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“With great power comes great responsibility.” Educational technologies

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“With great power comes great responsibility.” – Voltaire

I am reminded of this quote as we end this semester. Sometimes we adopt educational technologies for the wrong reasons. Either we wish to impress or we are simply misguided. Through the months, the different issues and topics discussed raised my awareness on the advantages, disadvantages, and the dangers of using technology in teaching. To describe what I learned, I will discuss everything choronologically.

QR codes. The application of QR codes in a scavenger hunt intrigued me so much that I applied it in my class. The first try had a lot of problems since the design that I made was too complicated and hence, too difficult to organize. I made 30 problems with 3 variations each and 20 different routes. Although I had some students assist me, it turned out to be a little of a nightmare preparing everything. The good thing though was my students really had fun and it was enough for them to request for a second hunt. Learning from my first experience, I eliminated the routes and instead executed a plain scavenger hunt giving bonuses to the groups with the most number of QR codes. You could just imagine the ruckus resulting during the activity, everybody was running and shouting and it turned out well. Aside from the use of QR codes, one concept that I was also able to apply was Professor Que’s discussion of the digital divide. The activity required that students had to have a smart phone and a QR code reader so I surveyed all my classes to check if there were enough for the groups to work on. Luckily, there were so were able to proceed. This might not have occurred to me had I not been exposed to the discussions in EdTech 210.

Badges. I got this idea from our report on Emerging Technologies. It is one form of applying the principle of conditioning since it is a reward system. I was surprised by its success. Instead of awarding points, I awarded badges and logged everything in schoology. Whenever I failed to list a badge, I immediately received feedback from the concerned student about it. I even implemented this in the recitations and I was able to increase the level of participation during discussions. Instead of being afraid, students were complaining about not being given the chance to recite!

Infographics. I really enjoyed doing my infographics and I decided that this was an ideal activity for my classes. Math is mostly centered on logical-mathematical and visual spatial intelligences. Howard Gardner suggests that people have different strengths with respect to the eight intelligences that he has defined and he encourages teachers to employ strategies to address the learning strengths of children. I felt that this was an ideal activity for those who had artistic skills and it was well received. The submitted infographics exceeded my expectations. Since my students belong to the digital generation, they were adept at creating digital artwork. I gave them minimal instructions and simply provided them the links that I got from EdTech 210.

Equity, Legal and Ethical Issues in the Use of Technology for Education. My level of awareness on the possibilities of endangering our students when made to use online materials was heightened. Other concerns are the legal issues involved when creating online content. Students need to be reminded on respecting intellectual property and proper attribution. The first time the infographics were submitted, I asked everybody to revise them since they freely used images from the net without citing their sources. When I made flipped classroom videos, I used flipasaurus instead of youtube to ensure that students viewed only my videos and not some recommended one which I had no control. During the semester, I was planning to create a facebook account as an educational extension tool where I could post useful links on Math and their studies but delayed this to plan and study very well the possible problems of doing so. Instead, I used Schoology and UVLE in tandem to deliver content.

Report 1. Essential conditions for technology integration. I am a strong believer of standards because I used to be an ISO auditor in our plant. During those years, I learned the benefits of standards and how to design them for optimization. After our plant was ISO certified, the process became less people dependent since all standards, and the corresponding production steps involved were identified. Previously, when a critical personnel resigned, he or she brought with him all his knowledge and expertise. After the standardization of the production system, this problem was lessened. We made less mistakes and were more consistent in level and quality of output. I was very glad that ISTE has formulated similar ones and because of the report, I learned how to use them in assessing whether educational technologies satisfy them. The guidelines for coaches are also a great help since I do blended learning activities and use the internet a lot for lesson extensions. I feel more confident that I can design courses that are more attuned to the needs of my students.

Report 2. Traditional and digital media for education. Sophisticated technology is not always the best tool. Ultimately, it depends on the situation. I was particularly interested in the different examples that the group brought along. Actual samples are really more interesting than pictures and it was good that the members brought many of them to class. Most of the traditional tools I know are for Math so it was good to see how other areas like science and preschool classes use certain tools to aid learning.

Report 3. Emerging Technologies in Education. I was really really glad that we got this report because I am very interested in projections and glimpses of the future. Not only did I learn the emerging technologies in the field of education but also the issues and challenges that educators face before they can go mainstream. The NMC horizon reports offer rich information and what is so good about them is that they are results of inputs from leaders and experts from different parts of the world. Most regions have the same problems but they differ in priority largely because of the economic divide.

Report 4. 21st century skills. This report reminded me that I have to keep improving and to be updated on new technologies and trends in education. In this century, the demands on workers are being upped and upped since we live in a fast paced world that is media driver. It is a world that is very different from the previous century’s. Students have to learn more at a faster rate and at higher levels. They should learn how to be creative, innovative, critical thinkers, problem solvers, and effective communicators which is a tough call. This puts more burden on teachers to improve pedagogies and meet this needs.

Flipped classroom. Unquestionably, this is a very useful strategy. For my case, I see a lot of applications in my classes since one of my main problems is limited classroom time. Mathematics involves conceptual understanding and procedural fluency and flipping may give me more time to address these concerns when I meet my students. I actually partly implemented this in my Math 1 cl

In addition, schools must promote an understanding of academic content at much higher levels by weaving

21st century interdisciplinary themes into core subjects:

• Global Awareness

• Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy

• Civic Literacy

• Health Literacy

• Environmental Literacy

Learning and Innovation Skills

Learning and innovation skills are what separate students who are prepared for increasingly complex life

and work environments in today’s world and those who are not. They include:

• Creativity and Innovation

• Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

• Communication and Collaboration

Information, Media and Technology Skills

Today, we live in a technology and media-driven environment, marked by access to an abundance

of information, rapid changes in technology tools and the ability to collaborate and make individual

contributions on an unprecedented scale. Effective citizens and workers must be able to exhibit a range of

functional and critical thinking skills, such as:

• Information Literacy

• Media Literacy

• ICT (Information, Communications and Technology) Literacy

Life and Career Skills

Today’s life and work environments require far more than thinking skills and content knowledge. The ability

to navigate the complex life and work environments in the globally competitive information age requires

students to pay rigorous attention to developing adequate life and career skills, such as:

• Flexibility and Adaptability

• Initiative and Self-Direction

• Social and Cross-Cultural Skills

• Productivity and Accountability

• Leadership and Responsibility

And last but not least is Mahara. I remember Professor Que saying that at first, students get discouraged and see it as difficult to use. But once you know how to use it, you learn to love it. Initially, I felt bewildered while navigating the site but once I started posting my work, I learned its nice features little by little which is probably the reason why I feel I have mastered it. In the learning theory article homework, a large part of the article was devoted on learning, assimilation, and accommodation. My Mahara experience is surely a reflection of these processes. More and more teachers are becoming facilitators and learners are more involved and in charge of their learning. Hence, hands on activities like the Mahara portfolio, infographics, qr codes, and more are the best ways for a learner to acquire the skills.

As a final word, let me say that I am very impressed with Ed Tech 210. This is not to get the good graces of Professor Que but a sincere opinion. When I enrolled, I thought we were going to make posters and the like and I realize now that I was really mistaken. Last November, I enrolled online in a UCLA led Coursera course on emerging technologies and I am proud to say that our Ed Tech courses at COE are not lagging behind. As a teacher, I learned a lot from how this course was managed. All course requirements and course expectations were defined and deadlines were set in advance. I used to think I was very organized but this was far more better. Since we are starting the next semester in August, I be benchmarking these into my course administration.

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