Maker Experiment #2 (Universal Design)

Part 1:

This week we were asked to revisit our Maker Experiment Activity to revise and reshape using Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The Center for Applied Special Technologies (CAST) has defined UDL as: a framework for designing curricula that enable all individuals to gain knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for learning. UDL provides rich supports for learning and reduces barriers to the curriculum while maintaining high achievement standards for all (CAST, 2011). After learning about UDL, I really began to appreciate all the guidelines for ensuring that all students are able to meet learning expectations. CAST helps describe UDL by illustrating a building that has been adapted to meet the needs of people with strollers, wheelchairs, etc. Much like our building and streets have been modified to make it more accessible to all, our classrooms should be the same.

My first maker experiment using the Raspberry Pi did not actually seem feasible. After using the maker kit more, it really would not work as a tool for students to use to design their own experiments with. So the first thing I would change from my first experiment, is to use the Raspberry Pi in a different way with students. Instead of using it to have them design or “make” something, I have would use the Raspberry Pi to make a program for our unit (example, Human Body Systems). Where students would be able to click on the image of the body systems, and information regarding that system becomes available. I would like to include multiple ways that students could gain information. So with each body system, there would be information regarding the overall function of the body system, a section about the organs that are involved (including images), and how the systems of the body work together. Lastly, I would like there to be a section where students could click on a video where a doctor talks about the ways to keep that system of the body healthy.

To support UDL with this unit, I would start by providing multiple means of representation. Examples of this would include a text-to-speech option by hovering the mouse over the written words. Some students would also benefit from having the information boxes themselves in different colors as well as having the text and background colors in contrasting colors. During this unit students would access their preconceptions on organization of organisms from atom to organism which they have already learned. This one activity would fit into a unit where students would be supported by me or other mentors as needed. Including graphic organizers to help make connections between the different body systems, as well as templates and checklists to allow students to stay on track with the learning goals. Lastly, students would receive feedback in a timely manner and in ways that helps promote mastery of the concepts.

 

Part 2:

Imposing the UDL framework into my maker activity was somewhat of a roller coaster. I felt like the actual maker kit experiment focused more on one lesson whereas implementing UDL tends to lead my focus more on the unit as a whole. While I find great value in all the guidelines set forth by the UDL framework, I did find myself saying “Oh, I already do that in my class!”. For example, posting learning goals, and breaking our goals down into smaller chunks is something we do in my classroom, as well as tracking progress of the learning goal. “Education should help turn novice learners into expert learners—individuals who want to learn, who know how to learn strategically, and who, in their own highly individual and flexible ways, are well prepared for a lifetime of learning” (CAST, 2011). When reading about UDL, I truly agreed that these are things that should be done in the classroom to assure that all learners are given ways to become expert learners and to assure their needs are being met.

References:

CAST (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.0. Wakefield, MA: Author.

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A 21st Century Classroom

This week in CEP 811 we learned about experience design as a way to create innovative experiences in the world of education. After watching David Kelly’s TED Talk, and reading about The Third Teacher+, I quickly learned that this is exactly where education is heading, and we need designers to make changes in the way we educate children today. Of course, our create task is to do just that—design our ideal classroom that meets the needs of 21st century learning.

I decided to take bits and pieces of my current classroom, and redesign it to meet the criteria of the assignment. My classroom currently has built-in cabinets and counters on three of the four walls as well as a built in counter at the “front” of the classroom. While I do appreciate all the storage space with the cupboards and drawers—it really does make it difficult to use the edge of the room for working space with students. I also don’t like the idea of there being a “front” of the classroom.

For my new space that I designed, I started out by making a list of everything I felt needed to be included in the classroom. I based this list on Bloom’s theory of Mastery Learning—where students learn each (in my case) science concept to “mastery” before moving onto the next concept. I put mastery in quotes, because I feel that mastery could be determined by the teacher and/or the student, also reaching mastery would take different amounts of time for different students. Before I present the physical space, I want to touch on some general parts of my class. Because students will be learning at their own pace—the schedule needs to be changed. Students may need more (or less) than 46 minutes in my classroom. Therefore, I would like the schedule of this class to be fluid—in that students may not be in my science class every day, or they may spend a majority of their day in science. To help with this, students would scan in and out of the classroom and keep track of their schedules digitally. In general, the physical space of my classroom is separated into different areas. There are large windows for natural light. In the image, walls may be missing, or are shortened so that the room is able to be viewed.

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I felt that the physical space would need an area for experimentation—where a majority of hands-on learning would take place.

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Near the experimentation area is a collaboration area. This space is for students who need to work with a small group of students while learning science concepts. These students may not necessarily be experimenting, but could be, if needed.

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Next, I wanted there to be a quieter space for students who need to work individually on something and/or a comfortable space to work.

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The entrance to the classroom includes a table with a desktop computer. This is also the area where I would display student work. I would also use this space for announcements, and for students to work on their weekly schedule. Lastly, this is where students would scan in and out.

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Lastly, I feel that not all students learn best in an enclosed area—so I wanted to include and outdoor learning area.

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For this 21st Century classroom to become a reality, there are many people who would need to be involved. Of course, parents would have to be onboard with a more fluid schedule. Therefore, parents would have access to their child’s schedule and also be able to track when and where they are with the digital scanning system. The principal would need to support teachers and staff with the scheduling, and many counselors would need to be available to help students with what classes they need to work on and when they are working on those subject areas. The cost of this classroom would be pricy. I feel that students would need their own devices (laptop, ipad, or tablet) as well as the cost of the desktops, interactive white board, and if it were actually happening in my classroom—the removal of some permanent fixtures.

This revision to my classroom would not have to happen all at once. Yes, my students are in a locked schedule, and yes, there are permanent aspects of my classroom that couldn’t immediately be removed. However, there is still a way for me to organize students into areas of the classroom where they are working toward mastery on science concepts at their own pace.

After creating my classroom using SketchUp, I realized that certain aspects of this classroom do not all have to take place in one room. I made a somewhat closed off area for students to work individually, but in reality, this could happen in a completely different room. To make this truly a 21st century learning environment, I would like to (re)design an entire school!

References:

OWP/P Architects. (2010). The Third Teacher. Retrieved from: http://static.squarespace.com/static/509c0d15e4b058edb8f35a86/t/50f495b3e4b0c7661ad2ec2e/1358206387728/Ch2%20TTT%20for%20Web.pdf

Millwood, Richard. (2012). Learning Theory. Retrieved from: http://cmapspublic3.ihmc.us/rid=1LGVGJY66-CCD5CZ-12G3/Learning%20Theory.cmap

 

Mini MOOC Course

This week in CEP 811 we’re learning about MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) which seem to be a trend happening where thousands and thousands of students can take a (free) online course. These courses provide an instructor, perhaps from a university, to now reach thousands of students as opposed to number of students who can fit into the physical classroom. With websites like P2PU, almost anyone can make a MOOC, which is what we were asked to do as our assignment.

 

In my Flipping for Newbies course my peers will master techniques to begin flipping their classroom by making their own videos and designing their own in class activities and critiquing their peers’ flipped lessons with badges!

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Course Topic: Flipped Learning for Beginners

Course Title & Photo: Flipping for Newbies

 

This course is aimed for teachers who are interested in flipping their classroom. Newbie flippers will be attracted to this course, because (from personal experience) when one makes the decision to flip their lessons, it is very overwhelming to know where to start and what to do. Teachers who are new to the concept of flipping and/or new to some of the technology would want to participate in this course to learn some of the basic steps to begin flipping their classroom.

Last week I discussed taxonomies and the varying stages of cognitive complexities according to Bloom. The idea behind flipped learning is that students can learn the concepts in more depth if direct instruction happens outside the classroom and higher order thinking is done in the classroom. Understanding by Design (UbD) incorporates the idea of backward design, where we first identify the desired results, then determine the acceptable evidence of that result, and lastly, plan the learning experiences (Siemens, G., 2002). Using this idea of UbD, by the end of the course my desired result would be that the learners are able to confidently produce videos for their students, but more importantly be able to fill their time in the classroom with learning activities that meet the needs of the individual student. Acceptable evidence of this would be several videos made by the learner that may include videos on what their students are expected to do. Other evidence would include lessons planned that demonstrate how the teacher plans to reach every student during their time in class together. For the learners of this course to accomplish these goals, I would instruct how-to videos on recording, editing, and posting flipped learning videos. Also, learning activities would include sharing ideas on how students could spend class time experimenting, designing projects, or even slowing down to gain a deeper understanding of more difficult topics. In true flipped learning fashion, this course could be done at the learner’s own pace. My peers that have a good understanding of how to record, edit, and post videos may move on to sharing ideas of how their students would spend their time in class. I could see most educators getting through my course within several weeks.

In this course, peers will be making a minimum of 3 videos: one as an introduction to parents that explains what flipped learning is and what it looks like in that particular classroom, this video may include expectations for the parents. The second video the learners will make is a practice flipped video for students. This video must be done in a way that students see how pausing, rewinding, etc. are beneficial tools they should be using while watching flipped videos. The last video will be a content video the teacher makes, which should include whatever plan the teacher has in mind to engage students (notes, secret words, mistakes, etc.) Along with the one content video, peers will also make lessons on what students will be doing in the classroom. This lesson would most likely be differentiated in a way that meets the needs of individual students and how the teacher plans to assess those students.

The students who would take this course would be teachers who are interested in changing the way they teach students. They already have an understanding of the content they teach, they are not ready to change the way it is delivered to students. Because the technology aspect of flipped learning may be new to some teachers, this course would be helpful as they go through each project to build an understanding of how to produce videos for their students. Also, the teachers may find that they have MORE time in class to meet the needs of their individual students, which is why they would spend time designing and sharing lessons with each other as to what their students can do to deepen their knowledge while in class. Here we see TPACK coming into play as teachers will be incorporating their knowledge of technology, their content knowledge of the subject they teach, and the new way they will be teaching this content into the projects that are produced.

In this course, the learners will be asked to view other students videos that they have produced and provide suggestions and comments. Learners should point out strengths of the video by giving badges (neat ways of engaging students, for example) as well as areas where the learner could improve (perhaps making a video with screen in screen shots). Peers will also be interacting with each other as they review, share, and collaborate on ideas of activities their students will be doing in class. This aspect of the course is so important, as I feel the teachers would gain new ideas from one another, come up with new ways for their students to deepen their content knowledge, and who knows, could even come up with ways for their own students to collaborate with each other from across the country.

 

Resources:

Siemens, G. (2002). Instructional Design in ELearning, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/InstructionalDesign.htm

Maker Kits in the Classroom

As we near the middle of CEP 811, we’re digging deeper with our maker kits to explore how maker kits, like the Raspberry Pi, can be used in the classroom setting. Last week I wrote about a maker idea using a magnifying glass, webcam, and my raspberry pi to be able to project an image of the specimen being viewed onto a larger screen. After watching Richard Culatta’s TedX talk about Reimaging Learning, I agree completely that we need to incorporate technology into classrooms in a way where students are using technologies to make, create, design, explore, etc. rather than just digitize our current curriculum. Thus, my guiding question is: How can students use maker kits, like the Raspberry Pi, to deepen their knowledge of science concepts using higher order taxonomies?

I have many students who would be very interested “making” with a device like the Raspberry Pi. In my classroom, I would start out my explaining basics of the maker kit to my students, and allow them to play with the new technology. My students would have to learn some basic programming for the miniature computer, but after learning some basics, students could then use this knowledge to use the Raspberry Pi with our science concepts; even if it is used for more simple tasks like a device to keep track of counting the number of insects that visit (pollinate) a flower, or more advanced, like having to figure out how to program the Raspberry Pi to meet their needs in recording data for an experiment.

In a perfect classroom, students are working on improving their weaknesses while improving upon their strengths. My experience as a science teacher has lead me to see many times where students learn science concepts at different paces. There may be a topic that one student understands right away and is ready to move on, or deepen their understanding (as in going beyond what is required for (gasp) the standardized test). While other times students may struggle with that particular concept and need to spend a majority of the time just understanding the basics. A good example of this is our unit on genetics and heredity. Learning genetics seems to click right away with some students—they understand the basics and begin to wonder about applications in their own life (such as eye color).

Therefore, could I use my Raspberry Pi to challenge those students who are ready to delve deeper in the concepts of genetics? There seems to be a lot of talk about depths of knowledge and higher order thinking. Taxonomies, according to Bloom, categorize cognitive learning into six levels: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Where synthesis and evaluation are higher, and therefore deeper or more complex learning and understanding take place (Bloom Benjamin S. and David R. Krathwohl, 1956). My concern about this topic is that in many situations, teachers, administration, etc. feel that as long as you throw that certain verb in front of your objective—then the students are increasing rigor in the classroom. However, in reality, these higher levels of taxonomy are exactly that, rigorous—meaning, you cannot simply put a certain verb in front of a question and say that is a higher order question. Blooms’ Taxonomy should be used in the classroom so that students are moving from basic conceptual knowledge (lower-levels) to meta-cognitive knowledge of a topic (higher levels) (Mary Forehand, 2005). My understanding is that students must be spending time to really hypothesize, design, create, test things out, and re-hypothesize, re-design, and re-create if needed (which they probably will if they are really participating in deeper levels of knowledge).

For students to really meet this more rigorous demand, they will need to wonder about something (with regard to genetics), and design a way to test their wonderings. After introducing students to the raspberry pi, and teaching them the basics of how it works—they would then be required to use the technology to make a device to help them in their experiments. In this type of activity, students are meeting the demands of a rigorous activity. It cannot be done in one class period, or maybe even in one week…but to me, that’s what these higher order thinking activities require, time for the students to explore.

 

References:

Bloom Benjamin S. and David R. Krathwohl, (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals, by a committee of college and university examiners. Handbook I: Cognitive Domain. New York: Longman, Green.

 

Forehand, M. (2005). Bloom’s taxonomy: Original and revised.. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved <insert date>, from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/

Thrifting with Raspberry Pi

Here we are, two weeks into my second class of my Master’s classes, and my assignment includes a visit to a thrift shop. You know this is going to be good—but what does going to a thrift shop have to do with Educational Technology? I was wondering the same thing myself…

During week one of CEP 811 we were instructed to purchase a maker kit. I was actually trying to decide between a Makey Makey and a Raspberry Pi. The deciding factor for me was that I had recently gone to Orlando’s Mini-Maker Faire and saw all the incredible projects people were making with their Raspberry Pis (at the time, I NEVER thought I would be doing the same thing). But, here I am trying to make something happen with my Raspberry Pi!

I have to say, even though I was very impressed by the projects that others were making at the Mini Maker Faire, I never would have thought of what had to happen to make these projects a reality. I now give even more kudos to the makers! When I first got my Raspberry Pi, I was apprehensive. How was I going to figure out this “slightly larger than a credit card” device? In true MAET form (and with some experience from my Network Learning Project from CEP 810) I went straight to YouTube, where I found a plethora of videos on setting up my Raspberry Pi for the first time and some simple programming. I have to say, I’m impressed with myself with getting through the setup process! I had to format the SD card, and download NOOBs. However, when it comes time to programming, I feel most Raspberry Pi-ers are speaking a different language! I still have a lot to learn, but have enjoyed playing!

My husband, Jonathan, and I went to my parents’ house, which trust me when I say is very similar to a going to a thrift shop. We found a magnifying glass with a battery powered light. My idea behind using this magnifying glass was to hook it up to my Raspberry Pi and to a projector to show the specimen being magnified.

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How to Build a Raspberry Pi Magnifying Glass Viewer:

Stuff You’ll Need:

  • Raspberry Pi Maker Kit
  • Magnifying Glass (with battery powered light)
  • Web Cab with USB connection
  • Micro USB Power Chord
  • HDMI Cable
  • Projector (with HDMI hookup) or TV (with HDMI hookup

ImageStep 1:  Connect Micro USB Power Chord to Raspberry Pi and plug into wall outlet

Step 2: Connect Projector or TV to Raspberry Pi through HDMI cable

Step 3: Plug Web Cam into Raspberry Pi through USB

Step 4: Find small specimen to be viewed and place under magnifying glass, turn on the battery powered light by flipping the switch.

Step 5: Use Python to make a program that shows video from the USB connected web cam and displays the video to the HDMI connected screen.

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Since I haven’t learned how to program using python, I am unable to actually use my Raspberry Pi Magnifying Glass Viewer. However, I have faith that I can learn this and with the help of the internet, will potentially be able to make this a reality!