Aleta May Week One Reflection
Emerging Technologies EDET 693, with Dr. Graham
This week I read the 2015 NMC Horizon Report, and the interview of George Velestianos. Along with these, I looked into how we need to teach students to share openly what they are learning with each other and to sustain innovations in the classroom. All of this was embedded in defining Emerging Technologies (ET). While reading articles and blog responses of others in my class, I have concluded that the most important focus is to utilize ET with pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) with a team of teachers to make learning meaningful and to use our time with our students well.
Another important focus in my reading was on how students build on their own knowledge to increase what they know through inquiry-based project learning and units that overlap subject areas. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is growing and the goal is overlapping subjects in a more natural to the student manner. Of course, this still needs to be well organized. This is where teachers need to work together to build units. Concern over students being held over in one class making them late for the next really is like herding cats. Let us find ways to get away from issues like this. The issues I just listed serve only to waste students’ time, frustrate teachers limited on time to teach very large amounts of content to young energetic students, and remove the joy and wonder of discovery and inquiry learning.
Below are posts I made to class peers for week one:
Your butterfly analogy is a great way to picture emerging. I believe emerging can also be like a fawn peeking around the tree to see what the forest is inviting him/her to do next. The fawn may even teach its mom new ways to be and to explore.
Merging technologies into different fields and inviting them to walk across superficial boundaries into the next field over (stepping from science to math) and drawing pictures in computer maps or creating movies for reflecting on the beauty of integrated understanding, is the next step in making meaning of existing and newly discovered habitats.
True, not all technologies emerge at the same time any more than one fawn steps over to this field or that field while another waits a bit and more deeply investigates the habitat in which it is now standing.
What stood out to me when I read the article where Fred Baker interviewed George Velestsianos is when Fred noted that the designer (big “D”) is the one using technology as part of the teacher’s own dynamic response toward adapting to the needs and interests of students around them. This is as opposed to the designer being a little “d” that is driven by technologies; such as when a computer program is preset for students and the instructional designer has to work around the program to make it work for his/her students. I have encountered this when I used a certain reading program. The video clips were very far removed from the context of the students I was teaching; after all, the program was written in Texas much like many of our textbooks have been. Another issue was that while teaching English Language Learners (ELLs), the teacher or students depicted within the video clips talked so fast and used such unfamiliar schemata (“sets of schema or internal representations of the world; an organization of concepts and actions that can be revised by new information about the world”– http://www.thefreedictionary.com/schemata) that I found my role as facilitator explaining way too many things that the program designers assumed students knew.
Another way I view the flipped classroom, is to make learning mobile and accessible for review. When a teacher records important lessons, students who were absent may watch the mini-lesson later on. Also, as I watched my granddaughter with her dad the other night, it sure would have been nice for them to have a pre-recorded lesson from her teacher so they could review how to complete that certain type of math problem without having to research it out in the book late at night when everyone is tired, and needing rest for the next day of school.
Schools do need to be more student-centered. They also need to integrate subject areas more. This is the only way to have time to cover the material expected of students today, much less in a way that is relevant to their lives. Teaching six subjects per day to students coming from a very wide range of abilities and cultural backgrounds/languages does not work. One reason I do like being a special education teacher and reading specialist is that I have more flexibility—and multiple level / subject teaching is the only way to meet their needs. Thankfully, we now have more and more technology to accomplish individualized goals.
Reliable and equal access to the internet is a major issue! When I walk into a local classroom in rural Oregon and compare it to the computers I have available to me in my own classroom, the difference is like night and day. I have so much more technology! Our struggle is with bandwidth and being able to access games like Minecraft during the school day so that students may collaboratively build scenes that replicate the scenes described in books and that match with their own visualizations of what these might look like.
There are many issues with trusting technology. This has hindered many schools from the idea of students using their own mobile devices in class; such as to research a question they have, or to look up a word on their phone. There is the whole issue of cyberbullying and students learning ways to get around a school filter with their personal devices. But we still need to grow with the changes. As is the case over many years, educators are called to do the impossible! Today this applies to harnessing technology for learning and letting students use it freely for educational purposes while at the same time keeping them safe. I believe your children might surprise us with solutions – problem solving. Maybe interviewing them would open all our eyes more.