Being Social… Online

Okay, let me precede this entire blog posting by saying that I am still at the very beginning stages of my planning for this project. It has always taken me a long time to plan something, as I tend to search for a variety of different ideas, get overwhelmed with all the ideas I have found, take a break because I am so overwhelmed, and then I start over. Pinterest has always been my planning-best-friend, yet also my time-consuming-enemy. Forty pins later, I may have new ideas for my next Social Studies or Math units, or my supper tonight, but I am still no closer to my current unit of study. So, essentially, it takes me time. That being said, I do have a few ideas and I am really looking forward to all of your feedback before I really dive in – so please don’t be shy!

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Firstly, after both our first choices didn’t have any takers, Katherine and I have talked about working together to plan a Social Studies 30 online course. I hope I am not speaking
out of turn, but we both wanted to collaborate on a course, and this collaboration was more important to us than our first choice in curriculum. So here we are!

We both teach Social Studies 30, so that is where we are headed for this course. I do not have a lot of experience teaching Social Studies 30. I have just finished my first time teaching the course, and I will start a second round in a week when our second semester starts. Although I don’t have a lot of experience, I have always enjoyed Social Studies courses, and Canadian history has always been a passion of mine. As I reflect on my first semester teaching Social 30, I would say my biggest weakness was the interactivity of the course. I was overwhelmed – again – with all the ideas I could find, and I couldn’t grasp where I wanted to go with the course. Not only that, but I struggle finding valid and engaging resources in French. So, a goal I have with creating this course with Katherine would be to create an easily accessible, ready-made program that can be offered in English or French (which may be an eventual goal, and not one for this course… we will see what we can come up with together!), and making it easier for new teachers to deliver a course interactively, all the while meeting the objectives in this (I have to say) outdated curriculum.

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The interactivity and simulations aspect of social studies classes is something I find can be truly engaging and helps students really understand the challenges of the past that can often be related into a current context. Although I have never done or seen an online course for Social Studies 30, I do have to wonder if the interactivity and simulations aspect is lacking because of the online nature of the course. I feel this would be a disservice to those learning the material and the outcomes, and therefore has become my goal for this online module. I hope to modify a Confederation simulation I did with my grade 12 students last semester into an online context, so no matter the course delivery, students can still be engaged in the critical analysis of historical events. This simulation would of course require pre-teaching and a post-assessment, but it would make up the majority of the activity of the course. I think it would be possible by using the Zoom Web Conferencing Tool. In EC&I 830, we did debates online using Zoom and they actually worked out quite well – proving that interactive discussions and course activities can still happen online. In addition to using Zoom, I would like to incorporate Google classroom and Google docs for the pre-teaching and post-assessment components. If you have never read my blog before, then you wouldn’t now how entirely obsessed I am with GAFE. It, essentially, has made my courses accessible at home for students who a) have lost their papers or activities or b) who were absent the day of class. Now, my courses have not entirely gone online because the pre-teaching and discussions still occur in class, so that will be something new for me to try with the creation of my online module.

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In the future, I think it would be great to have my current students help teach the course by doing the simulations themselves and posting them online. Alec suggested this idea at the end of class last week, and I just thought it was fantastic (and a huge awesome shout-out to Katia for speaking French, which I didn’t know until now – our 3rd course together!). At first, I thought the timing would work out well, but looking at my calendar, we will be doing the Confederation unit in my class around the same time this assignment is due, so unfortunately this will not be able to be incorporated for this current module. However, it is a future consideration that I think would help the learning of all students, both online and offline.

So that is essentially all I have thus far! A Social Studies 30 unit – Confederation – with a focus on actual participation during a Confederation conference that would eventually lead to the development of the 72 resolutions, making up the Canadian Constitution, forging the official Canadian nation in 1867. This unit is not only an important part of the Social Studies curriculum, but it becomes the culmination of years of Canadian history, which students really need to comprehend to truly

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understand how Confederation came to be. Not only that, but it is a starting point which brings us into the 20th century as a nation. The value of Confederation cannot be undersold – nor can a true comprehension of it. Both online and offline courses should offer ways for this unit to be engaging and interactive. By modifying simulations to be offered for online courses through the use of Zoom, Google Classroom, and Google Docs (perhaps even blogging!), I think it can be a success.

What are your suggestions? I am always stuck in that I absolutely love history and I could listen to somebody talk about history for hours on end – something I know is not common for our students. Do you have any feedback so far? Anything that should be taken out? Please let me know your thoughts!

Posted in EC&I 834 | 21 Comments

Lost track after three…

My name is Elizabeth Therrien, and I am a French Immersion teacher at Campbell Collegiate. Currently, I am teaching Math 9, Social Studies 10, and Social Studies 30. This is my first year teaching at Campbell Collegiate – I taught middle years at Wilfrid Walker Elementary School for the past four years, teaching French, Math, Social Studies, and Science. As can be seen in previous posts, technology is not my strength, but I am feeling more comfortable and at ease with it thanks to these classes. So, for those who are feeling overwhelmed right now – fear not! It does get easier, I promise. Also, as an ex-twitter-skeptic, I can say without hesitation that Twitter can be wonderful for developing a professional learning network. It is definitely worth the learning curve!

Personally, my hobbies and interests include playing volleyball, reading, and most importantly, travelling. I absolutely love to travel the world, and coming up in February, my husband and I will be travelling to England and Scotland for the first time – so if you have any suggestions of things to see or visit, please let me know! I am also one of those crazy dog-moms. I have two dogs: Atticus (a labrador-rottweiler cross that we got from the Regina Humane Society) and Tifa (a labrador-husky cross that we got from Ccrezqs). They are both still quite young – Atticus will be two in March, and Tifa will be one – so we are still in the ‘eating-your-house-and-anything-within-it’ phase. That, just like #edtech, is a continual learning process.

 

Just like Ashley, in my introductory post on our Google+ community for EC&I 834, I too lost track and said that this would be my third class when, in fact, this will be my fourth #edtech class with Alec (and my third with Katia). I have subsequently corrected it, but, really, I blame it on the fact that it becomes easy to lose track of these different courses because they go by so quickly. I do occasionally still feel like a newbie when it comes to educational technology. Yes, I am starting to feel more comfortable with educational technology in the classroom, and yes, I have started to incorporate more technology on a daily basis through the use of Google classroom, Mentimeter, and PollEverywhere. However, there is still a lot of learning that needs to take place. So, my goals for this class will be to still learn and grow within the context of educational technology. More specifically, they are:

  1. To try (at least!) one new educational technology app or website in my class during the duration of the course. I always fear trying new things in my classroom without fully understanding how to use them, which consequently limits what I do use because of a time constraint. So for this course, I hope to use some of the new things I will learn and apply them in my classroom – and learn all the ins and outs of this tool with my students, instead of always before them.
  2. To continue to develop my professional learning network on Twitter. You can never get enough Twitter – or at least, I haven’t yet. I continually learn new things simply by reading through my feed on a daily basis. I look forward to connecting with all of you through these blogs and through Twitter this term – feel free to follow me @liztherrien22 to start connecting!
  3. To include more interactivity in my blogs. I have become more comfortable writing my blog posts and adding hyperlinks and pictures, but I would like to include more pingbacks and, in particular, more videos to enhance the interactivity for my readers. This will also – hopefully – help me develop my professional learning network with the pingbacks towards my colleagues.

I am sure these goals will change and develop over the term, but I hope that the main idea remains the same throughout. In any case, I am looking forward to learning with all of you over this semester!

Posted in EC&I 834 | 9 Comments

We’re already done?

After yet another whirlwind of a class, we have reached the end of EC&I 833 and that means it is time for a video representation of our final summary of learning. Below is the summary of learning I completed for this course with two of my colleagues, Krista and Luke. We had a lot of fun filming this, so we hope you enjoy it just as much as we did!

I have to say, although this final summary of learning addresses the main ideas we have learned so far this term (those ideas that we found to be most important), the impact they have had on my teaching have been immense. Before this class I used Kahoot quite often, but now I am using a wider range of different media and software to enhance engagement in my classroom, such as PollEverywhere, Mentimeter, Aurasma, Google Cardboard, and Recap – and those are just the ones that I have had the time to make an account and try out. I intend to use so many more that have been suggested in the class thus far, which is one of the main things I appreciated about this course – the practicality. Yes, we went through the theory and the historical backgrounds, which helped us to understand where we are today, but we also delved into different apps and technologies that are progressing Educational Technology and making history as we speak. For once I feel as though I can actually be ahead of the curve in Educational Technology, and I can help other teachers in my school learn more about these apps and websites and why we need to use them in conjunction with our curricular outcomes. I can be a leader in this field because of the knowledge I have garnered throughout this course.

This, of course, took one ‘ah-ha’ moment for me to realize that I needed to completely dive into the use of educational technology in my classroom, and this happened early on in the course with Katia‘s presentation on the history of audio-visual technologies in the classroom. There was a time when people thought that they were being spied on through their television sets, and that radio, the walkman, and the telegraph were all dangerous tools that kids shouldn’t be using. Ridiculous, right? Well, we know that now, but we didn’t back then. Just like in the present – we aren’t sure that all these new technologies are safe for our students to use. However, I don’t want to look back at my own history and say to myself – well that was silly, why did I think that? Why didn’t I take advantage of the technologies that came about to help my students learn and grow in our 21st century? Anything can be scary, and truthfully, dangerous, if it is misused. That’s why we, as teachers, need to learn how to use them and how to apply them in the classroom meaningfully. That is one of the biggest takeaways I have had from this course : that it is essential for us to face our own fears, to move out of our comfort zones, and to try new things for the sake of both our students’ education, and our own. It may be difficult as I have never been knowledgeable in the area of educational technology – or comfortable with using it – but it is important and therefore needs to happen.

There is also, of course, the learning theories that I just simply can’t forget. I went to Campbell’s musical on Friday night – The School of Rock – and all I could think of when the one student was so driven by receiving a gold star for doing good work was Foucault’s behaviorism, behaviorism, behaviorism. That’s not all! Every time I am planning a lesson, a unit, or even just an activity as part of a lesson, I think to myself what kind of theory am I promoting? I aim for constructivism, social constructivism, and connectivism through my lessons, but that is not to say that I don’t have elements of cognitivism and even behaviorism permeating through my work. This is perhaps because of habit or because of ease and comfort which, again, leads back to my initial takeaway from the course – that I need to push myself to try new and exciting things that promote different ways of learning.

In the end, it was also all the questions that my peers posed that kept me thinking every week – how can we use assistive technology with everyone in the classroom, and not just those with a specific diagnosis?; what kind of assessment practices are best to use with the different technologies and apps that we have seen throughout this course?; what applications do we have for virtual and augmented reality in the classroom and how can we access these applications affordably?; how much of our educational system is controlled by technology corporations like Google or Sony and what can we do about this?; when and how can we incorporate social interactions within online and distance learning?; and how can we meaningfully use educational technology in the classroom without just using it for the sake of using it? I think back to that first class and Neil Postman’s idea of technology being a trade-off – we need to consistently be aware of this. I still don’t have the answer to all of these questions, but they keep me reflecting upon my own theories of and beliefs about education and what more I should be doing in my classroom, while still working towards the goal of students building upon their knowledge to grow and develop into the social and digital citizens they need to be in the 21st century.

So thank you to all my peers, to Alec, to our guest speakers Katia and Jade Ballek, and to my two teammates for the final summary of learning for everything that you have taught me throughout the course. I have thought a lot about my own teaching practice, and I have come out with different ideas and notions that I need to incorporate into my own teaching. The theory and the practical have been woven together so well in this course that I know it has, and will continue to have, a great impact on my learning and growth.

Until next time, EC&I 833-ers.

Posted in EC&I 833, Summary of Learning | 15 Comments

In the Virtual World of Education

Just like my peers – Erin, Jayme, Heidi, just to name a few – I had no idea what augmented reality and virtual reality were, nor what their applications in the classroom could be. When I first saw the topic during our first class this term, I too quickly glanced at it and then didn’t give it a second thought – it wasn’t something I was interested in pursuing. Just like Benita, I though these realities were for gamers, which immediately sent me in the other direction.

Boy, was I wrong.

Bill and Logan presented both virtual reality (VR) – a digitally projected world and reality – and augmented reality (AR) – putting something on top of the world we live in already – this week in class. The applications and integration possibilities are endless for the classroom – hands-on training for trades, simulated training, guided tour of the human body, field trips that wouldn’t be possible otherwise, interactive language-learning, and driver training practice, just to name a few. Just as Todd Nesloney and Drew Minock wrote in their blog post Augmented Reality Brings New Dimensions to Learning

(P)rofound learning occurs when students create, share, interact and explain

AR and VR create the environment in which this can happen fruitfully and seamlessly – it all comes down to how creative you can be in your planning and lesson development. These realities present opportunities for authentic inquiry and active participation in the classroom, and align well with both situated and constructivist learning theories.

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This does require us to wrap our head around what possibilities can be presented with these realities, and forces us to push open the box in which we normally find ourselves in the classroom. After having experienced both SkyView and Aurasma in class, and been presented with other VR and AR apps like Blippar and Anatomy 4D, it is easier to grasp different ways we can use this in the classroom.

Being a Social Studies teacher, my first thought was to travel the world to help students understand more clearly our past to truly comprehend the present. Wouldn’t it be great to see the Colosseum, the Acropolis, or Pompeii when you learn about them in Social 9? How about Florence, Versailles, or Paris when you speak of the Renaissance and the French Revolution in Social 10? How about visiting somber places of remembrance like Auschwitz or Juno Beach, or other historic monuments like the Berlin Wall when studying World War I, World War II, and the Cold War in Social 20? Let’s not forget how much impact it could have to see monuments like those at Vimy, Ypres, or Passchendaele when studying Canadian history in Social 30? It is not in the realm of possibility for most students to visit these places in their lives – and yet it would be much more powerful if they could, to truly understand our place in history. AR and VR bring this realm of impossibility to the forefront and change the way we view teaching in our schools. Just like Ashley shared in her blog this week, incorporating programs like Google Expeditions into the classroom could make these things happen – as well as interdisciplinary opportunities. While she could incorporate it in her technology classes, I could in my social studies lessons. The possibilities are endless.

Or so it seems.

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What really gets me down is the cost. Although Google cardboard runs for about 20$, it still requires a device for it to function. Other companies selling AR or VR experiences, like Sony, HTC, and Oculus Rift run anywhere from 550-1150$. This really widens the digital divide we are already seeing in our classrooms – and makes it more difficult to develop AR/VR experiences in the classroom. In the post When Virtual Reality Meets EducationElizabeth Reede and Larissa Bailiff speak to Pioneer Expeditions, an educational initiative from Google. In this program, schools will receive a kit for a virtual excursion for one day. These kids include smartphones, a tablet, a router, Google cardboard viewers or Mattel ViewMasters, and over 100 virtual trips for the taking. It is a fantastic opportunity for schools to experience an AR/VR tour, but as Adam remarked in his blog, it is expensive. It is not practical for a classroom to use consistently throughout the year. Wouldn’t it be great if this kit were something that could be repeated whenever the opportunity fit well within the curriculum and not simply for one day? I understand that one day is better than nothing, but it is disappointing that such a great educational endeavour becomes limited because of the cost and the requirement of resources. It is yet another demonstration of how education – a right in Canada – has a cost.

That being said, after experiencing Aurasma in class this week, I have been inspired to use it in my classroom in the coming weeks. At Campbell, every teacher has a CAP class – the Campbell Advisory Program. It is essentially homeroom – teachers have a group of students for fifteen minutes a day, every day, for four years. These students come from different elementary schools and are following completely different programs in high school. They do not know each other very well, and sometimes don’t even have another class with one another. So how can they get to know each other? Well I have taken pictures of every one of my CAP students and put it up in my class. I would love for them to record a short video describing themselves and their hobbies – similar to what we did at the start of this class with FlipGrid. These mini-biographies could be attached to their photo through the Aurasma app, and then other students could use this app to learn about their peers in the class. They could change their videos occasionally throughout the next four years, continually adapting their biographies to share with their peers. Additional information could be added throughout the year depending on our upcoming events – for example, we will be having a non-denominational gift exchange prior to Winter break. Students could share a list of things they would like to receive in the gift exchange in a short video that can be seen via Aurasma. A great way to limit paper usage but to share information consistently and continually throughout the years. I would love to try this in coming weeks – here’s to hoping it works!

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What are your thoughts on AV/VR in the classroom? Have you used either? Do you think it widens or diminishes the digital divide in our society? Please let me know your thoughts below!

Posted in EC&I 833 | 3 Comments

Empowering the world – one inspiration at a time

This week’s presentation by Heidi, Holly, Allison, Launel, and Benita focused on assistive technologies and their use and purpose in the classroom. After their wonderful presentation (bravo team!), they challenged us to think about our own experience with assistive technology and what we find could be potential strengths and limitations within these experiences.

Just like Tyson and Benita, looking back at my own education, I too do not remember using assistive technologies in the classroom. Now that I am ‘on the other side’ – the teacher – I look back and think that maybe I didn’t realize the existence of the assistive technology because I never personally had to use it, or maybe I didn’t realize the tool I was using at the time was considered an part of assistive technology. Even now, just like Nicole and Amy, I think I use more assistive technology in the classroom than I am aware of using on a daily basis.

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The first one that comes to mind – one that was addressed by Rochelle during our class and by Roxanne in her blog – is Google Read and Write. This is a great tool that can be added to Google chrome which allows for Google to read documents for the students in a variety of languages and accents, as well as write what students are saying. It can also be used to help students correct their own work; it can correct the spelling of certain words and help with grammar during the writing process. I used this tool last year in conjunction with Google Classroom for a variety of assignments and projects, and saw some success with those students who struggled with French reading and writing. It particularly benefited those students who struggle mainly with French spelling, because it would help correct their work as they were writing their rough drafts. Combined with BonPatron (a website that corrects French work for students by explaining what the mistakes are in the text and what needs to be changed for it to be correct), these two tools improved writing significantly in my classroom. I found, however, that the speech-to-text recognition of Google Read and Write in a French as a Second Language classroom was not easy to use. It would often not recognize the words that the students were saying – perhaps because it was their second language and every learner has a different accent, or perhaps because Googld Read and Write has limitations with this aspect of the program. Furthermore, I didn’t know how to fix the problems my students were facing because I had never taken any training for Google Read and Write. Just like Dave L. Edyburn suggests in his article Rethinking Assistive Technology, it is incredibly important for teachers and other educational personnel to receive training on the resources available to truly understand the assistive technology they can use in their classrooms to help their students succeed. Perhaps with this training, I could have better helped my students when they faced difficulties within the Google Read and Write program, and consequently, I would have been more confident to use it more often with these students. Without this training, I feel as though the assistive technology we have in the classroom cannot help the students as much as it potentially can, which is both discouraging and disheartening knowing what assistive technology can do for students who need it.

This is but one example of the assistive technology I have used in my classroom. Earlier this week, Krista shared a list of 15 Assistive Technology Tools and Resources for Students With Disabilities in our Google Plus community, many of which I would love to try in my classroom to help my students in need. Technology can help bridge the gap for students with disabilities, which is why it is incredibly essential for teachers to be aware of what exists and how they can use these tools in the classroom. I fortunately have had the opportunity to both work and volunteer at the Neil Squire Society, which offers wonderful programs that empower people with disabilities through the use of technology. The short video below shows a brief history of Neil Squire Society in Canada, as well as the many different tools they have used to help people with disabilities complete daily tasks that otherwise would not be possible.

My mom manages the Neil Squire Society Regina location and for years has been an advocate for the use of assistive technology in everyday life – and has gotten me involved in these discussions as well. In the past, I have helped participants in Neil Squire Society’s programs use a variety of assistive tools, such as the Dragon Naturally Speaking, Kurzweil, and ZoomText. What can be accomplished within this organization, with theirs programs, and with the assistive technology tools they offer is amazing. In the end, it is the result and the opportunities created that is the most inspiring. When you see a student – who before may not have had the ability to use a certain program or type their ideas up on a computer – that is now happy, empowered, and feeling as though he or she can accomplish what he or she has always wanted to do, it is one of the most amazing things to see in this world.

That, to me, is what assistive technology represents, and my experience in using these tools reinforces this view. Although there are advantages and disadvantages to all types of programs and tools, in the end, assistive technology is bridging a gap that exists in our society. Little by little, organizations like Neil Squire Society and classrooms like those of my peers are helping to bridge this gap as well by using the tools at their disposal to empower people with disabilities in ways they never thought possible. If anything in this world represents equity, I think it would be assistive technology.

Have you had similar experiences with assistive technology in and out of your classrooms? What is your favourite resource and tool to use with your students? Do the advantages outweigh the difficulties, in your opinion?

Your thoughts and comments are always well-appreciated below!

Posted in EC&I 833 | 2 Comments

PollEverywhere, Anytime, and with Google Slides

After yet another wonderful presentation this week – this time by Tyson, Jennifer, Natalie, and Nicole – I am left feeling inspired and ready to try new #edtech tools in my classroom.

This week’s focus was on assessment technologies. In the past, assessment used to be focused entirely on efficiency, and not on the learner. The evolution to multiple choice, computerized testing, and standardized testing reflects this ideology of testing everybody in the same way through efficient means. However, this has been changing – particularly when it comes to formative assessment – especially with the evolution of edtech tools and apps that are easily accessible for the classroom.

I have tried to keep an open-mind about these technologies, and I have used several in the past, including (but not limited to) Plickers, ClassDojo, Google Classroom, Google Docs, Mentimeter, PowerSchool/Gradebook, and Kahoot. All of these technologies have advantages and disadvantages, and contexts in which they are best suited for the classroom. Both Heidi and Roxanne have written great blog posts this week describing how they many of these tools in their classrooms, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of these tools.

As can be seen in my previous posts, I am a huge Google Classroom and Google Docs fan. I feel as though I could write blog post after blog post about these tools and how my teaching has evolved since beginning to them use them a little over a year ago. However, the challenge this week was to experience a new assessment tool that I have yet to use in the classroom. After contemplating trying TodaysMeet – and then shying away from it because I have not fully set up my parameters for digital citizenship in my classroom, which is a suggestion prior to using this tool – I decided to I would try PollEverywhere for the first time.

Given the fact that it was a short week at school, I was unable to actually use PollEverywhere in my classroom this past week. However, I plan to use this tool in the near future with my classes to make my lessons more engaging and to receive feedback more efficiently and effectively. These are the reasons why I wanted to explore this tool in my classroom. Furthermore, I have seen other teachers use it in their classrooms, and I have always wanted to try it. But as we all know, time flies by and unless we actually sit down and purposely push ourselves to try something new, it is easy to fall into a rut with our ‘regular’ classroom planning. That is why I am grateful for this class and my colleagues who push me to try new and innovative things in my classroom simply by doing so themselves!

Another reason I wanted to try this tool was because it can be added in to Google slides presentations – for free! Not only can I use it with something that I already use consistently, but it can enhance what I am already doing in my classroom and engage my students further in their learning. The set-up for my account was quite simple, and making the polls/surveys is also quite easy. In minutes you can have your first poll set-up, ready to teach. After a few tries – and after I re-watched the pictures detailing exactly how you add it into your Google slide presentation after adding the chrome extension to your web browser – I was able to incorporate my first PollEverywhere into my next unit in my Social Studies 30 class.

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Woot woot! Now I can’t wait to see how it works with my students in the classroom. Although I have yet to do so with my students, I can anticipate some difficulties with the initial set-up and signing on to answer the question. I know that when we did it this week in class – although fantastic – it didn’t seem as easy to sign on as Kahoot or Mentimeter for students. So this may be a challenge in the classroom. Just like Mentimeter, I worry about using the open-ended questions with some of my classes – especially after seeing what some of my students think is appropriate as a nickname for Kahoot. That being said, I can see myself using the open-ended questions with some of my current classrooms, and eventually, with all my classrooms, after we elaborate further on digital citizenship and the footprint they are leaving on the digital world. If I limit myself to only using the multiple choice poll or other questions that are not open-ended, I do feel as though the assessment is limited as well in what I can determine my students are getting. Therefore, I find PollEverywhere to function better as a diagnostic or formative assessment tool – as a hook at the start of the class, a recap at the end, or even as an exit slip for further thoughts and ideas. I do not think I would incorporate it in my classes as a summative assessment.

I do think this tool will enhance engagement and participation in my classroom. I think we all have students who dominate the classroom discussions when no technology is involved – it is rare when every student in the class will have a voice in every discussion and be able to participate. With tools like PollEverywhere, every student gets to partake and share their opinions, and afterwards it can initiate a classroom discussion where students can elaborate on what they shared in the poll.

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Therefore, as a summary, I think the pros of PollEverywhere include:

  • Easy to set-up
  • Easy to incorporate into Google slides
  • Enhanced classroom engagement
  • Enhanced classroom participation
  • Giving a voice to students who would not share otherwise 
  • Quick and efficient way to receive feedback on what students know or have learned
  • A quick and easy hook to get students interested in the content of the lesson
  • A paperless recap or exit slip summarizing what students have learned thus far

However, there are some cons as well, including:

  • Limited question types with certain groups of students
  • All students need some form of technology to participate (computer or phone)
  • Not as easy to use as Mentimeter or Kahoot 
  • Functions mainly as a diagnostic or formative assessment

In the end, it would seem the advantages of this tool definitely outweigh the disadvantages. What do you think? Have you ever used PollEverywhere in your classroom? Under what circumstances did it succeed or not succeed? What would you change about the way you used it previously?

Comments and questions are always appreciated! Until next time!

 

Posted in EC&I 833 | 5 Comments

What’s a Web 3.0 and How Do I Get One?

This week, I want to say a huge congratulations to Erin, Kyle, Naomi, Heidi, and Angus for a wonderful presentation on Web 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. A bonus shout-out to all my colleagues in the class for whom the twitter chat #eci833chat was a first (it gets easier to read the tweets, Jennifer, I promise!). This group challenged us this week with the notion of Web 3.0 and what impacts it will have on education, students, and teachers. Jackie Gerstein really gets us thinking about this premise when she notes:

The web influences people’s 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 not to Web 3.0 can be used as a metaphor of how education should also be evolving, as movement from Education 1.0 toward 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.

Before even contemplating how Web 3.0 could change education, we really have to understand what this is and how it came to be. Even after the wonderful presentation from my peers as well as the thorough article from Jackie Gerstein, I still have difficulty completely grasping this idea of Web 3.0 and Education 3.0. To truly identify what this is, it is important to start at the beginning:

What is Web 1.0 and Education 1.0? 

According to Gerstein, Web 1.0 and Education 1.0 represented learners as receptacles of knowledge. This is when teachers were the ‘primary gatekeepers of information’ (Gerstein, 2014), and when the Internet was used mainly as a source of static information. Web 1.0 was a great advance in education, as it helped students connect with the outside world, and required a great advance in teacher training as well.

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What is Web 2.0 and Education 2.0? 

Web 2.0 allowed students to communicate, collaborate, and connect with others on the web. It promoted engagement and participation in the classroom as it relied greatly on social learning and social interaction. It differentiated learning needs for diverse students and was motivated as it allowed students to create, edit, evaluate, and reflect upon their learning. With it, education 2.0, according to Gerstein, created communicating, connecting, and collaborating learners. With the evolution of the social aspect on the internet came more danger for privacy and cyberbullying.

So, where does that bring us is Web 3.0 and, consequently, Education 3.0?

This is where things get a little abstract. Prior to this week, I had actually never heard of Web 3.0, and even after the wonderful explanation from my peers, I have to admit, I am still a little confused. From what I understand, Web 3.0 is a further evolution and extension of the current social web. Often referred to as the Semantic Web or the Internet of Things, Web 3.0 will know and understand everything. It will be intelligent and it will connect everything we know, everything we are, and everything we own, together. Everything will be quicker and more efficient, but with that comes challenges with issues of privacy and dependency. This Web 3.0 leads us into Education 3.0 which, according to Jackie Gerstein, is where learners are the connectors, creators, and constructivists, and the educators are the resource guides. The following video gives some examples of this Web 3.0 and what it can do in the future.

So what does this mean for education? 

This will be a huge shift in education and, I won’t lie, I am nervous for it. Who knows what will happen? The idea of everything connected, of the Internet actually knowing things and growing from this… makes you think of Skynet, doesn’t it? I’m already one who worries about too much of ‘me’ being on the Internet – one who searches for things in the incognito mode so I’m leaving no traces (yes.. I know that it’s pure paranoia and probably does nothing different, but it is truly to simply appease myself). Even now, Web 2.0 has vastly changed education. GAFE and blogging are two elements of Web 2.0 that I use in my classroom that students love – but they come with their own challenges as well. Additional pieces of digital citizenship and understanding the development of our digital footprint have been necessary to add in our classrooms and curricula because of Web 2.0. What will come further with Web 3.0? What will need to be added in our curricula and classrooms to help us prepare and train for this new development?

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Although I am finding it difficult to speculate further and more specifically on this topic because the notion is still very abstract for me, I do agree with my colleagues Adam and Nicole in that – even though I am unsure of what will happen and nervous for the changes that will come from this – I can’t just ignore the advent of Web 3.0. School is forever changing and evolving, we need to keep up with these changes and evolve with them if we want education to remain relevant for ourselves and for our students. I am sure that Web 1.0 was scary for teachers when it first appeared, as was Web 2.0. This, however, didn’t stop these elements from existing and being a part of our education. Therefore, we must embrace Web 3.0 just as we did (or should have) its predecessors. We need to educate ourselves on Web 3.0, on its advantages, its disadvantages, the ways we can use it to enhance education and engagement, and the ways that it can be detrimental to these things. We need to offer training before it is so entrenched in our curricula that we have teachers who are unable to use it, unable to understand it, but are forced to teach it or incorporate it in their lessons. We need to be ahead of the game and prepare for the inevitable – not shy away from it until it has permeated our society so much that we can’t ignore it anymore. Although overwhelming, Web 3.0 can offer so much for the future, so much for our classrooms – we just need to understand how we can best use it in the classroom to develop engaged, motivated, self-driven, and self-learning citizens for our 21st century.

On a last note, it is important to understand that although Web 2.0 has been revolutionary for education, it has brought about the digital divide: gaps between those who are privileged to have access to the Internet and to the devices that will allow them to explore it, and between those who do not have this access or this technology. As our society becomes more and more technological, these gaps can widen depending on the context in which the technology is used and presented. We need to be aware that the shift in education to Web 3.0 can and will privilege some and disadvantage others – unless we can get a head start on the proper use of it in the classroom. What this use looks like, I am unsure; but I want to figure it out before it is too late.

How do you see Web 3.0 being used in the classroom? How can we limit the gap that can be widened with technology through the use of Web 3.0 so we see as many as possible that are privileged by it? How can we get more people on board quicker, even though Web 3.0 can be intimidating and overwhelming? Any ideas, let me know!

 

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