Week 12

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Week Eleven Reflection

I read a lot of great blogs this week. There are a lot of school districts that already have great policies in place and are ready to implement new material. I applaud those districts for being forward thinking and pro student.

In the last three weeks, my school was broken into and vandalized, computers stolen, windows smashed, doors broken. Over 20K in damages and theft, to top it off, Cradleboard Elementary decided to leave the A/C off in the whole school, it was over 100 degrees, the server burnt up. There goes the tech budget for the year. Another year of no computers for our students.

It is frustrating to have write a plan that you know will never be looked at, used, thought about, or seen as viable. I think a lot of us have these big dreams and want so much more for our kids. We want them to not follow in their family’s footsteps; we want them to go to college, to be something. We are sending kids into the world with less than half the knowledge they need because the state will not put money where it needs to be, in education. We are proud to say that as a state, Arizona has finally become the 50th worst state for education, teacher pay, and teacher support. We finally achieved something!

Teaching kids how to blog on Moodle will be fairly easy, teaching them policy on how, proper use, and digital citizenship, will be a whole different animal! With nothing to go, this will be interesting.

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? 

Our District is so far behind in technology that it is hard to find a starting point. I think the specific policy I could help the district prepare with is the use of blogs in the 3-5 grade range.

Currently we have Moodle for all grades, and no one really uses it because they don’t know how. The district wants to develop a blogging program for all grades but the lack of computers and training is stopping it from happening. I believe that using blogs for the last year while not making me an expert, does give me an edge on most of the other teachers in the district.

Creating an acceptable use policy is an important part of any learning initiative that involves technology, be it a 1:1 program, BYOD environment, blending learning initiative, etc (Winske, 2014). Most students in the U.S. have technology at school and at home and there are places where that doesn’t exist. This is one of those places. The students here do not understand what acceptable use is, so if we were to throw them into a blog position, no one would know what to do, how to properly use it, and edict in writing. I believe that Acceptable use of technology will be the first main concern; the second will be the teaching of blogging.

For me, blogging is a big point because the only other policy that doesn’t exist yet is student portfolios. Blogging is doable using Moodle as the medium. Blogging is one of the best collaboration tools for students using technology. It is also one of the best tools for authentic writing. The NMC Horizon Project Report 2015 has this to say about authentic learning opportunities:

“Authentic learning, especially that which brings real-life experiences into the classroom, is still all too uncommon in        schools. Authentic learning is seen as an important pedagogical strategy, with great potential to increase the engagement of students who are seeking some connection between the world as they know it exists outside of school, and their experiences in school that are meant to prepare them for that world. Use of learning strategies that incorporate real-life experiences, technology, and tools that are already familiar to students, and interactions from community members are examples of approaches that can bring authentic learning into the classroom. Practices such as these may help retain students in school and prepare them for further education, careers, and citizenship in a way that traditional practices are too often failing to do.”

Student Blogs are engaging and provide them the opportunity to collaborate with others outside of their district. This is what makes them so useful in education. Believe me, Last year I would have been the one that said NO to blogs. I see the use, I have read the research, and I see the need. Students need to be able to use a real tool in education, and this form of collaboration is easier and faster than email. Below is a video by Paul Ellison at Teachers Network which is a quick video about the benefits of blogging.

Rebecca Muller also has a great video on the benefits of blogging at a second grade level.

Her blog is about a primary blogging community. You are connected to schools around the country and share blogs over the course of the school year. The program teaches how to write a blog, how to respond, and it provides students with a voice they may not have had before.

For the students at Whiteriver Elementary, this is what they need to understand that the world is not as small as they think. A class blog would put them into contact with a nationwide classroom, it would force them to write correctly, to think about what they say, and realize that others care what they have to say.

I really want this to happen. I want to use blogs, and I can use Moodle to start, but I cannot do what I want with the limited use of Moodle. I want to incorporate a student blog site that can incorporate video, images, sound, and text. I can see our students getting more out of this than using Sum Dog for math games.

I would be more than willing to create podcasts to teach how to create a blog, how to write a post, and how to respond. I would be willing to help other teachers start and use a blog in the classroom. I feel I have enough information to be dangerous! Lets play!!

References:

NMC Horizon Project (2015). NMC Horizon Report Preview 2015 K-12 Edition. Retrieved from http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2015-nmc-horizon-report-k12-preview.pdf

Muller (Producer). (October 23, 2013). The importance of our Classroom Blog. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xh3x0lACVDU

Teachers Network (Producer). (October 15, 2009). Blogging in the Classroom PROMO. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGUtUY8H0nY

Winske, C. (February 17, 2014). K-12 TD Tech Decisions. Retrieved from http://www.k12techdecisions.com/article/creating_an_acceptable_use_policy_for_mobile_learning_initiatives

Reflection Week 10

Well we had a great twitter session on this topic and I have read a lot of good blogs about the uses of electronic crafting. I read one blog where they wanted to make a map and have the kids make it light up where they live, that would be pretty cool. There were a lot of neat ideas that this technology could be used for. However, in the classroom as a learning tool, I don’t see it. I can teach circuits and electricity a lot cheaper than this with an actual purpose.

I can see this being used in school though. As a science fair project, as an art show project, defiantly. But in the classroom as an art project, no. The technology is cool, I want to play with it. But its not something I would want to use to teach with. There are some that want to bring it in and try it with their kids, good for them, I wish them luck.

We have covered some great material in this class, we talked about things that I really want to make happen, but this topic really disappointed me. This is outside the class stuff for the most part. As a craft this is great, kids parents can buy them this and they can have a ball with it. I can’t see spending the money on this for my classroom.

I would rather invest time and money in a maker space, a 3-D printer, or even trying to get the infrastructure for a BYOD school. All of those are technologies that are beneficial to kids and useful in the world today. Crafting is fun, with technology it is probably more fun, but it is not going to teach my kids any more than any other technology.

Essential question: How are electronics viable additions to “crafting” for today’s young person?

Wow, I never thought of anything like this as crafting. I always thought about sewing, scrapbooking, rock hounding and carving, and making wood projects as crafting, this is a whole new level.

I have a hard time putting this into the classroom beyond a maker’s space, but I can see lots of uses for kids. Watching the Adafruit videos on wearable flora, the first thing that came to mind was the Wearable Art Show in Sitka where high school students create wearable art out of all kinds of things. This would be the ultimate item to use for that. It would require them to be creative and industrious. Back to the classroom, I don’t know, I don’t see it.

Andrew Terranova (2014) has a great article about Becky Stern wearable’s, they all look cool, but where is the education application? This is really cool stuff but how can I use it in class beyond art or a makerspace type environment? Ok, so I read some more and found some good ideas for science fair projects, I forgot about that aspect. Using the wearable flora, students could create GPS tractable cat collars and map where cats go, or track birds, or frogs, or any animal to see what the habits are.   Jaseem Vp lists ten science fair projects that are all great ideas using electronic crafting.

If you Google images of electronic crafts there are numerous items kids could make. I just can’t get excited about this. I don’t see it as a “thing” that would happen where I live simply because of cost. These are great Ideas, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t see it as anything I could use now.

References:

Terranova, A. (July 15, 2014). Make: 10 Fabulous and Fashionable Wearable Projects From Becky Stern. Retrieved from http://makezine.com/2014/07/15/10-fabulous-and-fashionable-wearable-projects-from-becky-stern/

Vp, J. (2013). Top 10 Science Fair Electronics Projects for School. Retrieved from http://www.circuitsgallery.com/2013/01/top10-science-fair-projects.html

Reflection Week 9

I read a lot of great posts on the subject of BYOD. There are a lot of good points on both for and against the subject. One article I read was having families paying for the technology instead of the school. We all wish our kids could have a device at their desk, I mean really think about the engagement. I also know that if students did each have a device, we could go deeper into learning by being able to research while we worked. I am looking at this concept from a third grade point of view not high school. This is the future, there is no doubt, and I feel parents need to carry some of the burden of implementation. I know I am living in a dream world, but with prices so low, I think it is possible.

If schools could buy at a discount and pass that savings on to parents, why couldn’t parents buy a tablet for their child with monthly payments over the course of a year? The cost would be low; the school would carry the burden for the first six months and then have their money back. Students would have a tablet, to use for the rest of the education process and parents could have an upgrade in say five years.

Like I said this is the future, and parents just like schools are responsible for their child’s learning. I like the idea of devices in school; I don’t like the idea that not everyone can have one. I can see a benefit to the idea, and students would be better prepared for the real world. There are a lot of bugs to work out, and security is a big issue, as well as bandwidth, but in the end, the spending now on something that is useful, is more relevant than the spending on a license for a reading program with games that no one uses now. We need to look at the future, and it is here, knocking on the door, and we all know that we don’t want our kids being the ones stuck outside.

Essential question: Does every school need a “BYOD” policy?

byod_strategy_1

BYOD is one of the fastest moving technology trends in the education industry (Martini, 2013). This is a powerful statement whether you are for or against the concept. Peter Martini a writer for te@chthought, lists 4 Challenges That Can Cripple Your School’s BYOD Program.

The first challenge – Establishing consistent access on BYOD devices for students and teachers. Each individual user will have to have an identity and a security level set to that identity.

The second challenge – Ensuring bandwidth to mission critical services are not interrupted by BYOD users. School servers need to have the needed bandwidth for daily productivity in the school. Outside devices can not take up cloud space.

The third challenge – Protecting against devices infected with malware. Outside devices can corrupt a schools network; the school will have to focus on fighting malware and viruses.

The fourth and final challenge – Blocking access to restricted applications. Controlling access to websites to maintain student productivity. Districts need to be able to block programs like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, WeeWorld, YouTube, and so on. This access needs to be versatile and controlled by user account. Sometimes it may need to be turned on for research, but for the most part, no.

These challenges are real and continually on my mind, however I like the thought of the concept. To make this a working concept money will have to be put toward the IT side of the school and district.

One of my concerns of the concept are children who do not have a device to bring to class. Donna St. George covers that issue in an article about Fairfax and Prince William Counties who have embraced the concept of BYOD. These school districts began use of BYOD in 2011 and the concept has grown. In an article from The Washington Post, Maribeth Luftglass , assistant superintendent for information technology, points out that students have carried devices in their backpacks for years. “It just wasn’t necessarily official,” she said. Part of the changed thinking, she said, has been to “acknowledge what was happening and embrace it” (St. George, 2014). The school districts believe that the continued use of technology will enhance academic instruction and embrace future endeavors. The big issue was kids not having devices, and it didn’t matter because the students work in groups. The students share devices and also have technology in the classroom to use.

Oak Hills School District in Ohio developed a “BYOD framework” and set up strict acceptable use policy before it launched its BYOD initiative in 2010 (Walsh, 2012). That policy can be seen here at http://www.emergingedtech.com/2012/12/making-byod-work-in-schools/

Emma Chadband wrote an article called Should Schools Embrace “Bring Your Own Device”? In it she says “Although some BYOD programs have been successful and district officials insist that they are the best and only available option, many teachers and public education advocates are left wondering, where will BYOD lead? As schools across the country lose potentially more funding, are students and their families now supposed to make up the difference? How will the prevalence of these devices affect the classroom?” (Chadband, 2012). In the same article she discusses there are some benefits like flipped classrooms, and podcasts that students can use, but it all comes back to funding and resources. Another issue she discuses is teacher training, some understand and others don’t. Utilizing the teachers with technology training to train others is a benefit. Chadband sums up the article with “With the proper policies and ground rules in place – and the program doesn’t exist merely to cut costs and corners – BYOD can work for educators and students. If banning mobile devices increasingly becomes an outdated option, districts must ensure that schools have the tools and resources to create safe and constructive learning environments” (Chadband, 2012).

I did find more articles showing benefits than negatives, but for me it all comes down to accessibility. I know that I shouldn’t compare my district to the rest of the nation, but in reality I can only speak for my here and now. And here and now, my students don’t have access to any of this technology, and my district doesn’t have the money to make this a reality.  It is hard to  not be biased but this is mine and their reality.  So for me no, not every school needs a BYOD policy.

byod-550x412

References:

Holeywell, R. (September 3, 2013). BYOD Policies, Growing More Popular, Create Challenges for Schools. Retrieved from http://www.governing.com/blogs/view/gov-byod-policies-create-school-challenges.html

Martini, P. (December 22, 2013). 4 Challenges That Can Cripple Your School’s BYOD Program. Retrieved from http://www.teachthought.com/technology/4-challenges-can-cripple-schools-byod-program/

St. George, D. (September 14, 2014). Schools move toward ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policies to boost student tech use. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/stem/schools-move-toward-bring-your-own-device-practices-to-boost-student-tech-use/2014/09/14/4d1e3232-393e-11e4-9c9f-ebb47272e40e_story.html

Walsh, K. (December 16, 2012). Making BYOD Work in Schools – Three School Districts That Have Figured it Out. Retrieved from http://www.emergingedtech.com/2012/12/making-byod-work-in-schools/

Reflection Week 8

Well this was another great week. Everyone seemed to be on the same page here.   It seems most people want to spend more quality time playing to understand and everyone sees the game as a tool for the classroom. Myself, I would have loved to be able to see the giver game, and watch the kids build to the story.   That would have been great.

During our twitter session, everyone kept going back to social studies applications and literature applications as the main use in the classroom. When we threw out the question of using it in a maker space or with 3D printers most everyone had ideas for that as well.

I like the idea of using this game, if I had the computers, I would try to do it using MinecraftEDU so I wouldn’t have to think too hard. I would let them control the hard stuff and then my kids could concentrate on the building. There were a few people that thought the survival mode was a good idea; I see it as a downfall for learning. There are to many kids that are too competitive, and too many that like to be mean. If there was no way to steal, hurt, or just ruin someone’s play, then that would be what I want.  I think it could be authentic learning at that point, painless, your own, and free of drama.

I love games, but my games are not suited to learning (unless hits on people and the earning of money goes with economics) so to see a simple platform that was basic building was neat to watch.  My kids love Legos and this is just Legos on steroids so I think it is a great idea!  In the future where I work, maybe one day we will be able to try these cool things and see if really does aid in learning.

minecrafty

Essential question: What Minecraft game could you create that would help students learn?

I have to start this with WOW! I had no idea that there was a game like this that is designed for education. I really don’t know where to start. While reading the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute Blog about using Minecraft with the book The Giver it gave me a lot of ideas. Givercraft.com has the lesson plan for use in the The Giver, and Lord of the Flies.

MinecraftEdu has a simple setup system for classrooms where the world is already built and stored in the cloud. $20 a month activation fee is a fee I would be willing to pay. I think the program would be good for all students, it would give them a chance to interact with others, have an objective, and use their imagination to create what they read. I can also see it as a math tool, give them an objective and let them run with it.

In an article by Quinten Plummer in TECHNEWSWORLD, Microsoft wants to find ways to assist the pioneering teachers who have taught pupils through the sandbox construction game Minecraft (Plummer, 2015). The company wants to stay true to the game but incorporate it in education. In a statement from Microsoft they state they want to “shift from meeting kids on couches to engaging them in classrooms — where, even today, many kids receive their only serving of computer and desktop Internet usage, he noted. This initiative could cultivate coders and innovators from households that have no computer hardware or Internet access” (Plummer, 2015).

In an Article from Tablets for Schools they describe the game as “Virtual Legos”. Arryn Groom, a homeschooling parent, uses Minecraft as a tool to engage her kids across a range of subjects: “You have different options, different subjects (such as) The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. You watch videos, take quizzes, do building….” (Web blog, 2013). This website leads me back to MinecraftEdu, as a first stop. The site lists a few ways to use the game such as, reading comprehension, math, and history as a basis of constructing for understanding.

I found a video on You Tube, part one through eight that shows a computer teacher using it in his class of 2nd graders and it was very informative. The video links are under Teaching Minecraft, and then another set under using Mincraft all by MinecraftTeachr. I found the videos fascinating. The following video was recorded for a symposium where teachers were introduced to game based learning.

I had no idea there were WIKIs on the game to help you formulate how to build using math, and had no idea that you could shut off the bad things that can happen, and have a simple safe environment. As a gamer myself, I have only played, sorry to say, violent killing games. As an adult, it is an outlet for me, and considering when I was in the military; PlayStation was at its infancy, and Nintendo was king. There were no blogs, there wasn’t even a real internet yet so I have to continually remind myself this is all new.

If I were going to create a Mincraft game for learning, I would use it in literature like the Giver game. I would have kids create a world like the book and update it weekly with the story line. This would allow places, people, and events to come to life for the reader. I think it would be engaging for the kids to be able to play the story with friends. I think for the kids that have a hard time understanding the text, it would be easier to visualize it in a game and it would make the learning realistic. The other side is, kids have to learn the keyboard and the function of the keys and mouse.

When I seen it played and played a little myself, It was easy to manipulate and simple to use. I like the use in literature, more so than any other yet. I think with time, I will come to love it with math and history.

References:

Gamepedia. (n.d.). Retrieved July 4, 2015 from the Gamepedia Wiki: http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Minecraft_in_education

Graham, L. (2015). Givercraft: #SurvivalCraft 2015 Retrieved from http://www.givercraft.com

‪Joel and Pat Chat about Games Based Learning [Video file]. Retrieved from

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKiU42gSXh0

MVLRI (January 26, 2015). Simply Engaging and Utterly Consuming: #Givercraft 2014:

Michigan Virtual Learning research Institute Blog.   [Web log comment] Retrieved from

http://www.mvlri.org/Blog/ID/77/Simply-Engaging-and-Utterly-Consuming-Givercraft-2014

Plummer, Q. (July 5, 2015). Microsoft Anchors Minecraft Strategy to Education.   Retrieved

from http://www.technewsworld.com/story/82237.html?rss=1

Tablets for Schools (2014). Teachers! Learn How to Use Minecraft as an Educational Game

[Web blog comment]. Retrieved from http://tabletsforschools.org.uk

Week 7 Reflection

Again this was a fun week, and everyone seemed to be on the same page. 3D printing does have a place in the classroom, and it could be a benefit for students to see and use the technology. Margaret’s blog had predictions for life changing events in 50 to 70 years. I don’t have to worry about that, but I do have to worry about the benefits I could lose if don’t have one.

Really I just want one to have, who wouldn’t want to print them selves as a superhero, and if you say you wouldn’t, I’d say liar! In the May 2015 issue of the Smithsonian, it is titled The Future is Here: Why You Should Be Excited About The Next Decade. In the article there is a lot of discussion on 3D printing and the medical field. One layout is called Building the New You and id discusses everything being printed today from bone pieces, skin, blood vessels, and in the future, organs. The biggest pro it had was for bone. If a patient needed bone for a transplant, there are two options, your own or a donor.   With a donor bone piece, there is always a chance for rejection, and I know this personally because I have donor bone in one of my feet. The cocktail of meds you have to take is crazy. The beauty of a printed bone is no worry of rejection; you use your own cells.

The point of this is kids are going to have to have an understanding of this for science to advance in the future. I think having them use a printer in the school for small projects like dioramas, maker projects, social study projects, artifact study, and science projects will put them on the right track for a future in the printing field.

I don’t think we ever have to worry about car companies going out of business because of printers, or housing developments being printed instead of built, but we do need to think about how it will affect business in the future. Being able to create your own prototype instead of paying for it will save thousands prior to production. This is going to be a big deal.

Soon enough prices will really drop, it will become economic for everyone to have one, and for kids to use their imagination again to create something out of nothing. And hay, there is nothing like a bonbon to start the day, so let me print one real quick and we’re off!

Models_  Just Because You Can!