Featured

Topic 1: Privacy and Social Presence Online

In this weeks reading by Regan and Jesse on the ethical challenges of Edtech, they raise 6 individual ethical concerns that are wrapped up in the term “privacy”. These concerns are;

  1. Information Privacy
  2. Anonymity
  3. Surveillance
  4. Autonomy
  5. Non-discrimination
  6. Ownership of Information

As Regan and Jesse point out, using a blanket term to encompass all concerns about online safety runs the risk of oversimplifying the issue. Much of the online world is invisible which means it can be all too easy to just click a box and assume that all the concerns lumped under “privacy” are being respected. The authors argue that each aspect of privacy needs to be examined separately and equally when bringing technology into the classroom because it isn’t only it’s effectiveness that matters but also the ethics surrounding it. By addressing each aspect of privacy with my students I will be guiding them towards a safe and positive online presence, a necessary 21st century skill.

Check out Commonsense.org for some great lesson plans to “practice safe habits and stay safe online”.

The second article Dickers (2018), Social Interaction in K-12 Online Learning examined the importance of “the social” in the meaning making process. The idea that learning is social comes from Lev Vygotsky’s Social Constructivism theory.

As Dikkers (2018) points out, learning environments have expanded beyond the traditional face-to-face model to a blended online model, and just like “brick and mortar” settings the social aspect “is foundational to online learning”. Recently, Covid 19 has made a completely online classroom environment the only option, making curating a “social presence” more relevant than ever .

Through research Whiteside and Dikkers (2015) proposed a Social Presence model to “influence and guide individuals meaning making process”. The 5 aspects are;

  1. Affective Association-How teachers and students show emotion online
  2. Community Cohesion – Seeing the class as a community
  3. Instructor Involvement – How teacher shows involvement in student learning
  4. Interaction Intensity – What ways and how often students interact
  5. Knowledge and Experience – wyas students share thier prior knowledge and experiences with course content

In Dr. Roberts blog post for this weeks topic, she references the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework, which also has a social presence component. This framework can also be used to create a constructivist environment online.

Downloadable PDF from https://coi.athabascau.ca/coi-model/

While doing a bit of research to deepen my understanding of how to build an online environment using Constructivist principles, I came across the following video that explains two offshoots of Constructivism; Cooperative and Collaborative learning.

When designing curriculum it is always handy to have some strategies to build around. Check out Neil’s blog on 10 Cooperative Learning Strategies and Edtech tools to go with them. As well as Jessica Mckeown’s blog post Grow Beyond Group Work for some Collaborative strategies.

Garrett Dickers, A. (2018) Social Interaction in K-12 Online Learning. In R. Ferdig & K. Kennedy (Eds.), Handbook of research on K-12 online and blended learning (pp. 509-522 ). Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University ETC Press.

Regan, P., & Jesse, J. (2019). Ethical challenges of edtech, big data and personalized learning: Twenty-first century student sorting and tracking. Ethics and Information Technology, 21(3), 167-179. DOI: 10.1007/s10676-018-9492-2 

Sketchnote and Twine Workshops

Our EDCI 336 class had another workshop with Rich McCue on Tuesday. This time Rich taught us about sketchnoting and the non-linear storytelling platform Twine.

Sketchnote is a form of note taking that uses visuals as well as words. The idea behind sketchnoting is that images tap into a part of your brain that would otherwise be disengaged during purely word for word note taking. A study completed by the University of Waterloo found that people were better able to recall information when it was combined with a symbol (word) and an image. Taking notes on a laptop, when combined with fluent keyboarding skills allows note-takers to document a lecture word for word, while taking notes with a pen and paper requires the note-taker to summarize the information. When summarizing information an image can be used as a memory hook that better enables the concept to be assigned to our long term memories.

Rich had us complete an Introduction to Sketchnoting Activity, where we started with basic drawings of nouns before moving on to images that represents concepts. Follow the activity above for some basic sketchnoting skills to produce your own sketchnote like mine below.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is imag0465-1.jpg

Google images can be used as inspiration. Sketchnoting is fun, engages the whole mind and helps with concentration.

The 2nd part of Tuesdays class was spent working with an interactive, non-linear storyboard platform called Twine.

Twine is free and posts directly to HTML so you can create and publish virtually anywhere. It uses the basics of programming to build interactive stories which are very similar to a choose your own adventure game. Twine allows you to add sound and images to make your text based game even cooler! If you are interested in learning to code or develop your own game Twine is a great place to start. Check out the YouTube video below for a short Twin how-to.

Click here for Rich McCue’s Introduction to Twine that he developed to be shared!

Minecraft Edu

Tuesdays class changed the way I see the integration of technology in the classroom. Heidi James, a teacher from Colquitz Middle brought in a group of middle schoolers to teach our cohort how to play Minecraft. If you have spent any time around kids in the past 5 years you have probably heard of it. A widely popular game, Minecraft is an “open world game that promotes creativity, collaboration and problem solving”. Those nouns probably sound pretty familiar if you’re a BC educator, that’s because they are some of the core competencies in the new BC curriculum! Heidi uses Minecraft Edu, which is a classroom friendly version of Minecraft with features that allow the teacher to manage learners within the game, build challenges and choose or create students ‘worlds’. The Education edition also provides a 10 module training course and lesson plans. Heidi showed our class how game based learning is a student centered approach that incorporates prescribed learning outcomes with 21st century skills.

Mike Prosser – A map of my minecraft world -CC BY SA 2.0

Minecraft is an immersive game which means that it is technology that attempts to recreate attributes of the physical world within a virtual world. A 3D block landscape where participants create and alter the ‘world’ they are dropped into. Players collect and re-purpose the 3D blocks, building shelters and crafting tools like a pick axe, that allow your avatar to mine for granite or the coveted obsidian. As well as building and mining, players can explore, gather resources , build communities and even learn to code.

I have always thought of video games as an isolating past time but when played in a classroom setting the game has the potential to increase social interactions. Players need to work together in order to ‘survive’ and end up communicating to their team mates beside them, face- to face, developing strategies or telling them where the ladder to the next floor is.

Having the Colquitz team facilitate a Minecraft how-to was a great example of how we as future educators can empower our students, work with their interests and help them become digitally literate citizens of the 21st century. What an exciting time to be an educator.

Open and Networked Learning

I wasn’t able to make it to our class on Tuesday for the video conference with Verena Roberts on open and networked learning but I was still able to take part via Blue Jeans Network, a video, audio and web conferencing tool that works anywhere with any device. Blue Jeans was easy to use and I didn’t miss out on the amazing learning opportunity. What a great way to expand the learning community beyond four walls! An open education experience during #openedweek.

Flickr – Global Water Partnership-CC-BY-NC-SA2.0

Through the video call our class was able to take part in a conference in Edmonton (co-located session) led by Verena, here are her slides and Resources. Her talk made me think about what learning opportunities are available beyond physical experiences and the possibilities of networked learning that connect our students to the wider, possibly global community and how I can bring this concept into my own classroom. Her slides laid out indicators of open educational practice based on her own research:

  • Designing for sharing
  • Participatory learning
  • Learning networks
  • Safe learning spaces
  • Expanded learning environment

Open and networked learning makes Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) possible, an opportunity for students to connect to community opportunities outside of their classroom. In IBL students are not given the answers, the responsibility for finding the information is on the learner, which means that we have to ensure that our students have the proper digital literacy skills necessary to succeed. By starting early with guided inquiry we can help our students learn to not only follow their curiosity and build their digital literacy but to become independent learners.

#Inquirymindset

Our cohort had the opportunity on Tuesday to visit Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt’s class at George Jay Elementary. Rebecca is co-author of the book Inquiry Mindset, a guide to “harnessing the power of curiosity to foster students learning from their youngest years”. Since our visit to PSII I have been wondering what inquiry would look like in an elementary classroom so not only did I find this visit inspiring, it allowed me to gain a better understanding of how I might use inquiry in my classroom .

Rebeccabathursthunt.com

Rebecca gave a great presentation on #Inquirymindset , we learned about moving from guided to independent inquiry and the importance of curiosity in learning. Curiosity leads to questions which leads to discovery and learning. There are so many ways to inspire curiosity, what Rebecca calls a “provocation”. Her resources are jam packed with tools for guiding inquiry for all ages.

Rebecca gave us some provocations that may inspire questions in our students…..

A photo

Wikipedia Zairon – CCBYSA4.0

A Giphy

A book

There are many other provocations that may stimulate students curiosity, rekindle prior knowledge or tap into what they are passionate about. Rebecca suggested pairing these provocations with the questions below.

Rebecca was full of great advice, one thing she mentioned a couple of times that really stuck with me is that it may take a couple of years to fully embrace inquiry into our classroom and that is OK! Many thanks to Rebecca for not only having me in her class but providing me with some simple ways to support inquiry based learning in the elementary classroom.

Creative Commons

We spent our last class learning about copyright and creative commons. If your like me you have probably heard the word copyright or seen the little symbol but are unclear about what it all means. While doing a bit of my own research I came across this site that breaks it down and makes it easier to understand. Here’s the basics….

So what the heck is copyright anyway? Copyright provides legal protection for original work that you create in a “tangible medium of expression” (picture, painting, written work, data file etc.). As soon as you have created it, it has instant legal protection.

Once you have written it you can either keep it all to yourself or you can give it away. If you decide you want to give it away there are many many ways to do that and they all fall into two categories: licences and assignments.

The first way to give your copyright away is as an assignment. You can think of an assignment as selling your copyright. Whoever purchases it can do what they want with it.

The other way to give away your copyright is through a licence. A licence means you are lending the rights to someone, you decide how they use it and for how long.

This is where Creative Commons comes in…. it is a licence that is applied to work protected by copyright. Essentially a way to easily share copyrighted work.

Creative Commons symbol

Creative Commons, a non-profit organization allows people to licence their copyrighted work to anyone who is willing to follow the licencing terms.

How do you use Creative Commons (CC)?
Follow this link and search for media, pictures and more that you can share, use and/or remix. Creative Commons licencing uses four basic restrictions or rules that need to be followed when using copyrighted work from the commons. These four restrictions each have symbols that will come up when you search CC for a copyrighted work to use. The four symbols/restrictions are:

Attribution: This requires people who use your work to let all other people who see it that it is yours and not theirs. No cutting out your name. All Creative Commons licences carry the attribution requirement.

CC Attribution symbol

Non Commercial: This means they are not using your work commercially which means “no private monetary value” gained.

CC Non Commercial symbol

No Derivatives: People can use your work as long as its not modified.

CC No Derivatives symbol

Share Alike: Allows other people to modify your work as long as they allow others to use and share the work they created from your work.

CC Share Alike symbol

Here is a link to a Wikipedia page on best practices for attribution that can help you properly attribute pictures you may use on your own blog.

Here is an example of attribution which follows this sequence – where you found it/ username of person/ licence type

flickr@USDAgov – CCBY2.0

Pacific School of Inquiry and Innovation

My EDtech class had the opportunity on Tuesday to visit the Pacific School of Inquiry and Innovation or PSII (they pronounce it sigh). An independent school with 85 students, it is nestled into an office building on Douglas St. in downtown Victoria. Founded by Jeff Hopkins in 2013, PSII offers an alternate learning structure with a personalized inquiry based curriculum model. Victoria’s newest highschool (grades 9 – 12) still meets BC graduation requirements for a Dogwood Certificate. Check out Jeff’s TEDx talk below!

So how is the inquiry model practiced at PSII different from other mainstream public and private schools?

  • Curriculum is co-created by student and teacher
  • Learning path is curiosity driven
  • Learners are grouped according to what makes sense, whether thats by interests, similarities or differences. Grouping is fluid and students from all grade levels interact
  • School consists of many micro-environments ranging from a quiet sensory room to a wide open study space with the constant murmur of voices much like a coffee shop atmosphere
  • Learners encouraged to develop projects based on their own inquiries
  • Learners encouraged to access mentorship and contribute to society outside of the school walls
  • A combination of face-to-face and virtual learning experiences
  • Learners develop their own Physical Health Education plan and have the opportunity to walk over to the YMCA for a supervised workout daily.

We spent the first part of our tour learning about how PSII operates, each student has their own online portfolio, a compilation of their learning goals and achievements. Teachers, students and parents all have access to this e-portfolio.

Along with the curricular competencies outlined in the BC curriculum PSII has their own set of competencies for their learners. Below is a picture of a poster with PSII’s competencies that can be found at various places around the school.

The second part of our tour was spent independently exploring the school and talking with the students. I had the opportunity to talk with two students and one teacher.

The students showed me what they were currently working on as well as the weekly schedule. PSII offers direct instruction once a week for subjects like math. Each student also meets with their support teacher once a week to go over their progress and set new learning objectives for the next week, the student to teacher ratio is about 15:1 with no support staff.

The students that I chatted with told me that they spend the majority of their days on their computers (which are included in tuition), sitting in small groups of 4 or 5 or alone in the silent study area. There are also students that spend the majority of their days off the computer creating in the art/music studios. It all depends on the personalized learning path of the student. I only talked with two students but they both referred to mainstream public school as “scary”, there was an overarching feeling of calmness throughout the school and I can see how this model would work well with teens that struggle with both generalized and social anxiety.

The two students also preferred to call PSII an independent school rather than a private school as it made it sound “elitist”, I think that this goes with seeing PSII as a test model for inquiry based education. Seeing it as the education method of the 21st century. Not elitist, just ahead of its time.

I think that Inquiry based learning should be an option for any student in public schools. For some students direct instruction may work better and for some the inquiry model, no two students are alike so why have only one learning model? I guess that is what PSII is, an attempt to accommodate every learner based on interests, learning needs and pace.

As an elementary teacher how can I prepare my students to be independent thinkers capable of true independent inquiry? This is a question I will continue to ask as a teacher candidate and beyond.

Audio/ Video Editing Workshop with Rich

We had another workshop with Rich McCue today in EDCI 336, this time we focused on Video editing using iMovie, audio editing using garageband and screen capture using Screencastify. We learned how to import a video, then trim and cut it, and transition between parts. We also learned how to add credits and publish it. Using rockband we imported a song and then learned to trim, cut, delete and fade between audio segments. Audacity is another option that can be used on windows as well as Mac. This was my first time working with audio/video editing tools and I found it a bit overwhelming, but like all things I just need to spend some time practicing. Here is a link to Rich’s page with a step by step guide to working with the platforms above.

These tools along with screen capture could also be used by students to demonstrate their understanding of a topic, or, teachers could use these tools to make an online tutorial like Khan Academy and CrashCourse for their students that they can play after a lesson as a refresher. Technology can positively support a teachers role in the classroom so becoming techno-literate is a must for a 21st century teacher.

Here is a couple of ways your students can use video and audio editing software to enhance student learning.

It is important to think about equity when it comes to devices and the internet being used in your classroom. Using an app like iMovie restricts access to a students project. If they do not have access to a Mac device outside of school they would not be able to work or play using the skills they learned at school with iMovie. Tools like wevideo that are cloud-based and free provide access to students outside of school. Kids that may not have access to devices or internet due to financial circumstances would still be able to access their projects at the local library.

All in all though I think that it was great experience to practice using audio/video editing software. As education and technology mesh in a 21st century classroom, being techno-literate is a crucial skill all teachers will need to posses in order to be able to keep up with the next generation. After only 4 Edtech classes it is becoming ever more evident that technology has the potential to be a catalyst for learning, it allows student to express their creativity, show their learning and build understanding.

Video Conference with Ian Landy

Tuesdays class was my first experience with a video conference call, we met with Ian Landy, Principal at Edgehill Elementary in Powell River. Next time I will make sure that I get there early so that I am not in the front row, I was a bit uncomfortable with being on the big screen and the camera moving to wherever the sound was coming from seemed to have a mind of its own.

Ian talked to us about technology as assessment in the form of e-portfolios, fresh grade , just one example of a digital portfolio/ assessment platform (currently being used in SD61) provides educators with a way to report student learning rather than reporting student achievement (what the old fashioned report cards did). It allows teachers to document, capture and communicate learning to parents and students in a secure way, student data is stored in Canada but does spend a few seconds in the US. Through this platform teachers can also share resources and provide their students with formative descriptive feedback. All this capturing and documenting sounds like teachers would spend a lot of time using devices to upload student content, Ian suggested adding archivist as a class job which I think is a great idea that teaches students how to upload to their own e-portfolios. One thing that is great about e-portfolios is that it gives the students the opportunity to document and share their own learning, providing a sense of responsibility. Ian suggested scaffolding independent use of e-portfolios starting at around grade 5 or 6.

Each student comes to class with their own experiences and worldview, no two students are exactly the same so why would we assess them in the same way? As Ian pointed out ” we can’t compare students… E-portfolios allow for personalized achievement”.

Edcamp

Today we spent the first couple of hours of our class having our own mini Edcamp session. Edcamp is an unconference where the topics/themes (education based) are chosen by the attendees. The topics are then narrowed down by up-voting the topics that interest you. Rather than having an expert come and talk, the sessions are curated through the collaboration and conversation of the attendees, this allows everyone involved to both share their own experiences and learn from their peers. Edcamp can also be used as a learning tool for teachers to use with their class. More information and resources can be found here.

I chose outdoor learning environments as my Edcamp topic. My group started out by telling each other about our own experiences or lack of experiences learning outdoors. We then relayed examples of outdoor learning environments we have seen. Here are some ideas….

Related image


Image result for outdoor classroom
Image result for outdoor classroom

Through our group conversations it was evident that time spent learning outside was a memorable experience for all of us. We did not get much further than My group ended up getting off topic so I think that if I was going to have my own edcamp with my class I would structure it for them, maybe a list of questions so that if they get off topic they can refer to the questions and get back to purpose of the activity.