Reflection: How People Learn (and What Technology Might Have To Do with It)

Leave a comment

PDF Version of the Eric Digest

How can the integration of technology support how students learn and impact student achievement?

My attempt to answer this question is based in the linked digest entry.  There are many factors that influence student learning and achievement, but technology integration into education offers many benefits.  It provides many more options  to extend learning beyond the traditional classroom, and technology makes learning more interactive and purposeful.

This digest article identifies four characteristics of learning: Occurs in context, is active, is social, and is reflective (Driscoll, 2002).  These four characteristics were all part of my immersion experience while I learned a second language as an adult and developed a foundation for communicating in Spanish.  My confidence grew as I discovered that I could understand people and people could understand me.  This was a powerful transformation; I went from a potential participant in the language to an active participant.  So what does this have to do with technology integration in education? The correlation of this experience is about how technology devices can be used for increasing confidence and communication in education.  In other words, students who might otherwise be reluctant to participate in a classroom setting might feel more comfortable receiving and responding to content through technology devices. Students and teachers can engage in content and concepts in ways that were not easily accessible in the past.  These tools create more opportunities for all learners to grapple with the content by reducing social pressures in many students.   If they are successfully able to interact with the technology and the content, this will transform the student’s confidence in his or her own education and professional goals. In the same way that I became an active Spanish communicator, students become more active in their own education.

The reflective component of learning is a key part of this transformation because students have a greater sense of purpose when responding to the content.  Technology platforms allow student responses to go to a broader audience and the audience can interact with the learner.  Typically this increases quality of the work; instead of being “good-enough” for the teacher, students feel the need to show their best work to the potential audience.  Furthermore, knowing that feedback is likely, students are able to reflect on the impact of their contribution to the content and even look for ways to improve or increase understanding.  This model, to make learning communities online, can lead to a powerful transformation in learners as they offer collaborative reflection on the content (Palloff & Pratt, 2007).  Technology tools allow responses to be shared, and when used responsibly, there is transforming power in the students’ work and understanding, especially when they are affirmed by the teachers, their peers, or in some cases, professionals.

The digest text begins and ends with a reference to transformative learning, which can be both a cause or an effect.  The cause focuses on how to transform instruction from older models of education to models that encourage the use of technology tools or media rich instruction.  The effect is a desired transformation in the student, making them independent learners, problem solvers and reflective participants.  This transformation takes longer in some learners, but the goal is to make them aware of their own power to participate in their education.

References:

Driscoll, Marcy P. (2002) How people learn (and what technology might have to do with it). ERIC Digest.

Palloff, Rena M. & Pratt, Keith (2007). Building online learning communities. San Francisco: Wiley & Sons. (page 185)

Advertisements

10 Handy iPad Apps to Create Instructional Multimedia Materials for Your Class — Cubicstone

Leave a comment

10 Handy iPad Apps to Create Instructional Multimedia Materials for Your Class — Cubicstone.

The Digital Lives of Teens: “If You Don’t Have a Plan for Them, They Will Have a Plan for You” | Edutopia

Leave a comment

The Digital Lives of Teens: “If You Don’t Have a Plan for Them, They Will Have a Plan for You” | Edutopia.

An excellent reminder to develop learning tasks around technology applications.

Learning landscapes: From traditional to flipped classrooms

Leave a comment

This model helps to understand the transition taking place in the learning environment.  It is a good model to use for presentations.

Learning landscapes: From traditional to flipped classrooms.

EdTech 512: Design the Course Site

Leave a comment

To help put your preview in context, the online course is for grade 4 students and the course is delivered in Spanish.  The project site is in English, but the student site is in Spanish.

Project Site: La Clase del Maestro Dann

Student Site: La Escritura para estudiantes de 4

Sorry, no time for creativity.  This is the latest that I have ever turned in an assignment.  There were some abstract concepts in this module that I had trouble getting my head around.  Additionally, it did not help that my wife and I were in the midst of a move this week. We just bought a kitchen table and it serves as our desk for the time being and the chairs are the only furniture we have for sitting.  This post is me trying to persevere.  Here are the questions I need to address.

In what ways did you use type to draw attention to important content or to organize your materials?

From the start, when I began to build a project site, I used a template in Google sites.  The template came with a lot of graphic features. There were some icons that were not appropriate for the message that I wanted to convey, so I found some on Creative commons that were acceptable and I replaced the template icons.  I also added my photo in the header so the students can identify me with the course.  I selected a font in the header according to the instructions that were given this week.

As far as the LMS, I am completely limited by Edmodo for making any design changes to the class site.  The only distinctions I can make are the types of posts that I make, and they don’t even offer image files to be uploaded. Therefore, I contacted Professor Hinck and we came to a consensus that I would make a sister-site to the project web-page, which would be accessed by the students.  Fortunately, I was able to copy the project site, so most of the design features are consistent between the two sites, only the delivery language changes between the two sites.

How do the shapes that you used help convey your message? What colors did you use and why?

As I mentioned in the previous question, the template offered many icon images that were acceptable for how I set up my site, but there were a couple that did not go along with the menu selections, so they had to be changed.

In response to color selection, at first I was only writing in default, paragraph html, but I would used bold and change the size and color of the font to give it variety.  I later decided that color coordinating is not my strong suit so I started using the heading codes that go with the template.  I saw a big improvement in color coordination and contrast.  The headings also provided nice lines of separation to section off each individual sub-heading.

Explain in detail what you did in your design to address contrast, alignment, repetition, and proximity

In the previous question I addressed contrast, but since my theme has a white background, it is pretty simple to choose a font color to contrast it.  The colors I had originally chosen were not of bad contrasts, they just didn’t match the rest of the theme.  Once I started using the tiered headings, the colors not only had a good contrast, but also matched the site.

The alignment, repetition, and proximity were features that were very simple to work with because of the template.  The content lined up nicely to the left with adequate space given to the sidebar.  I used bullet and intentions to offset some of the information below each subtitle.  Also, each new page that was created already took on features from the template.  I made a point to follow as much consistency on the headings and sub headings as possible.

EdTech 512: Choosing a LMS

Leave a comment

I’m not necessarily a traditionalist, but sometimes I miss the simple things. I have been a registered number since birth, but I never had to keep track of such numbers until life introduced me to pass-codes and later passwords. For me, it all started with a 4-digit code to give my ATM card access to my first bank account. I’m not naive to think that codes, numeric or otherwise, are something new to the world, but in this age of digital identity, there are many pass-codes and password requirements that sometimes it can feel overwhelming.  I do remember what life was like before passwords.  Even though I have adjusted fairly well to this new age of digital identity, it is important for me to be aware of my students, who likely have not transitioned yet to this stage in life.  Once you start down the path of passwords, there is no turning back.

Edmodo appears to offer what I am looking for in an LMS.  First, it does not require email addresses to register and for the group and for 4th grade students, I think this is an important feature.  Even though it does require passwords, it seems to be a fairly user-friendly system, ideal for someone using an LMS for the first time.  Moodle and Blackboard are much more robust and can easily overwhelm a fourth grader.  I expect there will be varying levels of digital competency, but for some students, this will be their first exposure to digital tools and digital platforms.  Secondly, I need a LMS that is versatile in language selection because the course will be delivered in Spanish and English.  I have also sought out Callaborize Classroom, but English was the only language available.  On the contrary, Edmodo offers multiple language selections.

Even though Edmodo is unfamiliar territory for me, there are other benefits to choosing this LMS.  There are other teachers within the district (where I will be working) that have used this LMS with their students.  The district utilizes Edline, but a few teachers have chosen to use Edmodo because it better supports their objectives.  Even though I have used Edline before, I have not officially started with the district yet, so I don’t have access to the Edline system, therefore, I do not know if it is a viable option.  For now, it is better for me to develop my course through Edmodo.

EdTech 512: Problem Analysis

Leave a comment

This is a problem analysis for developing an online course for a dual language program for 4th grade students.  The following points are response activities from the course textbook, “Web-Based Learning: Design, Implementation, and Evaluation” (Davidson-Shivers & Rasmussen, 2006).

  • What problems are you trying to address?  What are the symptoms of the problem? What is the root cause of the problem?  Is instruction an appropriate solution for the problem?  Is WBI an appropriate instructional solution?

Based on information that I have gathered in interviews the district has upgraded their philosophy on technology integration and 21st century skills.  Many teachers in the district are lacking in preparation and therefore the students are not being prepared. One problem this course is addressing is developing these skills in the students while preparing them for state standardized testing.  By developing one course for online delivery, we can address the root cause by allowing teachers to view successful integration strategies with the students.  The instruction is appropriate because it is preparing students for state writing tests with personal narrative and expository writings skills and WBI is appropriate because it is developing 21st century skills in the students.

  • Instructional Goal

By the end of this course students will be able to plan and organize their ideas in written form to produce personal narrative and expository compositions according to grade level standards.  Through the use of iPads and web-based tools, students will create and organize their ideas while developing 21st century skills.

  • Contextual Analysis

  1. Organizational Infrastructure
    1. Resources: iPad carts available at grade level, teacher issued iPads, wifi ready campus, and IT support services
    2. Management functions: report activities and lessons to program coordinator and principal.
    3. Organizational Culture: Instructional Level-team teaching with English instructor for the dual language program, Grade Level-form part of the Grade 4 teachers who share the use of the iPads, Campus Level-working with other dual-language instructors and other grade level teachers, District Level-access to teachers from other campuses that teach the same subject matter and the same program.
    4. Ownership of WBI materials: File storage belongs to the teacher, course materials belong to the school
  2. Allocation and Competencies of personnel
    1. Instructor: Dann Mosteller has significant knowledge in technical aspects and content knowledge, and he has considerable knowledge of instructional design.
    2. Teaching Partner: extensive knowledge in instructional aspects and partial knowledge of technology integration
    3. Technical Support: IT staff department and on campus support.
    4. Administrative support: Campus administrators provide significant support for the course content and resource access.  District administration has made a firm commitment to technology integration and development across the district.
  3. Learner location and technology
    1. Location: Learners are all local (blended learning environment)
    2. Urban setting, White Settlement is a urban suburb of Fort Worth, TX.
    3. Technology Infrastructure: Filtered content with certain limitations, yet a strong network capacity for wireless learning environments.
    4. IPad carts are available across the grade level on the campus.  Preset apps are already on the IPads but requests can be made to IT for adding more apps.
  • Learner Analysis

  1. General characteristics
    1. Mixed Gender
    2. Mixed ethnicity of mostly Hispanic and non-Hispanic students
    3. Generally age 9
    4. On grade level in reading and mostly on grade level in math
    5. Previously tested on state tests in reading and math
  2. Motivations
    1. General interests in a variety of activities
    2. General curiostiy
    3. Students are proficient to semi-proficient in 2 languages, English and Spanish
    4. Students have achieved successful academic levels in previous years.
  3. Prior Knowledge, Communication Skills, and Technical Skills
    1. General writing instruction, but prior to this school year, students have not been tested in this area.
    2. Keyboarding skills are limited due to previous limited access to these computers.  IPad is perhaps not the best tool to start students for developing keyboarding skills, but this is an X-factor.
    3. Limited knowledge of digital files.
    4. Limited exposure to email and threaded conversations
    5. Moderate skills with Internet, apps, and search engines
  4. Abilities and Disabilities
    1. There are group wide indications of impairments of disabilities, however it is reasonable to assume that in the population of students there will be isolated cases of specific impairments and disabilities.
  5. Other Learner Characteristics
    1. Because the groups are integrated across ethnicity, some students are not accustomed to cultural tendencies from home.  These cultural tendencies appear among student interactions of similar cultural background, however, other students may find these cultural tendencies strange.
  • Texas State Writing Standards for Grade 4

Reporting Category 1: Composition

The student will demonstrate an ability to compose a variety of written texts with a clear, central idea; coherent organization; sufficient development; and effective use of language and conventions.

(15) Writing/Writing Process. Students use elements of the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) to compose text. Students are expected to

(B)  develop drafts by categorizing ideas and organizing them into paragraphs; Readiness Standard

(C)  revise drafts for coherence, organization, use of simple and compound sentences, and audience; Readiness Standard

(D)  edit drafts for grammar, mechanics, and spelling [using a teacher-developed rubric]. Readiness Standard

(17) Writing. Students write about their own experiences. Students are expected to

(A) write about important personal experiences.

Reporting Category 2: Revision

The student will demonstrate an ability to revise a variety of written texts.

(15) Writing/Writing Process. Students use elements of the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) to compose text. Students are expected to

(C) revise drafts for coherence, organization, use of simple and compound sentences, and audience. Readiness Standard

(18) Writing/Expository [and Procedural] Texts. Students write expository [and procedural or work-related] texts to communicate ideas and information to specific audiences for specific purposes. Students are expected to

(A) create brief compositions that

  • establish a central idea in a topic sentence;
  • Supporting Standard
  • include supporting sentences with simple facts, details, and explanations; Supporting Standard
  • contain a concluding statement. Supporting Standard

§126.7. Technology Applications, Grades 3-5, Beginning with School Year 2012-2013.

(b) Knowledge and skills.

(1) Creativity and innovation. The student uses creative thinking and innovative processes to construct knowledge and develop digital products. The student is expected to:

(A) create original products using a variety of resources;
(C) use virtual environments to explore systems and issues.

(2) Communication and collaboration. The student collaborates and communicates both locally and globally using digital tools and resources to reinforce and promote learning. The student is expected to:

(A) draft, edit, and publish products in different media individually and collaboratively;
(C) collaborate effectively through personal learning communities and social environments;
(E) evaluate the product for relevance to the assignment or task; and
(F) perform basic software application functions, including opening applications and creating, modifying, printing, and saving files.

(5) Digital citizenship. The student practices safe, responsible, legal, and ethical behavior while using digital tools and resources. The student is expected to:

(A) adhere to acceptable use policies reflecting positive social behavior in the digital environment;
(D) protect and honor the individual privacy of oneself and others;

(E) follow the rules of digital etiquette;

(F) practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology;

Older Entries