Passion and Creativity > Intelligence

I can’t believe CEP 812 is coming to a close. Sometimes it feels like the past 8 weeks flew by, and other times it feels like they were the slowest 8 weeks of my life. This course has been the most challenging thus far….although it is only my third course in the program. In the other two classes my learning was much more physical- i learned to play the guitar and make circuits out of play-dough. The first two courses presented me with problems to solve, or so it seems, but this course really made me identify the problem.

Reflecting back on the past year, I am reminded of the course of events that led me to the MAET program. Almost a year ago now, I emailed past professors asking for their suggestions on master’s programs focusing on educational technology. At the time, my passion for implementing modern tech tools in my classroom was conflicting with my school’s technology policy. I hated telling my students to use resources and tools, and then have to punish them if they got out their cell phone to look something up on the Internet, snap a picture of the whiteboard work, or video something they heard and want to remember…especially because I felt like a hypocrite for telling them not to use a tool I regularly use: my cellphone. I was looking for a program to help me reconnect learning and life. I was curious as to why my learners were highly adaptive to rapidly evolving technology outside of school, but struggled to use technology in the classroom. Now, finishing up CEP 812, I am still reaching out to professors and others within my growing PLN (professional learning network).  It seems that everything I do regarding teaching and learning is driven by my passion and curiosity and remediated by reaching out to individuals in my PLN or searching for the answer on the web, which are appropriate closing thoughts considering our final learning task.

For our final task in CEP 812 we were asked to read the article It’s P.Q. and C.Q. as Much as I.Q. written by Thomas Freidman.  In the article, Friedman (2013), says that in our hyper-connected, technology-driven world, the individuals who will succeed “won’t just be those with more I.Q. It will also be 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.”  That is, intelligence alone will not prepare individuals for an unknown future with unknown problems and jobs, but rather a combination of passion, curiosity and intelligence is necessary for success in a rapidly changing economy. After reading and reflecting on this article we had to create a representation of how we embody and envision PQ and CQ in both our present and future work as educator. I created a video remix using YouTube and iMovie to hopefully help views see that passion and creativity go hand in hand in my instructional practices and learning experiences. Enjoy.

Friedman, T. L. (2013). It’s p.q. and c.q. as much as i.q. The new york times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/opinion/friedman-its-pq-and-cq-as-much-as-iq.html

Making Innovation Part of Learning Ethic

Over the past few weeks, Alyse, Allison, Yahia, and I have been working together to identify strategies, approaches, and technologiesImage that we believe provide a viable solution on how to make innovation part of the learning ethic. In my last blog post I summarized my group’s Wicked Problem of Practice and explained why I felt it was an extremely complex problem to tackle. Since then, my group has come a long way! By collaborating with classmates and implementing their feedback, we were able to turn our proposal around and refocus our recommendations around strategies rather than the problem itself in our revamped White Paper Recommendation. 

From there, we created several pieces of work that define the nature of our problem and the complexities surrounding it, and offer our vision on making innovation part of learning ethic. Since making innovation part of learning ethic isn’t really about using a specific tool or procedure, but rather freedom and choice modeled by a progressive classroom design that embraces learning as a process and utilizes 21st century tools as supports, we refocused our recommendation around this question: If creativity is the driving force for innovation, how do we cultivate creativity in education?

In doing so, we established what we felt were essential aspects of the creative learning process in terms of cultivating creativity– providing time for learners to share experiences and make connections through collaboration, to use their interests to engage them in higher order problem solving learning tasks, to use 21st century tools to share and learn with a global community– and why those skills were so important to prepare for future of unknowns. Please watch, read, and explore our work by checking out our Smore Flyer. 

References:

Adams, K. (2005). The sources of innovation and creativity. National Center on Education and the Economy. 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Suite 5300, Wash

ington, DC 20006. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/889923744?accountid=12598

Barseghian, T. (2014). What kids want out of school [Video File]. KQED: MindShift.  Retrieved February 12, 2014 from http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/01/what-kids-want-out-of-school/

Beers, S. Z. (2011). 21st century skills: preparing students for their future. In STEM Education Coalition. Retrieved February 14. 2014.

Crie, M. (2006). Using Blogs to Integrate Technology into the Classroom. Teaching Today. Retrieved February 24, 2014 from http://www.glencoe.com/sec/teachingtoday/educationupclose.phtml/47.

Foote, S. M., Harrison, D. S., Ritchie, C. M., & Dyer, A. (2012). Exploratory Learning through Critical Inquiry: Survey of Critical Inquiry Programs at Mid-Sized US Universities. International Association for Development of the Information Society.

Gee, J.P. (2013) The Anti-Education Era [Google Books]. Retrieved from Google Books App.

Innovation. (2014). In Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved February 23, 2014, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/innovation

Koehler, M. (2011). What is TPACK? TPACK. Retrieved March 1, 2014 from http://mkoehler.educ.msu.edu/tpack/what-is-tpack/

Milloy, C. (2013). Who’s Failing? America’s uninspiring, creativity-killing schools. The Day Connecticut. Retrieved February 12, 2014, from http://www.theday.com/article/20130804/OP03/308049963/1070/NWSlatest

Sawyer, K. (2011) Schools that foster creativity. Huffington Posts: Ted Weekends. Retrieved February 23, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-r-keith-sawyer/teaching-creativity_b_2258239.html

A Wicked Opportunity: Innovation as Learning Ethic

ImageThe past few weeks we have been exploring a wicked task in small groups; specifically, my group has been tackling making innovation part of the learning ethic. Innovation as learning ethic is a particularly complex problem to solve because there is a lot of uncertainty: the exponentially advancing digital technologies have led to exponential growth in innovation, essentially making the predictability of the future nearly impossible or at least hard to plan for. For example, remember when everyone tried to plan for Y2K? …and then it was a bust? No one wanted to be “that guy” who had horded years worth of food and water in their basement. Similarly, since we can’t begin to fathom the technological advancements that will be available to us in the years to come, trying to create a plan that guides us towards or a more sustainable future using tools that don’t exist yet can be scary. As an educator, I must train my students for jobs that may not even exist yet. I must instill the qualities of a creative problem solver and innovative thinker to help my students prepare for a world of unknowns. And, while uncertainty often causes fear, exploring innovation as learning ethic opens the door to opportunity and CREATIVITY. As a group, we used our diverse experiences, conflicting opinions, and values to achieve a greater understanding of the complex problem at hand. By actively communicating, we were able to create a visual representation and a report based on our findings to solve our wicked problem and address what we believe is the very nature of the problem. The rough draft of our project is available here.

Technology Implementation…the results are in

This week, we were asked to create a survey regarding technology integration and share it with our community of practice, or colleagues we work with on a daily basis. The questions in my survey focus on types of technology teachers regularly use, why they use those technologies, and what changes they would like to make regarding tech use. After carefully reviewing the data collected, I summarized the data gathered from my survey, which you can read about in my white paper response: Technology Integration. Also, shown below is an infographic I created to visually display the data collected in my survey.

easelly_visual

In Terms of Info Diets, I’m a Vegetarian

ImageThis week in CEP 812 we were asked to consider the media we use and reflect on our own personal ‘information diet.’ I will admit, I do not have a healthy “information diet” in terms of variety of sources; yet, each individual source I consume is kind of like a “casserole,” packed with variety and contradicting ingredients that come together and taste like heaven on your tongue- a quick fix that satisfies each of the necessary food groups. My limited diet is actually something that I have always been aware of; I have accepted it and feel okay with it. We live in an age where information on the web is tailored to fit individual interests and beliefs. For some, the ideas discussed in the TED Talk given by Eli Pariser (2011) may feel like something right out of a dystopian novel, where we have no say over what we view, and arguably, because we are only exposed to information that confirms and/or supports our current stance or way of thinking, we will become robots controlled by, cue conspiracy theory: the government. For others, like myself, it is just another technological advancement or marketing ploy, similar to ones put in place prior to the worldwide web.

In my opinion, the idea of “filtering” and exposing only certain pieces of information is something that has been occurring for quite some time. For example, a person subscribed to Women’s World magazine will definitely be exposed to different advertisements than someone who is subscribed to Sports Illustrated or Vogue. However, that isn’t to say that Women’s World is trying to hide their information from people who aren’t subscribed, just as Google isn’t trying to hide information from individuals by filtering their searches. Even more-so, local news stations are known for either their liberal or conservative take on events, which often sways their viewer population. Advertisements on radio stations, commercials on television stations, and music in clothing stores are only a few ways I can think of that have been affecting society’s “info diet” long before web filtering.

Maybe I am in a generation young enough to be comfortable with the idea of the “filter bubble” that Priser (2011) discusses. With as much criticism as Millennials get, I think we have a hyper awareness of how the web “categorizes” [us] or even society. I can think of a time four years ago when my Facebook feed was full of sarcastic posts regarding advertisements the site had tailored to their profiles. More recently, I can recall how the advertisements went from wedding rings to Christian singles after I ended my relationship. What I’m trying to say is that I don’t think everyone is as oblivious to the “filter bubble” as one may think. Most websites you have to sign up for ask you to choose interests and build you a unique home page based on those interests…some sites just take out the first step and automatically customize things for you. While some view the automatic filtering algorithm as a bonus feature that makes their life easier, others, like Nicholas Carr (2010) begin to question if this process is actually removing ones capacity to think critically or grow intellectually.

While I would argue that my generation is aware of the filtering process and uses it to their advantage, I can see why it is important to acknowledge one’s information diet. For me, I am comfortable using a few selected sites, yet I am very aware of where to find alternative sources of information on the web as well as individuals with countering beliefs. Like, Jenkins (2010) said, the direct skills needed to change society begin in interest driven networks. So, if younger generations are aware of this “filter bubble” they will know how to seek others to create the diverse experiences Gee (2013) discusses are necessary in order to solve problems of the future. I would argue that what one person sees as a generation of “obsessive device-checking techno-slave zombies” another sees as an innovative army, collectively tackling 21st century problems. The real issue is in how to fuel educators to embrace technology and learn to use it as a tool in the classroom. I have a hard time believing students view facts and forget them immediately; I can testify that students in my classroom make connections to their twitter posts or magazine articles quite often.

With that said, my daily information diet consists of sources such as: Buzzfeed, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Wood TV. I use each of the sources for educational and personal purposes. I believe each expose me to diverse pieces of information or viewpoints in unique ways…my day wouldn’t be complete if there wasn’t a Facebook status with 100+ comments where users debate back and forth over some political or religious topic. So, arguably, while I am still “hanging out” within the confines of my personal “filter bubble” I am not always comfortable, especially when a friend tries to drag me into a heated debate regarding same sex marriage via a Facebook post. I guess I would call myself a vegetarian in terms of the “info diet.” I would say my diet, although limited by variety of sources, is healthy due the complexity –nutrients–within each source. Yet, sometimes I avoid the countering opinions or the controversy all together, which is not healthy, so this week for CEP 812 I am challenging my thinking by purposefully seeking out opinions and ideas that are contradictory to my own using sources that are not currently a part of my “info diet.” Here are the three new sources of information that have pushed my thinking in new ways:

1) I added TED to my Feedly. I added TED to my diet for several reasons. I realized that while I have watched several TED Talks, they have each been very similar in content and purpose, and they were the popular talks that most people know about, too. I have always had a positive opinion of TED, mostly because my undergrad professions showed great Talks and spoke fondly of the site. I followed suit. I shared the handful of videos I had been exposed to and spoke positively of the opportunity and creativity. However, prior to this week, I actually wasn’t aware that TED Talks addressed issues outside of education. I actually found myself interested in the new technological advancements coming to the medical field. Moreover, I watched several clips spanning environment issues, medical research, the business world, domestic violence, politics, and psychology.  I also didn’t know about speaker qualifications. Even with a slogan that says, “Ideas Worth Spreading,” I had never questioned who decides the ideas are worth spreading…after playing around, I found the protocol required to give a Talk and found myself interested in listening to a young kid giving a TED Talk, which was very cool because I thought only “old” people could give TED Talks. Even though some Talks were boring to me, I did enjoy highly controversial topics discussed regarding politics and education reform, which are areas I typically shy away from.

2) I followed @ArneDuncan on Twitter. Arne Duncan is the U.S. Secretary of Education. Most of his tweets are about federal policy and new education initiatives. Prior to this week I had always prided myself on not being invested in educational politics, or politics in general. I wouldn’t say I am naïve or careless when it comes to either, but I definitely don’t let politics make me jaded about my profession or the future of education. I have always had the mindset that I can’t change or control what is happening, so I should focus on doing what I love most, teaching and building relationships with kids, and the rest will fall into place. I actually had my sister figure out my retirement information two years ago in the midst of all the changes. I really don’t care about that stuff…is that bad? However, even though I felt like I had better things to be doing, I tried my best to scroll through Arne’s tweets. I actually found myself clicking on articles he tweeted about, then clicking similar articles linked at the bottom of that article and so forth. This is a process I typically follow on Buzzfeed, a site in my “filter bubble,” where one article leads me to another and I end up creating this vast web of connections and information. I found myself interested in the variety his twitter account offered. I was surprised to see that amongst the political tweets—healthcare reform, education reform, state testing—there were sweet, uplifting tweets about educators and their impact. I will say that I actually found most of the political articles interesting and easy to read, too. Most political articles use terms I am unaware of and technical language that I cannot relate to, this was not the case with his linked articles.

3) I followed @michillerhee on Twitter. Michelle Rhee is the CEO and founder of Students First—an organization focused on pushing legislators, courts, district administrators, and school boards to create and enforce policies that put students first. Like I mentioned previously, I usually shy away from politics in general and I definitely do not involve myself in the Common Core Debates, however, when deciding what sources to add for this weeks task, I was immediately drawn to Michelle Rhee’s twitter because it was focused on student needs in terms of politics and standardized testing not the other way around. One thing that particularly disturbed me was an article she linked about PBS, a site I previously had very positive opinions of, as well as several articles regarding standardized testing laws that affect dying children or children with special needs. As an educator, my passion is helping kids, and I kind of feel that I have neglected the cause by ignoring news regarding standardized testing and legislature. I hope to stay in tune issues that have been affecting so many children in the US that I had previously been blind to.

In sum, while the first two sources I consumed didn’t change my opinion or thinking in any way, they did encourage me to think more and explore information that I would have otherwise ignored, which I believe is the point of a balanced information diet. Moreover, the last source I added to my diet actually changed my thinking about staying aware in terms of educational laws. Now, I really feel that it is my duty to stay aware to make sure my “kids” are receiving all the supports available to them, and, more importantly, to voice my opinion to help ALL kids who may be suffering due to current laws.

References:

Carr, N. (2011). The dark side of the information revolution [Web]. Retrieved from http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid57825992001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAADXaozYk~,BawJ37gnfAnGoMxEdQj_T9APQXRHKyAC&bctid=1128986496001

Gee, J. P. (2013). The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning.

Jenkins, H. (Performer) (2011). Media scholar henry jenkins on participatory culture and civic engagement [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgZ4ph3dSmY&feature=youtu.be

Pariser, E. (Performer) (2011). Beware online “filter bubbles” [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles.html

Creative Commons licensed “@plugusin Graphic” by  Bill Ferriter, used under CC BY

Hear All About It: Using Tech for HI Learners

“Hearing in noise is one of the biggest challenges for children, and the improvement in speech recognition in noise provided by Dynamic FM is unparalleled by any other advanced noise-management technology.” —Jace Wolfe, PhD. Director of Audiology, Hearts for Hearing, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

This week our task was to research and write about one technology that could support students with a specific learning disability. The disability I chose to explore is hearing impairment and the technology tool I chose to focus on is a FM transmitter. I currently work in a school district that offers the only hearing-impaired program in the county, and I work with HI students in my classroom on a daily basis, so I felt it was relevant and fitting to research technologies that support learners with hearing loss. I chose to research the FM transmitter because it is a tool that I use daily but do not know much about. Also, since hearing impairment is such a complex disability, I focused specifically on auditory oral HI learners, which means they learned to speak instead of sign.

In my white paper response, Assisting Hearing Impaired Learners with Technology, you will read about hearing impairment, how FM transmitters work, and why FM transmitters provide the best source of support for HI learners in the classroom. I provide evidence that shows students living with hearing impairment benefit significantly when a FM transmitter is used in the classroom.

As an introduction to my paper, I created a Prezi and included a YouTube video (both below) that show how one common brand of FM transmitters, Phonak’s Inspiro is used in the classroom and how it supports learning.

***to view the Prezi you will need to click the link above not the image below***

References:

Anderson, K.L., Goldstein, H. (2004). Speech Perception Benefits of FM and Infrared Devices to Children With Hearing Aids in a Typical Classroom. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 35, 169-184.

Berg, F.S., Blair, J.C., Benson, P.V. (1996). Classroom Acoustics: The Problem, Impact, and Solution. Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 27, 16-20.

Clark, C. (1998). The role of assistive listening devices in the classroom. NETAC teacher tipsheet     Northeast Technical Assistance Center, Rochester Institute of Technology, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, 52 Lomb Memorial Dr., Rochester, NY 14623-5604. Tel: 716-475-6433   (Voice/TTY); Fax: 716-475-7660; e-mail: netac@rit.edu; Web sit(TRUNCATED). Retrieved from pro quest.

Lewis, D. (1994). Assistive Devices for Classroom Listening. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 70-83.

Thibodeau, L. (2004). Maximizing Communication via Hearing Assistance Technology: Plotting beyond the Audiogram! Special Issue: Assistive Listening Devices. Hearing Journal, 57, 46– 51.

 

Response to James Paul Gee: Solving Big, Complex Problems

Image

This week in my CEP 812 course I was asked to read the preface, Chapters 1-3, Chapter 7, Chapter 10, and Chapters 15-16 in the book by James Paul Gee (2013) entitled The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning, and then formalize a response based on Gee’s explanation to answer the following question: What limitations prevent us from solving big, complex problems smartly?

In my response linked below, I answer this BIG question by summarizing pieces from each assigned chapter in which I identify what I believe are the three major limitations that result from our current education system and how we currently use technology. Of course, this is my own analysis of the text, and I apologize if the organization of my response is as jumbled as my thoughts. There was SO much information to take in and several complex ideas I wanted to touch on…it was hard to limit myself to three major limitations. Enjoy.

Response to James Paul Gee

Side note: I wasn’t able to get the text shipped to my house in time, so I ended up downloading the book using iBooks on my iPad. Initially, I was frustrated because I felt that the digital text would prevent me from being an active reader (making notes in the margin, highlighting, etc); however, with so many complex ideas presented, I found that the digital book allowed me to organize my notes and made my in-text references much easier to locate. The note taking feature and highlighting function in iBooks allowed me to interact with the text much more efficiently than I previously have been able to with hardcopies. I have used iBooks for pleasure reading but this is a first for informational reading and I am pleased to say that it was a positive change.

References:

Gee, J. P. (2013). The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning.

Image:  James Paul Gee, The Anti-Education Era, January 25, 2014 via Google Images,  Creative Commons  License