Over the last 7 weeks as I participated in CEP 810, I have been engaging in activities which have profoundly impacted my professional practice. This course has not only exposed me to the different theories of learning, but it has allowed me to deepen my understanding of how technology can be integrated into my classrooms. For instance, the Network Learning Project allowed me to understand how tools such as help forums and YouTube can be used in my classroom. Many time students leave class not having a deep understanding of what was taught. If they need extra support setting up a structure to allow students to use the internet to assist them could be deeply profound. I also found many different organizational structures and ways to lean on people outside of my classroom to assist me in my learning as a teacher. Prior to this course I already had a twitter account, but I never saw its true potential as a resource for teachers. I have really loved using twitter to engage with other teachers and follow what they are doing (attending conferences, planning for their classroom, etc.).
Some questions, I still struggle with is around how to use the technology meaningfully in the classroom. Prior to this course I felt like there was times I was using technology just to use technology. However it was not something that was absolutely necessary for students to gain a deeper understanding. I am still finding this to be something I struggle with even though I plan to incorporate technology in my room in many ways.
This week in CEP 810, we explored the concept ofTPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge). To help us deepen our understanding of TPACK and how it connects to our classroom, we had to cook something using only random utensils. My mother-in-law, selected a bowl, a tiny plate (for tea cups) and a 1/4 cup measuring cup. She then selected me to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Below is the video I made of me creating my sandwich.
From completing this activity, I was caused to reflect on how often in education we have to use things in ways they were not originally designed (repurposing). Just like how I had to use the measuring cup in a way similar to a knife, every day I have to reimagine how things are used to help me complete what I want to do in my classroom. Seeing how easy it is for things to be modified and used in new ways encourages me to keep using this process. To complete this process I also had to utilize the TPACK model, I had to take my content knowledge (how to make a sandwich) and the technological knowledge (how to use a measuring cup) and find the intersection of the two aspects to complete this task. This is similar to what students (and teachers) have to do every time they modify a lesson to incorporate new technologies. For instance if we revisit my 21st Century lesson, students had to not only take their understandings of quadratics but they also had to use their computer knowledge to successfully engage in the activity. Being able to successfully navigate this dichotomy is what makes the environment teachers and students are currently in is very unique to this moment in time.
Koehler, M. (n.d.). What is TPACK? Retrieved August 10, 2014, from tpack.org
This week in CEP 810, we discussed Renee Hobb’s idea of five core competencies as fundamental literacy practices and Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown’s work on students being able to know how to find information, apply information and play in order to learn. After our learning, we were asked to design a 21st century lesson plan for our students. Hobb’s ideas really struck a chord with me, not only next year will I be making the move to a 1:1 environment, but my school—like many—are in the middle of a huge literacy initiative. Her focus on asking students open ended questions that have no right or wrong answer was something that I really gravitated towards. As I designed my lesson plan (discussed below), I tried to only ask open ended questions.
As a math teacher, I chose to design a lesson surrounding Transforming quadratic functions. One of the early portions of my quadratic equations unit is when I introduce the idea of standard form (y=ax2+bx+c) and we discuss what each coefficient’s effect on the graph is when the coefficient is changed. This lesson is one that presents a wonderful opportunity to allow for students to play with and explore on their own exactly what happens. To design this lesson, I used two forms of technology to assist my students. The first is the dynamic graphing software, GeoGebra. This software is available free online and can be put on any computer. Since I am still becoming familiar with it, I did not design my own applet, but found one already designed. This applet allows students to move a slider connected to each coefficient and the graph of the quadratic moves based on how that coefficient affects the graph. After a sufficient time of playing I plan to have students answer questions about how a, b, & c affect the graph. The students then have two more open ended questions. In these two questions, I give the students a point, and they need to decide what a, b, & c will allow the graph to go through that point and describe what that graph looks like.
Please check out my lesson plan and leave me feedback. Also, I have opened up the ability for others to play with the applet and submit their answers, so feel free to play.
Hobbs, R. (2011). Digital and media literacy: Connecting culture and classroom. Thousand, Oaks, CA: Corwin/Sage.
Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, Ky: CreateSpace?.
A couple weeks ago, I posted about how I was going to learn some amazing new hula hooping skills. I know everyone has been patiently waiting to see what I can do and have done. Before we get to my learning, I have had some requests to see what Floating looks like. Below is a video of me demonstrating Floating in by backyard.
However, this is a skill I have had for a bit. As a reminder I am trying to learn how to duck out of a hula hoop at my shoulder. Since photographing hula hooping is hard, below is a video of where I was at prior to watching videos on YouTube.
As you can see, I struggled with the idea of how to get both arms inside of the hoop. This isn’t a skill 100% needed to duck out since on a duck out only one arm is inside the hoop. However, it makes the trick much easier to do since the body movements are quite similar. To master this skill, I turned to YouTube. Howcasthas some excellent videos. This video is one of the most helpful I have come across because she really breaks down the body movements needed to hold the hoop in the position. She also does an excellent job providing video examples of how to keep moving once you are using the hoop. The only issue I found with this video was that she spends quite a bit of time on discussing chest hooping and how it links to across the shoulders hooping. Since I already mastered chest hooping, that portion was not as worthwhile as if she had linked it to pulling one arm out since that is what I needed. However, I can understand where most people would benefit more from having those two skills linked together.
Even after watching the video, I still struggled with how to keep the hoop up once both arms are inside the hoop. I could keep it up for a little bit but not long enough to get one arm out of the hoop. Luckily, the next video I turned to gave the advice to turn in the same direction as you stick your arms in. This drastically helped me keep the hoop up long enough to get it to my neck, so I could get my arm out.
So without further ado here is my progress in my NLP.
This week in CEP 810, we explored how to get organized. Those who know me well know I love a good to do list, so this exploration was right up my alley. Leading up to this week, I have had an increasing number of things I needed to manage to stay on top of my game—what ever happened to summer break being relaxing? To help me get organized, I chose to create my to do list in Google Docs. Ever increasing in my life is the amount of things that I store solely online. Next year my school is making the move to using Google Apps for Education, so I figured this could be a positive transition for me to prepare for next year. I already am an avid Google Calendar user, so these too seemed to connect quite well in my mind. Creating my to do list in Google Docs was quite wonderful. I really appreciated the Brain-Dump followed by creating headers and organizing my thinking. I found this process completely beneficial in scheduling what is a priory for now and what is ok to leave for later. The only issue I hit was after doing this, I spent the weekend traveling and internet was not the best. If you do choose to use this route and have the Google Drive app on your phone, I highly recommend you make the document available off line in case your internet is not reliable. Once I started working on this I downloaded the 30/30 app, which was wonderful for making sure I didn’t spend too much time on a specific topic. I would highly recommend these tools—Google Calendar, Google Docs, and 30/30—to help anyone figure out how to become organized in their classroom & life.
This week in CEP 810, we are beginning to talk about professional learning networks (PLN). PLNs are not just who you learn from but also what you learn from. Below is a brief brainstorm of my PLN before I began digging deep into the idea of a PLN. I created my PLN using a tool called Popplet.
For the past year I have been taking a hula hooping exercise class. I am dreaming of the day I can be as good as the girl in the video above. Currently my biggest trick is that I can take my hula hoop from my waist to above my head in a move called Floating. The trick I want to learn now and am only going to learn from help forums and YouTube videos is the shoulder duck out.
This trick isn’t something that will take just a week to learn. In order to learn this trick, I will need to learn how to hoop on my chest with both arms inside the hoop. Then I will need to learn how to pull one arm out of the hoop as I hoop across my chest. Finally, I need to learn how to pull my head or duck out of the hoop. I am hoping to learn one step of this trick each week. To help me I have already found numerous YouTube videos that break down the different skills. One video is the one sited above with an image of the trick. There are lots of other videos as well on YouTube to break down different tricks. A few are listed below:
In CEP 810, I was asked to write an expository essay examining the learning, understanding, and conceptual change. Using How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School by J. D. Bransford, A. L. Brown, and R. R. Cocking, I explored the connection between the learning of experts and novices in a specific domain and how as a teacher we can cultivate these skills in our students. I also examined the connection to these skills and my mathematics classroom. The essay in its entirety can be found here: CEP 810 Learning, Understanding, and Conceptual Change. Please leave comments on my reflections to help push my thinking around these ideas.