Tuesday, May 12, 2015

MD 6 Learning in a Digital World

My philosophy of learning in this digital age we live today is based on the idea that the use of technology enables students to gain immediate and effective access to information which promotes high levels of interaction, activity, and motivates them to learn (Ertmer & Newby, 2013).  How students learn is a direct impact on the use of technology to (1) increase and improve student learning by providing teachers and students with access to up-to-date relevant content (2) provide skills practice sets with the use of software and the Internet (Wardlow, 2014);  (3) provide real-world simulations with the use digital tools such as web 2.0 tools (facebook, linkedin, twitter, instant messaging, blogs, emails) and 3.0 tools (google drive, google docs, google chat, clouds, mobile computing). These tools provide a means for learners to connect with others to collaborate and gain additional information (Friedman & Friedman, 2013). Students today are accustomed to a digital, media-rich, and network world with educational expectations of being participative, engaging, and an environment that is active (Siemens, 2004). With the changes in teaching methods, students today also known as digital students prefer learning by doing.
Connectivism is a valuable learning theory that shifts the theory of learning into the digital age. Connectivism explains learning as being operational knowledge that is housed externally and affords individuals the opportunity to acquire more knowledge (Siemens, 2004). Learning is the process of creating networks. Learning networks are external structures that we create in order to stay current and constantly gain experience, create, and associate new knowledge. Internal structures of learning networks are the process of connecting and creating patterns of understanding. With the concept of learning networks, the capacity to know more is significantly more demanding than what is already known (Siemens, 2006).

Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (2013). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 26(2), 43-71. doi:10.1002/piq.21143
Friedman, L., & Friedman, H. H. (2013). Using social media technologies to enhance online learning. Journal of Educators Online, 10(1), 1-22.
Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved from http://elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

Siemens, G. (2006). Knowing knowledge. Retrieved from http://www.Lulu.com.
Wardlow, Liane  (2014). Teaching in the digital age. Retrieved from http://researchnetwork. pearson.com/wp-content/uploads /DigitalAge_AccessReport_021714.pdf
Additional links

Monday, May 4, 2015

MD 5 New Technologies

 New Technologies
     Three years ago, my school system changed over to a new student grading and management system known as PowerSchools. PowerSchool is web-based student information system that offers a variety of features to assist administrators at the district and school level with managing student information. PowerSchool has a portal for teachers to enter classroom-specific data and portals to foster communication between the school and parents. There are also portals for parents and students to monitor student progress in all subject areas.  PowerSchool enables today's educators to make timely decisions that impact student performance while creating a collaborative environment for parents, teachers, and students to work together in preparing 21st century learners for the future. Some features of PowerSchool consist of attendance management, tracking, and notification; PowerTeacher 2.8 Gradebook; integrated push-button state reporting; robust reporting tools; parent portal to keep track of their child’s grades and attendance;  discipline management and reporting; and many more features that assist in the overall management and reporting of student activities (Pearson Education Inc., 2015).
       I attended a professional development training on PowerSchools as a representative from my school. I, along with other educators from my county, received robust training on PowerSchool and was assigned the lead trainers and resource personnel for the staff at our schools. Like with any change in the normal way of doing things, there was resistance from some of the staff that imparted this new system as a replacement for a system that was not broken and worked well for them. Some were reluctant to change to this new system because they were fearful of the complex context of the program. With others, just the idea of navigating through the application to enter grades and attendance accurately, and perform certain actions required by the administration was a nerve reckoning experience. Signs of low self-efficacy among some of the staff were evident at certain points throughout the presentation.   I assured them that I would be the resources person for our school and would assist them in any way possible. This seemed to alleviate some of the tension and overwhelming anxiety that was expressed by many during the training.
            Keller’s (1983) ARCS model of motivation, performance, and instructional influence assumes that students’ motives, together with their expectancies, will influence the degree of attention and effort they will supply to learning a task (Driscoll, 2005). A strategy I used to stimulate the teachers motivation to learn the new tool was to first engage them in an ice-breaking activity to loosen them up. Another strategy I used to sustain their attention was to provide prizes throughout the session to those who answered questions about materials learned in the training. Also, showing the staff the relevance of PowerSchool and how it will make their job easier, and how it would allow them to create necessary reports to show student progress on test motivated them to achieve their personal goals.

Additional References

Self-Efficacy and Success: Is There Any Relationship

Technology's Role in Motivation - Blogs - Education Week



Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Pearson Education, Inc.  (2015). Retrieved from http://www.pearsonschoolsystems.com /products/powerschool/