"Here is a shared Google Doc...go and collaborate on a project...."
"Go to the Collaboration space and make a plan together....."
"Share the work on this interactive tool....."
Technology can be a great tool for collaboration and yet many teachers do not understand why it continues to fail in their classroom. Collaboration is not something that automatically happens when you add technology tools. It is something that needs to be facilitated and taught by the teacher.
I love using Minecraft Education Edition with students. It creates conditions that are beneficial for learning, and particularly for engagement, collaboration, and creativity (Riseberg, 2015). But having students join your server and collaborate on a project without any structure will result in chaos. I learnt this the hard way the first time I attempted setting a construction task. Minecraft could be replaced by a multitude of different platforms but the message remains the same. Teachers need to consider how the collaboration activities will work with certain technology tools. Does it change the dynamic of the collaboration or make it easier for one person to sit back and let others do the work for them? Technology tools are not always the silver bullet they are made out to be. Often it takes extra work to get them achieving what you want them to. This can be the reason why it is so easy for teachers to fall back on what they know works.
For me, the way I can help my students collaborate using technology is by persisting with it, supporting them and structuring its use in a way that is going to ensure their success.
Risberg, C. (2015). More than just a video game: Tips for using Minecraft to personalize the curriculum and promote creativity, collaboration, and problem solving. Illinois Association for Gifted Children Journal, 44-48.
I am part of an eLearning Coordinators Network that meets each term. It seems that every single time we meet, we end up discussing mobile phone policies. The debate is ongoing in the group and there are certainly arguments for each side that make perfect sense. I personally believe they can exist in schools, but there needs to be very strong policy around their use. No matter which side you choose, I think it has to be about the culture around the decision how it is followed up in the environment. Too often the teachnology is blammed and not the structures around it.
Both the scenarios below show school with phones in the classroom:
The first picture demonstrates phones being used to support learning. Mobile learning activities lend themselves to contemporary learning theories, specifically behaviorist, constructivist, situated, and collaborative learning (Crompton, Burke & Gregory, 2017). As well as snapping classroom information, students may use phones to record lectures, enter reminders into their calendars or participate in interactives classroom quizzes. Not just facilitating participation, mobile phones can be a creative technology that allows users to create and share their content (Granito, 2011).
The second picture demonstrates mobile phones being an active distraction in the classroom, with the user listening to Spotify instead of the teacher. In both cases, the teacher and the classroom expectations are the influencing elements - not the phones themselves. Just becuase students have a phone, doesn’t mean they will automatically do the wrong thing. The first teacher allows the use of phones for educational purposes and students know what they can and cannot do. In the second classroom poor choices with mobiles phones seem to be an issue and yet this may be solved with some strong rules and consequences. If it leads to a total classroom ban - so be it. But I believe it is good to give students the chance to learn to self-moderate and be responsible instead of tying their hands behind their backs.
Crompton, H., Burke, D., & Gregory, K. H. (2017). The use of mobile learning in PK-12 education: A systematic review. Computers & Education, 110, 51-63.
Ganito, C. (2011) "Transparent classrooms: How the mobile phone is changing educational settings." International Journal of Cyber Ethics in Education (IJCEE) 1 (3) 59-69.
School Screen Time + Home Screen Time = a LOT of Screen Time!
There's no doubt that parents are busier than they have ever been, often both working. Many adults seek their own down time on their devices and often also let their children do the same. Parent screen time is the strongest predictor of child screen time according to Lauricella, Wartella and Rideout (2015). iPads are the babysitters of the new generation, the way that TV was 30 years ago. However, when this is added to classroom screen time at school, students can be spending multiple hours on front of screens per day.
There is a push to continue to use technology in bigger, better ways starting right from the Australian Early Years Learning Framework. Unfortunately this educational perspective on digital technology use by young children contrasts with the public health guidelines (Staker, Zabatiero, Danby, Thorpe & Edwards (2018).
How can teachers help? Results suggest that policymakers should consider the family environment as a whole when developing policy to influence children's screen media use (Lauricella, Wartella & Rideout, 2015). Teachers should always be focusing on pedagogy first and be mindful of the amount of time their students are spending on their devices in the classroom. Break it up, add in movement and make students focus on things across the room to help give their eyes a rest. Additionally, consider any digital tasks being set for homework.
Lauricella, A. R., Wartella, E., & Rideout, V. J. (2015). Young children's screen time: The complex role of parent and child factors. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 36, 11-17.
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2014). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Harlow, United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited.
Straker, L., Zabatiero, J., Danby, S., Thorpe, K., & Edwards, S. (2018). Conflicting guidelines on young children's screen time and use of digital technology create policy and practice dilemmas. The Journal of pediatrics, 202, 300-303.
Part of my role in previous years has been teaching Digital Technologies. There are a variety of Web-based tools that you can use to support this. In this blog I will share about Scratch and Microsoft Make Code. Both platforms are free to use and allow for completely open ended creation with code. As students move from being consumers of content to engaging in the subject matter by creating computational artefacts, they discover opportunities to extend their creative expression to solve problems and develop new knowledge (Yadav & Cooper, 2017).
Microsoft Make Code
Microsoft Make Code is a free, open source platform for creating engaging computer science learning experiences that support a progression path into real-world programming. It includes a simulator, block code editor and java-script editor that work with a variety of different components. This is a great tool for facilitating project based learning using Micro:bits. These handheld, programmable micro-computers, can be used for all sorts of creations and I really enjoy letting my students go and seeing what they create.
Other Cool Online Tools for Teaching Kids to Code
The Hour of Code website provides a library of free activities that engage children in coding. These are not open ended like Scratch or Microsoft Make Code, but they do help children learn the basic concepts of coding in easy to understand projects. When I am looking to extend students to some of the deeper concepts of programming, I connect them with Khan Academy. Their Computer Programming course is interactive and self-paced and is perfect for motivated learners who want to learn more.
Yadav, A., & Cooper, S. (2017). Fostering creativity through computing. Communications of the ACM., 60(2), 31-33
The birth of Web 2.0 tools changed the way we used the interent. It allowed individuals to collaborate with one another and contribute to the authorship of content, customise websites for their use, and instantaneously publish their thoughts (Alexander, 2006, Heafner and Friedman, 2008). This naturally had an impact upon education and the way technology was used in the classroom.
In this blog post, I describe 3 positive ways Web 2.0 can be used in teaching.
While classroom and student collaboration is an easy to identify benefit of Web 2.0 tools, the rise in global teacher professional learning networks (PLN) are largely enabled by Web 2.0 tools. Social networks such as Twitter connect teachers from all over the world. Teacher forums, blogs and online groups allow teachers to not only share resources but dicuss common issues and support each other. It seems that Web 2.0 are enhancing the teaching profession in and out of the classroom.
Some think that Flipped Learning is all about making videos children watch at home. It is not. According to Sams and Bergmann (2013) it's about how to best use your in-class time with students. Technology tools can helps teachers move away from direct instruction as their primary teaching tool toward a more student-centered approach. Teachers can curate content for students to work on or set individualsed tasks on a waide array of educational platfroms, in a sense freeing them to work with groups and individuals.
Alexander, B. (2006) Web 2.0: A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning? Educause Review, 41 (2) (2006), pp. 32-44
Chaiyo, Y., & Nokham, R. (2017). The effect of Kahoot, Quizizz and Google Forms on the student's perception in the classrooms response system. In Digital Arts, Media and Technology (ICDAMT), International Conference on (pp. 178-182). IEEE.
Heafner, T.L. & Friedman, A. M. (2008) Wikis and constructivism in secondary social studies: Fostering a deeper understanding. Computers in the Schools, 25 , pp. 288-302
Sams, A., & Bergmann, J. (2013). Flip your students' learning. Educational leadership, 70(6), 16-20.
Hello, thanks for stopping by! I am Laura Bain and this is my reflective blog for ESC515. This is my 4th subject in my Masters of Education, in which I am specialising in Information and Communication Technologies. Very excited by the coursework for this subject and looking forward to reading what everyone's thoughts are along the way. Thanks for taking the time to visit and reading my entries.