Google has three software tools that make up the Basic Suite: Docs, Sheets, and Slides. There are many advantages to using these programs, especially compared to other programs.
Coding as a literacy is a trend in education that has become more ubiquitous since 2016. Tech companies and groups like Code.org have worked very hard to get more computer science in classrooms because their is a high demand for people who code. As technology becomes more and more integral with our daily lives, this trend will only continue swinging upward.
Because of this trend, I have started teaching computer science. I also spend time in my history classes teaching about the history of technology like the computer, internet, and wireless technology. Not only are jobs in coding on the rise in the world, but the problem-solving skills required in coding easily translate to any career field. I believe that the more coding that can be weaved into every teacher's curriculum, the better prepared our students will be for the 21st century.
The first week of my 542 class has been great. There are a lot of smart people in my class with a lot of great ideas. I have enjoyed learning about my fellow students through our first week orientation assignment on Padlet and reading their discussion posts about PBL. Some of my classmates already have experience with PBL so I'm sure I will get great ideas and feedback from them throughout this course. I hope that the projects I create for this class will be fun for my students and help them learn more and maybe want to get more involved in civic life in their own community.
This week I had to look for sample projects to get ideas for something I might want to do. One project I found that I liked had students research a social problem and develop a speech for stakeholders. It was authentic and students would need to research historical figures who affected change. I think for this project I would have students develop a speech for younger students and classmates in their school to convince them that they need to get out and vote because of the topic for their speech. My only concerns are that I don't know how to pace this project and what specific supports I will need to provide students to help them in their research. The project does ask students to use a type of discussion method to help them develop their ideas but I'm not sure if there is anything built in to have students reflect or give feedback to each other. I think I would have to add those myself. But I think this project would be a great way to get kids caring about a current issue in our community and push them to do something about it.
This week my partner and I formalized our driving question and created a graphic organizer for our project. I really like the way things are coming together for our project. I'm positive that I would be floundering and creating an inferior project if I were working on my own. The ability to collaborate and bounce ideas off one another is fantastic. The fact that we can do this when we are on opposite sides of the country is even cooler.
My partner and I spent our last two weeks working on our assessments for our project and figuring out just how we wanted to assess our student's learning during the project. I worked really hard to put together a general plan for assessment and asked my partner to look at it and make any changes he felt necessary. What happened next shows the importance and benefits of working with a partner or small group. My partner realized that our professor had suggested we use a matrix tool that I had totally forgotten about. He took my initial work and put it into the matrix and made the tweaks he thought were needed. Then I applied the standards we had selected to our assessments in the matrix. What we ended up with was far superior to what I would have turned in if I had been working on my own. We got really good feedback from our professor and are well prepared to move on to the next steps in the design of our project.
My partner and I spent the last two weeks working on managing the process. We had to start creating some of the tools that students will use during the completion of their project. My partner created our products and performances page which detailed all the tasks students would have to complete and provided links to the resources they will need to do so. I worked on the documents students will need to fill out to reflect on their own learning as well as assessing their own group members. I also created the forms that would be used to provide feedback between groups throughout the process of completing the project. Once again working with a partner was extremely helpful. By splitting up the tasks we were able to accomplish more in a shorter amount of time, but we could also give each other feedback on what we were creating. I planned on creating a bulleted list with links to the reflection documents I had created, but pointed out that an example given by our instructor was a table that also listed the audience. I consistently feel like we create a much higher quality project working together than we would on our own.
"Growing concern about developing America’s future scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians to remain viable and competitive in the global economy has re-energized attention to STEM education. To remain competitive in a growing global economy, it is imperative that we raise student’s achievement in STEM subjects. " (Wang, Tamara, Gillian, and Park p. 1)
Education and technology have always had a symbiotic relationship. Learners have used their education to develop new technologies and new technologies have always been utilized by teachers to improve their methods of teaching. Today, technology is at the center of everyday life. Almost every job uses some form of technology and requires technological skill while our personal lives revolve around social media and streaming technology. Therefore, it stands to reason that learning environments should use technology as a means to deliver content as well as provide learners with technological skills.
There are of course many issues that technology can help solve as well as issues that can arise from using technology. Today's technology allows for the learning environment to take many different forms. Students and teachers are no longer tied to a desk and a whiteboard in a classroom. The computer and internet era have allowed teachers to reach students they couldn't have before through distance learning. Teachers, whether online or face to face, now have access to computer software that can analyze student data and adapt resources to meet the learners needs so that their learning is personalized. In personalizing learning, teachers also have the ability to allow students to work at their own pace and master each concept. Technology can also be utilized by learners to authentically demonstrate what they have learned.
While technology improves our learning and connects us like never before, there are drawbacks to those connections. Privacy, student interactions, as well as student distraction are constant concerns. Malware, viruses, and connectivity issues constantly threaten our ability to use technology tools. With the access to massive amounts of information, academic honesty has also become a problem in education. But often times, there are steps that teachers/schools can take to mitigate or solve these issues. If schools have good IT departments, they can respond quickly to issues like internet connectivity or viruses and create solutions. Teachers can explicitly teach their students digital citizenship and eliminate distractions with good classroom management. And while committing academic dishonesty might be easier than ever before, catching it is also easier thanks to programs like TurnItI
Today's Educational Technology is driven by constructivism theory. Under constructivism, learning is more student centered and less teacher directed. Technology tools replace the traditional teacher role and teachers become more of a facilitator. Teachers create lessons that utilize inquiry and experimental hands on instruction to allow students to generate their own learning. This style of learning is more engaging for learners because they are more involved in the process.
One of the greatest ways that technology can help teachers implement a constructivist approach is through collaboration. Students can communicate with other students and teachers thanks to the internet and programs like Skype or Gmail. Some software also allows students to work on assignments with other students in real time. Based on the results of a study by Unal and Cakir (2016), student learned life long collaborative and problem solving skills while using collaborative technologies. Constructivist learning activities can be accomplished without technology, but "using technological tools in this process will make teachers’ job easier." (Ayse pg. 7)
Ayse, Derya Isik. “Use of Technology in Constructivist Approach.” Educational Research and Reviews 13, no. 21 (November 10, 2018): 704–11. https://doi.org/10.5897/ERR2018.3609.
Kennedy, T J, and M R L Odell. “Engaging Students In STEM Education,” n.d., 13.
Unal E, Cakir H (2016). Isbirlikli Teknolojilerle Desteklenen Yapilandirmaci Ogrenme Ortaminin Akademik Ugrasiya Etkisi. Journal of Instructional Technologies and Teacher Education 5(1):13-18.
Wang, Hui-Hui; Moore, Tamara J.; Roehrig, Gillian H.; and Park, Mi Sun (2011) "STEM Integration: Teacher Perceptions andPractice," Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER): Vol. 1: Iss. 2, Article 2.
Hi it's Patrick! I'm a social studies teacher at Bennett Mountain High School. I'm also currently a student at Boise State University working on completing a Masters of Educational Technology. This is my blog about my journey through the MET program at BSU.