Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Future of Teaching and Learning - Designing Learning Experiences

In past posts, I discussed the future of teaching and learning and whether grading and information presentation (lecture) would be a part of it. Both of these activities will decline in the future, but there is one activity that is sure to be a part of the future of teaching and learning. In the future, teachers will likely spend much time designing learning experiences. Designing learning experiences is what teachers do when they begin to think about instructional strategies within the larger picture of the full days and weeks of the classroom. A teacher who designs learning experiences sees herself not only as a presenter of information, but as one who can make use of all possible learning resources and methods including one-on-one instruction from the teacher, information presentation from the teacher, information resources from the Internet, computer applications, and more. Most of this article is an excerpt from my book, Educational Technology for Teachers. 
As a designer of learning experiences, the teacher takes advantage of all aspects of the Information Age. The teacher acts as a seeker and evaluator of resources, finding accurate information and resources in formats that are developmentally appropriate and that match student needs (Aslan & Reigeluth, 2013; Reigeluth, 2011). In cases where appropriate resources are not available, the teacher might also act as a creator of resources from which students can learn. The teacher works with individual students to choose appropriate learning resources for each student, or she may design a project for the student to complete using the resources. Then the student takes personal responsibility to learn from the resources and make any necessary adjustments in consultation with the teacher. In this approach, the teacher spends more time working individually with each student and less time presenting information to the whole class. This process is also student centered because the student plays an active role in the learning experience.
This model, in which teachers become designers of learning experiences, allows for differentiation of instruction. In this approach, all students can reach mastery of the learning material, but not all students reach mastery at the same time (Reigeluth, 2011; Reigeluth & Garfinkle, 1994). Students learn a variety of skills critical for the Information Age when teachers design learning experiences, including information, media and technology skills; initiative and self-direction; and productivity and accountability. 
Seeing yourself as a designer of learning experiences makes your job as a teacher more enjoyable, more important and more effective. This approach to teaching and learning represents the way that we should teach because of the characteristics of the Information Age society in which we live. As access to and the amount of information continues to grow, teachers will increasingly see themselves as designers of learning experiences (Aslan & Reigeluth, 2013; Duffy, 2009).

References:

Aslan, S., & Reigeluth, C. M. (2013). Educational technologists: Leading change for a new paradigm of education. TechTrends, 57(5), 18–24. doi:10.1007/s11528-013-0687-4
Duffy, F. (2009). The need for systemic transformation change in school districts (part 1). Rice Connexions. Retrieved November 26, 2013, from http://cnx.org/content/m19579/1.4/
Reigeluth, C. M. (2011). FutureMinds committee meeting. Presented at the Association for Educational Communications and Technology International Convention, Jacksonville, FL.
Reigeluth, Charles M., & Garfinkle, R. J. (1994). Systemic Change in Education. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Educational Technology for SD Teachers Podcast - Episode 5: Ellendale, ND: 1:1 iPads: How do a Kindergarten and High School Teacher use Technology


This week, we go on location to Ellendale ND where iPads are plentiful (1:1) for all grades and all ages. Two teachers share their experiences using these iPads and other technologies in Kindergarten and High School Language Arts classes.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Is Grading a Part of the Future of Teaching?

In this post, we'll consider whether the teacher of the future will do more or less grading. In a previous post, I discussed whether information presentation activities will be a part of the future of teaching. These posts are excerpts from my book, Educational Technology for Teachers. 
Now, on to grading. Many of the tools and applications that computers provide help teachers to be more efficient in their grading processes. A teacher can use a spreadsheet application to allow for quick grading and automation of scoring processes. Many school districts have adopted student information systems that help teachers quickly report grades to school administrators and share grades with parents online. Student information systems such as Powerschool and Infinite Campus support easy sharing of grades and information to faculty and parents. 
Going beyond technologies that simply allow teachers to be more efficient in their grading, there are also applications and programs that can automate the grading process itself. For example, some software applications such as SMART Response and Socrative can be set up to gather student responses to classroom activities. In some systems, student responses can be combined automatically in a grade book with no additional work required from the teacher. Learning management systems like Moodle and MyBigCampus support online courses with automatic grading features. As these grading applications become more and more ubiquitous, it is safe to assume that the teacher of the future will spend less time grading than teachers do today. I don't think that many teachers will miss doing more grading!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Educational Technology for SD Teachers Podcast - Episode 3: Project-Based Learning, going beyond copy, paste and present

This week, we discuss how to go beyond the basic boring project-based learning wherein students just copy and paste items to a powerpoint and then present it.

 Here are the links from this post:



Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A List of Free Mobile Apps for Learning About Which Teachers Should Definitely Feel Sort of Ambivalent

Here is a selection of recommended apps for learning that I have used and that I feel ambivalent toward (in an intensely burning sort of way)! This is a list of apps that I think every teacher should definitely sort of know about because of their somewhat universal applicability over more or less of a variety of subject areas, with the exception of some or many of these :). 

Okay, so that was my attempt to be humorous and make fun of app lists out there that show nothing but love for apps and how cool they are. The reality is that apps are only tools, and they help us to do specific things. If they fail to help us do these things with more efficiency, then we should discard them for something else. Also, lists like these cannot replace a good search by a goal-oriented teacher, so really the best way to find free mobile apps for learning is to search on app stores such as Google Play, the Windows App Store, or the Apple App Store. These app stores have education sections featuring apps specifically designed for learning. 

The apps listed below are also linked in my book, Educational Technology for Teachers, where we discuss appropriate uses of apps for the Information Age to help teachers be more efficient and effective in teaching. Heres the list: 
  • Adobe Ideas - (Apple IOS devices only) - An illustration app for drawing.
  • Comic Book Creators (Apple IOS and Android) - Tools for creating comic books on a variety of subjects. 
  • Educreations - (Apple IOS devices only) - A tool for recording and sharing lessons on a whiteboard. 
  • Evernote - (Apple IOS and Android) - Save and share notes and pictures across all of your devices.
  • Haiku Deck - (Apple IOS and web) - An alternative to powerpoint for creating engaging presentations 
  • Idea Sketch - A free concept mapping and diagramming tool. 
  • iTranslate - A language translation app. 
  • iTunesU - (Apple IOS devices only) - An app for accessing many free educational materials from higher education. 
  • Learn with Homer - (Apple IOS devices only) A learning app for children aged 3–6.
  • Monkey Math - (Apple IOS and Android) - A fun game for learning math. 
  • Piano apps - (Apple IOS and Android) - A multi touch Piano app for learning music and notes.
  • Prezi - (Apple IOS devices only) - An app for creating online presentations. 
  • Reading apps - (Inkling, iBooks, Kindle) - Tools that support online, interactive and E-book reading. 
  • TeamViewer - An app for teachers that allows you to control a computer with a mobile device. 
  • Toontastic - (Apple IOS devices only) - A tool for creating, animating and recording fun stories.
There it is. I hope you feel an intense ambivalence toward these apps after testing them out. :) Let me know in the comments if you have used one of these apps, or if there are any additional apps that you feel definitely maybe should be on this list.