Here is my video and proposal. Sorry it is so late. With traveling and trying to get my classroom cleaned things have been crazy. I would still love feedback though.
On my blog Laura commented about making things positive. This was a big part of what I read. Even though I hear this many times throughout the year, it never hurts to hear it again. I try my best to be positive, but there is always room for improvement. Josie commented on the part I mentioned about Mooresville School District. They implemented tech and saw a rise in test scores. I put this as a reason for tech and it is a good reason. Josie reminded me of how raising test schools should be the secondary benefit. I completely agree with this because I don't think test scores are the best measure of student learning. I believe we should look at student work and actually talk to the students to determine if tech benefits them.
I am envious of Daysha for having a school district that has a well thought out tech policy, in writing! I wish mine did. I think the problem in the area our district covers. It is so large and each site has varying abilities depending on the knowledge of the site tech. Our site tech is still learning so a lot has to be done by teachers. Not much room for PD in tech. She also pointed out the disparity in the amount of tech used by each teacher. Some teachers use it all day, everyday while others seldom use it. This creates a huge disparity in the knowledge of 21st century skills each student gets. There isn't much a single teacher can do. However Daysha did point out that we could test an experiment with new tech continuously. If we do this we should share with others. This could help improve tech usage because we could become the expert at some technologies and help trouble shoot for teachers who are struggling. We could also suggest things that we find work well. This would help eliminate trying things that don't work and save time for many teachers and students.
Aleta is in the same district that I teach in, so it was easy to relate to her post. Our district is trying to improve tech but it is hard to do because our district covers such a big area. I always feel like the school I teach at gets left out because we are so far from Bethel. It seems like the schools closer to Bethel get more help because they are easier to get to. Again this leaves a lot up to site techs. Aleta also talked about how our district is very good at using tech for testing and pre-made programs. She talked about doing interdisciplinary units. I have been reading so much about this and love the idea. The only problem is the way the curriculum is set up and the way credits are given based on this to high schoolers. I would love to see classes and curriculum to be redesigned. Maybe the classes could be less rigid and more open. This is probably bigger than our district, but I can always dream. Maybe someday the credit system will be overhauled. To do all of this we need to update our tech policy as a district. It is our responsibility to keep students safe and show them how to use the internet appropriately.
Essential question: What specific policies will help your district prepare students for current and emerging technology use? How can you help lead your district in creating these policies?
We have to remember “technology cannot and will not drive meaningful change by itself” (Hess, Hochleitner, & Saxberg, 2013). With this in mind we must thoughtfully implement technology. This is where policy comes in. If districts or schools come up with good policies “technology can make learning solutions more affordable, reliable, available, customizable, and data-rich” (Hess, Hochleitner, & Saxberg, 2013). Basically there are so many opportunities tech can provide as long as it is leveraged in the right way.
A good reason for a good tech policy was set by the Mooresville School District. Mooresville School District was able to raise scores by implementing tech. “Between 2007—when the district began its digital conversion—and 2012, proficiency on core subject state exams in reading, math, and science rose from 68 to 89 percent, the graduation rate increased by 14 points to 91 percent, and the share of students attending a two- or four-year college rose from 75 to 88 percent” (Hess, Hochleitner, & Saxberg, 2013). This district was able to show some very positive results because the way they implemented their tech was well thought out. These gains are not just because tech was used but because educators, administrators, the community, and students were able to work together.
I think the first thing to consider when creating a policy is the vision. What is the goal of implementing technology? O’Brien (2013) list some phrases that also be of help in the vision:
After you establish a vision is will be easier to come up with the policy. Marcinek (2014) suggests 2 titles for a policy: responsible digital use guidelines or empowered digital use policies. I like these names because they sound positive. He suggests these names because they provide a sense of purpose beyond just getting in trouble for using your device. Another suggestion is that the policy be something that students can understand. Make your policy simple and don’t create fear. Here are some things to consider when crafting your policy:
Keeping all of the aforementioned in mind here is an example of an Empowered Digital Use Policy:
I understand that using digital devices (whether personal or school owned) and the GDRSD network is a privilege, and when I use them according to the Responsible Use Guidelines I will keep that privilege.
Educators can help further tech policy by realizing that they need to let go of control. There is no way to know everything (Winske, 2014). Once educators realize this implementing new tech will be easier. However, this is a big feat and easier said than done. Another thing educators and administrators need to try to establish is trust (Marcinek, 2014). If we can trust students and empower them to use the tech that is provided student will be a lot more confident and willing to try. With all this in mind we also need to be upfront with parents about what is going on in the classroom. If parents can trust what we are doing we will see a lot more success (Marcinek, 2014). You have to get more than just students on board. The more people you involve the more likely you tech program will be successful. I think this is really the key in working to craft the district policy for tech use. Talking with others and sharing what students are doing may just be the push the district needs to work on a new tech policy or updating the old one.
Andrews, K., Dach, E., & Lemke, C. (2013). 2013 Learning and Technology Policy Framework. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from https://education.alberta.ca/media/1046/learning-and-technology-policy-framework-web.pdf
Hess, F. M., Hochleitner, T., & Saxberg, B. (2013, October 22). E-Rate, education technology, and school reform. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from https://www.aei.org/publication/e-rate-education-technology-and-school-reform/
Marcinek, A. (2014, October 22). Digital Citizenship: Developing a Culture of Trust and Transparency. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/digital-citizenship-culture-trust-transparency-andrew-marcinek
OBrien, A. (2013, June 20). How to Build Support for Education Technology. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/building-support-education-technology-anne-obrien
Whitby, T. (2015, October 30). Who Is Responsible for Tech Abuse? Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/who-is-responsible-for-tech-abuse-tom-whitby
Winske, C. (2014, February 17). Tips for Creating Technology Policies for K-12. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://www.k-12techdecisions.com/article/creating_an_acceptable_use_policy_for_mobile_learning_initiatives#
Aleta first talked about making kuspuks which is a very cultural connection bridging crafting and electronics. I was thinking kuspuks would be a great place to start as well. Our school's dance team is huge and to get all students involved in some aspect of it would be great for school spirit. This would be relatively simple because there are many who know how to make kuspuks so only the electronic part would be new territory for many. This week there were so many projects that blew my mind. Aleta talked about a soft piano you can make and connect to your computer. I play the piano a little bit and thinking about building my own soft piano would be so cool! To build something of your own that is useful in your own life seems like the biggest benefit, and that is a pretty big benefit. Students challenge their own creativity and learn new things along the way. I can't imagine a better way of learning.
Genevieve talked about Chibitronics. Since she has younger students I agree that Chibitronics would be a good place to start. I can see students getting into Chibitronics at all ages but it would be easier for older students to work on more advanced tech like the LilyPad. It would be hard to do many of the crafting and electronic projects with younger kids without adequate support. I love how Genevieve said this, "I know my kindergarteners and first graders would love to showcase their work, other classes would admire them and they would be proud to take them home." From my reading this was the biggest benefit I saw as well. Students create something of their own, and some of the more advanced projects can even be incorporated into their daily life. Students take ownership in a new way that they don't with traditional classroom activities.
Melissa and Camille both posted to my blog. Their posts both resonated with the main reason for doing this type of work in the classroom would be to get students to take ownership in a new way. Students could incorporate their work into their daily lives. They could create products that are meaningful and customized to their personality. The more I read the more I want a makerspace. A makerspace would allow crafters to craft. If you didn't want to craft you could work on whatever is your passion. This would allow students to learn through a medium that is meaningful to their life.
Essential question: How are electronics viable additions to “crafting” for today’s young person?
"Technology is advancing so fast, as educators we can't use the traditional covered wagons if we want to keep up" (Johnson, 2014). Crafting has been around forever, but it has evolved with society. With the longevity of crafting it is definitely an advantage to include in a classroom setting. Adding electronics takes it up a notch and allows students to explore a world that they will have to interact with. By adding electronics educators give students a chance to learn skills they will need after school. There are so many possibilities out there as to where technology can take you. An even cooler thought is "now that we have developed these tools and found these materials that let us do these things, we have started to realize that, essentially, anything that we can do with paper, anything that we can do with a piece of paper and a pen we can now do with electronics" (Leah Buechley: How to "sketch" with electronics, 2012).
A lot of crafting using electronics is called "smart textiles, known as 'Wearables' or e-textiles" (Einarson, 2013). There are a few kits that I came across that could be of benefit: the LilyPad Arduino and Adafruit. "The LilyPad Arduino microcontroller board helped bring a large developer community into Wearables with its debut in 2007" (Einarson, 2013). I did not read much on Adafruit, but I do know it exists. Most of my post will be about the LilyPad Arduino.
What is so great about e-textiles? "While Lego robots are temporary prototypes that are dismantled after the class, a completed e-textile project is a permanent artifact that can be taken home and incorporated into a student’s daily life" (Buechley, 2007). Students get to design something that they can use right away and they don't have to take it apart. This helps students to see that what they are doing has an impact on their life. Most topics in education talk about textbooks, teaching techniques, and activities in the classroom. While some of this might be necessary "it fails to exploit the remarkable degree of energy and passion that young people devote to their own cultural milieu. That milieu–of hobbies, friendships and cliques, outdoor and indoor pastimes–is traditionally thought of as "extra-curricular", existing outside the sphere of educators' attention" (Buechley, 2007). Plus if you think about is students building e-textiles would experiences the same problems of engineers. "Artifacts are labor intensive to build, requiring significant amounts of time spent sewing, and mistakes are not easy to correct, necessitating the removal and reapplication of stitching" (Buechley, 2007). For this type of crafting to work Buechley (2007) suggests teaching in 2 phases: programming and then building the final project.
I also came across another kit called the Hummingbird that could be used for crafting but not e-textiles. "The kit, called Hummingbird, consists of a customized control board along with a variety of lights, sensors and motors that can be connected to the controller without soldering. Students program their creations with a free, easy-to-learn, drag-and-drop environment that requires no prior experience with programming" (Heimbuch, 2012). This kit is really cool in that students do all of the outside designing. There is not a strict program to follow and the coding can be simple as it uses Snap! or Scratch which are block based programming platforms. It can use more advanced platforms as well. So how can this be used? Here is a really cool example. "Terry Richards, who teaches high school human anatomy and physiology at The Ellis School in Pittsburgh, had her students use the kit to build models of the human arm and its musculature. 'A lot of the girls said it helped them see where muscles attached,' Richards said. 'They really had to think about where the muscles could attach on their models.' In the process, they learned how to install servos to move the elbow and wrist, wire them to the Hummingbird control board and write programs to control the movement. 'Even in high school, students aren't usually introduced to this technology unless they are on the robotics team,' she added" (Heimbuch, 2012). This is an amazing project and one I never would have thought of.
Below are a few examples of other projects that could be made.
Reflecting back to what crafting was in the past shows how far we have come as a society. "We are indebted to all the educational pioneers that have left a large legacy of sacrifice and learning for us to enjoy. Because of them, we have seen tremendous advances in student learning both in quantity and quality. Just as I revere and honor my own pioneer heritage, I also honor those pioneers of education who had the courage to do things that no one else had done before. Perhaps one of the best ways we can honor them is to keep moving forward and exploring the new frontiers of education" (Johnson, 2014). I believe with this quote it is important to combine electronics and crafting because they can help us continue to move forward just like the pioneers.
Buechley, L., Eisenberg, M., & Elumeze, N. (2007). Towards a curriculum for electronic textiles in the high school classroom. SIGCSE Bull. ACM SIGCSE Bulletin, 39(3), 28. Retrieved July 21, 2016, from http://web.media.mit.edu/~leah/publications/buechley_ITiCSE_07.pdf
Einarson, E. (2013, January 2). Go Bionic With These Wearable Arduino Projects. Retrieved July 21, 2016, from http://www.wired.com/2013/01/wearable-arduinos/
Heimbuch, J. (2012, July 16). Hummingbird Kit Combines Crafts with Robotics for School Kids. Retrieved July 21, 2016, from http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/hummingbird-kit-combines-crafts-robotics-school-kids.html
Johnson, B. (2014, July 29). Honoring Pioneers in Education. Retrieved July 21, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/honoring-pioneers-education-ben-johnson
Leah Buechley: How to "sketch" with electronics [Video file]. (2012, November 15). In YouTube. Retrieved July 21, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTBp0Z5GPeI
Qui, J., Clifford, J., & Chan, B. (Directors). (2012, April 23). Interactive Light Painting: Pu Gong Ying Tu (Dandelion Painting) [Video file]. In Vimeo. Retrieved July 21, 2016, from https://vimeo.com/40904471
BYOD is something I believe is here to stay. Whether or not we embrace it is another topic. If it is here to stay, then I believe all schools need a policy on devices. I would rather see the policy naming teachers as having the final say, but I guess having a policy is better than not. You can't make everyone happy. Every school needs a policy because students are going to bring devices to school. The school needs a common plan on how to deal with this so school employees are pitted against other employees or students.
Tricia voiced the same opinion I have about a BYOD policy. She says "Students are bringing devices to school, whether or not they are allowed to use them in class. It is my opinion that a policy in place would help navigate how to deal with all these devices." This clearly says that we need a policy to help deal with this so students are clear and there is no ambiguity. Besides the students we also have to think about the parents as well. A students device could be broken or have some other unfortunate thing happen to it. We must have a way to deal with this that is clear. Who wants to be left responsible for someone else's device or be caught in the middle of an argument about that device? Teachers have so many responsibilities that dealing with tech problems should not be at the top of the list.
Daysha voiced the same opinion I have read on many blogs that every school needs a policy. What this policy looks like should be determined by the demographics of the school and the teachers. Special consideration should be taken to deal with students whose families cannot afford the technology. We don't want to embarass these students. However we would hate to have all kids miss out on technology. I think a policy crafted to the particular students in your school would be the most beneficial to deal with this. Daysha also pointed out that this policy would be more beneficial to upper grades. Students in younger grades have enough trouble keeping track of simple things like gloves and pencils. You would hate to make them responsible for something that is so expensive. Plus younger students would be harder to troubleshoot all at once. I envision the teacher would have to go around and help each student get to the correct place. They just don't have the same skills older students have.
Essential question: Does every school need a “BYOD” policy?
I do believe every school needs a policy about BYOD. Whether that means a school allows students to bring their devices to classes or not, should be a school decision. There are so many factors that I don't think I could comfortably say everyone needs to allow BYOD. The main draw for BYOD is that technology is expensive and "It is not sustainable to keep buying technology and giving it to the students" (Morrison, 2014). "The San Diego Unified School District in California has spent over $15,000,000 in purchasing over 26,000 iPads. That’s fifteen million dollars."(Heick, 2015). This is so much money and most schools just don't have a budget for tech or to update existing tech. This is a huge driving force in the move toward BYOD policies in schools according to Holeywell, 2016). I think every school should consider BYOD, and thoroughly lay out the pros and cons before making any decisions. Here is a simplified version of the pro/con list posted by Wainwright (n.d):
According to this list it is easy to be in favor of BYOD because there are more pros than cons. However some cons really need extra consideration. A big issue is the digital divide. "The digital divide may be a bigger issue for some schools, and there are also risks with students bringing expensive devices into school" (Morrison, 2014). This is a huge concern in bush Alaska. Many students have devices but due to poverty they don't take care of them. I frequently hear of students breaking their phones or someone else in their family taking it to use. In bush Alaska another concern is the network. "Forsyth County had to triple its network capacity to handle the surge in demand and make sure each school’s network operated with the most up-to-date protocols to ensure the newest tablets and smartphones could connect properly" (Holeywell, 2013). I'm not sure if this is even an option for our district. We just got 3G so I'm not sure how much more bandwidth we can get.
Considering these cons brings of back to why go with BYOD. Some interesting things have happened when schools have adopted these policies. One school "found that students would – unprompted – pool devices to use the one that was most suitable for a particular task. So if they were videoing an experiment, they would use the one with the best film quality; if they were drawing up data tables, then graphics won out" (Morrison, 2014). Another cool benefit is not needing to teach tech skills. You still need to teach safety but you don't need to help in the operation of the device. According to Heick (2015), “As the teachers began to introduce BYOD* into their classrooms, some fundamental changes began to occur. They no longer had to teach their students about technology in order to integrate technology effectively in their classrooms because the students were already the experts with their own devices" Overall it improves "transparency and authenticity, while encouraging learners to work with apps, programs, and hardware they’re familiar with and have experience trouble-shooting through. It empowers learners to solve problems, access resources, and even create their own workflow patterns if given the flexibility at the unit or lesson-level. And maybe most usefully, it provides a window into the homes and habits and access and digital literacy of students” (Heick, 2015).
My conclusion is that BYOD should be up to teacher discretion. I think every school needs a policy about student devices, because it is inevitable that students will bring devices to school. I think if teachers get to choose then it uses tech as a privilege and not something that is guaranteed. Students have to ask to use it and creates a clear divide about use.
Heick, T. (2015, February 06). The Brutal Authenticity Of BYOD. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/byod-is-shortest-path-to-student-centered-learning/
Holeywell, R. (2013, September 3). BYOD Policies, Growing More Popular, Create Challenges for Schools. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from http://www.governing.com/blogs/view/gov-byod-policies-create-school-challenges.html
Morrison, N. (2014, January 19). The Next Revolution In School Tech: Bring Your Own Device. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorrison/2014/01/19/the-next-revolution-in-school-tech-bring-your-own-device/#3a4ca52a5b12
Wainwright, A. (n.d.). 20 Pros and Cons of implementing BYOD in schools. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from http://www.securedgenetworks.com/blog/20-Pros-and-Cons-of-implementing-BYOD-in-schools
I found many different applications of minecraft in the classroom. I love the idea of using it, but how to use it is the question? It seems like a great tool to build visual models of objects or even numbers in math. I found many ideas that I never would have thought of. Such as making a bar graph or building a model of an organ, like your heart.
Gerald talked about the infinite possibilities Minecraft offers. I believe he is right. I think anything you can make on paper could be made in Minecraft as well. The big difference comes in how long it takes to do a task. This isn't a problem if the learning sticks and students can apply their new knowledge in various situations. I would think this would be true because students would work so hard and would be applying their knowledge in a different way. I believe the harder you work at something the more likely you are to remember it and incorporate it into your life.
Kayla shared The MinecraftEdu World Library (http://services.minecraftedu.com/worlds/), which is an amazing resource!! So many lesson ideas and worlds that can be added on that I never knew existed. The even better news is that the ideas are there and we don't have to come up with them on our own. Kayla also had some great ideas with her own classroom. Her ideas were both ways to visualize a lesson. I see making something visual as the biggest use of Minecraft. Again what I posted on Gerald's blog applies, "anything you can make on paper could be made in Minecraft as well."
I have started to explore Minecraft pocket edition and have thought about how to include it in the classroom. This week I was forced to explore it more and wasn't really sure how I felt about it. I thought maybe it is great for some teachers but I'm not sure about my classroom. After this week I would love to include it. I wish I had computers to use the education version, but if I craft it right the pocket edition might work. I like the visualizations such as making a heart or and entire organ system, like the digestive system. I also like the circuitry stuff. We don't have enough working parts for this at school so this would be a great alternative.
Essential question: What Minecraft game could you create that would help students learn?
Unfortunately I could not interview a kid. I am visiting my family for the summer and there are not really any young kids in the family or near where I live. Fortunately I have played minecraft a bit. I have only played the pocket edition, though, and I am still learning a lot about it.
I really had a tough time getting into the assignment this week. When I started researching on my own, ideas started going off with what I was finding. There is so much minecraft could be used for that I didn't even think about! The issue is I only have ipads in my class at the moment and a couple of computers. I have focused on learning Minecraft pocket edition because of this. This game is limited in that is does not have quite as many features as the computer version. This is where I have to be careful of the articles I read because some of the assigned reading includes things I could never do with the pocket edition.
What is minecraft and how can it be used in education?
"The world of Minecraft exists for you to build it and transform it into anything and everything imaginable. It operates on a 20 minute day/night cycle, with 10 minutes of daytime, 1.5 minutes at sunset and sunrise, and 7 minutes of nighttime" ("How To Play Minecraft", n.d.). Because of the freeform nature of minecraft you can create anything you can imagine. I think this is the hard part for educators, is that until you see it used it is hard to imagine what you could use it for. "Learning in Minecraft can be faster than traditional methods of education, as children are often far more motivated, get more practice, and feel that what they are learning is useful" ("Tutorials/Minecraft in education", 2016). If kids like using Minecraft outside of school, just think about how excited they would be to use it in school. Using what kids already love to do can only enhance their learning.
McKenzie (2014) gives great suggestions about how he used the pocket edition of Minecraft in his classroom. First he says Minecraft should not be used to do everything because their are so many other digital tools that students should also learn to use. He also says that instead of saying we are "playing" Minecraft you should use other verbs like "using." Lastly he says never use Minecraft as a time filler activity because otherwise it will not be seen as a purposeful activity. McKenzie also shares a couple of posters he has in his room about using Minecraft. I think these would be very helpful in instilling how students should be using Minecraft so they know what is not allowed.
A Few Example Projects in Science
Dikkers, S. (2015). Teachercraft: How Teachers Learn to Use Minecraft in their Classrooms. Retrieved July 9, 2016, from http://press.etc.cmu.edu/files/Teacher-Craft_Dikkers-etal-web.pdf
How To Play Minecraft. (n.d.). Retrieved July 9, 2016, from http://www.minecraftopia.com/how_to_play_minecraft
Landisman, A. (2013, October 21). Exploring Science with Minecraft. Retrieved July 09, 2016, from http://amylandisman.com/2013/10/exploring-science-with-minecraft/
McKenzie, S. (2014, November 16). How to get Started with Minecraft Pocket Edition in the Classroom. Retrieved July 09, 2016, from http://technorookie.blogspot.com/2014/11/how-to-get-started-with-minecraft.html
Tutorials/Minecraft in education. (2016, June 5). Retrieved July 09, 2016, from http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Tutorials/Minecraft_in_education
This week I hosted Twitter with Genevieve and I felt we did a great job collaborating. At first we both came up with similar questions so we were able to combine some and then add a few more. 3D printing is very interesting and not something I have given much thought to. To be honest I was always skeptical and wondering how people were using it in education, but never spent the time to look into it more. After this week I think it is a great example of the advancement technology is making and I believe it could be used to enhance teaching.
I read Douglas's blog first. I think this sentence really sums up some of the differences in opinions about whether 3D printing is good for schools: "Are they the savior of education or just another great tool that good teachers will be able to use effectively?" So many things get so hyped up and it is easy to get drawn in. I believe 3D printing is just a tool as I don't think there will ever be one silver bullet that will do everything. Every student is different, so how could one tool work for everyone? 3D printing can also only be as successful as the teacher implementing it. 3D printing is far from perfect right now, but I believe this could help some students learn how to deal with setbacks, as long as it doesn't take too long to fix the problem. Students can learn also how to dream up something and make it into an actual object. Students start to see that what they are doing has real world connection, and this could really help some of our disconnected students.
I really connected with Daysha's blog. Her first paragraph echoed my initial response to 3D printing. With budgets always being cut, will we ever see something such as a 3D printer in our classrooms? Who will pay for this? Plus I need a million other things that are a lot less expensive. I also don't know how to use a 3D printer, and I don't know where I would put one. So in essence, why would I ever need this? After this week my opinion has changed. There are many benefits to 3D printing in the classroom. I can really see a benefit for visual learners, because of how useful this tech could be for making models. I can really see students connecting to lessons in a way that was never possible. Plus it is just really cool to watch a 3D printer. I was really enjoying the videos. If I enjoyed them then I can sure bet my students would enjoy watching it as well.