend where teachers can more efficiently calculate grades (or standards tracking if grades are not used). Spreadsheet programs allow for instant calculation, as well as visual representations of data that would take far longer to complete by hand. This gives a teacher more time to be able to focus on other tasks at hand in their teaching profession, than needing to spend time calculating marks.






ETEC 524: Course Goals & "Flight Path"

Below is a course goal outline for which I hoped to achieve during the ETEC 524 course.

This is my 5th-7th course in the MET program. Recently, I’ve become the iPad program coordinator for our 1:1 device classrooms in grades 3-5. Simultaneously, I’m also the elementary technology teacher for grades K-5, and a quasi tech coach for my colleagues in the elementary school. There’s a lot happening in my life professionally, especially in terms of oversight with technology adoption in multiple classrooms, so this is the perfect time to take ETEC 524.

I started the MET program wanting to both grow professionally with my long term goal of tech administration, and also to better incorporate technology in my classrooms (and cross-curricularly between classes) at my school. After becoming the iPad coordinator, I have since tacked on even more questions to research and discover;

  • How can I best support teachers in a 1:1 device classroom to use their devices effectively? I’ll need to learn best practices for implementing 1:1 technology, best theories, and get a better understanding of my own personal conceptions of learning.

  • What makes a 1:1 device classroom more powerful to student learning than simply having a device but not revamping the current curriculum? Building off of SAMR theory, how do we get to Modification and Redefinition, and get teachers on board with these ideas as well?

  • What does connectivism have to do with cross-curricular units and inquiry (Roblyer, M.D., Doering, A., 2016)? (Our school is heavily based on cross-curricular units like those in BC, however we call them TDU’s). Is this part of my school’s pedagogy, and how can we blend the two together?


Weeks in ETEC 524 that I see being most beneficial for learning to create these outcomes:

  • This past week’s reading into SAMR has reminded me of the theory I have come across more, but this time introduced me to its author in person (very cool!) (Puentedura, R, 2010).

  • Week 3’s first 2 readings, looking into where we teach has implications for helping my colleagues discover ways to connect learning between classrooms and different classroom teachers for creating TDU’s

  • Week 4’s readings, specifically Ciampa’s, on mobile technology will hopefully give me a better understanding of increasing student motivation for learning (something I had not considered to this point).

  • While week 7 is not fully applicable to my goals, having a better understanding of theory in learning online should benefit my own practice in researching online.

  • The culminating project, creating a unit of learning, will allow me to continue to practice developing one of my TDU’s with another grade level team. There were some projects last year that were stand alone islands that I can already start to see some new connections from my readings already in order to better align them with other classes’ projects for better connecting student learning.


References

Anderson, T. (2008a). Teaching in an online learning context. In Anderson, T. & Elloumi, F. Theory and practice of online learning (pp. 343-365). Athabasca University. Retrieved from http://www.aupress.ca/books/120146/ebook/14_Anderson_2008- Theory_and_Practice_of_Online_Learning.pdf

Anderson, T. (2008b). Towards a theory of online learning. In T. Anderson & F. Elloumi (Eds.), Theory and practice of online learning (pp. 45-74). Edmonton AB: Athabasca University. Retrieved from http://www.aupress.ca/books/120146/ebook/02_Anderson_2008-Theory_and_Practice_of_Online_Learning.pdf

Burnett, C. (2016) Being together in classrooms at the interface of the physical and virtual: Implications for collaboration in on/off-screen sites. Learning, Media and Technology, 41(4), 566-589. [LOCR]

Benade, L. (2017). Is the classroom obsolete in the twenty-first century? Educational Philosophy and Theory, 49(8), 796-807. [LOCR]

Puentedura, R. (2010). The journey through the SAMR model. IPad Educators: Sharing Best Practice in the use of Mobile Technology. Retrieved from www.padeducators.com/a-fresh-look-at-the-samr-model

Roblyer, M.D. & Doering, A. (2016; 2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching, (6th or 7thEd.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.










Air Quality, Masks, Filters and You

20180405001038_0.jpg

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about air quality, what to do about it, what the best filter is, and how to best keep yourself safe and healthy during bad air quality days in Korea.

Understanding AQI

If all you’re concerned about is understanding what to do about bad air quality, you can feel free to skip this section. However, a rudimentary understanding of what the Air Quality Index (AQI) i will be helpful in your understanding of how to best combat high AQI days. AQI is a measurement of the quality of the air in a geographical location. Essentially, it tells you how good or bad the air is at any given time of day. AWI is broken up into a few different measurements:

  1. An overall AQI score: when you open up an AQI app, (I use IQ Air Visual as it can send me alerts when the air is bad) you will see a total “score”. this score is rated based off of the following points:

  2. PM 2.5: This is the really bad stuff to be breathing in. Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 refers to the size of the particles in the air. In this case, the particles are 2.5 ug/m^3. How small is this? Small enough to be absorbed into your blood stream. Hence, this is the stuff you want to avoid as it can cause some pretty nasty health defects, more on this below. PM 2.5 comes from cars, coal power plants, industry work.

  3. PM10: This stuff is larger, and more easily filtered. Construction dust, “yellow dust” season, cigarette smoke, and cars.

  4. SO2, NO2, CO2: For all practical purposes, we can lump these 3 gases into the same category; a group of gases that can be harmful to you in high quantities. Gas levels are usually not as much of an issue as PM2.5 are, so I wouldn’t be too concerned in this respect (at lower quantities that is).

As a note, here’s a handy chart for a rough understanding of AQI levels.

PM2017.png

Health Affects of High Pollution

Essentially, you want to be breathing in as much clean air as possible. This is a bit of a laundry list and is not intended to fear monger, that being said, it’s important to know what can happen. Possible acute, short term, affects of bad air quality involve:

  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing

  • Added stress/potential damage to your respiratory system

Longterm health affects:

  • Aging of lungs (think like smoking a cigarette). Bejing at 85 PM2.5 is equivalent to 4 cigarettes a day, Los Angeles at 12 PM2.5 is 1/2 a cigarette a day.

  • Reduced lung capacity

  • Potential development of asthma, bronchitis, or cancer

  • Shortened lifespan.

For example in India, Air pollution is a leading factor in reducing term of life, ranking above Dietary risks, malnutrition, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Actingondata_IndiaAirPollution_bar-graph.2017.png

Practical Steps to Improving Air Quality

If you didn’t want to read the background information, here’s the practical information, ie, what can you do to fight bad air quality. There are a few relatively simple ways to reduce your time in bad air quality environments:

  1. Get your house below 10 PM2.5. (WHO Guideline pg 4)

  2. Make sure your work environment is filtered

  3. Wear a particulate mask (pollution mask) on bad air quality days

Improving Air Quality in Your Home

The best way to improve air quality in your home, where you spend a large majority of your time, is to use an air filter 24/7. Yes, it is best to run your air filter all day long so that when you come home, you’ll be prepared for breathing the best air (as well as when you sleep!).

The question now is, what type of air filter do you need?

There are some ridiculously expensive air filters on the market. Do you need a $5000 air filter to improve your air quality? NO. Here’s a secret for you. A HEPA class Filter (the kind you use on your furnace at home) strapped to a box fan does just as good of a job as a hospital grade air filtration system at improving air quality. Don’t believe me? Check out this video by University of Michigan Medicine.

If you watched the video, you’d see that if all you’re looking to do is improve your air quality as cheap as possible, you can do so by purchasing a HEPA class filter and strapping it to a fan. If you want to buy a fancier air filter, you can, but keep in mind the only reasons to pay for a more expensive air filter are:

  1. quieter fan

  2. “auto” fan speeds that turn up and down depending on air quality

  3. A carbon filter to catch smells

Do “plasma wave” or “UV light” purification systems work?

A note about fancy features, as explained above, you only need a HEPA filter strapped to a box fan to improve the AQI in your house. These UV light systems or Plasma Wave systems are all marketing, and could even be detrimental in that they can produce ozone.

What Air Filter Should I Buy?

The most important consideration is the size of your house. My apartment ins roughly 83m^2, so I bought 2 air filters to be able to fully cover the m^2 of my home. Measure your house, buy an air filter (or 2) that will fit the size of your space.

Recommended Air Filters

If you’re budget conscious:

HR1000_Right_transparent.jpg
  • A HEPA class filter and any box fan

  • The same set up, but put together already for you: SMART Air

If you want something to look nicer in your home:

  • Buy the cheapest, featureless air filter you can

  • I personally use the Winix AZBE380-HWK (With Plasma wave turned off) & the BlueAir PURE 411. Why do I use these? They’re the cheapest HEPA class filters I could find at the time of purchasing.

Through using both of these air filters (as my house was too large for 1 unit and it was cheaper to buy 2 units), I’ve been able to get my house air quality to >10 PM2.5 everyday. This being said, I’ve only had the chance to measure on a day where the quality was 170 at it’s peak, so take this with a grain of salt.

Air Quality Masks

Now, practically, the best choice fo you is to choose an AQI number that you are comfortable with, and anytime that the air outside is above this number, you should put on a mask when in unfiltered environments. Notice I didn’t say “outside”. Personally, my fiancee’ and I’s number is 100, so any day that is above 100 we will put on a mask when we are in unfiltered environments.

Things to think about when purchasing a mask:

  1. Make sure it is rated for N95 or N99 (Korean equivalent is KF94 KF99). This is a government ranking that designates it filters 95% to 99% of PM2.5 particulate matter under a 100% seal on your face.

  2. Seal to your face, besides the N95 rating, is the most important factor to a mask. if you have leaking air, the mask won’t help much. Facial hair will reduce a mask’s effectiveness (I’m a hypocrite in this respect with a beard, so I use several straps on top of my mask to make sure I’ve got a firm seal on my face).

  3. Try out different styles of masks until you find one that fits you.

I recommend:

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  1. 3M Brand masks. They don’t look the prettiest, but they will certainly help reduce the level of particulate you breath in.

  2. If you’re more vain, (I’m in this camp), and don’t want to walk around with a giant white mask on your face, you can try out the Cambridge mask, Vogmask, or Airinum.

A note of the Cloth type masks: Your millage may vary. Keep in mind, particulate filter masks work on static electricity, as well as the type of filter in them. you cannot wash them to “clean” the PM2.5 filter, nor could you use the mask for several months. Most 3M paper masks will be of use for 8h, and most cloth style masks seem to last about 100h from the research I’ve done. To give you a baseline, I spend 150h outside each month going to/from work, tasks after work, and spending weekends out. Essentially, calculate how much time you spend outside, the quality of your air, and judge how long a mask will last based off that. Cost wise, all 3 cloth masks are about the same.

Something cool to know about Seoul subways, If they are a new car, the kind with 6 seats per row instead of 7, they are air filtered when inside the cabins.

Wrapping up

To review practical applications:

  1. Get your home below 10PM2.5 at all times with a HEPA filter and fan running 24/7.

  2. Try to get your workplace filtered. Petition, or bring in your own.

  3. Choose an AQI threshold number (mine is 100) and wear a particulate (pollution) mask when in unfiltered environments.

I hope this helped you understand a lot of the confusion surrounding air quality and how to best protect yourself. If you have further questions, feel free to comment down below.

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