Teacher Blogger | By Brad Skeet
It was 2010 and I was teaching grade seven science for the first time. I had been a successful fifth grade teacher for the previous fifteen years and had taught science before. My grade five students and I would discuss the different concepts. They would perform hands-on experiment activities and would write wonderful lab reports about what they had learned. My students were engaged and happy in their learning. Or so it seemed. Fast forward two grade levels and I saw a very different group of students sitting in front of me. While they did the work for me out of what can only be described as compliance, one could see that they really were not interested nor invested in the work.
I had an extensive technology background for the time period. I thought that in order to engage my students, putting the course into Moodle (a learning management system) would engage my students because they were on computers. I was wrong in my assumption. Simply making an assignment electronic without changing the purpose behind the assignment did not make it more engaging for students. I had the technical skills but I did not have the technology integration skills.
It was about this time that I began to take a deeper dive into conceptual understanding as a teacher. Our school division had begun a shift toward students developing a mastery understanding of their subject areas. This meant that they would have a deeper understanding of what they were learning along with an understanding of why they were learning it. Ultimately, we wanted our students to be able to apply what they had learned to new and novel situations.
There are many educators who use technology in the classroom. It can be argued, however, that simply consuming information is not what we mean by technological integration. Simple literacy and mathematical software have their purpose, but they do not necessarily promote a deeper understanding of concepts. We want our classrooms to use technology to empower our learners. We want those students to be engaged in their learning and to be motivated to push further. The question can be asked: “How do we help teachers move practice forward to allow for technology integration?” Continue reading “Bringing it all Together – Using the TIM for Technology Integration”
Open Education Conference | By Dr. Connie Blomgren
Where is OER now and where is it going?
From October 11-13, I was in Anaheim attending and presenting at the OpenEd 2017 conference. I met old friends and new. I collected business cards and learned from those I met in sessions or as I took a coffee break. Old connections and past experiences were renewed in unexpected ways – as well as making new connections and possibilities. This process of change and revisiting the old are part of being open…and of being part of the Open Educational Resources (OER) world and its larger affiliation with the open movement.
OpenEd 17 – Sharing, Gratitude, and Hope
Highlights of the conference included the venue itself – the beautiful open design of the Hyatt – with its atrium spanning 10 stories and enclosed with north light passing through panels of glass. Inside and out palm trees reminded us how the natural world can always be part of teaching and learning – that we are alive and daily growing albeit in small ways.
The opening keynote by Ryan Merkely – a fellow Canadian – amid this primarily American audience reinforced that OER ties to Creative Commons and that there will be a CC certificate offered in April 2018. He summarized how CC is working on 3 aspects – teaching, partnering and movement-building – as forming their current and near future focus. This concept of the significance of the commons was a theme further explored by the Friday morning keynote by David Bollier who encouraged us to reframe what OER means beyond the increasing drive to commodify content and to recognize that *open* is not the same as a commons. He asked – who IS taking care of open resources? And encouraged us to be mindful that a faux commons is possible i.e. we need to think of the Commons in more abstract terms.
With over 700 delegates this conference has grown substantially since its first offering with 40 attendees. The following highlights reflect only the various presentations, round table discussions and insights gained from the afternoon *unconference* that I attended. It is a sampling of the breadth of topics and flavours offered this year.
In the Open Your Eyes to Open Education: 1 Day PD Offerings Introducing K-12 Educators to OER given by Cassidy Hall (Doceo Center University of Idaho), I learned about the model of professional learning that K-12 teachers access regarding OER development. Like the state of Utah, Idaho looks to K-12 OER as a solution for quality resources developed by teachers. Reviewing K-12 OER Materials (ed.reports.org) gave an overview of the purpose behind Ed Reports which arose when American educational publishers stated that their resources were Common Core aligned but there was no vetting available to examine such claims. The website is purposefully designed to make people dig into an analysis and as more instructional materials are being tagged as OER, both by publishers and educators, Ed Reports continues to use a practitioner based peer review process to ascertain the merits of a curricular resource. The review process for OER materials is as rigourous as for non-OER and involves several peers in making a determination.
Continue reading “Where is OER now and where is it going?”