Thursday, December 19, 2013

Questions About Technology

I was party to an email exchange yesterday about the use of technology in classrooms.  One could say that there was a split between those who desired for greater access and general skepticism about increasing access in the classroom. At one point during the exchange it was questioned as to whether students benefit from accessing technology and that there is a lack of convincing research on how technology enhances the educational setting.

As someone who believes in supporting connected classrooms, I was a little taken back by those who still have concerns about providing students across the K-12 spectrum access to connected devices.  Beyond the initial disbelief I started to reflect on the concern raised about reliable research.  For one, I think there are plenty of case studies detailing how students in technology rich classrooms perform better on standardized measurements.  Say what you want about the Common Core but at least there is a significant recognition of the need to graduate students who are technologically literate.

I always viewed technology as a hard to define instructional intangible.  I never believed examining test scores was the best way to evaluate the use of technology.  A true measurement of technology is captured in anecdotal data.  It's about archiving insights shared by students and teachers and reflecting on what classroom stakeholders have to say about learning in a connected environment.  Additionally, it's about the products students exhibit.  In a video about High Tech High School, CEO of schools Larry Rosenstock shares that the quality of work produced by students is a way to measure teacher effectiveness.  I agree with this statement and think it can also apply to the integration of technology.  Are students proudly presenting products of sustaining value?  If so, how did they go about constructing a final product?

For me, posing some the questions above, talking with teachers and students, and deconstructing finished pieces appears to be the research we want to collect.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Worth Reading

Sharing a few highlights from the past few weeks.  Enjoy....

1. How To Be Creative (Hunt)- takes the position that creativity is a skill which can be developed.  From this stance shares ways to foster greater creativity in all of us

This is the key to creativity. It’s not a linear process and it’s not predictable. You need to give it space and lots of encouragement. If you are held to pumping it out like a factory, you are probably not going to nail it. And it doesn’t come to you at the most opportune times.

2. Can't We Do Better (Friedman)- thoughts about the latest PISA results and what it means for education; contains a few interesting thoughts about the academic implications.  Could serve as an interesting discussion starter.

So now let’s look at the latest PISA. It found that the most successful students are those who feel real “ownership” of their education. In all the best performing school systems, said Schleicher, “students feel they personally can make a difference in their own outcomes and that education will make a difference for their future.” 

3. Redefining The Writing Process (Carey)- discusses the strategic infusion of tech into the writing process both to facilitate the development of ideas and to also cultivate writing as a collaborative process

Writing does not need to be a solitary experience. It can be collaborative (just like presenting)

4. The WISE Learning Games Playlist (Institute of Play)- visual with links to a list of game-based learning tools

The premise of the WISE PLAY program is that the potential of games goes far beyond pure entertainment. Given the fact that games engage players in situations that require them to solve hard problems, collaborate with others to complete sometimes-complicated tasks, think creatively, and fail often in pursuit of a compelling goal, games can be good for learning, too.

5. dChat- weekly Q & A session from the Stanford d. school.  The chat featured David Kelley of IDEO

6. Do Tests Predict Success- Studies show that test scores are not the best predictor of success in college, career and life. Watch Angela Duckworth explain what kids really need to succeed. 

7. Building Networks, Connections, Processes (Sayer)- Building networks, connections and processes to enable innovation and conversation to build the profession and create challenging learning situations.

8. Makey Makey- DIY invention kit for everyone

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Joy of Air

I came across the following video in the post Redefining the Writing Process.  The video among other resources was used to move readers to consider how the writing process, to some extent, has or can be changed.  The following statement came right after the video:

Not only does it explore the traditional elements of poetry (structure, meter, etc), but incorporates multiple dimensions to further explore the topic. 

I thought the statement accurately depicts the power and complexity of the video.  The video could serve as model for students as they along with teachers explore the various ways an idea can be communicated.