Week 11 Blog Post

For the proposal I am creating for my school district I am suggesting that the school adopt a 1:1 personal learning device program for each student in the school district.  The district currently only has this in place in two schools in the district, and I believe that the education if the students in this district would be transformed if a PLN was available for each student.  So because the district does not have 1:1 for most of their schools, before beginning this transition, they will need to implement a few policies in order to protect themselves, the students and enhance the learning of the students in the most optimal way.

According to the K-12 blueprint, new policies should focus on new technology, and not limit students to older types of technology.  They should also not focus on banning certain sites of activities and not try to anticipate certain problems.  Policies should in stead be learner centered, promote responsible use and meet state regulations (K-12 Blueprint).  Jennifer Jenson also mentioned over and over in the article “Tips for Creating Technology Policies for K-12” that policy makers have to let go of their control and their fears and put their trust in the hands of the students.  Rather teach them what it means to be a responsible and safe user of technology, than instead of just blocking numerous sites and never give them the opportunity to demonstrate and learn responsibility.

It is also important to ensure that the policies one creates promote student centered learning, research and innovation, professional learning, leadership and access, infrastructure and digital learning environments (Alberta Government).

It is with all these things in mind, and the help from some sample policies, that I have created the few following policies that I believe my school district would benefit from.

– Students who participate in the 1:1 program at HCPS will be required to sign and follow an Acceptable Use Contract which will ensure that the program remains true to its mission which is to enhance and enrich the education of students.  Students new to the program will take a course on how to be a responsible digital citizen.  The course will be refreshed annually at the beginning of each school year.

– Students will use their personal learning device to enrich their own education while in school.  They will use their PLN in the way that will best benefit their education in relation to assigned curriculums and state standards, as directed by their teacher.

– Teacher will be competent with all devices that are available for students use as PLNs and will receive adequate training on commonly used programs.

I am still very new at writing these policies and it was more challenging than I anticipated.  They probably still need some work and revision, but I think the three I have written above are a good start.

While doing research for this, I found a video that explains digital leadership really well, and issue that concerns most of us. There are also a lost of student resources and teacher resources about digital citizenship on this site!

1-to-1 Essentials – Phase 3 | Common Sense Media. (n.d.). 
Alberta Government, Learning and Technology Policy Framework. (2013).
Intel. Policy and Leadership. K-12 Blueprint. (2015).
Winske, C. (2014, February 17). Tips for Creating Technology Policies for K-12. 

Week 10 Reflection

This week was a tough topic!  And one that seemed to stir up some mixed reactions in people.  We learned a lot of different types of technologies that can be used to create and design works of art and clothing item.  It seemed like some other people in the class had some issues understanding to benefits or purposes of this kind of art.  I had some trouble with that at first, but after seeing a wide variety of examples, I was able to start to understand and appreciate the electronic crafts people are creating.

Reading the other blogs this week was really interesting.  On this topic prior knowledge really seemed to vary amongst the classmates.  It was interesting to see some people who knew quite a bit about this topic, and were able to explain it clearly and more reasonably than those of us who were really unfamiliar with this.  One of the things that makes it harder to understand I think is the wide variety of items and methods and tools that can be used to create technological arts.  It include simple, more mechanical items like the really cool Chibitronics activities, and the more complex crafts like clothing.  When it comes to clothing that is electronic I can get really excited about the more practical items, and all of these innovations are really amazing.  These are things that I could never come up with myself, and the fact that people are being so creative and inventive, even if you don’t like the items aesthetically, you have to appreciate the intelligence and thoughtfulness.  To me, it is mostly exciting to continue to see our generation continuing to innovate and create.  I missed the Twitter chat this week, but I did go back and read over the conversation and it really helped me feel better about the topic.  Everyone made some really great contributions to the chat, and reading it I felt like my awareness and knowledge had increased.

To me, every time a new device comes out I think to myself, this has to be it!  Everything that can be invented has, but then a few months later, something just as exciting gets released.  It makes me happy to know that people are still just as creative as ever.

Week 10 Blog Post

The use of electronics and technology as art is a budding concept.  The works of art and fashion that have been created thus far are interesting, often mesmerizing, beautiful and captivating.  Lots of these works include the use of electricity conductivity, LED lights and small, portable batteries.  These lights and wires and batteries can be used to add lighting elements and interactive pieces to works of art.  The batteries and light create the light, but in many cases, as with the Chibitronics sample activities, the use must interact, move their finger across a certain spot, to activate the light.  IT is really cool to watch, and even though the elements and materials are pretty simple, it still seems fascinating.

Leah Buechley shows in her TED Talk video another similar technique to creating electronic art.  However instead of using copper wire, as with Chibitronics, her and her fellow scientist/engineers have create a pen that write using a type of ink that conducts electricity.  So, essentially you can draw and doodle or design, attach batteries and lights to certain points of the drawing, and it will light up!  It was pretty incredible to watch.  The great thing about her design, even though it it undoubtedly more expensive that the Chibitronics kits, and assuredly less easy to access, it more smooth integrate current art concepts with future ones.  Leah’s design take a common art concept, drawing and elevates it into a technological art type with the use of batteries and lights.  Her ability to allow artists to still draw and do something familiar really helps bridge the gap between traditional art and electronic art.  Leah has also written a book called “Sew Electric” with contains many different art projects for both children and adults that incorporate electronics into the arts.  She says one of her main pruposes for writing the book was to “get people excited about electronics and programming. We hope it will help people play, tinker, hack, and learn,” a common goal that many of us educators have as well (Mellis, 2014).  Her book seems like a really great starting off point for beginners with electronic art, like myself, and I hope to get my hands on that book soon!

As I was looking at these electronic arts and crafts, I started by looking at the Chibitronics and sketching with electronics and the beautiful lLED light daisy painting (https://vimeo.com/40904471) and I was beginning to get pretty fascinated by these products.  Then I began to look at the electronic items that you can wear, and the light-up eyeshadow in particular and I started thinking that these fashion designs were starting to look like “The Hunger Games” and I was wondering what the point of doing that to clothing was.  Then I thought about it some more and I and thought, what is the point of adding lights and electronics to anything? Then I remembered that the purpose is just to create are to create and be expressive.  The works, though some may look strange, they are beautiful expressions technologic and electronic culture and the advances and adaptations that are taking place in art and fashion.  Lighting and electronics are a new medium through which artists can use to create.

I did some more research, and in addition to becoming electronic, fashion and clothing, and perhaps one day, works of art, are becoming ‘smart’.  There are pieces of clothing that light up, and the color that is displayed is dependent on the wearers mood (http://www.aol.com/article/2015/06/30/smart-fashion-is-the-new-frontier-for-tech/21203405/).  Clothing is becoming a part of wearable technology and the Internet of Things!

Einarson, E. (2013, January 2). Go Bionic With These Wearable Arduino Projects.
Interactive Light Painting: Pu Gong Ying Tu (Dandelion Painting). (n.d.).
Mellis, D. (2014, February 4). Arduino Blog » Blog Archive » Sew electric with Leah Buechley – Interview.
Smart fashion is the new frontier for tech – AOL.com. (2015, June 30). 

Week 9 Reflection

This week was exciting for me!  I hosted the twitter chat for the first time ever!  Admittedly, I was pretty nervous going into it.  I never hosted a twitter chat before, and it seemed like a lot of responsibility!  I actually really enjoyed it though. Often, during our twitter chat the conversation moves so quickly that it can be hard to keep up.  Being the host this week forced me to pay extra close attention so I could track what was going on, and respond and facilitate the conversation as best as possible.  Being the host allowed me to get more out of the conversation, and more out of the topic this week than when I was just a regular participant.  At the beginning of this week I found myself researching more than required, and putting a lot more thought into the topic than I had previously.  Coming up with questions for the twitter chat also forced me to think more about the topic, and it forced me to do some backwards thinking, which was interesting, because so far this semester I have only been answering questions, and comping up with questions requires a different kind of thinking!  That may also been because I found this topic to be one of the more relevant and applicable topics to my own teaching too that we’ve learned about this semester.

I really enjoyed writing my blog this week and reading the other blogs and talking and leading the twitter chat.  BYOD is a complex topic, and takes A LOT of planning, but I think it is one of the ideas that could really most easily be implemented in school, and one of the most effective.  I will be working at a new school in the upcoming year, and based on what I have read about in their technology plan I do not think they are ready to quite implement a district or even school wide BYOD policy, but I think it is something I might like to explore and experiment using in my classroom, with just my own group of kids.

Week 9 Blog Post

BYOD is an idea and implementation where students bring their own personal learning devices to school (laptop, iPad/tablet, smartphone, etc.) to be use to learning and instructional purposes while in school.  This is an alternative to schools providing a personal learning device for each student.  Many schools across the country struggle to obtain enough devices so that each students can have access to it at any given time. The most ideal situation would be 1:1 ration of devices per students, but because of budget cuts and the high cost of technology, many schools are unable to do this. However, because teachers and schools are responsible for preparing students to live and work in the 21st century, access to devices and technology is completely necessary (Walsh, 2012).  Schools have began using BYOD as an answer to this problem (Chadband, 2012).

BYDO is an innovative idea, and is really the simplest way to allow all students to access technology without crippling a school’s budget.  Many students, especially in high school, bring these kinds of devices to school with them anyway.  In the past educators and administrators had to fight against students use of personal devices during the school day.  Lots of wasted energy and effort went into keeping students off these devices, when it was almost inevitable they would bring them to school anyway and attempt to use them during the day as well (Flanigan, 2013).  Now schools can take advantage of all of this available technology that students have an bring to school anyway, instead of fight against it.  Additionally, one article claims that BYOD is even better than having a 1:1 ratio of devices for students in the school because when everyone has the same kind of device and same kind of software, teachers just tend to do what they usually do, but when students bring in their own devices, teachers are forced to adapt and use new ideas to allow all the different models of technology to fit in with their instructional plan (Flanigan, 2013).

BYOD also complements a flipped classroom really well.  When students come in, they are expected to have done their homework, which usually entails watching an instructional video, however it is inevitable that students will have questions for their teacher when apply the instruction in the class the next day.  One of the greatest struggle of teaching, helping each student as quickly and as thoroughly as possible, can now be augmented through the use of personal learning devices.  One teacher who uses a flipped classroom in a BYOD school has her students refer back to the lecture she recorded on their device until she is able to go around and help each student (Chadband, 2012).

BYOD policies do bring some trouble to district though, and in order to be implemented properly, requires a lot of planning and forethought.  One main issue is privacy and security.  Schools can address this through having different networks for teachers and students (Holeywell, 2013).  Another solution to ensuring that students act appropriately while using technology, which includes discouraging cyberbullying, downloading, looking at inappropriate sites, etc., is by teaching student how to be digital citizens and how to act responsibly while online, additionally, schools can have students sign acceptable use contracts before implementing BYOD policies.

Also while implementing a BYOD plan it is important to have forums for parents and community members to attend, so they can fully understand what the school is doing and why, and to have an outlet to ask any questions (Walsh, 2012).  Schools must also iron out bandwidth issues before starting BYOD (Martini, 2013).  It is important that schools’ bandwidth is able to handle the increased amount of devices that it will support with BYOD, which can be up to 3 or 4 times more devices (Martini).

To me, BYOD just makes sense.  At the beginning of the school year, many schools send out school supply lists, things that they want to make sure students have when school starts.  Why would we not include a personal learning device on that list, when most students will bring one anyway?  Most students love using their phone or tablets, and the ability to use them while in school will only increase their engagement and excitement while learning.  Of course there can always be the stipulation that students who cannot afford one can receive assistance from the school, as happens with regular school supplies, but many students will probably be able to bring in devices, and will want to, and will be able to help enrich and modernize their learning and education.

Here are some really great tips for starting a BYOD program in schools from : http://www.edweek.org/dd/articles/2013/02/06/02byod.h06.html

Tips

1. Be clear about the rules. Have students and parents sign an acceptable-use policy, or post color-coded signs throughout the school that clearly spell out what is expected in each area and the consequences for infractions.

2. Develop a systematic rollout. New BYOD initiatives bring with them a lot of questions, concerns, and fears from the community (including staff and students). Helping people first understand the benefits and risks—through meetings, training sessions, and printed materials—leads to greater acceptance.

3. Address capacity, not just coverage.Adequate coverage ensures there are no dead zones, but addressing capacity is an important step in preventing network overload. Problems typically occur where students or teachers congregate and use their wireless technology simultaneously

4. Teach digital citizenship. Any BYOD initiative should focus as much on behavior as infrastructure, given the trouble students can get into otherwise.

Chadband, E. (2012, July 19). Should Schools Embrace “Bring Your Own Device”? – NEA Today. 
Flanigan, R. (2013, February 7). Schools Set Boundaries for Use of Students’ Digital Devices. 
Holeywell, R. (2013, September 3). BYOD Policies, Growing More Popular, Create Challenges for Schools. 
Martini, P. (2013, December 22). 4 Challenges That Can Cripple Your School’s BYOD Program. 
Walsh, K. (2012, December 16). BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) can Work Well When Approached Properly. 

Week 8 Reflection

This week we discussed game based play, and Minecraft in particular. I had heard of Minecraft before, but I really knew nothing about it. I now know how to play the game, or at least I understand what to do to play the game, and I’m not someone who plays video games, but I must admit all this research and discussion has intrigued me. I learned that on its own, without and educator interference, the game can help students in reading and writing and math.

The game has such a flexible platform, and because there are no missions or specific purposes, this allows educators to have a lot of freedom to adapt and use the game in whatever way they like.

In my blog, I wasn’t sure if I was creating a game correctly, or even in a way that made sense to others, but I got some really great responses on my blog, and it turned out I made a pretty good game! I made a math game because that was the closest connection I made when I started learning about the game. But after reading other blogs and after the twitter chat, I was able to see a lot of the great ways Minecraft could be used in other subjects. I was thinking that Minecraft would also be great in application to geography and history. Students can build historic places or events. Even to me that sounds like so much fun and I would love to see what students would be able to come up with and see their learning come to life in the game.

I also really appreciated the portion of the twitter chat where we talked about literacy connections to Minecraft. I think allowing students to build settings of books would be great! Also, connecting Minecraft with texts makes a lot of great sense to me because there are Minecraft books!   You can use the game to interest students in reading!

Week 8 Blog Post

Video games, both on consuls and computers are probably the facet of technology that I am furthest out of touch with.  I didn’t grow up playing video games, and because by the time I was able to get into video games on my own, at places besides my house, everyone was so much better than me already because I missed out on years of early practice and play, so I quickly lost interest.  Thousands of people are relentlessly enthralled by video games, but it’s a fascination that I was never quite able to relate too.  Because of this deficit, I had to do a bit of extra work researching on what Minecraft is and how it works and is played.

According to Minecraftopia.com the general purpose of the game is to build and create a home for your character.  As the game advances you can create a more elaborate home with more items, while at the same time protecting your home from invaders.  The game Minecraft all on its own already contains many educational benefits, including reading, writing, math and social skills (Minecraft.gamepedia.com).  But Minecraftedu is a different branch of the game the exists specifically for using the game Minecraft for educational purposes.  The game itself is pretty open and flexible. There are no specific commands a player must respond to, no missions or quests (minecraftopia.com).  So users are free to be creative and build.

Because of the nonrestrictive nature of Minecraft there are no internal games, no other things for players to engage in apart from the main objective of the game.  I’m not sure if our task is to design a game that could be a part of the Minecraft world, or to create a game that takes place outside of Minecraft, but you apply results or parts of the game to the game.  Anyways, I here is the game I came up with.

Since the essence of the game is building, I would create a game that requires players to build certain types of structures.  The game would have students practice using perimeter, area and volume.  Each player would have a certain amount of time (e.g., one ‘day’) to create a certain amount of buildings in given dimensions.  If the buildings were completed and correct, players would earn certain materials/tools.  Students could also be given a sum or product, and would need to figure out the dimensions of buildings to build by figuring out factors that multiply up to the given product.  this harder version would be for older students, or students who have demonstrated proficiency with the game.  Not only would this game be fun and engaging for students, as well as rewarding but they would also be able to see where measurement is commonly used in the real world, through construction!

Lots of other educational applications exist for Minecraft, including ratio and proportion and even reading comprehension strategies.  Kids seem to love Minecraft and many educators and some schools are already using Minecraft with their students.  Linked below is a video that shows a school in North Carolina that has been using Minecraft with its students for year.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO_cs1DrbhA

How To Play Minecraft| Minecraftopia. (n.d.). Retrieved July 8, 2015.
Miller, A. (2012, April 13). Ideas for Using Minecraft in the Classroom. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
Minecraft in Education. (n.d.). Retrieved July 8, 2015, from http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Minecraft_in_education