Sunday, February 23, 2014

What's Fair to Use

The following is a description of an online unit that I am working on with my colleague, Tim Flanagan.

A multimodal tutorial unit engaging students in respecting copyright law and guiding them to discern what resources they can freely use in their work.

Where We’re At

We are well under way in the design of our multimodal learning tutorial unit. We are currently applying and developing universal design elements to our unit.  We have decided on our goal and learning objectives. We expect these will evolve as we continue to design and develop our unit. We are also in the process of matching and checking CCSS as they relate to our unit. We have built a page in the TechTools website and have started adding resources that will be useful to both teachers and students using this unit. The resources include videos and websites that explain the related topics.   We have begun design of student materials that will help students in their learning and in applying what they have learned.

Unit Goals
  1. Students will understand the rules of Copyright.  
  2. Students will learn how to find materials that are free to use through  Fair Use, Creative Commons licensing, and the Public Domain.
  3. Students will learn how to provide attribution for the sources they use.
Students will:
  • Understand the purpose of copyright materials.
  • Identify the characteristics of copyright materials, Public Domain, and Fair Use.
  • Explain the different Creative Commons licensing options.
  • Locate free-to-use sources.
  • Discuss and defend whether materials are free to use.
  • Learn how to document their sources.
  • Create a web page of free-to-use materials and provide attribution of sources.

Where We’re Headed
We have outlined our ideas for the remainder of this task of building a multimodal unit.   In the coming weeks, we will focus on the following:
  • Continue to build our webpage on the Digital Texts and Tools website.  Decide on a final layout of the page.
  • Add resources and develop student learning activities for each of the following sections of the module:  Creative Commons, Finding Sources that are Free to Use, and Putting it into Practice.
  • Create multimodal tutorials for finding sources that are free to use and learning about Creative Commons.
  • Decide on how to address the topic of Attribution.  How specific do we need to be?  Should we create a separate section for it on the website?
  • Write instructions and criteria for a final product.  Students will be asked to create a Glogster page with materials that are free to use and provide attribution for their sources.
  • Create an evaluation tool for teachers to use to measure student progress toward the learning objectives.
  • Develop and organize the Teacher section of our web page.  
We have both gained a deeper understanding of this topic through this research.  It is a topic that many teachers shy away from since it can be difficult to understand and the rules of copyright and fair use change as new technologies are developed.  We hope that our learning module will make this topic accessible to teachers and students so that they can become competent and responsible digital citizens.

cc image from Wikimedia Commons

Technology Helps Differentiate Learning

This week in ED 722 we looked at designing and supporting learning for all students.  As we reviewed this weeks materials, we were asked to reflect on the design of the units we are creating.  The reading, Towards a Design Theory of Blending Learning Curriculum by Ronghuai Huan, Ding Ma, and Haisen Zhang, explained the characteristics and rationales for blended learning.  It presented the considerations for designing a blended learning environment. A blended learning environment is extremely valuable for students because it can create individualized learning experiences for students.

Within DLMOOC week 5, the topic of discussion was Deeper Learning for a Wide Range of Learners.  On the MOOCs panel of discussion were educators from International Learning Schools that have a high ELL population. I was very interested to learn how they encourage and achieve deeper learning with their students.  At my school, approximately 15% percent of the students are ELL. Services to these students whose English is at all levels is provided by a single teacher who is at our school for 3 hours of the day.   I was very interested in learning how to engage and help these students. After listening to the panel discussion, it was evident to me that differentiated instruction for deeper learning is part of the school's culture. The school, curriculum, and schedule are designed to make it work (success) for the teachers and the students. The administrator of the school was very clear about providing opportunities for students to reach deeper learning and giving teachers the tools and training they need to in turn help their students to succeed.

My storify this week is on technology as a tool for differentiating instruction. I speak of blending learning environments and of technology as a tool for differentiating instruction.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Student Voices in Learning

This week in ED 720 we looked at the power of student voice and agency in learning.  I listened to Dave Burgess author of, Teach Like a Pirate, describe and discuss how his students actively participate in their learning. Burgess creates educational  experiences for his students and immerses them in learning.  Educators are creatively presenting materials in their classrooms in order to  get students excited and curious about learning!

Within week 4 of DLMOOC, the power of student voice was discussed as a powerful method for engaging students and inspiring deeper learning.  I found the panelist very inspiring and interesting. Student choices can help students apply their interests in their learning.  One thread of the panel’s discussion related to equity.  Whose voice would be heard?  In addition to providing choices,  we must also provide a classroom where ALL students feel safe and are encouraged to voice opinions and ideas. Pedro Norguera’s, How Listening to Students Can Help Schools to Improve, was very insightful.  Giving students a voice in their learning will  inspire them to participate and learn!

Using this week’s theme of pirates, I’ve made an acrostic about how I feel teachers can get students excited and curious about learning.

  • P  Passion - Show your passion to excite your students!
  • I   Individuals We are teaching individuals that have different strengths and interests. Create opportunities for success for all students by giving them choices in their learning.  
  • R Reflect - Reflect on what works and what does not, and adjust your lessons.
  • A Authentic - Make learning meaningful and relevant to students. Immerse them in learning.
  • T Teacher to student relationships. Foster and nurture them. Students want to know teachers care about their learning. It can motivate students.
  • E Encourage - Encourage students and inspire them to success. “I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” ~Michael Jordan. Use the tell me more to encourage students to explain and ask questions that lead to deeper learning.
  • S - Student Centered. Make your classroom student centered! Give them a voice in their learning. Listen to students. Validate their learning.

My storify presents ideas of how student voice can help motivate and get students involved in their learning.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Learning that Motivates and Engages

This week the DLMOOC focused on the value of internships and mentors.  The ED 722 - Distance Learning provided resources about redesigning learning for our students in order to motivate and engage students.  The following are my thoughts and reflections on these resources.

There is nothing more heartwarming to a classroom teacher to see her students actively engaged in learning.  Students are motivated and engaged when they are working on something they determine is valuable and meaningful.  Authentic and real world learning activities can give students that validity. Real world learning motivates and engages students because learning contextually involves real world data, is of interest to students, and produces work for an audience that extends beyond the classroom.  Authentic learning activities and opportunities are the most beneficial learning experiences for our students because they are relevant and applicable to our students' lives.

Student internships are a fantastic way for students to experience real world learning.  Internships allow students to apply classroom learning to real-life work situations.  Learning is authentic as students learn from on the job training.  Students also gain experience and insight to the world of work.

In the classroom, technology can help students receive authentic learning experiences.  Learning transcends the classroom as the Internet is used as a vehicle for locating information, sharing ideas, and communicating with others. Teleconferencing professionals and experts that can speak and mentor students can add authenticity to student work.  Designing learning activities that require real world interaction will motivate and engage students into deeper learning.

Our data filled society and technology are driving forces for the need to change classroom instruction.   The Internet is helping everyone learn outside the classroom walls.  For example, at any place and time, students can use their phones to scour the Internet for information to meet their need to know.  They have the tool to find the information, and they are motivated by a desire to know about something that is meaningful to them.  In order for education to become more relevant and meaningful for our students, classroom teachers must design learning activities that utilize modern technology in context that is meaningful and relevant to our students.  Using activities that are real life and authentic will help our students gain deeper understanding of learning objectives, and it will help our students develop skills and practices that will help them on their journey of becoming life-long learners. 

Here is my storify on Real World Learning.