Hack Ed 2013 ideas list

#iste13 #hacked13 Yesterday I attended the annual un-conference that is before ever ISTE conference. Over the years the name of this un-conference has changed, I think it started as EduBloggerCon but then last year they changed it to SocialEdCon, which didn't last because this year it is Hack Ed. A name the better suits this crowd of educational heretics.

Here are some of the ideas I got from this year's un-conference...

1 to 1 is big. With most schools now going for the idea of a laptop/computer/tablet per child, the problems that came up during these sessions were all about how to manage all of the hardware. Everything from security issues to bandwidth were discussed.

The Maker Movement is Coming. The ideas of "makers" has been around for at least the past 15 years, but now it is finally getting traction in our schools. With many schools now opting to change their old shops and home-ec spaces into Maker Spaces. Some schools are now giving up some of their library space to be Maker Spaces. Geeks and tinkerers rejoice!

Badges are Going to Be Big. There was a lot of discussion this year around using badges to motivate students to learn more. This is another idea that has been brewing for a while, but is now starting to hit critical mass for acceptance as a viable alternative to grades.

Sorry I can't write more, but I have to get to my next event.

Brad

20130623-100105.jpg

20130623-100150.jpg

Educational Technology Bill of Rights for Students

#edtech #edchat #elemchat

The following are what I believe are the rights of all student to have with regards to using technology as an educational tool, written as a student to their teacher:

  1. I have the right to use my own technology at school. I should not be forced to leave my new technology at home to use (in most cases) out-of-date school technology. If I can afford it, let me use it -- you don’t need to buy me one. If I cannot afford it, please help me get one -- I don’t mind working for it.
  2. I have the right to access the school’s WiFi. Stop blaming bandwidth, security or whatever else -- if I can get on WiFi at McDonalds, I think that I should be able to get online at school.
  3. I have the right to submit digital artifacts that prove my understanding of a subject, regardless of whether or not my teacher knows what they are. Just because you have never heard of Prezi, Voki, or Glogster, doesn’t mean that I should not be able to use these tools to prove to you that I understand what you are teaching me.
  4. I have the right to cite Wikipedia as one of the sources that I use to research a subject. Just because you believe the hype that Wikipedia is full of incorrect information,  doesn’t mean that it is true -- besides we all use it anyways (including you). I am smart enough to verify what I find online to be the truth.
  5. I have the right to access social media at school. It is where we all live, it is how we communicate -- we do not use email, or call each other. We use Facebook, Twitter and texting to talk to each other. Teachers and schools should take advantage of this and post announcements and assignments using social media -- you will get better results.
  6. I have the right to be taught by teachers who know how to manage the use technology in their classrooms. These teachers know when to use technology and when to put it away. They understand that I need to be taught how to balance my life between the online and offline worlds. They do not throw the techno-baby out with the bath water.
  7. I have the right to be taught by teachers who teach me and demand that I use 21st Century Skills. Someday I am going to need a job -- please help me be employable.
  8. I have the right to be assessed with technology. I love the instant feedback of testing done technology. I live in a world of instant feedback, so to find out a couple of weeks later that I didn’t understand your lesson, drive me crazy. If you were a video game, no one would play you -- your feedback is too slow.
  9. I have the right to be protected from technology. I don’t want to be cyberbullied, hurt, scared or find crud online that I would rather not find. Please help me use technology responsibly and safely. Please stay up-to-date with this kind of information, and teach me to make good choices. I am not you and we don’t see eye to eye about what to put online, but help me to meet you in the middle.
  10. I have the right to be taught by teachers that know their trade. They are passionate about what they do and embrace the use of technology to help me learn. They attend trainings and practice what they learn. They are not afraid to ask for my help; they might know more than me about the Civil War, but I know Glogster like nobody’s business.

This is a work in progress, please comment below on what to add or change.

- Brad Flickinger, Tech Teacher, Bethke Elementary

Confronting My District's Fear of Web 2.0 - #edtech

Every year at about this time I have to submit to my district IT department the list of websites that I need "white-listed" or unblocked so that I can go about teaching my lessons. This year before sending in my list I looked over it one last time and realized that all of my websites were Web 2.0 sites. Websites like...

It drives me crazy that the websites that are fresh and current and use today's technology are the ones that are blocked in my district. And don't get me going on social media websites. I have spent enough years in the district IT department to know that it is not some evil plot on their part. In reality, they are just trying to keep a handle on bandwidth and costs.

Do you know who I blame for all this website blockage?

High Schoolers.

That's right high school students. Last year, after much complaining from the high school students, the IT department opened up YouTube for a trial run. Our district bandwidth shot through the roof, YouTube was our number one culprit. And do you think they were watching great and educational videos about climate change? No, they were watching stupid videos like cats that can flush the toilet. So YouTube was again put on the blocked list.

Here in my elementary school we pay the price. A student at this age is never allowed on a computer without adult supervision, so really at our school we could have the web wide open, with just a few basic filters, and we wouldn't really have any problems. But instead, we inherit all the blocked sites that high schoolers would abuse.

So my petition to my IT department is to open things up for us at the elementary level and let our student use these new school technologies like cloud computing and Web 2.0. All students are not equal. Let us have our Web 2.0 and let us show our students how to use it responsibly, and in the meantime prepare for the higher demands of bandwidth that the future is surely going to need, because my students are growing up and they want all the bandwidth you can give them.

Enhanced by Zemanta

My Love/Hate Relationship with E-Learning - #edtech #elearning

Online Learning
Image by STML via Flickr

Yesterday I had an online meeting with the people at Atomic Learning to discuss some new ideas for blended learning. In the meeting were different educators from all over the world, we went back and forth about all the things we liked and disliked about online and offline learning, Atomic Learning was adamant about wanting the best possible learning experience for educators.

I have been chewing on these ideas all day, so here is my list:

What I hate about online learning (e-learning):

  1. Fluff and Filler: I remember an online class I took a few years ago that was painful to get through. It was filled with so much fluff and filler it was hard to get to the meat of the course. I had to read and participate in all sorts of weird off-topic subjects that I swear the instructor was on drugs, there was no connection between the different pieces.
  2. Unclear Instructions: Hey, I am a pretty tech-savey sort of guy, but I swear there are some courses that are so vague about the sequence of things that they should come with a number to the recommended 1-800 psychic hotline just so you can figure out what to do next. Once I thought I was cruising through an online lesson, or at least I thought I was, but then I noticed that none of my work was being graded. After I hunted down my instructor, it was finally explained to me that I had missed a step and that I would have to go back and complete it before I could be allowed to move on. I checked all the materials I had been given and there was never a mention of the step. Holy crud! A little quality-control would be nice.
  3. Boring or Sucky Lessons: With most people having a fast connection to the Internet, why do some online lesson providers still do dial-up type lessons? Come on! Let's see some videos, animations, simulations, live video chats, etc. Bandwidth is cheap -- use it.

What I love about online learning (e-learning):

  1. Blended Learning: Nobody likes to do everything online (except maybe 15 year-olds), so I love it when lessons included some offline work. Things like; reading a book, video taping a concept, interviewing a mentor, etc.
  2. Lesson Guides and Checklists: I love simple, easy to follow lesson guides that have a checklist. Most online learners have a full-time job, so we need make it easy for them to know where they are and where they need to go. I really love it when these checklists have how much time it might take to complete the task so learners can plan accordingly. For example: Task 14: Complete your rough draft of Twitter in Education paper (estimated time to complete: 1 hour).
  3. Fresh Content: I understand that textbooks are out of date by the time they get to students but online learning can be as fresh as the apple sitting on my desk. Online instructors should review their content on a frequent basis to make sure that their students are getting the most up-to-date ideas and concepts. It takes nothing to add and subtract a couple of links from an online lesson.

I'll keep you posted on the online learning projects that I am working on, I promise to follow my own love/hate relationship advise.

Enhanced by Zemanta