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The TOPCARE T.E.A.M Project concluded on 11/20/18. The final report and supplemental materials can be found on my 20% project page.
The following five videos were evaluated against criteria established through the CREaTe Excellence Framework developed my Maxwell, Stobaugh, and Tassell (2014).
Video Clip #2 – Microscope (Length 1:02)
Scenario: San Diego State University Entomologists hold a videoconference to interact with students while examining, through an electron microscope, samples of insects gathered and prepared by classmates. Experts highlight structural components of an insect’s head after discussing parts of an insect’s mouth one week prior. The brevity of this video clip doesn’t allow enough evidence to determine a definite frame of reference between teacher-directed and student-directed (students could have prepared a list of questions for the experts prior to this teleconference, could have directed the analysis later in the discussion, or engaged in collaborative classroom discussion later in the lesson).
Cognitive Complexity: Level 3 (investigating) because it appears that the expert is leading the discussion to differentiate structures of an insect’s head. I see no evidence of student-led discussion aside from their initial preparing of the samples.
Real World: Level 3 (investigating) as the students have prepared the samples and are being guided by the experts through a real-world analysis of insect structures.
Engagement: Level 2 (practicing). Based upon the video clip, students are engaged in the task, directed by the teacher. I see no evidence of student choice for task or task differentiation based on content, process, or product.
Technology Integration: Level 5 (specializing). This lesson includes the use of videoconferencing with entomology experts and an electron microscope to analyze the structures of an insect.
Video Clip #3 – Japanese (Length 0:44)
Scenario: Student conducted a survey among classmates to determine peer areas of interest in Japanese culture to coordinate the development of a webpage with relevant links to this information. Collaborating with the instructor, this material was made available to students to (presumably) supplement an instructional lesson to gain a greater appreciation for Japanese culture.
Cognitive Complexity: Level 5 (specializing). Student conducted peer questioning to produce material relevant to interests in Japanese culture for classmates.
Real World: Level 5 (specializing). By collaborating with the instructor, the student created material to assist peers in appreciating different aspects of Japanese culture.
Engagement: Level 4 (integrating). The student collaborated with the instructor and his peers to identify relevant and interesting aspects of Japanese culture to provide additional resources for his classmates.
Technology Integration: Level 4 (integrating). Webpage was developed by the student, provided information essential for the instructor in conducting the lesson. Material was developed through collaboration with instructor and student peers.
Video Clip #4 – Animation (Length 1:30)
Scenario: Students develop computer graphics for use by Microsoft in the creation of a new computer game.
Cognitive Complexity: Level 5 (specializing). The students are creating their own content, and acting as content experts to assure their graphics are visually appearing and as accurate as possible.
Real World: Level 5 (specializing). Students are collaborating with software experts at Microsoft to create computer graphics that can be utilized broadly, beyond one specific computer game. The development of these graphics are based across multiple disciplines including math, physics, and creative writing
Engagement: Level 5 (specializing). Students collaborate with each other as well as content experts by being fully immersed from topic to presentation of the final project.
Technology Integration: Level 5 (specializing). This lesson includes the use of technology across multiple disciplines to create realistic computer graphics for a final product for national distribution.
Video Clip #11 – Feel Temperature (Length 1:08)
Scenario: Students participate in a lab activity to investigate differences between perceived and actual temperatures of everyday items.
Cognitive Complexity: Level 3 (investigating). The teacher directs the students to compare various items, and evaluate the difference between perceived and actual temperatures of these items.
Real World: Level 3 (investigating). The students are using real world objects and acting as facilitators of the testing.
Engagement: Level 2 (practicing). The teacher directs all students for the same task of testing the same items subjectively and objectively.
Technology Integration: Level 4 (integrating). The temperature probe is essential to this project completion, promoting collaboration between students and with teacher to help solve task-directed questions.
Video Clip: Edutopia – Digital Media Empower Youth
**This video clip was the result of a Google video search under the search parameters of “Student-directed learning”
Scenario: Students in grades 6-12, from four different schools, participate in the Digital Youth Network to gain technological literacy and develop projects they designed. Classroom time is devoted towards instructional methods, and the students are given access to various software programs in an after school setting, to apply technology skills for the creation of projects they chose. By establishing this foundational technological base, all teachers are able to integrate digital tools into their classroom curriculum with greater effectiveness.
Cognitive Complexity: Level 5 (specializing). Students are given technology tools to produce their own multimedia project. This technological proficiency can be transferred across multiple disciplines ranging from graphic design to creative writing.
Real World: Level 5 (specializing). Students collaborate with teachers throughout this experience in learning how to critique classmates’ projects and address other national issues such as global warming, and gender equity.
Engagement: Level 5 (specializing). Students become immersed in the use of technology through in-class and after-class instruction. This gives them the freedom to develop their own project from start to finish. Collaborative dialogue is utilized throughout with peers and instructors for constructive critiques in improving individual projects.
Technology Integration: Level 5 (specializing). The Digital Youth Network is a hands-on, technology based initiative to teach technological literacy. Students can utilize various software programs to produce video, audio, graphic design, and gaming products while collaborating with classroom instructors for guidance. The inclusion of several schools within this network allows students to gain perspectives from a diverse population to broaden individual thought processes in addressing national issues.
Video Clip – Student Service Self-Directed Learing Project: Homeless Hope (Length 1:00)
Direct Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0ZKDDgni9E
**This video clip was the result of a YouTube search under the search parameters of “Student-directed learning projects”
Scenario: Middle school students are directed to utilize technology to promote an issue important to them. These two students specifically chose to create a community service project by requesting materials and financial support for care packages to be given to the homeless in Tacoma, WA.
Cognitive Complexity: Level 5 (specializing). Students are given free rein to identify a problem area within their community. These students have chosen to address the global issue of poverty by creating a program to support the homeless, determining which materials to include within their care packages to meet basic human needs and utilizing digital media to promote their cause.
Real World: Level 4 (Integrating). Students draw increased global awareness to poverty in today’s society through video presentation on the internet. The design of this lesson transfers directly to every other subject area by encouraging identification of a problem and a logical step-wise progression towards finding a solution. This rating is limited to a level 4 because there is no evidence of students collaborating with experts.
Engagement: Level 3 (investigating). Students are able to choose their own project to incorporate the use of technology with. Further, they have chosen to take action based upon their ability to gather/deliver care packages and foster positive change through increased awareness and soliciting financial support. There is no evidence of students partnering directly with the teacher to define content
Technology Integration: Level 3 (investigating). The use of digital media appears to be an add-on to the overall project of delivering care packages to the homeless. While this video draws increased awareness and support to the plight of the homeless, collection of materials and delivering of packages could be accomplished without this technology.
Student service self-directed learning project: homeless hope [Video file]. (2018). Retrieved December 13, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0ZKDDgni9E
Digital media empower youth [Video file]. (2010). Retrieved November 18, 2018, from https://www.edutopia.org/video/digital-media-empower-youth
Maxwell, M., Stobaugh, R., & Tassell, J. (2014) CREaTe Excellence Framework. Retrieved November 18, 2018, from https://blackboard.wku.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-5267457-dt-content-rid-29756538_2/courses/201830LITE73747239/CREaTe%20Framework.pdf
Emerging practices in education today stem heavily from the incorporation of technology in the classroom to foster a greater dedication to lifelong learning by our students. By identifying effective methods of implementation, teachers are now able to create a more individualized learning experience for each pupil, tailored to their specific learning styles and needs while providing a greater opportunity to foster communication between the teacher/student and teacher/parent. As with all tools of the trade, however, integrating technology in the classroom requires an increased sense of responsibility by all parties involved. Beyond financial needs, the use of edtech also affects the workload required of faculty and staff in learning how to navigate through new software programs and adjusting their daily lesson plans to maximize these new digital tools.
As the use of computers in the classroom becomes more prevalent, many educators have begun adopting a blended classroom approach to provide supplemental instruction and encourage parent involvement. With this flexible approach, teachers are able to utilize blended learning to encourage students to take control of their learning through a facilitator role as students work through course material online. This learning can further be reinforced through the use of a flipped classroom in which students are provided hands-on learning and guided practice during class time after progressing through online modules. Software such as Google Classroom allows teachers to distribute materials and instructions to students/parents instantaneously, while also integrating into most other educational apps for ease of grading (Steinmetz 2018, October 29). This translates to a faster turnaround time for grading assignments and communication of information, freeing up valuable instruction time for the teacher. Apps such as Class dojo and infinite campus also provide greater transparency for parents monitoring academic progress while serving as a direct and instant line of communication between parent/teacher.
Through the use of software including Microsoft Forms, HP School Pack 2.0 and SMART Learning Suite, teachers are able to provide students with a much more individualized learning experience by utilizing formative assessments. These assessments are short and informal quizzes that can be used to assess students as they learn, highlighting which areas may need further emphasis as the teacher progresses through a specific instructional unit, rather than relying upon summative assessments given at the conclusion of that unit (Zimmerman, 2018, October 16). Perceivant, an emerging edtech company, is taking this individualized instructional approach to another level entirely. This company partners with instructors to build custom content digital course materials, integrating analytics to measure student engagement along the way. As students progress through the course materials they are presented with formative assessments, however this software also provides indicators measuring student confidence levels in the given material such as how long a student stays on one page, stop and start behavior, and mouse movements. These indicators are combined with the overall assessment performance to create an individualized study guide for each student (Walsh, 2018, October 23). This type of on-the-fly assessment allows teachers to adjust their teaching to meet the learning styles of students more efficiently than a standardized instructional approach.
Along with the increasing use of technology in classrooms comes an increased responsibility for teaching students about cybersecurity and responsible digital citizenship. Children today have the ability to search for a wealth of information at their fingertips, but face the danger of being targeted by others who would want to take advantage of their curiosity. In response to this, many school systems have begun implementing responsible digital citizenship within their existing curriculum (Ottesen, 2018, October 1). Digital citizenship encompasses not only the safeguarding of personal information and critical thinking in determining the authenticity of information through online sources, but serves as a deterrent to digital piracy and plagiarism as well (Lynch, October 2). School district administrators are not immune to this responsibility either. When considering the need for edtech vendors to pursue data mining in improving upon and updating existing software, clear guidelines should be developed to monitor what specific information is being collected by vendors, whom will have access to this information, and what safeguards have been put in place to minimize the risk of potential security breaches (Lynch, 2018, October 4). A truly comprehensive program places parents and guardians in the center of this issue as well, maintaining transparency on the part of teachers and administrators to assist parents and guardians in deciding what programs their children will be allowed to participate in.
Current estimates place the U.S. as the leader in the development and implementation of edtech, investing 60% of this overall $8.38 billion dollar market worth locally (Lynch, 2018, October 18). However, in the face of waning educational funding at local levels, this boom in available technology resources requires a comprehensive analysis of digital tools prior to their implementation in the classroom to maximize budgetary resources. Specifically, policymakers must be vigilant in validating the circumstances surrounding the effectiveness of proven programs against their own local district demographics to avoid investing monies on programs that won’t effectively target the pupils we are trying to reach (Lynch, 2018, October 5). Administrators must also take into account the monetary and staffing resources required by their Information Technology department charged with daily maintenance and integration of new programs within the district. According to Graf (2018, October 8), school systems should be proactive in recognizing potential conflicts prior to updates while also establishing alternative means, such as a comprehensive knowledge base or self-service portal services, to reduce the workload of the IT department in fixing isolated incidents. Above all, the implementation of new digital tools must be both proven and practical for everyday use in order to maximize limited budgetary and human resources.
The practice of technology in the classroom, once perceived as a novel idea, has quickly evolved into a staple of education today. With opportunities for individualized instruction, greater communication, and data analysis, we are poised at the forefront of a new standard in education. As we strive to meet the needs of students, these developing digital tools provide the perfect opportunity to reach the individual rather than teaching to the masses. The challenge therein, lies in how effectively we can utilize this technology while preparing our youth in the new age of cyber security.
Graf, A. (2018, October 8). Four keys to a modern IT approach in k-12 schools [web log comment]. Retrieved from https://www.thetechedvocate.org/four-keys-to-a-modern-it-approach-in-k-12-schools/
Lynch, M. (2018, October 18). Which country is leading the edtech movement? [web log comment]. Retrieved from https://www.thetechedvocate.org/which-country-is-leading-the-edtech-movement/
Lynch, M. (2018, October 5). Stop supporting digital tools that have not been tested and proven [web log comment]. Retrieved from https://www.thetechedvocate.org/stop-supporting-digital-tools-that-have-not-been-tested-and-proven/
Lynch, M. (2018, October 4). Digital privacy and security for educators [web log comment]. Retrieved from https://www.thetechedvocate.org/digital-privacy-and-security-for-educators/
Lynch, M. (2018, October 2). Internet safety tips for school-aged kids [web log comment]. Retrieved from https://www.thetechedvocate.org/internet-safety-tips-for-school-aged-kids/
Ottesen, J. (2018, October 1). New ‘digital citizenship’ curriculum helps students become responsible tech users [web log comment]. Retrieved from https://edscoop.com/new-digital-citizenship-curriculum-helps-students-become-responsible-tech-users/
Steinmetz, R. (2018, October 29). How K-12 schools can get started with blended learning [web log comment]. Retrieved from https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/10/how-k-12-schools-can-get-started-blended-learning
Walsh, K. (2018, October 23). Getting to know perceivant – a uniquely effective approach to higher ed content. [web log comment]. Retrieved from https://www.emergingedtech.com/?s=next-level+content+approach
Zimmerman, E. (2018, October 16). Data driven instruction: how student data guides formative assessments [web log comment]. Retrieved from https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/10/data-driven-instruction-how-student-data-guides-formative-assessments-perfcon
Letter to the Editor
To cap off National Digital Citizenship Week, held from October 15-19, I feel compelled to point out a missed opportunity by our local media to support the mandatory integration of responsible digital citizenship into our P-12 educational curriculum here in Kentucky. As a doctoral student, instructor, and athletic trainer in the university setting; I have found our youth are provided numerous platforms for communication and research, but have a limited sense of responsibility in using this technology.
We currently teach our youth basic computing, but fail to equip them with necessary skills in an evolving technology-based world. Instances ranging from inappropriate social media posts, online safety, cyberbullying, or plagiarism could be preventable through structured curriculum teaching students the foundational skills of digital citizenship. These skills are crucial at any age relating to unintentional sharing of personal information online as well as appropriate use of technology etiquette including mobile devices, instant messaging, and email correspondence.
Incredibly, the framework for this curriculum has already been developed through the University of Kentucky’s Digital Driver’s License (DDL) program as an open educational resource, free from budget restraints at the district level. Customizable to any age level, this program offers a self-directed learning style for students to progress through scenarios addressing proper digital citizenship with a self-assessment quiz at the conclusion of each module. I urge each parent to research this program (https://otis.coe.uky.edu/DDL/launch.php), contact your superintendent, and reach out to your state legislator to promote this educational reform. Positive habits established at a young age will aid in making responsible digital citizens of the future.
Dustin R. Wilson, MS, LAT, ATC
Associate Athletic Trainer / Adjunct Instructor
Western Kentucky University
Today’s educational model faces a very real issue in the wake of technological advances. At face value, we must be able to adapt our instructional approaches to incorporate the effective use of technologies to prepare students for computer literacy in real world applications beyond the classroom setting. However, we must also be aware of the evolving nature in which these advances feed upon themselves, and create an ongoing race to keep up with further advances. As Sir Ken Robinson points out, we are currently preparing our young people for a world in present tense that will pose substantially different challenges by the time they reach adulthood. Further, emphasis upon subjects such as science and math encourage thinking within a finite set of rules, discouraging creative thinking and self-expression that are vital skills within the adult world.
I found Dan Pink’s views to highlight this theory through the illustration of the candle problem intriguing. The solution to the candle problem required a heightened awareness through creative thinking, in which many people struggled to find. Subjects also showed poorer results when motivated through extrinsic factors, or incentives, rather when driven through intrinsic motivation or sense of accomplishment. When we can approach a given problem in personal terms, applying real-world context, we are much more apt to find a meaningful solution through creative thinking. A sound methodological approach, rooted in disciplines of science and math, is only the beginning to problem solving. We must also be able to adapt and change course as necessary to find alternative solutions, marrying the skills of creative and critical thinking into a singular ultimate goal. As adults, we will rarely, if ever, be presented with a real-world problem that can easily be placed within a controlled sterile laboratory environment. Rhetorically, why should we teach our youth solely within the very sterile environment that is most often impractical in a real world setting?
I believe the majority of true learning occurs through a practical, hands-on approach. Largely, this approach becomes impractical in a traditional formalized classroom setting due to resource constraints for one-on-one instruction. Dave Eggers presented a fascinating solution in this same vein of thought with the creation of learning centers using volunteers in after-school programs to serve as mentors for students as they explore their own creative writing skills. This creative thinking creates an environment that fosters relationships while also incorporating the use of computers, serving as a technological hub for each community. When a student feels a genuine connection with an instructor / mentor, learning becomes real and practical experience rather than simply completing tasks for a favorable grade. Gever Tully echoes this same philosophy through his utilization of hands-on creative learning centers. While objective and fact-based learning plays a fundamental role, his learning center setting serves as a facet towards exploration of how and why things work, rather than the presentation of facts and theories, commonplace in the formal classroom setting. I agree with Tully’s suggestion for allowing our children to explore their world, although I don’t necessarily advocate allowing children to play with fire, giving freedom to explore the “how” and “why” leads to practical understanding rather than the regurgitation of scientific principles to assess one’s depth of knowledge.
The implementation of technology within the curriculum of education today serves as both a problem and a solution for today’s educators. Aside from the necessary funding to secure these resources, we must also be willing to embrace the myriad of possibilities available through its use to incorporate creative thinking and problem solving. This also lends itself to address practical learning in an evolving digital age. More recently, coding has become increasingly popular in elementary schools, allowing students to apply basic level computer programming in developing games and software based upon a step-wise progression of problem solving to create this digital environment. This application can then be transferred towards further technological advances in real world applications of sophisticated software and app development, illustrated by Krish Mehra in his TED talk at Kent State in 2017. This futuristic educational model will allow students to explore career pathways that have yet to be identified. Similarly, emerging technologies addressed by AJ+ could also lead to educational reform including 3D printing, Virtual Reality, Cloud Computing, Biometrics, and Holograms. Each of which serves as a vast platform for improved instructional opportunities in technology based content and practical learning applications. Undoubtedly, we live in a technological age that feeds upon itself and is ever advancing. It is our duty as educators to not only teach our students technology literacy, but empower them with creative thinking skills to prepare them for whatever the future may hold.
AJ+. (2015, September). 5 Technologies that will change classroom education [Video file]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loFL5gT_m8I&feature=youtu.be
Eggers, D. (2008, February). My wish: once upon a school [Video File]. Retrieved from: https://www.ted.com/talks/dave_eggers_makes_his_ted_prize_wish_once_upon_a_school
Mehra, K. (2017, March). Coding: By a kid for kids [Video file]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOsdfRbrNdk
Pink, D. (2009, July). The puzzle of motivation [Video File]. Retrieved from: https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation?language=en
Robinson, K. (2006, February). Do schools kill creativity? [Video File]. Retrieved from: https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity
Robinson, K. (2010, February). Bring on the learning revolution [Video File]. Retrieved from: https://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution
Tulley, G. (2007, March). 5 dangerous things you should let your kid do [Video File]. Retrieved from: https://www.ted.com/talks/gever_tulley_on_5_dangerous_things_for_kids