Thursday, February 27, 2014

Reflection and Upgrades



This week has been fun.  Reading and trying to apply it to my daily work.  When I was reading the Living with New Media section, I began to wonder about the ones that don't fit in to these groups.

 One project I am involved in at school is Mac and iPad Management.  I use a Mobile Device Manager, (Casper Suite) to assist students and faculty with these devices.  We deploy out software and updates on demand, via the Mobile Device Manager.

 There are many kinds of learners out there, and some are not the "messing around" or "geek-out" type.  What about the more apprehensive group, the ones who fear change?

 What I am concerned about is the resistant to move with the times crowd.  The "too scared" to try.  The more cautious, that have to be forced to update software.  The unorganised that never have a backup when their computer fails, or "lost" that assignment.  The ones who get upset by the "new" Facebook.  Mired down in their workflows, wishing Netscape Communicator was still able to run.

 I am moving the network of 1500+ Macbooks to Mavericks.  I've done iOS 7 on the 300 iPads a long time ago..  But in this process, I am constantly asked, "Do I need this upgrade?"

 Now, I love and hate this question.  I think, why would you NOT want to upgrade.  In computers, it's upgrade or die.  The computer is asking you... I have new things I can do for you, can I please do them?  It may take some tinkering to do the new things.  You may need to relearn some things... But they may just get better.

 I love the question because it makes one think that someone needs to question authority.  I have a thing that works right now, if it isn't broke... Don't fix it.  Thinking is involved, sometimes there are reasons.

 I hate the question because it is a refusal to grow, learn, and adapt.  It means that there is something new to geek out on, that they are too afraid to try.  They might loose something, afraid it may mess something up.  Life may just get better than what you had before.

 There are many reasons to ask your school to adopt a new operating system, but in this case, I have too many variants of big cat operating systems at my school.  Lion, Mountain Lion, Panther, Leopard, Tiger...  It becomes impossible to support students in a BYO device environment to do their school work, when they cannot run the same versions of software.  Teachers cannot perform as well in class, if they cannot all work.  If we are all running the same operating system and software, supporting students and teachers becomes much easier. Let me know what you think about upgrades... or just the group who aren't engaged in their technology...

This has been cross-blogged from my COETAIL blog.

An App for that...

Are all technologies in the classroom created equal?
Well no.  There are many models to discuss what is a better use of technology in the classroom.
Revised Blooms and SAMR discusses the difference between the types of technology that can be used, and the levels of achievement in these areas.

SAMR

Both look to simplify how we approach technology in the classroom.  Giving us a prescribed App vs Higher order thinking method to the madness of the use of technology in the classroom.
When we look at use of technology, be it iPads, computer labs, smart board, laptops... We need to look towards the lesson plan and the unit plan, rather than that of the tool. Higher order thinking can be shown in almost any application or with any tool, as well as low level thinking can be shown with poor planning and lots of resources thrown at the problem.  The simple pencil with planning and educational creativity can be far better than expensive technology and little planning.

The idea that there is an “App for that” is wrong when it comes to education.

Technology doesn't replace good instruction, but supplements good instruction to show a student's grasp of concepts.  Technology should be there to enhance and contribute to ways the student can demonstrate their creativity and understanding.

There are millions of applications for iPads, smart boards, MacBooks, pc's, chrome books...but are they all good for the classroom?  Will they work well in every situation?  Probably not.

The best learning comes when the learning outcome is thought about first, and the technology second.  I believe that when you have a good lesson idea, the technology will come.  I consult with my teachers, and discuss curriculum first.  We discuss what the student should be able to understand, the time that is available for the learning, and what the high order processes we can incorporate into the unit.

In my job, I manage 250 iPads, and assist teachers in planning and implementing technology in the classroom.  When I look at the SAMR and Modified Blooms, I believe in a suite of apps to improve functionality for iPads that tend to meet the day to day needs of students and teachers.  With this, they can add lots of functionality, without adding Drilling and Fact absorption apps.  What the goal is to make a device that assists in Creativity for the students and teacher, so higher order thinking can be shown. So, here is my current list of Apps I believe add great functions for Creativity.
If you have a tip or app you think should be here,
add it to a Comment, or send me a tweet at New-twitter-bird-icon-64px@art_schultz

This has been cross blogged from my COETAIL blog.   

Minecraft in Education


This week I have been teaching about Minecraft to teachers in my job as an EdTech Specialist.  If you haven't used it, its a pretty interesting little game.  If you have a child that is between 7 and 15, just ask how interesting it is.  The presentation below is of my work mate, David Lee, who is an Elementary Tech integrationist, and wrote the training we presented to staff members at Korea International School.
 

 In this entry, I am going to explain how this new media game, relates to our course objectives. In the reading, "Living and Learning, a New Media Report" from the MacArthur foundation, a few main types of online communities are described.  These types are: "Hanging Out", "Messing Around", and "Geeking Out".

In "Hanging Out" one extends their real world to an online community, extending themselves across distances (or in the same room).  Messing around is best described as "... young people begin to take an interest in and focus on the workings and content of the technology and media themselves, tinkering, exploring, and extending their understanding."

The term "Geeking Out" tends to cover an area of online communities that revolve around gaming, creation of art and music, and finding like-minded communities online for their interest. Minecraft allows users to interact with their friends, to "Hang out", chat and collaborate creatively.  Its like digital legos, but you can build anything.

They can "Mess Around" by building, and creating, gathering things, and find what they need; exploring their virtual world they have created.  In Minecraft, "Geeking Out" is natural, they collaborate with others in the same game to create.  As the PC/Mac version supports for Multiplayer online play, many students play Minecraft outside of school, together across distances.

 In 3rd grade classrooms at Korea International School, we have students working together in Minecraft to create Communities.  They discuss common goals, how they may have a version of a government, trading, etc. They play the game in Minecraft Pocket Edition on the iPad in "Local Server Multiplayer" mode.   This allows the students to create a collaborative space, directly in the classroom.  To see how those rules and goals affect each other, they carry out their plan.  Following this, they reflect on their actions in Minecraft in discussions in the classroom and written in their class journals. The main advantages of Minecraft in Education, is to allow for differentiated approaches to learning.  It fits neatly into Project-Based learning, where the students can Research and Plan, then Create and finally, Reflect on their learning.  Students have the freedom to create, they can make mistakes, and learn from them in a safe environment.

This has been cross-blogged from my COETAIL blog