Fairfield University - MD400 - Introduction to Educational Technology
Looking back to the beginning of this course, I thought that I was already pretty tech-savvy. I knew my way around a computer - how to use the internet, create 'pretty' PowerPoint presentations, and bang out a paper on Microsoft Word, to name a few. As I have moved through the modules in Introduction to Educational Technology, I found that I was sorely mistaken! It is not that I am unable to figure out how to use technology, but more so that I was ignorant to the vast array of digital tools out there. I have found so many different areas in which technology can (and hopefully will) streamline my lessons, thinking, and assessments in order to benefit my students in the future.
After working through different ways of presenting class material and content, we moved into Assessment. My thought process immediately went to traditional paper quiz/test. Not so with these wonderful, digital tools! My project partner and I found that EDpuzzle was most appealing. You can choose from a plethora of educational (or not!) videos in which to add questions, comments, etc. for students to respond to. What I really liked about this platform in particular, was that the creator can specify whether or not participants can skip to the questions. We decided to "force" the students to watch the video as it was intended, and answer the questions as they arose. We cut it down to a five minute area, as we just wanted to touch upon Periodic Table Trends (see link below).
Not only was this a convenient tool for teachers, but I think that it could be a great way for students to get creative and review what they know. Students could make these videos for their classmates, and share/edit to fit what they feel is relevant for particular content. In any case, this was one of my favorite projects to work on. It was easy to use, easy to create, and easy to launch/share. I have already decided to incorporate EDpuzzle into my final curricular module and lesson plan, and I look forward to using it in the future!
Relating to a digital world, I was unsure how it would be accomplished. The example from the Lynda.com video was stellar - as I wrote in my reaction comments, it is amazing how we think critically every day in ways we do not even recognize! Having students research something as simple as a toaster on Amazon forces them to really think about what they look for in a product - warranty, customer reviews/satisfaction, price, size, etc. Can they decipher between what information is helpful? How do they know what to look for? What criteria do they decide is important? How can they ask others for input?
Clicking on the button above leads to the mind map I created as an example for my students to "map" critical thinking. For me, I saw this as visually appealing and an easier way to brainstorm. I really like the idea of using mind maps as ways to review. Students have to push themselves to really think about the academic material, and make connections in how they put it all together. I feel that this boosts their understanding, as they need to create how they evaluate what has been presented to them (further moving up the Bloom Taxonomy pyramid). I think for my own classroom, I would like to use it as a starting point for a project, to tie in what students know in order to apply to a real-life situation such as how to tackle water treatment/purification with chemistry, or how to make a solar cooker.
As teachers, we need to be able to teach our students how and why to make connections to our understanding and still be able to question, reasonably, in order to have well thought out discussions. We want them to be prepared as rational, intelligent, and well-rounded members in our ever-changing digital and global society.
Cell phones - Perspectives - Digital Literacy - Digital Citizenship
The last four modules of MD400 seemed to ebb and flow one after another for me. From cell phones to digital citizenship, they really tied up the course into a nice, neat bow.
Both Liz Kolb and Matt Miller point out many great examples in their texts in which to use digital devices and technology in the classroom. For me, I could see myself using QR codes as means for supplemental learning. In Kolb's book, a teacher gave an example of a 'QR scavenger hunt,' and I think that could be really useful and engaging. It is easy enough to generate QR codes, and even easier for people to scan and pull up information. It would take a bit of time and effort to put together, but it would be worth it! I would also like to try to think of a way to use Snapchat or Instagram as a means of class collaboration/scavenger hunting. Since these are apps students are constantly using, I think it would be cool to see what students can come up with to educationally engage with their peers.
Miller emphasizes the use of blogging and hashtags to build up impact with the global digital community. With devices such as smartphones, students can connect with the world at an instant and receive feedback from people and experts thousands upon oceans away! Simple ways like this allow for connections that we would be unable to achieve even as little as 10 years ago. I have yet to think of a way in which to put this into my future classes, but I definitely want to figure out how. Again, I think this would come in handy for a research project, as students could have their work reach to experts in the field of which they are investigating via hashtags or scholarly blogs.
All of the above requires information and media literacy, as well as digital citizenship. In order for anyone to be able to use technology effectively, we need to be able to decipher between illegitimate information and how to be a decent human being online (to put it frankly).
Incorporating info/media literacy into my classroom I feel may be a bit of a challenge. As a high school science teacher, I would hope that my students would have had at least some sort of alluding to it through their education. The 'Power Googling' article would be an item I would put into my syllabus/on my class website for students to reference. I feel that it is such a great article for simply trying to search smarter - when you can really tell the internet what you are looking for, you can save a bunch of time and effort! I think that when/if I have research projects, I would try to spend some time on 'copyrights and wrongs' from Common Sense Media. I think this is an area which students struggle with, as I do not think they intentionally mean to "steal" material - they just do not understand how and when to properly cite their sources.