Ahhh, the video game debate goes on and on and on and on March 5, 2013
To play or not to play is not the question. Please visit this storify link for the latest and greatest from grannynannycook.
And for the grand finale: Gamifying Education
Augmented Reality (AR) this week’s love interest March 2, 2013
As a school librarian, AR meant Accelerated Reader. More recently, in techno terms, it is an acronym for Augmented Reality. In my brain, the word augmented causes dissonance. Sometimes my twisted mind reads it argumentative reality. Go figure. AR piqued my interest about a month ago while perusing the Alaska Society for Technology in Education (ASTE) 2013 conference program. Looking up info about it was like opening a can of worms. There are a lot of technical descriptions of how AR works, involving terms like triggering and layers. After attending the ASTE conference in Anchorage and experiencing AR personally, here is the way I fit it into my schema.
Augment means extra. In context, AR means adding a little extra to what you are actually viewing. At the conference, there was an art “gallery”/ bulletin boards in a communal area. The displayed art was from students all over Alaska. It could be viewed with extra media added by downloading the AURASMA app on an ipad or iphone (maybe other devices?). There were several Alaska high school students on hand for most of the four day conference to help explain AR to not so techie people like me.
First they helped me download the free AURASMA app, which helps onlookers view the extra stuff associated with each artists work. Once in the app, they helped me find Jason Ohler’s “channel” (collection of images of all the art in the gallery at the conference). Next, they showed me how to use the app which matches the images with media stored on a cloud somewhere. Upon opening the app, four corners appear on the screen like on a digital camera window, or a QR reader. Point the device at a piece of art so it fits within the guides and the app locates the extra stuff which matches the image. For example, pointing the viewer towards a painting of a bird might bring up information on the bird by which the student art was inspired. Another drawing revealed a video played in a fast speed documenting the creation of the piece.
Essentially, students created the art, students created the extra media, Dr. Ohler created the AR connections to view the two media together. The students created and submitted two files, (1) photos of their art and (2) the extra stuff (media files) they wanted to associate with their work, and Ohler made them accessible together with Aurasma.
There was another AR gallery at the conference which required a different app, LAYAR. However, it would not download on my antiquated iphone (yes am trying to update it still). When I asked Dr. Ohler why he chose AURASMA instead of LAYAR, he said because the tech support was awesome, very collaborative folks, and it was free!
Here are a few resources and some technical lingo, explanations, and applications for AR in education. Of course, you can always look it up on Wikipedia.
- How the students were solicited for the ASTE AR exhibit
- Another simple explanation of AR by an educator
- Ways AR is being used in Education
Many AR links eventyally lead to the Google Glass Project. This link is a quick video of some google glass basics. This “what you need to know” about google glass article will be helpful in understanding the concept. In addition, it explains the difference between google goggles (an app) and google glass (device/hardware). A good question to ask is will your students soon be wearing google glasses? Finally, a practical application for google glasses for those of us who have to take an airplane to get away.
In closing, it is important to remind ourselves that technology is the tool to facilitate learning. This link is a summary of Why It’s Time To Focus On Skills (Not Just Cool Tools) .
P.S. By the time this post was finished, so was the update to the iphone, so all’s well: iOS 6.1.2. Now I can get the Costco app. ♥
Exploring on the diffimooc Highway February 27, 2013
To differentiate the process is HOW to teach the content which has been differentiated (first diffimooc module). Jennipher Willoughby describes it like this: the processes and techniques used to help make sense of a given topic. Here are her suggestions for developing strategies for differentiating instruction based on process:
- Provide access to a variety of materials which target different learning preferences and reading abilities.
- Develop activities that target auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners.
- Establish stations for inquiry-based, independent learning activities.
- Create activities that vary in level of complexity and degree of abstract thinking required.
- Use flexible grouping to group and regroup students based on factors including content, ability, and assessment results.
Specific Ways teachers can differentiate the process are:
- activity choice boards
- tiered activities
- multi-level learning
- center tasks
- similar readiness groups,
- choice in group work,
- varied journal prompts,
- mixed readiness groups with targeted roles for students
Some of the above ways to differentiate how we teach (the process) are elaborated in the Annotated List of Differentiation Strategies. In the wiki assignment, our group incorporated some of the strategies in our group project lessons. Dr. Graham suggested the On Target site which I really like. Over the years, many of these strategies have been added to my personal teaching bag of tricks. I learned many of them in what was called CRISS (CReating Independence through Student-owned Strategies) when I began teaching in Montana years ago. Many other wonderful strategies are elaborated upon in Section 3 at this site: are listed in section three of this journal article: CLASSROOM STRATEGIES AND TOOLS FOR DIFFERENTIATING INSTRUCTION IN THE ESL CLASSROOM
Here is a graphic based on Tomlinson’s (strategies at bottom)work:
Lori’s Learning Log for Module One: Differentiating the Classroom Environment through Technology in the #diffimooc. February 19, 2013
Thus far, she has learned:
- What a MOOC is
- A little bit about tagging and sharing
- About the following tools for teacher productivity and managing student progress: edmodo, dropbox, evernote, moodle,
- About the wonderful universe of cloud tools.
- About the plethora of options for younger students to use ipads for everything educational
- How To:
- How to form a group using Google group
- How to use google reader to read updated shared information
- How to create and maintain a blog
- How to create a video (and about reflector)
- How to tweet and use Tweedeck to track the whole mess
- How to use livetext for submitting assignments and receiving feedback
- How to use diigo
- How to use wikispaces (wikis)
- How to locate learning style inventory online instruments
Am I able to put all this together to improve instruction and create successful differentiated learning opportunities for students? Yes, with practice.
How I would implement these tools to allow students to self-assess, to set and track goals, to analyze student differences, and to manage formative and summative assessment, have been elaborated on in this wiki page.
Clouds February 11, 2013
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all
Cloud illusions: using the imagination to envision cloud dragons, dogs, elephants, faces. Now we imagine apps in clouds, yikes! My first “cloud” search returned this result: cloud manufacturing. What?! How to make clouds was part of the first grade science curriculum when my teaching career began many years ago. Of course info on cloud manufacturing sent me off on a cybermethodolgy tangent. Then, the morning news sent me down another path researching cyber warfare: Cloud Computing Brings Cyber Warfare and Cyber Attacks.
Finally, after all my curiosities were satiated, it was time to focus on the task at hand, not clouds, but the tools therein, for managing and delivering feedback to students. Some suggestions came from the twitter sessions:
- “Show Me app is a cloud app. Students and teachers share video tutorials. I use it for formative assessments in math religiously.” Chris Carlson @thelearningcube.
- Also looked at Voice Thread as per the tweet suggestions of the same night (Thursday, 2/7)
- http://www.myschoolnotebook.com/ was suggested by another diffimoocher.
- Learned about screenshots (cmd-shift-3 or cmd-shift 4 to select what you want to screen shoot on a mac) via tweets from Colin and Chip, and subsequently how to insert the shots into Word Docs.
- Reflector app was referred to, but have not investigated it yet, although I think I know what it does.
Looking at other sites and suggestions from Dr. Graham’s resources, I learned how some students use Evernote in this wonderful summary:
This is what a day looks like … I use Evernote to review my notes before going to class. At class, I take notes. If there is a paper handout, I snap a photo of it during class and annotate it with Penultimate or Skitch, then save it to Evernote. If the professor is saying or drawing something that is specifically important, I would record audio or snap a photo respectively. When I get home, I may read some articles in Flipboard, and then save them into my Evernote notebook that fits the subject. I might watch a video on Khan Academy and take screenshots of important moments in the video. Afterwards, I will take notes on the video and insert those screenshots for visual memory. In addition to all of this, I keep all my files in Evernote. All of my paper documents, I scan at home right into Evernote. All of my digital docs are always in Evernote. So I have one place to search for everything. Great!
Besides these suggestions, I looked at the offerings for the cloud by Dell, Microsoft, Apple icloud (of course), Lenovo, AWS (Amazon Web Service offers a cloud too), Adobe, and of course Google.
Here’s what I gathered into my learning nest from the #diffimooc Connectivist Daily:
Bon Stewart defines my circuitous learning path so well:
Part of the problem is filtering: I’ve realized recently that in my dissertation work I’ve failed, so far, to build a robust framework through which I can filter the seven hundred vaguely-related-to-the-Internet-and-learning-and-identities ideas that I encounter out here every day in my brilliant network. I meander in circles, fumbling to re-word and re-work things, trying to translate or adapt concepts I encounter and figure out whether they fit into the big picture of what we’re doing out here in this world of networked practice. Sometimes they do. Often they are rabbit holes. Seldom can I tell the difference in advance.
I read a powerful blog post on Technological determinism, much of which I could relate to. Managed to fit the concept into my schema by summarizing:
Bon Stewart, the author, purports that determinists believe technology gives us the solutions, not the users. Stewart refutes the determinist concept as faulty, reasoning it is the human connections enabled by technology that gives us solutions, not, for example, the app itself. Says the author, it is important that we “being able to recognize technological determinism and address it directly might give those of us who find value in networked connections and connected learning an important tool for building better conversations about this, and therefore better connections.”
Went to check out a link from #etmooc Erin about Wordle. Exceeded my computer knowledge when a pop-up said I had to have Java, so I stopped. Without spending hours and hours, I tried to figure out how to use the blog post option in Microsoft Word, but gave up on this and went back to plan A: paste a doc into new post. I’m such a wimpy techie.
Took a look at the Best Ipad Apps for Classroom Video Production suggestions, and book marked them for future reference.
Because I’m not much for the being center of attention, don’t like to speak before crowds, don’t like to have my picture taken, much less broadcast, and I’m sure my thoughts will really have no effect on the universe, I’m not sure I have the personality for being a blogger. Hoping to find some empathy at this site, I make them blog, but do they want to? , but did not. However, the rhizomatic learning twisted around and around resulting in gathering some ideas to effectively use blogs with students. A comment from another struck a chord regarding connectivist learning and moocs: I am not just learning HOW to connect by WHY connect. Next link took me to a wonderful essay, Let’s Stop Talking about Teaching with Technology, and Start Talking about Teaching, where I studied this graphic and stellar gem of wisdom:
The basic work of teaching has not changed. Teachers still collaborate, still communicate, still find and share resources, still manage student behavior, still deliver content, and still assess students.
The difference is that we now have more tools and resources to improve our efficiency.
- Cloud computing is nothing more than finding a more efficient way to collaborate with students and staff
- Content managements systems are nothing more than finding a more efficient way to communicate with students and parents
- Personal learning networks are nothing more than finding a more efficient way to find and share resources
- Behavior management software is nothing more than finding a more efficient way to give formative feedback of soft skills and track student behavior
- Flipped classrooms are nothing more than finding a more efficient way to deliver direct content
- Electronic portfolios and digital quizzes are nothing more than finding a more efficient way to assess student knowledge
Am I connected with the above people? Not really. Am I learning from them? Absolutely. Ultimately, will I use the cloud resources the district uses? Probably. Why? Even though I believe it is better to teach five ways to communicate one thought than one way to communicate five thoughts, standardizing for students and parents, simplifies the task of being a connected learning community.
Moocluk Cognitive dissonance February 5, 2013
After reading the MoocGuide‘s 5 key challenges for moocs, please read the article below.
- It feels chaotic as participants create their own content
- It demands digital literacy
- It demands time and effort from the participants
- It is organic, which means the course will take on its own trajectory (you have got to let go).
- As a participant you need to be able to self-regulate your learning and possibly give yourself a learning goal to achieve.
Part 1: Kardashev’s Crystal Ball February 4, 2013
Today’s meanderings brought this to the frontal lobes. Check out this scale, then look at the tech trends.
Ten Breakthrough Technologies for 2012 These are the 10 most important technological milestones reached over the previous 12 months. To compile the list, the editors of MIT Technology Review select the technologies we believe will have the greatest impact on the shape of innovation in years to come. This impact can take very different forms, but in all cases, these are breakthroughs with the potential to transform the world.
This week, I looked at many sources for tracking and managing differentiated student progress. My first choice would be to go with what the school already has in place, whatever that be. In the case of Juneau Schools, it is Power School (PS). PS has a component called Schoolnet, which I’m not sure JSD uses, but ideally it should. Among other options, Schoolnet offers: dashboards that track goals; differentiated class lists for intervention; interactive lesson planner; loadable and searchable instructional materials bank. PS is created by Pearson School Systems the creator of Learning Studio which is appealing for the social learning aspect.
Among the other commercial packages available, this standards based grading system looked appealing http://activegrade.com/. For students, this site caught my interest https://www.edcaliber.com/. From the connectivist aspect, Canvas had some attractions.
Other free tools were examined such as wikispaces and wiggio, especially for group work. Am attempting to learn wikispaces. Wiggio looks fun and I’ve been thinking all day about other uses for it. But, am not going to intentionally add anything else to the learning trough for awhile…smiley face smiley face.
Differentiate Between a Chicken With Nuggets and One Without. January 29, 2013
Week Two Essential Question:
What tools might provide me insight into the learners in my classroom and how might I use this information?
Multiple formal diagnostic tests exist in Special Education for isolating learning differences, as do an equal amount of formal inventories and surveys. Rarely are these formal instruments used by the regular classroom teacher. Generally, it is the more informal items which classroom teachers find to be more user friendly: simpler to administer and easier to interpret. A variety of learning style inventories, observations, anecdotal records, pre-tests, readiness tests, and formative assessments, are a few of the tools available to identify how students prefer to learn. Ultimately, relationship building helps all educators gain insight into understanding how their students learn best. “The teacher understands that learners bring assets for learning based on their individual experiences, abilities, talents, prior learning, and peer and social group interactions, as well as language, culture, family, and community values.” (p.12, Standard 2: Essentail Knowledge, l) Outside of the legally mandated identifiers of learning, the interpersonal and informal tools are what I have found to provide me with the best understanding of how young people prefer to learn.
By analyzing the information gained about student’s learning styles and multiple intelligences using the above tools, I can decide where a child is on the path to learning. This requires me to use the higher order thinking skill: differentiation! (Bloom’s Taxonomy) From what I know about each learner, I can create a differentiated learning environment. The process of differentiating instruction involves research and development of strategies to incorporate into culturally responsive, inclusive lessons. The goal of the carefully crafted learning opportunities is to authentically engage each learner to learn, at their own level, in their own way, at their own pace.