Course Reflection

Course Reflection

As I look back over the past six weeks of learning in this course, I reflect on my thoughts of technology in education. When starting this course, I viewed the Internet as a necessity in everyday life from communication to learning. So many people depend on the Internet from entertainment, employment, to education. Students of all ages can earn a degree online instead of physically attending classes, and all of this is because of the advancement of technology.  I still feel as though there are far too many positive reasons to use technology today in education that outweigh the negative.

Three Significant Concepts Learned from this Course

Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants

Prensky (2012) described two different people when referring to technology, digital natives and digital immigrants. The digital native grew up with technology whereas the digital immigrant is learning about technology coming from a time period where most of today’s technology did not exist (Prensky, 2012).

Instructors have to learn to speak the language of today’s students starting with methodology (Presnky, 2012). Lectures can be made available to students through the use of flipping the classroom so that students can do more hands on labs, group discussions, projects, or project based learning during class time. The goal of the flipped classroom is to increase student’s learning by reversing the classroom model and focusing more on student understanding rather than the teacher lecturing (Acedo, 2018). The instructor can still be in charge of the lecture by either recording oneself and having students take notes and watch videos of the instructor or the instructor can find videos and assign those videos to students to watch before class. The instructor can also incorporate social media in the lesson by polling students by sending out a tweet using twitter or creating a poll on Facebook and having students respond. Students can also blog or collaborate on group projects or just share ideas using social media. The possibilities are endless because today’s technology tools, if used effectively, can help students learn on their own with social media being a way to collaborate with students all over the world (Prensky, 2012).

Using Games in Education

Computers games give students opportunities to learn in a language that the student speaks, technology (Prensky, 2012). The 21st century learner uses technology on a daily basis and incorporating games gives students the ability to learn by participating in hands on application. After conducting an interview with a 21st century learner who is also a college student, I learned that hands on applications are very important to college students. Computer games go beyond games and includes simulations, which can help students understand some of the same complex issues that medical doctors understand from using simulations (Prensky, 2012). It is not just the game that is being played; it is the knowledge that students can learn while enjoying content in the process! With students spending so much time playing video games on their own, it would behoove higher education to incorporate what interests students the most and use that to an advantage (McGonigal, 2010).

There is Still a Need for Brick and Mortar

Students who use only technology to complete their educational journey are missing out on connections with the institution. Yes, online courses teach students a plethora of information but the brick and mortar has far more to offer than just an education (Mayfield & Mayfield, 2011). Students who become involved in the institution by joining clubs and organizations become more connected to the school, build a community, discover passions and strengths and may even do better in school (Mayfield & Mayfield, 2011). My daughters were heavily involved in school during their high school years and one even started a club that helped students from the surrounding middle schools transition more comfortably into high school by teaming the students up with high school role models. Just as colleges look for well-rounded students for admissions, so do employers (Chen, 2015). Students who do not attend brick and mortar colleges are missing out on this experience. Although technology has benefits when it comes to education, there are some experiences that just can’t be replaced.

Application of Learned Concepts

It is my dream to start my own school and this course has given me so many ideas of where to start. I know that in order to start this process, I have to become accredited and many innovative schools have a hard time with this process because in order to become accredited, students have to be enrolled but to receive governmental funding, one must be accredited (Manning, 2014). Innovation is key, as the 21st century learner does not learn in a way that students learned when schools were invented. Today’s students are different and teachers are going to have to learn the student’s language in order to reach and teach the students (Prensky, 2012).

Students are interested in social media, games, and things that involve technology and retrieving information fast (Prensky, 2012). Today’s students work better with finding information instead of having a teacher lecture and giving students information. I know that if I am to use the knowledge gained from this course, I will be able to hold student’s attention and reach them because I will know how to speak these digital native’s language.

Conclusion

Digital natives pay attention to things that interest them and the old way of teaching that digital immigrants are used to just won’t cut it (Prensky, 2012). Put a computer in front of a digital native with a lesson that they are responsible for learning independently, you will find that they will start to research and become so engaged in the lesson that you would think you are teaching different students because you have found a way to hold their interest. I have had students tell me that my class is their favorite because they are not just sitting their listening to a lesson, they become a part of the lesson and when they don’t know an answer I always tell them they have an entire tool in front of them to find the answer to their question (either a netbook or an iPad). Digital natives are learning about technology at a rapid pace and those educators who are digital immigrants need to adapt and learn as much as possible if we plan to educate the 21st century learner (Prensky, 2012).

 

References

Acedo, M. (2018). 10 Pros and cons of a flipped classroom. Retrieved from

http://www.teachthought.com/learning/blended-flipped-learning/10-pros-cons-flipped-classroom/

Chen, G. (2015). The benefits of community college clubs. Retrieved from

https://www.communitycollegereview.com/blog/the-benefits-of-community-college-clubs

Manning, S. (2014). Launching new institutions: Solving the chicken-or-egg problem in

American higher education.  Retrieved from http://www.aei.org/publication/launching-new-institutions-solving-chicken-egg-problem-american-higher-education/

Mayfield, J. & Mayfield, L. (2011). 5 Reasons for getting involved in college-And how

to go about it. Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/twice-the-college-advice/2011/09/13/5-reasons-for-getting-involved-in-college-and-how-to-go-about-it

McGonigal, J. (2010). Gaming can make a better world [Video]. Retrieved from

Prensky, M. (2012). From digital natives to digital wisdom: Hopeful essays for 21st

century learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Digital Natives

Today’s students have changed drastically with growing up using technology from computers, tablets, to cell phones, and some babies are more advanced in technology than adults (Prensky, 2012). Prensky (2012) described two different people when referring to technology, digital natives and digital immigrants. The digital native grew up with technology whereas the digital immigrant is learning about technology coming from a time period where most of today’s technology did not exist (Prensky, 2012).

When a digital native sits in a classroom with a digital immigrant teacher, there is a different language being spoken that does not work to the teacher’s advantage because the teacher is speaking a different language from the student which makes it harder for the student to learn (Prensky, 2012). Instructors need to transition from the old way of teaching and learn to speak the student’s language by incorporating as much technology as possible if the instructor wants to truly reach the audience that is being taught.

Implications for Instructional Methods and Strategies Used In Higher Education

When I think about my experiences in higher education, the majority of my classes were spent in a room with other students with the teacher standing in front of the classroom writing information on a huge dry erase board or information was displayed through the use of a PowerPoint presentation and students were required to take notes. I was excited when I took science classes because at least with those classes there were labs involved and I was able to use the information that was learned in class to do hands on work and apply content. The typical strategies used in higher education include lectures, labs, student discussions, and then students are assessed through quizzes midterms and finals. The problem with these methods are the fact that although digital immigrants can learn how to adapt to the language that digital natives speak, digital immigrants always retain some of their old way of thinking and speaking and do not fully integrate and use the language that digital natives speak (Prensky, 2012).

Changes that can be made to our Instructional Practices that will Increase Effectiveness

Instructors have to learn to speak the language of today’s students starting with methodology (Presnky, 2012). Lectures can be made available to students through the use of flipping the classroom so that students can do more hands on labs, group discussions, projects, or project based learning during class time. The goal of the flipped classroom is to increase student’s learning by reversing the classroom model and focusing more on student understanding rather than the teacher lecturing (Acedo, 2018). The instructor can still be in charge of the lecture by either recording oneself and having students take notes and watch videos of the instructor or the instructor can find videos and assign those videos to students to watch before class. The instructor can also incorporate social media in the lesson by polling students by sending out a tweet using twitter or creating a poll on Facebook and having students respond. Students can also blog or collaborate on group projects or just share ideas using social media. The possibilities are endless because today’s technology tools, if used effectively, can help students learn on their own with social media being a way to collaborate with students all over the world (Prensky, 2012).

 

References

Acedo, M. (2018). 10 Pros and cons of a flipped classroom. Retrieved from

http://www.teachthought.com/learning/blended-flipped-learning/10-pros-cons-flipped-classroom/

Prensky, M. (2012). From digital natives to digital wisdom: Hopeful essays for 21st

century learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Future Forward Exemplars

Franklin & Marshall college was mentioned by Selingo (2013) as being well positioned for the future because of adopted strategies demonstrated by the degrees that the school awards. This institution had three tabs: Explore, Experience, and Engage that put me in the mind of the classroom when students are put in the position to be in charge of their own learning. Students are given the opportunity to explore, then research and experience with hands on activities and finally engage and connect with a group of peers to talk and collaborate about the experience to gain more knowledge from peers instead of the teacher.

Under explore is a description about the college which validates my thoughts as the school focuses on a hands-on education where the student have opportunities to apply what was learned in the classroom to help the community and the world (Franklin & Marshall, 2017). This strategy is what positions this institution for the future as students are more in control of their learning through a more student-centered approach (Prensky, 2012). What set this school apart from other higher education institutions were the small classroom sizes, the hands on experiences and the international learning that occurs as students study abroad, which could possibly be replicated by other institutions on a smaller scale with particular majors if the school could not afford to replicate school wide Franklin & Marshall, 2017).

I chose Franklin & Marshall because when you visit the homepage there is an ambiance of welcome that is enhanced by the words, “We want you here (Franklin & Marshall, 2017).” While scrolling down the page, I was intrigued to stop and watch a video of a current student because it made the page more personal to hear a testimony of what the school has done in the life of this student and I could possibly feel the same way if I enrolled. The student spoke of the hands on experiences of working along side a professor in the field that he was studying which made me feel as though I would not only learn at this institution but I would get a chance to experience and apply what I was learning in the process.

 

References

Franklin & Marshall. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.fandm.edu

Prensky, M. (2012). From digital natives to digital wisdom: Hopeful essays for 21st

century learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Selingo, J. J. (2013). College (un)bound: The future of higher education and what it

means for students. Boston, MA: New Harvest.

The Flipped Classroom

Flipping the classroom is a pedagogical approach in which the teacher inverts teaching so that students are more in control of the learning (Educase, 2012). The way a flipped classroom works is the teacher assigns students short videos, or lectures, to view at home so more time is spent in class on applying the content to projects, hands on activities, or classroom discussions (Educase, 2012). With being a middle school science teacher, it is sometimes hard to get students to comprehend content just by lectures and I have found that students not only get a deeper understanding of content when it is applied in a hands on activity and it keeps students more engaged.

MacMeekin (2013) gave 27 ways to flip the classroom and a lot of the ideas that were suggested were so creative and never crossed my mind. One idea that was suggested was to go on a scavenger hunt related to the topic (MacMeekin, 2013). I have found that when students are excited about learning, more work gets done. By doing a scavenger hunt it makes the work hands on, students are not doing a worksheet or reading content from a book, so this might increase the chances of the student completing the assignment.

One particular lesson that I would incorporate scavenger hunts in would be for an energy lesson on consumers and producers. Students could either draw what they find outside and create a book or take pictures using either snap chat or instagram and share them with the class explaining how each picture would be considered a consumer or a producer. I think that students would be excited to use social media for schoolwork and the scavenger hunt would be more of a hands on approach to get the students involved and excited to complete work outside of the classroom.

MacMeekin (2013) also mentioned watching a short video clip as a way to flip the classroom. I have used this approach as I have made short video lectures and uploaded them to YouTube, posted the videos on the school’s webpage and assigned them to students to watch before coming to class. I have found that students did not watch the videos before coming to class and it took away from the activities that I had planned so I started creating stations where students were required to watch the video in a station before rotating to the hands on content. I found this to be more effective than assigning the video for homework but it still took away from the concept of the flipped classroom.

The goal of the flipped classroom is to increase student’s learning by reversing the classroom model and focusing more on student understanding rather than the teacher lecturing (Acedo, 2018). Using the flipped classroom approach puts students more in control of the learning, making it easier for parents to see what is being taught in the classroom and stresses more collaboration amongst peers taking on a more student-centered approach (Acedo, 2018). I have learned that flipping the classroom takes a lot of preparation on the front end but the ending results helped me become more of a facilitator of learning as opposed to the giver of learning. This approach could only be effective if students have access to technology at home and even at school, which could make this approach complicated for some teachers. MacMeekin (2012) gave some pretty creative ways to flip the classroom and if my health allows me to, I will be using quite a few of these approaches when going back in the classroom!

References

Acedo, M. (2018). 10 Pros and cons of a flipped classroom. Retrieved from

http://www.teachthought.com/learning/blended-flipped-learning/10-pros-cons-flipped-classroom/

Educase. (2012). 7 Things you should know about flipped classrooms. Retrieved from

https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli7081.pdf

MacMeekin, M. (2013). Flipping the classroom [Blog post]. Retrieved from

https://anethicalisland.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/flipping-the-classroom/

Learning from MOOC’s

How do MOOCs fit into the general higher education landscape? Or are they more suited to the “fringe?”

Traditional online classes charge tuition to students who earn credits and are usually limited to a certain number of students before the class is considered to be full (Pappano, 2012). On the other hand, massive open online courses (MOOC) are usually free online courses that are credit-less and just as the title explains, are open to the masses (Pappano, 2012). MOOC’s have become the latest trend amongst colleges and universities and while there are some positives effects for taking MOOC’s there are also some negative effects as students may receive an excellent education but will not receive a diploma after completing courses (BDPA Detroit Chapter, N.D.). MOOC’s were intended to reach the masses offering mostly free classes to anyone who wanted to enroll. However, what has been found is that the majorities of students who enroll in these courses already have a degree and are white males (Selingo, 2014).

What can traditional higher education institutions learn from MOOCs to use them effectively as a learning tool?

Typically a student participating in a MOOC will watch a lecture, read assigned coursework material, participate in discussion forums, and complete tests and quizzes on course materials (Educause, 2013). The courses offered through MOOC’s are numerous and traditional higher education institutions can look for data that entails which courses have high enrollment to include these courses in the institution’s course catalogs. MOOCs provide an endless possibility of educational technology and distance learning (Johnson, Nafukho, LeCounte, Valentin & Valentin, 2014). There are several start-up companies working with universities to offer MOOCs and there are colleges and professors that are starting their own MOOCs (The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2012). The opportunity to engage in this new phenomenon and the increase of publicity for MOOCs has universities seeing the unlimited opportunities of engagement between universities and students all over the world (Johnson et al., 2014). Johnson et al. (2014) cited Storey, Wright, and Ulrich stating, “MOOCs enable higher education institutions to focus on the valuable and internal resources of faculty and staff capabilities that already exist in the organization that can assist in outperforming competitors” (p. 11).

How can institutions measure the quality of MOOC design, delivery, and outcomes such that they can be included in a student’s transcript and graduation requirements? Discuss the likelihood of that occurrence.

When the student pays to complete the course for college credit, it is more likely that the student will complete the course, as the course is set up similar to the traditional and online courses as the course has a syllabus, lectures, readings, and assignments that the student must complete (Educause, 2013). Students are in total control when taking a MOOC as the student can navigate through the course and can choose what material the student desires to learn from the course syllabus making the likelihood of the student to complete the course low (Selingo, 2014). While most MOOC’s are free, some involve a fee giving students the option to receive a completion certificate or course credit (Educause, 2013).

 

References

BDPA Detroit Chapter. (N.D.). MOOCs: Top 10 sites for free education with elite universities. Retrieved from http://www.bdpa-detroit.org/portal/index.php/comittees/high-school-computer-competition-hscc/29-education/57-moocs-top-10-sites-for-free-education-with-elite-universities.html

http://mooc.org

Educause. (2013). 7 Things you should know about MOOCs II. Retrieved from

https://library.educause.edu/resources/2013/6/7-things-you-should-know-about-moocs-ii

Johnson, D., Nafukho, F., LeCounte, J., Valentin, C. & Valentin, M. (2014). The origin

of MOOCs: The beginning of the revolution of all at once-ness. Retrieved from http://www.ufhrd.co.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Detra-Johnson.pdf

Pappano, L. (2012). The year of the MOOC. Retrieved from

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/education/edlife/massive-open-online-courses-are-multiplying-at-a-rapid-pace.html

Selingo, J. J. (2014, October 29). Demystifying the MOOC. The New York Times.

Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/02/education/edlife/demystifying-the-mooc.html

The Chronicle of Higher Education. (2012). What you need to know about MOOCs.

Retrieved from http://www.chronicle.com/article/What-You-Need-to-Know-About/133475/

Welcome

Welcome to my world where learning is ongoing, fun, and very hands on.  Science is all around us and everyone has the ability to be scientist because we ask questions everyday.  It is up to you to find the answers.  Let me show you how!