Summary of Learning

For this final assignment, I talked about my experiences and learning about technology and how it impacted my teaching philosophy and practice. I have chosen a timeline as a format to showcase my learning in this course. My presentation adopts the similar progression of how technology has evolved from early stages to the current advancement in the world wide web, from web 1.0 to 2.0, and the present.

My Educational Technology Timeline

Summary of Learning

Well, this was an experience. For some reason I decided to try to learn new software to complete this assignment. Having never really used Adobe After Effects, the result is below. I’m sure I could have used some other form of software to do the same thing but by the time I experienced the complexities of After Effects (and the capabilities), I was too far down the rabbit hole to turn back…

Thank you to each and everyone of you for an enlightening semester!

Images/Video/Audio royalty free from Storyblocks.com

Making coding possible in the classroom 😊👏

I will not lie that when I saw that this week we were going to be looking at the topic of coding and makerspaces, I started having flashbacks to my high school computer science classes where I always seemed to be lost amongst all the codes we were expected to use to create Excel Spreadsheets or Websites. I expected to be lost throughout the whole presentation and may have even panicked – just for a second – when I saw we were going to be trying out coding firsthand during class. Imagine my surprise, when I started trying out the coding program and not only understood the process but also enjoyed completing the activity. I was surprised to see how engaging and user-friendly the CODE website we were using was seeing as it had well-laid-out steps and tutorials to allow us to seamlessly follow along and complete the task at hand.

 

I feel like such an activity could most certainly engage my students to take an interest in their learning and technology. The following article entitled “10 Benefits of Coding for Kids: Why Learn Coding at a Young Age” lists ten different compelling reasons to consider teaching kids about coding. Among these advantages were benefits related to creativity, logical thinking, structural thinking, algorithmic thinking, math skills and others. Two of the advantages linked to coding that stood out the most to me were ones that mentioned persistence and immersion. I love the idea that coding could teach our children to not give up if they are not capable of achieving the code on the first try and that it can motivate them to keep trying until they manage to obtain the correct code. “[This] trial-and-error process doesn’t allow a quick defeat, but instead [motivates] kids to continue and pursue a successful outcome” (Robo WunderKind). Furthermore, coding is a way to teach our students to learn to be completely immersed on the task at hand and focus on the activity being asked of them to complete. “Working on a coding project is an interactive activity that involves several aspects (writing code, constructing a physical object, moving between the two to see how it works, looking up new information to solve a problem) while still setting out a clear task for us to solve. [This kind of activity allows us] to [be pulled] back into an immersive type of thinking that makes time fly and our brains burst with new knowledge” (Robo WunderKind).

I have not brought in this technology into my classroom and I will admit I believed it was too hard to teach this concept to Grade 2 students. Additionally, I was not very educated on the topic of coding, what it entailed and the resources that were available regarding this technology. I had no idea where to start when thinking of teaching the concept of “Coding” to my students. After going over “The Teacher’s Essential Guide to Coding in the Classroom”, I am not only more informed on the idea of coding, but I am also more prepared on how to proceed if I wanted to bring coding into my classroom and  I can also identify several reasons why bringing coding into the classroom would be beneficial. I have now come to realize that there is no specific age to teach kids about coding and rather than focus on age limitations, I should focus on the level of interest regarding this concept to assess whether my students are prepared to undertake coding projects in the classroom. I understand that “coding is the process of writing out steps for a computer to follow to achieve a goal or perform a task [and that it also] involves identifying a problem or challenge, considering potential solutions, writing code that can enact those solutions, and then testing and revising the code to achieve the desired results” (The Teacher’s Essential Guide to Coding in the Classroom).

I would have to disagree with the notion that coding can only be taught by techies. Rather than focussing on someone’s level of aptitude and their “techniness”, I would focus more on their motivation and willingness to learn a new concept. I think if someone is willing to put in the work to learn a new concept and prepare well thought out lessons and activities to integrate into their teaching, they would have a better chance at teaching a new concept successfully than someone who perhaps initially knew more on the topic but did not put any thought into teaching this concept in the classroom. To ensure my students learn how to code properly in class, I would make sure to be prepared by researching activities ahead of time and preparing well thought out learning activities. Having tutorials or live demonstrations where everyone is following along together and completing the same tasks would be essential before allowing students to undertake coding projects independently. Teaching a new concept in class where you have limited knowledge is the perfect opportunity to push yourself out of your comfort zone while it also allows you to grow and learn alongside your students.

Assistive technology: Experience, Challenges, and Limitations

Assistive technology is used to improve the overall quality of learning. Assistive Technology refers to any device, software, or equipment that assists people in overcoming obstacles. People frequently associate assistive technology with disabled people; however, assistive technology can be used by anyone in need. .Google assistant, amazon’s voice-activated Alexa and Siri are some of the common examples assistive technology that we all commonly  use on a daily basis. Some more examples of assistive technology are text-to-speech and word prediction. Assistive technology also includes low-tech tools such as pencilgrips and Jouse3 as well as high-tech tools such as proofreading softwares, Ginger, which assists students with dyslexia and other learning disorders with writing, and mathtalk, which is a speech recognition system. Math software programme that can assist students with disabilities ranging from pre algebra to phd level mathematics. In the classroom, assistive technology includes the use of calculators, electronic worksheets, and spelling software such as phonetic, among other things. Personally, I recall using calculators in class but not talking calculators, so my experience with assistive technology in class is limited.

Laptop with circuit board like lines coming from behind it containing various accessibility icons.

Image source- https://spinalmuscularatrophy.net/living/computer-assistive-technology

  • Expensive
  • Not readily available
  • Socia-econimic issues
  • Lack of proper training
  • Lack of resources
  • Lack of awareness
  • Poverty

Image source- https://assistedtechnology.weebly.com/social-training-and-at-hannah-edgette.html

One of the most significant limitations that has been identified is the lack of family support. To be able to use these tools in school or even at home, it requires the support of one’s parents. Many parents believe that these technologies can do no wonder that what a teacher can do at school, which I partially agree with, but I believe that having these technologies along with the teacher will be a great aid and makes the learning process easier for both the teacher and the student.

Thank you!

Summary of Learning!

Woohoo! The end of a semester always feels so good, espcially when Christmas is right around the corner. This is the last EdTech class that was availible for me to take so I am very sad to likely be going back to writing boring papers instead of blogging and doing fun projects like this. ForContinue reading "Summary of Learning!"

VR in the Classroom: Reality or Fantasy?

The first experience I ever had with virtual reality was when I was newly dating my boyfriend (now husband). He and his father are both VERY into technology and gaming. One day, he showed me his dad’s Oculus VR . The first simulation I tried was very simple. There was a big acorn tree andContinue reading "VR in the Classroom: Reality or Fantasy?"