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Tag: EDCI 571

EDCI 571 Week 6

Review of cohort videos:

Cheryl, Heather and Ben

Really liked the round-table format. Using the live-streaming synchronous method of interacting allowed for the “discussion” style of relaying information. I had lots of pausing to write all of my notes for the video. While I understood the topic of using info tech for assessments, I wasn’t clear about what Cheryl meant by the statement of “so much data and no one know what to do with it.” Was that about having raw test scores and assignment marks to analyze? Or having assessment tools and trying to see which ones are most effective in evaluating student understanding?

I agree that there is huge potential in game-play learning and that being a teacher who designs or informs a game-designer would be great for a career, but as you know, there’s a lot of “educational software” out there – some good, some not-so-good – and it is a tricky business. The most difficult part with game design is how to reach its audience: adolescents. Games have such a short shelf-life that literally it is a “here today, gone tomorrow” world of use.  In the world of gaming, even the best, most popular game will be tossed aside in a year, so to have adolescents use a game after its popularity has run its course is very difficult. Typically, what an adult views as excellent does not translate well to children. As parents, we all have tried to steer our children towards very engaging, educationally sound games, only to have them play for ten minutes and never touch again. It may be that we have to stop chasing the elusive “entertaining and educational” activity, as it will always be just out of reach.

Stellar video and topic!

Faune, Leanne and Rochelle

Really enjoyed the playful aspect of the video. You clearly had a vision of what you were producing, and to involve so many colleagues! Very impressive. The extra touch of text at the bottom of the screen helped a lot – I think in hindsight, our group should have made use of that (or subtitles). The topic of tackling technology truly touched on teachers’ trepidation to tie together technology and ‘tudents. Too tough!

This does bring up the Clark-Kozma debate of whether media can influence learning. Certainly when handled properly, every teacher will tell you that media can influence learning. However we live in a world that is imperfect, and having all of the tools and resources we need to make the media effective is not always the reality.

Loved the use of props, both real and imagined!

Trevor and Emily

Very well explained, and with great examples to highlight your points! Wholeheartedly agree with Emily’s point about a leader’s role in fostering a teacher’s learning environments for technology integration, and the what, how and why it is being brought in. Talking about the respect that the leader must convey to the staff is key to buy-in. As Emily states, in any school there will be teachers with a wide range of experience with technology, from skilled to neophyte. A good leader must be able to navigate the interpersonal side of guiding the uninitiated without overwhelming them, and understanding that some teachers know a lot about the use of the technology. The right approach can make or break the influence of the leader.

Appreciative Inquiry – certainly Trevor is right about being positive as the core principle in adopting something new. This is not limited to technology, but to life in general, although with teachers and technology in the classroom, this is very important. Trevor does touch on the idea of the positive outlook to life in general being the most predictable part of the reading.

Tracey and Mackenzie

As I mentioned in Faune, et al’s section, I appreciated the text on the screen – I wish we had thought to do that more on ours. Really liked the visuals!

I think that Schrier’s 7 guiding questions are at the heart of any use of technology in the classroom. These are excellent questions for all activities that a teacher does, but become very important when it comes to games and technology in the classroom.

As for the Chen-Chung article, although I agree that creator-based learning gets students engaged, I fall back on Clark-Kozma: could it be done without the media? In my English 11 class, I have students make their own games with the theme of William Golding’s, Lord of the Flies as the background. Students must design the games under certain guiding criteria, and while most fall back on an existing game and altering it, some come up with a new twist that is entirely unique. This is primarily done without computers, although they can use computers as well to create the game. So yes, Minecraft is a great game to learn certain concepts, but is it just a computer-based version of using Lego?

Deirdre, Gary and Andrew

Very humbling to be given a shout-out in another group’s video! I applaud your costuming efforts! A question regarding Gary’s costume: on the one hand it looked like a suit bag fitted like a garbage bag rain jacket, but then it was so short that it couldn’t have been a suit bag. So what was it? Of course with Andrew doing the media class, I thought it might be a covering from a lighting softbox. Regardless, an elegant touch combined with the cinnamon buns.

Guided Discovery Principle sounds like Trevor Mackenzie read that article. I think of learning to ride a bike as the “not too much, not too little” aspect of guidance. Learner Control seems like online learning or the old correspondence course method. Collaboration Principle is a bit like what this Master’s cohort is doing right now for the videos – cognitively demanding, and effectively shared.

Sean, Jeremy and Clay

You all looked very cold! Clay was visibly shaking, although Jeremy had no coat on and seemed okay. I loved Jeremy’s vocal pace – I was able to type and keep up with most of what he was saying.

Split attention principle seems intuitive, except there was a contradictory part to it in that the next principle promoted the exact opposite method. The modality principle espoused a mixed mode presentation over a single mode, and split attention says to limit it to one mode.

As Clay states, cueing and split attention and modality all have occurred in education for centuries; we only just are identifying them as different ways to present multimedia.

Jerry and Rhyanon

Like the velociraptor in Deirdre, Gary and Andrew’s video, I was left wondering about Rhyanon on a yardstick and what looks like a Van De Graaff generator and Jerry eating some sort of cake: an in-joke or a random, “Why not put it in the video?”

Of course your topic was about a topical as you can get: this is your life. Flexible learning for both teachers and students is a very different way to teach and learn. At the end of the day, it can only work for certain types of students (and parents) who can make it work. The blended part also works with a certain type of student. As we are currently doing this master’s course in a type of blended environment (at least for the ones in Victoria) we can examine ourselves as a case study. To your point, this is post-secondary, and there are huge differences and implications when there are adults versus children studying and learning.

Joanna Nicole and Hayley

I really enjoyed the format of debate – it allowed for a clear separation of approaches which highlighted the validity of each. Of course you were very civil with each other though. I don’t know how Joanna decided who won each point; seemed like it was on a whim. 🙂

Digital equity is huge when we look at the public school system. On the one hand, as Hayley said, it levels the playing field more by allowing many people access to information. But at the same time, like the pigs say in Animal Farm, “some are more equal than others.” It doesn’t tkae much to see the disparity between students not only in types of phones they have, but in some cases, having one at all. This is a pretty basic indicator of socio-economic status, as Nicole pointed out. Technically, school is supposed to give all equal access and take away the disparities. Technically.

 

Concluding words

These were such excellent and informative videos. Heidi, Lawrence, Rene and I did not have the intellectual rigor that all of the other groups put in, but all of our discussion happened before we did our recording. When we sat down to talk about our articles, we made the case for each category, and then chose one, instead of each of us highlighting our four articles on camera. Obviously we were hoping to make up for it with the visual entertainment.

EDCI 371 Week 3

In reading the Voogt et al. (2018) article, I was struck by how measured her writing was in addressing technology in education. This was refreshing in the face of the inundation of articles espousing the “amazing” opportunities that technology offers students in their learning. What we as teachers all know and understand is that technology, whether it is a pencil or a smart phone, is a tool to help people. Technology itself does not “make” a person learn – it requires a user’s input to be useful. Voogt et al. also allows for uncertainty in making broad statements about the effectiveness of technology in education. For example, Voogt writes, “Research now clearly shows that digital technologies can support students to engage collaboratively to become innovative and creative and in the creation of new knowledge and the development of new skills (Ito et al. 2013; Scardamalia and Bereiter 2015). It is still the case, however, that many young people use new technologies only to consume information.” (my italics) Voogt et al. (2018)

I also appreciated that this was a comparison both of the first and second editions of the Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education, as well as the changes in technology in that ten year time span.

From the University of Amsterdam website, part of the biography for Dr. Voogt says, “Voogt also researches in what way and under what conditions ICT can increase the appeal, efficiency and/or effectiveness of education. A focus area of her research is the professional development of the teacher. This is because teachers – irrespective of whether they have just completed their teacher training programme or have extensive teaching experience – have been inadequately trained to use ICT for teaching and learning, and ICT applications are not always compatible with the educational views of teachers and schools. Her research on the integration of ICT in education and teacher professional development focuses on co-designing and evaluating interventions that can help reduce the gap between the potential of ICT and the actual use of ICT in teaching practice.” (my bold) University of Amsterdam [Website]. (2013, November 11)

It is significant that Dr. Voogt sees that often, teachers do not have the adequate training to use ICT for teaching and learning. This means that it is not automatic that the technology would be used optimally or properly. A relevant recent example that is also personal, is when the Ministry of Education in B.C. brought in the New Curriculum for K-12. From a macro level of implementation, this was problematic. At the high school level, many significant changes happened, and in the English department, there was a complete overhaul. English 10 was no longer English 10, but divided into five possible streams: Composition, Literature, Creative Writing, Spoken, and New Media. Whereas the old English 10 was a normal, four-credit course, the new configuration split the five streams into two-credit courses. The idea would be that students would choose two “halves” and that teachers would have their teaching assignments split into streams that they wanted. Logistically for timetabling, this was a nightmare for the administration to work out. Optically, this was giving students “choice.” The reality was that “choice” was limited to what the teachers wanted to teach.

On a micro level, this was, except for the Literature stream, going to mean that entire new programs of curriculum had to be constructed by the teachers. For me personally, I decided to try teaching the New Media 10 course. I had used media in my classes many times, and incorporated a mini media unit as well. While the union bargained to accrue two “Curriculum Implementation” days per year to help in planning for the new courses, it was not nearly enough to create a new course from scratch. I found out almost immediately that I had neither the training, nor the time, to make well-planned, useful activities and assignments. I told the students that they were my “guinea pigs,” because I was trying most things out for the first time. This type of teaching and learning is unfair to all involved, but this is how the Ministry rolled out their vision – we decide, you figure it out. Still now, three years in, the New Curriculum courses in English are a mess. Every year, a new iteration is tried because the last one did not work. And who loses? The students.

SAMR

Shifting now to the other articles, as there was a good discussion on Tuesday about the merits of SAMR. In reading Hamilton, E.R., Rosenberg, J.M. & Akcaoglu, M. (2016), I began to see how the SAMR model is not exclusive to technology, especially as it applies to the classroom. In the article, the example used for Redefinition, which was to have students make a video instead of writing a persuasive essay, could be achieved without technology. That is, it could have be acted out live in front of the class instead of using the technology of the video camera and editing programs.

Certainly in many classrooms, teachers are implementing all levels of the SAMR model, depending on the content. In the end, the questions to be answered are, “How does this affect the students’ learning?” and “How do we measure the students’ learning?” Is success measured in measurable outcomes, like quizzes and tests? What if those results are not seen in the time period allotted for a course? What if a student really absorbs the material after the course is over? Is that not success?

TPACK

The “limitations” of SAMR are addressed in TPACK. As Mishra et al. (2009) state, the interactions between content, pedagogy and technology produce a different “product” or activity each time. And on top of the three main factors, one needs to acknowledge “students” as another factor. The best marriage of content, pedagogy and technology will not be successful without student active participation.

Moving forward

As teachers we are progressing through a time of change in both how technology is changing what we do, but also how society views technology both inside and outside the classroom. If society is a reflection of technology, then the open and free nature of the internet has forced societies to be more open and free. As this trickles down into the classroom, there is much unease with that open and free nature pushing the teacher’s place and status. What we are seeing is a pushing back; teachers are seeing that the freedom that comes with having technology (having a smartphone with access to the internet) is not always beneficial. Again, from a personal perspective, I employ a “phone caddy,” which is a holder for student phones at the front of the class. By having students putting their phones in the caddy at the beginning of class, they have more time to spend on what is happening in class, rather than what is happening on their phones. Why is this necessary? Why not have them leave their phones in their backpacks or pockets? That is an obvious answer.

EDCI 571 Week 2

An observation:

This reminds me of a court room cross-examination. It would go something like this:

Kozma (the defendant):   “Media influences learning.”

Clark (the prosecutor):   “Are you asserting that a student could learn better from, say a computer program, than a human?”

Kozma:   “Yes.”

Clark:  “What if the teacher taught in the exact same way as the computer? Would the student learn more by the computer?”

Kozma:  “Maybe not more, but probably faster.”

Clark:  “Aha! But the student would still learn the same.

Kozma:  “Yes, but faster.”

Clark:  “Let’s not get sidetracked by speed. Regardless of teacher versus computer, if the method of instruction were the same, would the student learn the material?”

Kozma:  “Yes, but…”

Clark:  “Just answer the question.”

Kozma:  “Yes.”

Clark:  “No further questions.”

Kozma:  “Can I just say that I have some clairvoyant tendencies, and that the media we have now is not what we will have in the future. I think it presumptuous to think that media in 1993 will be the same as in, say, 2019. I agree that based on what we have now for media, it may not influence learning, but in the future, we may be interacting with media in ways that we deem impossible now. And those ways may not be replicated any other way, including by humans. So we may not have flying cars, but we may have telephones that are also TVs, and computers, and who knows what else! And they may provide learning environments never seen before, in a completely unique way. Just you wait!

Clark:  “You’re crazy.”

End scene

To be fair, Clark is a product of his time. In 1983, his assertion was applicable, and his meta-analysis was looking at many other studies over years (years which, while many developments in media happened, the change was much slower, leading up to his originally published paper in 1983).

As for Kozma, in the decade that followed from 1983, not only did the hardware of computer technology increase dramatically, but so did the software. By 1991 software had become more interactive, and more for the masses. As for hardware, having a computer was less and less a luxury, and more and more standard electronics in the house. This is an important shift that was not present in 1983. However that fact does not negate Clark’s argument; it merely softens its rigid stance. Kozma believed that media was changing, and that technology was going to allow for different ways to learn that did not yet exist. His writing is eerily prophetic now: “In the not-too-distant future, we will be faced with a situation where telephone, cable television, and digital computer technologies will merge (Information Infrastructure Task Force, 1993; Stix, 1993). This capability presents the prospect of interactive video integrated to large multimedia data bases among people in offices, classrooms, and living rooms all over the world.” (Kozma, 1994). He goes on to (sadly) accurately give warning about the dangers of not capitalizing on the immense learning potential of the future technological systems: “If by then we have not come to understand the relationship between media and learning-if we have not forged a relationship between media and learning-this capability may be used primarily for interactive soap operas and on-line purchasing of merchandise with automatic funds transfer.” (Kozma, 1994) That sounds like Netflix, Amazon, and Facebook!

By 2010, when Becker re-examined the Clark-Kozma debate, enough time had elapsed to see which point of view passed the test of time. Clearly Kozma seemed like a modern-day Nostradamus. But not so fast! The question still remained, because Clark’s argument was specific to media’s influence on learning. Even Becker had to acknowledge that, “In spite of various volleys back and forth by Clark, Kozma, and others there remains no conclusive evidence that any one medium is more effective than any other (Becker’s italics).” (Becker, 2010) Throughout Becker’s article, she focuses squarely on Clark, and gives Kozma barely passing reference. Based on the focus on Clark over Kozma, the title of the article really should be, “The Clark debate in the 21st Century.”

How have things changed in the ten or so years since the Becker article? As media pertains to computers and computer technology, there may be programs that allow a person to learn more even when method of instruction is accounted for. An example that may refute Clark’s argument may be in the use of theoretical mathematics. We now have computer programs that can work out computations that would take entire human lifetimes to work out. Having the ability to input data and receive results that would further aid in learning to solve a theoretical problem would support the claim that the method of instruction would be the same whether the computation were done by hand or by computer, but the use of the computer influenced the learning.  The student could not proceed in learning because he or she would die before the computation could be answered by hand. Thus, the computer is necessary for learning.

In 2015, Robinson and Bligh published an interview with Richard E. Clark in which he maintains that, “We continue to waste huge amounts of scarce education resources on the expectation that the use of a new technology will solve learning problems.” (Robinson & Bligh, 2015) There is truth in his observation, but that may still change. Imagine a computer powerful enough to analyze a problem and offer a solution that humans would not think of? Is it possible for computers to think that independently? We are seeing more and more evidence of a computer that learns from its own mistakes to change its approach. Even when humans try to be unorthodox, we now have programs that learn from that. Recently, in 2016, AlphaGo defeated the world champion Go player, Lee Sedol in what was touted as historically more significant than Deep Blue defeating Garry Kasparov at chess. In 2017, AlphaGo Zero made the next step, which was to master the game of Go without human input. It is now realistically possible to expect that a computer will find a solution to a human problem like learning, and the solution would be unique to any previous human method.

Of course to be critical of Clark is to have the benefit of hindsight. Having seen a revolution in educational technology means that Clark’s argument seems trite and irrelevant in 2019. At the time however, in 1983, and in 1991, his argument was more relevant. The limitations of learning through the media available at the time were clearer then. Now, advancements in artificial intelligence and programming mean that the medium of computers provides experiences in learning that were previously impossible.

In way of analogy, I can relay an example from my classroom. For many years I used the novel, Animal Farm for one of my novel study books. Of course I would also show the movie version at the end of the unit. In fact, there are two movie versions – one is from 1954 and the other from 1999. These movies are significant because the original novel was published in 1945, just at the end of World War 2.  Since the character of Napoleon was modeled after Josef Stalin, when the novel ends, the fate of the animals is very much up in the air, but it does not look good. Since the pigs begin to resemble the humans, the dictatorship of Farmer Jones, or Czar Nicolas, has just been replaced by the dictatorship of Napoleon, or Stalin. That’s where the story ends.

Significantly, the first movie version came out the year after Stalin died, in 1954. In that movie version, the ending is changed slightly. The pigs do begin to resemble the humans as in the novel, but the director added one more part – in seeing the transformation, the rest of the animals begin a collective charge against the pigs. This was wishful thinking on the part of the filmmakers that the people of the Soviet Union would rise up against the now Stalin-less leaders, and it finishes the movie on a somewhat positive note that the original novel could not have, as Stalin was still very much alive and in firm control in 1945.

When the second movie version came out, in 1999, the communist regime had run its course, ending in 1989. In this version, the ending is completely different – not only is there the glimmer of hope that the animals might rise against the pigs, but they successfully do, and symbolically the skies clear and there is a dawning of a new day at Animal Farm. This ending could not have been possible in 1954 or 1945. It is only possible because the director had the perspective of hindsight from which to see what had transpired in the 55 years following the original date of publication. The novel was true for its time, and the subsequent movies were true for their times even though they veered away from the original ending.

So I agree with Clark based on his observations at the time. As for those assertions through a 2019 lens, I am not as convinced, given how media has changed since 1983. While I believe that media is a tool for learning, I also believe that there may be ways that media can be used in unique ways to aid in learning that other methods cannot reproduce.

EDCI 571 Week 1 Blog

Back to school…back to blogging. Time to stretch those intellectual muscles again, after a few weeks of atrophy. Given the number of articles to read and information contained therein, I will not dissect, as much as interpret and apply, as they pertain to me.

Article 1 –  “Top 10 K-12 Educational Technology Trends.”

Before going too far, I reflect on what Dr. Thom stressed, and what most researchers would do when reading critically: know the author. That is, who is writing the articles? What is their background? What biases are they bringing to their writing? With that in mind, I look at Steven Lahullier and want to know what the Robert Gordon School in New Jersey is like. Is it affluent? Is it Inner City? Just that information can reveal a lot about his article. As a “trend,” is his list more a reflection of schools with money? That is maybe more important to know than the items on the list.

Article 2 – ISTE “The 9 hottest topics in edtech”

Again, to begin, this article is from the International Society for Technology in Education website. At the very bottom, Julie Randles does write that, “This list of hot edtech topics emerged from a review of thousands of educator-created sessions submitted for the 2018 ISTE Conference & Expo.” While I am consciously aware that being critical does not mean being negative, this organization obviously has a bias towards technology in education. The fact that the “hot edtech topics” came from the organization’s Conference and Expo does not necessarily grant it validity. Reliability, yes.

Having said all that, the topics are not without merit. However, as topics under the heading “edtech,” a full five of the nine are not exactly tech dependent. The topics of “AR, VR, and Mixed Reality,” and “Artificial Intelligence,” and “Digital Citizenship” may have direct connections to technology in education, but even “Computational Thinking” would be on the periphery. The others, like “Global Learning” and “Learning Sciences” are all valuable trends, but they are not dependent on technology to achieve their goals.

Article 3 – “Top 6 Educational Technology Trends Right Now”

By now, in this third article, it has become apparent that even when the writers are not explicitly saying that technology is making education better, the implicit messages are there. In this article, while I agree with the assertion that speech-to-text capabilities can greatly benefit some students and their learning, the writer states at the end of the section that it, “makes note taking and writing even more comfortable and fast-paced.” We are to infer that “comfortable” and “fast-paced” equals better, and that it likely improves student achievement. Certainly, “Cloud Computing” has changed student access to material, and the interactiveness of collaborating on writing a single document, but other problems arise when students and teachers are having to deal with cross-platform differences and incompatibility.

Article 4 – “The Biggest Education Technology Trends for 2019”

The first article to acknowledge that technology in education is there to enhance, not to replace. At the same time, the five trends listed all address a segment of the student population, certainly not the majority. As an example, “Remote Learning” traditionally, and currently would likely only apply to specific cases, like a student who is too incapacitated to come to school, or lives too far away. In both cases, there would be an adult around to be able to supervise and take care of the student. This is not a solution that working parents would agree to – that is, having a child remain home to do his or her schooling independently without supervision. At best, remote learning may work when parents can be present, which then becomes home-schooling.

Article 5 – “Technology in Education 2019: 5 Trends to Watch”

The article begins tepidly, by looking at predictions of the future with some reserve. In quoting Isaac Asimov, Quin Parker makes the point that, “predictions of future technology fail when they suggest that technology replaces, rather than reforms and reorients, human relationships.” This observation may apply to all of the articles that are cited here. For all of the trends and looks into the future of the workforce and needs, these must be tempered with the fact that the future does not always unfold in the way that people predict. Isaac Asimov being a case in point. He did accurately predict some things, but was far off on others. A good recent example would be the recent celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Many people expected in 1969 that 50 years later would see major advancements in space travel and that in 2019 humans would have colonized Mars. New industries would have been created and the jobs of the future would entail much more need for aerospace expertise. In terms of technology in education, this may follow a similar path – that is, the leaps that are expected may be slower and in a different direction than predicted.

Article 6 – “2019 EdTech Trends You Should Be Excited About”

Back to the first observation about who the author is, Brandon Jarman is listed as a freelance education and technology journalist. What is his connection to education? With the benefit of the doubt, I will acknowledge that his points are possible. That is, his sixth trend, “Adaptive Learning” can eventually happen in a regular classroom but this is a long way away from 2019. The use of technology to customize learning is limited in its focus only on the individual student, and not the interactions between students and between student and teacher.

Article 7 – Holland and Holland “Implications of Shifting Technology in Education”

This article is almost a summary of the “trends” articles, in that it examines the various ways that technology affects and enhances education. From looking at Problem-based learning and Inquiry learning, to Globalization and Active hands-on learning, Holland and Holland examine how technology makes those aspects better. At the same time, there is a criticism of post-secondary pedagogy and its rigidity and unchanging approach to education. It is almost a call to action, to challenge both public schools and universities and colleges to move to a more rich, personalized experience for students. The key difficulty in putting secondary and post-secondary students in the same learning category is that post-secondary students have chosen to attend, and thus have motivation to learn. As well, they are older and more mature in their outlook, which affects their educational journey. Students in the public system require a much more nuanced approach, and this cannot be left entirely to them to guide.

Personal reflection

In my high school, which is considered Inner City, students tend not to come from affluent homes. Certainly there are many devices, but a general look at my roughly 90 students this semester would reveal about 15%, or 3 out of 20 who don’t have phones (for a variety of reasons, to be clear). As for the 1:1 ratio, we are nowhere near that, and according to our part-time tech person – who must split his time between a few schools because funding is not there to employ him full time at one school – our school is better than many, and we have about 1:2 ratio. When budget time comes and each department scrambles to get their “needs” and an occasional “want,” technology (arguably a “need”) is bumped up at the expense of some other “need.” Maybe that is new mats for PE, or lab equipment in Science rooms. Whatever the item, someone must give for the school to get, when it comes to technology. We do not begrudge this, because it is “the way of the future.” Climb on board or be left behind. There is a certain amount of “FOMO,” or “Fear Of Missing Out” behind the technology push, and it drives the sales of devices and software so each person can have the “latest.” A device that uses iOS 6 is no longer supported, and cannot access new apps. Windows 7 will no longer be updated. If you own a device that is over five years old, you will be limited in using it because the software will eventually become redundant.

This is all to say that in a ideal world, the trends and technology would generate amazing results. Mine is not an ideal world, but we do the best with what we have.

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