Summary of Learning

Altan Hu Sile and I made a team to finish the learning summary of ECI833.  The process working on this project was also a process of reviewing and learning. Altan taught me how to use Powtoon, which was one more thing I learned in ECI833. Thank Alec, Altan and everyone! I learned a lot from everyone’s work and share.

 

 

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Posted in EC&I 833 2018 Fall | 7 Comments

More than a Wheelchair

Last class, we made the presentation about assistive technology. However, personally, I don’t have much teaching experience working with people with disabilities and assistive technology. There were university students asking for accommodations, but most of the time, they handled learning themselves. Another experience that I work with people with disabilities was that I volunteered at the Wascana Rehabilitation assisting with music therapy. Not too many technologies being used during the therapy, but iPad and audio sets were used to play music. I assisted some residents there to play the instrument, which, maybe can be called as no tech or low tech.

Since I don’t have experience teaching with assistive technology, the only example I can think about is Dr. Stevin Hawking’s wheelchair. Steven Hawking is so popular in China. It seems every Chinese people, as long as they went to school, knows him. I remembered in my high school English textbook, there was a text telling his story surviving with the deadly disease and his genius work in physics and cosmology. In April 2016, he started Weibo (something like twitter) and communicated with Chinese people. Some interesting comments were like “Oh mum, I am speaking with the best brain in the world.”

QQ截图20181116232648Dr. Hawking also appears in American TV dramas, which made him even more liked by Chinese fans.

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I decided to choose him and his wheelchair as an introduction of the topic, as I think his wheelchair was a genius assistive technology that helped this genius cosmologist to work. This wheelchair, which is said that can “read Dr. Hawking’s brain waves”, was sold for $393,000 at auction after he passed away.  Then how did this expensive wheelchair work? How can it read the most genius and complicated brain waves?

“Hawking has just a small amount of motor function left, mainly in the muscles of his face. His link to the world is provided by the computer technology built into his wheelchair. Incredibly, Professor Hawking controls all the functions of his Windows tablet PC using just a single switch – imagine operating your PC using nothing but the spacebar! Hawking’s PC uses a special interface called EZ Keys, which scans across each letter of the on-screen keyboard, one at a time. When Hawking moves his cheek, a sensor detects the movement and the computer halts the scanner and picks that letter. He can also use this process to scan from one button or menu item to the next, and so control his email program (Eudora), web browser (Firefox) or even make calls over Skype.” ——(How Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair works) A synthesizer that created Hawking’s robotic tones so that he can “speak” with people. It felt like the computer build in his wheelchair can directly read his brain waves.

Furthermore, as Hawking’s physical condition gradually deteriorates, his typing speed has dropped to just one or two words per minute. Scientists at Intel compensate using algorithms tailored to Hawking’s vocabulary and writing style, which accurately predict which words he will want to use next. I won’t be surprised that one day the computer can directly read from our brain waves and type what we want to say.

Imagine, if there was not such a high-tech wheelchair assisting him, what a loss the world would suffer from? BBC commented his life like this:  “The nerves that controlled his muscles were failing and he became trapped in his body, but his mind was still free. He reached the height of his field while being a wheelchair user and communicating through a synthetic voice.

That may be my wish for future technologies. I hope people with disabilities can still live to their fullest life and be free in mind no matter how their body is trapped. They can still think, and talk and write down what they are thinking. Great minds would benefit from these technologies, which contribute to the whole human being’s welfare. 

Advantages would be, genius people are free from physical disabilities, and can continuing focus on scientific or other academic researches.  In this way, they make contributions to all human beings. Apparently, disadvantages are these technologies will be expected extraordinary expensive. Normal people may have no access to these technologies for their daily life and learning. Only a few people similar to Dr. Hwking can get sponsored. 

At last, I want to quote what Prof Hawking’s only advice on disability in an interview with the New York Times. “My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically“. Anyway, with the help and development of technologies, this can always be and worth being expected.

Posted in EC&I 833 2018 Fall | 4 Comments

Having Fun Learning and Assessing with Kahoot!

I’m thinking about developing Kahoot in my classroom. As I see it, Kahoot can not only function as an assessment tool but also can be used during the teaching practice. That is to say, it can implement assessment into natural learning and practice. What is more important, it is so much fun!

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I’m not a classroom teacher in public schools. I don’t have a constant class for very long.  My main work for these two years is to teach Chinese as either a heritage language or foreign language. I teach in different situations such as in the university,  in a pre-k daycare, and in grade 1-12 public or private schools. I work as language instructors, cultural explainer, or lab assistant with students varied from young pupils to adults who learn Chinese. Normally there won’t be strict requirements for assessment. Thus, I prefer a tool that not only can function as an assessment tool but also can be adapted to variable learning scenarios, functioning as a fun exercising method.

I used the Kahoot several times, in Alec’s class, there were several groups using it during their group activity. In my English class, my instructor used that as well to help us review new words using Kahoot quiz. I felt it is a lot of fun. I was thinking about including it into my teaching, but I haven’t taken any actual step towards this goal. Maybe this blog is the start.

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Kahoot makes it easy and fun to create quizzes. Students feel they just playing, but the practicing and assessing are achieved during competitive games. The format of competition enhances its nature being an assessment technology, as I feel the competing feature is good for keeping students focusing and thinking. It works as a student response system, which turns the basis for the assessment of the students.

Kahoot is helpful for students of all ages and can be used to assess any subject and any class. Teachers can very easily set up customized games or quizzes. When entering the code, questions, along with answer choices, are projected onto a classroom screen. Students can submit responses using a personal device, or doing a group work in a competing atmosphere. The feedback will be projected onto the screen as well to know winners and rankings.

The challenges of getting set up to use the tool would be the access to the Internet and students’ access to their personal devices. If there is no Internet or screens in the classroom, or students are forbidden to use tech devices in the classroom, it may not be able to use Kahoot to do assessments.

Through the funny video below, we can see students’ different responses to Kahoot, and notice some pros or cons of it.

Prons will be, students feel more engaged and motivated participated in Kahoot activity. Students have fun learning or reviewing in the games, without noticing they are under assessments. It removes learning pressures, text anxieties and delayed feedbacks. Teachers and students get instant feedback. Students get competitive in wanting to get points.

Cons will be, students need to bring their personal devices in order to participate in. Some schools may have restrictions on devices. For students who did not well in the game, they may build a low-esteem or just enjoy winning from random choices without truly analyzing questions.

Kahoot is a more formative assessment. The goal of formative assessment is to monitor student learning to provide ongoing feedback that can be used by instructors to improve their teaching and by students to improve their learning, while the goal of summative assessment is to evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit by comparing it against some standard or benchmark. Kahoot can be used frequently during the learning process, offering feedbacks about students’ achievements, as well as feedbacks to teachers how to adjust or improve teaching contents. It’s a more formative assessment than summative assessment.

I’m going to use it for assessment of vocabularies and cultural knowledge. Here is a very practical video teaching whoever wants to implement Kahoot into their classrooms, including me.

Posted in EC&I 833 2018 Fall | 4 Comments

Education 3.0

 

1973: Global networking becomes a reality as the University College of London (England) and Royal Radar Establishment (Norway) connect to ARPANET. The term Internet is born.

1991: CERN introduces the World Wide Web to the public.

After the mid-2000s: Web 2.0 has been a term that’s been used to mark the fundamental change in how we use the Internet. Before that, the Web was treated and used as a tool. In the era of Web 2.0, we were becoming part of it and the web moved toward a more social, collaborative, interactive and responsive web.

Web 2.0 is not static anymore but is full of human interactions. With the development of social media, everyone is connected and involved in the Internet world. Imagine every time you when you finish a task you might post it online at the first moment to share with your friends on facebook. That may be an example to understand “the web influences people’s way of thinking, doing and being”(Jackie Gerstein). Everyone can write online and make their voice heard, no matter through blogs or twitters. Everyone can post comments online and communicate with people all over the world. Everyone creates contents for the Web. That explains “people influence the development and content of the web”(Jackie Gerstein).

Then what is Web 3.0? Are we ready with it? Has it already arrived?

Web 3.0 in one saying came in 2015 with the increasing popularity of mobile internet devices and the merger of entertainment systems. Not only the Web keeps developing at a fast pace but also the devices we are using to get access to the Internet expose in a tremendous abundant way.

The mobile devices (cell phones, smartphones, pocket PCs ) we use for entertainment and work lay the importance of the internet in our daily life. Internet becomes a necessity in our lives. No matter at work, at home, out for travel, out for dinner, the internet shaped how we live and interact with the world.

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Here brings up the question, as education is an important part of life,  how education changes with the evolution of the Internet?

“The evolution of the web from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 and now to Web 3.0 can be used as a metaphor of how education should also be evolving, as a movement from Education 1.0 toward that of Education 3.0.”(Jackie Gerstein) 

In the era of Web 2.0, the changes that the Internet has brought to education, which we may call Education 2.0, focused on two aspects according to the changes that the Internet has brought to human life. Firstly, educational pedagogy has been greatly changed by the interacting Internet. Chalks and blackboard are replaced by high-projectors and smartboards; textbooks can be replaced by more environmental friendly e-books and online materials; videos can be easily displayed in the classrooms; Online and distance learning is possible and offers more choices for learners. Secondly,  learning contents have involved and been shaped by new contents brings along by the Internet. Students will be living and working in the networked environment so that the school curriculum must cultivate their ability to manage, create, and communicate online content. This lays new requirements for school educational outlines.

Web 3.0 means hyperconnectivity. Everything is connected through the Internet. “The Web, Internet, Social Media, and the evolving, emerging technologies have created a perfect storm or convergence of resources, tools, open and free information access.” (Jackie Gerstein) Education 3.0 is coming together,  I don’t know the answer to the question that what exactly will be the feathers of Education 3.0, but the things I believe for sure is that the trend started in Education 2.0 with Web 2.0 is going to maintain and achieve greater development. What’s more, every educator and student are together writing the new chapter.

     In this historical shift process, teachers who get continuous training incorporating the development of Web era, and can apply tools into the school curriculum meeting the expectations of the modern-day learners will be privileged. However, teachers and students in rural areas that lack access to technologies, or educators insisting traditional concepts will be greatly disadvantaged and stay out-dated in this process.

Posted in EC&I 833 2018 Fall | 4 Comments

My Experience with Distance/Online/Blended Education

I have a very limited experience involved in distance learning. I do attend online courses with Alec for two semesters. I am studying to use zoom and google plus, and trying to get used to being involved in discussion with classmates without face to face. I prefer to figure out things myself in this stage of my learning. Hiding behind the Internet gives me some safety if I have nothing to share. However, thinking in another way, young students may easily to escape from learning in a distance education model. Online education requires a lot of self-discipline.

Brooke shares the same feeling with me but with his strong teaching experience: “for young children the face-to-face learning and connection with their teacher is invaluable. However, once students gain more independence, work ethic and intrinsic motivation (among other skills!), it makes sense that online/distance education can be highly beneficial. ” He himself enjoys the online type of learning very much in his master level of study.

Mentioning about blended learning, I think it is a great learning model, especially for professional training or some adult courses. I attended the LINC English training for a month. I was so lucky that LINC offered a blended course at that time. I met the instructor and classmates every Monday and Wednesday and finished online courses and assignments on Tuesdays and Thursdays. My instructor made very meticulous plans for learning contents, online materials and assignments. As I am a student in education, I paid attention to her curriculum development. I had a strong feeling that running a blended course actually took her more work than running a normal face to face course.

In my opinion, running an online/blended course requires even strict and clear teaching philosophy and methodologies compared to face-to-face teaching. Teaching face-to-facely, teachers can detect and observe students closely so that teacher can react to students intuitively. It is easy to make reactions and changes promptly. Face to fact teaching allows even encourages improvised teaching strategies. An experienced teacher is good at handling unforeseen situations, adopting effective strategies accordingly in the classroom, or changing the contents or the orders of contents. However, online courses are better to stay routinely. Thus, it has an intense request for teachers running online or blended courses to design online courses in a proper way to reduce the occurrence of unexpected situations. The contents and assignments of the course have to meet the ability of most students. What’s more, students are easy to think “I’m just a number” towards online courses. In this case, teachers have to let students have the feeling that they are attending a course, instead of being slipshod in work with no teachers supervising them. A strong teaching plan or curriculum design should be strictly implemented.

 

 

 

 

 

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Since I took EC&I 833, I keep wondering how can I apply EdTech into my teaching practice.  I taught in language lab at the university, but the only technology I have used is the high projector. The only thing I have done is to play videos and audios. For me, my education technology practice is just being a machinist looking for related online materials and play them in the classroom. I really want to figure out how can technology be used variously in a university classroom.

Years ago, my friend and I built an online education blog for teaching Chinese – Wuli Chinese Opening Classroom.  Actually, there are lots of Self-Media like our blog teaching second languages such as YouTube accounts, websites or blogs. For example:

https://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/dnm80jcb8r

These online materials and courses will be very helpful for language learners at a very low cost. I have recommended them to my students and friends as well. However, I still cannot involve more technology factors in my own classroom.

Posted in EC&I 833 2018 Fall | 6 Comments

My Blog Response to Productivity Suites and Multitasking

The video Single-tasking Is the New Multitasking mentioned about “Heavy media multitaskers are more susceptible to interference from irrelevant environmental stimuli”.  The more thought I give to it, the more concerned I am by the consequences. Because just now, I was doing some academic work while watching some videos. I want to make myself a multitasker who is performing a variety of different tasks at a time as I thought it could save some time, however, I have to admit I haven’t taken in of both just as what the guy said in the video.

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Questions raised: Is the Internet really a productivity tool or merely an endless series of distractions?  Has the Internet created a world of ‘multitaskers’ who don’t accomplish as much as they could have without it?

Compared to it is now, the life 20 years ago seemed boring and unbearable.  No internet, no smartphone, no social media. If you want to check for information, you have to refer to printed books. If you want to communicate with someone, you have to either stop by his or her place or write letters. People have to do one thing at a time. However, due to the exposure of the digital age, people can finish multiple tasks at the same time. For example, a person can access thousands of academic papers by searching the descriptors in an instant. A person can know the discounts by checking online without changing clothes and driving to the store. A person can browse news while having the latest released talk show on. In this sense, multitaskers may accomplish more with the help of the Internet in the same unit of time.

The Internet brings possibilities to finish multitasks at the same time, together with endlessly distractions. There are so many hyperlinks in one article which keeping people browsing online. Social media pop up tons of information that might be attracting costumer every day by analyzing their keywords. I have one friend who resists being a slave of mobile phones and social media because he wants to concentrate on his own academic work as he believes social media is too distracting. It prevents him to remain productive.

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The Internet opens new windows easily. Distance and time won’t be a problem to block information exchanging anymore. The Internet makes the impossible 20 years ago possible today. When I search for information on one topic, more information on related topics can be popped up. Can we truly say we have finished multitasks effectively in the light of so many distractions?

However, Internet products can make a group work very effective and immersed. I will use my own experience to illustrate it.

I haven’t started using Google Drive until I attended Alec’s EdTech course three years ago. Google drive was very convenient for group works and interactions. I like Microsoft office design and functions better, but now I switched to Google suites in more situations as I can access my files and work on them anywhere anytime without worrying about saving them or looking for where did I leave the latest version. Also, I can share the documents with my partners. They can easily mark and comment on my work to make suggestions. Chatting is very convenient, and we can focus on working on one project at the same time. Though we cannot meet each other in person, their images and moving cursors tell me that we are meeting. We can be very concentrated on the project for hours as everyone is typing, editing or chatting around the project. In this sense, productivity suits do not distract at all but engage everyone effectively.

Well, it looks like an endless circle as it can surely reach some dilemmas.  Let’s go back to the “multitaskers” question. Actually, researchers have found that our brains have a limited capacity to process information. The multitasking is just jumping back and forth between different tasks. It won’t make us being extremely productive, on the contrary, multitaskers are often inefficient and ineffective at the tasks. It may not save time than unitasking but increasing the possibility to make errors. However, unitaskers are likely to maintain deep and uninterrupted thought.

 

 

My classmate Kyla made a very good suggestion: “Organize similar categories of tasks and projects together on your schedule. Again, that keeps in the same mindset for a longer period of time.”. I think it is a wonderful combination of being both multitasking and unitasking!

 

Posted in EC&I 833 2018 Fall | 2 Comments

Audiovisual technology makes school one step closer to Sesame Street

Last night I visited my friend. Her 4-year-old little boy was doing the assignment given by his piano teacher. With a lovely music played by CD player, he needed to touch the right keys and mind the rhythm according to the words. The song was a typical humorous children’s song and asking for touching a certain key at the right rhythm breaks or keep it long or short, and some other requirements helping kids who just start to learn piano get to know notes, rhythm, and length. My friend’s little boy sung along with the music, moved his body according to the rhythm and touched the notes as required happily. I had to admit that I was somewhat astonished that learning can be so enjoyable and fun.

Disneyland movies usually produce the top class of children’s movies, I enjoyed them as well. The latest Disneyland product I watched was The Jungle Book. It told a story about a little boy growing up to be brave and smart, and what’s more, respecting rules. Those are just the most important things that we want our children to understand and obey, and Disneyland movies help educate children in a creative and fun way.  Considering this, I guess I understood why Postman said: ” We now know that Sesame Street encourages children to love school only if school is like Sesame Street.”  

 

The traditional schooling makes me form a picture of a teacher, with one hand holding a textbook, white with a piece of chalk on a blackboard. Students are sitting down there and trying to open their sleepy eyes.  However, learning can be different from a work-based setting. We all agree that “learning through playing”, then audiovisual technology can be a great helper. One of the benefits that Audiovisual aid brings is that learning via AV creates a stimulating and interactive environment which is more conducive to learning

Audiovisual aid may be the earliest education technology. Since then, the education changed from “2D” style – the letters written down to “3D” style – the vivid audiovisual pictures and interactive activities.  Non-book media can teach. Learning happens in a multimodality with the combination of visual, aural, gestural, spatial and linguistic modes. In audiovisual technology, these modes are functions interactively to convey and express meanings. This form a new saying of digital literacy, which should be included in the curriculum in the audio-visual age. Other than that, AV technology also enables students to meet future career prospects.

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However, in the digital age with the fast development of Audiovisual hardware and software programs, it lifts requirements for teacher’s ability. We cannot be lazy teachers anymore. We should always keep an eye to what is new.

Chart resource: Advantages, challenges encountered and attitude of teachers in utilizing multimedia in the classroom by Jallorina, Alma Torres

Seen from the chart, we can see the top challenge teachers are facing is skills to manipulate technologies, followed by curriculum preparation and class evaluation. In order to make better use of AV,  related training is recommended for teachers to keep up with the updated educational technology knowledge about how to apply multimedia into teaching designs. Of course, we can easily access lots of training online. We are also the beneficiary of this digital age.

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Kyla shared a video about Multimodal literacies that I found really helpful.

Posted in EC&I 833 2018 Fall | 6 Comments