This post is for my #EDUC5105 course.
I’m pretty sure that no matter what model or framework I use, when I consider my use of web 2.0 and digital tools in the classroom, I end up classified as uber-geek. Just to clarify, I am not a true, super-intelligent geek who knows how to code or program. The most code I know is how to navigate a page of html code to embed something or make minor adjustments.
In my science classroom, if I were to take the SAMR model to analyze how I use digital tools to support student learning, I would say that I mostly bounce between Augmentation and Modification. This means that I use digital tools to allow some students to go paperless if they choose (while others continue to use pen, paper or textbooks). It also allows me to design learning activities around student inquiry, more student-directed than teacher-directed. WIth access to technology, there is often little reason for me to be the provider of all information. Students can find and build their own understanding together using these tools in the classroom. It also provides ways for students who need more time with material to access it at any time while those who need less time, to move on. Again, using the SAMR model, there are times I have managed to use these tools and design a learning activity that I would argue is a redefinition, allowing for the creation of new tasks that were not possible before.
Actually, I’m not sure I can be convinced that there is such thing as redefinition. I’m almost of the belief that there is nothing truly “new”. Simply a reworking of previous ideas. One example that comes to mind is creation of a biology unit for grade 10 science where students worked on case studies and taught their peers about a type of cell specialization. Students accessed materials found online, but more importantly accessed experts from around the world as they designed their own learning path. Each group did a different self-designed dissection to further their understanding of their case and shared their results with their peers. In the past I would not have been able to have students Skype medical students, or create animations, videos or audio files to share their knowledge. But, had I been a true pioneer, students could have used print material to complete case studies and similar carousel learning activities.
When considering Rogers Diffusion of Innovation, I work through the series of stages on a continuous basis. As I learn of new tools or try to do new things in my classroom I become aware of new tools to implement. In fact, my current goals for development in the future is to implement more tinkering and problem solving using technology into my classes. To do this, I envision using programs such as Scratch and/or other more involved programming. I want to integrate this sort of tinkering and creation into my classes because I believe the critical thinking and resiliency skills developed in this manner are invaluable for learning today. At one point in time I learned how to make webpages using HTML (which I now of course forget). It allowed me to develop skills of patience, problem solving and the confidence to know that I can figure things out if I keep at it. Students should have the opportunity to develop these skills. I don’t envision having every student in a class do this, but encouraging it as an option.
I have had this desire for a few years now, and have yet to make it happen. If a student chose this as a method of demonstration of knowledge, I would encourage it of course, but I have yet to learn to do it myself so that I can demonstrate and model it in class. I think my barrier to this has been a disconnect between seeing a place where I could provide enough time for a student to really create something without loosing focus on the science content of a course. I am too focused on the science content in my courses to find a way to provide enough time for students to do this. I would say, looking at Rogers Diffusion of Innovation that I am stuck on the decision stage. I just need to see a concrete way to make use of the tool to improve student learning of the science content before I make the final jump. My biggest barrier will be finding that use that forwards student understanding of scientific concepts.
Looking at the Concerns-Based Adoption Model, I seem to be stuck on the stage of consequence. This fixation has managed to shift the balance so that my inhibitors have outweighed my motivators. I will need to shift this balance to move forward.
When looking at my personal life, I would consider myself an “early adopter” (Rogers Diffusion of Innovation) of technology. When it comes to web-based tools I am often an innovator. In terms of expensive hardware, I would like to be on the cutting-edge, but price is a barrier and so I often take the role of early adopter. I purchase new tools and toys as soon as I can and thoroughly enjoy purchasing products to simply know and understand how they work. I purchase tablets I don’t need, just to tinker and test their capabilities.
Loucks-Horsley, S. (1996). Professional Development for Science Education: A Critical and Immediate Challenge. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co. Retrieved from http://www.nas.edu/rise/backg4a.htm on February 24, 2013.
Orr, G. (2003). Review of Diffusion of Innovations, by Everett Rogers. Retrieved from http://www.stanford.edu/class/symbsys205/Diffusion%20of%20Innovations.htm on February 24, 2013.
Puentedura, R. (2011). Samr model. Retrieved from http://msad75summertechnologyinstitute.wordpress.com/beyond-substitution/