Theme 2: Active Engagement

Engagement is “the process of keeping students mentally, and often physically, active in their learning through activities that involve them in gathering information, thinking, and problem solving” (Collins & O’Brien, 2003, p. 5 as cited in Edwards, 2015). In addition to dialogue, I have learned that engagement is another key component for learning to occur. Teachers need to capture the attention of learners and make the content relevant to them by relating the content to their goals, interests, and values (Learning Tools). iPads seem like a promising option to help students learn in a fun way as well as helping them learn vocabulary (Thind, 2013). Kajder (as cited in Bedard & Fuhrken, 2013) explains how when learners are publishing their writing to a larger audience than their classroom, it can motivate them to put in the extra effort because more people are going to see it.

In addition, starting with learners’ questions and problem-based learning is a good strategy to engage learners (Edwards, 2015). Tools like TodaysMeet, educanon, www.padlet.com and educreations engage learners to make their learning visible.

Emotions is also a key component of engagement. It is key to help learners feel good about themselves by "Focus[ing] on activities that give learners a genuine feeling of accomplishment." (Hunter, 2011).  This can be done by using technology such as the Evernote App (which will be discussed in this e-portfolio) to show and track their progress so the learner perceives that she is improving. Also, Hunter (2011) also stresses the importance of using different methods to keep the learners engaged and focused by changing activities every 15 minutes by combining activities such as having learners talk and listen, move around and use both pictures and images. In addition, Hunter (2011) stressed the importance of helping them feel like they are achieving successes and making progress. Also, it is important to teach in ways so that learners receive the content through visual, auditory and kinesthetic means along with chances to think and explore how the material connection with other ideas (Willis, 2007).

After reading a more recent article by Willis (2009), I am learning that in order to process and remember new information at a deeper level, it is important for learners to manipulate the information they are learning through methods such as the following: Use the information they are learning in an activity, analyze and summarize the information or discuss and write about it (Willis, 2009). In addition, I am coming across new tools such as tackk.com which lets users engage view a video and interact with the content provider by commenting and adding their own content in the form of video, audio and visuals. According to Edwards (2015) there is a shift in the teaching field to use games such as https://www.prodigygame.com/ to help increase engagement and learning.

References

Bedard, C., & Fuhrken, C. (2013). When writing with technology matters. Portland, ME:

      Stenhouse Publishers.

Edwards, S. (2015). Active learning in the middle grades. Middle School Journal, 46(5),

      26–32.

Hunter, B. (2011). Use your head: Neuroscience research and teaching. College

      Quarterly, 14(3). Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/p4vpwyb

Thind, Y. (2013). Improving Vocabulary with Technology (Document). Retrieved from:

     http://tinyurl.com/o7b5ahn

Willis, J. (2007). Brain-Based Teaching Strategies for Improving Students’ Memory,

      Learning, and Test-Taking Success. Childhood Education. 83(5), p.310.

Willis, J. (2009). What Brain Research Suggests for Teaching Reading Strategies. The

       Educational Forum, 73(4), 333–346. http://doi.org/10.1080/00131720903166861

Artifacts Relating to Engagement

Artifact 1: Success Secrets Booklet
Subtheme: Multimodal Communication
(Authentic Assessment Course)

Booklet cover for Success Secrets

This artifact is a brief booklet that I wrote which will continue to be a work in progress. The purpose of writing this booklet was to summarize in a succinct way all the main ideas that helped me overcome obstacles and reach my goals.

I learned in the Learning with Technology course, that ideas need to be criticized and refined based on interaction with a community of learners (van Oostveen, 2012).

Thus, the aim with this booklet is to keep the original copy as a Google Word Document which will make it easy to add, delete and refine ideas based on feedback and reflection. These ideas had been acquired by investing countless hours of time, energy and money to learn what I felt passionate about in the field of self-development. This booklet is aimed at condensing the ideas presented in many self-help books and to aid those people who might not have the time to read a thick 400 page book like Success Principles by Jack Canfield. I hope that reading this booklet will provide advice with the reader to help them overcome obstacles and reach their goals. In the Principles of Learning course, I learned that tutoring is one of the best ways of learning and made the connection that having a mentor is just like having a tutor. As a result, I sought to take the role of a mentor by writing this book in the attempt to provide the help and guidance just like a mentor would to a mentee.

In the Authentic Assessment course, I learned the importance of giving the learner a choice in terms of how they would like to show their learning. In the same way, by choosing to write a booklet to show my learning, I noticed that I was motivated to begin and complete the task. Also, in that same course, I learned the benefits of giving learners the opportunity to engage in authentic tasks whereby the products that one creates can be useful to society. Similarly, I was excited throughout the process of writing this book because I thought of the impact it could make on the lives of others. I thought about how this book could be made into an e-book and easily shared through the internet (i.e., social media) with family and friends all over the world. In addition, I am excited about the opportunities this book may give me to hold seminars to share this knowledge with others. Lastly, through this process of writing this booklet, I learned so much about myself in terms of my strengths and what I have really understood throughout my study in the field of self-development. I realized that I really enjoy the process of free-writing where I just surrender and let words flow from my mind through my pen to the paper.

In the Authentic Assessment course with Dr. Wendy Barber, I learned the value of moving away from traditional assessments. Traditional assessments are limited in that they do not help develop problem solving and critical thinking skills (Montgomery, 2002). Traditional assessments have some benefits as they help the teacher see what the learner knows; however, traditional assessments fail to develop other key skills (Montgomery, 2002). To help define traditional assessments, I would say that they are those assessments done by a teacher that are mostly completed by using paper and pencil and include "testing practices that require students to select the correct answer from an array or four or five distractors"(Eisner, 1999, p. 659). On the other hand, authentic assessments are different. These are assessments which aim to provide learners with the chance to show their learning by completing authentic tasks. In other words, the learners "create evidence through performance...in situations that matter" (Eisner, 1999, p. 659). Montgomery (2002) stressed the importance of having learners create helpful products, as well as showing, doing and applying their knowledge and getting feedback throughout the process to improve. In this example of creating this booklet, I feel that this product can be especially helpful to students entering a postsecondary institution because of its focus on many key skills required to succeed in school (e.g., time-management). The next step would be to include pictures in the form of an e-portfolio as evidence that I am practicing what I am teaching through this book. Kohn (2012) shared that it is much better to have learners complete portfolios with narrative comments to show the learning achievements of learners instead of assigning grades.

By writing this book, I was able to show what I had learned in a manner that used my strengths; whereas, I might have had a more challenging time showing my learning if I was asked to fill out a multiple choice test. Since with multiple choice tests, the learner does not get a chance to explain their answer, ask for clarification or show their knowledge through dialogue (Wiggins, 1989). Traditional tests are limited because they promote rote learning, teachers tend to teach to the test and fails to show the true abilities of students and engages them mostly the lower level thinking (Darling-Hammond, 1994). The multimodal aspect of adding audio and video components to this e-book are exciting.

References

Eisner, E. W. (1999). The uses and limits of performance assessment. Phi Delta Kappan,

       80(9), 658-659.

Darling-Hammond, L. (1994). Setting standards for students: The case for authentic

       assessment. Paper presented at the The Educational Forum, 59(1) 14-21.

Kohn, Alfie. (2012). The Case Against Grades. Education Digest, 77(5), 8–16.

Montgomery, K. (2002). Authentic tasks and rubrics: Going beyond traditional

       assessments in college teaching. College Teaching, 50(1), 34-40.

van Oostveen, R. (2012). Online Graduate Teaching and Learning: In the PBL mode.

       Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/pdgwjl3

Wiggins, G. (1989). A true test: Toward more authentic and equitable assessment. Phi

       Delta Kappan, 703-713.

Artifact 2: Educreations App Presentation
Subtheme: Multimodal Communication
(Dynamics of Change Course)

A principal asked me to present at their staff meeting where they were going to introduce the new set of iPads that had been purchased. I agreed and consulted with my Dynamics of Change professor. Together, we created a strategy to ensure that I included the theory that was covered in class. First, I started off by explaining the benefits of using this app in their context (i.e., teaching in an elementary school setting) (Ellsworth, 2000).  I shared that the Educreations app is one of the best apps for applying this knowledge as it allows for multimodal expression. Some of the tools this app provides are the following; adding pictures, audio, text as well as being able to draw. Also, a video can be created and then it can be viewed repetitively to aid the viewer in learning the material and processing it at a deeper level (Willis, 2007). I decided to share this app because of its potential to help build the vocabulary of the students at that school. While sitting in on a staff meeting earlier that year, the Vice Principal was sharing how developing the students' vocabulary was an important priority and thus I thought this app would be perfect.

Next, during my presentation, I included the opportunity for teachers to experiment collaboratively with the app while my colleague and I walked around to support the teachers (Fullan, 2010; Hinde, 2003). Lastly, I learned that in order to bring about a change, it is much better to do it as a group process than alone (Schein, 1996)

Please see the picture below.

After presenting the app, I walked around supporting participants as they experimented with the app.

References

Ellsworth, J. B. (2000). Surviving changes: A survey of Educational change models.

       Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse (Chapter 1, pp. 20-30 and Chapter 3, pp. 44-58).

Fullan, M. (2010, October 14). Michael Fullan on what school reform is [Video file].

       Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxjLqHphsVY

Hinde, E. (2003). Reflections on reform: A former teacher looks at school change and

       the factors that shape it. Teachers College Record (Online). Retrieved from

       http://tinyurl.com/mgynzwo

Korat, O. (2010). Reading electronic books as a support for vocabulary, story

      comprehension and word reading in kindergarten and first grade. Computers &

      Education, 55, 24-31.

Schein, E. H. (1996). Kurt Lewin's change theory in the field and in the classroom:

      Notes toward a model of managed learning. Systems practice, 9(1), 27-47.

Willis, J. (2007). Brain-Based Teaching Strategies for Improving Students’ Memory,

      Learning, and Test-Taking Success. Childhood Education. 83(5), p.310.

Artifact 3: Improving Vocabulary With Technology (Paper)
Subtheme: Multimodal Communication
(Research Methods Course)

In the Research Methods class, I wrote the Research Proposal (See link above titled Improving Vocabulary with Technology) where I learned that vocabulary is very important for learners to be successful in school.  Having a strong vocabulary is important because it helps people communicate more effectively compared to those with a weak vocabulary (Zhang, Song & Burston, 2011). Dalton et al. (2011) says that a key problem is that a lot of learners are having difficulty comprehending what they are reading at school. This may be due to the fact that having a weak vocabulary is related to learners misinterpreting what is read thus they cannot fully understand the text (Lin, 2012 as cited in Chen & Chung, 2008). “To read English articles fluently, a learner must understand at least 2000 commonly used English words” (Nation 1990 as cited in Chen & Chung, 2008). Li (2010) hypothesizes that there may be a connection between low vocabulary, falling behind and eventually dropping out. On the other hand, there is a positive correlation between vocabulary and reading comprehension (National Reading Panel as cited in Dalton et al., 2011). As a result of this research, I have been looking for ways to use technology to improve the vocabulary of learners.

I have come to the conclusion that digital technology can be very effective to help learners develop their vocabulary. For example, digital e-books are beneficial in that they contain video, pictures, music, and interactive components such as audio of the author reading the text aloud while the text being read is highlighted (Verhallen & Bus, 2010; Korat, 2010). Barcroft (2009) as cited in Zhang, Song & Burston (2011) say that people learn vocabulary more effectively when there are pictures associated with the words. Another advantage of technology such as digital e-books are that it lets you review the material as often as you need and in spaced intervals which is key to processing the material in the long term memory for later retrieval (Nation as cited in Zhang, Song, & Burston, 2011). Korat (2010) found that students who read the same e-book five times plus regular classroom instruction expanded their vocabulary. E-books are beneficial because of features like text tracking where the words that are being read are highlighted which helps children who are struggling to decode words as they can now focus their energy in trying to comprehend the meaning of the text (Gough & Tunmer as cited in Dalton et al., 2011). An additional feature of some e-books are that scaffolds can be provided such as where you can click on a word and the definition comes up and is able to be read aloud.

Another key insight I gained is that in order to expand one’s vocabulary, seeing the word many times and having multiple chances to use the new words is helpful (National Reading Panel as cited in Dalton et al., 2011). Using technology such as blogging is helpful as it gives learners the opportunity to use new words and see new words being used multiple times.

To increase the chances that learners will later recall the words they have learned, it is effective to do the following “creating mental linkages, applying images and sounds, reviewing, and, employing actions” (Oxford as cited in Chen & Chung, 2008). This research convinced me to start giving learners the chance to use the Educreations app to create videos to show and discuss what they have learned. The EduCreations app is great because it corresponds to the research in vocabulary building. The Educreations app has features such as the ability to add in text, drawings, pictures and audio to share and explain using the vocabulary they are learning which are key components to effectively learning new words (Oxford as cited in Chen & Chung, 2008). In addition, a video can be created which can be uploaded online and shared with family and friends. By creating videos using tablets such as the iPad, learners are given the chance to use their newly acquired vocabulary (National Reading Panel, 2000 as cited in Dalton et al., 2011). In addition, by watching the videos repeatedly over time, this can help them process the words into their long term memory (Nation, 2001 as cited in Zhang, Song, & Burston, 2011). Lastly, while watching the videos that students have created, teachers can assess the learning by seeing how the learner is using the vocabulary in their explanations.

To conclude, while occasional teaching, I have noticed that there is so much excitement and engagement when learners use tablets such as the iPad to create videos using apps such as EduCreations. I see the smiles on their faces when they share what they are creating videos and viewing it together as a class. The learners are filled with pride and amazement that what they had just created using the EduCreations app is now playing on the projector screen like a movie playing in the theatre.

For more information on the Educreations App I would like to share the link below to a wiki post I created for the Principles of Learning Course Wikipedia.

References

Chen, C.-M., & Chung, C.-J. (2008). Personalized mobile English vocabulary learning

       system based on item response theory and learning memory cycle. Computers &

       Education, 51(2), 624–645. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2007.06.011

Dalton, B., Proctor, C. P., Uccelli, P., Mo, E., & Snow, C. E. (2011). Designing for

      Diversity: The Role of Reading Strategies and Interactive Vocabulary in a Digital

      Reading Environment for Fifth-Grade Monolingual English and Bilingual Students.

      Journal of Literacy Research, 43(1), 68–100. Retrieved from  

      http://tinyurl.com/nwtmyg6

Korat, O. (2010). Reading electronic books as a support for vocabulary, story

     comprehension and word reading in kindergarten and first grade. Computers &

     Education, 55, 24-31.

Li, J. (2010). Learning vocabulary via computer-assisted scaffolding for text processing.

     Computer-Assisted Language Learning Journal, 23(3), 253–275.

Verhallen, M. J. A. J., & Bus, A. G. (2010). Low-income immigrant pupils learning

      vocabulary through digital picture storybooks. Journal of Educational Psychology,

      102(1), 54–61. doi:10.1037/a0017133

Zhang, H., Song, W., & Burston, J. (2011). Reexamining the effectiveness of vocabulary 

    learning via mobile phones. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology -

    TOJET, 10(3), 203-214. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/npalu8c

Artifact 4: Lesson Plan That Started With A Problem
Subtheme:  Problem-Based Learning
(Learning with Technology Course)

I learned in the Learning with Technology class that a teacher is “someone who creates an environment in which learning can occur” (Roland, Personal communication, Tue. Jan. 28, 2014). This artifact is an example of my attempt to fulfill the definition of a teacher given above.  It is a lesson that I modified to include elements of problem based learning (PBL) which resulted in many unexpected learning opportunities.

In the Learning With Technology course, I learned from Professor Roland vanOostveen that getting learners to problem solve provides a rich learning experience for the learners. The process of problem based learning starts by providing the learners with a problem based learning object (PBLO) which can be a realistic, open-ended scenario that relates to the learners' interests (De Graaf & Kolmos, 2003). Next, the learners can raise questions, identify a problem, collaboratively find a solution and then present their findings (Masek & Sulaiman, 2011). According to Masek & Sulaiman (2011) this PBL process has the potential to engage learners to develop deeper content knowledge; however, further studies are needed to validate this claim. In my experience of using PBL in the classroom, I have seen a high level of engagement, learning and competence development.

I wanted to apply this idea of PBL and quickly recorded a situation on the EduCreations app asking the class for help: “We would like to build a house but we need a blueprint from the class, the more different shapes you include in your plan, the better.”

I learned in the Authentic Assessment course that there are many benefits in having learners engage in authentic tasks which is when learners are asked to engage in tasks which "replicate the challenges and standards of real-world performances and are representative of the ways in which knowledge and skills are used in real-world contexts" (Messick as cited in Cumming & Maxwell, 1999). First, authentic tasks have the advantage that they can have the potential to develop critical thinking skills and go beyond the recall of information to create a product or demonstrate their knowledge  (Hunt et al., as cited in Cummings, Maddux & Richmond, 2008). Second, it gives learners the chance to engage with the material in various modes of learning (e.g., writing, seeing, conversing and explaining) and can require them to organize it which helps develop mastery of the material (Newmann & Archbald, 1992 as cited in Cumming & Maxwell, 1999). Another benefit is that it engages them in higher order thinking and solving problems while doing such tasks as creating new products (Cumming & Maxwell, 1999). Lastly, learning increases when we provide learners the chance to collaborate to take on challenges and construct their learning together (Reeves, 2002).

Problem based learning provides many more opportunities for skill development compared to asking students to complete a worksheet. In this lesson, the students had the chance to discuss to figure out the problem and then were given the freedom of who to work with and to use any of the resources in the class. The results were that students asked lots of questions and collaborated by using many of the resources in the class, such as the posters on the wall and the math manipulatives. Learners also used the computer to search for answers to their questions such as “What is a rhombus?” It was also amazing to see how eager they were to seek help from others and get clarification.

Problem based learning is a great way for learners to develop important skills such as communication, collaboration & critical thinking (Eisner as cited in Cummings, Maddux, & Richmond, 2008). As an educator I want the learners that I teach to develop the core skills and competencies that they need to be successful in life. I feel that as a teacher it is important to include a wide range of various types of learning experiences so students can get the chance to develop a wide range of skills. I am so excited about the possibilities for learning that can occur when learners are given a scenario to identify a problem, raise their own questions and seek to collaboratively solve the problem and share what they have discovered.

References

Cumming, J., & Maxwell, G. S. (1999). Contextualising Authentic Assessment.

       Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 6(2), 177–194. Retrieved

       from http://tinyurl.com/pltztep

Cummings, R., Maddux, C. D., & Richmond, A. (2008). Curriculum‐embedded

       performance assessment in higher education: maximum efficiency and minimum

       disruption. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 33(6), 599-605.

De Graaf, E., & Kolmos, A. (2003). Characteristics of problem-based learning.

       International Journal of Engineering Education, 19(5), 657-662.

Masek, A., & Sulaiman, Y. (2011). Problem based learning for epistemological

       competence: The knowledge acquisition perspectives. Journal Of Technical

       Information and Training, 3(1), 29–36.

National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). (2013, February). The NCTE Definition of

       21st Century Literacies. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/77pphv

Reeves, T. C., Herrington, J., & Oliver, R. (2002). Authentic activities and online learning.

       Quality Conversations: Research and Development in Higher Education, 25,

       562-567.

van Oostveen, R., Desjardins, F., & Bullock, S. (n.d.) Professional Development Learning

      Environments (PDLEs) - Embedded in a Collaborative Online Learning Environment

      (COLE): Moving towards a New Conception of Online Professional Learning.

      Canadian Council on Learning. Faculty of Education University of Ontario Institute of

      Technology.

Artifact 5:  Steps to Sikhcess E-Magazine
Subtheme: Problem-Based Learning
(Foundations of Leadership Course)

This is the cover for the February edition

One of the main components of this magazine is that it includes many problems for the reader to solve.

For example, it includes questions to think about after reading the article about entrepreneurship such as what is your mission? Second, the crossword puzzle and word-searches pose the problem of finding words. Lastly, the question about what is Self-less service also causes the reader to seek and share the solution to that question. (Please see the photos below to illustrate what has been mentioned in this paragraph)

On the cover is Suneet Singh Tuli CEO of Datawind Inc. I believe he has many of the characteristics that I have learned about in the Foundations of Leadership course.

Day & Antonakis (2012) point out that task completion is a key characteristic of great leaders. Suneet Singh demonstrates this characteristic of task completion through the products released by his company Datawind Inc. His company is responsible for creating a tablet which is one of the cheapest to purchase. In addition, his company aims to provide tablets with affordable internet access to students throughout India so they can keep up with the technological advancements.

Stogdill (1974) listed key traits of leaders including that they have goals and persist, show initiative and are creative problem solvers. I feel that Suneet Singh displays these traits as I remember a conversation with him where he cited a line from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib suggesting the importance of setting goals and then persisting to achieve them. By looking at the wide range of tablets and devices his company released, it can be noted that his company is continually finding creative ways to solve the problems of the world. For instance, in a recent press release the company announced that they would provide one year of unlimited internet access because of a partnership with a company called Naaptol (Singh, 2015).

Relationships skills are also an important skill that great leaders have. Task completion is a great skill; however, it needs to be combined with having good relationship skills as well. In the Michigan Leadership Studies, it was stated that individualized consideration for each member of the team is an important aspect of being a great leader (Hoefs & Wilhelm, 2014). In addition Rath & Harter (2010) stress that a key component of well-being is having good relationships. Thus, in this magazine we have a relationship section (please see the picture below) where we pose a problem-scenario that comes up in relationship between husband and wife and invite all the readers to share their solutions and then pose a new problem-scenario to think about for the next edition…

Pg 17 of the March Edition includes this section: http://issuu.com/yadt/docs/steps_to_sikhcess_march_2015

The problem scenario was put into a template of a cellphone to make it more authentic and resemble an actual text message from a friend

Lastly, Avolio, Walumbwa, and Weber (2009) explain that leaders demonstrating servant leadership focus on making the community stronger. My purpose was to apply this knowledge and try to serve the Sikh community with this magazine, to connect the Sikh community all over the world and collectively share their knowledge and help increase the knowledge, skills and vocabulary of the readers.

References

Avolio, B., Walumbwa, F., & Weber, T.J. (2009). Leadership: Current Theories, Research,

      and Future Directions. Management Department Faculty Publications, 37(37).

      Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/cohcder

Day, D. V., & Antonakis, J. (Eds.). (2012). The nature of leadership (2. ed). Los Angeles,

      Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/oqqnsq8

Hoefs, L. & Wilhelm, J. (2014). Michigan Leadership Studies [PDF document]. Retrieved

      from http://tinyurl.com/pp72e2m

Rath, T., & Harter, J. K. (2010). Wellbeing: the five essential elements. New York: Gallup

      Press.

Singh, A. (2015). Datawind Makes Internet Browsing Free On Its Entire Range.

      [Press Release]. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/penu5ma

Stogdill, R. M. (1948). Personal factors associated with leadership: A survey of the

      literature. Journal of Psychology, 25, 35–71.

Artifact 6: Calendar Time With iPads (Lesson)
Subtheme: Problem-Based Learning
(Learning With Technology Course)

Pictures from this lesson as well as the problems that were posed to the students.

I went in to supply teach for a grade 2 class and on the original lesson plan, it stated that I was to ask one student to run the calendar routine; however, I wanted to see what would happen if I gave all of the students the chance to work together using iPads to help answer the questions relating to the calendar routine.

In the Learning with Technology class, I learned how it is much more engaging for learners to collaboratively solve problems using technology. Thus, I decided to take a chance and modify the lesson by writing out some problems for the students such as How can we use the iPad to find out the weather and temperature?

I learned in the Learning with Technology course that it is important to create a community of learners where learners build on each others ideas, and then help society by solving problems that our society face (van Oostveen, 2012; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2006). Another insight I gained from this course is that people need to work together to make ideas better through communication (van Oostveen, 2012). Furthermore, learners need to work collaboratively in a sort of “collaborative discourse” (Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2006, p. 12). Also, Bereiter (as cited in Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2006) stresses the importance of organizing knowledge based on problems. This experience gave students the chance to both work collaboratively as a community of learners and then organize their discoveries relating to the problems given.

By looking at the pictures in this artifact it is clear that students were achieving the desired learning goals of the calendar routine. In addition, they achieved them in an engaging way while developing other competencies along the way. According to the Human-Computer-Human-Interaction model (HCHI) (Desjardins, n.d.), Desjardins (2005) explains that while using a device users can develop technical, social, informational and epistemological competencies. First, the learners developed the technical competence from the HCHI model by learning how to use the Hardware and Software of the iPad such as how to turn on the iPad, swipe, find the internet app. Next, the Information competency from the HCHI model was developed where they learned how to search for information using Google to find the answers to the problems presented.  Also, this led to new problems that spontaneously arose such as how to spell Mississauga during the process which was fun and provided an opportunity for additional learning.

Before I took this course, I used to try my best to follow exactly what was on the lesson plan without modifying anything.  However, now I try to use my judgement to find ways to enrich the lessons with opportunities to use technology to develop key competencies that are important to them and their future.

The next step for me on my journey to improve my practice as a teacher would be to try giving learners a different type of problem to solve.  This would include providing learners with more opportunities to take on what Watts (as cited in van Oostveen, 2012) calls ‘Own’ problems. These consist of presenting open ended situations where the learners need to identify the problems and create their own strategies for solving the problem (Watts as cited in van Oostveen, 2012). Professor Roland van Oostveen did this approach in the Learning with Technology class by providing a context/scenario and allowing the learners in the class to identify their own questions and problems they would like to investigate. I personally liked this approach as I found it exciting to investigate an issue that was personally relevant to me and I genuinely was curious about. I would like to conclude with a challenge to teachers to provide more opportunities to allow the learners they teach to find and investigate problems that are relevant to the learners.

References

Desjardins, F. (n.d.). Design-Based Research [PowerPoint slides].

       Retrieved from  http://tinyurl.com/oxhsdgv

Scardamalia, M. & Bereiter, C. (2006). Knowledge Building: Theory, Pedagogy, and

      Technology. In Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences (pp. 97–118). New

      York: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/y9bt4kw

van Oostveen, R. (2012). Online Graduate Teaching and Learning: In the PBL mode.

      Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/pdgwjl3

Links