We started the semester out by defining what Educational Technology was. From an experience in another course, I had defined Educational Technology already. However, my experience in this course allowed me revisit this definition and see how it related to learning theory.
While I’ve had the opportunity to explore different learning theories in my undergrad experience, this class put a new spin on it by looking at these theories through the lenses of Educational Technology. Proper technology integration has blurred the lines between each theory and allows teachers to employ more than one. It has also allowed teachers to provide students with learning experiences that they would otherwise not have.
Another aspect of this course that I thoroughly enjoyed was the exploration of emerging educational technology theories and frameworks. I especially relate to the TPACK and SAMR frameworks. These frameworks relate directly to my job and help me to coach teachers on proper technology use/integration in the classroom. The TPACK and SAMR models provide grounds for discussion about the level at which technology is being used. Without these frameworks technology use/integration cannot be properly evaluated.
Finally, this course has forced me to be cognizant of learning objectives, content, and academic capabilities of students. These factors will help determine the approach a teacher should take when employing learning theories and technology integration.
As I researched several different learning theories and how they related to Educational Technology, my mind just kept coming back to connectivism. Connectivism is sometimes referred to as, “Digital Age Learning.” The learner makes connections between prior experiences and new experiences. Learners make these connections because they have a desire to know more and they have decision making skills about what they want to learn. This theory resonates with me because I feel myself making connections all the time. When I need to learn a new skill, I will often think of a skill similar and make connections on how they relate. I am constantly making connections between tech tools that I use. I have a lot of people ask me how I learn new tech tools so quickly and the answer is connectivism. I use prior knowledge to make connections with my new experience. I use those prior connections to make meaning of what is in front of me. In his Blog Post Stephen Downes said, “and ‘meaning’ is a property of language and logic, connoting referential and representational properties of physical symbol systems.” He goes on to say that in connectivism there is no real “transferring” of knowledge, instead a series of connections.
As a former elementary school teacher, I would often get presented with these wonderful new trends or things I should do in my class. I sometimes would struggle finding a connection to the standards. These were my same thoughts when it came to the Makey Makey. I had experimented with all of these different applications and board set ups but I struggled with seeing their value in education. This course has encouraged be to be creative and make those connections. I have successfully created Scratch Projects to use my Makey Makey with that are educational. Not only have I done it, but my classmates have as well! This course has allowed me to develop the my inner maker and create something of educational value! Below you find a link to my Educational Maker Project.
This week I was asked to create a voicethread tutorial of how I created one of my scratch+makey makey projects. I chose my latest project that I felt was the most developed and had the most to offer in terms of educational value. As I was creating my tutorial I realized how much work had gone into creating my project. That is one of the reason’s I love the “remix” feature in scratch. As an educator I do not have time to create all my projects from scratch so it’s nice to be able to use others’ work and make it my own (with correct attribution, of course). The “remix” feature allows me to also duplicate bits and pieces of code without having to re-invent the wheel.
This week in Scratch I learned a lot about cloning. I realized that when you clone a sprite that has already been cloned it not only creates a clone of the original sprite it also creates a clone of the clone as well. This took me quite a while before I realized what was going on. I needed my sprites to appear one at a time when a certain key was pressed. After fiddling with it for some time I decided that instead of cloning the sprite I needed to duplicate the sprite. After I created the duplicates I needed I could write specific scripts for each duplicate.
In addition to learning about cloning, I also feel a lot more comfortable in general when it comes to scratch. Although, it was quite time consuming I was able to write a successful application that has direct educational ties. It was difficult to determine how I could give students immediate feedback on how they did with out pre-programming numbers. I determined that if I created a total count variable and had it change by 1, 10, or 100 every time those sprites were added to the board this would allow me to compare it to the random number generated.
This week I had to create another project using scratch and the makey makey. After reviewing some of my peers’ projects I realized that I needed to make my makey makey set up more interactive and visual. This week I sort of duplicated what the students would see in the scratch program to help make a connection between the two.
By doing this I realized that there is power in having students create scratch projects with the makey makey integrated. While my project seems simplistic, it took quite a bit of time to figure out how I wanted my project to interact with the makey makey. Adding that element changed how I created my project and how I thought about my project.
In module 3 I researched constructivism and direct models in the classrooms. I have found that educational technology is not bound by these boundaries. Instead it works together to merge the two worlds into one. Prior to this research, I have always felt unsure as to what the best approach to learning was.
As a classroom teacher, I found myself employing several different types of learning theories depending on the content that was being delivered. After doing more research I am confident in saying that it is appropriate for classroom teachers to use both the inquiry based learning along side direct instruction.
This is especially true for younger grades. When I taught kindergarten I spent a lot of time doing direct instruction. Once the students understood the foundation of the content then I felt confident that they could work with it in a more inquiry based learning situation. I believe that in order to be effective in the classroom you need to employ the use of both main learning theories.