Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Learning in a Digital World




The use of educational technology has opened doors to a network of collaboration and knowledge acquisition I would have never imagined. As a doctoral student the online environment has allowed me to engage in various multi-model learning styles aside from my own learning preference. I have become not only a networked student, but a network teacher in my adjunct faculty position. Although, I still partially teach in a traditional face to face environment the use of technology within my classroom, and my blended learning approach has allowed me to differentiate instruction, focus on various student’s needs, and apply higher order level of thinking. Engaging teachers promote student’s confidence in their ability to succeed in school by providing challenging instruction, support, and encouragement. Therefore, my philosophy as an educator is to provide clear and concise learning outcomes as well as gear my teaching to various student needs. On the other hand, my philosophy of learning is students must acquire 21st Century skills primarily focused in: critical thinking, problem solving, cross-cultural communication, creativity, innovation, and collaboration.
The expansion of the worldwide web and the emerging digital platforms has allowed learning to occur in a variety of ways such as, “communities of practice, personal networks, and work-related tasks” (Siemens, 2004, p.1). Thus, now a day “to know” means where to find knowledge and how to apply it. A method I highly utilize to achieve 21st century skills is the Socratic Method. In Socratic teaching we focus on giving students questions, not answers. We model an inquiring, probing mind by continually probing into the subject with questions. Gardner (1993) states, “students possess different kinds of minds and therefore learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways” (Gardner, 1993, p.1). For that reason, I believe it’s critical to teach and learn through the impact all learning theories and multiple intelligences. A base knowledge of all “ism” can help personalize learning to a diverse group of students, and the use of constructivist and connectivism theory can help explore the world of learning. The following link gives more detail about the use of Socratic Method and educational technology. http://dailygenius.com/education-technology-with-the-socratic-method/


References:
Gardner, Howard. Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. 10th ed. Philadelphia:
            Basic
Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved from
Dunn, J. How to Use Educational Technology with the Socratic Method. The Daily Genius: 2015. Retrieved from http://dailygenius.com/education-technology-with-the-socratic-method/

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

New Technologies


As one of the lead professional development assistants for our district, I have been in charge of the integration of our Google migration, and the implementation of intervention software. The Google migration consists of only using Google drive, email, and calendar for collaboration district wide. This initiative had more than 50% resistance by office managers and certain traditional staff used to working with Microsoft Outlook. As in many situations asking people to learn something new and get away from their comfort zones, more than likely always meets resistance. Buy in is key, and it was really challenging to convince our staff why the Google migration was more beneficial. Furthermore, when I did staff development trainings at all K-8 sites in how to integrate Lexia reading and Scholastic Fast Math in the classroom, the process was also met with resistance.
            
 One of the biggest issues of the resistance to change among some stakeholders was based on the paradigm shift of traditional vs. personalized learning environment. Some indicators of resistance to change already been realized are confusion, criticism, denial, silence, and deflection. These indicators are primarily being seen by teachers who are part of an active role in facilitating such change and who are also the most likely group of stakeholders resistant to the change. For instance, many times teacher’s would not attend regular staff training and some would voice their opinion and clearly state technology was un-necessary.
           
 According to Kaufman (2003), “soft data consists on the opinions and/or feelings and perceptions of change compared to that of quantified measurable results of hard data” (p.139) therefore, teachers are most likely to embrace change if data will demonstrate a significant amount of success in differentiated learning, and overall hard data focused on the pre and post achievement of learners in their progressions of subject matter. Additionally, through the use of pre and post scores and the visual aspect of data driven instruction, I was able to show staff the intervention programs and Google migration were making a difference in learners and staff collaboration. This began to build confidence and also buy in. According to Kelly’s ARCs model, attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction are needed to create motivation (Driscoll, 2005, p.307. The use of data helped me get teacher’s attention therefore, show the relevance of the differentiated instruction and how it ties to the common core. Moreover, once engagement was established I could see the confidence began to build monthly as teachers learn to run their own reports, and progress student monitoring. Below are links to the reading and math programs used as an technology intervention program for the district.

Links:

Reference:
Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education

Kaufman, Roger A. (2003). Strategic Planning for Success: Aligning People, Performance, and
            Payoffs. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Network Connections




My mind map above is below on the student network model focused on a collection of tools that promote knowledge construction, and in which according to Drexler (2010), “principles of connectivism equate to fundamentals of learning in a networked world” (p.374). Being networked in today’s digital age is a form of accessing personal learning environment tools through the means of technology. My network in education is all in a digital platform by being part of the online environment, using e-books, Moodle, blackboard, Skype, webinars, chats, and forums. My network with coworkers, friends, and family is through social networks such Facebook, drop box, Google+, Google hangouts, and Google drive.

Moreover, as a student and adjunct professor I use Moodle to organize my blended courses, blogs to communicate with classmates, Google drive to share assignments, and active online subscriptions to keep updated on research. As already described, all the digital resources mentioned have helped facilitate the way I work, how I learn, and how I communicate with colleagues, classmates, and family. Thanks to the technology we have today; I have the ability to communicate with people in various parts of the world in just seconds. Thanks to the networking on social media, and apps we have available to us I have a big network of friends and colleagues outside of the hometown I reside. Furthermore, the method I use to learn or find new knowledge is using the Google search engine, ebco hosts, proquest, Eric, and Google scholar database as means to begin research. Another method is asking a question to get feedback through Google forms, Facebook, or LinkedIn accounts.

References:
Drexler, W. (2010). The Networked Student Model for Construction of Personal Learning
            Environments: balancing teacher control and student autonomy. Australasian Journal of
            Educational Technology, 26(3), 369-385