A couple of questions answered for my readers: Why am I working toward a PhD in #EdTech? What is #EdTech all about?? These were questions that were recently asked by my professor, questions that my readers may (or may not) think interesting…
The word cloud at the top of the page was from a post in late August. I have not reviewed this post since then. Scroll to the bottom of the page to get the word cloud for this post…and I will post the top one again – there may or may not be any differences…
Lets start with the first question – why?
I want to help teachers! As amazing as teachers are, there is always room to improve. Always. My goal is to learn as much as possible about educational technology, learning and teaching design with technology, and diffusion of that information. Along the way this semester, I have enjoyed the opportunity to learn from research as well. This is one aspect of teaching that I wish we had more time to digest. Actual research. A secret goal of mine is to figure out a way to put research into the hands of teachers without them having to read every word. Teachers don’t have time.
First up is learning about the technology. I am a firm believer in what is called constructivist learning (new term I picked up this semester). Specifically that learning is socially constructed – we learn from each other by sharing our unique experiences with each other. In gamification terms (you know I love this topic) its like using a discussion board to share best practices for a particular situation (leveling up, winning against a tough boss, great items to use…). The point is this – we all have special skills and unique traits (skills and traits – gamification…again), when we share those experiences – everything gets better!
Using Twitter and Facebook to connect with other teachers and educators is critical in this day and age. The technology platforms that these services use are easy to navigate and promote collaboration – especially for teachers. If you are not searching for ideas on both Facebook and Twitter or even Pinterest, you are missing out. Big Time.
As for learning and teaching design, most people are really familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy. I think you would be hard pressed to find a teacher that has not heard of Bloom’s or is required to list Bloom’s Taxonomy in lesson plans. They are great to be sure – but are there others out there that could be used? Maybe – with the proliferation of technology over the past decade, maybe we should revisit some of these teaching and learning designs.
The EdTech class that I teach pre-service teachers focuses on Gangne’s Nine levels of learning. These are great and you can get more of them here. I was not familiar with Gagne until this past spring. I also loved reading about Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping. When I say loved – this may not quite convey the amazingness that I got from this model. You should check it out!
Lastly, I learned another key phrase this semester: diffusion of innovation. This is a fancy way of talking about the spectrum of people as they adopt to new technology: from the innovators all the way to the people who will not change (or change after 99.9% of everyone else has already done so). This is the why of what I am doing. Trying to get teachers into the early majority! There are so many cool things that we can start using in our classrooms. Right. Now. I really want to help teachers out in this way, give them tools to see that #edtech is not this big scary thing that will go away in a couple of years.
What is EdTech all about? Its about everything that I just shared. Its about communicating, teaching lessons, designing lessons, collaborating, sharing, exploring, and using technology as part of our teaching practice. Edtech is not wheeling the iPad cart into the classroom once a semester for 45 minutes of ______________. EdTech is using technology everyday in the classroom. It’s having your students use technology to show off what they have learned – giving them agency! As teachers, we scream for agency – Let Our Voices Be Heard! Can we harness the power of EdTech to do the same thing for our students? Create a classroom blog, let students develop webpages, video announcements for school, classroom twitter chats, students can share the upcoming calendar with parents through websites like smore or tackk. Maybe using a different learning design, we can get students to really shine!
EdTech brings the world to our classroom – that is what it does. We can either dismiss this trend as another one of those things that comes and goes….Or we can tackle the awesomesauce that is Mystery Skype! Imagine teaching the American Revolution and teaming up with a classroom in England? I think there may be a thing or two taught differently here…
Lastly one of my personal goals is to try and use EdTech to bring research to the teacher in an easy to understand format using a short blog post and an infographic. This was not possible 10 years ago, but through the power of modern technology is not all that difficult. Yes technology does seem to create its own share of problems, yet I can’t help but think of the infinitely more amazing things that we can use EdTech to accomplish with our students!
Click here to see my answer to another question – where I fit into #EdTech: https://youtu.be/6ulZY_2oKoo
Here are the word clouds! Do you see any differences?