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.

photo resource

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.

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Posted in EC&I 833 2018 Fall | 4 Comments

Two sides of the tech coin

Just now, Grammarly underlined the word that I mistyped. I clicked on it, and it corrected to the right one. It’s not only helped to check wrong spellings but also it gives me lots of grammar suggestions such as articles and syntax. As a non-English speaker, it offered me language security no matter writing daily emails, or course assignments. I saw the advertisement for Grammarly when I was watching videos on Youtube not very long ago, and ends up finding it’s so helpful.

It is surely encouraging and improving people’s writing abilities.  Even native English users use it, just like in the advertisement. However, I do feel it has two sides, it can improve language learning, and it can also encourage people being lazy when using language. I have a strong experience that over-relying on this tech tool makes me lazier in spelling and thinking before writing because I know that the Grammarly will do the job. If I still focus on writing correct words and sentences when writing, and when Grammarly gives me reminders, I take time to read its suggestions or compare the corrects with my mistakes, in this way can it definitely remain a helpful tool.

Technology is not bad, while the way how to use it may change it to a bad thing. Thinking about this, teaching students a positive attitude and the correct way of using technologic tools is paramount. 

Alec also recommended several chrome extensions in the last class. I will try out Lightshot and Screencastify as they make capturing pictures and useful video clips easier. I don’t have to bother downloading the whole video and put it into a video editing software anymore, in order to get just a two seconds contents that fit in my teaching practice. They are time-saving and making things way easier.

What makes information filtering easier and time-saving is the TweetDeck. It keeps tracking of the hashtags that I’m interested in. However, I don’t need to keep checking my tweeter every few hours.  No matter whenever I open it, it offers me loyally an organized deck about all the information I don’t want to miss. With these technology tools, gathering information is enjoyable and easy. Compared to teachers who worked twenty years before, we are lucky dogs. 

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Today, we can almost find information in every field online. As long as we have a computer and a browser, we can access them. What’s more, most of the online materials are free. This makes teaching and learning convenient. The fast development of cloud technology liberated people from buying and carrying material storage devices such as USB drive or mobile hard disk. The cloud realizes individualized network storage and information sharing in different devices as long as we log into personal accounts. Google drive functions so well in my school work and I don’t have to worry about electricity shutting down suddenly or forgetting my USB drive at home anymore.

However, still, please keep in mind that a coin has two sides. When enjoying the benefits brought by the internet and technology, we need to mind issues regarding Internet privacy. Almost every plugin or extension requires signing up and in. When filling in different application forms online, or registering for online shopping, we give out our privacy information easily. Signing up with google or facebook account is easy and quick, but if one site is attacked, all my accounts may be in danger.

The web is not what we can see through a browser,  the cookies and tracking mechanisms behind it is beyond normal people’s imagination.  Nobody is expertise in computer and internet, and knowing everything about how the internet functions.

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Photo credits

We are less secure than we think. Web increases our living space dramatically and brings the same amount of dangers at the same time. To enjoy the benefits, we have to undertake the work of minimizing the negative impacts. Ten Ways to Protect Our Web Privacy remind us that we can’t be too careful to protect our private information. In a web world, everyone seems to be transparent. What we can do is trying hard to keep us as anonymous as possible.

Posted in EC&I 833 2018 Fall | 1 Comment

My blog response to Sept.25th

Last meeting session was a review of theories of learning. I had experiences of teaching both children and adults. Though my experience was limited and my classroom practice immature, I would like to recall and organize my teaching philosophy and theories of learning.

For children, I hold some ideas.  Children are capable and born unique. Children construct knowledge from both their experience and their interaction in the social environment.

https://pypinub.wordpress.com/2014/11/09/four-learning-theories-behaviorism-cognitivism-constructivism-and-connectivism/

Three traditional theories – Behaviourism, Cognitivism, Constructivism – appeared chronically. However, in my opinion, the theories of learning are not worked in a rule that the new one replaces and against the old one, but they keep accumulating our knowledge towards learning. The new knowledge together with the old that build out our theories today.

Other than that,  human development is socially situated and the way of learning is not only through observation but also through interaction. I think the social constructivist learning theory would be a better guiding belief. Teachers cannot simply give children knowledge or “make” children learn. Rather, children are active agents in their own learning. Learning is the co-construction of understanding and meaning alongside others rather than the acquisition of facts and skills. 

http://wikieducator.org/Social_Constructivism_Assessment/Recommendations_and_Relevance

For adults learners, an educator is a facilitator, and learning can only be accomplished with students’ efforts. All teachers are able to do is to guide them there.  In a university level, learning is to develop the ability of thinking, and the ability to research academic problems logically.

I keep reflecting my teaching practice while I attend my own courses of my program, as well as after I switched the classroom styles from the styles of my home country to Canada. As I gain more and more Canadian classroom experiences, no matter I take courses or I teach, I do have changed my understanding and gain some assumptions that I would like to try out in my future teaching practices.

First, a classroom can be fun and run in a student-led mode. No matter the idea “learning through playing” for children or student self-directed learning process which is prevalent in universities, a classroom does not necessarily have to stay orderly and the instructor does not necessarily have to do the most talking. Leading children to put forward the things they would like to learn and facilitating them with their zone of proximal development are the main tasks of being a teacher. For the adult, I will try to avoid cramming knowledge directly, but to use self-study materials to build the scaffolds that they can feel being guided during their self-learning process. In these ways, students’ interest and learning autonomy will be greatly mobilized. The class will be lively and interesting. Learning evaluation emphasizes the learning process more than learning result.

Second, technology should not be treated just as a tool but on one hand, it can play a more important role in pedagogy, and on the other hand, it can be involved in the curriculum design. Especially in the early childhood education, children’s cognitive, linguistic, physic developments cannot avoid the effects of technology compared to several years ago. Technology is not only just a teaching tool but how can I include it in the curriculum and make it a part of the teaching contents worth more thinking. I would think about including electronic dictionaries and writing practicing apps during the class process and in their home assignments. The theory of learning pyramid may not be accurate, but it is a reminder of the importance of mobilizing five senses to learn. Audio-vision material may leave a deep impression on students. 

Just like the connectivism changed the way we viewing learning and learning process, the definition of learning develops towards non-formal, community-based and lifespan learning.  Teachers, though work in schools and appear just in one period of a student’s life,  should also realize that the inclusiveness of the idea of connectivism into their teaching practice would not only broaden their teaching horizon but also benefit students’ learning in a broader sense in the long run.

Posted in EC&I 833 2018 Fall | 2 Comments

My understanding towards Ed-Tech

Last class, the concepts of “soft” and “hard” technology was interesting. Soft technology encourages creativity and is flexibly used by a skillful user (Hard and Soft Technologies), whereas hard technology can function by itself without inference by a worker.

TPACK was another concept introduced in last class. TPACK, originally was TPCK, which means technological pedagogical content knowledge or technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge. Technology comes prior to pedagogy and content, through which we can see a innovation in ideas. Teaching should be happened in a dynamic manner, interweaving knowledge from different domains. Other than pedagogy and curriculum content, technology adds to the flexibility and effectivity of teaching. However, technology shouldn’t be treated as an “add-on” but should be interacted integrate with content and pedagogy.

Mentioned in educational technology, the first thing jumps into my head is the powerpoint and whiteboard with magnetism. Powerpoint makes class pace faster as teachers don’t bother writing down on the board. All points are listed on with clear printed fonts. Showing pictures and videoes becomes a piece of cake, which was a huge trouble before it appears. With the development of internet and searching engine, humongous learning resources can be reached within a few seconds. Learning becomes effective and is expanded in space. Self-learning can happen everywhere at any time. With the development of distance education, people have more choices to access learning, reducing the cost of time and money wasted on the road. Learning involves more people who cannot make it at the same time at a certain place, in this sense, technology makes learning more flexible, enjoyable and relatable.

“Institutions established for education and training revolve around activities intended to help people learn productively, individually or in groups, in classrooms or at a distance. Schools, colleges, corporate training centers, and other educational institutions provide many sorts of facilities to facilitate learning.” (Michael Molenda, p5)

In my opinion, Educational technology develops along and benefits from the developments of technology, internet and electronics, as well as the pedagogy and modern ideas towards learning. For example, traditional theories such as child development develop as taking into account the influence of technology brings to children which never was an issue maybe ten years ago. In return, the new theories will give teachers and researchers new ideas about how to better involves technology in facilitating children’s development. Thus, I got my rough definition of educational technology, as a product and a producer, as a teaching tool and an idea, developing together with new things in the new era, educational technology is an inevitable core factor in the classroom, both real or virtual, which will bring flexibility, joy, effectivity and innovation.

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http://cso.neosystems.ru/catalog/dist-edu-1c.php

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Back to #ECI 833

It has been two years since I took the last course with Alec. The first meeting is still overwhelmed as there are so many new things. I never had a chance to hear nor use some tools, systems, or forms mentioned. Anyway, lots of learning to get to know the west technology, especially in education. I guess it should be a very productive semester.

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Back to school

It’s really excited but really nervous to be back to the university again. There are lots things happened recently. Hope I will have a successful semester and get through all the difficulties.

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Response to EC&I 814

About Arts-Based Methodology

In Dr. Paul Hart’ class about research methodology yesterday, I just encountered the comparatively new arts-based methodology and was wondering how to transcribe visual data for further analyzing. When I started to read the assigned paper of  Immigrant parent–child interactional dance duets during shared art-making experiences, I found that it’s  just a very good example for me to study. In addition to get a clear understanding about the whole research process and the findings and reflections, for me, this article is a very neat and decent research article with a format that I can follow and think how I can develop my paper after doing a research.

Arts-based methodology has an advantage that the same data can be used for interdisciplinary research. When I was reading the discussion, I came to think that the different child-parent interaction patterns can also be explained by communication and psychology, or other disciplines. Then I read to the last sentence goes like:”The discussion about the intersubjective openness of the mind as expressed in the instances of attunement, mirroring synchronicity and turn-taking, and evidenced in the patterns of parent–child interactions described here, adds to the growing body of literature on multiple ways of being and learning imbedded in the landscape of space and cultural meaning.”(p.47) BRAVO!!

In this research,  the art-making workshop was recorded to videos and photos. Every small body or facial action is captured. It was so vivid when reading and my imagination was aroused during the reading experience. The mirroring pattern and synchronicity pattern are something that usually happen, however, the research gives them a “distancing effect”. This research revealed a dynamic process of child-parent interaction and it went beyond what was seen as an ending picture. During this dynamic process, we could definitely feel the unseen part must be the deeper cause and we couldn’t help to think about what was it. Then it comes to my second point.

Comparative Education

The discussion part made strong points with a comparative educational perspective.

This research applies materials instead of language to  mediate involvements to avoid a western, white, middle class dominant mode of preschool activities.  Participants with diverse cultural and educational backgrounds performed naturally in these situations and revealed their styles of how the parent and child get along with each other.

Not every family is use a western way. As I lived with a western, white, middle class family of two lovely daughters, every time I feel different when I step into a Chinese immigrant family which also has two girls. Everyday I hear dialogues like

“-Dad, come here! – How about you come here!”

“Where is my hugs and kisses?”

“Go play in your room! Papa need to play this video game!”

“-I love you! -I love you, too.”

Those ways of communication illustrate the cited Rogoff’s summarize in the paper that “In Euro-American families, interactions are individualised and dyadic and, even in
large group situations, are largely verbal and face-to-face. The face-to-face interactions
preferred in Western families resemble and support the back-and-forth sparring of a
verbal dialogue (Rogoff 1990).” (p.46)

This is different from my culture. A picture came into my mind as when I was young, my parents taught me how to write characters. Every time I encountered a character that I didn’t know how to write and ask for help, my father or mother might walk to my back and use his or her right hand hold my right hand and started to write. I think I can still recall my feeling when this motion happened since it happened frequently during my childhood- a big hand surround my hand and a stream of warmness started from my hand to my whole body. Although there is not much talk between my parents and I, I still feel their love, care and guidance to me.

I think my experience mentioned above illustrate the Rogoff’s understanding of non-European cultures. “In many non-European cultures, consistent with an orientation to the group, people are more likely to interact with multiple partners, often in embodied ways, and these encounters are usually side-by-side or more distant. ” I am not used to say “I love you”directly, I feel natural to tell my parents “Be careful of the changing weather” “Go to bed early” “Don’t worry about me” to express my care.  Chinese parents, I think, is apt to either yield to or directly command their children.

I feel true with the body and eye contact comparison. It’s very interesting to read  Rogoff’s comparison which jumps out of the American-European frame and examines different cultures with understanding instead of taken-for-granted critics.

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Photo: https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-family-symbol-image24033537

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