When digital technologies are used effectively, they have the potential to play an important role in creating student-centered, personalized, real world learning opportunities. Alberta’s Learning and Technology Policy Framework is described as a roadmap. Their policy and framework is an ideal example for other school districts to use when creating their own learning and technology policies. Policies should include
-student centered learning
-staff participation in research and innovation and application to teaching and learning
-professional learning: learning how to use technology effectively, efficiently, and creatively to support student centered learning
-leadership: educational leaders cultivate and promote innovative uses of technology and provide support
-equitable access to appropriate devices, reliable infrastructure, high-speed networks, and digital learning environments.
What specific policies will help your district prepare students for current and emerging technology use? How can you help lead your district in creating these policies?
“A school’s culture consists of the traditions, beliefs, policies and practices
of teachers, administrators, students and staff members. Transforming
school culture entails promoting new ways for teachers and students to
interact, changing the conception of what constitutes an effective learning
environment, and adopting new rules, policies and practices for the
conduct of teaching and learning. Schools that are changing the culture of
the learning environment to reflect the instructional opportunities made
possible with digital media are fostering what can be called a connected
learning culture.” (Seven Keys to Unlocking School Transformation with Digital Media)
There are five interdependent policies that form Alberta’s Learning and Technology Policy Framework.
- Student-Centered Learning
- Research and Innovation
- Professional Learning
- Access, Infrastructure and Digital Learning Environments
Alberta’s vision is based on how to ensure success for students. Inspiring Education came about through Albertans gathering together in person and on line generating rich conversations and thoughtful insight regarding education. Their new approach is shifting their focus and putting students first. They want to expand on traditional methods of teaching, not replace them. They are investing in their students and giving educators license to be more creative and to inspire innovation and excellence. (Inspiring Education) A video about Inspiring Education can be found at https://inspiring.education.alberta.ca/what-is-inspiring-education/.
Alberta’s Inspiring Education is represented by three long-term outcomes, known as “the three E’s” of education – engaged thinker, ethical citizen and entrepreneurial spirit. The competencies are:
-Know how to learn—to gain knowledge, understanding or skills
through experiences, study and interaction with others
-Think critically—conceptualize, apply, analyze, synthesize and
evaluate to construct knowledge
-Identify and solve complex problems
-Manage information—access, interpret, evaluate and use
information effectively, efficiently and ethically
-Innovate—create and generate new ideas or concepts
-Create opportunities—through play, imagination, reflection,
negotiation and competition—with an entrepreneurial spirit
-Apply multiple literacies—reading, writing, mathematics,
technology, languages, media and personal finance
-Demonstrate good communication skills and the ability to work
cooperatively with others
-Demonstrate global and cultural understanding
-Identify and apply career and life skills
I found more about the Three E’s of Education at http://www.albertadualcredit.ca/content/three-es-education
I found an article on Education News http://www.educationviews.org/the-global-search-for-education-forward-thinking/. In the article C.M. Rubin interviews the Honorable Jeff Johnson, Minister of Education for Alberta. Necessary changes that needed to be made to Alberta’s educational system included building a system centered on student learning, moving to a system that is based on competency versus regurgitating content, numeracy and literacy remain at the core of learning but teachers are teaching in a way that will instill the three E’s in children.
As educators we want to instill critical thinking. We want our students to be creative. We want them to become digital literate and work cooperatively. We want their learning to extend beyond K-12 and be life long learners, ethical contributing citizens, empathetic, and have good communication skills. We want students to be able to work through challenges using teamwork and collaboration. We want them to become contributors to their community and the world with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Children need to learn to take risks, be resilient, competitive, resourceful, confident, and self-reliant. We are preparing students for the global economy and an ever-changing digital age. We need to make sure they are ready for the jobs that will be waiting for them, even for jobs that do not exist yet.
According to Professor of Pedagogy and Technology at York University Jennifer Jenson, some key components of an acceptable use policy include allowing BYOD, and allowing access to YouTube. People that should be involved in creating a use policy include parents, IT staff, teachers, principals, and superintendents. Jenson also suggests including someone who is doing research on technology in schools. (Chrissy Winske 2014)
My district already has policies in place for BYOD and technology in the classroom, but I could share Alberta Learning and Technology Policy Framework, K12 Leadership and Policy Blueprint, and Seven Keys to Unlocking School Transformation with Digital Media and hopefully spark interests and inspire changes.
Seven Keys to Unlocking School Transformation with Digital Media
Yes, I believe electronics are a viable addition to crafting for today’s young people. Electronics can further support creativity and spark interests in making. The art that is created using electronics is captivating and inspiring. Not only can electronics enhance art, but they can be used for practical purposes too and look good doing it. I found a good video about how technology is shaping fashion http://www.theverge.com/2014/2/26/5449440/how-technology-is-changing-fashion.
Incorporating the arts/making into curriculum captures the attention of students. Art/making provides a platform for individualized instruction and is a key element in meeting the needs of divers learners. It connects students, transforms environmental learning, and connects learning experiences to the world of real work. By using technology in a new way, you can literally do something that was never possible before, create a new form of art. Incorporating technology into art/making pushes the limit and defines new meaning that will change how we think and feel.
How are electronics viable additions to “crafting” for today’s young person?
I had previously viewed this Leah Buechley video. It is amazing that she and her team at MIT developed tools to treat electronics just like paper and pen. “Sketching” with electronics would be fun to have as a makerspace activity. Chibi tronics would also be great fun to have in a makerspace. I found an article on We are Teachers by Martinez & Stager about how the Maker Movement is transforming education. On the Make website I found more about Leah Buechley and her team at MIT.
A technological and creative learning revolution is underway, the Maker Movement. From this technological revolution comes new tools and technology including 3D printing, robotics, microprocessors, wearable computing, e-textiles, “smart” materials, and programming languages. The Maker Movement creates affordable or free versions of these inventions, while sharing tools and ideas online to create a vibrant, collaborative community of global problem solvers (We are Teachers 2015). New low-cost, flexible, creative, and powerful materials should be viewed as building blocks for today’s children. These tools offer much more than just hands-on crafting. They bring electronics, programming, and computational mathematics together in meaningful, powerful ways. With these tools educators can revamp the best student-centered teaching practices to engage learners of all ages. Electronics make “crafting” fun and unique.
WE are TEACHERS. Making Matters! How the Maker Movement is Transforming Education. Martinez and Stager. (2015) http://www.weareteachers.com/blogs/post/2015/04/03/how-the-maker-movement-is-transforming-education
Craft Meets Tech at MIT http://makezine.com/craft/crafting_electronics/
My district already has a BYOD policy so this week I shared my district’s tech plan that includes BYOD and the informational flyer that was given to families about BYOD policies. The pros of BYOD include instant answers, wider access to information and video, and social learning. BYOD can promote greater participation in the classroom. Economically speaking technology investments are expensive and new devices become obsolete within a few years. When students are allowed to bring their own devices to school the district does not have to purchase as many tablets or laptops. It specifically states in our district’s tech plan that with “a continually shrinking budgets, it is difficult to plan for expansion of our technology infrastructure with any level of certainty.”
The main concern I saw as I read through others blogs and research is that BYOD could promote distraction. If the policies and guidelines are clearly stated and students have signed an agreement so if students are not abiding by the rules then they are no longer to use their own device. And although certain sites and applications maybe blocked, tech savvy students could find ways around the restrictions. Rachel brought up a good point about rural schools and bandwidth and how expensive that could be.
BYOD may not be for every school district, but with very specific policies, respectful use of electronics in the classroom, and the requirement of students and parents signing an agreement restricting device use to certain times in the classroom BYOD can be successful. The decision surrounding this issue ultimately must be made while taking factors such as student performance, teacher training, community preference, and financial viability into consideration. And for those districts choosing to implement BYOD clear policies must be established so as to prevent online misconduct. Guidelines and rules need to be in place, online safety must be taught, the use of judgement in determining quality sources of information must also be taught and restraint from personal use in the classroom.
According to Peter Martini (2013), BYOD can increase collaboration among students and teachers, extend learning beyond the traditional classroom, and can reduce costs for man districts. The four challenges Martini include security, bandwidth, protecting against devices with malware, and blocking access to restricted applications. Each one of the challenges has a solution such as establishing web connect policies, controlling access to specific online media sites, increasing bandwidth, rerouting user where they need to go.
District administrator, Kylie Lace (2014) believes that districts can be successful with BYOD when they follow these critical steps they build a powerful Wi-Fi network, develop explicit acceptable use policies, and communicate those policies clearly to students, parents, and teachers.
According to neaToday(2012) we want our students to be 21st Century learners, but budget cuts make purchasing tablets and other devices so BYOD seems like an a reasonable solution. The Anchorage School District has already implemented BYOD. Phase one of the plan began in the 2013-2014 school year with four schools piloting BYOD. In the 2014-2015 school year the encouragement and support in all schools began. All devices coming into schools will access the internet through the school’s filtered wireless network. Ed Tech Coaches provide guidance for teachers with respect to best practices for utilizing personal devices in the classroom and facilitate age appropriate lessons for students with respect to internet safety, cyber-bullying, and managing online presence (ASD 2014). Also included in the district’s plan is an increase in bandwidth to 3.5GB over the five-year plan.
When my daughter was in second grade her teacher participated in the piloting of BYOD. She had her students bring their devices to read Time For Kids. If a student did not have their own device they would sit with a student that did.
At a time when school budgets continue to be cut I think if a district has enough bandwidth, security and well-developed policies that it could be beneficial to implement BYOD.