Rethink Teaching

Over the last few weeks, I have worked closely with some other students in CEP 812 dissecting the wicked problem of ‘Rethink Teaching’.  There are so many problems that it starts to create a snowball effect.

This wicked problem can be looked at through many different lenses, yet, it still remains a problem.  When reading through articles and researching myself, I came up with a handful of problems with rethinking teaching myself.  These included but were not limited to the following:

  • Uniform Learning vs. Customization – Our society has this idea that all students should learn the same thing at the same time.  Technology challenges this idea in that it customizes learning to one’s specific needs and interests. (Collins and Halverson, 2009).
  • Rethinking How Schools Work – Students follow a daily schedule where a bell starts and ends class.  This doesn’t allow for interdisciplinary learning to take place or  collaboration, critical thinking, and knowledge retention to go on amongst students. (NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition, pg.8)
  • Access to Technologies – Teachers are limited in the amount of access they have during the school day to technology (computers, iPads, etc.).  “It is important to get the technology part right to enable the desired transformations in teaching and learning” (Light, 2015).
  • Standardized Assessments – Students are given standardized tests to see how much they have “learned”.  In moving forward, more project-based learning needs to take place, thus weening out standardized assessments. (NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition, pg.10)

As part of the assignment, I created an infographic using piktochart.  This infographic includes some visual aides in referencing the wicked problem of ‘rethink teaching’.

rethink-teaching-2

In addition to the infographic, I was assigned a group.  Throughout the course of the few weeks we had to complete the assignment, my group and I met several times using Google Hangout as well as communicating through a group text message and google docs.  We used these types of technology to help our means of communication.  Our first task was to  pick and choose only a couple of problems that helped create the wicked problem of rethink teaching and propose solutions to it.  We each did a lot of research and came up with four main problems.  They are as follows:

  1. Professional Development for teachers
  2. Student-centered Learning
  3. Flexible spaces and Available Technology
  4. Teacher Evaluations

With these four problems, we created solutions in order to help rethink teaching.  Please feel free to read the whole document here.  Please feel free to leave comments and feedback, I would love to know your thoughts on this wicked problem.

 

 

Information Diet

Beep! Bing! Brrrrinnnnggg! These are the noises we here as a text, email, or phone call come in.  Add the alerts to a Facebook notifications, a tweet getting retweeted, somebody “liking” a picture on your instagram, or the Fox2News app alerting you about the weather and road conditions.  Each day we are consumed with thesephone rings and beeps that keep throwing new information at us.  Think about how you engage in technology each day.  Most people own a smartphone which includes the internet, apps, etc. on it.  These are ways we indulge ourselves in information.  This is our information diet.

This week in CEP 812, I got thinking about my own information diet, what I am seeing, reading, and intaking on a daily basis and how it has and could further effect my thinking.   I thought about the different technologies that I specifically use day to day.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, TeachersPayTeachers, Remind, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube are to name a few.  Others that I refer to on more of a weekly basis include BuzzFeed, Fox2News, and Flipboard.  I use FaceBook and Twitter to keep up with friends and engage in mindless entertainment activities, whereas I use Remind and YouTube more for my classroom use, engaging, communicating, and enhancing lessons.  I look to Fox2News and Flipboard to provide me information on what is happening in the world.  I use YouTube to learn something new from how to use a new technology to how to knit a scarf.  As Henry Jenkins described it, media is produced by people to share it with each other in hopes of learning from each other (Jenkins, 2011).

As we gain more knowledge through these networked affinity spaces we use, we are left to filter and determine if what we just learned to be true or false.  In Eli Praiser’s TedTalk he states that search engines, such as google provide filters that use 57 signals to personally tailor the results to the individual (Praiser, 2011).  The internet is therefore, providing me information on what it thinks I want to see, not necessarily showing me what I need to be seeing (Praiser, 2011).  This poses a limitation on my information diet and directs me to having a confirmation bias.  So the question is how do we see information that challenges our thinking?

This week, I added three new RSS Feeds to my Flipboard.  Integrating Technology, Rethinking Education, and Standardized Testing have already proven to push my thinking to a new level.  For example, the article titled “How to Cheat on State Standardized Tests and Not Get Caught” definitely had be in an uproar until I read the article completely.  I was already formulating a response to the writer in my head while reading the article.  Basically the thoughts going through my head were that yes, teachers are teaching to the test because their evaluations are based on it.  No! Don’t give them the answers, that’s just wrong and CHEATING!  It wasn’t until the final paragraph, where I took a deep breath.    This article got my heart racing and anger stirring because it was against everything I had believed in.  It got me to then stop and think, this really has happened, teachers have made this progression and turned to cheating; now what are we going to do about it?

As I reflect upon my work this week, I keep going back to what Gee  states, “We are exceedingly good at believing what we want and need to believe even in the face of counterevidence” (Gee, 2015, Chapter 1, para. 3). In allowing myself to indulge in information that is out of my comfort zone I am opened to new ideas challenging my previous thoughts and perceptions.  This will only help me in teaching my own students to plug into these affinity spaces where minds become Minds.

References:

Gee, J.  (2013).  The Anti-Education Era.  [Kindle DX Version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com

Jenkins, H.  (2011, August 4).  Media Scholar Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture and Civic Engagement.  Retrieved on February 13, 2016 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgZ4ph3dSmY&feature=youtu.be

Pariser, E.  (2011, March).  Beware online “filter bubbles”.  Retrieved on February 13, 2016 from https://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles?language=en

Rush, D. (2015, May 8). Essay: Drowning in Social Media. [Image] Retrieved on February 13, 2016 from: http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/essay-drowning-social-media

 

What is stopping us from moving forward?

Reimagining teaching or rethinking the way we teach to 21st century learners is a prominent discussion point among educators today.  In CEP 812 this week, we looked at this problem and identified various factors of what is making this problem so wicked.

There are three main areas where change needs to happen in order to get us moving in the right direction.  They include policy, leadership, and practice (NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition, pg.6).  Listed below are just four different problems that add to making our problem of rethinking teaching, WICKED.

  1. Uniform Learning vs. Customization – Our society has this idea that all students should learn the same thing at the same time.  Technology challenges this idea in that it customizes learning to one’s specific needs and interests. (Collins and Halverson, 2009).
  2. Rethinking How Schools Work – Students follow a daily schedule where a bell starts and ends class.  This doesn’t allow for interdisciplinary learning to take place or  collaboration, critical thinking, and knowledge retention to go on amongst students. (NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition, pg.8)
  3. Access to Technologies – Teachers are limited in the amount of access they have during the school day to technology (computers, iPads, etc.).  “It is important to get the technology part right to enable the desired transformations in teaching and learning” (Light, 2015).
  4. Standardized Assessments – Students are given standardized tests to see how much they have “learned”.  In moving forward, more project-based learning needs to take place, thus weening out standardized assessments. (NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition, pg.10)

rethink-teaching-2


Lastly, check out this YouTube video on ‘Rethinking Learning: The 21st Century Learner’ by the MacArthur Foundation.

What are your thoughts about rethinking teaching?  What do you think makes this problem so wicked?

Resources:

Collins, A. & Halverson, R. (2009). Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and the Schools. Retrieved from: https://llk.media.mit.edu/courses/readings/Collins-Rethinking-Education.pdf

Light, D. (2015). Technology, Teaching, and Learning. Retrieved from: http://sowc2015.unicef.org/stories/a-technology-ecosystem-to-support-learning/

MacArthur Foundation. (1, December, 2010). Rethinking Learning: The 21st Century Learner. [YouTube Video]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0xa98cy-Rw

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2015). NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition. Retrieved from: http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2015-nmc-horizon-report-k12-EN.pdf

Technology Integration

This week in my CEP 812 course, we were asked to conduct a survey to our colleagues about technological integration.  I administered a survey through SurveyMonkey to the 23 elementary certified teachers at the school where I currently teach.  The questions I created pertained to what technologies are currently used in the classroom, when they are being used the most, the comfort level of teachers use of technology, and what professional development teachers would like to gain a better understanding of technology.

An example of the survey that was conducted can be found here.

The subject areas in which teachers incorporated technology the most were Math, Science, and Literacy.  It should be noted that subscriptions to technologies for each of these subject areas have been purchased through the school.  The graph below shows the percentages of each subject area.

image copy.png

In continuing with the research among my colleagues, I discovered that although teachers are using technologies in the classroom such as Reflex Math, Raz-Kids, Microsoft Office, iPads, computers, Elmo, and the SmartBoard they are still interested in learning about newer technologies.  The graph below represents the technologies that teachers are wanting to learn more about, with Google Drive/Google Classroom being the highest at 47.4%.image copy 3.png

Please check out the full analysis of the survey.  With the idea of technology integration, there comes a lot of wicked problems.  Money, compensation, way of teaching, professional development, and technology are only a few of the problems that comes with this movement.  It’s not a deciding factor of whether it needs to happen or not.  I think we can all agree that this shift in thinking and way of teaching is going to happen.  The question now is, when?