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EdTech Trends, Challenges and Developments

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Each year, the NMC Horizon Report provides information about various educational technology trends. For this post, I am concentrating on the newly released 2015 K-12 Edition.

Key Trends in accelerating K-12 educational technology adoption are:

  • long-term impact (5+ years): rethinking how schools work and shifting to deeper learning approaches
  • mid-term impact (3-5 years): increasing the use of collaborative learning approaches, shifting from students as consumers to creators
  • short-term impact (1-2 years): increasing the use of hybrid/blended learning designs, rise of STEAM learning

For the school division that I work with, we have focused that last several years in rearranging the entire school experience by being part of the High School Flexibility Project, looked at various project-based learning throughout the school year such as Innovation Week, CTF Showcase, Genius Hour and continue to utilise Critical Thinking challenges (from TC2) and Cooperative Learning techniques (from Kagan Structures) to change the typical classroom environment to one of creativity, innovation and flexible learning for all students. We also are fully vested in the GAFE environment (sharing the various Chrome apps, extensions and add-ons to have students participate at their level) as well as building our digital presence via Edublogs (for classroom blogs and student showcase eportfolios), Twitter (check out #psd70), Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram.

Challenges impeding this adoption are:

  • solvable (we understand and can solve): creating authentic learning opportunities, integrating technology in teacher education
  • difficult (we understand but solutions are elusive): personalizing learning, rethinking roles of teachers
  • wicked (complex to define/address): scaling teaching innovations, teaching complex thinking

I work within Learning Services that supports all schools, their staff and I also work closely with our IT department and other departments in using technology and embedding curriculum in interesting and engaging ways. We have facilitators who work with staff to create more inclusive environments for all students. We have staff who are experts in curriculum, early years education, etc. We also have many expert teachers throughout the district who are willing to share, collaborate and create together. We continue to talk about the Learning and Technology Policy Framework (student-centered learning, research and innovation, professional learning, leadership, access, infrastructure and digital learning environments) and see what are readiness is and where our schools need to work towards to move along. We also work closely with our New Teachers throughout the year to build their confidence in using the technology that is available at our school sites – projectors, document cameras, Smartboards, Chromebooks, BYOD, iPads – to name a few. There are always many professional learning opportunities for staff throughout the year. We are also looking forward to see where all the work in the province of Alberta on Curriculum Redesign will go after our new government has had a chance to review it.

Developments in educational technology are:

  • > one year adoption: BYOD, Makerspaces
  • 2-3 years: 3D printing/rapid prototyping, adaptive learning technologies
  • 4-5 years: badges/microcredit, wearable technology

BYOD or Bring Your Own Device Initiative has sprouted to various school sites and grade levels throughout our school division. A couple of our schools (one K-4, one 5-9) have delved this past year into 3D Printing and more are interested in using this tool in the learning environment. (For some its a budget concern and for others its pedagogical.) With Makerspaces we are seeing our Library Learning Commons staff taking the lead in introducing this to their school sites and some keen teachers taking it further and making curricular connections (ie. Caines Arcade). Some adaptive learning technologies being used are IXL Math, Accelerated Reader.

Overall, my school division sees the value in integrating technology into the learning and teaching environment. We see the many opportunities it creates for ALL our school communities from creating new ways to express and demonstrate learning, removing barriers (such as print or writing or reading) to engaging with each other, other schools and even other countries.

Take a quick read through the NMC Horizon Report Preview 205 K-12 Edition and then for a “meatyer” report, check out the full meal deal of the NMC Horizon Report.

 

Effective Classroom Instruction Using Tech: Generating and Testing Hypotheses

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Eight years ago, the authors Pitler, Kuhn and Malenoski took the eleven essential instructional strategies that were identified originally by Marzano, Pickering and Pollock. These essential instructional strategies allow teachers to then use them purposefully to steadily improve student learning. In this digital age of learning and in considerations of this research, I have included not only an outline of how technology could be used to complement and enhance these teaching strategies but also specific technology tools/resources.

Essential Instructional Strategy #11

In generating and testing hypotheses teachers engage students in complex mental processes where they can apply content knowledge to enhance their overall understanding of the content. Technology allows students to spend more time interpreting data rather than gathering it.

Within the learning environment, various resources may be used. Below is a complementary list of actions and ideas, but by no means is it an exhaustive list. Please add your ideas in the comments section if you like.

Use spreadsheet info (Excel, Google Sheets) to make predictions, collect data, analyze data patterns and revise their hypothesis or create a new one.

Use data probes to recognize patterns in science.

Participate in Global Collaborative Projects.

Demo interactive online simulations – Social Impact games, Gamequarium, Smog City, Historical Scene Investigation, Zoo Matchmaker, Hurricane Strike.

 

References:

1 – Pitler, H., R., E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works. Alexandria: ASCD.

2 – Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Also look at Dean, C.B., Hubbell, E.R., Pitler, H. & Stone, B.J. (2012). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement, 2nd Edition. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

 

Effective Classroom Instruction Using Tech: Homework and Practice

12133776646_c9b1226c06Photo Credit: clogsilk via Compfight cc

Eight years ago, the authors Pitler, Kuhn and Malenoski took the eleven essential instructional strategies that were identified originally by Marzano, Pickering and Pollock. These essential instructional strategies allow teachers to then use them purposefully to steadily improve student learning. In this digital age of learning and in considerations of this research, I have included not only an outline of how technology could be used to complement and enhance these teaching strategies but also specific technology tools/resources.

Essential Instructional Strategy #10

In homework and practice teachers give students review time. Technology facilitates by providing resources for learning and collaborative with others. It can also offer time for students to refine and build on skills.

Within the learning environment, various resources may be used. Below is a complementary list of actions and ideas, but by no means is it an exhaustive list. Please add your ideas in the comments section if you like.

Use MWord Review tab – research, dictionary, thesaurus, spelling, grammar.

Use chrome extensions like Read&Write Google, Google Dictionary, Google Thesaurus, and Grammarly.

Use Google Docs add-ons like Kaizena Mini (voice commenting), MindMeister (mind mapping), OpenClipArt (inserting images into notes), Speech Recognition (dictation), SpellRight, Tag Cloud Generator (for images or seeing which words are being used the most).

Use Excel or Google Sheets to master calculating, manipulating and displaying data.

Check out educational software sites – EDDIE, Tech & Learning, eSchool and Discovery Education.

Go to online games – virtual manipulatives, Explore, Thinkfinity, ReadWriteThink, PBS, Stellarium.

Collaborate online with GoogleDocs, Writeboard, YourDraft, Etherpad

 

Effective Classroom Instruction Using Tech: Identifying Similarities and Differences

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Eight years ago, the authors Pitler, Kuhn and Malenoski took the eleven essential instructional strategies that were identified originally by Marzano, Pickering and Pollock2. These essential instructional strategies allow teachers to then use them purposefully to steadily improve student learning. In this digital age of learning and in considerations of this research, I have included not only an outline of how technology could be used to complement and enhance these teaching strategies but also specific technology tools/resources.

Essential Instructional Strategy #9

In identifying similarities and differences teachers establish the context of the information which allows students to restructure their understanding of that content. Technology allows students to create graphic organizers for comparing, classifying, creating metaphors and analogies.

Within the learning environment, various resources may be used. Below is a complementary list of actions and ideas, but by no means is it an exhaustive list. Please add your ideas in the comments section if you like.

Classify terms, genres or create an analogy puzzle. Compare raw data from Landmark.

Use Read&Write Gold/Google Vocabulary List to establish a baseline of knowledge.

RWGvocablist

Take time to review the many lessons and activities created by ReadWriteThink.

 

References:

1 – Pitler, H., R., E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works. Alexandria: ASCD.

2 – Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Also look at Dean, C.B., Hubbell, E.R., Pitler, H. & Stone, B.J. (2012). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement, 2nd Edition. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

 

Got a Story? Share It.

I was introduced to microTrend’s “What’s Your Story?” contest via one of my Diigo groups – Digital Citizenship in Schools this past week. It was exciting to see this yearly video contest (for students aged 13+) that highlights creative, impactful and safe and responsible ways to interact online. Not only is digital citizenship an important topic in schools today, but to have opportunities to see and hear some innovative ways that students relate/connect to it is fantastic.

Don’t wait for the individual or school entries to be shown, try this with your students right now in the classroom. Have them create a video(s) using the same specifications found in the More Details section.

Develop some criteria on what would make an effective video? Should it be creative? Memorable?

Have students look at past winners. And have them check out the many resources before they storyboard and film their masterpiece.

I think one of this year’s participants really has nailed it! What do you think? Could you do better? How?

 

Effective Classroom Instruction Using Tech: Reinforcing Effort

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Photo Credit: Celestine Chua via Compfight cc

Eight years ago, the authors Pitler, Kuhn and Malenoski took the eleven essential instructional strategies that were identified originally by Marzano, Pickering and Pollock. These essential instructional strategies allow teachers to then use them purposefully to steadily improve student learning. In this digital age of learning and in considerations of this research, I have included not only an outline of how technology could be used to complement and enhance these teaching strategies but also specific technology tools/resources.

Essential Instructional Strategy #8

In reinforcing effort teachers focus on enhancing students’ understanding of the relationship between effort and achievement. Technology allows students to address their attitudes and beliefs about learning.

Within the learning environment, various resources may be used. Below is a complementary list of actions and ideas, but by no means is it an exhaustive list. Please add your ideas in the comments section if you like.

Find/create a rubric and use a spreadsheet or even a survey to track results.

Use journals to log daily/weekly efforts which can be done through a blog (edublogs, blogger, kidblog), MWord or GDocs.

Read Carol S Dwecks Mindset and use the various materials found at MindsetWorks.

 

References:

1 – Pitler, H., R., E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works. Alexandria: ASCD.

2 – Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Also look at Dean, C.B., Hubbell, E.R., Pitler, H. & Stone, B.J. (2012). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement, 2nd Edition. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

 

Effective Classroom Instruction Using Tech: Cooperative Learning

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Photo Credit: DoDEA Communications via Compfight cc

Eight years ago, the authors Pitler, Kuhn and Malenoski1 took the eleven essential instructional strategies that were identified originally by Marzano, Pickering and Pollock2. These essential instructional strategies allow teachers to then use them purposefully to steadily improve student learning. In this digital age of learning and in considerations of this research, I have included not only an outline of how technology could be used to complement and enhance these teaching strategies but also specific technology tools/resources.

Essential Instructional Strategy #7

In cooperative learning teachers focus on having students interacting with each other in groups to enhance their learning experiences. Technology facilitates group collaboration and communication. It also provides structure for group authentic tasks.

To enhance student learning and engagement by providing all students with equal opportunities to respond to the teacher’s questions and orally process their learning

Oral Processing – we remember more of what we say than what we hear, so frequent oral processing and sharing are important.

  •         Dr. Marcia Tate, author of Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites – “The person doing the most talking is the person doing the most learning.”
  •         Cooperative Learning is not about putting kids in groups to create a product or to demonstrate their learning after the teaching and learning; it’s about putting kids together to learn together during / as part of the teaching and learning.
  •         Vygotsky suggests that “learning takes place through the interactions students have with their peers, teachers, and other experts. Consequently, teachers can create a learning environment that maximizes the learner’s ability to learn through discussion, collaboration, and feedback.” Learning Theories Website

Because it requires that students talk to each other, cooperative learning:

  •         Helps develop listening and speaking skills
  •         Helps develop social skills
  •         Helps students think deeper

In order to develop these skills, we need to provide the opportunity and the structure (we need to teach them how to learn together in socially respectful ways).

Within the learning environment, various resources may be used. Below is a complementary list of actions and ideas, but by no means is it an exhaustive list. Please add your ideas in the comments section if you like.

Group processing with advance organizers and rubrics through DigiTales, Digital Storytelling.

Join a collaborative project like JASON, Literature Learning Ladder or check out How Stuff Works.

Join ePals.

Collaborate online with shared calendars, bookmarking (Diigo) and managed courses (Google Classroom, Moodle).

Interactive multiplayer simulation games such as Girls Inc., PowerUP, Education Arcade.

A starting point for integration of Kagan Structures is well summarized by Gavin Clowes.

Kagan structure RallyRobin is used for:

  •         For generating lists
  •         For brief answers to simple questions or tasks that have multiple short answers
  •         For reviewing information that has been presented
  •         By helping the brain clear its working memory and tag information for storage in long-term memory

When you might use RallyRobin:

– in early years for things like having students take turns each reading a sentence of a story that you have already read together; for saying the alphabet; to count by 2’s…

– In middle years, it might work for naming the different parts of a cell in science class, or answers to a simple recall question about a list of information you want students to learn.

Gambits- phrases or stems that the teacher provides for students; give students the language for developing social skills

Timed Pair Share uses a copycat gambit paired with a complete the sentence gambit.

Sample gambits for Timed Pair Share:

  •  Thank you for sharing your thinking. From your answer I learned…(paraphrase)
  • Your answer was well thought out. The part I remember most is…

* That’s an interesting answer. It made me think of …

Kagan structure Timed Pair Share is used:

  •         For open- ended questions or tasks that have complex answers
  •         For processing information that has been presented
  •         For activating prior knowledge about a topic

When you might use Timed Pair Share:

– in Language Arts, you might use Timed Pair Share to have students discuss character traits of a particular character-

An open-ended task might be – Which parts of this chapter best reveal the main character’s traits? Talk about what the character did or said, and what trait is revealed by these actions.

In early years it might be “what do the pictures on this page tell you about what might happen next in the story?”

–  Timed Pair Share would also work great for having students respond to critical thinking questions- those open ended questions that require students to use criteria and evidence to support their judgement.

–  In lower grade levels- who says “show and tell” needs to be reserved for ONE student a day? All kids can “show and tell” their partner something they brought that relates to a SS or Science topic. Take turns with partner showing and telling.

–  The question might be: How does your object relate to our SS topic?

–  Provide a gambit that would be appropriate to that task.

–  OR when assigning different teams, tell students the day before that the next day they will be getting new teammates. Students can bring in an object the next day that says something about themselves, and do a show and tell to their new teammates.

–  The question might be: What does this object say about you? Gambit: Thank you for sharing this information about yourself. I learned that you…

 

References:

1 – Pitler, H., R., E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works. Alexandria: ASCD.

2 – Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Also look at Dean, C.B., Hubbell, E.R., Pitler, H. & Stone, B.J. (2012). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement, 2nd Edition. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

 
 
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