Home Page of the Digital Age 2 Course

 

Course Outline

Bibliography

Reading Assignments

Homework Assignments

Assessment

Announcements & Updates

Digital Age 1 Course

Dave Moursund's Websites

Oregon Technology in Education Council

Brief Summary of Contents of Week # 1

Week # | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 |

 

Introduction to the course. A unifying theme for the course is integration of ICT into curriculum, instruction, assessment, and the professional work of teachers in order to improve the education of students and the professional lives of teachers.

Major Emphasis Areas for This Course

As noted above, the mission of the DAE2 course is to improve the education of precollege students and the professional lives of their teachers. This mission is broken into six goal areas. These are:

  1. Review of DAE1 and discussion of ICT experiences during winter term Student Teaching, especially as they relate to DAE1. What did you learn about the Craft of ICT in education? What were your experiences in translating the Theory of ICT in Education into day to day practices as a teacher? To what extent did you employ ideas from Action Research during your Student Teaching experience?
  2. Inventing your future of ICT in education. This includes a review of some general ideas of Long-Range Strategic Planning as they apply to you personally, your classroom and students, your school, your school district, etc. It ties in closely with the Hit the Road Running Individual Term Project.
  3. Hit the Road Running Individual Term Project. Planning and preparing for making effective use of ICT during your first year of teaching. Integration of ICT into the routine, everyday curriculum, instruction, assessment, and your other professional work. Includes an emphasis on ICT applications that you find to be "Compelling". This is an Individualized Term Project, with each student devoting approximately 1/4 of their course effort in extending and expanding the work done on a similar project in the fall term DAE1 course.
  4. Planning and implementing Professional Development, with an emphasis on one-on-one and "just in time" Professional Development. This will be a School Site Team Term Project. It will include some demonstration teaching in the classrooms of some of the teachers at your school site.
  5. Grant Writing. Learn how to evaluate proposals and to write proposals.
  6. Roles of ICT in Critical Thinking and Problem Solving in the content areas taught at the elementary school level. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving includes:
    • Do critical, wise, higher-order thinking.
    • Pose and solve challenging problems.
    • Propose and accomplish tasks.
    • Pose and answer questions.
    • Make wise decisions.
    • Analyze complex issues and make informed decisions.
    • Synthesize information in order to arrive at reasoned conclusions.
    • Evaluate the logic, validity, and relevance of data.
    • Use knowledge and understanding in order to generate and explore new topics, intellectual areas, problems, and challenges that you encounter.
    • Learn to learn and to develop and understand your potentials as a learner.

    As you can see, this "definition" is quite broad. We are dealing with a continuum, as pictures in the diagram below, and the points on continuum are not particularly well defined. All of the ideas in the bulleted list fall on the right side of the "scale."

We did some work in this area in the fall term DAE1 course. In the spring term DAE2 course, this area will be a major Content Area Team Term Project. We are particularly interested in how ICT affects what falls on the left side of the scale and what falls on the right side of the scale, and how this should be affecting curriculum, interaction, and assessment in our educational systems.

Some Specific Objectives and Topics for Day # 1

Objectives

  1. Provide a brief overview of major topics from DAE1 in order to get us all moving on the same track.
  2. Briefly share some of the major ideas that participants experienced during their Student Teaching--especially ones that relate to DAE1 and other ICT preparation.
  3. Provide an overview of expectations for this term's DAE2 course.
  4. Provide an introduction to the main topics to be explored this term.
  5. Provide an example of a type of quiz question that encourages a student to read an assigned reading.

Topics

  1. Briefly review some of the key ideas from the Digital Age 1 course. (Click here for some key diagrams.) Briefly, the course consisted of:
    • Introduction to and overview of ICT in education (2 weeks)
    • Goals, standards, and needs assessment (2 weeks)
    • Problem solving (2 weeks)
    • Future of ICT in education (2 weeks)
    • ICT in PBL (2 weeks)
    • A unifying theme of ICT being a powerful change agent that can be used to help substantially improve the quality of equation that students are receiving, and that the preservice teachers in the DAE1 course are leaders who will help to make this happen.
  2. Discuss some of the connections from winter term student teaching to Digital Age 1, with an emphasis on "theory into practice" and on "What ICT did you not see and do that you expected to see and do." in your student teaching?" What targets of opportunity were you able to seize, and what passed by untouched?
  3. Discuss the Major Emphasis Areas for This Course (as listed in the previous section).
    1. Long-Range Strategic Planning. In this process you set long-range (measurable) goals and objectives, and you develop broad strategies for achieving these goals and objectives.
      • Suppose you set goals of thoroughly integrating ICT into curriculum, instruction, assessment, and your routine professional work. What do we mean by "integration" of ICT into curriculum, instruction, assessment, and other professional work of a teacher? We are seeking a measurable definition -- perhaps a scale or set of scales -- so that a teacher or a school administrator can measure progress towards a greater integration and greater expertise in integration.
      • How do we measure whether such routine integration improves the quality of education that students are receiving and improves the professional life of the teacher?
      • Example of Kim Ketterer (now Eugene 4J Computer Coordinator) and her work at the Eugene Japanese Immersion School, where the students made good progress in State Standards, Japanese, and ISTE Standards, and Kim completed a doctorate and moved into her current job.
    2. Compelling Applications, and Change Processes Causality Diagram. Integration of ICT into the curriculum, with an emphasis on students developing expertise in topics covered in school and in other areas of interest to them. A Change Processes Causality Diagram can be viewed as a theory. We have some research to support the theories expressed in the diagrams given below.

Top of Page

 

Key Ideas From the Digital Age 1 Course

Causality Diagram: ICT and School Reform

 

Causality Diagram for IT and School Reform.

Top of Page

 

 

During the Digital Age I course, we made extensive use of the two diagrams given below. We will review them briefly, to get us started on the Digital Age 2 course.

Problem or Task Team

Whole Class Activity: Give some examples of A) tools that extend the capabilities of a person's mind; and B) tools that extend the capabilities of a person's body. How is ICT contributing to this collection of tools? Is there anything particularly unique about the mind and body tools that incorporate ICT? That is, is ICT helping to produce mind and body tools that are significantly different than the mind and body tools that we have produced in the past? What are some of the educational implications of mind and body tools? Should our educational system take them into consideration? (That is, how do and/or should mind and body tools affect the curriculum content, instructional processes, and assessment of our formal and informal educational systems?)

Debrief: It is obvious that we have mind and body tools that greatly extend our capabilities. We are used to the idea of "testing" a person's performance in an authentic environment, where they have use of their tools. For example, we test a race car driver in a racing environment. The test of a crafts person is the products produced , and the crafts person is allowed to uses tools in producing the products.

We are less consistent in our assessment of people using mind tools. When we are testing a person's keyboarding skills, we allow the person to use a keyboard. When we are testing math problem solving skills, it is now beginning to be common to allow use of a calculator. Generally speaking, however, we are not yet doing much "open book, open tool use" types of testing in our K-12 curriculum,. This becomes a more and more important issue as the available tools become more powerful. And yet, the issue remains quite controversial. Should we allow a student to use a spelling checker and a grammar checked while taking a hands-on test in writing?

Eight component model of ICT uses in instruction.

Groups of Three Activity: A group of three is to rank the eight general categories from "most used" to "least used" by students and teachers in the school during the school day, based on their knowledge of schools. Do this by giving 8 points to the most used, 7 points to the next most used, and so on down to 1 point for the least used. We will then compile and discuss the results for the whole class.

Debrief: This type of activity tends to uncover widely different patterns of ICT use in different schools in a community, and in different classrooms within a school building. While some of the differences are due to access to facilities, a lot of the differences are due to the individual teachers. This sort of analysis tends to provide evidence of the need for much more professional development for inservice teachers.

The 8-component "octopus" diagram is useful in communicating with people who have a restricted view of the range of applications of ICT in education. Often a person's point of view is based on an understanding of the capabilities and limitations of only one or two of the components. For example, relatively few inservice or preservice teachers think about 4: ICT as an integral part of the content of non-ICT discipline. This relates closely to the Program or Task Team discussed earlier. Increasingly, a discipline and the tools people use while working in the discipline are becoming inextricably intertwined. This means that curriculum content, instructional processes, and assessment need to be changing as the tools change.

There are two major themes that get introduced in the Digital Age 1 course, and that will reoccur throughout the term; 1) Compelling Applications; and 2) Science of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).

Compelling Application

There are a steadily increasing collection of computer applications that are so compelling and intrinsically motivating that many people are willing to spend the time and effort needed to learn to use these applications. We call these Compelling Applications. For a business-oriented person, a spreadsheet is apt to be a Compelling Application. For a teacher, an electronic gradebook is apt to be a Compelling Application. For a graphic artist, draw and paint software is apt to be a Compelling Application.

Here are the defining characteristics of a Compelling Application:

  1. It is intrinsically motivating. (The user is intrinsically motivated to learn to use the software, because it is such a powerful aid to doing things that he/she wants to do.)
  2. It is reasonably priced, relative to the benefits it provides.
  3. The time and effort needed to learn to use a Compelling Application is reasonable. One does not need to be a "rocket scientist" to learn to use the product.

Whole Class Activity: Name the computer application that you, personally for yourself, find to be most "compelling" in: A) Your professional life; and B) Your non-professional life.

Debrief: Class members had little difficulty in identifying ICT applications that they deem to be Compelling Applications. Some that they identified are readily available and some remain to be developed. Also, this activity helped to uncover the fact that some of the Compelling Applications people would like to have actually exist and are readily available, but teachers are not aware of them.

Science of Teaching and Learning

There is a gradually emerging "science" of teaching and learning (SoTL). An excellent overview of SoTL is given in:

Bransford, J.D.; A. L. Brown; & R.R. Cocking: editors (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

(If you like to read readable, scholarly, academic books, this is a good one to have in your personal library. It is available in paperback at a reasonable price. Or, you can read the book for free, as it is available at a Website listed in the Bibliography for the course.) The general theme in this book is that over the past 30 years we have made a lot of progress in understanding a "science" of teaching and learning. If we appropriately implement what we have learned, we can significantly improve education.

Another excellent reference is:

Bruer, John T. (1993). Schools for thought: A science of learning in the classroom. Cambridge, MA. A Bradford Book. The MIT Press.

Here is a rather general purpose Causality Diagram depicting the flow of progress in SoTL into improvements in our educational system.

Causality Diagram focusing on SoTL.

Whole Class Activity: Give some examples of the Science of Teaching and Learning that you applied during your student teaching this past term.

Debrief: Results from this type of activity tend to suggest that preservice teachers have not learned to think in terms of some aspects of teaching and learning being a "science" and that it may be possible to achieve considerable;e improvements in education through development and implementation of this science. Students argue that education is getting better because it reaches a larger percentage of the student population for a greater number of years, it treats issues of diversity better, it deals with special education situations better, and so on. All of this is correct. However, for a given category of students, it does not address the issue of whether our science of teaching and learning empowers us to do a significantly better job of educating the students than it did 50 years ago, or 500 years ago.

The analogy with medicine and with medical education is interesting. Both the overall field of medicine and the field of medical education (leading to better implementation of what is known in the field) has made substantial progress. The issue of what constitutes a "improved or better quality education" is a difficulty. Different stakeholders have widely differing definitions of better or improved.

 

SoTL and Compelling Applications

Here is a Causality Diagram that helps us to understand various types of efforts to make education better. Work to make education better can focus on any of the items in any of the three columns.

Given sufficient time in class, it is productive to discuss the various components of this diagram, and see where one might best put resources in an attempt to improve education. It is important to note the key role that teachers play in this diagram. Many of the other components are designed to help make the teacher more effective. Some approaches to improving education try to make the teacher be a less important part of the overall process.

The following is quoted from a draft edition of an editorial that Dave Moursund is writing for the August-September 2000 edition of Learning and Leading with Technology.

Toni was four years old. She had been diagnosed as severely speech delayed due to hearing impairments. Toni had a neurological problem in which her brain was not able to process the sounds of phonemes at the speed in which they are delivered in human speech. It wasn't that Toni could not hear--it was that her brain could not adequately process the sounds it received. The incoming phonemes of speech just sort of piled up in her brain, making a jumbled sound mess that her brain could not decipher.

At best, Toni faced a minimum of four years of intense one-on-one intervention by a highly trained speech therapist. Even with such an intensive educational intervention, the results would be problematic.

However, recent brain research has led to the development of an ICT-based intervention that provides a much quicker solution to this educational problem. A four-week intervention developed by cognitive neuroscientists at Scientific Learning Corporation was used to train Toni's brain to process the phonemes of speech at the speed that most people achieve through "normal" brain development. (In essence, Toni spent some time each day playing a highly motivational computer game designed to help her brain learn to process phonemes faster.) With the ICT solution provided, Toni's hearing and speech problems were overcome at a cost of about $800 (Fast ForWord).

Fast ForWord [Online]. Scientific Learning Corporation. Accessed: http://www.scilearn.com/.

This is an example of current research and implementation work making use of ICT in the Science of Teaching and Learning. Many people have found this to be a Compelling Application of ICT in education.

Whole Class Activity: Give some examples of ICT applications with redeeming academic values that students find to be Compelling Applications.

Debrief: Mike Posner is a professor emeritus in cognitive psychology at the University of Oregon, a member of the National Academy of Science, and a world class expert in "attention." If we want to have a student learn, we need to have the student focus his/her attention on the learning task. A constant struggle that teachers face is that students find the material to be boring, uninteresting, and certainly not attention-grabbing.

A key design feature in a computer game is that it be attention grabbing. Thus, a science of designing game features that are attention grabbing has developed. We can see that game developers have succeeded (especially with boys) just by observing how much time and effort various kids put into learning computer games and working to gain high scores in these games. Although Edutainment materials exist, teachers tend to find them to be more entertainment than educational. It appears that there is a huge potential for improving education be making use of attention-grabbing ideas from computer games, but incorporating these ideas into "good" educational software.

 

SoTL and Compelling Applications

From the point of view of the Digital Age Education II course, ICT is both an aid to doing the SoTL research and it is also an aid to implementing SoTL results.

When we talk about ICT in SoTL, the overall goal is to improve education. Here is a Causality Diagram and some questions that are useful in presenting and discussing the "logical" flow of using ICT to improve education.

Causality Diagram for ICT and School Reform

Some discussion questions:

  1. How are the terms "improved" and "better education" in column 3 defined? Are they defined in a way that there can be change that can be measured in a useful manner? Do the commonly offered definitions present a major barrier to integration of the Compelling Applications into the curriculum?
  2. Similar questions for each other box. Do we have agreed upon definitions, and evaluation or measurement processes that are appropriate?
  3. What evidence do we have that the resources used in implementing the ideas in the above diagram are better spent in that manner than for other approaches to improving education, or for other things? (For example, the funds could be used to help decrease poverty of children.)
  4. Where and how do Science of Teaching and Learning, constructivism, ICT-assisted PBL and Compelling Applications fit into this discussion? Are there Compelling Applications throughout the curriculum, all grade levels and all subjects? What about in the "core" subject areas?
  5. If ICT is such a powerful aid to improving education, why isn't our educational system now vastly improved, with significant visible progress occurring in an ongoing manner? (Compare improvements in education over the past decade or so, versus improvements in business. In business, people point to the improvements in our economy and attribute some of it to computer technology.)

Whole Class Activity: As time permits, explore possible answers to these discussion questions.

 

 

Discussion of "Theory" vs. "Practice"

By and large, there is a large difference between what could be going on in terms of making effective use of ICT to improve education, and what is actually going on. Moreover, a student teacher is faced by multiple challenges--and ICT may well be the least of these.

Typically the student teacher who has progressed through the fall term of the ICT Specialization program has ICT knowledge and skills considerably beyond the teacher they are doing student teaching under, and often this level of ICT knowledge and skills exceeds that of most of the teachers in that building.

Thus, a student teacher's ICT knowledge and skills can be a source of strength, confidence, and entry into a world of high level professional interaction with inservice teachers. However, this ICT knowledge and skill can also become a source of problems. For example, during student teaching, the primary goal is to gain experience as a classroom teacher. Thus, it is not appropriate to have to spend a lot of time helping the regular teacher learn ICT and deal with ICT problems. The student teacher is not supposed to be the ICT technology support person for the school.

Individual Activity: Prepare a 2-minute presentation on the nature and extent of how you and your students made use of ICT during your student teaching experience last term. (Note to course instructor: Allow three minutes for people to prepare.) Then, working in groups of three, each person does their presentation. One person serves as the timekeeper and one person serves at the "actively listening and engaged" audience. In the whole class debrief, we will be interested in hearing about examples of a high level of success in integrating ICT into the teaching experience, and examples of low levels of success in integrating ICT into the teaching experience.

Debrief: This type of activity can be used to identify major deficiencies in the ICT environment of the student teaching opportunities. Many student teachers are working in environments in which use of ICT is not encouraged--indeed, may be minimal and rather inappropriate.

 

Top of Page