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Educated By Design Blog

Filtering by Tag: edtech

Using The "Bad Idea Factory" To Help Build Creative Courage

Michael Cohen

Years ago I heard about the "Bad Idea Factory" like any buzzword I try to plumb the depths of Google to find the creator of these actives. The best I could do is find a 2012 article by Kevin Brookhouser tilted, 20% Project: Bad Idea Factory. In the article he shares that he learned about this activity from Ewen McIntosh at NoTosh but the link to his article is broken. I reached out to him on Twitter to get more information so hopefully he will respond and I can embed the tweet…

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Technology, Marketing, and Influence: Why Education Needs to Keep Up With The Rest of The World.

Michael Cohen

Saturday evening after the Jewish Sabbath, I turned on my smartphone to a flurry of notifications. While the volume was a bit more than usual, it was the nature of the conversation that really caught me off guard. You see, for the past 5 years I have been heavily engaged in an online education community that might not always agree, but tends to trend on being positive, supportive, and constructive when engaging with other educators in the space. This weekend, however, was a sobering moment where I said to myself, “well, the honeymoon is over”, as I read educators publicly trashing other educators in the name of [insert noble cause here]. So what is the big deal with brand influence’s infiltration into the education world? Are brands and influencers of limits in education? Read More on Medium.com...

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EdTech Is Maturing

TheTechRabbi

edtechagedapps.jpg

Educational Technology is maturing, and it is without question that the instructors at EdTechTeacher, and the presenters they feature are leading the way. In 2012, I felt a whirlwind as apps arrive on the scene. Full of new features, new upgrades, they came in droves. There was so much new to be seen. As the years have passed, “1,000 Free Apps” sessions have made way for more thoughtful and intentional discussions about technology.

That is because EdTech is becoming less about what you can do with an app, and more about what the app can do for you.

As Beth Holland asked this week in Boston, “Who is in the driver seat?” If it's the iPad then we are doing it wrong. We have to be in control and use technology with purpose and not simply to “use technology”. This approach has a short rush with an uncontrollable descent into nightmares of classroom management and mediocre learning outcomes.

Now with this maturity, comes an awareness, and that is that technology isn’t going anywhere. On twitter this week I read a tweet that if the technology isn’t used “right” (whatever that means) then it shouldn’t be used at all. “Losing Tech” is no longer just a punishment, it is a prevention of learning. Imagine if we took students pencils for “inappropriate use” and refused to give them back at the end of class. Such a scenario would never happen because everyone agrees that students cannot learn without pencils. If our attitude is that technology used wrong can simply be removed, then what is our objective? Are we integrating technology to support unimaginable, unbelievable, and unstoppable learning, or is it to meet a quota or claim 21st-Century status?

As I shared in my session at EdTechTeachers iPad Summit this week, it's bad enough to pull the cart before the horse, now we have strapped rockets and roller-skates on the horse pulling the same old cart. The sessions at the iPad Summit questioned all of the above and more, as inspiring and creative educators sharing their stories. Their sessions spoke about students doing, making, and taking control of learning in the classroom. Today I saw first hand how traditional math solutions and 5 paragraph essays can evolve into interactive and real-world expressions of understanding. It is not the intent to replace them, but instead to add to the avenues in which our students can share their story and promote their understanding. This is lightyears ahead of conversations I have had in the past that seemed to focus on simply digitizing our 20th-Century lecture halls, I like to call “Consumption Classrooms”. During a keynote session, Justin Reich, Director of the Teaching Systems Lab at MIT shared a powerful quote from a scholarly paper on active learning, and STEM, and that is that

given our [research] results, it is reasonable to raise concerns about the continued use of traditional lecturing as a control in future experiments.

This quote is beyond powerful as it speaks to the disconnect between authentic 20th-Century and 21st-Century learning environments and experiences. To play on words, it requires us as educators to give up “control” over knowledge, and where it can take us. This can be hard for educators because to truly integrate technology into classroom learning, you have to start over.

We can no longer expect that the mere digitization of traditional learning will lead to sustainable and meaningful learning for students. Especially when we as adults show them how meaningless the memorization of information and even tasks can be. An anecdote for this is during the repair process of a complex networking component, I went to google to find some forum or youtube video to help solve the problem. I could barely even describe the problem due to its complexity. I found a video, worked through the issue and solved the problem. As I finished up, I turned around to see a student standing there, watch me. She said, “Rabbi Cohen, you use Google? I thought you knew everything.” I told her while I don’t know everything, I do know where to look when trying to solve problems. Why then are the classrooms full of googleable (did I make this word up?) information when instead we could be focusing on learning that pushes higher-order thinking, creative problem solving and knowing where to find resources to help us? While we might not be able to rewrite our entire educational outlook just yet, it is incumbent on use as educators to begin the process of not just redefining our use of technology, but redefining what learning can occur because of it.

The Third Grade Teacher

TheTechRabbi

I have been working on this article for awhile. When I saw this post during the #1to1techat on twitter I finally knew how to phrase it.

Students teaching students is totally awesome meaningful learning.

Becoming a teacher might not be on everyones bucket list but after watching eight year olds teaching eight year olds about native american life, I hope they realize just how powerful the ability to educate someone really is. Being in charge of other peoples learning was a new experience for these third graders. I began the conversation by asking them the following question,

How do you know how much you know? 

One answer is, teach it to someone else. Our next challenge? If our students are able to become independent learners working towards becoming facilitators of learning, then where does that leave us as the "real educators" in the classroom? The massive outpour of information as well as the technology to harness its power actually leaves educators with a very powerful and humble mission.

It empowers us to help students become caring, thoughtful, and serious learners. 

If we choose to answer this calling and put aside our slightly bruised ego and title of sage on the stage, then the student, teacher, and technology partnership can begin to create some truly awesome results.

Third Grade Native American Tribal Life Project

in collaboration with Deborah Littman and Joanna Benporat, 3rd grade classes

Digital Publication using Book Creator for the iPad

[googleapps domain="docs" dir="a/hillelhebrew.org/file/d/0B8kSXA4O_gAJRlNEWmE2WG90N2c/preview" query="" width="440" height="280" /]

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The initial planning phase of the project went very routine. Questions of purpose, time spent, objectives, and curriculum alignment were asked. Questions about student's understanding of the applications of choice were answered. We projected the project would integrate technology between the A and the M on the SAMR model due to its use of audio-visual capabilities as well as how the technology would allow the learning to be shared. The objective of the student was to demonstrate their knowledge of a Native American tribes to the class. After reflecting on the final outcome of the project, we compared the projects use of technology to how the project was accomplished by traditional means.

21st-Century Skill Acquisition

Traditional Method

Learning With Technology

Oral Communication

5/10

8/10

Visual Presentation

7/10

7/10

Understanding of Content

7/10

8/10

Cooperation and Collaboration

5/10

10/10

Engagement and Enthusiasm

6/10

10/10

Organization and Time Management

5/10

9/10

Students as Facilitators

3/10

9/10

Now each one of these skill sets that students developed during this project have a specific objective.

Oral Communication: Through the use of audio recording and filming, students had the ability to clearly and effectively share their learning with other people in an engaging way that gave the viewer a sense of choice. The traditional method consisted of students presenting in groups in the front of the class reading from index cards.

Visual Presentation: The traditional method consisted of hand made poster boards and dioramas. In the past digital slideshows such as PowerPoint we used as well. Using the iPad students could create an audio-visual multimedia presentation that incorporated hand made artifacts into the project.

Understanding of Content: Many of the traditional methods of learning were still utilized by students including reading from books, note taking, and basic researching. The information was internalized further through the use of multimedia such as audio record, video filming, drawing, and creative writing.

Cooperation and Collaboration: Through the use of technology, this area yields unbelievable results in respect to frequency and sustainability of student partnerships. Students in traditional group projects tend to have one dominant student or have other students who lack motivation to fulfill their group responsibilities. Through the use of the iPad students were able to work independently, build off each others ideas, and help their peers create better quality work.

Engagement and Enthusiasm: At this point in our 1:1 program the "iPad excitement" has worn off. Students were engaged on a much higher level due to the personalized learning experience that allow for independence, choice, and serious ownership over their work. Students were not only enthusiastic to create something their peers would see, but even more so when they worked on traditional worksheets answering questions based on viewing their peers projects.

Organization and Time Management: This is a hit or miss with technology. Technology in of itself doesn't make either of these qualities shine, but with the proper mindset students can use technology as a powerful tool to develop these critical skills. Having all their work in the cloud to work on at home and use the iPads together in class did contribute to success in this area.

Students as Facilitators: This was the best part of the entire experience. Students were on inspirational fire as they shared their learning and made sure students understood the valuable information that they had learned. Students concluded this unit with an in-depth understanding of a specific piece of the unit, as well as a general albeit superficial understanding of the rest of the unit due to their peers amazing ability to share their learning in a serious, but fun and engaging way.

Is Education Technology Worth The Hype?

TheTechRabbi

DontBelieveTheHype

Is Education Technology worth the hype? Are we talking about iPads and Macbooks, or changing the tools we use to facilitate, integrate, and accumulate learning experiences.

iPads are hype, but using them to creative dynamic and creative personalized learning experiences is priceless.

New inventions tend to generate hype. Its a natural cycle which at some point will inevitably lead to jaded and sometimes scornful attitudes toward the tool.

The iPad wont make us better thinkers, but if we actually think independently and creatively, it just might help us make something amazing.

The technology breakthroughs of the Industrial Revolution and even more so in the past decade, have completely transformed how we go about our work, our learning, and even how we relax. The question is why do we hype the technology itself instead of what it gives us the ability to achieve? Is there hype surrounding technology and its long term relevance in education? Many question its ability to authentically and effectively integrate into learning. Others are concerned about high costs and planned obsolescence. If technology is about the devices themselves then we fail to appreciate the experience and results that we gain from our use of technology. Take a simple hand tool for example. Very few people get excited about a hammer anymore. Even less consciously appreciate its multi use function, adaptability, durability, and efficiency. Thats because their challenge and needs were the main focus, not the experience of using the tool to help them accomplish their desired task.

Successful use of technology is only as strong as the vision and goals we believe we can achieve.

The education world is aware of these challenges, and visionaries such as Dr. Pentedura have created the SAMR Model, and others have incorporated Gartner's Hype Cycle into tangable realistic measures of successful use of technology in education. I constantly use these models to support faculty in their curriculum building as well as enhancing current projects. However sometimes these models in their simplicity put unrealistic pressure on educators, and in many times make teachers feel inadequate if they do not reach the "highest level". I had a teacher question my Modification label of their project, which they felt was more in line with Redefinition. If the project can be Redefined by specific students, or by others at different points during the process, I still believe that quality learning is achievable by simple substitutions and augmentation. This point is expanded on by Beth Holland who wrote about how many teachers feel Redefinition is what defines their success in technology integration. Darren Draper wrote an article that offers constructive criticism of the SAMR Model. He offers great insight into how a model that helps put perspective on the challenge of integration, can unintentionally hamper its potential success.

I think that as educators and learners, we need to consider for a second that successful technology integration into learning is not about technology at all, its about experiencing the information, relating to it, and discovering how we are able to share it with others. The tool itself isn't more than a substitute for a previous tool. Its not until our creativity, innovation, and passion for discovery is filtered through the tool that it becomes anything more than a tool with possibilities.

When analyzing the essence of the SAMR Model, I find that it is not limited to computing technology. It is applicable in any change in process to achieve a better, faster, and stronger result. Take mail delivery for example;

MailTransportBetween the horse and the iPad, the desire has not changed. People want to communicate as often and fast as possible. The only thing that has changed is the process. We have found faster, more efficient, and more cost effective methods to communicate. When you received a letter by horse, it was expensive, and timely. This meant you received only a dozen or so letters in your lifetime and cherished almost all of them. As the process advances, the quality of communication has deteriorated, while other factors such as speed and cost decrease. This final result is that we spend the first 20 minutes of our day deleting emails from list serves and have an inbox count of over 2,000. Still, our desire to communicate, connect, and share makes even a little bit of hype worth it.