29. May 2015 · Comments Off on OLTD 509 – Emergent Environments and Technologies · Categories: OLTD 509 Reflections

509

Evidence: BYOD Seminar website (February, 2015)

OLTD Learning Outcomes addressed:

  • Research and identify emerging technologies with educational applications not yet adopted by mainstream education or in early adoption phases
  • Examine current research around technology adoption, best practices for change management and technology integration
  • Plan learning opportunities most suitable to the strengths and challenges of a variety of environments and tools
  • Undertake engagement with environment through online facilitation for effective learning – moderation and mediation

Reflection to Support Evidence:

Lisa Lewis, Stephanie Boychuk and I teamed up to co-lead a one-week seminar (Jan 16-22) on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for members of our cohort in OLTD 509. This seminar collected personal experiences with BYOD and generated a resource of lesson plans using BYOD. We were given free rein to run the seminar in any way we wished as long as we kept the time-on-task to six or fewer hours for the week. Our team decided to host our seminar in a Weebly site with cross-posting in the Google + community. While all team leaders work at Vancouver Island University (VIU) and were able to meet in person, much of our planning was done via collaboration in a Google doc, a copy of which forms one of the pages in our website. We were fortunate to have two people provide us with interviews on our topic; Graeme Campbell, a member of our cohort, and Bill Beese, a forestry instructor at VIU.

Speaking to the creation of the website and facilitation of the seminar, I have found that moderating and mediating online learning has become easier with time. I feel much more confident with my skills than I did one year ago when I attempted my very first team facilitation. My initial apprehension regarding online facilitation was due in large part to a lack of knowledge of and experience with the tools. As I move through each course in OLTD I am exposed to more strategies for planning effective online learning opportunities. I am able to use these strategies as a filter when looking at emerging technology; will the technology do what I need it to do to meet the learning outcome? Is it the best tool for the job?

I was very happy with our approach of using a website as our seminar platform. I like that it allowed for student created content, as we gave each participant editing rights to the site. I don’t think that this would be a great strategy for a younger, larger group of students, but it seemed to work well with a small group of adult learners. I also liked that our website was easily accessed by all other members of our cohort (and if fact, the entire digital world if they wish), which in theory could increase the amount of content generated and add to the discussions. It was also interesting how much impact the personal interviews had on the participants. This reinforced to me that learners can be more engaged when the content is put in context.

Technology is always changing. It is important to be able to sift through these emerging technologies to identify those that may have educational applications. Not all emerging technology has a place in the classroom, but if an educator wishes to adopt a technology they should be sure to understand the best approach for making the change and integrating the technology. As I continue to add more technology and tools to my teaching practice, I need to carefully consider the educational value of the tool. Learning opportunities should play to the strengths of the tool or device, and challenges (such as barriers to access, whether knowledge or socio-economic) need to be addressed. I will continue to carefully consider how I can best integrate technology so that my students are engaged and effectively learning.

 

Link to Evidence: OLTD BYOD Seminar

 

 

Evidence: The Tech’knowledge’y Tree Story (February, 2015)

OLTD Learning Outcomes addressed:

  • Be familiar with common terms, definitions and elements related to emerging technologies
  • Consider potential design/implementation opportunities and challenges of emerging technologies
  • Demonstrate basic competency with design and implementation with a variety of online learning environments and tools

Reflection to Support Evidence:

OLTD 509 (Emerging Technology) required students to think about how emerging technology connected to or could be used in education, specifically for teaching and learning. As a means of summarizing what we learned during the 6 weeks, we were tasked with answering two critical challenge questions:

How can you select emerging technologies which fit your developing philosophy of education?

How can you inspire, initiate and implement sustainable integration of emerging technologies in your own practice, and in the practice of others?

During 509 we were treated to many different seminars conducted by our peers on emerging technology. While lurking in the gamification seminar, I became intrigued by The Hero’s Journey, a narrative that describes the typical adventure of a (sometimes reluctant) hero who is inspired to take on a challenge. I am starting to see the benefits of gamification, and was inspired by this outline to create a story that would allow me to show what I have learned. To create the story I followed the general narrative, and compiled the many resources provided by my classmates during their seminars and Google Plus posts. I am thankful to be part of such an amazing group of teachers.

Creation of this story allowed me to explore my limited understanding of gamification. I have struggled with how I might incorporate gamification in my own practice as I don’t completely understand the concept. Hero’s Journey has given me a sense of a quest pattern I might be able to use in my lessons. Gathering together resources to fill the Library of Technology in the story helped me synthesize what I learned through participation in various seminars as well as resources I collected during my own research. To address the issue of how to filter through the technology I revisited my teaching philosophy. What I realized is that while I want to move towards student created content using various digital tools it is important to me to maintain a personal connection with my students. The students and their learning is what is important and I need to choose tools based on how they will enhance learning, not simply because it is the newest and shiniest toy.

The story’s main character experienced barriers in her implementation of technology, much like I would in my classroom. Based on my understanding of emerging technology I was able to identify some potential barriers, such as lack of universal access or knowledge of technology, and provide some resources that may help address them. Curating these resources in my e-portfolio ensures that they will be available to me as a future reference.

Technology is increasingly present in our schools but not necessarily as educational tools. Students often have access to technology and communicate in ways that may seem foreign to many instructors. The reality the students graduate into requires them to be competent digital citizens. As instructors it is imperative that we provide opportunities for students to gain knowledge and proficiency in the use of technology. In order to do that, educators must ensure that they remain current with technology and its potential for educational use. When choosing technology it is important to have clearly defined filters:

  • How will you choose what technology to use?
  • What best fits your teaching philosophy?
  • What tool is appropriate for the skill or knowledge level of your students?
  • Is the tool effective in increasing learning of the concept?
  • Is the tool easily accessed by everyone in the class (universal access considerations)?

Equally important is assessing your own comfort level with the technology; educators should have a basic competency with any tool they ask their students to use. I can implement these outcomes in my teaching practice by ensuring I clearly understand and apply my own filters as I review emerging technologies for use with my students.

Link to evidence: The Tech’knowledge’y Tree Story