EDET 637: Differentiating Instruction through Technology
with Dr. Lee Graham
Week 6 Reflection
After attending Lee’s gamification presentation today at ASTE, I went to a presentation by Jeffery Blackburn, with the primary subject being about coding, which also included a section on the MineCraft.edu. He gave us permission to use the Teaching Framework plan he put together as he chunked the information on how he actually taught using MineCraft.edu with his students. This is very helpful to me.
~~Students must learn system navigation
file creation, copy, movements, saving their programs, etc
(this self documents their code—this is the code that opens my door, ..
and teaches communicating)
~~Write a program that prints text on the screen
~~Loops (don’t have to write hello world 10 times, it will write it for you)
~~Place Blocks (they can write a robot that can build them a house when
they are away)
~~Mining Blocks (robots can mine to the bottom of the earth and bring it
~~Functions (allows kids to reuse these tools over and over again—helps
you to make sure your tools …)
~~Robot is called turtle (turtle.up) every single line ends with a parenthesis
The box is a robot
~~Continue developing functions (code “turn around” functions)
~~introduce Variables & Math
~~Pastebin (put code in this to share with others)
~~If/Then (using if then statements
While loops …
~~Variables in loops
~~Introduction of another language
~~Video of variables in math–
~~If spelling isn’t right, you have to fix it or the code won’t work
~~Challenges that combine all of the above
~~YouTube Project (students create a how-to video) makes them in
YouTube style, but not posting it into actual YouTube
~~The choice is yours
~~Xcode—apps for iPad and iPhone are written in Xcode
Going to both sessions for MineCraft.edu really helped me put it all together better in my mind. Jeffrey also talked to us about delayed gratification and how middle school students need to see coding work quickly and easily so that they can then see the benefit of using more advanced coding. He recommended GUI types like; scratch, code.org, and hopscotch for getting students started; before moving to the more advanced types like: gui/cmd, Kahn academy (middle of road), Terminal Based,
codecademy, learnpython.org, xcode . Jeffrey got me interested in digging deeper into using code to create movements for the avatars, and robots to complete the wall building without having to do so single bricks at a time.
When Jeffrey talked about Computercraft, he said Computercraft is included in Minecraft.edu now. Some benefits to writing their own code for these games is that the student gets a code for sharing with other students making it inviting for students to collaborate. Another benefit is that the language syntax is extremely transferable (Python and Swift may be even better than Java; there is LUA). Coding is new to me, but our presenter did make us feel like we could go out on the web and teach ourselves through YouTube video clips. I did do this in my practicum last semester. I am also interested in using Minecraft to help students with math. They can immerse themselves into “real world” situations to learn how to navigate, build, and collaborate. I found this site today as I explored the web: http://www.educade.org/lesson_plans/getting-started-with-minecraftedu
When I attended the Visual Literacy and the ACRL Visual Literacy Standards session on Sunday, 2:30, there was discussion about equipping the student to interpret todays bombardment of visuals, they not only need to learn how to read the message(s) from advertisements, and more, they need to learn to read different visual representations across the content areas. Reading flow charts, diagrams, scientific illustrations are examples of visual literacy focus that I can use more often as I differentiate instruction for all learners. Going the next step would be to create graphs and charts, pictograms and pictographs, infographics and maps.
I also attended a session where Trevan Walker (Principal) spoke. Here is the URL to his and Martha Fleming (Counselor): https://prezi.com/mokponr_geh0/becoming-all-things-for-all-students/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy
(Shorter URL: http://goo.gl/1RQqUU) What is important here is that they have a hybrid high school in Seward (part of the Kenai Peninsula School District). They are still developing their program to meet the needs of the students and to work with the community, of whom many members are steeped in traditional ways of doing school. Here are some things they include in their program (a program without a particular model name or label): distance delivery, dual credit through Kenai Peninsula College; internships, on-the-job-training, independent study, (mentorship/on the job training). They use a Learning Management System (LMS), as a digital parallel. The district adopted a LMS called Canvas. Teachers have been asked to create digital parallels to what they do (for example; a class wiki for discussion). Digital parallels for their school start with single platform; Canvas LMS.
Trevan Walker stated that, “A diploma should not be based on a students willingness/ability to conform . . .” I have agreed with this for a long, long time.
After attending a session at the end of the day called “How Should Universal Design for Learning Look in the Classroom?; I could see how much more opportunity there is now for us to accommodate the needs of all learners in the classroom. Differentiated Instruction (DI) certainly includes the Special Education law as the presenter displayed for us: Assistive technology enables children with disabilities to participate more fully in all aspects of life…and helps them access their right to a free appropriate education in the least restrictive environment CPIR, 2015
Office of special education programs U.S. Department of Education
But it is simplified too when we just think about education technologies that are available to us to support students with disabilities. Here are a few he listed for writing:
Google translate app —presently it depends on wireless; will later be; type in autodetect and type in dog and it will acknowledge it is English to English
After writing this, I can begin to sort out how much I learned about the why of using technology in the classroom along the pathway of learning and practicing how. This has been a busy weekend. Tomorrow will provide yet more information. It is very timely for me, as I am in two Educational Technology courses right now; and I had the great opportunity to meet and listen to my professor in person; Dr. Lee Graham.
In the meantime, I have been adding my explorations to a group wiki project as each of five students have been researching Assistive Technology for this Differentiation class. I felt so proud of myself when I could upload a pdf graphic organizer from a site I found, and make it interactive on the computer by the iAnnotate app I located.
Next, I will go through and view those of my group members, and make the changes one group member advised for me to make.