Category: Social Media and Personalized Learning

Think outside the box! Project Based Learning, Technology and Physical and Health Education can you believe it? Assignment #2 568

How can technology be integrated into a course such as physical education when the two components seem to be at odds with one another? Technology may be seen as a sit down and absorb information activity. In comparison physical and health education appears to display learning through various movements. How does an educator bridge the divide? The article Pedagogical uses of Technology in Physical Education by Susana Juniu (2011) suggests that the preconceived notion of the separation derives from an educators lack of knowledge about how to effectively use technology. I resonate with this because when I first started teaching, technology seemed like a black hole of information. If I was unable to navigate it then how could I possibly teach it to my students? It was something that was better left alone than engaged with in case something went wrong. Yet, Instructional Planning Activity Types as Vehicles for
Curriculum-Based TPACK Development by Judi Harris & Mark Hofer (2009), outlines an important piece of the puzzle in that “instructors should choose the appropriate educational technology after identifying the learning goals and developing the learning activities, rather than planning the instruction around them (p.3)”. In reading this, I realized that technology is not meant to take the place of the teacher. Instead, it is a tool that can be used to display students learning in comparison to the traditional model. If teachers can have an understanding of a few technological tools, in collaboration with their comprehension of learning goals, then technology becomes a vehicle of learning.

Juniu’s, 2011, article focuses on teaching physical educators how to implement technology effectively into their classes. It seeks to have preservice teachers use the project-based learning framework to explore technological implementation. The study outlines how the projects are meant to emulate real-life situations in which they could apply various technological tools within their teaching. Essentially, the idea was to have the educators apply theoretical knowledge and put it into a practical situation. The findings are that when navigating project-based learning, also known as PBL, the “instructional approach not only allows the students to gain technological skills through a collaborative activity but helps them apply this experience to the “problem” of how to find the best balance of technology and pedagogy in their teaching” (Juniu, p. 48). The idea of balance can be explored in the chapter Action Research in Education Getting to Grips with Perspectives and Models in the book Action Research in Education by Mary McAteer, 2013. I am reminded of this article due to the fact that it is the responsibility of the educator to reflect in a purposeful manner. Balance to me means incorporating new ways of learning into previous teaching philosophies. Thus, in order to integrate technology and PBL into physical and health education, the educator would need to understand the content from various points of view. When seeking further understanding educators could use the practice of action research where the purpose is to “[enable] professionals to understand their practice better, and use that enhanced understanding in order to effect changes in practice” (McAteer, p. 3).

The possibility of PBL, technology and physical and health education being successfully integrated together is an idea that excites me. I have always been a competitive person, mostly due to my participation in sports such as softball and dance. This competitive drive was something I took pride in all throughout my education and it is what pushes me to seek different ways of teaching. One problem that I continued to face as both a student and educator is the idea of curriculum subjects being separate from one another. I could not find avenues, or did not understand how to find avenues that interrelated my passions. How can we as educators teach curriculum in a cyclical model that does not exclude subjects but embraces cross-curricular concepts when elementary school teachers are taught as generalists versus specialists?  Juniu, 2011, states that “[e]ducators are models to students, and to be models of innovation they need to experience educational innovation in their own preparation” (p. 48). In going through my teacher education program, we were allotted two weeks of physical education training. I only graduated from that program only three years ago, so why is so little importance put on physical and health education training when it can be an intimidating subject for teachers? Juniu recognized that physical education can provide a difficult circumstance in that it is not taught in the everyday classroom but an entirely different space such as the gymnasium or outside. Thus, physical education is a curricular area not known by many, unless enthusiastically explored previously, and taught within a variety of spaces. This idea alone presents challenges to teachers, then with the addition of technology, it’s no wonder there might be a perceived divide.

In thinking about this concept of integrating PBL into physical and health education I am reminded of the article Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work: An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivist, Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and Inquiry-Based Teaching by Paul A. Kirschner, John Sweller and Richard E. Clark, (2006), where they speak to idea that when we introduce problem-based learning it cannot be a fully hands off approach from the teachers role. Instead, scaffolding should be given where students work with previously learned knowledge. PBL, in physical and health education, might develop the way teachers effectively teach and assess this subject. For example, when teaching about the concepts of game play it is important to consider the rules and the objective of the game. This area might be further explored through PBL by having students create their own game consisting of rules from popular sports such as football or baseball. Thus, the educator allows for the individuals understanding versus the traditional fitness testing. Furthermore, when using technology and PBL within physical and health education could the use of social media be an advantage?  An example may be them videoing themselves dancing or explaining a part of a game that they are learning or have created. This might allow for a deeper and possibly more meaningful connection to concepts explored in this subject. However, it is the the educators due diligence to ensure safety, transparency and to ensure that policy guidelines are being met by their employer.

What if we took the lens that Juniu (2011) provides, that we need to teach the married approach of “practical knowledge of technology tools with a pedagogical understanding of how technology can support problem solving and enhance collaborative learning” (p. 45). Will there be further engagement in physical and health education from each individual within the class? Could there become a deepened understanding of play based sport and the technical aspects of psychical and health education? In embracing this model we might see that there is a shift in student perspective where they no longer view success to be determined by only athletic experience and physical development. Instead, students might may develop the understanding and appreciation for the critical life skills that are being taught. What would be the learning and cross curricular opportunities if PBL became apart of how we teach this subject? If all educators started to take the perspective that physical and health education is an vital aspect of student learning, could the increase in importance of physical and health education throughout a population be affected? When considering how technology can shift our view of teaching Raj Dhingra at TedX provides an interesting stance.

What can be the effects of changing our view of teaching? 

Picture Reference List In order:

“PICT0018” by BAMCorp is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

“montana-4” by rxb is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

“2015-07-15c Things I would like to think, write, and talk about in the future — index card #learning” by sachac is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“Track Separation” by mikecogh is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

“longhorn baseball” by Sherri Barras is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Indigenizing Online Learning Assignment #1 368

When reading the article, The Five R’s for Indigenizing Online Learning: A Case Study of the First Nations Schools’ Principals Course by Danielle Tessaro, Jean-Paul Restoule, Patricia Gaviria, Joseph Flessa, Carlana Lindeman and Colen Scully-Stewart, my immediate reaction was that the findings would prove that technology was useless in education along side First Nations studies. The reason is because I’ve always found it challenging to teach Indigenous content. a European teacher, one must be careful to be respectful and correct in what they are teaching. This doesn’t only apply to teaching about First Nations but about any culture. It is a daunting task to teach about a culture you do not know. It makes you question “what right do I have to teach this to students when I myself have a lack of knowledge around the subject?”. Not only did this concern arise for me but to integrate technology into the study of a culture that is knowingly based around learning about connection to place, how could this possibly work?

Tessaro et al. states that “[b]y applying each R to the course design, structure, and delivery, it was found that the challenges of bridging Indigenous and online education could be effectively mitigated and these could act instead as opportunities for new types of learning” (Tessaro et al., 2018, p. 132). This directly demonstrates that technology is not necessarily at odds with Indigenous teaching but that it can consequently provide avenues of accessibility. Incorporating technology into indigenous teaching could allow for Indigenous learners to be apart of everyday classes even when they are unable to be there in person. They are still able to be apart of both cultures.

“Respect” by haynie.thomas36 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The “Five R’s of respect, relevance, reciprocity, responsibility and relationships (Kirkness & Barnhardt, 2001; Restoule, 2008)” (Tessaro et al., 2018, p. 126) provide an understanding of how educators conduct their teaching. These ideas were developed towards Indigenous learners yet, all teachers could adopt this way of thinking about teaching in general. These are not just outlines of a way that we should treat one culture but how humans should treat other humans. The Five R’s are a perception that should be allotted to all students. Without respectful relationships students may struggle to learn, without responsibility and relevance students may struggle to connect to content and without reciprocity the reciprocal learning between teacher and student may be compromised.

Tessaro et al. highlights an important aspect of Canadian university culture of “Power and Profit” (Tessaro et al., 2018, p. 133). I have never heard of this before but it reminds me of the teacher as the holder of knowledge. When the teacher perceives that they are meant to shovel content into students brains it provides an environment where students ability to critically think is stunted.  This concept has been changing throughout the elementary, middle and high school realms of education. Yet, this article points at the lack of change within the post-secondary system. It points to fundamental disconnect between the varying stages of education and how it affects Indigenous learners.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA “Ishi Wilderness” by Kurt Thomas Hunt is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Social Media Use – Pro’s and Con’s (Assignment #1a)

The article, Women scholars’ experiences with online harassment and abuse: Self-protection, resistance, acceptance, and self-blame (2018) by Veletsianos, Houlden, Hodson and Goose, outlines key concerns that face educators who use social media. The reader of this research would be primarily educators, researchers and stakeholders. This research was comprised of qualitative data due to using interviews to assess information. The use of this research was to determine the effects of online harassment and abuse on the abused. It states that “women scholars cope with harassment in ways that are consistent with how women in general cope with it, although scholars may face institutional and peer pressures to be online due to their work” (Veletsianos et al., 2018, p. 4702).

This article provides another consideration to social media in contrast to DeGroot, Young, and VanSlette’s article Twitter Use and its Effects on Student Perception of Instructor Credibility (2015).  DeGroot et al. provides a framework that paints social media as a positive opportunity to be seen as a more credible educator by students. Whereas, Veletsianos et al.  focuses on the potential hazards of using a social media account as an educator. These two articles, demonstrate the delicate balance that is needed when using social media as an educator. This idea of a delicate balance is one that is difficult to grapple with. The idea of being able to broaden the horizons of a classroom through using everyday technology is exciting. However, the unforeseen retaliation that can occur is one that can effect an educator for life. The question begs, is using social media worth it or not?

“Genuine Social Media” by Vintuitive is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Whether an educator or anyone engages in social media or not, it is imperative that “prevention measures” such as “training and resources to develop self-protective abilities” (Veletsianos et al., 2018, p. 4702) are available to all people.  This understanding of social media should not simply be presented to educators but to all citizens who engaged in using it. Furthermore, it is not simply the idea of prevention that needs to be in place but also the specific and directed modelling of positive social media use.  Technology will not cease to exist but instead it will continue to grow and develop. Thus, as educators and a society as a whole, it’s important take it upon ourselves to use it in ways that positively impact the world. We cannot shy away from it and we cannot run from it, so let’s embrace it and allow it to be a way in which we positively connect with one another.

Twitter…Can Social Media Be A Positive Teaching Tool? (Assignment #1a)

In the article, DeGroot, Young, and VanSlette (2015) discuss the student perception of instructor credibility when it comes to using social media by using a mixed method approach. To do this they created “[t]here hypothetical instructor Twitter profiles” “(1) an account with only social tweets, (2) an account with tweets pertaining only to academic and professional messages, and (3) an equal blend of the tweets from the social and professional tweets” (DeGroot et al., 2015, p.424).

It is known that social media is a place in which educators must be extremely careful about what they post. However, DeGroot et all. make an important point that often seems to be forgotten, educators lead by example. We model and then allow students time to interpret and imitate. Thus, although it is imperative for educators to be mindful of what they are putting on social media, it is also a way in which we can demonstrate proper social media use for our students. Moreover, it is important that students view educators as a professional but also as human. “Brookfield (2006) posited that an instructor’s self-disclosure increases their personhood (the students’ belief that their instructor has a life outside of the classroom) in the eyes of the their students” (DeGroot et al., 2015, p. 421). It is paramount that teachers are open with their students. In being an elementary teacher, so often students want to know what your favorite animal is or what sports you play. They want to connect with you and feel as though they know who you are as opposed to simply being the holder of knowledge.

Within this article credibility is measured using “Source Credibility Measure (McCroskey & Teven, 1999; Teven & McCroskey, 1997), comprising three separate subscales: competence, goodwill/caring, and trust” (DeGroot et al., 2015, p. 425). It’s interesting that these three measure credibility online. These are attributes that create a good teacher and educator. These attributes remind me of a video I once watched during a staff-meeting. Rita Pierson on a TED talk called Every Kid Needs A Champion, spoke about how important student connections are she said “students don’t learn from people they don’t like”. This has stuck with me and I believe that this is a contributing factor to this study as “[o]ften times when a teacher seems more approachable, it makes the students feel more as ease while in their class. Thus, they’re more likely to approach them with questions…” (DeGroot et al., 2015, p. 429). To me, the ability it is one of the most important jobs of a teacher to creative an inclusive and safe environment to learn. It is a pedagogical belief of mine that students should constantly question. They should question what they hear, what they see and question what they already know as that leads to better definition of prior knowledge. In BC’s New Curriculum it is a requirement of teachers to teach Core Competencies, one of them being specifically to question and investigate.

My pedagogical belief is that social media, when used properly, can be a model to students on how to behave and conduct themselves online. We are living in the age of rapid technology, where communication availability has increased and as educators we need to embrace our present condition for the benefit of our children’s futures.

Project-based learning…do it! (Assignment #1a)

This article took the position that Problem-Based learning (PBL) is ineffective since “all problem-based searching makes heavy demands on working memory. Furthermore, that working memory load does not contribute to the accumulation of knowledge in long-term memory because while working memory is being used to search for problem solutions, it is not available and cannot be used to learn” (77). Although this may be true I think the article misses the key understanding of what PBL should be used for. When I use PBL, I use it to give students the opportunity to physically work with content they’ve already learned. It allows students to make their learning meaningful because they are forced to struggle through real life problems that do not have one specific answer. Clark states that “everything we see, hear, and think about is critically dependent on and influenced by our long-term memory” (76). I interpret this as the idea that if students are only given content through directed instruction then their knowledge simply becomes a regurgitation instead of their own understanding. However, in my pedagogical belief, students need to be given the opportunity to think critically about what they have learned. We are not simply creating learners that can understand content but instead, we are creating learners that are global citizens who (in their future) will be forced to think outside the box of what they are simply told. I believe that PBL can be an effective tool if the content is properly scaffolded before hand. In scaffolding, I believe that we are to teach students at where they are at instead of where we believe they should be. This idea allows for differentiation of all learners that isn’t dependent on which type of teaching you are doing. Overall, PBL allows for students to learn skills that go deeper than simply content but allow them to sink their teeth into practical problem solving where they can be supported in their struggles. Too often students attempt to fit into a box of like-minded thinking, as an educator I believe that we need to push our students outside the box and make learning possible. That is why PBL is a critical part of my pedagogical practice.

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