Given that it’s the holiday season I thought I would have some fun and attempt to do a cover of a Christmas song for my summary of learning. I have done three summary of learnings before so I wanted to do something different and haven’t yet attempted a song so I thought why not this semester? I have to apologize as singing is not something that comes natural to me, nor is it something I do well. The background music didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to either. The music is quiet low and sounds a little echoey, but I honestly tried to record three different ways MULTIPLE times and this is the best quality I could come up with. If it’s too painful to watch feel free to skip through to the last 15 seconds where the 12 weeks counts down. Please also keep in mind that what EdTech taught me each week is not done in chronological order for obvious reasons. It was too difficult to make it all go in order and make sense, but regardless of the order I hope you enjoy my little song (singing aside).
In case you missed all the lyrics for each week, here it is:
Twelve weeks with you guys
Eleven ways to connect
Ten awesome blog posts
Nine classroom tools
Eight tools to assess
Seven grand presentations
Six assistive tech tools
Five classes with Alec
Four learning theories
Three types of web
Two different realities
And a collaborative experience online
Obviously I learned a lot more than just the list of items that I gave you in my song. I want to discuss some more of what I learned this semester since the song just doesn’t do it justice. We covered a lot of topics and had some awesome presentations this semester. There was some overlap in the topics which made it seem a little less overwhelming and easy to see how a lot of Ed Tech topics relate to one another. Here is a summary of a few main ideas from this semester.
Technology allows us to use four different learning theories: behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism and connectivism. Although each theory can be used, most technology lends itself to constructivism and connectivism the most. Using different websites and apps such as web quests or genius hours lend itself nicely to the constructivist approach in which students are building on knowledge and making connections between what they are learning and the real world.
Blogging, and Skype are excellent ways to connect your students to others outside of the classroom and learn through the connectivism approach. Whatever learning theory is being applied we must always think of our students. Behaviourism and cognitivism are more teacher directed, one-way learning and connectivism and constructivism allow the students to build knowledge and direct their own learning. When choosing which technology you want to use, be sure to think about the learning theory involved and how that will impact the learning of the student.
The tools that we use greatly impact how students learn, how we teach, what we teach and how we assess. Before we decide which tool to use we must always think about the message that is being sent through the medium we are using. What type of learnings are benefiting from the tools we are using? Which type of learners are falling behind? We also need to consider what the purpose of the tool is. Are we using each tool for it’s intended purpose? Are we going beyond the simple cognitive or behaviouristic learning methods?
Technology also allows us many opportunities to assess our students learning but how can we ensure that our assessments are valid? Many assessment tools offer multiple choice or true/false questions. The issue with these types of questions is that they are usually surface level questions and don’t question deeper understanding. Students are also able to guess with some of these questions. Does guessing really show us what the students have learned? It is crucial that we are evaluating the tools and consider the message that is being sent using the tools that we are selecting. We must always be questioning and evaluating the purpose of the tool. This is a great article to read if you need guidance for integrating technology effectively.
Both teachers and students (but especially teachers) have to know how to seamlessly integrate technology into teaching and learning
Advantaged Vs Disadvantaged Students
In all of our presentations we discussed who is advantaged and disadvantaged when we use technology. This is an interesting concept to think about because it boils down to the perspective you are looking at it from. If we start by looking at socio-economic status (SES) it is clear that a divide exists between those who can afford technology and those who cannot. We need to work at bridging this gap and allow those who are disadvantaged to have the same opportunities within our classrooms. Perhaps if students do not have devices to work on at home they get priority over those who do when using technology in the classroom. Whatever the scenario it is important to attempt to level the playing field in regards to access to technology.
Another perspective we need to think about is those who are at a disadvantage because of a disability whether it be physical, emotional or mental. For some of these students assistive technology can greatly impact their learning and make things more equitable for them. We must ensure that other students and parents do not think that the student using assistive technology is being given the upper hand. The reality is that if they didn’t need the tool, they wouldn’t use it. There are stereotypes and labels that are associated with students who use assistive technology. Often times students who use these devices feel as though they are singled out and “different” because they need additional support from the tool. We need to work towards eliminating these stereotypes and labels.