EC&I 833 – Summary of Learning – Trivia

Well, I hope everyone likes trivia!

And, I hope everyone has studied the concepts and theories of ECI 833 in depth.

We are about to embark on a rollercoaster of emotion that starts with testing your knowledge on the foundations and history of Educational Technology.

Look no further, and watch the video below to test your abilities and achievements in this course.

Please let me know how you faired in the comments below.

Thanks for your time, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Also, the video of my face somehow was quite small when it was uploaded to YouTube, but feel free to check out the link here for a more full-sized video.

EC&I 833 – Summary of Learning – Trivia

Well, I hope everyone likes trivia!

And, I hope everyone has studied the concepts and theories of ECI 833 in depth.

We are about to embark on a rollercoaster of emotion that starts with testing your knowledge on the foundations and history of Educational Technology.

Look no further, and watch the video below to test your abilities and achievements in this course.

Please let me know how you faired in the comments below.

Thanks for your time, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Also, the video of my face somehow was quite small when it was uploaded to YouTube, but feel free to check out the link here for a more full-sized video.

ECI 833 – AI

When I think of Artificial Intelligence, I am instantly transported to a Galaxy Cinema as an 11-year-old circa 2004 for the release of “I, Robot“, starring Will Smith. The movie delved into the concept of robots overtaking humans to conquer the world. This movie was slightly terrifying as a youngster, and even more so as an adult reflecting on AI this week.

And yes, the robots were very intense!

However, Generative AI does not have the same design or look as the robots in the movie above, but their process is very similar. AI can be more simply understood as “…the ability of machines or computer systems to perform tasks that typically require human intelligence”. Well, this does not sound too bad as it can be efficient to allow a computer or program to do tasks faster than a human can. Further, another train of thought vocalizes the dangers of allowing computers/programs to make decisions that need human intelligence, where we draw the line, and who is allowed to draw those lines. There are ethical concerns about the utilization of AI and the various frameworks for how it is being implemented in fields such as healthcare, criminal justice, and even finance. These are all valid questions, and no easy answers exist. Although, I do think that as teachers it is our job to find ways to innovate and adapt our instruction to best meet the needs of our students. And, I am cognizant that there are teachers who think it is valuable for educators to model ethical practices. So, it is important to try and remain neutral as more laws and ethics are developed around it.

I really liked Cailen’s video she posted on her blog this week from TedEd that examines the future of AI and how it will change the world that we know currently. I do think it is important to reflect on these new programs like AI to make our jobs easier rather than fear the impact it could have on the way things have been done in the past. I would recommend watching the video below to further explain how AI learns and evolves because this will aid in reducing the fear and misunderstanding of these programs.

Therefore, as much as AI is a polarizing buzzword among people at this present moment, it is still a program/machine that allows for the efficiency of tasks. I think that we as educators should be thrilled to find a program that offers this, but before we start celebrating, we must first really learn how each of these programs functions to maximize its learning capabilities. I think of the analogy of how someone who has taught a certain subject before offers you all their content and assessment material, but it is you who brings that course to life by how you present it, but not strictly the binder that you were handed to teach the course. Thus, it is so critical that teachers learn how different AI programs function to better allow students to learn and synthesize information, but this will mean that educators will need to change how assessments will look and feel in the classroom. This is a tough change for some subjects in particular, and it is difficult to feel at peace with how we as educators are preparing students for a future that is so ever-changing. It can be an overwhelming feeling to think if we are truly making a difference in students’ educational journey by how we prepare them for the future, but for me, it goes far beyond the content or process of outcome attainment. For me, my role as an educator focuses on the connections and relationships with students that foster a curiosity to ask questions and then learn where to seek answers. AI is one of the tools that can aid in this process.

Ps, if you would like to watch the movie “I, Robot”, I would give it a solid 8/10. The robots are quite creepy at times, so be prepared for that!

Thanks for your time! And let me know how AI has changed or has not changed your classroom.

ECI 833 – Coding and Makerspaces

I like to think that I am quite tech-savvy and have been known to be the “Go To” for anything related to MySchoolSask, but when it comes to coding, I feel like a complete novice. I am familiar with coding and conceptually I understand what it is, but to make it happen is a complete mystery to me. It was nice this week to check out different programs that teach elementary coding like Scratch as an opportunity for students to learn at a young age how this process occurs. I found it helpful to read more about coding in the classroom through the following website which provides a thorough guide for teachers to learn how to incorporate coding in their classroom. I think to fully integrate coding into the classroom, it would be important for educators themselves to deeply understand how it works, its applications, and why it would be necessary for students to learn.

However, I would like to spend more of my post exploring Makerspaces. Makerspaces focuses on the fundamental processes of building, constructing, deconstructing, and learning exchanges during these moments. It can involve the newest and brightest technology or the most primitive tools to explore and play. Personally, I love it when I have time to get into a woodworking project that involves all different types of tools and processes that I have limited experience with. This has served me well, and poorly in many various occasions, but it has been a great learning experience for me each time. So, I love the concept of allowing students to explore, and play with various types of materials and tools. Here is a video below that provides a thorough explanation of what this process could look like.

One of the trickier parts of this process requires finding the space, and equipment to set up this style of learning for students. It can seem daunting to start this process in your school if there is no program that is offered for students, but I stumbled upon this blog that offers great insight into how this transition could start in a school that can have a big impact. As well, on the Makerspaces website, they even craft a step-by-step process to how this concept could be applied to each individual context. This step-by-step process is quite intensive, but it does provide a framework for how this could work and operate within a school, or a community-based organization. And, after reading more on the topic, it feels it would be a great way to blend community resources and school-based projects all in one to maximize the impact of this program.

As a Math teacher, I took a class at university that focused on the major contributions of mathematicians over the course of history. Sir Issac Newton was one of the prominent figures in this elite list, and it was very interesting to learn more about his life and upbringing. Newton, from an early age, was known for taking things apart and building them back together. His approach was quite pragmatic in design, but offered great insight into how things function by inversing steps, ultimately to move in a full cycle. Many scholars have praised this problem-solving approach to the many inventions and discoveries that Newton made over his lifetime, and a few of those discoveries include modern calculus, laws of gravity, and fundamental laws of motion. So, these seem like pretty small impacts on the grand scale of mathematical contributions.

Newton had a keen interest in the practical side of constructing objects, and this process could be argued as a catalyst for his inventions and contributions to the math world. He did not inherently exude greatness or innovations in his educational journey, but his pragmatic approach to solving problems created countless opportunities to deepen his learning.

Makerspaces is a prime example of offering space and materials for students to develop their inner genius. And I believe that Newton would be a primary advocate for these programs to foster this innate ability that he developed over many years of tinkering and deep thought in these environments. Therefore, it would be really intriguing to see how schools and community organizations could unite to provide these rich learning environments for students to explore the inner workings of what could birth the next Sir Isaac Newton. In the worst-case scenario, students develop practical skills and self-confidence that could create numerous opportunities in their future.

Please let me know how you think Makerspaces could impact an educational setting, or if you have been directly involved with one.


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.

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

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.

EC&I 833 – Web Evolution

The evolution of the web from 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 is quite a fascinating process that was presented to our class through our peers, Brianne, Sydney, and Jenni. The presentation unfolded the makings of each web blueprint and the subsequent theories attached to each design. I really enjoyed reading Thenmozhi Babu’s post that offered great videos of the nuanced differences between Web 1.0 to 3.0. Here is a short infographic that highlights the unique features of each web design.

And here is one more infographic that shares an interesting perspective of the web blueprints.

I wanted to dig a little deeper into Web 3.0 because as I read it, it feels more like a theory than it does a reality at this contemporary moment. Doing some more reading and researching on the topic, does reveal that it is more theory-based than actual reality. The thing that mostly sparked my cognition here focused on the theory of decentralization of web spaces, and in a way a dethroning of the capitalist nature of the internet. However, it could also be that we are only approaching this theory and perhaps we are only at the beginning. It does feel in my experience that the commodification and commercialization of the web are so deeply ingrained in our politics, culture, and social norms that utterly flipping them on their head would cause massive deconstruction and major shifts in our institutions and general societal structures. I think that is why it is so difficult to conceptualize the practical applications of Web 3.0 in our contemporary society that are not congruent with the theories of decentralization and shared autonomy.

As well, the volatility of cryptocurrency mixed with the ever-changing nature of NFTs creates immense challenges for a central blockchain-style economy to take presence in our modern world given the regulation and prevalence of banking institutions and politics. Now, I will not pretend that I am an expert in any of the fields listed above, but these are a few of my thoughts regarding the theories of Web 3.0 given my limited understanding of the concepts. And I would welcome any thoughts or comments on my ideas here.

Furthermore, I do find it a tad bit scary to think about the future of Web 3.0 given the rising tensions of the world dynamics, and even more challenging to think of the impacts of Web 4.0 on a global scale.

So, those a few of my thoughts regarding the theories of web 3.0 and how it may impact the world that we currently live in.

And on that note…I think I will close this post, but please let me know what your thoughts are on the nature of Web 3.0 and its potential impact on education.

ECI 833 – Online and Blended Learning Tools and their Relevance

The list is long when I think of online and blended learning tools that have been impacted by technology in my teaching career. There is an ever-changing list of tools that are introduced as a method to enhance learning. Still, often these new tools reflect older technology and dated epistemology and theories of learning. So, it is critical to examine and reflect on these new tools that enter the classroom via online or physical space and analyze if their impact connects to a more modern theory of learning that reflects deeper epistemological theories that represent a more holistic nature of the culture we are striving to help students adapt to. So, I say all this as a preamble to examine the various tools that I have been impacted by in my career that offer a greater method to deliver advancement in terms of learning.

1. Google Classroom.

Google Classroom has created an organized space for teachers to update all their coursework and classroom tasks for students to follow along and complete in a timely fashion. This productivity suite has greatly impacted the efficiency of allowing students a space to connect, collaborate, communicate, and engage with coursework and tasks to complete. All of their work is efficiently synced through Google products. I have found that this tool enhances my ability to reach students in the classroom, and many have commented on the positive impact it has had on their learning through its ease of access and simplicity. However, Google Classroom is mostly a teacher-friendly method for efficiently storing and organizing information for students to access connecting with more aspects of behaviorism and hopes of constructivism with advanced application.

2. Screencastify.

Screencastify is one example of a screen recording tool where I can utilize audio and visual as a method to record my lessons for students to watch when they are unable to attend class. I am a high school Math teacher and during Covid, I spent probably close to a hundred hours recording all of my lessons for students to view. Once these videos were recorded I have been able to continually utilize them for supplemental instruction and absent students. I would argue that students do receive not quite as good of instruction as in class because they miss any discussions or questions asked, but the videos are thorough enough. The video settings allow for students to pause and rewind which can make for a quick and easy fix for misunderstandings. I have allowed other teachers to use these videos in their classes, and many students have let me know how my lessons have helped them to understand a concept more deeply. It is also interesting to see how Screencastify was one of the tools listed on one of the websites for our weekly readings. I would also interject that I utilized a drawing pad in my lesson videos to accurately and efficiently display the math which has certainly helped in the validity and reliability of these videos. However, these screen-recorded videos do connect with the same theories of learning and epistemology of a simple whiteboard in the classroom, but I do feel it extends the reach of the classroom and sometimes enhances the learning for some students.

3. YouTube

Youtube combines audio and visual all in one place to maximize its accessibility and effectiveness. YouTube has become a critical aspect in my lessons to extend and sometimes enhance learning through unique contrast of audio and visual in an engaging way to connect with students. All of my lesson videos are uploaded to Youtube for students to view at any time and can be downloaded with an account, so students can even watch them without wifi. Although Youtube is only a website that stores content in the form of videos, it is impressive how its access can impact equity gaps through non-traditional methods of learning.

In closing, I only have three different tools listed above, but I think these differing forms of technology have in some method extended, advanced, or sometimes even changed education and learning through their accessibility. However, I can also see that each of these tools will inherently require access to wifi or a computer so there is still an issue of equity that is present in this technology. And, it might continually be a tough question to ever find an answer or solution to, but as we progress in education, I do think it is a vital part of our craft to reflect on.

Please let me know if there are any tools above that resonated with you in your career thus far, or others that are different from mine.

Thanks for reading!

ECI833 – Are Productivity Suites Taking Over Education?

Now, if you are asking yourself what a “productivity suite” is, look no further, follow the link here to find out more, and for further understanding watch this video of an exemplar of a company productivity suite.

Even in the root word of this concept, it focuses on productivity and efficiency. It appears the major two companies that education relies on for productivity suites are Microsoft 365, and Google Suites. Both of these programs create a collaborative method for connecting and communicating with a team in an efficient way. Personally, Google Suite has become a critical aspect of organizing my classroom material, content, and lessons in a straightforward yet methodical manner to maximize efficiency. I really love it when I can easily access previous years’ content and see my own professional growth and development. However, as much as I thoroughly enjoy my experience with Google programs, it is the students who should be the focus of this discussion. , I have noticed that there is a disparity among students and their access to Google programs and technology at home. Some of the reoccurring thoughts and questions this semester are triggered about productivity suites in education and those revolve around:

  • Who benefits because of these products?
  • Do these programs offer deeper learning opportunities for all students?
  • What type of knowledge are we valuing utilizing these programs?
  • What are the implicit messages that we are conveying to students by using these programs?

I certainly do not have an answer or solution to these questions, but I do think there is value in being cognizant of their impact in the classroom, and awareness that we as educators need to have as we often make decisions for the sake of “advancement” in educational technology. I am reminded of a quote by John F. Kennedy that eloquently states the importance of education and how that may contrast key notions of productivity suites in the classroom.

“The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth”

— John F. Kennedy

In reflecting on that quote, and examining the use of various productivity programs in the classroom, it is challenging to have a concrete answer there. It is convicting to think about how the answer to some of those questions above only really benefits the students who do not need it, thus broadening the inequity gap. However, some key takeaways from the quote reveal what type of knowledge are we aiming for students to aspire towards, and what our own understanding of truth and its validity will inherently be transcended to students through osmosis.

I do think that the varying productivity suites that are utilized in the classroom are designed with the focus and efficiency of the teacher (Teacher Centric), yet these tools are to aid in learning, and not become the main vehicle of learning. Therefore, I think it is critical to examine how we use these programs, their positive and negative impact, and reflect on whether the ends justify the means.

EC&I 833 – Sesame Street’s Attack on Traditional Concepts Education

Well, now that I have got your attention with Sesame Street in the title of my post, let’s start to unpack the big ideas here.

Who would have known that puppets could have such a profound impact on North America in the 1970’s.\? Sesame Street provided a non-traditional approach to education that involved the TV as a morning program geared towards children before they went to school in the morning, or even throughout the day for those not yet of age to attend. The style of education provided a breakout in educational technology through AV devices to reach younger audiences. However, as Postman (1985) suggests Sesame Street created a vision of education that students fell in love with, but this method created tension with the accepted view of traditional education and poked at the cultural epistemological lens of schooling. As a society, we typically are three steps behind questioning the theory of knowledge and what we are valuing at the current time, but are more concerned with the threat of how things have always been done with connection to systems theorem, and its threat to change in our lives.

So, it is clear that as a society we like new, fun, and exciting way to entertain and occupy our time, but as soon it starts to threaten our previous held systems or ideas, we do not like it anymore. However, this might be a poor method for handling change, and it would be perhaps beneficial to start reflecting and questioning the knowledge that is being presented and how it challenges our shared understanding previously. Now that does seem a bit intense and plenty of thought involved. So maybe we are back at the drawing board when it comes to change and epistemology, and not rocking the boat.

If we take this perspective and compare it to a broader scope of AV technologies in the classroom, I think we will see pattern of resistance and lack of questioning of these new technologies in the classroom. It is very interesting to think of the SMARTboard technologies and the vision that they would revolutionize learning in the classroom, yet if we took a closer view into the knowledge that is being valued, and the theory of learning it aligns with best… it does seem there is not much of a gap between a whiteboard and a dry erase marker.

I do think that a new method of viewing technology and AV for instance is thinking more deeply about what style of knowledge are we valuing, and what style of knowledge are we not? And being cognizant of the strengths and weaknesses of each because there will be no technology that will offer both. As well, it is interesting to examine the digital world and the role of AI that creates a more accepted and comfortable view of the concept of Sheeple. Additionally, uncovering and aligning which AV technologies connect with different learning theories will be critical when addressing learning needs in the classroom. Crash Course offers a condensed version of a concept or a historical time-period that can be easily viewed, and as the website suggests, “…is one of the best ways to educate yourself, your classmates, and your family on YouTube”. Once again, I ask myself the question what style of knowledge are we valuing here, who benefits from it, who does not, and what does this method of technology offer more than before? And not for one-second am I saying that Crash Course is bad, or not useful in the classroom, but it is important to examine these bigger questions and their impact on students.

I really liked the article that was posted this week about the Transforming Education through AV technology that echoes our presentation this week from Michael and Graeme. One of the quotes that resonated with me around the power of effective AV. AV itself is not powerful, but how it is utilized and understood is what makes this technology powerful, and yet again this is intrinsically connected to the educator who is using this AV technology. Michael and Graeme emphasized this so well in their video of different educator’s views of technology, and how it was the eductors who really made the learning rich through their use of AV. Therefore, it does feel that as AV and different tech evolve in the classroom, it will need to be the teacher that makes it effective, and that must come through a examine the theories of learning, and the style of knowledge that we are valuing, or not valuing.

Thanks for reading, and please share below if there is a style of AV technology that you have experienced in your career that some people thought would revolutionize the educational world.

EC&I 833 – Knowledge, Theories, and… Learning Machines!

When you think of a learning machine, it seems pretty reasonable to imagine some form of a futuristic digital device that offers the most enhanced and deepened pathway to learning. However, when Skinner (1954) created the Learning Machine to aid and revolutionize education, the same thought idea occurred, but it looked very different visually. And I do think that Skinner’s device was what they thought was a very advanced form of technology for learning. Still, perhaps it also reveals a deeper reflection of contextual learning theory, epistemology, and philosophical approach to education. Now, before we unpack all those large syllabus words, let us take a moment to visualize what a Learning Machine looks like and how it functions.

Skinner Teaching Machine. Source.

Epistemology is a big word for looking at the theory of knowledge. What is knowledge, how do we conceive it, its history, and context within a group/individual. If none of that made any sense, you are not alone, but watching this video aided my understanding of this concept. We must discuss epistemology when it comes to education, and technology as it governs the highway that we utilize to reach learning and outcomes.

As educators form and develop their own theory of knowledge based on the accepted view culturally, then we enter into differing theories of how learning can take place, and what that might be for the student and teacher. The three main theories we examined in class focused on behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism. I do think it is very important to understand each of these theories, but this post is not focused on explaining these terms, so I will provide an infographic below and links if you would like to read more.

The prompt for this week was to analyze our own learning theories and how they have been shaped and molded throughout our career thus far. I think when we first examined these definitions in class, I certainly felt that I aligned with constructivism with my theories about learning and what I value in the classroom. Upon reflection, constructivism is quite difficult without a deepened pedagogy and knowledge of the curriculum. When Zygotkzy discussed the Zones of Proximal Development that align very well with constructivism, it is not simple task for a new teacher that has not mastered their curriculum and instruction to be valid and reliable in this process of gaging where students range based on their zones.

Therefore, I think most new teachers start with some aspect of behaviorism to begin as a method to manage the classroom and control behaviour as a routine. This method creates a consistent method for new teachers to follow, and the results are pretty consistent. However, it does have shortfalls within what the desired results are, and the inquiry as to why these results are desired and often times do not perfectly align with learning outcomes. Then, we enter into cognitivism as a method to think and process through information by systematic means to store details from short-term memory into long-term memory. This theory feels like it comes next for a new teacher as this seems to offer a better way for students to think and process information which from an epistemological standpoint, and that does seem ideal. However, it does feel like cogntivism offers methods to think and store information, but there is little aspect of reflection, questioning, or deeper levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. Constructivism then enters the conversation as a means to deepen this learning through peer orientation, guidelines, and a more student-centered approach to routines in the classroom.

Although, as I think of this process and my own theories of learning, it does not feel linear anyway. If anything, it feels more like a cycle that reflects the needs and context of the classroom and is a continuum that is everchanging and flowing through differing theories.

Lastly, I would also suggest that even in my own field of mathematics, I really value the theory of Connectivism as a critical aspect of learning too. And I think I would suggest that this theory values the heart and methods of connections for students which I would tend to say makes profound impact on the learning that occurs for each student.

Please let me know what theory of learning you align with the most, or if there is another one that has not been discussed that you value in your classroom. And if your brain is hurting a little bit after digesting all those concepts and ideas, feel free to post your favourite GIF below and I’ll already know.

Thanks for reading!