User Generated Education

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Posts Tagged ‘educational technology

Halloween Wars: An Interdisciplinary Lesson with a STEM, STEAM, Maker Education Focus

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For Halloween 2016, I did a version of Halloween Wars (a Food Network show) with my two classes of gifted elementary learners. I am sharing this lesson through my blog post as it reinforces how I approach lesson planning and teaching.

Background Information

Principles that drive my instructional approach. regardless of theme, include:

  • Instructional challenges are hands-on and naturally engaging for learners.
  • There is a game-like atmosphere. There are elements of play, leveling up, and a sense of mastery or achievement during the instructional activities.
  • The challenges are designed to be novel and create excitement and joy for learners.
  • There is a healthy competition where the kids have to compete against one another.
  • Learners don’t need to be graded about their performances as built-in consequences are natural.
  • There is a natural building of social emotional skills – tolerance for frustration, expression of needs, working as a team.
  • Lessons are interdisciplinary (like life) where multiple, cross-curricular content areas are integrated into the instructional activities.

These have been further discussed in A Model of Good Teaching?

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Halloween Wars Lesson

For this Halloween Wars lesson, the goals included the following:

  • To work in a small group to create a Halloween scene using food items, cooked goods, LED lights, and miscellaneous materials.
  • To work as a small group to craft a story about their scene.
  • To introduce and reinforce ideas, concepts, and skills associated with maker education, STEM, and STEM.

Standards addressed during this lesson included:

  • Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work. (National Core Arts Standards)
  • Exercise flexibility and willingness to be helpful in making necessary compromises to accomplish a common goal; and assume shared responsibility for collaborative work, and value the individual contributions made by each team member. (21st Century Skills)
  • Apply scientific ideas to design, test,and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another. (Next Generation Science Standards)
  • Solve problems involving measurement and conversion of measurements. (CCSS.Math)
  • Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.3)
  • Publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences. (ISTE NETS for Students)

Time Frame: 3 to 4 hours

Procedures:

  • Learners were introduced to the lesson through the following presentation –

  • Learners were split into groups of 3 or 4 members, shown their materials, asked to come up with a team name, and sketch their designs.

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  • In their small groups, learners needed to work together cooperatively to make their display scenes using the materials provided.

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  • Learners made sugar cookies using a recipe projected on the Smartboard. They were asked to cut the recipe in half reinforcing math skills.

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  • LED lights, which learners connected to coin batteries, were placed decorated ping-pong balls and their carved pumpkin.

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  • Finally, learners, in their small groups, worked together on a shared Google doc to compose their story. The story was displayed on the Smartboard and read aloud. One member made editing changes to grammar and spelling based on suggestions by their classmates. (This strategy is further discussed in Teaching Grammar in Context.) Here is one student group’s example:

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

October 31, 2016 at 12:11 am

Doing Things at School That Can’t Be Done At Home

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Many kids and teens are spending a lot of their time doing solitary screen-related activities. This most often occurs at home with their own devices.

We are also living in an age where practically any and all content can be found via the Internet. The educator is no longer the gatekeeper to information. Internet resources can present and teach content better than a lecturing educator. Videos, demonstrations, and interactive websites and simulations are often more interesting, exciting, and engaging than teachers’ lectures . . . and the kids know it!

So what, then, becomes the purpose of school? School should be about doing things that aren’t or can’t be done at the students’ own homes. These things should be about interaction . . . interaction with other humans . . . interaction with the material and physical world.

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Interacting with Adult Educators

The first type of human interactions includes those with adult educators and mentors. The key here is that they are interactions not an adult teacher talking at nor lecturing the learner. It involves building relationships with learners, engaging in coaching and mentoring functions, and modeling learning how to learn.

Educator as a Coach and Mentor

Coaching in the classroom environment is defined as working with students to develop their self-awareness and capacity for self-discovery, while motivating them to begin a process of continuous learning and development. Three key elements of the role of the teacher as coach are: relationship building, increasing students’ self-discovery and self-knowledge through co-inquiry, and combining theory with practice via a pragmatic orientation. (The Teacher As Coach Approach)

Educator as a Lead or Model Learning

I have written before about the educator as a model and lead learner:

The educator’s role has or should change in this age of information abundance or Education 2.0-3.0. The educator’s role has always been to model and demonstrate effective learning, but somewhere along the line, the major role of the educator became that of content and knowledge disseminator. Now in this information age content is freely and abundantly available, it is more important than ever to assist learners in the process of how to learn. (Educator as Model Learner)

Interacting with Peers

The second type of human interaction is that with peers. Human beings are social and naturally learn from one another, so the idea of preventing discourse between peers counters how people learn in the real world. Peer interactions don’t necessarily have to be learners of the same age. It could be people of similar abilities and/or interests. Face-to-face interactions within the school setting has a number of benefits.

Throughout childhood and adolescence, peer interaction is essential for language, cognitive, and social development. There are aspects of learning that happen best during peer interactions, rather than interactions with adults. Children acquire language and vocabulary during interactions with others. They learn how to argue, negotiate, and persuade. Fostering Social Interaction

Classes where students have opportunities to communicate with each other help students effectively construct their knowledge. By emphasizing the collaborative and cooperative nature of classwork, students share responsibility for learning with each other, discuss divergent understandings, and shape the direction of the class. (Student-Student Classroom Interaction)

Interacting with Materials and the Physical World

Interacting with materials in the physical world is another interactive element that should be integrated as standard practice in face-to-face education. The quality of interacting with materials should be considered. It needs to go beyond using manipulatives in predetermined ways. Material interaction should be open ended, allowing for learner experimentation and self-discovery. I recently learned about The Theory of Loose Parts:

In 1972, architect Simon Nicholson developed the Theory of Loose Parts; the idea that loose parts, materials which can be moved around, designed and redesigned, and tinkered with; create infinitely more opportunities for creative engagement than static materials and environments. Basically, the more materials there are the more people can interact. (The Theory of Loose Parts)

The loose parts theory suggests that when [learners] are given a wide range of materials that have no defined purpose, they will be more inventive in their play and have infinite play opportunities manipulating them in ever-changing ways that their imaginations devise. The more flexible the environment, the greater the level of creativity and inventiveness is expressed. (Loose Parts)

Here is Nicholson’s 1972 paper about The Theory of Loose Parts – 1204-5117-1-PB

Using loose parts for unique and personalized interactions support playful learning:

Playful learning is using play activities to immerse ourselves and learn, either on our own or with others in a space we feel safe.  Play helps us go back to who we really are as human beings, full of life, curiosity and wonder. Creatures who are not afraid to be different, even silly at times and ready to try different things. In playful learning it’s ok to make mistakes when experimenting with new ideas, when challenging ourselves and others and doing things we normally wouldn’t do – which can lead us to surprising discoveries.

The resources we use might be low tech, such as everyday objects, games and materials, or high tech, such as specific software tools, social or mobile media and mobile apps. Often we don’t need anything and play happens based on pure imagination and we become play resources ourselves. (The Rise of Playful Learning)

I believe that the reason for the popularity of maker education is due to both educators’ and learners’ need for playful learning with loose parts.

The Role of Technology in the Interactive Environment

Because of the ubiquitous nature of technology, I do believe it should be integrated into school-based learning activities but not in the often passive and isolated ways that it is typically used by many folks. Technology can and should be used to reinforce and supplement the interactive activities – looking things up to support their interactive learning ventures, requesting advice and expertise via social networks, documenting their learning, and communicating directly with experts and peers via Skype and Google Hangouts.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

February 29, 2016 at 12:39 am

Why Social Media Education Is Needed In Schools

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Social media is an intimate part of a large majority of tweens’ and teens’ lives. The following graphs about teens’ social media use come from Pew Research’s Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015:

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For young people, social media is not an add-on nor an extracurricular activity. Social media is like eating, bathing, talking. It is intertwined in everything they do. It is a part of their identity . . .

As teens, my peers and I feel the constant need to stay connected to everyone around us, and the main way of doing this is through apps like Instagram and Facebook. But social-media platforms have gotten so addictive that they slowly direct students’ attention away from schoolwork and toward the screen. When you’re in middle and high school, a lot depends on your status in social media. Where you fit into the large, seemingly mysterious network of school cliques is directly related to how many followers or friends you have online and how many “likes” you get on your social-media accounts. Getting a large amount of likes on a photo posted on Instagram or Facebook secures your status. It makes you feel important, popular, and well liked. Once students have a certain number of followers or likes, it’s easier for them to feel they have control or power socially. Someone who’s “popular” on social media can be incredibly intimidating. What they say goes. (My Favorite Teachers Use Social Media: A Student Perspective)

Some recent research shows some negative, even dire consequences of social media interactions on teens. There are some unique challenges for female teens on social media.

Perhaps the most problematic effect of social media is the fierce emphasis on physical appearance. “For many girls, the pressure to be considered ‘hot’ is felt on a nearly continual basis online,” writes Sales. “No one cares about being smart anymore. If you’re beautiful, everyone will love you.” What it all adds up to is summarized by a 16-year-old in Los Angeles: “Social media is destroying our lives.” “Then why not quit?” asks Sales. “Because then we would have no life,” replies another girl. (‘American Girls’ review: Nancy Jo Sales on social media’s effects)

There are parallels between sex education and social media education. Just say no doesn’t work for sex education as just don’t do it on social media won’t work for teens. Some may argue that social media education should be the role of parents. I agree but the problem is that parents may not know all of the ins and outs that exist with the continually evolving and changing world of social media.  As such, social media education should and does fall on the shoulders of educators. One of the goals for education is to provide students with skills for living their lives safely and productively now and in the future. This is in line with driver’s education, home economics, and other skills based classes where the intent is to teach teens skills for being safer in their everyday life. We know that teens and driving can be dangerous. Instead of banning it in schools, we attempt to teach them proper and safe driving practices . . . and driver’s education isn’t just talking about safe driving practices. The same is true with just being a talking head about social media. It needs to be modeled and used in the classroom so students get to experience “proper” social media uses.

We need to teach students about how to properly use and leverage social media. For many very good reasons, social media has been given a bad rap in the past few years. There have been far too many cases of cyberbullying with tragic results. However, social media is not going to go away. It is here to stay and we as educators have a responsibility to teach students how to use it properly. Instead of banning it from our classrooms, we need to embrace it and model the many great ways that it can be used. (Sylvia Duckworth in https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/pmate-ppmee.nsf/eng/wz02162.html)

Maybe it’s a pie in the sky dream filled with sparkles, rainbows, and unicorns to wish for the development of a national social media curriculum using concrete and relevant real world examples, but what we don’t need is more student guidelines written by school systems and parents who throw their hands up in the air and say they don’t know how to use social media. (Why We Need Social Media Curriculum in Schools)

Here are is a Scoop.it of aggregated resources to help with social media education: http://www.scoop.it/t/social-media-use-in-education

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

February 25, 2016 at 10:46 pm

A Class on Coding and Bots

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Thinglink of Resources: https://www.thinglink.com/scene/753039991126360065

I have been asked to return to teach summer enrichment classes on maker education for elementary-aged learners at a local school during the summer of 2016. One of the new classes I am designing is called Coding and Bots. It is a week long (5 days) class that will meet for 2.5 hours each morning. The description is:

Learn how to code first by playing games and then by coding some bots including Sphero, Ollie, mBot, OZOBOT, and Dash and Dot. All ages are welcome but the child should have basic symbol recognition/reading skills.

Two things to note about this class are, first, I learned last summer not to underestimate the learning potential of very young kids. These classes are mixed ages ranging from 4 to 10 year old kids. For most of the maker education activities, the very young ones could perform them, sometimes better than the older kids. Second, I am a strong proponent of hands on activities. Although I like the use of iPads and computers, I want elementary aged students to have to directly interact with materials. As such, I am designing Coding and Bots to include using their bodies and manipulating objects. This translates into having all activities include the use of objects and materials excluding and in conjunction with the iPad – not just using the iPad and online apps/tools to learn to code. The activities I plan to do follow:

Warm-Ups: Human Robots

Coding the Cups

Adapted from this Tinkersmith Activity, learners use symbols and plastic cups to act as robots using the coded symbols to build and manipulate a cup stack. Each small group of 2 to 4 learners gets 18 to 24 plastic cups and a set of symbol cards (a few sets of the template below):

cupstack

The cups are lined up on two levels. Each player, one at a time, picks and flips over one of the symbol cards and does the action stated on the card with the cups. In doing their movements, players need to insure that their selected cup is in contact with at least one other cup as part of their action. A player is “out” if s/he knocks over the cup/cups. The winner is the last player who places a cup without knocking any over. To increase the challenge, have learners play the game with just the symbols during second or third round of the game.

Kodable fuzzFamily Frenzy

Learners create a simple obstacle course where they “program” a partner to complete it using the code key below. Once they have written their code their partner must follow instructions to complete the course.

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An Outdoor Treasure Hunt Through Codes

The educator sets up a Treasure Hunt outdoors for the learners to solve using coding clues provided by the educator. The coding clues are based on the following legend:

treasurehunt symbols

The pre-activity set-up includes setting up clues around the outdoor learning environment that lead from landmark to landmark and finally to a treasure (a treat or prize of some kind) along with the coding clues to get to each of the landmarks. Several routes might have to be set up if working with a larger group. I recommend no more than 3 or 4 per group. Learners are given the first clue, a series of the coding symbols that lead to the first landmark. An example might look like:

treasurehunt example

When they arrive at that landmark, they will find another clue, another series of coding symbols that lead to the next landmark and so on until they arrive at the last landmark that contains their treasure.

As a follow-up, learners will be separated into smaller groups to set up a treasure hunt for the other groups using the same legend of coding symbols.

This activity was adapted from Kodable’s Fuzz Family activity.

Superhero Coding for Kids

Use basic programming ideas to help Batman avoid the bad guys and get the jewels! You have to get him to move on the right path around the obstacles using basic programming commands.  The directions for this game can be found at http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/superhero-computer-coding-game-without-a-computer/

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Board + Manipulative Games

Robot Turtles Game

Learners will play the Robot Turtles Board Game. Robot Turtles is the a board game that teaches coding skills to kids as young as four, and the only screen-free resource for this pivotal age group. Read more at http://thinkfun.com/media-center/robot-turtles/.

Liz Engel Greaser designed an extension to this game but having her learners create their own Robots Turtle Games – see Extensions for Robot Turtles for the how-tos.

Coding Monkey Island

Learners will also play the Code Monkey Island. Its description is:

Code Monkey Island, the board game designed to teach players of all ages computer science logic! As the wise leader of your own tribe of monkeys, it’s up to you to guide all three of your monkeys safely around the board and into the banana grove. You’ll have to use concepts like conditional statements, looping, booleans, assignment operators and more to earn moves for your monkeys, dodge quicksand traps, and score some delicious fruit along the way!

Code Master

In Code Master, your Avatar travels to an exotic world in search of power Crystals. Along the way, you use programming logic to navigate the Map. Think carefully, in each level, only one specific sequence of actions will lead to success. Once you collect all the Crystals and land at the Portal, you win! (http://thinkfun.com/products/code-master/)

Osmo Coding

Osmo Coding begins with an assortment of modular magnetic blocks. You snap together numbered blocks along with commands such as “run,” “jump,” and “grab,” as you guide a tiny monster named Awbie on his eternal quest for more strawberries. https://www.playosmo.com/en/coding/)

Bots and Coding

Finally. the learners will move into coding the bots: Sphero, Dash and Bot, and Ozobot.

Sphero and Ollie

Learners will code their Spheros and Ollies using the Tynker app.

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MESH tags

MESH are wireless electronic tags shaped like blocks and each of them has different function. When you connect them together by using MESH app, your ‘what if’ ideas come to life. There is no need for knowledge of electronics or programming. Creating an IoT (internet of things) system will be very simple with MESH. http://meshprj.com/en/

Dash and Dot

Children ages 5 and up learn the foundations of problem solving and computer programming as they have fun with Dash & Dot.  Dash Dash is an explorer who zips around the room, getting into mischief along the way. Using sensors, Dash can detect objects in front and behind, hear where you are, and see where Dot is. This robot has quite the personality and becomes more capable as you program and play. Introducing Dot Dot is a puppet master who instigates the adventures that Dash goes on. When you toss, shake, or pick Dot up, Dot sends a signal telling Dash what to do. Dot can also tell stories using lights, sounds, and eye expressions.

Lesson plans for Dot and Dash can be found at https://teachers.makewonder.com/lessons.

OZOBOT

OZOBOT is an award winning smart robot, designed to teach kids & techies alike about robotics, programming & coding.

Ozoblocky is the programming language. The editor can be found at http://ozoblockly.com/editor

OZOBOT  lesson plans can be found at http://ozobot.com/play and http://portal.ozobot.com/lessons.

Codebug

CodeBug is a cute, programmable and wearable device designed to introduce simple programming and electronic concepts to anyone, at any age. CodeBug can display graphics and text, has touch sensitive inputs and you can power it with a watch battery. It is easy to program CodeBug using the online interface, which features colourful drag and drop blocks, an in-browser emulator and engaging community features. Create your own games, clothes, robots or any other wacky inventions you have in mind! (http://www.codebug.org.uk/whatiscodebug/)

Codebug lesson plans can be found at http://www.codebug.org.uk/learn/activity/ and http://www.codebug.org.uk/explore/codebug/

Extras – Build a Bot

Kamigamirobot

Resources:

The O Watch

Resources:

Questions to Ask Oneself While Designing Learning Activities

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I absolutely love planning lessons from scratch.  I just got a job teaching technology units for a summer camp for elementary age students. I can design and teach whatever I want – planning for a different theme each week. Some of the themes I am planning are: Expanding and Showing Your Personal Interests Through Blogging, Photos, and Videos; Coding and Creating Online Games; Tinkering and Making – Simple Robotics; Hacking Your Notebook; and Creating Online Comics, Newspapers, and Magazines.  I have begun the process of planning these classes through reflecting on what the lessons will look like.  Here are some questions I ask myself as I go through this process:

  • Will the learning activities provide learners with opportunities to tap into their own personal interests and passions?
  • Will the learning activities offer the learners the chance to put them “selves” into their work?
  • Will the learning activities provide learners with opportunities to express themselves using their own authentic voices?
  • Will the learners find the learning activities engaging? interesting? relevant? useful?
  • What “cool” technologies can be used to help meet both the instructional and the learners’ goals?
  • Will the learning activities provide learners with opportunities to have fun and to play?
  • Will learners be able to do at least some of the work independently?
  • Will the learning activities give all of the learners opportunities to shine?
  • Will the learners get the chance to share their work with other learners, with a more global audience?

lesson reflection

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

January 31, 2015 at 11:31 pm

Teaching Ethics in the Age of Technology

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Ethical decision-making should be included as a 21st century skill (overused term but don’t know of an alternative).  Some would profess that ethical decision-making has always been a needed skill.  But we are living in the most complex era of human history.  Information access and abundance, and emerging technologies are advancing, and being developed and disseminated at rates that the human mind often cannot comprehend.  Now more than ever ethics should be integrated into young people’s educations.

Society is a dynamic system. It must, by nature, evolve in order to survive. As we develop the new definitions of appropriate behavior in the online environment it is imperative that many members of society be engaged in this ongoing dialogue. An informed community and active discussion of ethical issues will enable society to determine civil and just manners to deal with the nuances of technological advancement (Rezmierski, 1992). By opening this dialogue within the K-12 environment, teachers will be able to prepare students to understand the proper use of technology and explore the issues that will continue to unfold (Using Moral Development Theory to Teach K-12 Cyber Ethics).

Every day, news of cyber-crime, theft of intellectual property, or the next cyber-bully suicide is part of today’s reality. School districts all across America must ensure that cyber ethics is part of curriculum. Today’s student is tomorrow’s business leader. Each student should have the ability to receive proper education. In order for students to receive that education, each teacher needs to go through adequate training in order to provide a solid foundation to each student. Current statistics should be a national wakeup call to act and provide teachers the proper tools necessary. The future of this nation’s infrastructure will depend on it (Should it be mandatory for schools to teach cyber ethics?)

Each year, the John J. Reilly Center puts out List of Emerging Ethical Dilemmas and Policy Issues in Science and Technology.  These can be used as a source for ethical dilemma discussions in middle school and high schools classes:

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  • The Right to Privacy versus the Right to Know:  The dizzying advances and the ubiquitous nature of communications and computers, and the astounding increases in the amount of data produced and collected in the world, have fundamentally changed the meaning of what constitutes an expectation of privacy.  Computer data mining systems and advanced statistical techniques, operating on prodigious amounts of structured data, pictures, and numerous electronic signals, are allowing unprecedented knowledge of individual preferences and behavior.  In addition, individuals freely share surprising amounts of private information – which becomes searchable and discoverable – on social media systems and commercial sites. Unfortunately, the policies, regulations, laws and ethical codes of behavior in regard to privacy and data have lagged far behind technology development, reflecting instead twentieth-century precedent and case law. (Data Collection and Privacy)
  • Internet Access as a Human Right: Mobile wireless connectivity is having a profound effect on society in both developed and developing countries. The penetration of smart phones and tablets has led to consistent doubling of mobile data usage on an annual basis, which is putting tremendous pressure on telecommunication networks and the government bodies that regulate the radio frequency (RF) spectrum. These technologies are completely transforming how we communicate, conduct business, learn, form relationships, navigate, and entertain ourselves.  This confluence of wireless technology developments and societal needs present numerous challenges and opportunities for making the most effective use of the radio spectrum. How can we make the most effective use of the precious radio spectrum, and to close the digital access divide for underserved (rural, low-income, developing areas) populations? (List of Emerging Ethical Dilemmas and Policy Issues in Science and Technology 2013)
  • Data Chip Implants in Humans: From locating lost children to keeping your financial data and medical records handy, we’re about to see a surge in datachip implants. Able to transmit and store data, chips will soon enable us to verify our identities, see if our children have traversed the boundaries (or “hopped the geofences”) we set for them, give paramedics and doctors immediate access to our medical records, allow us to go wallet-free as we pay for our groceries via a handswipe, or even store our educational and employment data for a job interview.  Can these implants become a mandatory form of ID? How do we protect our privacy from hackers? Can this data be sold to law enforcement or other companies? Does the good outweigh the bad? (List of Emerging Ethical Dilemmas and Policy Issues in Science and Technology 2014)
  • Neuro-enhancements:  Brain stimulation devices are most commonly used in treatment for various neurological and behavioral conditions, but the same technology can be used to enhance the human brain beyond its natural abilities. But should it? And at what point do we cross the line? Do we have a responsibility to be the best humans we can be? (List of Emerging Ethical Dilemmas and Policy Issues in Science and Technology 2014)
  • Human-Machine Interfaces: Thus far, the main purpose for developing brain-computer interfaces has been to allow amputees and those who suffer from paralysis to mentally control a mobile robot or robotic prosthesis. They have already made possible some remarkable feats, such as partial restoration of hearing in the deaf, direct brain control of a prosthesis, implanting false memories in a rat, and downloading a rat’s memory of how to press a lever to get food and then uploading the memory after the original memory has been chemically destroyed.. And if we can implant wiring, then, in principle, we can turn the body or any part of it into a computer. But while most of us have no problem with prosthetic limbs, even those directly actuated by the brain, nor with pace makers, or cochlear implants, we may feel uncomfortable becoming part machine. At what point does the interface between body and machine dissolve? When we can make our bodies part machine, is it necessary to redefine personhood? Will we all be assimilated? (List of Emerging Ethical Dilemmas and Policy Issues in Science and Technology 2014)
  • Predictive Policing: The National Institute of Justice defines predictive policing as “taking data from disparate sources, analyzing them and then using the results to anticipate, prevent and respond more effectively to future crime.” Some of these disparate sources include crime maps, traffic camera data, other surveillance footage, and social media network analysis. But at what point does the possibility of a crime require intervention? Should someone be punished for a crime they are likely to commit, based on these sources? Are we required to inform potential victims?  (List of Emerging Ethical Dilemmas and Policy Issues in Science and Technology 2014)

Learners can also examine and analyze recent court cases related to online behavior:

  • In the 2010 Roger Corey Bonsant case, Bonsant, then a 17-year-old high school student, was arrested and charged with criminal defamation after he was accused of creating a fake Facebook page using a teacher’s name and image. While the case is still being decided, this is an example of criminal ramifications that students may face for participating in dubious online acts.
  • Several cases exist in which students who created false Facebook or MySpace pages featuring the names and likenesses of teachers and administrators. On these pages, students published items painting the educators as drug and sex addicts. In some cases school punishments were reversed by courts, due to the fact that the student activity took place off school grounds and presumably was not sufficiently “disruptive” of the school environment to override the students’ right to free speech. The victims depicted in these false Facebook pages could very well have filed charges, however.
  • In 2011, a 12-year-old Seattle girl was arrested and charged with cyberstalking and first-degree computer trespassing. Authorities alleged that she stole a former friend’s Facebook password, logged into the account and posted explicit content. She was found guilty and sentenced to probation. (The girls’ school does not seem to have been involved in this case.)
  • Six Nevada middle-schoolers were arrested in January, 2011 for using Facebook to invite other students to take part in “Attack a Teacher Day.” They were all arrested and charged with communicating threats, as several specific teachers were called out in posts to the Web site.
  • In the Phoebe Prince case, Prince was bullied (both in person and online) by a group of teens at her Massachusetts high school after it was discovered she had a brief relationship with a boy. The boy’s girlfriend and a group of her friends systematically tormented Prince in retaliation. The bullying was considered a factor in Prince’s January 2010 suicide. All the teens involved were arrested on manslaughter charges. They eventually pled guilty to lesser crimes and were sentenced to probation and community service.  See more at: http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson-plan-booster/cyber-ethics.shtml#sthash.x9lXKv3v.dpuf

Some of the results or benefits of intentionally teaching ethics at school:

  • Helps develop critical thinking skills
  • Focuses on higher levels of Blooms’ taxonomy of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation
  • Assists learners in becoming critical consumers of technology
  • Facilitates the exploration of real world, authentic problems
  • Develops knowledge, skills, and judgement that can be used in both personal life and later in the workforce

Additional Resources:

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

March 20, 2014 at 1:05 am

Some Thoughts About Transforming Education Through Technology

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I had the privilege of being on a Reform Symposium Conference 2013 panel to discuss transforming education.  Here are my thoughts related to the questions I was asked to addressed.

As a means of introduction, what are a few successful technology projects you have implemented?

I described three:

  1. First is a teacher in-service course and workshop I developed, Educator as a Networked Learner.  This course assists educators in becoming connected educators in order to more effectively drive their own professional development and incorporate social networking into their own classrooms as an integrated part of their instructional practices.  See http://socialnetworkedlearning.weebly.com/ and https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/educators-as-social-networked-learners/ for more information
  2. A second project I want to highlight is a wiki project for 3rd through 5th grade gifted students.  Creative Web Tools For and By Kids was a project designed for students, ages 9 to 14, to use emerging technologies for engaging, thinking, learning, collaborating, creating, and innovating .  This Wiki was the workstation for exploring, interacting with, learning from, and creating with emerging technologies.  Students identified a topic of interest.  A WIki page was created for that topic.  This page was used to identify specific learning goals, to locate and post links to sites that support those interests, and to begin creating web-based projects to creatively demonstrate their learning experiences.
  3. The final project I want to highlight was one where I integrated mobile technologies via a bring your own device format into an undergraduate course on Interpersonal Communications.  Here is a link to my website that describes these activities, see http://community-building.weebly.com/ and student reactions to the course can be found at https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/mobile-learning-end-of-course-student-survey-part-ii/

Give three characteristics of what constitutes good technology integration.

First and foremost, good technology integration is ubiquitous, transparent, not identified or labeled as learning about or using technology, and seamlessly integrated into learning.  Teachers, learners, and observers don’t typically notice learning tools such desks, pencils, and paper used for learning.  This should be the case for using technology in the classroom, too.  In other words, effective technology integration just becomes a subset or embedded component of good pedagogy.

Second, we are living in an age of rich media and interactive web tools – much of these free online.  These technologies provide the opportunity to address different learning preferences and the principles of Universal Design for Learning.  Educators can present the content in a variety of ways and students can express their learning in a variety a ways.  So effective technology integration takes full advantage of these resources to fully embrace and offer students a variety of ways to learn and express their learning.  It is the key

Third, technology should be used to assist learners in coming out of social, intellectual, and interest and value based isolation.  Almost every student I’ve ever met has some unique idiosyncratic talent, skill, belief, set of values, and interest.  By idiosyncratic I mean that that none of those in his or her surrounding face-to-face environment has or possesses that “thing”.  Social networking can help students connect with their tribes.  Teachers should assist all students in becoming connected students; to help them find their tribes.

What is a pitfall teachers should avoid when teaching with technology?

The bottom line is that teaching with technology means changing one’s mindset as what and how teaching occurs.  I’ve discussed the similarities of teaching to the evolution of the web beginning with Web 1.0 or Education 1.0 where the mode of information dissemination as one way from expert to consumer; teacher to student to Web 2.0 to Education 2.0 where there is more interactivity and two-way communication and now Web 3.0 or Education 3.0 where networks and interest-driven communities share knowledge, resources, and events; where these communities evolve and develop based on the members’ needs and interests; where the consumption of knowledge and resource transform into community production of ideas, opinions, strategies for continued learning and evolution, and production of community resources.  See Schools are doing Education 1.0; talking about doing Education 2.0; when they should be planning Education 3.0 for a deeper discussion on this topic.

The pitfalls of technology integration is based on ignoring this evolution by teaching using a 20th century pedagogy and  teaching Education 1.0.  In other words, they are re-creating a 20th classroom using technology.  An example of this is with the big push for ipads, 1:1 initiatives where they download a bunch of apps that are virtually (yes pun intended) worksheets on steroids, just another way for students to receiving, responding to, and regurgitating information rather than being the connectors, creators and contributors that technology affords.

Share with us a past struggle you had when teaching with technology? What did you learn from the experience?

A continuing struggle I have with technology is connected to teaching and doing professional development with teachers and related to teachers’ changing their mindset about what and how teaching should occur.  Being a educational technology faculty has taught me perseverance, patience, problem-solving.  When I do technology integration with teachers, I often see frustration as they try to learn new technologies.  They want technology to work for them quickly and without any glitches – both inside and outside of the classroom environment.

This is related to a need for a change of mindset that was discussed in response to the previous question.  This means changing one’s educator mindset from being an expert to being a learner; from knowing all the answers to learning to ask questions; from thinking of education a static archive of content to one that is evolving at a rapid rate of knowledge development.  Integrating technology, as I mentioned, means changing the mindset that everything needs to go smoothing, as planned and structured in the classroom setting.  Technology may or may not work as planned, keeping an open mind, learning how to problem solve, eliciting the assistance of students when things go wrong and looking at technology glitches and problems as just part of the learning in this age of technology.

How does a teacher begin the journey? Any favorite resources?  

The strongest recommendation to being the journey of technology integration is to find a mentor or mentors, face-to-face and/or online. who have a lot of experiences and successes using technology.   Nothing can top being able to get advice, resources, and suggestions from those educators who have successfully gone through this journey.  Those new to technology integration don’t know what they don’t know.

So my favorite technology resource for this journey is without question is Twitter.  On Twitter, educators can find and follow educators and others who have similar content and grade level interests.  For more on Twitter for Professional Development, see http://socialnetworkedlearning.weebly.com/twitter-professional-development.html

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

October 11, 2013 at 8:48 pm

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