Weekly Challenges #4

In this week, we are going to discuss this documentary.

http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/88156606-82dc-4c6e-bdc0-65cf0dc37692/digital-media-new-learners-of-the-21st-century/

This webpage includes some new formats of teaching in US using digital media. Some examples are game design lessons, letting students having their own production, and using mobile devices to investigate the world. I think these practices would make a great impact to the future.

In one of the video, it discussed about the term “digital literacy”. This term has mentioned many times in education technology and it means an ability to find and evaluate information in the net. Since there is a flooding amount of information on Internet, student should have the correct use of it and be able to recreate the content from the information retrieved. Therefore, teachers have responsibility to guide the students and let them discover the network.

On the other hand, in most videos, new media is used instead of traditional ways in teaching and students seemed to enjoy in the lessons. As mentioned in one of the video, many students do not like the assessments that test their academic subjects. They would be more interest if it is talking about something they like. I think these things are related to the UDL. Using multimedia in lesson can be multiple mean of representation, and it also engages students in working the task. For example, kids would feel boring if going to museum and just watch the exhibitions. They would be more eager to work if they have a cell phone and take photos. Hence, when we become a teacher, we should try to include creative teaching methods and get things related to their interest.

In the future, I think the classroom might have more elements. Since there is some promotions in using laptops or tablets in the class, the number of books students needed to take would be less. There would be more communications through the network and student would need to interact immediately to other responses. The form of assessment would also be changed. There would be less assessments in pen and paper; more would be in online. Moreover, teachers would not need to lecture too much in the class. Instead, they would assist their students individually or in small groups about constructing their work using digital devices.

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3 Great Tweets on Educational Technology

In this week, we are required to find 3 tweets with unique and valuable information about educational technology and digital learners.

1.

This tweet includes a website link which gives 4 ideas in introducing digital citizenship to younger students. This is important for teachers and digital learners since technology is being spread rapidly and children get contact with electronic devices in a very young age. Therefore, it is important for students to understand the concepts of digital citizenship earlier. Also, teachers can treat those ideas as guidelines to teach the students so that the greatest effect can be achieved.

 

2.

The sentence in this tweet is very reflective and I agree what P21 said. As information expand rapidly in the network, more learning opportunities are provided to the student. Therefore, teaching methods may need to be altered to meet the new requirements in this generation. This tweet would be beneficial to other educators because traditional teaching methods may not work well now. We are responsible to allow new materials and choose appropriate ones for our students.

 

3.

This tweet brings an important message that special needs students should have a chance to stand out and talk about their own ideas in the classrooms. The tweet includes a link of her blog. In the blog, she introduced the term “biologic user interface” which encourages those students to engage. At the end, she asked that whether we are willing to use technology and help those students. I think this is helpful to teachers because it reminds why we use technology in the teaching environment. Since technology brings opportunities to humans, the special needs kids will now get a chance to learn better now than in the past.

Analysis of a Video #2

In this week we are going to discuss about this video.

 

In this video, Temple Gradin talked about how we teach autism or Asperger kids and why we need them in our society. She gave examples that animals think in visuals and she suggested that this would also suit for students, especially the students having autism of Asperger syndrome. Moreover, she said that tho in the world have three kinds of minds: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers and verbal thinkers. Autism or Asperger kids mainly fall on the category of visual thinkers. As Temple said, “The world needs different kind of minds to work together.” So this is why those kids are also important.

Her talk reminds me of Universal Design for Learning. When we become a teacher, we may have to a chance to teach the students with learning disabilities. As the video suggested, the autism or Asperger kids are usually visual thinker. Therefore, using the principles of UDL, we should try to use multiple representation so that students who are weak in some aspects can learn better. In the cases of students with autism or Asperger syndrome, visual representation such as videos or pictures would be a good choice since they prefer to think in images. On the other hand, it is also important to engage the students with learning disabilities. Many of them are actually capable in working, but sometimes they are just being ignored. Therefore, teacher should encourage them by let them answer your questions and work in some small groups so that they are getting interested in learning.

Besides the students which needs special attention, the video also suggests different students have different thinking patterns. Hence, teacher should consider differentiated instruction in classes. For example, when I become a math teacher, my class will have students in different levels. For visual thinkers, I will use diagrams to try to indicate the main points of the question; for pattern thinkers, I will give them more challenging questions as they are good at learning math; for verbal thinkers, I will explain the question to them by showing the flow of ideas in arrows.

 

Analysis of a Video

In this week we are going to discuss about this video.

In this video, Bill Gates discussed about the situation that there are no feedback system to teachers. Therefore, it is important to support teachers so that they will have a better teaching in lessons. Also, he also pointed out that teachers can also check their teaching by recording their lessons and achieve some improvements.

I have some thoughts about the video. Firstly, I think the idea of setting and using a camera for reflection in class is good. As the video mentioned, the video can be shared to other teachers for reference or other purposes. Moreover, I believe that it may help to enhance classroom discipline. Teachers can watch not only their efficiency of teaching, but also they can observe the students’ behavior. In normal class, teachers sometimes cannot notice that some students are not paying attention or talking to others. Using cameras allows teachers to recognize students’ reaction or inappropriate conducts and they can set up norms for those problems. When I get graduated and become a teacher, I agree that I will not get used to camera for the first time. However in reality, you mostly get feedback from teaching when you are trained to be a teacher in university. And also students usually cannot give an accurate feedback to you. Hence, it would be a great idea if the idea is introduced in other places.

Secondly, the video brings a message concerning with students’ quality. In present days, US students have a lower ranking in reading, science and maths compared to some other developed countries and China. Teachers have a responsibility to let the students learn the best they can. Hence, it is important for teachers to have continual professional development. So how they can improve themselves besides watching other teachers’ video on some lessons? I think that teachers can have a summer course about his subject or pedagogy knowledge because I believe they have a better effect than the one-day workshops and school can encourage teachers to do that. Moreover, as technology continues to develop, online courses is a new option for teachers and they can be trained whenever they want. A teacher does not only teach student, they should also learn the new things to get more prepared in class.

Given the realities of our modern age and the demands of our children’s future, is it really ok to allow teachers to choose whether or not they incorporate modern technologies into their instruction?

I am going to become a teacher when I graduate, and it is a good question for me to think of. Truly speaking, introducing technology in lesson helps the students’ learning. However, too much technology exposure to students may lead to a bad result. Hence, I think it is important for teachers to choose whether it is appropriate to include technology into their instructions.

In my home university I am majoring in Mathematics Education and I have learned how to integrate technology into our lessons. We are taught Geogebramathematics software called Geogebra which is used to draw graphs and compute expressions. One good thing about using this software is that it is free and easy to use. At that time, we decided a lesson which is suitable to use Geogebra in teaching. After finishing that course, I believe that it is useful to illustrate some topics, such as geometry and functions in mathematics and students can have a better understanding in these concepts. But is it good to have technology in all the lessons? The answer is, no.

First of all, there are something that is irreplaceable by technology. For example, I believe that letting students to work using papers as a medium is important. Some research shows that writing is beneficial to children in cognition and fine motor developments. (Reference: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/16/why-does-writing-make-us-_n_900638.html) In my own experience, I feel better in working math problems if I have a pen and draft papers to plot out some ideas in solving the problem. After some trials, I figured out how to solve the problem and this is why I think writing is a good practice especially in Maths.

Secondly, there are some bad effects in the excessive use of technology. For instance, using computers too long may cause eye sickness and body pain. We would not be sure the students are using technology appropriately. They may play during class or they visit some websites which promote violence or indecency. Furthermore, not all the knowledge from Internet are true because everyone can edit information in the net. Therefore, if teacher let the students search the knowledge without supervision, they may learn the wrong facts.

In conclusion, it is better for teachers to decide when to include modern technologies in classes. Although technologies can bring some advantages in teaching, they should also be dealt with caution so that the best learning effects of students can be achieved.

technology