For our final assignment in CEP 812, we were given some leeway in using any technology to “create something using something” based on our understanding of Thomas Friedman’s passion quotient and curiosity quotient. Friedman (2013) explains that those who will succeed in today’s fast-paced, hyperconnected world are “those with more P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient) to leverage all the new digital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime.” Determining how PQ and CQ play a role in our work now and in the future was a very fitting conclusion to CEP 812. As a school administrator and someone without my own classroom , I had to take a different approach to this assignment and consider how I instill passion and curiosity through a facilitator and management role, through motivating and learning together with other teachers and colleagues.
Here is my final Tackk creation highlighting what PQ and CQ mean to me!
The heart and soul of CEP 812 has been the Wicked Problem Project. Divided into think tanks, we were asked to examine one of five wicked challenges concerning the future of education based on the work of the New Media Consortium. Our group focused on the challenge of making “innovation part of the learning ethic”. The question that played in our minds over and over was how to make schools a place “where innovation happens routinely”?
For this purpose, we worked collaboratively with course colleagues weeks in advance, to gather information, brainstorm ideas, consult via synchronous video conversations, delegate responsibilities and devise the best bad idea possible for our wicked problem! Our premise was that in order for students not to lose motivation or passion for learning, innovation must be considered as part of the learning ethic. More specifically, students should be afforded time and space in the curriculum to routinely play, explore and create. Our research and discussions were curated and are presented here in the form of a multimedia mashup, visual representation, and white paper policy recommendation.
This week in CEP 812 we explored the contexts in which we work and in particular, the concept of a community of practice, defined as “a set of relations among persons, activity, and the world, over time and in relation with other tangential and overlapping communities of practice” (Lave & Wenger, p. 98). Our goal was to come to an understanding of how communities of practice shape our use of technology in the classroom. This was accomplished through a survey designed with relevant questions and then presented to my colleagues who served as the research sample.
My particular focus was how technology integration choices are formulated in an early childhood setting. I examined a number of influences, including developmentally-appropriate practice, parent concerns, technology principles for young children, social capital and professional development. The results from the survey were very informative to say the least. At the same time, the research revealed a number of remaining questions, which our school and community must seriously consider if we are to institute change in the most meaningful manner possible. Click here to read the full report.
Click here to view an infographic with survey results.
Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University Press.
National Association for the Education of Young Children & Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media. (2012). Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8. Washington, DC.
This week in CEP 812 our task was to choose a special learning need of relevance to our professional context, explore its implications on learning and instruction, and identify a technology that could support the learning challenge. In a paper (available here) exposing current research on executive function and self-regulation skills, I reveal how this learning need affects young children and what adults can do to intervene.
Executive function is often described as the skills required by an air traffic controller managing the arrival and departure of planes at a busy airport. These higher-order cognitive abilities are not only important for difficult and complex jobs, but also for normal functioning in society. Through my research, I identified one piece of technology that can aid in the development of executive function, particularly skills such as memory, attention, and problem solving. Lumosity is a unique, personalized tool that allow students to develop cognitive skills through challenging and engaging games. In addition to the description of the Lumosity provided in my paper, I have included below a short video demonstration of the tool.
This week in CEP 812 we considered the work of James Paul Gee, Henry Jenkins, Eli Pariser and Nicholas Carr to deeply reflect on networked spaces. One key learning is that if affinity spaces and participatory culture are used in appropriate ways, it has the potential to empower students and assist them in tackling complex global challenges.
So, how can we use networked spaces smartly? An important consideration is to integrate diverse perspectives in consuming information. Gee (2013) explains the importance of diversity: “in a healthy society, diversity is honored because diverse people and viewpoints serve the same purpose as variation does in evolution” (p. 117). Being removed from our comfort zones, separated from the opinions of like-minded people and exposed to challenging yet important views is another significant consideration (Pariser, 2011). Filter bubbles, described by Pariser (2011) as a “personal unique universe of information you live in online”, must be overcome to ensure we are not losing out on the opportunity to connect with others.
Finally, we must consider how to use a critical eye in consuming information. Failing to do so results in the loss of comprehension and deep creativity (Carr, 2011). The information diet implies that we moderate our intake of online information and use self-regulation to avoid information junk food. Online information should serve not to distract and overwhelm us, but rather to enhance our thinking and creativity.
I currently use a number of networked affinity spaces to inform my thinking. I find Twitter to be an extremely helpful network to keep up-to-date with the latest news, stories and insights from like-minded educators. I also use Feedly and Flipboard to receive articles on early childhood education, educational technology and inquiry-based learning. I am able to explore progressive approaches to teaching and learning and witness how educational concepts and theories, which I adhere to, are being put into practice in learning communities around the world. I can analyze these practices, compare it to trends in my own school, strengthen my own beliefs, and then share my thinking with others.
Having said that, I realize there are several limitations in my present information diet. Diverse perspectives in educational philosophies is a missing component of my affinity spaces. The one-sided views I follow may actually be problematic for my growth and thinking. Another limitation of my information diet is the weak critical focus that I carry out. Often, I choose to read articles with “catchy” titles, clever tweets or unique graphics. While such articles may contain important substance, I’m essentially creating a filter bubble for myself. I think adding analytical research articles from unbiased sources, such as university scholars, state institutions and non-government agencies, would contribute significantly to a more balanced information diet.
The three new sources of information that I have considered this week promise to push my thinking in new ways. The Office of Educational Technology (@officeofedtech) under the Department of Education incorporates insights on education technology from a broader, national level. The British Association for Early Childhood Education (@earlyed_uk) brings a cultural perspective to education slightly different what I am used to. The Montessori website presents a more structured approach to early childhood education contrasting the play-based approach I tend to favor. I believe these sources will not only challenge me, but allow me to draw connections between them and develop an appreciation for different ways of thinking.
(2011). Media Scholar Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture and Civic Engagement [Online video]. DMLResearchHub. Retrieved February 1, 2015, from http://youtu.be/ZgZ4ph3dSmY
(2011). Beware online “filter bubbles” [Online video]. Ted Talk. Retrieved February 1, 2015, from http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles
This week in CEP 812, we began exploring James Paul Gee’s The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students Through Digital Learning. During our reading, we were asked to keep in mind the following question: “what limitations prevent us from solving big, complex problems smartly?” In this short essay, I focus my ideas on what constitutes a proper education that will allow future generations to adequately address complex global problems. I begin my essay by outlining the limitations, challenges and social ills facing humanity as shared by Gee. Then, I discuss the unequaled potential, capacity and nobility of man to overcome complex problems. This leads to the main position of my essay, which questions whether being smart is truly enough to improve conditions in society. Rather, I suggest that being smart should include a moral component which teaches students to make appropriate choices. I conclude by sharing my fairly-limited experience on how a framework for moral education may be incorporated in our curriculum.
This week in CEP 812 our goal was to identify problems of practice in the classroom, either well-structured or ill-structured, and explore different digital tools that could help us address these problems. The problem of practice that I will be focusing on relates to a Social Studies unit on celebrations for a Kindergarten class. In order to explore a certain cultural festival in greater depth, the students will be asked to learn about the history and meaning behind the celebration. Their goal is to retell the story and their understanding of the sequence of events using a storyboard. The video below shows how the digital tool called “Storyboard That” serves this purpose and is particularly useful in allowing students to focus on organizing information and retelling the key events within the story.