Friedman’s (2013) article is all about ensuring that America’s future is prepared for the workforce. The skills needed in our “hyperconnected” world are not the same as the previous skill set. This paradigm affects not just our students but our teachers. Many of the older generation of teachers are still teaching to the old skill set. Students learn rote facts and the one logarithm to solve a long division problem. However, the students need more than that. There are many different ways to perform long division and creative students will find ways to do that. Friedman (2013) states, “…you will need to develop skills that are complementary to technology rather than ones that can easily be replaced…” Instructors should be guiding students into the skills they need in order to work safely and effectively with the ever-changing technology in their world. This is connects well into the theme of this course which is to “…[focus] on the ways that we can use a range of technologies to address a range of teaching and education-related problems” (Hagerman, 2014).
Friedman provides two additional skills that people need to develop in order to thrive in our technological age: “passion quotient (PQ)” and “curiosity quotient (CQ)”. These should be used “ to leverage all the new digital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime” (Friedman, 2013). As an educator, I will find ways or continue to develop these quotients in my students.
To visualize my thoughts and uses of PQ and CQ in my current practice, I created a board using Padlet. I have shown my reflections of the concepts and some projects I have done in this class and in my own teaching.
Friedman, T.L. (2013, January 29). It’s PQ and CQ as much as IQ. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/opinion/friedman-its-pq-and-cq-as-much-as-iq.html?_r=0
Hagerman, M.S. (2014). Summer 2014: CEP Styling and guiding document. Retrieved from https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DhChcteXk4DcKzkI52WkOrQItB2_wlSVV9fT93mJyec/edit
Quotespedia. (N.D.). Quotes about talent [image]. Retrived from http://www.quotespedia.info/quotes-about-talent-have-no-special-talent-am-only-passionately-curious-a-1460.html
Good teachers always reflect on their practices and learning. As I have been back in student-mode for the past 7 weeks it is now time for me to reflect on this wonderful course. I have explored many different teaching concepts and, at times, have been overwhelmed. We have learned a lot about educational technologies and practice including: mixing, re-purposing, learning strategies, instructional and experience design, and UDL. Along the way, I have explored many incredible web resources to use while teaching. As I reflect upon my experiences in this class I also want to mention that, while challenging, this class never felt like work. I had so much fun learning and exploring and I cannot wait to start incorporating some of these concepts into my own teaching!
Professional Assessment and Evaluation
I love the idea of using Maker Education in my classroom. I love exploring these outlets and want to encourage that exploration in my students. Unfortunately, I currently do not have a full time classroom. I teach Hebrew school 2 days a week. It is a little more challenging to incorporate the Maker kit (sticker circuits) I worked with into this environment. I believe that my students would enjoy an activity using such devices but because of my time constraints the execution of such a project would be overwhelming.
I would like to add into my classroom projects some of the other concepts we have talked about in class. Even though I was frustrated in the beginning with the EdCamp project I think that it has a lot of potential for my Hebrew school class. My class has a lot of discourse between students and requires a strong community to be successful. The EdCamp set up functions best in those situations. As I mentioned in my EdCamp reflection, there are several opportunities where I could integrate EdCamp. We do not give out grades in the religious school but I do provide feedback to the students and for the EdCamp project I could base the rubric off of Wiggins’ (2012) Creative rubric. I also comment on how well the students led and participated in each conversation. My students last year did many presentations and it would be nice to have a common assessment piece for their ability to engage and inform their audience (Wiggins, 2012). I have also book marked tons of the resources we have used in this course, more so than in CEP 810. I have found some great tools that I would love to incorporate. One of those tools is Triptico, which I discovered during the UDL week. I have a SMART board in my classroom and am always looking for better ways to use it, especially for my more visual and haptic learners. UDL will be important in my delivery of lessons as I have a lot of different learners with different amounts of background knowledge about Judaism. Using Triptico, I can create games, quizzes, and other items. All of which can be used as an engaging assessment for the students. Using an assistive technology for assessment will help me differentiate my instruction for all learning needs.
We discussed at the beginning of this course being comfortable with failure. It is absolutely something that I encountered throughout this course. I have had to deal with a few assignments which have been challenging for me as a learner. One main theme with this class was designing and making. These are skills that I have never been too comfortable with. I am a very logical and hands on learner but struggle with spatial reasoning which is a major component of designing. The assignment using the popcorn mixer was probably the most challenging for me. I had a hard time making my video look like the video I imagined. I became frustrated with the program and felt this “failure”. I completed the assignment and appreciated the effort it took to create the video and the work of others who create great videos. I am interested in trying to create some other videos for my Hebrew school class to help explain some of my more challenging topics as well as develop a mini MOOC to guide through one of our units. I believe that I can use these skills and tools in the future and refine my own abilities. I have definitely seen my progress throughout the course. I have been enthusiastically sharing some of the resources we have tried with friends and family and am trying to work in using tools like sketch up into my practice.
Wiggins, G. (2012, February 3). On assessing for creativity: yes you can, and yes you should. [Web log comment]. Retreived from http://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/on-assessing-for-creativity-yes-you-can-and-yes-you-should/
I was frustrated with this edcamp assignment because I was unsure as to what form my presentation needed to take. After speaking with our instructor, Melissa, I settled on a powerpoint which explored the basic information of STEM education and technology. I included some screen casts to explore and show my peers about different apps that incorporate STEM ideals. After reviewing the basics of STEM I asked my classmates about how they thought they could use STEM and technology in their classrooms. We discussed grade levels and ways to use the scientific method to teach problem solving.
I liked being able to explore STEM which is something I am interested in but haven’t had many opportunities to use in my own teaching. I like that it was a short presentation but because this was a new assignment I felt lost about what the requirements and expectations were—the rubric was unclear/unavailable until 4-5 days before the presentation. I, personally, had a challenging experience with the presentation because I wasn’t able to join the Google Hangout until the end of the presentation. I was able to watch a few minutes of the discussions live but I could not participate and spent most of the time trying to join the hangout. Due to a work conflict I wasn’t able to watch the second day of presentations. Having examples and clear instructions about expectation for this project would have been better although, in the end, I did enjoy being able to freely plan and present my topic. My suggestion for this project is to find videos to share with students from an actual EdCamp Conference so that there is some context for developing person discussions for future classes.
I like that these “unconferences” are teacher created. This means allows teachers to put in the information they value and want to learn about, while skimming over content that is either not interesting or relevant to their needs as instructors. Teachers can present in a way that is appealing to their teaching style and on items that are important. Professional development would be a lot more interesting using this concept because it would take teachers out of a confined conference room. My experiences in professional development have always been lecture based on information that was not important to my needs as a new teacher. The EdCamp style would liven up lengthy PD days and allow teachers to create their own schedules and not be lectured at about how to use best practice.
Teachers could also use this set up for classroom projects. Students could select topics from a list and create a short presentation and planned discussion. It would be informal and more engaging than a teacher led discussion, lecture, or project. I may try to use something like this in my 7th grade Hebrew school class in the upcoming year. One project I had my students do was to research a local non-profit organization and learn how they can contribute and how that organization affects our community. I could have students still research these organizations but create short discussions about it for their classmates. Students would be able to have a short, focused discussion which, I believe, would be more meaningful to them and they could then create plans with one another to volunteer and give back to our community.
Organizing an EdCamp Conference
If I had to organize an EdCamp experience I would have staff or students submit ideas to a tool like padlet or a google document. I would then narrow down the options and have each person select a topic to present. After that I would have them gather in a large room and circulate between stations to have discussions about topics that interest them. Things to consider for this idea would be how comfortable teachers are with technology and making sure there are hard copies of each presentation in case something happens with the internet. I’d also like all participants to leave with digital copies of the presentations. I have always found that hard copies that I receive end up wasting away in my car, but if I know I have an electronic copy I will be able to search for it a lot easier and find exactly what the information I am seeking.
Below, I am posting the videos I created for my presentation which showcase 2 different applications that integrate STEM and Technology:
In the beginning of this course when I first started learning about “wicked problems” I immediately started connecting to a common Jewish lesson that we always review during the Passover seder. This is a story of the 4 children: the wise child, the wicked child, the simple child, and the one who does not know how to ask. My family often discusses the differences between the children mostly commenting that the wise child knows too much; the wicked child is already lost; the simple child is trying; and we must teach the child who doesn’t know how to ask.
I thought about this while learning about the different types of problems we encounter in education. Wicked problems, like the wicked child, often seem lost to us already. We lack the experiences and skill sets to solve the problems and therefore just surrender to the wicked problem (Gee, 2013).
Our group explored solutions to the wicked problem: how can online education reach its full potential. What makes this a wicked problem is that there are many answers to this question and none are incorrect. Wicked problems are based in technology, content, and pedagogy (TPACK) that often have one element missing. Our group approached the wicked problem from a very practical approach beginning by brainstorming the many different questions brought upon by our wicked question and then finding trends to narrow our results down. What we came up with is that online learning can reach its full potential through student-centered learning. Our curation (through blendspace.com) takes you through our problem solving process in a mash-up video, explores our solution to the problem in a white paper, and ends with a visual representation of our findings.
This week in class we explored properties of Universal Design of Learning. “UDL helps address learner variability by suggesting flexible goals, methods, materials, and assessments that empower educators to meet these varied needs” (CAST, 2011). As I explored different assisted technologies I thought about how I could use these to incorporate the guidelines of UDL into my own teaching and my Maker lesson. I found some great new technologies like Cacoo, Triptico, and signed stories. I especially wanted to incorporate cacoo because of how easily students can create mindmaps alone, or with a group.
I made a few changes to my lesson which you can view here. The changes for UDL are in green.
It is difficult to plan lessons for large classrooms. Teachers need to differentiate between achievement levels and multiple intelligences. Using UDL to differentiate lessons seems like a daunting task. However it is very thorough and inclusive. The guidelines help support differentiation not only just for students with special needs but for all students.
Based off of the guideline template, I saw that I was already doing a good job at providing options for comprehension. My lesson plan had students starting to understand why we need to consider where we place important objects in certain areas. They did this by relating to the organization of their bedrooms and making some notes about why important objects are placed in specific locations throughout their room. The lesson then moves into understanding why Michigan’s most populated cities were settled in their specific locations. This use of analogy is helpful in comprehension because it allows the students to relate to something that otherwise is not important to them. Something I added to incorporate UDL is the different media students could use to create this drawing. Originally, I wanted it to be a quick sketch but after reading and playing with Sketch Up I thought that would be a great way to provide students options for expression and communication (5.1). I also thought students might prefer to use The Sims as a way to replicate their bedroom and easily insert furniture and other objects.
I also added an aspect to fit guideline 9.3 “develop self-assessment and reflection”. For this, I put at the end of the lesson or start of next lesson a journal response for reflection. Students would respond to the question, “Which Michigan city would you most like to live in and why?” This will provide students the opportunity to reflect on the whole activity and make connections from themselves to the world around them. This reflection piece would also be helpful for the class because students who finish the activity and exit ticket early will have something to work complete.
The bulk of my lesson is an exploration using different sources like Google Maps, Google Earth, physical maps, or reference material. In order to organize the information I incorporated one of the resources I explored earlier in the week, Cacoo. Cacoo provides web based graphic organizers that students can collaborate on. Since the exploration is using collaborative groups, I thought this would be a nice addition because students can use this tool to keep their information organized and accessible. This aligns with guideline 3.3 which refers to processing information. Providing students the use of graphic organizers helps students develop organizational and cognitive skills. It also helps makes students responsible for completing part of the exploration.
CAST (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.0. Wakefield, MA: Author.
The wicked problem, is, in itself, a wicked problem. Our group looked at solving the question of “How to help online learning reach its full potential.” What makes this a wicked problem is that there are many answers to this question and none are incorrect. Wicked problems are based in technology, content, and pedagogy (TPACK) that often have one element missing. Our group approached the wicked problem from a very practical approach beginning by brainstorming the many different questions brought upon by our wicked question and then finding trends to narrow our results down. What we came up with is that online learning can reach its full potential through student-centered learning. Our curation (through blendspace.com) takes you through our problem solving process and ends with our paper.
REIMAGINING ONLINE LEARNING
Comments are much appreciated! Please feel free to leave your thoughts about our project.
The very interesting part about technology is the great resources we have in our peers. We work with some truly amazing people who are always willing to share their expertise. I tapped into this resource this past week in my technology integration survey. I created my survey with Google Forms, which I have used for my own teaching practice and love! It is incredibly easy to make professional surveys.
This survey was sent to my colleagues at Adat Shalom and at Sylvan Learning Center. For my analysis I look at the data and how the participants responded to make some conclusions about how technology is used in supplemental education. I also pose some questions for further exploration.
Read my analysis of the survey here.