During course work in ITEC 8520 Supporting Technology Infrastructure in Schools & Districts, I found reviewing the technology infrastructure of the Fulton County School District very interesting. In completing the audit, my opinions of the school's district were supported. In having, the chance to speak with key department head in this area provided a clearer picture of the districts decisions in regards to policies and procedures.
Technology in general still fables me in how it works and as it further advances in the areas of cloud computing and virtualization will be areas, which I struggle with how they work. I understand the concepts and the importance in regards to data and system backups and file storage and accessibility. I currently research and test new instructional tools. It is the interworking's of computer technology and language that I will need to further study.
The key ideas I will take way from this course will be the importance to sustain a strong technology infrastructure and to continually to evaluate the infrastructure. It is vital to have an effective communication and collaboration model to support the staff, students, and parents of the school district. In speaking with members of the district technology, I gained knowledge, which will be significant in my role as a technology leader. The forward thinking approach of the district in the areas of networking, bandwidth, and security allows the district be innovators in the area of instructional technology.
The forward thinking approach will continue to guide my leadership in the area of technology. Understanding the importance of evaluating and reflection on the correct effectiveness of the district infrastructure and educational technology tools implemented. However, I will be proactive in research of industry standards, security of data and networking strategies.
In working with members of Fulton County School District Information and Instructional teams, the district has assembled a strong team in quality and understanding of various forms of technology. It is through these vibrant teams the district is able to put forth a strong learning initiative such as personalized learning and 1:1 for the students. Without teams, which build a strong capacity the school district, would not be able to meet the needs of all their students and community.
Ten years ago as I was going through my initial education coursework, I took part in a program for global collaboration for those going through pre-service training. However, since then I have not incorporated this into my own classroom. I was a sponsor for our middle school’s Model United Nations team and escorted them to the International Model United Nations Conference. And I did not have my students connect with these international students after the conference.
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) advocates for our students to be college and career ready to have the ability to collaborate to meet real world challenges. (P21 2014 1). P21 has created global education competencies which ensure attitudes, skills and knowledge. Teachers and students must be able to understand and be willing to explore other cultures, Teachers must use proper skills to integrate global learning into their classroom so their students will improve their critical thinking skills. Teachers must have the content knowledge to develop global lessons in to their curriculum and students develop the knowledge to understand cultural diversity and global issues (P21 2016 2). Many times I feel even I do not get my students to master the curriculum I hope to teach them respect and cultural understanding. I tell them when I their age ( 12) in Smyrna, Georgia I never thought I would see the South China Sea but I have. I have worked with people all over the globe in my former career in person and online. I communicate daily with people all around the world. The world is so much smaller today and we must prepare them to communicate and collaborate globally and part of this is understanding our cultural differences. These frameworks and competencies are the right start.
The term “flattening classroom” was new term to me in regards to global education. Flattening classrooms by removing the walls and extending the classroom and learning going across globe. This definition of global learning is an excellent way to represent this concept. Vicki Davis gave an important way to pull our students into what is happening in the world by ensuring our students have RSS feeds built for topics/issues the students are interested in keeping up to date (Davis 2012).
I found Aaron Doering ‘s Adventure Learning to be a combination of global learning and PBL (Project Based Learning). These has so many engaging elements for our students. We get them hooked through adventure and extreme localities. Many times I wish our classrooms can just drop the curriculum and as teacher be able to find these engaging projects for our students to take part in. Is tis not when the real learning will happen?
There are still challenges. How do we get teacher buy in? How do we get their commitment to try? Our school is one of 56 schools in the Digital Promise /Verizon Innovative Learning Schools Network across the United States. We still struggle with getting our schools and students to collaborate. Each of the schools have a student storytelling team and a few of these students have collaborate together on creating videos/stories. This is a wonderful opportunity that we are missing out.
How do we get teachers and students “pulled into” global education?
Davis, V. (2012, November 16). Flattening Classrooms and Expanding Minds - Fall CUE - Vicki Davis. Retrieved July 12, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cnY-71ZvoE
Doering, A. (2012, September 24). "Adventure Learning: Aaron Doering at TEDxUMN" Video at TEDxTalks. Retrieved July 12, 2016, from http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Adventure-Learning-Aaron-Doering
Lindsay, J., & Davis, V. (2007). Flat Classroom Project. Retrieved July 12, 2016, from http://flatclassroomproject.wikispaces.com/
Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2014). Teacher guide: K-12 global competence grade-level indicators. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2016, from http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/Global_Education/P21_K-12_Global_Ed_Indicators.pdf
Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2014). Framework for state action on global education. Retrieved http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/Global_Education/p21_state_framework_on_global_education.pdf
Problem Based, Project Based, Inquiry Based, Flipped and, Blended/Hybrid Learning, so many questions about these instructional models. PBL –Problem or Project which is it? What is the difference between them all? Can you not incorporate them all into instruction and which of these instructional models is best for your students?
All of these instructional models connect together and represent the trend in education to redevelop instructional design to meet the needs of the students. Personalized Learning is an incorporation of these models and allows students to develop the skills our students need today. A common thread in education is the need for education to be student centered, development of critical thinking skills, problem solving and real world applications.
The use of Flipped, Blend. Hybrid learning allows classroom time to be repurposed for collaboration and project work and time for the teacher to work student’s individually (Bergmann, Sams 2014). This use of these models allows: “No longer is class focused on information dissemination, but instead, time can be spent helping students with difficult concepts and extending the learning to deeper levels (Bergmann, Sams 2014). The use of these tools allows for deeper authentic learning to take place.
“Authentic learning is a pedagogical approach that situates learning tasks in the context of real-world situations, and in so doing, provides opportunities for learning by allowing students to experience the same problem-solving challenges in the curriculum as they do in their daily endeavors.” (Spector, et al, 1900). Authentic learning environments need to provide collaborative learning where, for example, more able partners can assist with scaffolding and coaching, and where teachers provide appropriate learning support” (Spector, et al 1914). What is the best approach in authentic learning?
The term “Project Based Learning”, I think is used many times in the wrong context. Students creating a project about what they are or have learned is not truly Project Based Learning. Research shows Project Based Learning should be: students learning knowledge to tackle realistic problems as they would be solved in the real world, increased student control over his or her learning, teachers serving as coaches and facilitators of inquiry and reflection and students working in groups (Barron, B., & Darling-Hammond, L. 2008). I found Inquiry Based learning is really the center of it all. “The basic tenet of inquiry learning is that students arrive at an understanding of the subject matter by engaging in self-directed investigations” (Spector, et al, 121).
Bergmann and Sams (2014) web post, Flipped-Learning Toolkit: Getting Everybody On Board rings so true not for just type of model. Education and learning are changing, how do we get parent and student commitment and buy in. My 8th grade students comment. Tells us what we need to know”. How do we obtain the mind shift from our stakeholders? What can we do as educators to get the stakeholders on board? We know where we want our students to be and what learning should look like in the classroom and at home but how do we get students and parents on the train?
“Authentic learning is a pedagogical approach that situates learning tasks in the context of real-world situations, and in so doing, provides opportunities for learning by allowing students to experience the same problem-solving challenges in the curriculum as they do in their daily endeavors (Spector et, al, 1900). Isn’t this this the end game, in all the terminology, models and trends this is the outcome of what we want learning to look like? It is the combination of authentic learning with the support of Flipped and Blended learning would be the most model which allows, collaboration, individualized teacher focused and retention of content and improve students' attitudes towards learning (Strobel & van Barneveld, 2009; Walker & Leary, 2009).
Bergmann, J., & Sams, A. (2014, October 28). Flipped-Learning Toolkit: 3 Ways to Take Your Students Deeper. Retrieved June 15, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/take-students-deeper-flipped-learning-jon-bergmann
Bergmann, J., & Sams, A. (2014, December 16). Flipped-Learning Toolkit: Getting Everybody On Board. Retrieved June 15, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/flipped-learning-getting-everybody-on-board-jon-bergmann
Spector, J.M.; Merrill, M.D.; Elen, J.; Bishop, M.J. (2014). Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology. (4th ed.). New York: Springer Science + Business Media
Vega, V. (2012, December 03). Project-Based Learning Research Review. Retrieved June 15, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/pbl-research-learning-outcomes
Technology's Impact on Learning
The readings for this week continue to enforce my vision for teaching and learning. After reviewing the variety of learning theories, my vision is still strongly rooted in the constructivist approach and technology is an enhancement to this approach. We as teachers should be the facilitator by providing the topic and core information, and then the learning process should be multifaceted. Not all students absorb knowledge and learning in the same manner, so we as teacher must develop a variety of approaches, environments and experiments to allow the learning to take place. “The knowledge that each student constructs is not predictable from the individual pieces of information in the information landscape or the curriculum but emerges from the sum of the encounters and from the relations established by the student within the knowledge domain.” (Spector, Merrill, Elen, Bishop, 2014, p. 116) Our students may have access to the same information however, it is how they engage the knowledge will determine their individual learning outcomes.
Through the use of technology, we as teachers are allowed to develop a variety of learning environments which are multi-faceted to meet the student’s needs. These learning environments are developed to meet learning styles, varied path and pace, and provides student a voice in the development of these environments are well. Personalized learning environments are further developed through the use of technology in creating engaging and student centered learning experiences. “The question, however, is not if tools can contribute to learning but how instructional materials in various forms can enhance learning and allow the manipulation of the properties of instruction that impact learning (Lumsdaine, 1963).” (Spector, Merrill, Elen, Bishop, 2014, p. 106) Teachers must create learning environments with proper materials to ensure students have the ability to be self-directed learners in these authentic and engaged learning environments.
“Instructional design theories typically contain a taxonomy of learning outcomes, which makes it possible to classify the desired outcomes and then to select the most suitable instructional method or methods for helping learners to reach these outcomes.” (Spector, Merrill, Elen, Bishop, 2014, p. 186) I wonder though do we have a set outcome beyond basic information, would all students have the same outcomes if their learning experience was individualized? Not all experiences would be the same so would not all outcomes be the same?
In moving to student centered approach, teachers allow students to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills in a collaborative environment. The need for students to think and work creatively, develop problem solving skills, work in collaboration and communicate as outlined in the P-21 Framework to be prepared for life and work environments of the future, technology contributes and enhances to this learning. Technology enhanced learning environments allow students to actively seek resources for knowledge, tools and resources.
However, in a constructivist approach, students are part of the design process of their learning and their experiences to gain the knowledge. “Teachers and learners are co-designers of their learning processes which affect knowledge-construction and management as well as products that result from collaboration in distributed knowledge environments.” (Spector, Merrill, Elen, Bishop, 2014, p. 152) The P-21 Framework and the ISTE Standards for Students provide a design, support and expectations for these learning environments. While the material fully supports a constructivist approach, is does ask the same question I have which is: In the design approaches ranging from path and pace, voice and choice, inquiry and problem based learning where does the control start or stop?
International Society for Technology in Education. (2016). ISTE Standards for Students. Retrieved June 03, 2016, from http://www.iste.org/standards/ISTE-standards/standards-for-students
Partnership for 21st Century Learning. (n.d.). Framework for 21st Century Learning - P21. Retrieved June 03, 2016, from http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework
Spector, J. M., Merrill, M. D., Elen, J., & Bishop, M. J. (Eds.). (2014). Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (4th ed.). doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-3185-5.