WK 12: Funding Proposal Reflection

This has been an interesting class of Emerging Technologies. I found so many amazing resources and ideas but I also found a few ideas I may let someone else lead the way in. However, there was extreme growth for me in terms of knowing what tech is out in the world currently and different strategies in which I can engage my students in a fast growing world of innovative concepts.

I am excited for this new year to start! The funding proposal was an interesting assignment as I was able to get a view from an administrative perspective. There are many things to consider when something new wants to be presented in a school and it has been my experience to watch things just happen instead of looking at all the aspects to this “new thing”. I have often seen the price tag to be the sticking point for many new ideas to not be placed into schools and I agree that this should be an important thought. An inexpensive plan may be just as good, if not better, at engaging students and teaching them real life experiences than a plan with famous names and a large expense. However, I have seen the price tag be the main focus where the questions of “Is it good for the students? How will the students benefit?” have never graced a conversation.

I have seen schools reach for quick fix technologies without looking down the long road of future usage or sustainability. I enjoyed looking at the sustainability part of the plan because it forced me to think of the future, even if it just happened to be three years down the road until a new technology policy would be written. I also enjoyed brainstorming other ideas to get the Paper Circuitry plan funded even if my district could not support it financially.

Support can be shown in many ways and although a district may not be able to produce the extra funds to get an innovative technology into their schools, at least having the support to introduce it into the classroom is most important. If there is no district buy-in and the parents are unsupportive, another approach may need to be taken. The plan would be to keep pushing and coming up with more ideas to reach those support systems.

Emerging Technologies are in the group of always changing ideals as they have to be able to support the fast moving world and the growing supply for technology. We need to make sure that we, as teachers, and our students are prepared to grow along with the technology.

Wk11 Reflection:District Tech Policies

Students today have technology within their homes that can be utilized at schools in a productive manner. The main idea is to engage students and have them bring about real life experiences for lifelong learning to be successful. All of these “staples” to education can be achieved when policies are put in place to teach students with/through emerging technologies. (Emphasis on teach.)Most students bring devices to school anyways. Why not capitalize on those devices? What would be the big issue with letting the student’s feel as though they “won this battle”?

In the long run, as far as the future of technology use in employment opportunities, they will win because they will have the experience and vocabulary. The students of today will be better equipped for tomorrow by learning these emerging technologies and also will learn to adapt them for the needs of the future. By knowing how things work also acts as a catalyst for teaching others.

Teachers need to get on board with learning at least some of these new technologies. Technology changes quickly but once a strong foundation is set, learning more advanced tech will become second nature. As for myself, I also need to start learning technology at a faster rate so I can “keep up with the times” and my students.

Wk 11:Becoming a Leader: Assisting your District with Technology Use Policies

The vision of the Alberta Learning and Technology Policy encompasses a “learner-centered responsive education system with shared responsibility and accountability-one that engages community and provides inclusive-equitable access, flexibility and opportunities for innovation that promotes excellence” (Alberta Government,2013).

While this statement above leaves much room for interpretation, the numerous pages that follow this definition of this report are explicit in their descriptions and outlines how this vision will be achieved through five main “policy directions” of focus: 1.Student-Centered,2.Research based,3.Professional development,4.Leadership [administration support], and 5. Access [infrastructure](Alberta Government, 2013). Although all of these sections would be important in a school setting, I was fairly interested in the areas of Professional Development and Leadership, as these concerns have surfaced in many conversations pertaining to Emerging Technologies.

 

When looking into technology policies, another area of focus should be spent on what type of technology resources are being used. This opens up the topic of Open Educational Resources (OERs). According to SETDA (2015,p.1), OREs are “teaching and learning materials licensed in such a way that they are free and may be used, reused,remixed, and otherwise customized to meet specific needs.”In other words, OER are teaching, learning, and resource materials, tools, and media that are in the public domain or are available under an open license so that they may be used and repurposed freely by educators, students, and self-learners.

The article from SETDA goes deeper into how these OERs are useful in schools and policies to observe when using online resources that are open source. The policies found in this article should be considered when evaluating a district’s technology plan. OERs are available for anyone to alter, even people that may have malintent. But the use of open resources have no justification if a district technology policy starts with no “student-centered” goals.

Julia Fisher consulted with Warren Danforth [an educational consultant] about the real meaning of a technology policy and the intent of production and use. This article from Education Next evaluates technology policies in schools with a need to “Keep in mind the planning starts with identifying needs of stakeholders—student and teachers, and how they do their work and learning activities—not technology. A technology plan without a focus on the daily activities of users isn’t much of a plan”(W. Danforth for Education Next with Julia Fisher, 2014).

 

It is with the identification of needs where this next bit of information comes into play for the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. This report emphasizes the benefits of integrating technology into schools and the complications a district may run into. First, this study states that “43% of students feel unprepared to use technology as they look ahead to higher education or their work life”(Moeller & Reitzes, 2011). This is not much of a positive but offers several potential benefits that are looking into. The benefits from Moeller & Reitzes (2011) are:

1.Help diagnose and address individual needs (adaptive)

2.Equip students with the skills for… the 21 century.

3.Provide active experiences

4.Personalized learning in a cost effective way

5.Can provide ongoing feedback to teachers

The benefits listed above are just a few of technology but the policies written for schools need to remember that they are written for the students first, the technology is an added, and often times amazing tool that should be sought after to enhance lessons.

References

Alberta Government. (2013).Learning and technology policy framework. The Building           Alberta Plan. Ministry of Education. Retreived from https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=https://education.alberta.ca/media/1046/learning-and-technology-policy-framework-web.pdf on July 27, 2016.

Fisher, J. (2014)Do states really need a technology plan? Education Next. Massachusetts. Retreived from http://educationnext.org/states-really-need-education-technology-plan/on July 28, 2016.

Ensuring the Quality of Digital Content for Learning.Retreived from https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://www.setda.org/wpcontent/uploads/2015/03/Digital_brief_3.10.15c.pdf on July 29,2016.

Moeller, Babette & Reitzes, Tim (2011) Integrating Technology with Student-Centered Learning.Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC). Massachusetts. 

 

wk 10: Reflection on electronic crafts

This week’s resources were numerous and awe inspiring. It is hard to believe some of the many products that are new to the tech world. I remember sitting around as a child pretending we had hover boards, cyborg type limbs, laser weapons and flying cars.  Those were just things in great sci-fi movies. These far-out ideas of my past are making their way into reality and the most amazing thing… as an educator I am someone who can help students have a space to create these playful and/or helpful devices.

I was a little one sided this week with my thoughts about crafting with electronics. I have not had much experience with any of these “techniques” of crafting using electronics except for a brief encounter with Paper Circuitry. I had an opportunity to attend ASTE last winter and if it would not have been for that experience, I would not be as excited about introducing Paper Circuitry in to my school for this coming year or probably for this Emerging Tech Class (no offense Dr. G). Many of the other crafting tools, like the sewable circuit threads and programmable clothing seems to fall to the side for me, at least just for starters. But knowing how to sew brings those types of mechanisms more quickly into my world before digital makeup.

The thought of introducing this type of curriculum or even Makerspace type learning apparatus to my students is exciting. If I go into this year with that type of attitude towards completely new learning opportunities, I am positive that the positivity will carry over onto my students.

 

 

WK:10 Crafting with Electronics

According to sparkfun,”A paper circuit is a functioning electronic circuit built on a paper surface instead of a PCB(printed circuit board). Projects can range from greeting cards, to origami, to traditional art such as paintings or drawings.” Sounds fun right!

After I had attended ASTE this last winter, I was so excited (and overwhelmed) at the amount of amazing ideas teachers were working on introducing into their classrooms. One of the coolest things I was introduced to was Paper Circuitry. As I was reading through the description, attempting to pick my “classes” I wanted to attend, it read “turn your paper notebook into a circuit”. I was like “What! Yeah right, must have been a misprint.” Come to find out, it wasn’t a misprint.

When I got into the class, I paid a small amount of money for some copper tape and stickers, brought my own notebook and was told to jump in. I had no idea what I was supposed to do, I was just instructed to play. I knew nothing about circuits.

I am so glad I went to that class. After the initial frustration waned, the presenters started to explain where this idea grew from and many idea in which this type of learning would be beneficial. One visual display of benefits can be found at Viemo (and below)in regards to Pu Gong Ying Tu’s Dandelion Painting. I love the art but now I would really be interested to see the circuits behind the painting.

One of the first stories we heard [at ASTE] was about this young lady, Jie Qi, from MIT. It was she who made paper circuitry widely know and can be found at the Chibi site . Then we were walked through a few more sites.

ITEMS TO BOOKMARK if you are wanting to know more about paper circuitry!

One resource for Paper Circuitry can be found at High-Low Tech. This site has projects, links, workshops, and connections to other like minded people. Another resource can be found in 21 Century Notebooking. Don’t forget about Sparkfun.

There are just so many ways to allow students to be creative that will work easily into other subjects (electricity, engineering, fashion, biology,…the list goes on) where learning will continue to happen.

Wired, an internet blog, posted an article that showcases many ideas of how you can “Go Bionic with These Arduino Projects” (2013). There are many neat ideas that would be a great springboard for students needing some starting ideas. I especially liked the “arm pet” and the little black “light-up image” dress.

Resources:

Chibitronics (2014) Electronics for Everyone. Retreived from chibitronics.com on July 20, 2016.

NexMap. 21 Century Notebooking. Retrieved from nexmap.org/21c-notebooking.io on February 24, 2016.

SparkFun Electronics. PCB Basics. Retreived from https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/pcb-basics on February 24, 2016.

Viemo-Interactive Light Painting by Pu Gong Ying Tu . Retrieved on July 20, 2016.

Wired Blog (2013) Go Bionic with these Arduino Projects. Retreived at http://www.wired.com/2013/01/wearable-arduinos/ on July 19, 2016.

 

wk9:Reflection on BYOD

I am still not exactly sure where I stand with BYOD in schools. If I worked in a district that already had that policy in place, I would honor those expectations and hopefully do a great job at working personal devices into my daily classroom activities. But I believe an approach for BYOD should be aimed more towards the upper grades, which I do not teach on a regular basis.

My classroom has consisted of the integration of different electronic technologies but I have used them to merely enhance lessons, to teach keyboarding skills, or for the use in centers.

As a parent, I would struggle with sending my own children to school with personal devices just because it is a huge distraction even at home and many students want to “borrow” someone else’s tech. I would enjoy having the same technology for all students as it takes much of the guess work out for trouble shooting when, inevitably, something goes wrong.