I am lucky to live and work in a district with a robust technology plan and one that values the ability to provide students with an opportunity to interact with the outside world via technology. We have a huge infrastructure for technology and much of our budget is spent on this. Is that a good thing? Does it sacrifice the training or even a real life teacher? Whose to say? I know that the village schools depend on the ability to access our campus via Blue Jeans and other VC methods. After taking this class I know that I am much more aware of what technologies are available to me and how these can have an impact on my classroom and teaching. Enhancing my teaching with education doesn’t have to change everything I do in teaching, I’m not going to transform my philosophy to be one that uses technology in every aspect. But I will be aware of where I can interweave it in, especially to provide for those who need that type of learning approach.
A policy is a guideline for activity put into writing and officially accepted by an organization. The NCES describes the difference between a Technology plan and a technology policy. “In a sense, technology plans represent end points for which technology policies are a beginning and a road map (NCES, 2013). Policies are important because they define how a plan will be either enforced and or provide protection for students and teachers.
While doing my research on the local technology policy for my school district I was generally surprised to find there was not a lot of information available. While I am positive there is some kind of written curriculum regarding technology use in the district I could not find it. I scoured Board Docs for any kind of policy and initiatives and there were several line items regarding spending but I could not find a mission statement or even an implementation plan. I couldn’t even find the internet safety curriculum. I’m positive my district has this somewhere, just not on the website. In my understanding a plan is an outline for what kinds of emerging technologies a school or district would like to purchase or integrate into classrooms. The policy is like the end goal for what the plan should accomplish. Gosh, that sounds a little muddy! I think that it could be considered splitting hairs. But plans and policies are necessary for determining how and when students will use technology to enhance education.
Some ways that I can help my district and school develop effective technology policies is to be involved in creating a leadership team. These leadership teams should also include students. Students are active users of technology and should be allowed to have a say in how they would like to use it. The Horizon Report described several schools using students as policy makers. They often found that this gave students more ownership over their learning and were even more apt to adhere to policies (Horizon Report, ).
Technology plans should also be short term and focussed on application and not technology. A good technology plan specifies what you want your students, staff, and administration to be able to do with technology. The outcomes will then determine the types and amount of technology you will need. A technology plan that focusses on specific number of machines is based on input, not output.
Hess, Hochleiner and Saxburg (October, 2013) warn about a technology plan based on devices. This stood out to me as a meaningful point. We have to understand that the actual technology will not have lasting effects. A technology plan should be based on the benefits we have already discussed in the class regarding technology integration I think about the emphasis on, collaboration and communication, taking a new perspective, working through difficulties and critical thinking and problems solving. help
The truth is, as two of us argue in our new book Breakthrough Leadership in the Digital Age, technology cannot and will not drive meaningful change by itself. After all, while educational technology always seems to be ripe with promise, experiences using new technologies in classrooms over the course of the past century or so have left educators exasperated and wary. Decade after decade, disappointing initiatives have soaked up time, energy, and money while showing little evidence that new tools actually deliver on their promise to make a difference for learning. https://www.aei.org/publication/e-rate-education-technology-and-school-reform/
Hess, Hochleiner and Saxburg (October, 2013). E-Rate, education technology, and school reform. American Enterprise Institute. Retrieved July 23, 2016
Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., & Freeman, A. (2015). The NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Museum Edition. New Media Consortium. 6101 West Courtyard Drive Building One Suite 100, Austin, TX 78730.See, J.(n.d) Developing Effective Technology Plans Retrieved July 23, 2016
Ogle, T., Branch, M., Christmas, O., Clement, J., Fillion, J., Goddard, E., … & Vinson, M. (2002). Technology in Schools: Suggestions, Tools and Guidelines for Assessing Technology in Elementary and Secondary Education.
I had a great time this week reading my fellow classmates blogs and finding all kinds of ideas on how to incorporate electronic crafting into my classroom. Squishy electronics was a new one for me and one that I can really picture working well with young children. Placing the copper tape looked really difficult for little kids. BUT playing with play dough is something any young child can do. I found I could by squishy circuit kits for about 15 dollars each! That is a great deal and something I can afford to buy for my classroom.
Another aspect of crafting with electronics was brought up by Gerald. He talked about how many crafts can be created with recyclable electronics. This is a way to reuse many products that would normally just be thrown into a landfill.
If we think about the history of invention in the world we can only be reminded that many, many inventors were also artists. Think of the detailed drawings and prototypes of Leonardo Da Vinci! Bernstien and Berntstein (n.d) bring up the point that education often places a huge emphasis on reading and mathematics. However, science and engineering skills which require a broader range of skills which are very often taught through arts and crafts. Teaching through crafting requires the student to rely on:
imaging and visualization,
body or kinesthetic thinking,
familiarity with tools,
and manual dexterity.
All of these skills are just as important for children to succeed in school as traditional skills of reading and writing.
Root-Bernstein, M. & Root-Bernstien, R (n.d) The importance of early and persistent arts and crafts education for future scientists and engineers. Retrieved from: https://seadnetwork.wordpress.com/white-paper-abstracts/final-white-papers/the-importance-of-early-and-persistent-arts-and-crafts-education-for-future-scientists-and-engineers/
If you are looking to add some add some “spark” to your classroom maker space then introducing electronics to your students might be a “bright” idea. (Did you see what I did there?)
Crafting with electronics is making its way into the hands of just about anyone who might be interested. Whereas at one point this type of activity may have been reserved for electronic engineers, now students can explore the world of electronics and understand conductive properties at even a kindergarten age level.
One of the most accesible products on the market right now for electronic crafting is Chibitronics. Creator Jie Le, a Ph. D, student at MIT, and her partner wanted to design a research project that combined both paper and electronics in a way that allowed users to be creative. Chibitronics is now an extremely popular tool for teachers and their students to combine arts and crafts with the “magic” of electricity. Using circuit stickers, a flexible LED with an conductive adhesive on the back, students and teachers are able to connect unique circuits. The circuits are most often made with conductive copper wire, and completed with the circuit stickers. The Chibitronics website offers numerous tutorials and education on how the circuits work. One of the most common activities is making light up cards.
Electronic crafting has also entered the world of textiles. Creator of the LillyPad arduino Leah Buechley (2012) wanted to blend her love of technology and electronic engineering with her passion for art. Her co-authored book Sew Electric introduces anyone who wants to learn to the art of adding electricity to fabric. She bridges the gap between the world of engineering to the world of art and expression.
As a lover of art, especially crafting with textiles I was immediately drawn to this bridge between the world of technology and textiles. I think this is an awesome way for students to explore multiple passions and perhaps spark deeper creativity and thinking about how the world works. Providing a chance in your maker space for children to explore the invisible world of electricity makes this world visible. Not only that it is exciting and provides immediate results. Once students have developed an understanding of how the circuits work I could see taking away the tutorials and allowing them to experiment on their own. Problem solving is sure to present itself as students work out the kinks. I will definitely add an electronic maker space to my classroom.
This website I found from a Pinterest search A Modified version of Paper Circuits activity For Classroom was particularly helpful as I began looking into what working with electronics in my maker space might look like. While the site does not use Chibielectronis all of the basic elements of paper circuitry are there. Since this is a whole new thing even for me I appreciated the use of user friendly language and the ideas for creating visuals everyone can see (extra large cardboard switch visual). Some of the resources were a little outdated and I would try to find copper tape that was conductive on both sides but this was a great way for me to visualize a possible space
Hoopes, H. (January 22, 2014) Chibitronics connects circuits with stickers for entertaining electronic education. Retrieved on: July 20, 2016 from: http://www.gizmag.com/chibitronics-circuit-stickers/30558/
Ryko (August, 2014) A modified version of paper circuits activity for classroom. Retrieved on July 20, 2016 from: http://tinkering.exploratorium.edu/2014/08/01/modified-version-paper-circuits-activity-classroom
TED (2012) Leah Buechley: How to ‘sketch’ with electronics. Available at:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTBp0Z5GPeI (Accessed: 20 July 2016).
After thinking about this quite a bit this week and talking with other parents I do believe that secondary schools should most certainly have a BYOD policy and practice this with fidelity. I’m 100 percent for allowing each teacher or school decide how much the students use their device and for what purposes. For students who are unable to afford a device a device should be provided or one can be perhaps purchased over a length of time. I have heard of a system of loaning where a student keeps a device for all 4 years of high school, at the end of the four years students have the option to purchase the device for one dollar. If the device is lost parents and students would be responsible for the replacement. Since this matches (4 years) a typical renewal cycle it makes sense to let the students keep their devices.
Definitely, every school and every age needs to have a policy in place for using “brought from home” devices in the classroom. Even if the policy is that students are not permitted to bring them. Kodiak High School has a device policy but right now the Middle and Elementary schools have a strict NO PHONES allowed rule. These rules were set by administration not by the School Board. However the SB does define a policy for all schools.
KODIAK ISLAND BOROUGH SCHOOL DISTRICT BP 5138 Students Page 1 of 1 PORTABLE ELECTRONIC DEVICES, INCLUDING CELLPHONES The Board recognized that many students possess and use cell phones and other portable electronic devices. These devices serve an important purpose in facilitating communication between the student and his or her family, as well as serving as tools to access electronic information. In the school setting, portable electronic devices are permitted so long as their use is consistent with this policy and does not interfere with the educational process or with safety and security. (cf. 5030 – School Discipline and Safety) Educational Uses In many instances, there is educational value in utilizing portable electronic devices in the classrooms when such devices deliver content, and extend, enhance, and/or reinforce a student’s learning process related to the student’s learning style, the instructional objectives of the class and/or the learning environment. The appropriateness of in-class use of these devices consistent with the instructional objectives within instructional time will be determined by the classroom teacher with approval by the building administrator. Use of portable electronic devices for students with disabilities will be outlined in a student’s IEP plan.
Adopted: 7/25/11 Revised: 3/18/13KHS has had a BYOD policy for at least 5 years.
The question raised in my mind is this. What is the student and teacher benefit for allowing devices. Fosythe County SD in Georgia (K-12 Blueprint) was one of the first SD’s to establish a BYOD policy. While reading about how this school decided to implement this policy I was encouraged by the fact that they allowed each school to make their own decisions about which amount of BYOD use best fit each schools unique culture and climate. This blanket policy of what is accepted is much like KHS policy with each school, and even classroom allowed to make their own choice.
BYOD initiatives were first introduced as a way to solve the problems with having enough technology to provide every student with access. Each student would be responsible for providing their own device. Advantages to this are that the district does not need to upkeep potentially thousands of devices. Teachers are also less burdened by having to manage multiple devices in the classroom, students are most familiar with their own devices and do better managing their learning (Clifford, 2012).
A disadvantage to the BYOD debate is the possible social divide it illuminates. Students whose parents can’t afford a device for their child may be bullied and parents may feel ashamed that they are unable to provide their child with what is seen as a necessary tool. Even schools that are able to provide loner devices may unwittingly place a stigma on these students, who may be viewed a noticeable because of their device (Levine, 2014).
There is also the understanding that students will bring devices to school and will attempt to use them. So rather than fighting a battle with very little to gain why not teach kids how to use their devices to bridge the gap between school and home. We can teach kids how to use their devices responsibly and trust them to take the initiative to augment their own learning.
Clifford, Mirriam (October 18, 2012). Bring your own device (BYOD): 10 reasons why it’s a good idea. Retrieved from: http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/trends/bring-your-own-device-byod-10-reasons-why-its-a-good-idea/
Levine, E. (November 30, 2014). BYOD: A four-letter word for parents and schools? Retrieved from: https://www.k12blueprint.com/blog/elliott-levine/byod-four-letter-word-parents-and-schools
K-12 Blueprint (October 1, 2012) BYOD empowers educators to facilitate learning Retrieved From: https://www.k12blueprint.com/success-stories/byod-empowers-educators-facilitate-learning
Well the more I thought about MC this week the more I began to wonder how to use it in the classroom. I know that there is plenty of research out there on how best to attach the game to standards but I wonder how much of a stretch this could be. In order to best use the game in the classroom to drive a standard I feel like the teacher would need to have quite a bit of knowledge about the game. Not only this but he/she would need to have clearly defined end goals for what it is the students would actually accomplish. BUT if we reframe the implications for instruction to one of a motivation or incentive I think there is more room for acceptance. I feel that as a motivational tool, to show knowledge and even to allow students to perform as experts Mince Craft can shine in a classroom. This would allow just about any teacher to use the game intentionally but also give freedom for creativity. And maybe this is what it really should be about. Allowing students to use the game in a creative outlet, as interests allowed. For me as a teacher, right now, I don’t see actually using MC in my classroom. But if other teachers were using it I no longer would think of it as an easy way for teachers to release their students in order to more important
So this week was the very first time I have ever attempted to play Minecraft, despite the fact that the game has been played here in my house on a weekly basis for at least 6 years. All of kids have played and or still play so I had quite a few eager teachers. First, I’m one of those people who doesn’t have a lot of stamina for computer games, I prefer to be up and doing “something” to any kind of sitting in front of the computer. But I sat for about 30 minutes and let my 11 year old daughter take me through the steps of setting up for my first night in the world of MC. It was fun! I enjoyed the “mining” and building my tools. I made a tiny little shelter and marveled at the ability to put a roof over my head. I also had a great time bonding with my girl. It was fun and creative.
After creating and playing I did a little research into how teachers are using it in the classroom. I know that many of the teachers at my school have attempted to use it and even my sons have used the game to create settings and story boards for literacy projects. The big question that pops up for me is the control of the environment and keeping kids on task.
Reading Lee Graham’s article about using MC in a MOOC environment was fascinating and I found myself wanting to be a participant. Her class of 6 teachers were able to facilitate this environment with 20 teachers and over 700 students! What a ride that must have been. Graham did address the issue of controlling the environment which was one I also had. Students whose teachers were less involved or non-present during the game play tended to perform more off-task behaviors. These students were gravitating to playing the game they way they were used to outside of the classroom. These issues were not a so much a product of the OOC but one of teacher behavior control.
If I were to use MC in my classroom I would want to have a controlled experience with clear goals outlined by myself. To start I would get these ideas from other teachers on the net who have used MC. I teach little one, just kindergarten. I’m not even sure that this age should be playing a computer game like MC in school. BUT if I were to have an opportunity I could see building some virtual worlds for the students to play around in. Counting and Cardinality with blocks, creating letters with blocks or an alphabet book.
Thinking outside of my age group I enjoyed reading Kriscia Cabral 2014 article on how her students were able to convince her that MC had huge learning potential. In her post she describes several students who were able to MC as a motivation for deeper learning. Ringing true throughout the MC argument is that as an emerging technology for education MC has many of the same benefits as many other technology applications. These include:
and Problem Solving
Not to mention it is FUN!
Cabral, K. (2014, April 10). Using minecaft as a learning tool. Retrieved July 08, 2016, from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2014/04/using-minecraft-learning-tool
Graham, L. (2015, January 26). Simply engaging and utterly consuming: #Givercraft 2014. Retrieved July 08, 2016, from http://mvlri.org/Blog/ID/77/Simply-Engaging-and-Utterly-Consuming-Givercraft-2014
Minecraftopia (2016) How to Play Minecraft. Retrieved July 08, 2016, from http://www.minecraftopia.com/how_to_play_minecraft
An interesting trend has emerged for me as I conduct research on each of the emerging technologies so far. A thread seems to tie each of them together. This thread has many cords. Ingenuity, perseverance, creativity, collaboration, problem solving, dedication. It reminds of this video from the opening scene of Star Trek Enterprise. Many years ago my husband and I watched the entire series via Netflix. It was so long that there was no streaming or blue-ray. In fact AK didn’t even have a distribution center so we had to wait for them to come in the mail from the lower 48 (miles and miles away, you could say a galaxy…..) Anyway I loved the opening song and we made sure we watched it every time. It’s about how we as nation made it space. From simple beginnings to actually landing o the moon. The innovation, the creativity the ingenuity, all of it focussed on one huge monumental goal. Get us to space! Go ahead and watch it, it’s great.
Of course I know the Enterprise is fictional but the implications for understanding the importance of emerging technologies in the classroom is huge. John Dewey was a philosopher and educational reformer. His pedagogy of education was rooted in inquiry learning and the idea that children should be involved in the improvement of their own society and the world around them. With this in mind education began a reform process where students cognitive abilities, reasoning and decision-making took center stage. Also at center stage was the child himself. No longer was he seen to be sitting in a desk while the teacher lectured. No, instead the child was only given the tools he needed and was then allowed to pursue his own interests with the teacher as guide. Many of the emerging technologies we see in our classrooms today stand on the shoulders of John Dewey and many others. The emphasis on role of the environment in education, problem-based learning and social collaboration all are interwoven in to the thread of emerging technologies and education. If John Dewey coud walk into a maker space, or watch kids code and use 3D printers I’m sure he would be proud.