5 Tips for Making Media Content for Your Class
1. Audio Quality
We recently purchased chromebooks for integration in our 4th - 6th grade program. Although the following is an email that was sent to these teachers the content I believe to be extremely helpful. A lot of information was directly taken from DITCH That Textbook! This is a fantastic book and I truly believe everyone should read it! Such great content and information from author Matt Miller!
An overview of Chromebook:
SAMR and TPACK
SAMR is the pinnacle model of technology usage in classroom. All uses of technology fall somewhere within the four categories, with modification and redifinition being the top striving categories. The best way to visualize this is each word represents a section of blooms taxonomy with modification and Redifintion being at the higher end of the spectrum.
TPACK is a different model but takes concepts form SAMR. TPACK stands for:
A (The a is silent)
TPACK looks at combining the the three areas (technology, content, and pedagogy) to create strong teaching practices to leverage student success.
Find out more at www.tpack.org
Useful Apps (websites) for chromebooks
Things to consider when designing a project.
Finally, my most important advice as we begin our journey into chromebooks. YOU are your own professional development! if you don't understand something or want to try something in class, use Google and Youtube to learn about it. Have a student try it and come back to teach the class on what they learned. You can't always wait around for me. I am the first to admit that there is a lag time between when you ask a question and when I can answer. As Sean Jenkins ( a tech integration specialist from South Carolina) says, " I've yet to have a student tell me they can't use technology in class because they haven't had any PD on it."
Guide or a Gatekeeper?
I recently purchased the book DITCH that Textbook by Matt Miller (Well I purchased it in January and have just started reading it). The book has a fascinating premise of removing the textbook as the centerpiece of the classroom. Yet so far, the most resounding idea from Mr. Miller is the concept of Gatekeeper or Guide. I just love this!
I all too often see, whether in my own school or elsewhere, teachers who believe they are the “gatekeeper” of knowledge. This is sadly (at least when I was in college) still an idea being pushed in education institutions. We (teachers) control the flow of knowledge in class. We hold the secrets of learning, and we sadly see the best method of instruction is the sit down and be quiet method. A while back on my vlog I made a video that touched upon this topic. Teachers use isolation of seating as a form to keep students quiet in order to impart knowledge. This however fails in our education system today.
First let’s look at how information is now gathered by our students. Originally any ideas or concepts had to be learned from either a teacher or library. Now students have unlimited knowledge at their fingertips. Think: How does trivia in conversation become contested? We look it up in under a few seconds. Fortunately, due to this information era we need not retain all the minute details of a specific event in history. As long as students retain the major facts of any subject they will be fine. Thus effectively killing the gatekeeper idea. Students thrive on collaboration and self-paced learning. Being able to assimilate data as it comes and apply it in meaningful ways.
Teachers must break the gatekeeper mold and instead guide their students in their learning. This is also known as individualized learning (yeah…not a new concept). Now, in today’s technological saturated world there is no reason a teacher can’t easily individualize instruction for their students. Online, collaborative environments provide students unprecedented access to information and instruction all while being afforded immediate feedback on whatever they do. Teachers must embrace this guide mentality to help them navigate the immediate knowledge afforded to them by this new era of technology.
As far as education innovation goes this is by far the easiest and most immediate action that can be done. We need to start teaching kids how to think instead of telling them what to think.
So are you a guide or gatekeeper? What will help education stay relevant? Let me know in the comments below!
Still considered a new trend the Makerspace is the latest buzz word floating around educational circles. Based off of Seymor Papert and Jean Piaget's idea of constructivism. The maker space is essentially a hands on creative learning environment. Allowing children to be given a task and find multiple solutions to complete the task. Think critical thinking with cardboard or lego's. yet the makerspace is more than that watered down example. Makerspaces allow students to explore multiple solutions, apply knowledge learned in other classes and have an engaging STEM learning experience.
Now that the initial boom has taken place we are seeing variations of this creative space forming with new names and ideas behind them. The two most popular are still the makerspace and the FabLab (Fabrication lab). So which is best for your school? Both have roughly the same idea but the level of pre-required knowledge, tools, and tasks make the difference. So in case you are planning here is a breakdown of the two and a flow chart to help you decide which to plan for.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)
This fantastic combination of courses is suppose to be the penultimate combination for student knowledge and success. This is supposed to make students ready for future careers and achievement in life. This sounds so promising and I mean who doesn't want all of their students to succeed. Yet STEM in education lacks some critical components.
I was at METC 2016 and listened to a speaker who nailed the problem with STEM right on the head. To paraphrase what he said, Trust me there is no lack of jobs in the STEM field, their is a lack of competency and understanding.
Students exposed to STEM in school, be it elementary or high school, are lacking a serious foundation in this content. They spend all of school doing cool, interesting, and engaging "cookie-cutter" projects and experiments. Then they go to college expecting their field to be the same thing they learned in high school. They inevitably take extra time in college and drop out of their original field to pursue something easier.
This isn't to say we need to abandon STEM in elementary and high school, but to properly teach the reality of being a scientist or engineer. That these fields are not easy, they are not fun al the time. There is work, puzzling, confusing work. Problems that may not have easy or googleable solutions.
So what might this new STEM look like?
Elementary schools should focus on problem finding and solving. Teaching how to look at an issue and find more than 5 solutions to it. STEM should focus at engaging the students using tools that fit their cognitive abilities. High school STEM should focus on the grueling nature of studying. Memorizing computer languages, science vocabulary, reinforcing algebra concepts, and most importantly providing issues that affect the surrounding community. As George Couros says, " Kids don't want to be leaders of tomorrow, they want to be leaders of today!"
STEM allows for authentic learning and creates authentic moments for students to engage with their knowledge. To provide real solutions for today, and to take ownership in what they do. All things missing in current Generation Y and Z college students.
I've seen some recent posts on how coding might be one of the fads in education. Older teachers citing that they saw it with the rise of BASIC or HTML. Looking at how when these languages first started it was the fad to teach children for emerging jobs. Well HTML and BASIC is a backbone. A necessity for basic knowledge to complete our more complicated, but user intelligent interfaces like Python and Java.
My stance on this is I both agree and disagree with my veteran colleague’s observances. Coding, I believe, is one of the most important skills students can learn today. I also agree that our sites like Code.org, code combat, or scratch are good at hooking but it is a representation of what is wrong with STEM education. These interfaces make coding seem fun and easy, just learn some shapes, apply basic algebra, and BAM!!! You have a program or game. Yet that is so far from the truth! Coding requires knowledge. You need to learn a language, and start from nothing. Coding (as a real skill) is a pleasantly frustrating experience. It teaches "grit" (I know we shouldn't use grit but resilience is reserved for things like Scratch). To go from nothing and build full programs is amazing!
This is not to say we should ditch these fantastic intros to programming for children. We should embrace them but also not sugar coat what coding is. Coding is a true science, it is a practical application of knowledge, ingenuity, creativity, and most importantly skill. Ideas learned in coding can apply in other fields. Things like "how can we write a program to make it simple but more powerful" is the same applied concept to engineering, or science, or even how we learn in general.
As educators we must be intentional about teaching this. We must show that coding can look like a puzzle, that the right pieces must go into place to perform tasks, but we should also be teaching the vocabulary of coding, the math of coding, the brilliance of coding!