P.Q. & C.Q. (Over I.Q.)

This week, for our final assignment in CEP 812, we were asked to think about how we demonstrate our P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (creative quotient) with technology, and how we inspire our students to do the same. As I read the article by Thomas Friedman, “It’s P.Q. and C.Q. as Much as I.Q.,” I understood that how we learn about and use technology is becoming increasingly important in the 21st century. Friedman (2013) discusses the idea that we must become creative in our use of technology so that we can create jobs for ourselves, instead of simply allowing ourselves to be replaced by technology. We must, therefore, become lifelong, innovative learners and users, as we move forward into this century.

As I thought about this, it reminded me of how vital it is that our students become keen experts with technology, and it starts now… in the classroom. With all of that in mind, I constructed my “something” to show how I use technology to demonstrate my P.Q. and C.Q. and how I work toward inspiring my students to do the same. Check out my Smore below to see the “something” I created!

https://www.smore.com/jjvm2

Reference:

Friedman, T. (2013, January 29). It’s the P.Q. and C.Q. as Much as the I.Q. Retrieved October 15, 2014, from www.nytimes.com

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A Wicked Problem Solved!

Over the past few weeks, I have been working with my think tank to come up with an answer to the wicked problem: How can students best learn through failure?

As a group, we have discussed this concept, researched different articles, and reviewed James Paul Gee’s book, The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning. We eventually decided to use the video game model to help us guide our thinking and create strategies for students to turn mistakes into opportunities to learn and grow. In doing so, we relied on what’s called the “feedback loop,” (Abrams & Gerber, 2013) as a model to create a rubric for students to progress through this loop. In doing so, students are encouraged to set goals, reflect, evaluate their progress, and use feedback as they work through practice tries where they will only be evaluated after the process is complete. That way, students feel motivated to take risks since the fear of failure is diminished.

Our final week has been spent putting the finishing touches on what has indeed become a wicked solution to a very wicked problem. We decided to create a visual representation using Popplet in order to connect the various concepts of learning from failure. We also tied in a technology component to bring ease and a further dimension to our project. All in all, we have developed something that we feel proud of and that we feel has the real potential to benefit students as they work through the learning process.

Check out our Blendspace project to see more about what we have been working on!

References:

Abrams, S., & Gerber, H. (2013). Achieving through theFeedback Loop:Videogames, Authentic Assessment, and Meaningful Learning. English Journal, 103(1), 95-103.

Failure as a Learning Tool: A Wicked Problem

Over the past few weeks, I have been working with my think tank to come up with an answer to the wicked problem: How can students best learn through failure?

As a group, we have discussed this concept, researched different articles, and reviewed James Paul Gee’s book, The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning. We eventually decided to use the video game model to help us guide our thinking and create strategies for students to turn mistakes into opportunities to learn and grow. In doing so, we relied on what’s called the “feedback loop,” (Abrams & Gerber, 2013) as a model to create a rubric for students to progress through this loop. In doing so, students are encouraged to set goals, reflect, evaluate their progress, and use feedback as they work through practice tries where they will only be evaluated after the process is complete. That way, students feel motivated to take risks since the fear of failure is diminished.

Check out our Blendspace project to see more about what we have been working on!

References:

Abrams, S., & Gerber, H. (2013). Achieving through theFeedback Loop:Videogames, Authentic Assessment, and Meaningful Learning. English Journal, 103(1), 95-103.

Improving Technology Integration

“There can be infinite uses of the computer and of new age technology, but if teachers themselves are not able to bring it into the classroom and make it work, then it fails.” – Nancy Kassebaum

This week, I sent out a short technology survey to teachers in Haslett Public Schools. My goal was to gather information that would help frame discussions about how technology is currently being used and what teachers feel needs to improve in order to enhance the learning of students to a greater degree. Although only about 30% of teachers completed the survey, responses were fairly evenly spread throughout the different schools, and I think that I was able to get a good snapshot of what teachers perceive regarding technology integration.

After gathering data, I put together a white paper that included findings, as well as my interpretation and recommendations for further technology integration. In addition, I created an infographic that shows the trends from the data that was collected.

I would be interested in allowing more time for others to complete the survey in the future, but my hope is that this information as is will be a useful tool to pave the road toward better access, training, and time for the use of technology.

Building Social Skills in Students with ASD

I have spent many years working with students who fall somewhere on the spectrum for Autism. Some students have been extremely challenging to work with, while others have been higher functioning and better able to communicate. Across the board, however, many students with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) struggle to engage in positive peer relationships (Lohr & Le, 2012).

Although maintaining positive peer relationships is a challenge, studies have shown that students with ASD benefit from social stories, which are short stories that help students “read” social situations. These stories give students strategies when faced with functioning within social norms and help them learn to better relate with their peers (Delano & Snell, 2006).

StoryMaker is an app designed for the iPad or iPhone. This app is a way for students to create social stories in a non-threatening environment. It allows students to customize their stories and gives them practice for real world social situations. Check out the screencast to see a demonstration of how StoryMaker works.

Learn more about ASD and StoryMaker by checking out my white paper.

References

Lohr, MD, W., & Le, MD, J. (2012). Proposed DSM-5 Changes for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Pediatric Annals, 41(10).

Delano, M., & Snell, M. (2006). The Effects of Social Stories on the Social Engagement of Children with Autism. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 8(1), 29-42. (2006, January 1).

StoryMaker (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.handholdadaptive.com.

Exploring Infodiets

This week, we were challenged to examine our infodiet and to pay attention to the source of the information that we experience on a regular basis. In his TED video, Ed Pariser (2011) states, “There’s this kind of shift in how information is flowing online… and if we don’t pay attention to it, it could be a real problem.” He calls this shift a “filter bubble” in which the information that we see is tailored to fit our interests based upon what we have clicked on in the past. As a result, we become inadvertently indulged with an infodiet of our own preferences.

I decided that, in order to get a good look at my infodiet, I would conduct a history search. I found that last month, I spend quite a bit of time on Facebook, chatting with friends or joining in on some of the affinity spaces there. Other sites that I frequent revolve around my business (blogging or education), graduate work, job sites, online shopping, and other sources of entertainment such as Netflix. Below is a word bubble that represents my infodiet:

Infoblog bubble

Affinity spaces in which I currently interact in varying degrees include spaces for business, parenting, teaching, DIY projects, books and T.V. series’, meal preparation, and spiritual practice. I use Facebook, blogging, Pinterest, and YouTube, among other portals to engage in these spaces, but after examination, I realize how limited my infodiet is online. Even searching through Google can be narrow and limiting; I sometimes feel like a robot on the internet, frequenting the same places over and over again. As a result, I decided to search out new places that will hopefully help me get started with transforming my infodiet in the future.

I first decided to focus my attention on material that could be useful in combining my two MATC concentrations: Educational Technology and Literacy. Two sites I found were https://www.fanfiction.net and http://www.reading-rewards.com/. The first one is an affinity space that allows users to expand on popular literature. I thought about how fanfiction could be created by elementary students in places like Edmodo or a teacher’s blog. Students could safely share alternative endings to stories or other creative writing. Although I don’t have much experience with fanfiction, I think that the idea is creative and has the potential to strengthen reading and writing skills. The other website, Reading Rewards, is a fun way for students to track reading instead of using a traditional reading log. It provides rewards for completing books, and it allows students to write reviews and check out new books.

Finally, I turned my attention to internet searches. Normally, I search through Google, regardless of what I’m looking for. However, when teaching students about internet safety, or even just to search for more specific sites that might appeal to students, I turned to kid-friendly search engines. This site, http://www.kidfriendlysearch.com/Kid_Friendly.htm, links users to a number of different search engines that are useful for students who want to search for a topic, both for fun and for research. Particularly, I enjoyed browsing on the kid-version of Google, http://www.kidrex.org/.

All of the new places that I’ve explored online will help me to further develop my infodiet. Interestingly, all sites that I searched are places that I’ve heard of before. However, it took taking a good look at them to realize the value that these places hold. I plan to explore further the connection between literacy and technology, as well as pursue the importance of using various search engines depending upon who is browsing and the content that is being browsed.

 

References:

Tagxedo – Word Cloud with Styles. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2014.

Gee, J. (2013). The anti-education era: Creating smarter students through digital learning.

Pariser, E. (2013). Beware online filter bubbles.

Fanfiction – (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2014.

Reading Rewards – (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2014.

Kid Friendly Search – (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2014

Kidrex – (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2014

 

 

Working Through Stupidity

This week, I read a portion of The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning by James Paul Gee. In Part I, Gee discussed the limitations that prevent humans from solving complex problems in smart ways. His enlightening text helps the reader understand how human thought and behavior can restrict our ability to work through what he calls the “circuit of reflective actions.”

In my paper, I highlight Gee’s concept of how substituting short-term “solutions” to attain instant gratification limits us from seeking to focus on creating ways to work through complex problems. I discuss the need to examine this and other limitations for the purpose of moving beyond them. Finally, I emphasize the need for us to work through the “circuit of reflective actions” through reflecting on experience and mistakes that can help guide and our future decisions.

Limitations to Smart Solutions