That’s it. That’s all. My summary of learning for EC&I 834.

For my summary of learning I decided to test out some tools that I have said I wanted to test out for a while now; Powtoon, Piktochart and My Simpleshow. I divided my summary into three different parts covering three different ideas using the tools I mentioned above.

I was introduced to Powtoon in the fall semester of 2016 and never tried it out for myself. I had attempted to use it a few times but thought it seemed to overwhelming. I was happy that I tried it again and was able to make a finished product. It took some time to figure out how to make it work and how to edit things, but after some trial and error I was able to figure out and it was pretty easy to use.  Enjoy part one of my summary where I talk about the advantages and disadvantages of face to face, blended and online learning.

Simply stated, I love Piktochart! It is as user-friendly as it gets and the end product looks so professional. This would be an awesome tool to use with students as a way to present information to them as well as a way for them to create information. It is text based only and allows images to be used too, but there is no audio or video involved. Even though there is only text involved it is a great tool and I will be making use of it in the future.

Made with Piktochart.com

I decided to use My Simpleshow as it was highly recommended by Nancy. The only unfortunate part is that the free trial no longer allows you to record a voice over the video. I was going to make an audio recording over the video as it played using Screencastomatic, but I thought I would leave it with the “Mr.Roboto” voice over because if we use it with our students, that’s most likely the way they would have to do it so I wanted to show you what it actually sounds like. These are my final thoughts from this semester.

Thanks to Alec and Katia for another great semester. Another thanks to all of my classmates and colleagues who have made the semester so meaningful. The collaboration and sharing is greatly appreciated! I hope to continue connecting and sharing through Twitter as the years go on. I’m happy to say that upon completing this course that I am done my masters degree! Woooo hooooo!

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Throw away that curriculum…web 3.0 is coming!

If only the web and education were as easy as 1, 2, 3. I have read through a lot of blogs and articles this week trying to fully understand where we are headed with education and web 3.0. I’m glad that some of my classmates are still struggling to fully comprehend web 3.0 because I feel the same way. I don’t think you can blame us though, it seems that there really is no clear understanding of it and even Wikipedia struggles to understand it (thanks to Andrew for pointing this out). But we do know some things. Here’s what I know based on my readings, discussions and reflections from this past week.

Jackie Gerstein provides a thorough explanation of web 1.0 through 3.0 and also discusses the transformation of education from education 1.o – 3.0. Jackie summarizes each of these ideas with explanations and also considers the learning theories that are involved. I have summarized what I took away from her article in the table below.

Screenshot of a table I created in MS Word

Screenshot of a table I created in MS Word

Photo Credit: bethannigrams Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: bethannigrams Flickr via Compfight cc

Many of my classmates were able to summarize and explain the differences between web 1.0, web 2.0 and web 3.0. Erin did a great job summarizing the key points and discussing what a “good student” looks like for each of these. I feel as though we are all familiar with a web 1.0 student at this point in time. A web 1.0 student can “look up” anything and find information online in order to memorize or write down information. It is a one way learning situation. The student is a passive learning going with the flow of what they come across on the internet. I feel as though a lot of teachers use this method of teaching when they use the internet. Sadly, I feel as though many teachers don’t move beyond web 1.0 when using the web.

The web 2.0 student is just as easy to spot although there aren’t as many of these students as there are web 1.0 students. The web 2.0 students are able to collaborate, connect and create by using online spaces to their advantage. They have an online presence and personal learning networks established through blogs or social media. Students are no longer passive learners who simply receive information. They produce, discover and generate ideas by working with others to develop and learn. They work with others to build on information and construct understanding of the material.

Photo Credit: marktmcn Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: marktmcn Flickr via Compfight cc

Web 3.0 is a little harder to define as we haven’t really jumped into that part of the pool yet. We are just dipping our toes in at this point. Web 3.0 is going to take us away from traditional learning styles and more importantly teaching styles. When I think about web 3.0 I think of learning that has no boundaries, is extremely flexible and is completely personalized. As teachers, we would move away from actually teaching material to becoming facilitators who help our students along the way. We would work as collaborators and help students locate information they are seeking. Curriculums will no longer be necessary as each student is learning what they want and each student will be learning something entirely different from the student sitting next to them. Outcomes will be done away with and student success will be determined by themselves. Student success may end up being based on whether they have learned what they need to learn in order to land them a position in the career field they are interested in. Some students will find success earlier than others while others will struggle to be self-determined learners. It is the teachers role to encourage students to become self-determined and motivate them to discover what interests them. This is my somewhat EXTREME version of what web 3.0 will look like…am I too far off??

Regardless of where we are at, we must continue to move forward. We may feel as though web 3.0 is a long ways away but technology is changing at an incredible rate so we must start preparing now. As I mentioned earlier, many of us as well as our students are still stuck in web 1.0 when we have been living in a world of web 2.0 for a number of years now. It’s time for us to move forward from education 1.0 to education 3.0. As teachers we need to be advocates for our students and part of this is ensuring we are moving forward ourselves.

What do you see as your biggest barrier in moving away from web 1.0 teaching methods? Would you consider yourself a web 2.0 teacher or do you find yourself being caught in the web 1.0 trap? I’d also love to hear your comments on my web 3.0 thoughts in terms of how I think it could change education.

 

 

Entertaining Education

I’ve spent a lot of time this past week reflecting on Postman’s quote regarding Sesame Street and education. Like Andrew it was a little hard for me to think of because I didn’t have a whole lot of experience with educational tv growing up (at least not that I can remember). This is something that made me think more about my own children and their exposure to educational television. I decided to look into Neil Postman’s quote and found that he provides several reasons why parents embraced Sesame Street. He begins with a very important point and it’s something that I can relate to as a parent.

“Sesame Street” appeared to justify allowing a four- or five-year-old to sit transfixed in front of a television screen for unnatural periods of time. 

After reading Naomi’s post and some of the comments that follow, it is easy to see that I’m not the only parent who may be able to relate to this. I too have allowed my children to watch Baby Einstein and it started at a very young age. I remember putting my son into his exersaucer and turning on Baby Einstein so that I could blow-dry my hair, or change a load of laundry. It’s difficult when you are the only parent home and trying to run a household with a little one who doesn’t nap when you need them to. I’m sure we’ve all been there. I don’t think that it’s a terrible thing if we let our kids watch tv, or shall I say use the tv as babysitter as long as we aren’t going overboard.

How do we know how much is overboard though? I was surprised when I read some of the stats on how long children watch tv in a week as provided in the first chapter of “Children’s Learning From Educational Television: Sesame Street and Beyond.” It was interesting to read about some of the negatives such as behaviour issues that may arise due to increased tv time. In response to some of the negatives that may arise due to increased tv time, the American Academy of Paediatrics suggested that total tv time should be limited to 1-2 hours per day and eliminated completely for children under the age of 2. I sure hope no one from the American Academy of Paediatrics comes over to my house while I’m trying to get supper ready, or finish my work, or do anything that needs to be done while the kids are awake. That being said, is that ALL my kids do? Of course not! My kids are great at make believe play and entertaining themselves, but I do allow them to watch tv daily with limits.

A big hit in our house is the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on Disney Jr. When I first saw the show I was quite impressed with the educational value of it. Commonsense Media gave one episode that we have on DVD a 3/5 stars for educational value. I was a little surprised to see it didn’t rate higher. One thing I really like about each episode is the use of “Toodles” and the “Mousketools”. The mousketools are a set of tools that will be used to solve a problem throughout the show. The kids are asked to problem solve and think critically about the tool that will need to be used to solve the problem. Check out the clip below to see how Toodle works. In addition to Toodle it does teach counting, colours, shapes and social skills.

Postman also suggested that parents felt Sesame Street took care of the education side of things in the household. This is something that I can see in tv shows as well as apps and computer games. Although educational tv does teach some skills, it cannot be the only way that our children are learning at a young age. We need to work with our children to develop reading, writing, critical thinking and math skills.

“Sesame Street” relieved them of the responsibility of teaching their pre-school children how to read.

We cannot expect our children to learn everything they need to learn from an app or tv show. We need to read to our children, talk to them about money, count things, look for patterns, discuss rules of the road…I could go on and on about the little things that we can do that will make a big difference in our children’s educational lives.

Postman finishes by stating that

We now know that “Sesame Street” encourages children to love school only if school is like “Sesame Street”. Which is to say…[it] undermines what the traditional idea of schooling represents.

I can agree with this point to a certain extent. I believe that educational tv, apps and games contribute to the lack of attention that some children seem to have. From a very young age our children are stimulated by these tv shows and games. They find them fun, entertaining and enjoyable. I do think it may develop expectations in these young children about what learning looks like. As Benita mentions, it’s hard to compete with stimulating games and tv shows when students come into our classroom and it’s exhausting to think about Teaching Like a Pirate. I think we all struggle with making ALL learning fun and to be honest I don’t know if that is realistic. However, realistic or not I think it is something that we need to strive for. Do we need to tell jokes, dance, juggle and put on a show? Of course not! But we do need to engage our students and be excited about what we are teaching. If we are excited about what we are teaching, our students will be excited to learn the material.

Am I being too harsh? Is it realistic to think that everything we teach (or learn) can be fun? What happens as we move through our schooling into post-secondary education or onto meetings in our careers? Is there a point that is reached in which learning is no longer fun?

In the blink of an eye

This semester seemed to go by in the blink of an eye! I forgot about just how quickly spring classes fly by. For my summary of learning I decided to try something different and make a movie using iMovie. I haven’t used iMovie since I was an undergrad 10 years ago and I am definitely rusty. My editing skills peaked at the 10 second mark and went downhill from there (ha ha) but I did my best to make it work.

With this being my third class with Alec & Katia you would think that doing the summary of learning would get easier but IT DOESN’T! At least not for me. I find that each semester everyone sets the bar higher and higher which is fantastic for my viewing and learning pleasure, but not so fantastic for me when it comes to creating my own summary. From what I have seen so far everyone has done an AMAZING job of not only summarizing your learning, but doing it in a creative way! You’ll see from my video that my artistic abilities are nothing to write home about especially after seeing what Dre can do (talk about talented)! I always find it so difficult to sum up my learning into a short video and to match the video/pictures up with my voiceover. I tried to focus on the points that stood out to me in the class rather than trying to talk about EVERYTHING (because that seems impossible). I do find the whole thing challenging in so many ways, but I am happy with my final product.

Thanks to everyone for sharing your knowledge throughout the semester and presenting such awesome arguments during the debate. Personally I thought the debates were a great way to encourage us to view an issue from both sides and to critically discuss both sides of the issue. I like that it forced everyone to get involved and allowed us to have some pretty powerful discussions. I’m looking forward to the fall semester and hope to see some of you in the Zoom room again! Have a  great summer everyone!

 

The Future of Schooling

I have been thinking a lot about what the future of schooling looks like and how schooling has changed even in the short years since I attended. Here we are, in 2016. We are in the midst of a time where technology is rapidly changing and is changing the way we do things (including schooling). Things are changing at an exponential rate – if you need proof, just check out this video. It is from a few years ago so may be a little outdated now (or extremely based on how quickly things change) but I always think about this when I think about how quickly things are changing.

I think most of us are aware that things have changed over the years and will continue to change, but I don’t think a lot of us know how to deal with the change. How do we prepare our students to become active members in society when they graduate from school? How do we prepare them for jobs that might not even exist at this point in time? In his Ted talk, Michael Wesch, tells us that we should be teaching students to become knowledge-able as opposed to simply knowledgeable. What is the difference between knowledge-able and knowledgeable? Well it’s quite simple. Knowledgeable can be described as simply knowing random facts and knowledge-able is being able to think critically and analyze situations or information. He describes knowledge-ability as a practice and provides three ways we can encourage this in our students:

  1. Embrace real problems
  2. Bring students together
  3. Use relevant tools.

We have to convince students to create meaning rather than seek meaning.

With technology use on the rise we must ask ourselves how does this affect our classrooms and the way we do schooling? In the article Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Trail and Learning 2.o John Seely Brown and Richard P. Adler take a look at the direction education is headed. Social learning, open education and learning to be are key factors in this shift. Technology has allowed us to communicate like never before. We are able to seek information that interests us which makes the opportunity to learn something new more accessible. By connecting with others online we are able to learn with them and from them. Distance learning allows individuals in remote locations to connect and learn from someone they may not have the opportunity to learn from in person.

We know that technology will continue to change the way that we do schooling, but what else do we need in order to prepare our students for the future? What skills do our students need to be prepared? The National Education Association describes Four C’s that we should be focusing on to prepare our students for the 21st century. In the publication “Preparing 21st Century Students for a Global Society” it describes each of the Four C’s in detail. I won’t go into detail about each of them but the Four C’s are:

  1. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  2. Communication
  3. Collaboration
  4. Creativity and Innovation

If you are wondering whether or not you are doing a good job of promoting these skills in your daily lessons, take a look here to see how prepared your students are for the 21st century.  It provides some good questions and ideas for each of the Four C’s that you can use and reflect on. I think these are great skills to be developing in students. I know that a lot of my students like me to walk them through everything and want a simple answer or solution to every problem. They simply do not like to think. In some ways I think technology has taught them not to think. Students often reach for a calculator or a device to find an answer. A lot of answers for students today have always been accessible through their fingertips using a device. But finding the answers through a search engine requires no thought. It makes students knowledgeable not knowledge-ABLE. We need to move students away from basic web searches and calculators to problems that require critical thinking and analyzing.

Photo Credit: TomConger via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: TomConger via Compfight cc

Forbes published a list of the top 10 skills for the future.  The list includes skills that have been around for some time but are now adapting and changing into something bigger. Social intelligence might have been once called social skills. These new “social skills” go beyond simply being able to talk to another person. Social intelligence is the ability to connect with someone on a deeper level and ask the right questions. Computational thinking is the ability to take vast amounts of information and translate it into something meaningful that you and/or others can understand. With the amount of data and information being created daily this is a very important skill to have. In terms of technology use we will need to keep up to date with new media literacy and collaborate with others virtually. The top 10 skills are meaningful and relevant now, but how long will it be before they change and become outdated?

In terms of the future of learning…well Edutopia has gone ahead and described three key tenets in the future of it.

  1. Flexible Customized Learning – students play a large role in how they learn, what they learn and were they learn.
  2. Ubiquitous, Embedded, Invisible Technology – learning will be completely supported and infused with technology
  3. Ongoing Diagnostics and Feedback – implementing daily diagnostics to develop curriculums and learning plans that will be individualized for students.

I am not sure which of these key tenets I believe is most realistic. I can agree with the flexible learning and technology playing a larger role in student learning, but I struggle to think about the daily diagnostics being done to make individualized learning plans. I know that adaptations are a good thing and they are an expectation, but as Edutopia describes it, it seems more rigid and structured.

The future is definitely uncertain in terms of what exactly it will look like. We know that things are changing at an exponential rate and therefore we must do our best to prepare our students for participating in the future. Even though we don’t know the exact skills our students will need 20 years down the road it’s important to stay on top of the new skills that make students employable so that we can develop these skills within our classrooms.