WK 9: BYOD Policy in School

According to Wikipedia (revised July, 2016), ” Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) refers to a policy permitting employees to bring personally owned mobile devices…and use those devices to access privileged company information and applications.” Policies for BYOD seem to be popping up in many places such as several workplaces, libraries and schools.

Benefits

A few positives mentioned by Peter Martini (2013) are :

^ [an] “increase in student and teacher collaboration”

^”extended learning beyond the traditional classroom walls”

^”cutting costs for many school districts”

The benefits mentioned above are a step in the right direction towards the support of BYOD policies in schools but what are some issues that schools (and other companies) may run into if students are allowed to furnish their own devices. Martini’s article summarizes the largest issue lies with security.

NeaToday has a good article asking “Should Schools Embrace “BYOD?’ by Emma Chadband (2012). Chadband offers a few benefits to BYOD being cheaper for districts and making a flipped classroom more attainable for students. Further down the article, Chadband also explains BYOD policy may lead to costing extra money by having to train the teacher to use equipment. According to Andrea Prejean, from the Chadband  (2012) article, “Without proper planning, implementation and professional development, BYOD may not work as people have hoped. This again falls onto what the teacher is comfortable with fitting into their classroom because the PD may not be district funded.

What does the future hold for this emerging technology of BYOD in education? An article from Tim Panagos (2013) from Wired labeled The Future of Education: BYOD in the Classroom attempts to find an answer. Panagos states that “schools across the globe are testing out a more dynamic learning environment.” Many of the schools are pushing for a BYOD policy but many parents still have valid concerns as we have seen in numerous other articles. Panagos writes that a few of these concerns are:

  • Distractions of games and videos
  • Unmonitored social networking leading to bullying or predation
  • Consumption (and creation) of inappropriate content
  • Social status and stigma of devices

Panagos would like parents to understand that change is already here and states that” the human condition is radically improved by the immediacy of information and social interconnectedness that these devices enable.” He may be onto something to the effect of this “condition” is a way of life for many but it also not as deeply sought after in some communities and it may be that parents are just not ready for their young children to be exposed to more information than necessary.

References:

Chadband, E. (2012) Should Schools Embrace “Bring Your Own Device”? Retreived from http://neatoday.org/2012/07/19/should-schools-embrace-bring-your-own-device/ on July 12, 2016.

Martini, P. (2013) 4 Challenges That Can Cripple a School’s BYOD Program. Retreived at http://www.teachthought.com/uncategorized/4-challenges-can-cripple-schools-byod-program/ on July 13, 2016.

Panagos, T. (2013) The Future of Education:BYOD in the Classroom. Retreived from http://www.wired.com/insights/2013/09/the-future-of-education-byod-in-the-classroom/ on July 15, 2016.

Wikipedia Retreived from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bring_your_own_device on July 12, 2016.

Advertisements

WK 8: Reflection on Minecraft

Judging by my last post on Minecraft (MC), others could probably tell that I was a little excited (near the end) about learning the basics since I spent much of my time explaining my stresses and achievements. I can relate to a student just learning how to maneuver around in MC and becoming frustrated when help may not be given in the manner one was hoping. However, I am a pusher of perseverance. I believe failure should drive you on to the next thing. I became so frustrated that I had to walk away for a few minutes and I thought about not returning. I thought “Do I really need to learn to play MC for the greater good of my students or my mental health?”

After the two minute reprieve, I decided my answer was yes! I should go learn to actually play MC instead of just being a passive explorer (with no skills my own children do not even want to play with me). It was at that moment, I think I figured out the difference between just playing (passively) and “playing” to learn (and teach by example).

Here are a few things I realized:

  1. My children (ages 7-16) are better at Minecraft than I am and that fact may stay true for all eternity.
  2. By me taking a small break, regrouping, and returning to learn more, I showed my kids my willingness to learn and to keep going in the face of danger (creepers!…jeepers!) and when things got overwhelming, I took a break. I recognized it was too much and I walked away.
  3. Minecraft, although it can be played as a single player game, can involve others in decision making, problem solving, and collaboration. When multiple players are working together towards a great idea (your busy mining), someone is bound to “borrow” items they thought were just theirs and break off to go hoard (and try to hide) these items in some booby-trapped lair. Yes it happens, even among families. What do you do? You have some decisions to make and a problem to solve with other people involved.
  4. I also showed my children that adults are willing to learn and that they (the children) can become the teachers. Once I started to play, there were so many mini teachers in the room, I had to have them take turns to teach me their special knowledge. It was pretty funny to listen to my seven year old explain how to build torches and move a river of lava. Most kids are more than willing to share information with you (as long as it does not compromise their plans).

All of the statements above can easily be put into a school setting to answer the question if MC would be beneficial in a school setting. One of the largest topics to organize before school usage would be the goals to be set and what information will be covered. I do not think it would benefit anyone to start MC without a stable plan with fallback plans to have when something fails.

At home on the XBOX, we can run around and be passive about what we do but truthfully, when I ask my kids what they are doing while in MC, they have at least a 3-step plan they are working on. I have yet to have them answer that they are “just playing”.

In school,  the students would have an “end game” and be expected to produce something (inclusive of writing, reading, and presenting). I can see MC easily being used to enrich topics in Geography, Literature, History, Science, and Mathematics. What more needs to be covered? One could also create an outdoor game for P.E. of Creepers vs.”Players”. But, I would probably spend most of my time building up the surroundings with shelters weapons (pine cones, fake traps) and not actually get to the activity part.

WK 8: Learning in Minecraft

I have played Minecraft (MC) on an XBOX 360 very lightly over the last few years. I truthfully just wandered around, trying to follow my children and dig “homes” into caves. I was an explorer, to put it bluntly. Until this week, being pleasantly forced through an assignment, to actually sit down and play MC was I able to learn something.

The instructions were to interview a MC playing, young person and spend some time playing the game myself. I hired my twelve year old son for the job as he is the most skilled “player” I have in close contact. Before I sat down in front of the XBOX I went to visit Minecraftopia. This site gives a good run down of the buttons needed to play MC on a computer but I visited it for the other knowledge such as what to build first, supplies that could make weapons, and general knowledge about time frames for daylight hours.

I wanted to go into the game as knowledgeable as possible since like I said earlier, I was more of an explorer of the MC world(s) than an actual participant in anything useful to myself or anyone else.( I also wanted to sound like I knew what I was talking about but I was clearly was the novice in the room.) Well it turned out I really did not know anything and my son humored me by sticking me in a tutorial world which was not very helpful.

After a little bit of annoyance, my husband and other son joined in and we switched to a peaceful survival world where I was expected to craft weapons in order to mine other minerals to make more things to survive. It was chaos! At one point I retreated to another room to regroup as frustration was high actually having to do all of it myself. Not knowing how to move things from my inventory to my crafting table (how to even read the inventory) and being able to move from one storage place to another was more than I could learn at the same time.

After telling myself to grow up and go play games like a kid, I went back upstairs and asked a lot of questions but I was able to craft a wooden pickaxe to mine coal so I could build torches to see in the dark cave. Once I was able to see, I found iron. I was also able to craft a stone sword and a stone pickaxe, which harvested animals and other minerals quicker. I figured out how to read the inventory list of how to make other tools and was able to maneuver around the XBOX buttons quicker. I was impressed since I had been playing for about thirty minutes. I had enjoyed my time and look forward to the next time I can jump back into MC!

Since having the experience in MC, I enjoyed reading Andrew Websters article (2011) labeled Educational Building Blocks:how Minecraft is used in Classrooms in which he had interviewed Joel Levin (creator of a tumbler blog minecraftteacher.tumblr.com/ ).He speaks of the choosing to use MC in his class because it is just “so open-ended”. From Levin’s interview with ARS Technica (2011) he goes on to say [that]”The game presents you with a huge open world and you can do any of a dozen different preset activities. Or you can go off and create your own content.”

*The appeal of creating everything in a world, is what has interested me in introducing MC in my classroom. The only limit to what you can build would be your imagination. If you are not feeling very creative, you can go into a preset world and just mess around but you have to create something, even if it is just a cave.

I have used Minecraft (XBOX version) for an Alaskan Geography class. This class was centered around Alaskan land and water forms but also the Native Tribes and Regions. The class would do book and map work in the traditional sense and once we got through the base learning about the land, we started to cover the Native Tribes and Regions. We took one region at a time, with the main Native group of that area, went into MC and built the Native Communities. The students were supposed to use basic materials, like the natives of a certain region would have used (no golden longhouses) and create a small community.

The students needed to discuss what they were going to build, work together to clear trees for some tribes (such as the Aleuts). The students had a great time and gave presentations at the end of the year that showcased their knowledge as well as all of their hard word spent in MC.

Since attending ASTE in early 2016, I have been interested in getting MC (computer version) into my classroom as I believe it will keep students engaged while teaching them many skills like problem solving, collaboration, and creativity. I am highly interested in Givercraft. I love the book and would love to see what students could do with recreating the world from what they had read.

The plan outlined at  http://survivalcraft15.weebly.com/the-giver-unit-plan.html provides a detailed curriculum (standards included) to use while taking your students on the close read adventure of “The Giver” by Lois Lowry.

Levin, J. (2011) MinecraftTeacher. Retreived from http://minecraftteacher.tumblr.com/ on July 7, 2016.

Webster, A. (2011) Educational building blocks:how Minecraft is used in classrooms. Retreived from http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2011/04/educational-building-blocks-how-minecraft-is-being-used-in-the-classroom/ on June 7, 2016.

Retreived from http://www.minecraftopia.com/how_to_play_minecraft on July 6, 2015. (not at all sure how to properly cite this resource)

Retreived from http://survivalcraft15.weebly.com/the-giver-unit-plan.html on July 6, 2016. (not sure how to properly cite this resource)

WK 7:Reflection on 3D Printing

The thought of having a 3D printer in my classroom hovers somewhere between a neat device that would have some learning potential for some students and a completely terrifying new thing to learn.

Don’t take me wrong, hands-on, problem solving (self motivated or group minded) activities should be, without a doubt, in every curriculum as students should be exposed to numerous ways to learn information.

One issue for massive use of a 3D printer is my current location. I live/teach in a remote place with questionable internet. Some days I wonder if I am going to get my adult “homework” completed. Any items purchased on the internet can take a week to a month to realistically get to me and everything comes on a small Cessna or a boat. Getting supplies in a timely manner is definitely something to add to a list of negatives if we are discussing the ease of some teachers having Target or Wal-Mart, or even a gas station close by to gain quick supplies.

But there is always the other side of the coin. Having a 3D printer in a place where supplies are limited might up its practical use of making replacement parts for things quickly (while waiting for our boat to arrive-pun intended) or one-of-a-kind teaching aids.

Currently, my district does not have a 3D printer at any of its sites and I do not believe it is the first item they will go and buy when funds present themselves. The student population is just not there and I do not feel there is a lot of teacher/parent buy in right now to push the issue. Also, the PD needed for teachers (me included) to make the use of a 3D printer a valuable teaching tool, is somewhat intimidating.

 

 

WK 7: 3D printing in Education

Sometimes I feel I am lost on this Earth. If anyone was as lost as I was this week, refer to this video  found at 3dprinting.com/what-is-3d-printing featuring Armand Valdes for an  visual description of what 3D printing. This site also posts a massive amount of in depth conversation about 3D printing and what it might look like in the near future.

How will 3D printing change the way we think about education? Krassenstein (2014) states that “[3D printing] will provide a means for inventors, innovators, and visionaries to easily fabricate prototypes for designs…”. Many new discussions are coming to light to reintroduce hands-on activities, like STEM and Lego Robotics, into the classroom, are now needing to make space for 3D printing.

Students’ visions would be able to quickly and (mostly) inexpensively become a quick reality through the use of a 3D printer. These 3D projects can be made with materials such wax, plastic, and even chocolate, but it is not about allowing the students to print their favorite toy or another amazing gadget (check out Hongkiat for real made creations) , it is hopefully, about integration of many fields (math, art, history, engineering, science) in order to assist the student in becoming a well rounded, successful individual.

Providing another outlet for students to use their imagination and see their thoughts become a reality would promote high engagement and collaboration between like minded students.But what will teachers think about 3D printers? Again, I believe we will find mixed emotions about 3D printers. There are many people who jump at the chance to have any tech in their classroom and have the time to seek out all the information to teach themselves how to use it. I applaud you if this is you. Please refer to Leap Frog’s website for lesson plans as you are well on your way to having a 3D printer in your class if you don’t have one already.

Leap Frog has a few good resources for PD with 3D printers and also mentions benefits including :

1.Capturing the interests of the students. Having something in the hands of the students from an ancient civilization, will make a history lesson more realistic.

2.Interactive learning experiences. The example Leap Frog gives is of building a skeleton in Biology.

3.Create tangible aids. Teaching aids produced in a small amount of time for specific needs would be an excellent use of a 3D printer. There would be no need to over order when all you need for your small class is package of 6 items.

4.Hands on learning through 3D models. Hands on learning is allowing for more than just visual learning to happen. How many students only learn with their eyes? Any form of added enrichment to a lesson, would make it more meaningful to the student.

I agree full heartedly that Leap Forg’s list of benefits hold true to the use of 3D printing as well as many other emerging technologies but what does the future hold for 3D printing (or additive manufacturing).

All of these amazing uses of a 3D printer, such as prosthetics, vehicles, tools, homes, and clothing, in and outside of school sound great but where do technologists think 3D printing is headed?

According to the Smithsonian Magazine writer Elizabeth Royte (2013),”[the] traditional methods of production in low-wage countries are still far faster and cheaper than additive manufacturing when large numbers of parts are needed.”(p.5) She also goes on to mention the term “customizable” gear and asks how much customized items does one person need?

In my opinion, the “custom made” part of 3D printing is makes it a neat tool to have in a school setting. Students would be able to design and create intricate, useful items specific to their needs or the needs of another system. I am sure most students would be excited to design something specific just to their likes and desires and watch it come to life.

Resources:
Kamerlingh, H. (nd) 3D Printing for Education. Retreived from http://www.lpfrg.com/en/professionals/education/ on June 29, 2016.

Krassenstein, E. (2014) Why 3D Printing Needs to Take Off in Schools Around the World. Retreived from https://3dprint.com/27743/3d-printing-benefits-schools/ on June 28, 2016.

Royte, E. (2013) What Lies Ahead for 3D Printing. Retreived from http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/what-lies-ahead-for-3-d-printing-37498558/#qWZmV7vJPR8Lc0Qf.99 on June 27, 2016.

Valdes, A. (nd) What is 3D Printing and How Does It Work? Retreived from http://3dprinting.com/what-is-3d-printing/ (YouTube) on June 30, 2016.

 

 

 

Wk 6: Reflection on Coding

As I read through other’s reflections and blogs, I noticed a larger group leaning towards wanting to open their classrooms to coding if they had not started already. There were millions of resources provided this week pertaining to coding with or without the use of computers. I enjoyed learning of all the different ways coding can be taught and I am also looking into taking a few of the self paced courses on coding since I am new to the scene.

The largest issue(s) that kept coming up was not finding the time in the day to introduce coding or not being allowed by districts to divert from a strict curriculum. Integration, in my opinion, should be at the cornerstone of, dare I say, every subject. Many times integration happens naturally without much planning so imagine what could happen if you planned to integrate computer sciences into your classroom activities, all while keeping within your curriculum.

Many of the coding activities do not even need to be done in a classroom setting let alone through the use of a computer. Much of these emerging technologies are just that, emerging, so who is to say they will work with your group of students or not until you have a plan and try it. I may be crossing some lines at this point but everything we do, especially when it fails, is an opportunity to learn. I was told more than once that we as educators know our students best academically (maybe another line crossed) since we spend a lot of time with them. If we are doing our other job of assessing their knowledge through many differing facets, we should know if something is workable or not.

 

Wk 6: To Code or Not to Code (in Education)

Last school year, my small school had four students get their certificate for Hour of Code. Overall, the students were excited about having something “out of the norm” to do. The older students in grades seven and eight were interested in learning more, however, the teacher was not set up with a next step. Amazingly, there are countless apps and other programs hitting the Internet that could be perused as additions to the Hour of Code. An article published by Severine Baron at apartmenttherapy.com (2014), supplies a large list of resources that I will be sending my partner teacher, and possibly my district.

I have personally downloaded a few coding apps and my own children have been poking around at them. The apps I have are geared more towards my second grader but are enjoyed by my fifth grader as well. As I read to find out more about the world of coding, there are differing opinions about if coding should be presented within a school setting.

+Positives of Coding:

According to Mark Engelberg, a guest author on gettingsmart.com (2015), the big three reasons coding should be a core subject is because “Programming is a …foundational skill that has value across disciplines, computer science teaches problem solving and critical thinking skills, and computer science careers are readily available.” Foundational skills are skills where other skills are built upon. A student does not need to become an IT Specialist, unless that career is wanted but a few classes in Computer Science Coding will go a long way in this highly digitized and programmable world.

There are many times that computer programing could be integrated into other classroom subjects like math, science and social studies. By knowing computer sciences, a student could assist in the design in a new program that would be used as a lab in science class or invent an app that would assist vacationing travelers. This site (gettingsmart.com) also adds a link to a curriculum of an “unplugged” version of coding that can be found at http://csunplugged.org/activities. This resource offers a plethora of activities that can be completed without the use of a computer.

An article written by Gottfried Sehringer (2012) at wired.com states that “coding is a new type of literacy.” Sehringer supports teaching coding, not just in schools but having employees of IT companies lend a hand in program and app development. Having employees be a part of app development would mean they would have to get that knowledge somewhere so why not start teaching these skills at least at a high school level.

-Negatives (not really) of Coding/Computer Science:

Finding many negatives to add coding to a curriculum was a difficult task. Mr. Engelberg (gettingsmart.com) goes onto mention that many parents and schools say there is not time for Computer Science to become part of the daily schedule. One opinion of mine would be to integrate Coding into other classes and the issue of “no time” is solved. The article posted above from csunplugged.org even solves the issue of not having a lot of technology in a school but using actual students and paper or whiteboards.

One other issue I did read about in Engelberg’s article was not finding a budget that would support coding. My husband was coding a long time ago in a Linux system. Linux is free and seems easy to use with a lot of systems. I believe it to be more PC based but an article published at makeuseof.com presents six reasons Linux may be the operating system to try out. I know most everything in education is Apple based but PC’s have not died out completely. If it was a question of not having many funds to get coding started, used PC’s are easy to find and are fairly inexpensive. If Linux is as versatile and easy to adapt in many programs, all it takes now is the motivation to say you will get coding started in the classroom.

 

RESOURCES:

Baron, S. (February, 2014) 20 Resources for Teaching Kids How to Program & Code. Retreived from http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/20-resources-for-teaching-kids-how-to-program-code-200374 on June 21, 2016.

 

Bell, T., Witten, I., & Fellows, M. (nd) CS Education Research Group. University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://csunplugged.org/activities/ on June 22, 2016.

 

Engelberg, M. (September, 2015) 3 reasons Coding Should Be a Core Subject. Retrieved from http://gettingsmart.com/2015/09/3-reasons-coding-should-be-a-core-subject/ on June 22, 2016.

 

Sehringer, G. (2012) Should We Really Try to Teach Everyone to Code? Retreived from http://www.wired.com/insights/2015/02/should-we-really-try-to-teach-everyone-to-code/ on June 21, 2016.

 

Stieben, D. (October, 2014) 6 Superb Reasons Why you Should Use Linux for Programming. Retreived from http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/6-superb-reasons-use-linux-programming/ on June 23, 2016.