Final Post

Modern pedagogy should reflect the world our students live in. Our classrooms should not be isolated from a world increasingly saturated by media and technology. As Voogt et al state: “ICT has a primary place in 21st century skills and 21st century learning” (2011, p.2). By employing Gutierrez et al’s ‘Third Space,’ which involves the digital realms students inhabit outside the classroom, we can enable diverse, hybrid learning experiences that create “rich zones of collaboration and learning” (2009, pp.286-287).

Digital literacies are an essential skill for modern and future social and working spaces and cannot be taught without the use of technology in the classroom. However, current engagement with e-learning, across all levels of education, remains “limited to a small range of technologies” (Cox, 2012, p.16). The range being used obviously needs to be widened to better represent modern ICT and much of this responsibility for this falls on the relevant governing bodies, schools and teachers. This is not to say that we need blanket implementation of technology across the curriculum. Software and devices should instead be regarded as a compliment to core learning and judged on a lesson by lesson basis based on their affordances. By affordances I refer to the utility of technology in what it offers the user (Bower, 2008, p.5). For example, in the way Microsoft Word offers write-ability.

Teachers, not technological devices, are the key to successful integration of technology in the classroom. This integration is the “process of determining which digital tools and which methods for implementing them are the most appropriate” (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p.6). Teachers should be digitally literate, responsible role models as well as being critically aware of how different digital resources contribute to learning in the classroom. They should understand that each technology has its own “propensities, potentials, affordances and constraints that make them more suitable for certain tasks” (Koehler & Mishra, 2009).

Teachers should also be conscious of the ‘digital divide,’ both in terms of student access to technology outside school, and also their levels of IT literacy. It is important to be aware of both digital and cognitive divisions that affect student learning equality and think about “how this affects the affordances that the technologies will provide” (Cox, 2012, p.15).

The use of technology in the classroom can also increase engagement in students who are otherwise dis-inclined to read or write. According to Roblyer and Doering “teachers are turning to the interactive and visual qualities of software and websites to increase motivation for reading and writing” (2014, p.270). The connectivity inherent in a lot of new technology is also allowing more back-and-forth interaction between teacher and student. This is making for a less positivist and more constructivist approach to teaching as the digital era brings about a more “active development of learning relationships” (Starkey, 2012, p.29). In other words, as a bi-product of technology, students are becoming more involved in classroom collaboration and discourse rather than being passive receptacles of knowledge.

In summation, the end goal of tech-oriented pedagogy should be to develop students who are adept, flexible, ethical and creative manipulators and users of digital tools that allow them to become valuable members of future workplaces and society.

References

Bower, M. (2008). Affordance analysis—matching learning tasks with learning technologies. Educational Media International, 45(1) 3–15. doi: 10.1080/09523980701847115

Cox, M.J. (2012). Formal to informal learning with IT: research challenges and issues for e-learning. In Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 29(1). doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2012.00483.x

Gutierrez, D., Baquedano-Lopez, P. & Tejeda, C. (2009). Rethinking diversity: Hybridity and hybrid language practices in the third space. In Mind, Culture, and Activity, 6(4), 286-303. doi: 10.1080/10749039909524733

Koehler, M. J. & Mishra, P. (2009). What is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge? In Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1). Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/vol9/iss1/general/article1.cfm

Roblyer, M., &  Doering, A.  (2014). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching: International Edition. 6th Edition, Pearson.

Starkey, L. (2012) Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age, Taylor and Francis.

Voogt J., Knezek G., Cox M.J., Knezek D. & ten Brummelhuis A. (2011). Under which conditions does ICT have a positive effect on teaching and learning? A call to action. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 29(1). doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2011.00453.x.

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Classroom technology & collaboration

What are the key issues raised in this article about collaborative learning for teacher and for students? How do you think these difficulties might be overcome?

Relating to ICT there are regulatory, temporal, spatial and technical constraints. Specific support strategies should be designed to aid students in collaborating effectively through Web 2.0 technologies. Social confidence is mentioned as another issue, though for many the social aspect of collaboration is a motivating factor. This could be addressed by effective modelling of how groups should be interacting and breaking down the work into smaller, manageable components (like how our modules are structured).

Another issue raised was that whilst most students are comfortable with aspects of ICT, relatively few produce knowledge or content (independently or collaboratively). Learners are also often reliant on the instructor for links, rather than developing their own research skills. This can be improved by asking students to find additional material beyond what is provided.

Bringing social networking tools into the classroom for collaboration might also be problematic due to its association with free time and socializing. Perhaps using a similar online tool, that allowed more synchronous communication, but only for school purposes might address this. A shared google document with skype might also work.

Collaborative learning through ICT might be done too simplistically (lacking sophistication) and thus requires well-scaffolded learning and flexible teachers who are able to guide their students whilst still allowing them their own direction.

Describe briefly (one or two sentences) what a group of your students would look like if they were using a form of ICT of your choosing and participating in each of the following:

Form of ICT: group work to produce a poem via tweets and responses

  • Group interaction – they would be working independently with students by exchanging twitter handles (probably safer to have them make class ones) and communicating online without teacher involvement
  • Authoritative interactivity – I would be tweeting instructions and leading questions to which they would respond. Perhaps I would tweet the framework of a poem and they’d reply to fill in missing words.
  • Dialectic interactivity – I would give them a detailed framework to follow and question their choices as they collaboratively produce the desired poem.
  • Dialogic interactivity – This would involve the group really exploring their options and tweeting back and forth line options as they research and collaborate to create an original poem. I would point them in the direction of useful material/techniques but leave most of the decision-making to the group.
  • Synergistic interactivity – students reflecting on their own group work and analysing others, seeing issues and resolving them to create a more complete text whilst utilising the ICT medium to its fullest extent.

Which of these, or combination of these, do you see your assignment focusing on?

I would prefer to focus on dialectic interactivity to model the task before moving on to dialogic interactivity for the main task with the potential for synergistic interactivity if time in the sequence permits.

Which of the learning theories explained in this article best describe the approach you will be taking in your assignment and lesson planning?

I would  look at using a conversational framework rather than a more conventional teacher-dominated. I would want my students to be engaged in the activity and feel like they are actively solving problems through ICT and challenging each other rather than filling in the blanks and following instructions. I want students to feel like they own their work whilst developing their own understanding, rather than it being prescribed.

References

Beauchamp, G., & Kennewell, S. (2010). Interactivity in the classroom and its impact on learning. Computers & Education, 54(3) pp. 759-766. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2009.09.033

Chai, C. S., Lim, W. Y., So, H. J., & Cheah, H. M. (2011) Advanced Collaborative Learning with ICT: Conception, Cases and Design, Singapore. Retrieved from: http://ictconnection.moe.edu.sg/ictconnection/slot/u200/mp3/monographs/advancing%20collaborative%20learning%20with%20ict.pdf

Luckin, R., Clark, W., Logan, K., Graber, R., Oliver, M. and Mee, A. (2009), Do Web 2.0 tools really open the door to learning: practices, perceptions and profiles of 11-16 year old learners, Learning, Media and Technology, 34(2) doi: 10.1080/17439880902921949

Ideas for ensuring your students are “good digital citizens” and “safe” users of technology in your classroom.

How will you address their use of technology at home? What are your ideas, based on the policy documents.

Be aware of the students. Students becoming more withdrawn, sleepy, lonely, negative with unexpected changes in friendship groups can be signs of cyber bullying. Talk to them privately, say you are worried and want to help. Major concerns should be discussed with parents.

Obviously it’s better to address cyber bullying prior to it taking place. Make sure your students are not passive bystanders and feel safe standing up and speaking out against bullying when they see it.

Free presentations and brochures can also be booked or ordered to help students and parents deal with cyber bullying.

Students should also be made aware of the risks inherent in social media. Things like over-sharing of sensitive, embarrassing or private material. Not protecting personal details or being too trusting of online strangers. Again, keeping students informed on the risks is vital as a preventative measure, rather than censoring these websites, instead have them learn to use them in a responsible manner.

Making students aware of useful, free e-security software and safe practice is also important. How to recognise disreputable sites and scam emails are digital reading skills that need to be developed.

In terms of addressing ICT use at home, involving the parents is essential. Whether it is by sending brochures home or discussing issues in a parent-teacher meeting.

Some useful websites online safety:

http://www.cybersmart.gov.au

http://www.digizen.org/

Web 2.0 ideas and resources

Post to your blog the ways are you considering using Web 2.0 or social media in your lesson plans. 

I’m considering several options:

  • A class instagram or twitter hashtag that everyone can post images/links to that relate to the topic. Particularly useful if they can relate the personal to their texts
  • Blogging seems a great, though hardly original tool, to get students engaged with creating their own personal space. I particularly like tumblr/wordpress for their clean, professional and easy-to-use pre-made blogging platforms.
  • In terms of collaborating with those outside the classroom for information exchange. Writing forums like http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/ and http://www.critiquecircle.com/ seem like great ways of getting outside feedback and recognition for student work. They also have guides and sections for grammar, genres, publishing etc.

How are you going to take advantage of the affordances of the participatory nature of Web 2.0 applications and address any potential difficulties?

 By having students join forums I would take advantage of resources outside the classroom in guides, FAQ’s and live feedback from experienced writers/editors. Forums posts and blogging would also afford a feeling of public exposure to give students pride in their work. Bringing all our content together under a single hashtag also affords a feeling of collaboration and legitimacy in the work we are doing. Students can share resources and ideas easily from home or school.

Potential difficulties come with joining any sort of online community. Harsh feedback or flaming on forums will be a potential issue and ideally I would be a moderator on the forum, though with major writing groups this isn’t very feasible. Monitoring student feedback threads would be important as well as making sure students understand good online etiquette prior to joining.

Sharing inappropriate/cyberbullying material via the class hashtag is also an issue and would again need to be addressed prior to the lessons.

References

Hew, K.F. & Cheung, W.S. (2012) Use of Web 2.0 Technologies in K-12 and Higher Education: The Search for Evidence-based Practice, Educational Research Review. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2012.08.001

Secondary English Digital Materials

https://www.gutenberg.org/

Free e-books no longer under copyright. Useful for study of classics.

http://www.englishforeveryone.org/

A lot of language construction worksheets useful for revising problem areas. I used this regularly for my ESL classes.

http://www.memrise.com/

Revision tool. Can make course of key words/quotes for students to study. Also available as an app.

http://writeordie.com/

Fun speed writing game that’s free to use on the website. Useful for writers block and brainstorming.

http://download.cnet.com/Dark-Room/3000-2079_4-10562359.html

Free, downloadable writing software. It’s full screen and provides a distraction free environment for those who might have trouble writing on cluttered desktops.

http://download.cnet.com/StayFocusd/3000-33362_4-75219653.html

Browser extension that restricts time/access on SNS and other distracting websites. Students are so overwhelmed by distractions online that this could be useful if they need help avoiding temptation.

Module 6: Internet Based Resources

From the five potential problems listed on pp 214-216 in Roblyer, which may have the most impact on your classroom and students and why? How will you ensure you address these concerns in your lesson planning in your assignment and in the future?

Whilst inappropriate material and privacy are major issues I think making student’s aware of copyright issues is vital to their future academic success and is something that is under-addressed at a secondary level. Ethical use of ICT and plagiarism (not necessarily text) becomes even more of an issue with the increasing amount of easily accessed, hard to trace and often multi-modal material. The sheer wealth of online resources will undoubtedly continue to impact classrooms in the future.

In terms of the assignment I would make students aware of the importance of copyright and the risks of breaking it. Having students write a research journal or blog, where they note down websites and material, might be a good way of ensuring they are employing good research practices whilst developing their awareness of what is appropriate use.

What are you able to access at your school or institution – or not? Does this work? What does this mean for an educational institution where many students have internet capable smart phones? Does this mean restrictions should be relaxed and better supervision should be utilised?

At the school I taught at, all email servers were blocked which hindered my ability to transfer work between colleagues, home and the school. Most educational flash games were also inaccessible. The firewall certainly works in blocking recreational games, private emails and most inappropriate content but ends up ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater.’ Furthermore, despite the amount of government censorship and the school’s firewalls, google image search will still find occasional inappropriate material.

Teachers should have more control of what is and isn’t accessible on an individual classroom basis. Blanket firewalls can’t possibly cater to schools with kids of varying ages and educational needs. It also is ineffective as students will be able to access inappropriate content and SNS apps through their smart phones. Better supervision is probably the best approach to limiting inappropriate smart phone use, as I think a complete ban would negate the potential benefits of the devices in the classroom.

References

Roblyer, M., &  Doering, A.  (2014). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching: International Edition. 6th Edition, Pearson.

Instructional Software Examples for the English Classroom

Drill & Practice: http://www.memrise.com/course/43290/advanced-english-for-native-speakers/

I’ve been using this site/app for the last few years to improve my Korean vocabulary and it seems like it could just as easily be used for more advanced English vocabulary or I could even create my own courses based on difficult vocabulary in class texts. Students would be able to revise words on their phone and compete on a leaderboard with the rest of the class.

Tutorial: http://creativewriting.wikia.com/wiki/Creative_Writing_Wiki

A wiki site for learning the basics of writing creatively with sections for grammar, process and structuring. It would be a useful resource to give students as they attempt their own pieces.

Simulations: http://movingpackets.net/2014/02/18/bens-super-realistic-typewriter-simulator/

It was hard to think of a simulator appropriate for English but it’s interesting to appreciate how difficult typing used to be, even with the typewriter’s ‘brokenness’ set to 0.

Instructional Games: https://sites.google.com/site/gameonlearning/la-high-school-games

A list of game websites that are mainly devoted to vocabulary and grammar. Free rice was my favorite though it really only tests knowledge of synonyms.

Write or Die/WordWars is another fun game that involves stream-of-consciousness writing within a time limit. If your WPM goes to low the screen changes color and sirens go off.

Problem Solving: It was hard to find anything for English. Maybe riddles games like this one: http://www.iriddler.com/riddles/puzzles/whatisit.htm might be fun to get students to practice comprehension and critical thinking.