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Educated By Design Blog

Filtering by Tag: edtechteacher

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 Invisible iPad - Audience Perspectives

TheTechRabbi

  An inspiring conversation during my  The Invisible iPad - Significant Learning Experiences Without Losing Your iPad session at EdTechTeacher's Summit (ettsumit.org)

https://twitter.com/mxpelchat/status/495213864502697984

https://twitter.com/karentoittoit/status/494547398052814849

https://twitter.com/ChrisAuclair/status/494532397002551297

https://twitter.com/TheTechRabbi/status/494531604941787136

https://twitter.com/EdTechTeacher21/status/494522090536837121

https://twitter.com/katrinakennett/status/494521421151096833

https://twitter.com/reegan_homburg/status/494520545342283778

https://twitter.com/VirginiaVoigt/status/494520272746074112

https://twitter.com/katrinakennett/status/494519972677554176

https://twitter.com/Tdmsu/status/494519447210975232

https://twitter.com/VWitherell/status/494519275474800641

https://twitter.com/katrinakennett/status/494519101763887104

https://twitter.com/katrinakennett/status/494518780450856960

https://twitter.com/VirginiaVoigt/status/494517798589448192

https://twitter.com/katrinakennett/status/494517468984270848

https://twitter.com/katrinakennett/status/494517072718606336

https://twitter.com/VWitherell/status/494515557275017216

https://twitter.com/VirginiaVoigt/status/494515637121974272

https://twitter.com/reegan_homburg/status/494516273879863296

https://twitter.com/katrinakennett/status/494515512496627712

The Invisible iPad - Part II

TheTechRabbi

InvisibleiPad  

 

Invisible Technology in Theory is powerful. Its practical application for educators can be challenging, frustrating, and fill even the most confident learning facilitator with doubt. Invisible Technology empowers its user to be independent, collaborative, and truly shift learning into the 21st century. How do we measure its success? Is there a definitive technology yardstick to build confidence not only in the student, but in the teacher as well? What are our goals and skills we wish our students to acquire, develop, and reflect upon?

If our goal to create an army of App Savvy iPad Aficionados then we have utterly failed.

We are not trying to create students that successfully use technology, because they don't actually need us for that. We have seen the viral videos of toddlers successfully executing in app purchases on their favorite game, and their digital literacy skills will only increase with their exposure to new technologies. My colleague Yossie Frankel stated it simply that,

 We cannot confuse Digital Literacy (ICT) with 21st Century Competencies. 

If we do, we rob our students of what we really can offer them, which is the ability to communicate, think critically, collaborate, solve problems, and create dynamic ways of internalizing information and sharing it with others. This is what our place is in 21st century learning. Yes, we will need to support them with certain technology skill building, suach as keyboarding skills, app fluency (Greg Kulowiec), best practices of sharing and store, and the certain nuances of utilizing technology tools, but this isnt a class or a workshop.

Students don't need theoretical workshops, they want hands on action with a purpose.

As I wrote in my previous article, when we teach someone to effectively and properly use traditional tools, our reason is not for the tool itself but for what we are able to achieve. No one gets excited over using a welder, but its ability to connect difference pieces together to create something unique and useful from raw material, is where its value as a tool really shines. Our challenge with technology like the iPad is that it has so many different abilities, that the user is faced with a real dilemma of losing sight of what the tool accomplishes, for the experience of using the tool. 

Before we even begin to think about how and where we place the iPad in our learning process, we have to concretize our goals, possible challenges, and the planned path of process. If we reach a point during the project and hit a road block, it can be flustered to not have even a rough outline to backtrack to a clear point of success. This all starts with identifying which skills we will need to use. In elementary and middle school, these skills need to be clear and simple so students know that right now they are "collaborating" or "problem solving". We can expect these skills to be sub conscience as adults, but this is not realistic for most students below or even at high school level. At each grade level the following Learning and Innovation Skills can be acquired by students and built upon as they learn and grow.

  • Learning and Innovation Skills (the 7 C’s) + (2 P's)

    • Creativity/Contribution

    • Critical Thinking

    • Communication

    • Collaboration/Cooperation

    • Connection

    • Community

    • Continual Learning

    • Culture

    • Problem Solving

    • Personalized Learning

Once our skill sets are assessed, we then can use these skills in our PBL experiences. Bloom's Taxonomy, ISTE 21st Century Standards, UNESCO Competency  Framework, are all great sources to teach these foundational skills. Many confuse the SAMR Model as a way to learn. The SAMR Model, is not viable method for learning. Its success is in measuring and assessing effective use of technology in our learning.

The challenge for educators, especially Directors of Educational Technology, Innovation, etc. is that we need to not limit how our teachers teach, but to focus on the foundational skills, and provide a clear and concrete formula for how different technological devices and applications will enhance these skills and give a learner the ability to create a product that will change the world.

How to translate this vision to a tangible process is a challenge. In the next few weeks I will be featuring guest articles from faculty members that have successfully integrated technology into learning.

Im having trouble locating the iPad though, must be that invisible thing.

The Invisible iPad

TheTechRabbi

invisibleipad_02.jpg

InvisibleiPad

If this event becomes a meeting about how we got rid of power cords, extended battery life, and solved workflow challenges with some neat app, then we fail.

The iPad summit is not about the iPad

With these words, Greg Kulowiec  had me hooked. Since the launch of the iPad in 2010, we have seen a revolutionary transformation in how we create, consume, and communicate. Whether the iPad is an authentic educational tool is not relavant, because

it's not about the iPad.

Is the automobile an authentic education tool? What about the refrigerator? Revolutionary inventions are not about the invention itself, but whats the invention gives use the ability to do. A truly revolutionary invention should in time become invisible. No longer is it viewed as something special, yet its effects are far reaching. The lightbulb changed the way the world functioned. The world was no longer bound to productivity during daylight, or the length of time it takes your oil lamp to burn up. It was about what you would be able to do because now there was a constant and stable source of light.

While the iPad does a little more than a lightbulb, its success in eduction is on the principle that the iPad does the same for learners as the lightbulb.

It liberates us from the limitations of creative tools, the challenges of access to quality content, as well as our source of inspiration, and innovation being based on geographic location. 

Yes, the iPad needs to be invisible because we are searching for something deeper than a manipulative touch screen device. We are looking to start a conversation, create a personal expression, and to fashion a brick in a collaborative digital structure.

Before the EdTechTeacher iPad Summit, I understood the philosophy, but I lacked the language to express it with words like App Fluency and App Smashing, as well as the support of like minded visionaries with more experience than myself. This and more I found at the #ettipad conference. In the past I have written about the process of integrating technology into education and its correlation to the experience of building something by hand. When we build something, our tools are chosen keeping in mind their quality, versatility, and ease of use. A responsible individual does not put someone in front of a table saw and say, "Good Luck!", so why do we drop an iPad in someones lap and do just that? Cutting off a finger is not the only danger of using technology wrong, and I see it time and time again with the iPad.

The iPad isnt a great way to take a test, or read a book, or even create a movie. It isn't enough to change how we use the iPad, but why we use the iPad, or any other device for that matter.

We use technology to liberate ourselves from mundane robotic like tasks that lack any sort of creative drive or purpose. A robot can memorize 100 vocabulary words, the question is now, what do we do with those words? Do we use them for creative expression, or do we let them collect dust in the deep recesses of our brain? Technology is not here to make us lazy, or to avoid basic communication skills, but

it is here to make us think critically, solve problems, collaborate, communicate, create, and ideate. 

These words have far surpassed cliché status in education, as if they are the key to tagging successful learning outcomes, but the truth is that when the iPad is invisible, you really get to see those words in action.

As long as our focus is on learning outcomes and the experience it brings, then the this just might be the best iPad experience yet.