I, Robot?

AI has been a fun experiment or toy for me to play with until the last few months. Generative AI came across my TikTok feed last school year and I quickly realized that my students were already ahead of me. They were using ChatGPT. I instantly tried ChatGPT and several other AI sites to see how they worked, but also how we could teach our students to use them ethically. It was clear to me this tool was not going away!

The first assignment we gave our students was to use an image generator using descriptive language to illustrate a story they had written. Our students loved this assignment, for a variety of reasons: they were allowed to use AI in the classroom; the images created were spectacular; and they were learning something new!

We also showed our students a few drawbacks of AI, such as, the information it relies on is often wrong and stereotypical; therefore, this is not a good way to research. Secondly, using it as a writing tool is unethical. 

In my own teaching practice, I have used AI in several ways. EDUAIDE.AI offers a variety of different ways to help teachers including “Lesson Seeds”. When I was struggling to plan Health within the new parameters set out by our government this year (and within a strict timeline), I used this tool. While it gave very specific ideas, I used it as a jumping off point and made the unit my own. I have also used AI to create rubrics and offer feedback for writing. It should be noted that I still need to read the writing, the feedback was for grammar only. 

AI can save us so much time if employed properly. But we still need a human connection. I do not think that people will be replaced. While humans make mistakes, AI makes more mistakes. And it learns from us.

This a prompt I gave ChatGPT to write blog post about AI.

In an instant the ChatGPT gave me three paragraph blog post! I could have used it; but is that ethical? Cheating? I will include it below with the prompt for you to read…

You

Write a blog post the pros and cons of generative AI. Make this post three paragraphs long.

ChatGPT

ChatGPT

Generative AI, with its ability to create content autonomously, has brought about a paradigm shift in various industries, from art and entertainment to healthcare and finance. One of its most significant advantages is its capacity to streamline creative processes, enabling artists, writers, and designers to generate ideas and prototypes swiftly. This acceleration in creativity can lead to increased productivity and innovation, as individuals and businesses can explore a broader range of possibilities without being hindered by traditional constraints. Additionally, generative AI has the potential to democratize creativity, making it more accessible to a wider audience by automating certain aspects of content creation.

However, with its promises of efficiency and accessibility come several challenges and ethical considerations. One major concern is the potential for misuse or abuse of generative AI, particularly in the realm of misinformation and fake content generation. As generative models become more advanced, there’s a growing risk of deepfake videos, forged documents, and other forms of deceptive content being produced at scale. This poses a threat to trust and authenticity in digital media and highlights the importance of implementing robust safeguards and regulations to mitigate these risks.

Furthermore, generative AI raises questions about the role of human creativity and expertise in a world increasingly driven by algorithms. While AI can assist in the creative process, some argue that it lacks the depth and emotional intelligence that humans bring to their work. There’s also the concern that widespread adoption of generative AI could lead to job displacement in certain industries, as tasks traditionally performed by humans are automated. Balancing the benefits of generative AI with these potential drawbacks requires careful consideration and a proactive approach to addressing the associated challenges. Ultimately, while generative AI holds immense promise for enhancing creativity and productivity, its implementation must be guided by principles of responsibility, transparency, and ethical use.

Revolutions: Agriculture, Industrial then and now AI (Artificial Intelligence) Revolution

The last presentation during my EC&I 833 class was about Generative AI. The presenters’ content took the audience on a journey of mixed emotions. Some were dazed, others (like me) confused or scared and some were thrilled, others were inquisitive…. Woah…..what a subject!!

I have always found the name – “Faustian Bargain” so apt for the computer technology- so whether it is AI, WWW…..  You gain some and you lose some. Ideally I look at AI as transformative  and has the caliber to transport us into a “qualitatively different future”. Therefore the title- Agriculture, Industrial and then AI revolution.

How many of us can imagine living in a world without AI- how comfortable would it be to survive without Siri waking you up, the GPS system and maps helping navigate, the smart software and apps that are favs in the workplace or finding the best tickets for travel, ordering food, grocery, or for that matter shopping online? If we narrow down to education: it’s a whirlwind of AI in education? how many of us could have imagined the kind of learning platform that exist now; adjusting the lessons personally for every one!! That’s what DreamBox and Knewton are doing. They use AI to tweak learning materials in real-time, making sure each student gets the most out of their lessons. In my EC & I sessions my class mates introduced me to some outstanding educational tools like like Socrative, Mentimeter, Padlet, Quizlet, Kahoot etc  that make assessment and student engagement effortless. Thus making the learning process more engaging, personalized and interactive. They give detailed feedback, letting teachers focus more on teaching and less on grading. So, AI isn’t just a buzzword; it surely has worthwhile substance and has made education more personalized, efficient, and interactive. How cool is that?

AI has entered everyone’s life; so be it; student, elders, professionals( all professions that you can think of) at all levels, industry etc: it looks difficult to subtract AI out of the whole system. However, the damage can also be potentially great. The systems can be corrupted, it can be trained to affect the physical, mental, emotional security at any level. The video that was shared in one of our classes on AI also mentioned Elon Musk calling it “Catastrophic” and worldwide people talking about regulating it so that it does not become a Faustian bargain.

Very recently I saw a bolly wood movie and here is the clip where the main character is a Robot and it is disturbing to see and imagine: if something like this will ever happen in the future.:

https://www.youtube.com/clip/UgkxLNiUs7TDM7M6YqK1jf90WDuu-3O_GUwp

It is disturbing to see and imagine: if something like this will ever happen in the future.

One famous quote on AI is by Stephen Hawking, a renowned theoretical physicist:

“Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history. Unfortunately, it might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks.” – Stephen Hawking

Will humans Devolve? – Generative AI

When I think of artificial intelligence, I think of robots talking to you, self driving vehicles and the Jetsons. But it isn’t futuristic, it is now and we have been using it for a long time. According to the Alan Turing Institute an “AI system means any computational system (or a combination of such systems) that uses methods derived from statistics or other mathematical techniques to carry out tasks that are commonly associated with, or would otherwise require, human intelligence and that either assists or replaces the judgment of human decision makers in carrying out those tasks.”

As I was doing my research I did not realize how many things I used that is AI. The first tasks for humans I remember being replaced by a machine was thinking of your next word when texting on your block of a phone. Predictive text is AI.  Shout out to my millennials, who remembers T9 texting! Search engines uses artificial intelligence to locate information faster. Siri is AI task manager and researcher summoned by your voice; this technology was inputted on the iPhone in 2011. I use google home to shut my lights off, lock my doors, turn on tunes, and tell me the weather. I know Netflix and other apps give me recommendations which is are all AI algorithms. Generative AI is a category of AI which is defined as programs that learn and train to be able to create products for humans based on the prompts given. Not only can they do tasks, but now they can construct new products.

An industry that has been taken over by generative AI is customer service and it sucks. I feel like the old person that just wants to talk to a real person for help. A lot of the AI I have experienced does not think outside of the box quite yet and the training they get is very black and white. If there isn’t an option given they cannot help you.

Due to EC&I 833, I have been diving into new programs to help make my job easier. I have been using Brisk Teaching Chrome Extension to give feedback, MagicSchoolai to create questions from YouTube videos, showed kids how to use Quilbot paraphrasing tool, used ChatGPT to locate research for myself and used Arlinear to create quiz questions.

The benefit to these tools is they all save us time or make things more convenient. In regard to teaching, generative AI tools gives teachers time to give more thorough feedback, or differentiate lessons quicker and adapt for our students better so students can participate in meaningful ways. My EAL students can watch the videos I have assigned in their own language or translate documents or help them paraphrase. These are all assistive technologies to help them be successful.

In other realms of our world generative AI has helped to detect fraud, identify diseases efficiently in healthcare and facial recognition for security purposes.

The idea that AI can support my career, my students learning, and make the world a safer and more efficient, convenient place is great but there are problems. We need to critically analyze this technology. The training that some AI has raises concerns such as bias, prejudices and discrimination. Also most generative AI does not exhibit emotion, interpersonal skills and morality. Humans have emotions which play a role in doing a job well in my opinion. Considering other emotions is critical. With that said, AI’s ability to understand humour and emotions is advancing. I experienced this recently when the AI DJ on spotify used humour by playing a song they thought was a summary of all my favourite music this year and it was a yodelling song. If artificial intelligence can do a task with consideration of all societal constructs, law, feelings and without bias and discrimination that would be amazing, right? Maybe yes, but machines doing all tasks better than humans, I don’t think is great either, some yes, but not all. Humans bring value to some tasks and those tasks also bring value to humans. Interaction between people is important and I think AI might slowly take this away. We will only have relationships with machines. I don’t think that would help our economy or benefit society for machines to be doing everything. Humans will lose their knowledge and livelihood.

I understand this is a bold statement and maybe far in the future, hopefully, but I think it is something to think about.

It is important to be weary of new technology. We have seen already what search engines, and social media apps have done to our society. This technology with these AI algorithms has created a confirmation bias with in our society. In history I am unsure if we have ever seen such divide between people among what is right and wrong. Social Media apps use AI to manipulate you into using their apps to make money. How is that a good thing? So this generative AI that creates a paraphrased piece of work for a student, is this beneficial? It is assisting them to help them be successful, but it also does not help them learn to critically think on their own. They will lose the skill of using a thesaurus and finding new words and to create their own work. Is this a pointless skill to have because the machine will do it for you?  As Ted Talk explains humans knowing how to do the task or having the knowledge how to do it can be beneficial. I think machines doing some tasks to make our lives easier is great but we need to keep the enhancing our skills of connecting, constructing, evaluating, and critiquing to be functioning intelligent beings. We need to stay smarter than the machines! If we don’t machines will pass on knowledge to machines and humans won’t have a purpose.  For now I am still going to be cautious about generative AI but I do believe we should embrace it as well and adapt our education accordingly because this is where the future is going.

ECI 833 – Assistive Technology

I have had a varying experience with assistance technology, both in the classroom and in my personal life. In a work setting, when we switched to online learning, I found it very challenging to find an effective way to present the math content to students in an online format. The access to online technology for students was so wavering, so it made it difficult to really find a plan and method to reach students in an online format. There was a deep level of conviction of wanting students to continue to learn the outcomes, be prepared for next year, and generally wanting the best for them, but for the first few days after the announcement was made, I was stuck trying to find a solution.

I knew that I wanted to offer some video format of my lesson, but a live Zoom version of this does not seem appealing. I wished I had had a laptop that was a touch screen capable of using a drawing pen, and then I was introduced to a drawing padlet. This tool is traditionally used for graphic design as a method to color and sketch logos/graphic art, but I had not thought of using it for a math lesson. And it worked perfectly!! I like to use the Smart Notebook program, and it worked great for screen recording, and then I could use the drawing pad to show my calculations and steps as I communicated how to work through different mathematical questions. Please, believe me, this new process of demonstrating a math lesson was a tricky task to learn. I had to watch the screen as I would blindly record the math and notes below on the drawing pad without looking at it. And that was difficult! My cursive is often confused with that of a primary student, so trying to now learn this new skill with some seriously lacking abilities in my fine motor skills. Maybe that would be one of my comments about assistance technologies is that there is a level of proficiency that must be attained to demonstrate effective use of these tools/programs to aid in student learning.

https://wcm-cdn.wacom.com/-/media/images/discover-2020/discover/wacom-pen-tablets-v2-tf.jpg?h=560&iar=0&w=920&rev=b58676476a724f818c407e5380344e40&hash=EE5B3A364E575F0EF02DBACE92C92920

This article expands on the notion that the level of proficiency of teachers’ application of assistive technology has a major influence on the impact on students. I was lucky that I had ample time during COVID-19 to learn the craft of this assistance technology and perfected it through recording numerous videos and perhaps endless time. I did get sick of my own voice after I had recorded 3 hours of videos a day, 5 days a week for approximately 12 weeks.

However, my drawing pad allowed me to transfer the simple tool of writing and constructing words and numbers into a sequence that allowed for students to follow along as if they were in class. Students would watch the videos at their own leisure instead of a live Zoom session, and I felt that allowed for variable schedules and timelines to optimize learning opportunities. I felt that this assistive technology allowed for learning to continue, maybe not at the same rate, but offering new potential for growth and challenges all in one.

In this short experience of a specific assistive technology, I learned the importance of replicating an authentic and familiar way that students learn. I realized how valuable it was to master the tool I was using to deepen the impact it could have on student learning. It became clear to me to examine the missing gaps for students during this time and try to provide an assistive technology that diminishes the effect of these missing links and sometimes can bridge a solution. The tricky part in my limited experience with assistance technology arises from identifying the specific learning gaps and how a tool might be able to meet these needs. Then, it seems it would be challenging to now find the appropriate tools that effectively meet these learning needs. This process can be time-consuming and exhausting for the teacher. And, it often feels like there is never a perfect solution to this challenging dilemma, so sometimes this cycle goes on for too long.

However, there is hope with the power of collaboration with colleagues and professional development opportunities to reduce the sheer impact of this process only falling on yourself to tackle.

Please let me know what assistance tools you have used in your schools, and how this process has gone for you.

Thanks!

Inclusive Learning with Assistive Technology

My only tryst with Assistive technology has been Siri, Assistive touch or text- to -speech. My first profound moment was in my Edtech class where a group of students presented on Assistive technology but I was humbled and touched when I saw the video shared by one of my classmates:

Assistive Technology: Enabling Dreams – From voice-activated software to customized laptops, tech is changing the way disabled students communicate, learn, and play.

Technology to me has always represented itself as a – Faustian Bargain however when I look at assistive technology; it looks like a blessing to many people who are differently abled. People who could showcase their capabilities to the world despite the challenges they faced. It reminds me of one of my client whose daughter ( I will call her Sarah) had some learning disability and when I today recall the instances when she hated studying(in a traditional school), preferred doing everything her way; my heart goes out to her and I wish someone introduced her to the assistive technology which could have made learning a matter of joy and ease.  Like many students, Sarah faced challenges in keeping up with traditional instruction methods.

The video sheds light on the transformative power of assistive technology in addressing many challenges that may prevent many learners to do what they love doing. It emphasized the importance of understanding students’ experiences with assistive technology and the obstacles they face. Many students, like those featured in the video, shared their struggles with traditional learning methods and highlighted the profound impact that assistive technology has had on their academic success. The case of Lukas who loved playing euphonium horn is truly inspirational for many. Lukas courage, passion and will plus the technology helped him become a part of the Jazz band and a full fledged musician. Like wise all achievements of Sarah, Vishal were partly because of assistive technology. The video was personally very informative for me and emphasized how incorporating assistive technology into various instructional formats – whether face-to-face, blended, or online can be life changing for students. By doing so, educators can ensure that content is accessible to all students, regardless of their learning styles or abilities.

Having seen and read content on Assistive technology I feel there are many myths about assistive technology for learning. The first myth is assistive technology is for students with special needs. It is actually a way to enhance the quality of learning
The second myth is about cost of assistive technology that it is expensive and countries with low resources cannot afford them. Some gadgets or technology may be unaffordable but an empathetic and intelligent teacher would always make its way

The third myth is that assistive technology is highly advanced technology. But in reality assistive technology is an application of basic engineering technology for learning. The euphonium horn of Lukas is an example of that.

https://www.augsburg.edu/class/groves/assistive-technology/everyone/

I was introduced to Immersive Reader and C Pen in one of our classes and they were showcased as invaluable resources in supporting students with dyslexia and other learning differences. Immersive Reader facilitates more effective engagement with text by providing features like text-to-speech and customizable font settings. Meanwhile, CPen allows students to access printed material independently, promoting autonomy and confidence in their learning.

As an educator, I today decide, I will also use Assistive technology as a tool to make education/knowledge inclusive for all and try and create for them; an opportunity to succeed.

The progressive World Wide Web & The evolving Classroom

What sounded really interesting to me in one of the articles that my classmate shared as a part of class assignment was this and It was so profound: The web influences peoples way of thinking, doing and being, and people influence the development and content of the web. The evolution of the web from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 and now to Web 3.0 can be used as a metaphor of how education should also be evolving, as a movement from Education 1.0 towards that of Education 3.0. The Web, Internet, Social Media, and the evolving, emerging technologies have created a perfect storm or convergence of resources, tools, open and free information access. The result is not only a change in what individuals learn but how, wry, and where they learn. Taking this one step further, or from another angle, moving from Education 1.0 to Education 3.0 can be likened to moving from Pedagogy/Essentialism/Instructivism through A andragogy/ Constructivism towards Heutagogy/ Connectivism.

The Education 1.0 class feels something like this:

It’s slow, one-way, and about as exciting as watching paint dry. Welcome to Education 1.0 – where teachers talk, students listen, and the snooze button gets a workout….. the common instruction from Education 1.0 was something like, “Alright, class, here’s your digital worksheet for today. It’s basically the same as the ones you’ve been doing, just on a screen this time. Enjoy! It’s like the regular stuff, but with some extra pixels thrown in.”

Stepping into a progressive Web 2.0 Classroom

It’s like switching from dial-up to high-speed broadband. It’s interactive, dynamic, and engaging. Picture classrooms buzzing with activity, students actively participating in discussions, and learning materials that respond to their input. It’s a whole new world of education where students aren’t just passive listeners, but active contributors to their own learning journey. Welcome to the future of education!

Sneak in “Good morning, class! Today, we’re into the final phase of our course and will begin with assignment. So you’ll be tackling it right here on your screens together in groups. You will find it on your screens, write down what you understand and I will keep arranging it here on the Board to make it a perfect Jamboard. Comment, share ideas, and engage with your classmates in real time. So, let’s get started and make the most of this dynamic learning experience!” Education 2.0 – it’s the modern way we learn, and it’s wonderous. Instead of boring lectures, we’re diving into hands-on, interactive learning. It’s all about teamwork, solving real-world problems, and making learning fun. So, let’s embrace the future of education and make it an adventure!

The unimaginable for the most- Web 3.0

And now Education 3.0 – the ultimate upgrade in how we learn. It’s all about self-determined, interest-based learning where problem-solving, innovation, and creativity take center stage.

Web 3.0 is often referred to as the “Semantic Web,” a term coined by World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee. This new generation of the web is characterized by more meaning, context, and personalization. Unlike today’s Web, which is mostly focused on providing information, Web 3.0 is designed to provide users with a more personalized and interactive user experience. (LinkedIn)

In Education 3.0, learners aren’t just passive recipients of knowledge – they’re the creators of it. Picture a world where students actively shape their learning experiences, collaborating through social networks. It’s about blurring the lines between students, teachers, and the learning process itself.

Here’s the deal: Education 3.0 revolves around the three Cs – connectors, creators, and constructivists. These aren’t just buzzwords – they define the essence of becoming a self-determined learner. It’s about students taking charge, with educators as guides on the side.

To me, Education 3.0 is a dynamic blend of heutagogical, connectivist teaching. It’s about harnessing the power of networks, resources, and personalized learning journeys. Because every learner’s path is unique and driven by their passions. So, Education 3.0 leads to more ownership, validation from the learner and is a path for personalized, self-determined learning experiences!

This paradigm shift also calls for a paradigm change for the teachers. A feeling of being an empathetic, kind, intelligent teacher who not only facilitates learning but also is a student always and keeps learning while teaching.

Over all Web 3.0 brings some great transformation to teaching and learning however the AI and it’s reach is scary too. As education integrates with digital tech, privacy risks rise. Safeguards are vital to protect student data and ensure responsible use. The access to technology varies and may become a reason for the widening educational disparities. Social isolation may increase with excessive digital reliance, impacting not only the interpersonal skills. This may lead to a hoard of psychological issues and ensuing problem in classroom, family and society. Navigating these challenges is crucial for ethical and inclusive digital education.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-web-30-important-todays-evolving-world-how-changes-nextupgrad

Assistive Technology: How does it help?

For many years, in my division, assistive technology really meant that students could be issued a laptop that was designated for only their use. While this is a great use of technology, I did not realize the amount of other assistive technology that was out there! Students that were issued laptops were typically issued headphones that had microphones attached or two separate pieces. As we have advanced our technology and as students grow older, the headsets and mics have been phased out. Students usually have their own sleeker versions. 

I have often used many different programs for students as part of best practices; however, they are considered Assistive Technology. For example, Google Read&Write is an extension on Chromebook that I teach my students to use. This extension has the ability to make web articles accessible to all students. Students can enable the text-to-speech function so they can listen while reading along; text and picture dictionary for words that need explaining; word prediction when writing; speech to text to dictate writing; collect highlights from documents or the web when researching; and copy summarize text to new page without ads that can be distracting for students.

In the school I am in now, each of our classrooms is equipped with a sound system, including two different mics. One is to wear around your neck like a necklace, the other is a headset, like Madonna or Britney Spears wear. We choose the one to wear around our necks as it is the easiest to wear. However, this is one of the best Assistive Technologies that I have been able to use. I also teach in a double classroom with another teacher and 57 students. Using the mic eliminates the need to speak loudly all day long; all students can hear me, no matter where they are sitting in the classroom; and for the sake of fitting in, no student needs to feel different from anyone else because of a piece of equipment.

With many, many EAL learners in my school and classroom, I have noticed students bringing their own Assistive technology that our division has never provided. Several students have brought to school Cpens. They have shown me the functions and how they assist them everyday. Knowing the number of EAL students in our school system, it would be great if more students could have access to these. Several students also have their own phones with apps installed that will allow them to take a picture of a document and translate immediately to their native language. 

Assistive technology helps to level the playing field for students, like glasses do for people that need them. As it is evolving, software, apps and cheaper hardware is making assistive technology more accessible to students and school divisions. On the other hand, computers, FM systems, sound systems and newer tech like Cpens are expensive. It is up to the student and teacher to work together to find out what is needed and works best.

Assistive Technology – My Experience

According to the Disabilities Education Act Assistive technology is “any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities”. This is a very descriptive definition except it only takes into account children with disabilities. In my experience all types students might need or benefit from assistive technology. At Central Collegiate we have a lot of English as an additional language learners who don’t have a disability but they can understand so much more clearly with these technologies. Therefore, the definition from the World health organization fits a little better for my practice so far. “Assistive products help maintain or improve an individual’s functioning related to cognition, communication, hearing, mobility, self-care and vision, thus enabling their health, well-being, inclusion and participation.”

The issues I have come across is not having enough hands-on deck or space to support our students who struggle whether they have disabilities, or they are learning English or they are neurodivergent thinkers. Hence, this assistive technology replaces a scribe, or a reader for activities or assessment. As there are more and more students that need supports to be more successful, we will either need to buy more subscriptions to supportive software, physical tools to help or have more adults in a classroom. The assistive technology I have used the most in my high school classes is google read and write, speech to text software, and google translate features on docs. Speech to text software is great for students with ADHD to help them get all their ideas down by speaking rather than typing, same for my students who struggle to write and type. The technology that was shown in the presentation was called immersive reader and this was such a neat tool to replace a person for a student with dyslexia. Instead of having a reader a student could use earphones with a chromebook to listen or use the line reader aspect to support themselves. This is the exact reason and importance for this technology, is to help students become more independent regardless of their limitations.

https://www.knowlarity.com/blog/an-exhaustive-guide-on-text-to-speech-software

However, there are limitations with these technologies. Firstly that students need to have independent instructions on how to use these tools. They then need to practice them and when other students don’t need to do this sometimes it is an issue. There seems to be a lot of comparison in my grade 9 and 10 classes when I try to use these technologies. Kids do not want to be different. My language learners really are happy about the support but my students that need those adaptations to be more successful they seem to rather not do well than be different. The other issue is the space. Students to use text to speech will need an alternate environment and we have no room at Central. There are no where for kids to go with adult supervision and a quiet environment. There is always that adult needed to support. Sometimes kids don’t want to leave the room because again they look different. I have tried getting all kids to try this technology with their phones to show that is normal to use different tools for writing. Still hasn’t helped a few of my students. According to the Assistive Technology: Enabling Dreams video, students should learn these skills from a very young age to foster independence as they get older. I think this would help with some of these embarrassment issues. I speak to students about equity vs equality when they notice differences, we speak about all different people need different things. But they seem to compare often so kids would rather not use the tool and not do well than be different. I have tried getting students to then try these things at home, but then there is the issue of accessibility, wifi and the parent having to know how to use the technology as well.

I am not sure how to go about the needing space or relieving embarrassment around assistive technology in my high school classes. Any suggestions?

ECI 833 – “How do you know what you Know?”

This is an age-old question that the education world and most societies have sought to discover an answer to. How do we objectively assess learning, and what one knows in an effective, efficient way that can be reliable and valid over time. Spoiler Alert –> It does feel like a tough task to have a sufficient solution to this question. Perhaps, simply understanding that assessment is a very complex process that can take many different formats is a start to conceptualizing what a solution might look like to that question. I have really liked Hattie’s (2004) work that focuses on student learning as a “Rope” analogy that single strands all connected together provide strength through overlapping and it’s important to recognize these strands in each of our students when we assess their learning.

https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Models-of-Self-Concept-that-are-Neither-Top-Down-or-Hattie/beaadff694619622d0101925281f3a019bb5a3e7

“Assessment is not a spreadsheet, it’s a conversation.”

https://medium.com/learning-re-imagined/assessment-is-not-a-spreadsheet-its-a-conversation-3d743c754809

I love that quote above, and I feel like it captures an authentic view of how learning can occur and the simplistic nature of this process. However, I realize that it is very challenging to attach a grade or percent to a conversation, and the subjectivity that can cloud this process. Reading the article listed here, I can understand why education has made changes in assessment and judgment in the 20th century from only one individual evaluating someone to a more objective format of multiple-choice assessments. And, these changes were to create more objective and consistent means for evaluating knowledge. Still, it does appear we created a model that values efficiency over effectiveness for assessing knowledge. And, these notions of efficiency can still be felt in modern classrooms. However, I do think there needs to be a balanced approach in this process, but it is tricky to find a method that will cohesively fit into this format.

Another tricky facet of this assessment process surrounds the definition of what we as educators deem “good” citizens and the assessments that teachers create to mold and cultivate this outcome. This is an age-old debate about what it means to define a “good” student, and how we as teachers foster that process and effectively assess that definition. These definitions are deeply connected to our philosophical worldviews, and the various theories of learning that guide our practice. It is important to be cognizant of the context of these worldviews and theories that impact our understanding of assessment because that forms a framework that can be consistently reflected, and adjusted against best practices from year to year.

It is so valuable that we as educators continually reflect on the technology assessments we introduce in the classroom. If we randomly start using new assessment tools for the sake of flashy new things to increase engagement, then when is the purpose of this technology. I would hope that based on the paragraph above, teachers carefully select assessment technology and trial it for its use that meets higher levels of thinking. However, I understand and empathize with how exhausting it is to test out each tool. And, the time and energy needed in this process and is not afforded in a typical workday. So, it is difficult to break out of the mold of relying on dated assessments to produce the same data. And, the time consumed to scan new assessment technologies that connect with the same learning theories as before seems pointless. I can see why it is so appealing for educators to find the most efficient method for assessment technologies that do not value higher levels of learning compared to discovering an effective one that could do both.

However, I still think there is hope that this can change as more people spend time furthering their education about assessment technologies, but it is not an equitable option for all teachers. So, we can continue to hope that small changes can domino into bigger shifts in assessment policy and philosophies.

Please let me know what you think is a possible solution to the above dilemma, or an assessment technology that you find really makes your day as a teacher so much easier.

The Productivity suites: suit the Education

10 Best Productivity Apps for Students

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, declares in Article 26, that, Education is a fundamental right, however, many around the world still don’t have it. The Evolution of the Virtual and Online learning has disrupted the comfort zones of many people around the world. Factors like climate change, economic struggles, and health issues have added to these struggles in many ways. But as said:  

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein 

And here’s where technology steps in to save!

Today, I feel, digital productivity tools are like superheroes for education. These tools give the power to create, problem-solve, and express like never before. They’re not just about getting stuff done quicker; they’re about unlocking creativity so then whether it’s building models, organizing thoughts, collecting data, or showcasing the work. Productivity and creativity tools support users in constructing models, publishing, planning and organizing, mapping concepts, generating material, collecting data, developing and presenting other creative works (Paulus et al., 2013; Tsatsou, 2016; Oloyede and Ofole, 2016; Egbert and Shahrokni, 2022).  

I was prompted to write this blog as a part of my Study program, coincidently I have always been grateful to the productivity suite especially Google and its paraphernalia, Microsoft office, Teams, Zoom, Canva, Jamboarding, MentiMeter…….These have been my favourite eversince because I feel I can multitask more effectively and efficiently, I can reach out to my trainees despite the geographical differences.

I personally feel, in the contemporary times what has eased the learning process is the administration part both from the Teacher, institution and student side. With the advent of Google and Microsoft It’s practically like carrying all my books and stuff with me wherever I go, I am in touch with my teachers, Institute and classmates wherever I am and moreover I can today sit and write my blogs during my lunch breaks at my workplace. Accomplishing study goals, work goals has become super easy with technology. This affects a lot of other areas of life, like managing the work life balance, managing everyday stress, managing time and connecting people effortlessly. That is why probably Connectivism is one of the prominent Learning Theory nowadays in the Education space   

While I was writing this blog and searching on google, I came across this video on Youtube titled:

The Paperwork explosion

IBM’s, corporate video delves into how their technology aims to enhance people’s productivity by 50%. There’s a line towards the end of the film that runs, “IBM machines can do the work so that people have time to think. Machines should do the work, that’s what they’re best at. People should do the thinking, that’s what they’re best at.” 

And 50+ years down the line now, It’s the productivity suites, that do the work and spare us some more time. 

An intriguing aspect about the rise of productivity suites is, the comprehensive ecosystems that has catered to the increasing demand of work and have been an answer to the massive disruption. Initially, productivity suites primarily consisted of word processors, spreadsheets, and presentation software. However, with advancements in technology and the increasing demands of modern work environments, these suites have expanded to incorporate a wide array of features and functionalities. 

Eversince the collaboration tools became part of productivity suites, the world has shrunk further. People can easily connect across work and education. Real-time collaboration features like Google Docs, Zoom, MS Teams, canvas design, and others have revolutionized teamwork, overcoming distance barriers and  fostering seamless communication. 

Additionally, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms into productivity suites have remarkably accentuated their efficiency. AI-powered features, such as predictive text, smart suggestions, and automated workflows, help in saving time and reducing manual work. 

Productivity tools have contributed to education in many ways. It’s worthwhile to think: What methodologies result in better knowledge gain? And How can teachers and learners benefit and how this Treasure Trove be uncovered?  

Prudent teachers employ various methods like: working in groups, giving lessons in bite sized pieces so that students can build up on them, sharing ways that the productivity tools can be used for better results, creating a connect between institutions and students to better facilitate the purpose of learning. When designing cooperative computer-based strategies, teachers must deal with issues such as the size of the groups,equity concerns,and software that is designed for individual use. However the good comes with some bad too! Because these tools are like ATM- that add value to users, people can learn at their pace, anytime, anywhere therefore people seek information more than they seek knowledge. This may lead to over reliance on these tools and students may undermine the importance of cognitive skills, social skills. 

The cost and sustainability of using this type of infrastructure may not be affordable for all and may lead to social, emotional, moral and digital gaps. Another important concern is the The collection, storage, and sharing of student data through digital platforms which has raised privacy concerns regarding the protection of sensitive information and potential misuse by third parties. 

Yet for me they are no less than a magic wand. I can create these kind of simple images in a jiffy 🙂

References

Oloyede, G. K., & Ogunwale, G. J. (2022). Digital productivity tools as a necessity in education, research and career in the 21st century. In Proceedings of the 31st Accra Bespoke Multidisciplinary Innovations Conference. Accra, Ghana: University of Ghana/Academic City University College (pp. 1-6).