First, before I begin the third and final reflection of my final project for COETAIL, let me provide you with links to my first and second reflections, and with links to the UbD planner and assessment rubric for my project.
I won’t repeat here the enduring understandings for the unit, so if you would like to read them, please go to the UbD planner.
Do I feel progress was made towards these enduring understandings? Yes. Because every student experienced planning and delivering a lesson. They experienced the difficulties that sometimes arise when teaching something, in conjunction with, the rewarding nature of teaching. They experienced that teaching reaffirms one’s own understanding. They experienced what can make a good lesson: clear delivery, engaging content, occasional humour and so on.
Again, I won’t repeat here the NETS that I assessed in this unit, instead I will just provide a link to the assessment rubric.
To publish the video tutorials, the teams employed a variety of digital environments. ShowMe, Vimeo and WordPress are digital environments that each team used in the publishing of their video. So, in terms of publishing, the first standard (NETS 2A) was done quite well. However, the standard also specifies that students use a digital environment or digital environments to collaborate, and as far as I know, this wasn’t done by any of the teams.
The second NETS that I assessed (NETS 2B), was a tough one to measure but I think was done quite well by all of the teams. Was the information effectively communicated in each of the video tutorials? Yes. Was it effectively communicated to multiple audiences? Yes. All audiences of these video tutorials have the ability to pause, replay and skip.
Student feedback was largely positive. A group of students enjoyed the unit because it gave them the chance to revise material in a different way (compared to traditional methods.) This same group commented that the unit enabled them to reaffirm the concepts they had learnt earlier in the year.
One student thought the unit made no impact on their understanding. Another group of students thought the unit had little impact on their understanding as they chose the topic that they were most familiar with. Should I suggest to students next time that they choose a topic that is somewhat challenging to them? That’s something I will have to think about.
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This week, we began rolling out our one-to-one pilot project at Saint Maur International School. Every student in Grades 6 and 7 now has a school-owned iPad that must be brought to school everyday fully charged. To my surprise, the project took off rather smoothly. I didn’t have half the number of student visits to the Systems Room as I had expected. However, as with anything that is new and largely unknown, a couple of problems did arise. First, a concern was voiced by a parent that potentially there could be times when student use of the Internet goes unsupervised. And this is true. Secondly, on the first or second day of the pilot, a student emailed another student under the guise of another student. I haven’t had the time yet to work out how exactly the student was able to do this, but my first thought is that they discovered the Settings tab in the email client. These events led me to the realisation that for the continued success of a one-to-one program in a school, three things are paramount: policies, digital citizenship education for students and digital citizenship education for teachers.
Digital Citizenship Education for Students
I’m not going to delve into why there is a need for policies (I’m also referring to usage agreements when I say policies) in a one-to-one program as I think the reasons are fairly obvious.
I realised this week that not enough was being done in terms of digital citizenship education for the students at my school. Nowadays, regardless of whether the school is one-to-one or not, all students should be learning about Internet safety, privacy and security, cyberbullying, and digital footprint and reputation (to name a few of the issues that fall under digital citizenship.) Let’s take digital footprint for example. We are simply not preparing our students for the future if we are not teaching them about digital footprint management now.
If I were a parent, I would feel a whole lot more at ease with a one-to-one program knowing that not only are there policies in place but there is student education on how to responsibly use technology too.
(While searching for more information about digital citizenship this week, I came across a ready-to-go free K-12 curriculum that specifically deals with digital citizenship.)
Digital Citizenship Education for Teachers
Digital citizenship education needs to be a faculty effort, that way the setting of double standards is avoided. Also, if it’s a faculty effort, a clear message is sent to the students about the importance of digital citizenship. For these reasons, it is important that not only students but teachers too are educated about digital citizenship.
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Deeper learning. I’m not referring to Wiggins and McTighe’s Six Facets of Understanding when I say this, I’m simply saying that deeper learning in the students happened as a result of this project. How do I know this? Because I observed it.
In one particular case, a student was teaching how to prime factorise a given number using the tree method. He was near the end of the procedure when, instead of multiplying all of the end nodes (i.e. prime numbers) together to show this equals the top node (i.e the given number), he incorrectly adds together all of the end nodes. As you can presume, it didn’t work out – the end nodes when added together didn’t equal the given number. It was a “aha!” moment for the student.
Maybe I’m using the wrong term. Maybe I should be saying “aha!” moments instead of deeper learning. Anyway, making video tutorials elicit “aha!” moments in students. (This idea could be what I base my thesis around. Or perhaps simply the effects of video tutorial making on student learning.)
Engaged students. This was another positive. I don’t think I’ve ever seen students as “into” math as I did during this project. The following tweet fairly accurately sums up the student interest level through out the project.
The “tail” of the project was to centralise the videos, now that they had been recorded. I suppose it could be argued that the videos were already centralised as they were all up on ShowMe, but I wanted them more centralised – I wanted to create our own Khan Academy (or, at the very least, the beginnings of.) We centralised the videos by creating a blog (which we named tinytutes) and embedded the videos there. The negative is that WordPress and ShowMe don’t play together nicely. ShowMe embed codes simply don’t work in WordPress. The workaround was to manually download the videos from ShowMe and then upload them to WordPress. This works but takes much more time than copying and pasting an embed code. The other downside is that all WordPress blogs come with limited storage – tinytutes is a free WordPress blog and therefore it came with 3 GB of storage. At some point in the future, as more videos are added to the blog, we’re going to need to upgrade to the 10 GB account or hope that WordPress and ShowMe settle their differences.
There may still be a Part III to this reflection. I’m not sure yet.
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Last week was Khan Academy-style Video Making Week in my two grade 7 math classes (otherwise known as KAVMW. j/k) The students were given two 55 minute periods to make a video that teaches a concept/skill that they have learnt this year in math class. The video was to be no longer than three minutes in duration and was to be of a similar style to the videos up on Khan Academy. (In fact, the latter was really a non-requirement as the app we used, ShowMe, only makes videos in a Khan Academy-style.)
One of the big questions I need to ask myself is, in this unit, does the use of technology reach the redefinition level of the SAMR Model? That is, in this unit, does the use of technology allow for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable?
In my last post, SAMR Model Revisited, I discussed two fairly straightforward uses of technology that reach the redefinition level of the SAMR Model: using technology to enable collaboration and publishing media to social media sites. In this unit, students are publishing their videos to the social media site, ShowMe. There, the videos have a real audience, potentially in the thousands. So, yes, the use of technology in this unit does reach the redefinition level.
It’s worth pointing out here that a use of technology that scores redefinition level today may not and probably will not score redefinition level in a few years time. All uses of technology slowly slide down the SAMR Model.
Stay tuned for part two of this reflection.
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Today, I attended the EARCOS workshop, Technology in the Classroom, which was presented by Chris Toy. Being the good COETAILer that I am, I thought I would reflect on those parts of the presentation that resonated with me.
At the end of the day, we were asked to jot down three words that summed up the learning that had taken place. I wrote down “Collaboration equals transformation.” When I say “transformation”, I’m referring to task/activity transformation – the kind of transformation referred to in the model below. It came to me today that using technology to enable collaboration, whether across a classroom or across the globe, is a transformative use of technology. It’s transformative because two classes, half a world away, collaborating in real time simply wasn’t possible before. So, yes, collaboration equals transformation.
Another example of technology-enabled task transformation is publishing media to social media sites such as YouTube, Vimeo and Flickr (to name a few.) It’s transformative because social media sites, such as YouTube, have audiences numbering in the millions. For a student 15 years ago, simply publishing, let alone publishing to an audience numbering in the millions, was impossible.
Do you have any examples of technology-enabled task transformation?
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Last year at Saint Maur, the Technology Department decided that, starting in the 2012 – 2013 school year, we would offer the IGCSE Computer Studies course to grades 9 and 10 instead of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) course – the course we were offering at the time.
In the ICT course, students learn to manipulate a typical office suite (i.e. word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, web design and database software.) We were finding, however, that students taking the course at Saint Maur already possessed half, if not all of these skills. We needed to find a more challenging technology curriculum for grades 9 and 10.
In addition to this, we’ve noticed a real interest in computer programming from the students who frequent the Mac Lab everyday and computer programming simply can’t be learnt through the ICT course.
The Computer Studies course is quite different to ICT in that it doesn’t prescribe a particular type of software that needs to be mastered. Rather, it places emphasis on the Systems Design Cycle (some times referred to as simply the Design Cycle) and leaves it up to the individual classrooms to decide the software or programming languages they will learn.
This year, we will be teaching Computer Studies through a number of software development projects using the Java-based Greenfoot development environment. (If you are interested in finding out more about Greenfoot, start by visiting the official website at www.greenfoot.org.) We are all very excited here in the Technology Department at the prospect of students developing their own games and simulations.
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It’s been a while since I’ve posted on my blog – roughly two months I think. Anyway, it’s good to be back.
In the style of my other posts, let’s get straight into it.
Over the past week, my project has undertaken some major changes. (It feels really good to be blogging again, by the way.)
Originally, my plan was to have my grade 7 math students make imperial to metric converters (and vice versa) using Google Forms. Next, the students would embed their converters into either their own blog or into the class blog.
I feel this task would score quite high on the SAMR model, as the use of technology is transforming the task itself. In fact, this task would be impossible to complete without the use of technology.
Students would also be learning how to use Google Docs and WordPress – two things I’m a big fan of.
But then some time this week, a better idea came to me – have the students make short two minute tutorials using ShowMe on their iPads and then upload them to some video sharing site. The plan is to then embed these videos in a site called Kids Academy, which has yet to be set up.
I’d like the students to make a video, or a couple, on something they’ve learnt in Math since the start of the school year – operations with negatives, HCF and LCM, prime factorisation, and sequences are topics they’ve learnt about thus far this year.
This idea scores high on the SAMR model too, in my opinion, as the use of technology in the task transforms the task itself.
I also really like the idea of this Kids Academy site – a site where kids can teach other kids (and no doubt adults too) practically anything.
Anyway, it’s been good getting these thoughts down on blog.
Any comments and/or questions, please leave below.
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What I’ve Been Reading:
- Who Is Responsible for Technology Education? by Brendan Lea
This Week’s Question:
- Whose job is it to teach the NETS standards to students and how do we ensure they are being met in an integrated model?
Next school year, my role within the school will be changing. I will continue teaching IGCSE Computer Studies to Grades 9 and 10 and math to Grade 7, but will be relieved of my elementary technology classes so that I can become a technology coach.
I’m over the moon with the decision because COETAIL has directly and indirectly introduced me to some great ideas for technology integration in the classroom and I want to share these ideas with the teachers at my school. And being a technology coach will enable me to do this.
Anyway, enough about me – on with the post.
So whose job is it to teach the NETS standards to students?
Well, next year, at my school, I’m pretty sure this responsibility will fall onto myself and the teachers I coach.
Do I think this approach should be adopted by other schools?
Well, I don’t know. I’ll be able to give you an answer to that next year. But, in theory, I like this approach. Because anyone that expects a teacher to go out there and get familiar with a bunch of different technologies and then get familiar with the NETS standards, in addition to teaching their regular load, in my opinion, is expecting too much. (COETAILers, I’m not talking about you. You guys are special.)
The technology coach helps bridge the gap between teachers, their classrooms, and, ultimately, the NETS standards.
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This Week’s Question:
- Reflect on your own use of laptops in the classroom.
Next academic year, we’re going 1:1 with iPads in Grades 6 and 7 at my school. And, it just so happens that I’m the Grade 7 Math teacher. Below, I’m going to discuss how I plan to integrate student use of iPads into my lessons.
I want to add here that most math apps I’ve seen are just animated textbooks: You’re given a question. If you get it right then a nice little animation plays. If you get it wrong then you keep trying until you get it right.
I want to avoid apps like this.
I want students creating.
Apps like this, however, might come in handy as a supporting tool before and during the creating. I mean, how can I expect a student to create a video of a math concept if they don’t really understand the concept to begin with?
But, no. I don’t want iPad usage being limited to these animated textbook apps only.
Bearings and Scales with Google Maps
I touched on learning about bearings through Google Maps in my course/project reflection. The idea is really quite simple. Students create a new map in Google Maps. They then choose two locations and drop a placemark on top of each location. The two locations are then connected by a line. We now have a “visual”.
Next, I would get the students thinking about how to describe the location of Placemark 2 from Placemark 1.
After coming to the realisation that NSEW won’t be sufficient, I would then introduce the students to bearings.
Algebra with ShowMe
ShowMe is a nice little app for, well, showing people stuff. Rather than trying to explain it, I’ll just provide the link to ShowMe’s website.
The idea here is to get students making their own Khan Academy.
They make a short video of a concept they’ve learnt recently, using ShowMe, and then embed this video on their personal blog for math.
As always, questions and comments are more than welcome.
- My Bokeh by Jsome1. Found on Flickr. Creative Commons Licensed.