CEP 812 Reflection: Passion & Curiosity

In 2013, a New York Times article claimed that with the help of technology the world has become hyper connected. This new connectivity has created a world in which ““The winners won’t just be those with more I.Q. It will also be those with more P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient)”(Friedman, 2013). This concept challenges the ideas we often focus on in schools. Though content may be important background knowledge, students really need develop a passion for learning and the ability to be creative to insure success in the future.

This concept presented by Friedman has challenged me to think about my own passion and creativity in the classroom. In the info graphic below I explored how I incorporate passion and creativity in the classroom as well as how I use technology to support this. I believe as an educator my ability to challenge students to collaborate, solve problems, create projects, and explore various resources demonstrates my continuing goal of creating lifelong learners prepared for this hyper-connected world.

Passion-1

Resource:
Friedman, T. (2013, January 29). It’s P.Q. and C.Q. as much as I.Q. [Article]. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/opinion/friedman-its-pq-and-cq-as-much-as-iq.html

A Solution to a Wicked Problem: Innovation as a Learning Ethic

In the educational world we are surrounded by wicked problems. Problems that are difficult and complex and at times even discouraging. One wicked problem in education is the concept of innovation as a learning ethic. Innovation in schools is challenged by many factors indicated in the info-graphic below. These factors include: frozen thought, standardization, assessments, time and fear.

Innovation as a Learning Ethic

In CEP 812 I was challenged to work with a team to find a solution to this wicked problems. After a great amount of research we have concluded that reducing standardized testing to allow for more class time to focus on innovation is one way to solve this wicked problem. This incentive not only encourages innovation in schools but also helps eliminate previous constraints allowing and encouraging teachers to be innovative.

My Information Diet

The Internet is an unbelievable resource which links people, information and resources from all around the world. This powerful tool Gee (2013) explains creates affinity spaces that humans use to create Minds. By combining the human mind with a tool such as the Internet human’s become much more powerful (p. 165). The relationship between the Internet and humans at first glance seems to be healthy and beneficial, however as you look closer into the affinity spaces used humans, if not careful, are receiving an information diet full of “junk food”.

In his Ted Talk, Eli Pariser (2013) points out a “filter bubble” that is present throughout the Internet. This filter bubble without us knowing personally tailors our affinity spaces, searches and suggestions to “what we want to see but not what we need to see.” In the past year I have began to use Twitter as my personal affinity space to stay up to date with current events and educational trends without my knowing the information that comes up on my feed and the suggestions I receive are specific to me. Though at first this may sound great we are unaware of all the information we are missing out on and the lack of opposing views can make users ignorant to issues they feel well educated on. I also realize looking more closely I only following mainstream news sources and other teachers for my educational information. Right away I now see how limiting my resources truly are.

 

In an attempt to create a more balanced information diet I decided to explore new subjects on Twitter in hopes of bringing other views and ideas that may challenge my existing beliefs. The first new group I decided to follow focuses on innovation in the classroom. I started following Teach Learning @techlearning, within a day I felt more connected to resources and ideas on how to integrate technology and make classrooms more innovative. Before I was much more comfortable receiving information through other teachers or a specific tool but this platform gives me a more direct resource. I also like how this source is not simply one tool but explore many different tools allowing me to be exposed to tools I may not have been open too in the past.

Further exploring outside my comfort zone I have added was the SAT @OfficialSAT. As someone who is not a fan of standardized test this was moving outside my comfort zone, however with SAT testing in the near future for many of my students I should be more educated on the topic whether I support it or not. Though there were not many tweets that came onto my feed from @OfficialSAT their past tweets include practice questions and articles about what to expect This pushed me as a teacher to be continually preparing and aware of the changes coming our way.

The final piece I added to my information diet is the National Education Association @NEAToday. Education issues and changes are a large piece of what is happening in society however before following this I was not actively following the changes happening thinking that even though it affected me it was all political and there was not much I could do other than ge frustrated. After following this group and realizing the limits that filter bubbles were already placing on me I recognize the importance of being up to date on all issues that effect my career, society and self. I also realized that this group is not all politically focused but actually provides great resources and motivation for teachers.

Filter bubbles create a world online that we want to see, however in order to be informed educated and smart humans we need to challenge ourselves to get uncomfortable and explore other views to ensure we are absorbing a well balanced information diet.

Resources:

Gee, J. P. (2013). The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students Through Digital Learning. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Parsier, P. [TED].  (2011, May 2). Beware Online “Filter Bubbles” [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8ofWFx525s

Reynolds, L. (2004, July, 5). Please Do Not Feed Me! Animals Need a Balanced Diet. [Digital Image]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/5197843

CEP 812 Community Survey: Technology Integration

With a use and dependence on technology all around us in the world and now in classrooms it is unimaginable the potential impact technology has on changing education. As I begin to explore the wicked problem of innovation as a learning ethic I choose to first look at my own community. I surveyed my fellow teachers to see how they felt about technology in the classroom and see not only what is happening in the rooms around me now but also see where my colleagues would like improve in grow in relation to technology. The results from this data opened my eyes to my community and where we are, where we are going and what problems may stand in our way. Starting at home to explore this wicked problem of innovation as a learning ethic has been a great way to recognize both success and struggle moving forward with innovation. More details about the survey along with the results and a data analysis can be found here.

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Being Smart & Understanding Institutions

Educators are met with many complex problems on a regular basis. There are always desired changes and  multiple variables to consider, however sometimes it feels like not much happens when trying to take on such complex problems. In his book The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students Through Digital Learning, James Paul Gee tells us that humans are stupid. At first this concept was hard to grasp being a well educated person who has worked hard to gain knowledge and in essence be smart, but as the book continues Gee explains how the brain works and the institutions put into place to help. Though it may not have been what I wanted to hear at first as I examined his concept I realized there was a lot to take away from Gee and that by using these eye opening realizations to help my students and myself be smart! Read my paper to better understand how to understand the role of instituions and be a smarter problem solver.

CEP 812: Tech Tools for Problems of Practice

Ill-Structured Problem

Classrooms today are filled with a diverse group of students at various levels with different abilities, however teachers are challenged to create a learning environment that helps all students grow and achieve similar tasks. The increased use of technology in the classroom has helped fill missing gaps between students to make the learning environment a more level playing field helping students reach their academic goals. As a teacher I am always looking to find new tools and ideas to help my students in any way that I can. I have recently examined Citelighter as a new tool for students in my classroom with Attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Below is my overview of the tool as well as a screencast highlighting features beneificail for students with ADHD.

ADHD is a disorder in which “the inefficency of the neurotransmitters causes the brain to be less active on thinking tasks and results in serious impairment of the executive functions of the brain” (Litner, 2003, p. 137). These executive functions include the ability to organize, activate, focus and direct the brain’s activities (Litner, 2003, p 138). In an academic setting students with ADHD struggle to pay attention to detail, have difficulty organizing takes and are easily distracted by external stimuli, however the behavior, attributes and ability of any individual student with ADHD present itself differently creating an ill-structured/complex problem or a problem in which there are many different variables to consider when trying to help a student with ADHD.

Technology Tool Critique

As a high school teacher who works to teach freshmen sophomores how to not only stay organized and be responsible, but also handle increased academic rigor it is important to find tools to help students be successful in schools. It is reported that 90% of school-aged children with AHDA underachieve in school (Litner, 2003, p. 140). Underachievement leads to discouragement and a lack of motivation continuing on through school. Citelighter is a tool that will be influential in helping students with ADHD conquer writing tasks, one of the most frustrating activities for students who struggle to focus and stay organized and lead to more success in academic activities.

In a historical research and writing unit, Citeligther has 3 features, which can help students with ADHD be more successful. First during the research phase Citlighter allows students to enter into a reader view on any webpage. This page eliminates any boarders, advertisements, and any other unrelated material from a web page. This provides the reader to only see the important text and illuminates any additional stimulant or distraction for the student. Another feature is the highlight tool. While a student is reading a webpage the student can highlight text and save this information to their Citlighter project. When a student selects this information a citation for the source is automatically saved. It also allows the student to immediately write any additional thoughts or notes about the information that they can then review once they have completed their research. The highlight tool helps not only with focus but also organization. By allowing students to directly save information there are less distractions. It also keeps all of the information in one place that is helpful in reducing student anxiety during the writing process. Although the highlight tool does not seem to be available while in reader view the tool is still useful. The third tool is a useful feature to help students with ADHD in the writing portion of the assignment. Citelighter allows students and/or teachers to set up an outline template in which students can insert any of the information or notes they may have taken during their research. Providing an outline template helps students organize their own thoughts and ideas. It also helps students with ADHD because it allows them to break their writing task down into smaller chunks.

Attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder is an ill-structured complex problem in which there are numerous variables to consider when deciding the best way to go about helping students with ADHD. The growing use of technology provides many tools to help all types of students be successful academically. The organizational features along with reader view and the ability to illuminate some distractions found in Citelighter is one tool which can help students with ADHD show their academic strength and abilities leading to increased success.

Resources:

Litner, B., (June 2003). Teens with ADHD: The Challenge of High School. Child & Youth Care Forum, 32(3), 137- 155. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/docview/758663948/abstract/75F8CB14D1E64F64PQ/2?accountid=12598

CEP 811 Final Reflection

It’s amazing how much a person can learn in such a short amount of time. When I think back to the beginning of CEP 811 and having to create a video of what it means to be a maker I remember the concept of my first understanding of being a maker. I focused on the need to think outside the box, which is exactly what I did throughout this entire course. I challenged myself to rethink and reimagine my classroom not only the actual design of tables and chairs, but the curriculum and learning that takes place inside the room itself. This course has helped me become much more open minded to exploration and creativity. I am not longer afraid of what may go wrong with an exploratory lesson, but more excited about all the things that could go right!

As I move forward there are a few key ideas and concepts I plan to take with me into my classroom. The first is to embrace creativity. I plan to have my students use their knowledge to solve problems in whatever that may mean to them. I want them to use content to explore and expand their knowledge not just answer questions on a test. Next I am going to ensure I provide clear expectations for my students along with ways for them to receive immediate feedback during lessons. By providing immediate feedback students will be able to guide their own education removing any limits they may have had before. In addition I plan on using infograpics in my classroom. There are so many endless possibilities and it seems as though it could be a great tool for my older students. And finally I plan to be flexible and remember to keep my students and I thinking outside the box!

Assessing Creativity

As an educator charged with the assessment of student learning, I would assess creative problem solving during maker-inspired lessons in the following ways. My main focus will be on creativity and outcomes using immediate feedback and a rubric for the final outcome. I want students to be encouraged to explore, innovate and create to solve problems not just solve the problem the way that they are told it should be solved. Gee said it best when he explained that “ facts should be used as tools for problem solving” (Gee, 2010). It seems like too often students are focused on facts with no idea how to use them. To foster a creative process I will use frequent assessments throughout activities and projects to provide immediate feedback using not only feedback from the teacher but other feedback tools and self assessments, so students are able to guide themselves in their own learning without needing me to tell them they are right or wrong.

This will also require very clear expectations as to what the problem being solved is and that they understand the process. Clear understanding will make feedback techniques more effective so students are aware when they are being successful and when they need to keep working. Going along with clear expectations, when assessing students and their creativity and problem solving it seems a clear rubric is necessary to help guide students understanding of the problem and the outcomes. This rubric will not focus on a specific desired outcome but more guidelines for characteristics for the outcome. This will allow students to know what the desired purpose and problem is as well as leave room for the creative process allowing students to reach their highest potential. Assessing creativity by using clear expectations and immediate feedback allows students to continuously grow and allowing all of a student’s knowledge and ability to shine.

The design of these assessments is justified by the following connections to learning theories, and/or to the ideas presented by Wiggins, Isselhardt and Gee. Isselhardt identifies the need for purpose in a project or lesson helping to not only stick with curriculum but also guide projects and project based learning. Focusing not only on the creative process but also the impact creativity has on the problem is a strong concept gathered by Wiggins, who states “focusing on impact is key to student autonomy” (Wiggins, 2012). Wiggins also helped guide my decision to assess using a rubric with clear expectations, which is another way for students to self-assess and receive immediate feedback. The use of centering student learning around problem solving and creativity is an idea explored by Wiggins, Isselhardt and Gee, however Gee had the strongest connection relating creativity to content and the idea that content is a tool not the end result. With testing a teacher is often focused on facts and information but in order to be successful in the future students need to embrace innovation and learn to be creative in society. By incorporating these ideas and assessing creativity and results educators are better preparing students for success.

Resources:

Edutopia. (2010, July 20). James Paul Gee on Grading with Games [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JU3pwCD-ey0

Isslehardt, E. (2013, February 11). Creating Schoolwide PBL Aligned to Common Core [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/PBL-aligned-to-common-core-eric-isslehardt

Wiggins, G. (2012, February 3). On assessing for creativity: yes you can, and yes you should. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/on-assessing-for-creativity-yes-you-can-and-yes-you-should/

Making it Work…The Why & How of Maker Education

The Maker Movement is composed of three main components, making as a set of activities maker spaces as communities of practice and makers as identities ” (Halverson,2014)As a way to sum up all that I have learned about the Maker Movement I made an info graphic to help give an overview of the impact making can have in the classroom. The graphic is intended for teachers new to the movement and are curious about the how and why of maker education in their classroom. I broke the info graphic into three sections where I focused on 3 questions:

  1. Why incorporate the Maker Movement in Education?
  2. How can you get started? What does it take?
  3. What needs to happen for making to be successful in lessons?

To answer these questions I referenced articles and studies I have read throughout this course including the ideas of collaboration and constructivism discussed in O’Donnell’s article on Constructivism as well as the importance of creativity and collaboration found in the case study conducted by Sheridan and her colleagues. A lot goes into incorporating making in the classroom however if a teacher is open minded and remembers being a “maker is core to human identity”, making will change education (Halverson, 2014)

Maker-2https://magic.piktochart.com/embed/6777842-maker

References:

Halverson, E.R. & Sheridan, K. (2014). The maker movement in education. Harvard Educational Review, 84(4), 495-465.

O’Donnell, A. (2012). Constructivism. In APA Educational Psychology Handbook: Vol. 1. Theories, Constructs, and Critical Issues. K. R. Harris, S. Graham, and T. Urdan (Editors-in-Chief). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. DOI: 10.1037/13273-003.

Sheridan, K. Halverson, E.R., Litts, B.K., Brahms, L, Jacobs-Priebe, L., & Owens, T. (2014) Learning in the making: A comparative case-study of three maker spaces. Harvard Educational Review, 84(4), 505-565.

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