Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Curating Resources

I found an interesting article that contained some great hints on how to evaluate the credibility of sources on the internet. This is an important skill that students must learn if they want to curate resources that are proven and will benefit their learning. Below are some following tips that will assist. These points should be included in a scaffolded lesson with students before they are left on their own. "1. Is there any evidence that the author of the Web information has some authority in the field about which she or he is providing information? What are the author's qualifications, credentials and connections to the subject? 2. With what organization or institution is the author associated? Is there a link to the sponsoring organization, a contact number and/or address or e-mail contact? A link to an association does not necessarily mean that the organization approved the content. 3. Does the author have publications in peer reviewed (scholarly and professional) publications, on the Web or in hard copy? (If an author does not have peer reviewed articles published, this does not mean that she or he does not have credible information, only that there has been no professional "test" of the author's authority on that subject.) 4. Are there clues that the author/s are biased? For example, is he/she selling or promoting a product? Is the author taking a personal stand on a social/political issue or is the author being objective ? Bias is not necessarily "bad," but the connections should be clear. 5. Is the Web information current? If there are a number of out-of-date links that do not work or old news, what does this say about the credibility of the information? 6. Does the information have a complete list of works cited, which reference credible, authoritative sources? If the information is not backed up with sources, what is the author's relationship to the subject to be able to give an "expert" opinion? 7. Can the subject you are researching be fully covered with WWW sources or should print sources provide balance? Much scholarly research is still only available in traditional print form. It is safe to assume that if you have limited background in a topic and have a limited amount of time to do your research, you may not be able to get the most representative material on the subject. So be wary of making unsupportable conclusions based on a narrow range of sources. 8. On what kind of Web site does the information appear? The site can give you clues about the credibility of the source."(Montecino, 1988). After this important lesson, students need to know how to curate this information - so that they can use it later. A great way to introduce this segment to students is to Let students pick a topic and then choose one curation tool to collect various forms of information. Such tools can range from Pinterest, Paper.li, eduClipper, Searcheze, Storify, Scoopit (limited free version), Pinterest, MentorMob (formerly LessonPaths, Blendspace, and Learnist. Let students choose how they want to collect, display, and collate their information. It's important that they have ownership because then they will use these sources again and again. The way information is filed should be easily recognized and called upon in future years for future projects. If students collate and categorize the information they way to - they will be more apt to find this information again. Teachers could use LiveBinders to keep their topics categorized and easily accessible. You don't want to continuously re-invent the wheel, but LiveBinders lets you continuously add new information and continuously add more categories. Pearltrees is a place to collect, organize and share everything you like on the web. You can add everything you like and organize it naturally so as to enrich your collections and collaborate on your favorite topics. Pearltrees lets you lay out your web content into trees, which makes it an excellent tool for visual learners. Another great choice for me because we are using Ipads is Dipity. Dipity is a great timeline creation tool that allows you to incorporate text, images, and videos into each entry on a timeline. Dipity has a collaboration option and has multiple options for sharing your timelines publicly or privately. Montecino, Virginia. "Criteria to Evaluate the Credibility of WWW Resources." Education & Technology Resources, Aug. 1988. Web. 26 May 2015.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Authentic Assessments

Authentic assessment is a term which has been coined to describe alternative assessment methods. These methods should authentically allow a student to demonstrate a student's ability to perform tasks, solve problems or express knowledge in ways which simulate situations which are found in real life (Hymes, 1991). Traditional assessments are usually tests taken with pencil and paper and can be easily graded in short periods of time. Authentic assessments require students to be effective performers with acquired knowledge (Wiggins, 1990). Traditional assessments require students to recall memorized facts at lower level thinking.Authentic learning requires higher order thinking. Authentic assessments are all about "what a student CAN DO" AND traditional assessments are all about "what a student CAN REMEMBER". Traditional assessments are set by the curriculum. Schools teach the knowledge and skills. In Authentic assessments schools facilitate the development of skills that enable students to perform real tasks. The assessment drives the curriculum. Traditional assessments are teacher driven whereas Authentic assessments are student centered. In middle school time is a constraint. Authentic assessments are all about a journey; a process where students learn and refine their skills as they work to solve a real-world problem or create a real-world product. This process takes time - time that is very limited in the traditional school setting. The question was posed as to if authentic assessments could be successful in all disciplines. I believe it could - if it was presented as a cross-curricular project. It would definitely change the look of what traditional school looks like and what the learning would look like. I couldn't count how many times students have asked me - how many pages do I need for an A? What exactly do you want? Students have been brainwashed through traditional assessments to try and guess what the teacher wants and getting away from the whole point of the project..to learn something they want to learn. Students needs opportunities to refine, reflect, fail, and succeed. This process takes time. Time to experiment, time to collaborate, time to develop mastery. The traditional school day does not really allow for this needed TIME! Perhaps it would be advantageous to establish a "Power Hour" within the structure of the traditional school day where groups of students could collaborate and work on real-world problems that they were interested in - guided by teachers in all of the disciplines. This facilitation could show students how all disciplines work together to solve problems and that history is intertwined with language arts, and health. It requires a broad spectrum of knowledge to problem-solve and that there are many solutions to existing problems. It takes knowledge and skill in a wide variety of subjects to be successful. I'm not saying that there isn't a place for traditional assessments, because there is a use for these along the journey. Authentic assessments combine the traditional academic content with the knowledge and skills needed to function appropriately in the real world. For some of us Authentic assessments is a real change in mindset. We grew up with paper and pencil, multiple choice and short essay, standardized testing, and college entrance; Authentic assessments are a new way of looking at things. It is a more progressive and purposeful way of learning; a more progressive and purposeful way of proving real learning. Authentic assessment also has the advantage of providing parents and community members with directly observable products and understandable evidence concerning their students' performance (Wiggins, 1990). Everyone benefits from Authentic Learning - the teacher, the learner, the community, the world. Hymes, D. L. (1991). The Changing Face of Testing and Assessment: Problems and Solutions. AASA Critical Issues Report. American Association of School Administrators, 1801 North Moore St., Arlington, VA 22209-9988. Wiggins, Grant (1990). The case for authentic assessment. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 2(2). Retrieved May 22, 2015 from http://PAREonline.net/getvn.asp?v=2&n=2 .

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Module Five -Adaptation and Motivation

During my doctoral studies I did a lot of research about gamification. Intrinsic motivation – which refers to a person’s internal drive to perform an action purely because of the enjoyment they get from it. It’s one of the key psychological theories for gamification designers. Online gaming is so popular because players interact with people who have the same interests and they share their knowledge with like-minded individuals. This correlates with Daniel Pinks three reasons for Intrinsic Motivation;Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. Gamers are self motivated, seek the freedom to participate, and are self-directed. The more they play they more the player achieve understanding and mastery of the game. Players do this by playing with others (collaboration) and acquisition of skill. Gamers playing share a common "Purpose" - acquiring self-actualization by achieving certain levels of the game to eventually win. Games and learning are inherently tied together. In fact, games can be optimal vehicles for learning. One of the reasons games (even educational ones) are so popular is that they combine the enjoyment of discovery with the natural desire to gain competency (Watson, 2014). In my PE classes students are often intrinsically motivated by the health benefits of working out, but also motivated extrinsically by building muscle to impress his friends. Things that people find interesting one day can slowly become mundane the next; doing something because one wants to can easily become doing it because one has to. In education, many students have low intrinsic motivation because there is no relevance to their future. I often hear students saying "why do I have to learn that - I will never use it". Motivational researchers have studied these questions and concluded that working on a task for intrinsic reasons in not only more enjoyable, but also relates positively to learning, achievement and perceptions of competence (Eccles & Wigfield, 2002). Some students are exhausted with their personal home life situations that they have no energy for academic enthusiasm. This is why the teacher/student relationship becomes to important. One first step is to listen to your students, get to know them, their interests, and their dreams. Learning to be satisfied with a job well done is an important part of growing up. If students are not getting that at home - this becomes an important role for teachers. While motivation is often a challenging task for teachers, the rewards of having students who are interested and eager to learn make the hard work worth the effort. By combining intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, teachers can help students learn the subject at hand as well as valuable life skills. Eccles, Jacquelynne S., and Allan Wigfield. "Motivational beliefs, values, and goals." Annual review of psychology 53.1 (2002): 109-132. Watson, Zach. "4 Real-World Examples That Explain Intrinsic Motivation." TechnologyAdvice. N.p., 28 Oct. 2014. Web. 17 May 2015.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Module Three - Foundations

I am fortunate to have been using Ipads in my PE/Health curriculum for the past two years. We transitioned from a classroom book to Ipads during textbook adoption. My school is going 1:1 during the 2015-2016 school year and I feel a bit ahead of the game to have a two year head start on the process. My department was given a classroom set of Ipads to be shared with all students in our classes. Having to share has presented many problems, but it has also given us a opportunities to try tools out and see what works and what does not. With that being said I reviewed the Technology Integration Matrix Grade Level Index to see what my two years has afforded me. I have spent a lot of time researching apps and incorporating their use in my curriculum. Some projects have me at the ADAPTATION level, as I introduce new ways to use technology in their lessons, which then grows into the Infusion and Transformational Level. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a national organization advocating for 21st century readiness for every student, explains the outcomes of this transformation as fusing the traditional three R’s with four C’s: critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration (Blair, 2010). My goal is student engagement. I strive to have an interactive classroom. I want it to be very theoretically based and I know exactly what I want my students to learn. 1:1 will put technology in every student's hand. This will give my students daily access to technology and an endless bounty of free educational web 2.0 sites and apps. These tools empowers me to innovatively craft digital learning experiences that promote discovery and creation. My district has Technology Standards that are clearly spelled out for teachers and at what grade level those expectation should be met. These are driven by ISTE. Most of my lessons are project-based; inquiry based. Inquiry based projects are another way to get students to think rather than memorize. These group projects also help students build important skills such as communications, teamwork, critical thinking and problem solving. Technology can help with these projects and skills. Students can create things such as web sites, blogs, and multimedia presentations as part of their projects. They can use the web for research and as a resource. They can connect with students at other schools and do collaborative work with them. They also learn technology skills while doing these projects. My students are my teachers. Many students certainly know more than I do, and more readily adapt to the use of new technologies. I have had to work very hard to get to where I am today. Education has shifted from teacher-centered (the one who knows all the answers) to student-centered. Any answer is at a student's fingertips and technology can unlock the path to it. It becomes the great equalizer. It will be a life long journey to achieve Transformational levels in education...an exciting journey I might add. Digital tools enhance and add to student’s inherent creative skills. I believe that it is my job as a facilitator of learning to foster and nurture that growth. I want to provide real-world activities that promote collaboration and classroom problem solving, made easier through new technology. This can only be achieved through the sharing of knowledge, resources, and pedagogy. Teachers need time, opportunity, and resources to meet these goals. School systems need to provide the assistance that each teacher needs. Teacher learning needs to be differentiated, just as our own students do. We come from different places. I graduated with my first degree in 1976. A computer was some big mainframe thing on campus - now it's held in your hand, your watch, or positioned on your eyeglasses. The SAMR model maps out a path for us. Researchers have determined that technology integration typically moves through specific levels. The higher the level of an activity the greater the educational benefit (Oxnevad, 2013). Real success is found with the efficient use of digital tools - tools that are appropriate for the task. It is the path we can comfortably use to re-define the way that we learn. I have a Passion Topic project that culminates my health learning. It is a semester long project where students may choose any topic in the world they want to learn more about as long as it affects their health or the health of others. This encompasses just about any topic that you can think of. The rubric spells out levels of success, but students are empowered by their own inquiring and interests. Technology is a tool they utilize to get answers, make contacts, collaborate, and present. I would be very willing to share this project under the Transformational Index in its entirety. There is a lack of Physical Education/health projects as content. Blair, Nancye. "Educational Technology." : RSA3: Technology Integration For The New 21st Century Learner. N.p., 2012. Web. 03 May 2015. Oxnevad, Susan. "Using SAMR to Teach Above the Line - Getting Smart by Susan Oxnevad - 1:1 Program, Apple, Edchat, EdTech, SAMR, Technology." Web log post. Getting Smart Using SAMR to Teach Above the Line Comments. N.p., 04 July 2013. Web. 03 May 2015.