Friday, December 2, 2016

Being a Change Agent in Your School



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

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



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


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




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

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

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

In a classic article on Why Teachers Must Become Change AgentsMichael Fullan (1993) argued that there is an increasing recognition that teachers are on the front lines of educational reform, and therefore teachers must become change agents in their classrooms and schools, because “teachers' capacities to deal with change, learn from it, and help students learn from it will be critical for the future development of societies."  He outlined four core capacities of a change agent: Personal vision-building, Inquiry, Mastery, and Collaboration. These four capacities can serve as most comprehensive lenses to analyze and measure whether teachers become change agents. 

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

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

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

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

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

You can tap on your tech-savvy strength and become a change agent in your school. The research shows that beginning teachers can develop teacher leadership potential from their strength-based practice. (You only need to read the abstract of the paper): 
Among the ten preservice teachers, "three stood out from the rest in their effort to use information technology in student-centered teaching approaches and translating their constructivist orientation learned from the university into classroom practice. They began to develop leadership potential to influence their university peers and their cooperating teachers during their ten-week period of student teaching. During their first year of teaching, they continued to develop their leadership potential for technology integration by teaching with their ‘technology savvy’ strengths, leading their colleagues in school-wide technology initiatives, and supporting other beginning teachers. This study suggests that beginning teachers can learn to teach with information technology and lead in technology integration at the beginning stage of teacher development."

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





Saturday, November 19, 2016

Universal Design for Learning / Assistive Technologies


The world isn't equally accessible to all people. There are many challenges that we have to be able to function and succeed in our worldly activities.  In the past, people have tended to emphasize the deficits in others' ability to function in the world. This has led to people being labeled as handicapped and disabled. This can cause a great divide between groups and cast negative stereotypes on challenged individuals. 

Having Special Needs
Consider, if you will, that all humans have special needs. It is just a matter of degree. People may need glasses for reading. Some may need an auditory reader because they have serious vision problems. Individuals may require an alternate means for communicating because they have Lou Gehrig's disease or cerebral palsy.  As we get older, we might review articles on our computer screens at 150% so that they are easier to read.  It's all a matter of degree.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a combination of pedagogy and techniques that acknowledge the different levels of needs. UDL uses brain-based research to identify the need for addressing multiple methods of representation, expression, and engagement of learners with information and knowledge. It involves instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments. 

The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) is a leading organization in the field of UDL. Here is a 5-minute introductory video on UDL.

 

NOTE: This video has been enhanced using EDpuzzle. It includes explanatory voice-overs, multiple-choice quiz questions, an open-ended question and a link to a website.  This EDpuzzle enhancement has been included to demonstrate how you might enhance a video as part of the Interactive Learning Tool that you are creating for your final project. 

This is NOT your final quiz for this module.  You will still have to complete the module quiz as you have been doing all semester.  

An essential part of UDL is to use Multiple Means of Representation. This means that if you learn things better by reading than watching information, you may not have learned much from the video you just watched.  You might do better if you visited this website and read about UDL.  The National Center on Universal Design for Learning has a wealth of information about UDL as well

Differentiated Learning
Recognizing that students have varying backgrounds, levels of readiness, preferences in learning, and interests is important if you are going to be able to address their needs. You have learned about Differentiated Learning in your other classes. Often you must  differentiate your teaching style to address your individual students' learning needs. You try to meet students where they are educationally. UDL is a strategy that is based upon differentiated learning and teaching.  Read this article, What is Differentiated Instruction?, to see how these strategies work together.  

Assistive Technology
While UDL involves strategies to benefit all learners, Assistive Technologies (AT) are devices (some electronic and some not) that increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. UDL is a teaching practice while AT is something that you can touch. UDL will often involve technology but it is not reliant on technology. Visit this website about UDL and Technology. The text is short, but use the links in the text to gain a deeper understanding of technology's role in UDL.

There are many Types of Assistive Technologies.  Not all AT are electronic, but this list includes a variety of ways that people can interact with technology to function in the world. They may involve input devices that control computers using a variety of methods. They may be output devices that allow computers to communicate with people through Braille, voice, visual representation or even physical activity. 

iPad Helps Special Education Student to Learn
This video shows how an iPad has helped a special needs students read, write and communicate.

Aimee Mullins: Running on High-Tech Legs (10-minute video)
In this TED archive video from 1998, paralympic sprinter Aimee Mullins talks about her record-setting career as a runner, and about the amazing carbon-fiber prosthetic legs (then a prototype) that helped her cross the finish line. (This a video of a presentation from TED Talks. We STRONGLY suggest that you visit TED.org to hear some of the greatest minds on the planet present their ideas and visions.)




DOWNLOAD FREE UDL SOFTWARE - One of the most sophisticated programs for helping learners read and write is called Read Write Gold.  The best part about this is that you can download it for FREE at UNI.
  • For Google Documents - Add Read Write Gold to Google Chrome. Go to the Apps Web Store and add it to your Chrome browser.
  • For Computer-Based Tools - Go to UNI ITS website and download it. Read Write Gold - Home (bottom of the page.)  Use it. UNI has purchased a license that allows students and faculty to download it for free to use for themselves or with students.
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We are all different and we all learn through a variety of methods and approaches.  UDL and Assistive Technologies provide strategies and tools that are designed to differentiate learning in a way that will benefit the greatest number of learners.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Technology Trends and Education

Iowa Department of Education - Educational Technology Plan 2009-2013
word cloud created via wordle.net

Are you ready to write your lesson plan for the next 10 years? I hope this blog post changes your mind if you said yes!

What are the technologies that are affecting K-12 education? This infographic by Corey Murray,  from Envisioning Tech shows that many grade school kids will have jobs that have not been created yet. It also shows 40 ways that education and technology are moving towards in the next 30 years.

How will you intertwine your Content knowledge, Pedagogical knowledge, and Technological knowledge, to best engage the students with what they are learning?

Resources:

What is STEM:




Drones in Education 

Examples of Drone Usage in Education: The Washington Times (http://tinyurl.com/jzb55n4)

7 things you should know about Makerspaces


Transformative Learning Approach

http://www.uni.edu/coe/TransformativeLearning






Additional Resources:

This blog introduces 50 Education Technology Tools Every Teacher Should Know. Those tools includes social learning, learning tools, lesson planing, and some other useful tools. This blog post is 2 years old now and there are additional tools that you can add to each category. How many of those tools are you familiar with, and how many of them sound educational to you?


Watch some of the following to know more about some technologies that you might find at your school.

3D Printers


Augmented Reality


Magic Books (Augmented Reality)


There are more videos available in the EmergingEdTech  about the new technologies and their application in education.

How do you think these technologies will impact your future classroom?

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Making Learning Meaningful for New Gens

http://generationz.com.au/
New Gens
This week we will be exploring who are the New Gens (Gen Y and Gen Z) and how they are changing the world. You are the millennial generation (Gen Y) and you will be teaching Gen Z students. We will explore these students who you will find in your classroom. We can't teach today's students with 20th century strategies.  We must first understand our 21st century students so that we can provide learning challenges that address their needs.

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

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

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

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

Millennials
This 25-minute video with Don Tapscott discusses what he has learned about the Net (Millennial) Generation. This video is an interview, not an action show. Pay attention to what Dr. Tapscott has to say. You may recognize some of your friends in this discussion. =-)

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

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

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

What do YOU see as unique characteristics of the NewGens?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Information Literacy

image source HlwikiCanada
Information literacy is more than possessing information. Information literacy is the ability "to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information." (ACRL, 2000)
What kid of practical steps can you and your students take to critically evaluate information found on the Internet?
Big 6 and Super3
The Big6 is a process model of how people should solve an information strategies. Super 3 is a simplified model for the youngest students.
--
Additional resources:
ISTE Standards for students connection:  Standard # 3:Research and Information Fluency:
Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
ISTE  Standards for teachers connection:  #2 d. Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning

snopes.com -Reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation
truthorfiction.com - Get the truth about rumors, inspirational stories, virus warnings, hoaxes, scams, humorous tales, pleas for help, urban legends, prayer requests, calls to action, and other forwarded emails.
hoax-slayer.com - dedicated to" debunking email hoaxes, thwarting Internet scammers, combating spam, and educating web users about email and Internet security issues"
sourcewatch.org - collaborative resource for  documented information about the corporations, industries, and people trying to influence public policy and public opinion
domaintools.com - collection of domain name ownership records in the world (also look easywhois.com)
sweetsearch.com -  a research based multimedia tutorial that teaches effective web research skills to both educators and students
http://prank.link/ 
--

During the lab group work:


image by R.Galloway

Using steps from the Internet Detective website,  the Detective Work section and Stephen Downe's Principles for Evaluating Websites analyze the following websites:

Exhibit A: (elementary):
http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/

Exhibit B:
http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/hierakonpolis/zombies.html

Exhibit C:
http://www.uni.edu/coe/ci/240-031/images/infliteracy-vaccinate.jpg 

Exhibit D:
http://www.uni.edu/coe/ci/240-031/documents/mail_SlowDance.pdf

Exhibit E: 
http://www.blackpeopleloveus.com/index.html

Exhibit F:
http://www.tomsoutletstore2014.com 

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




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