Digital Blurring

The topic focus for this week was on digital blurring. On initial exposure to the topic, I had never heard the term before. I now currently have an understanding of the concept as the skills and acts we utilise in the online world being transferred into everyday life (Howell, 2014).

I see the occurrence of digital blurring as having the potential to improve learning experiences. Examples of these improvements can be seen in the engagement of learners through the inclusion of games and videos, as well as having the opportunity to develop physical skills such as hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills (Howell, 2014).

Gaining an understanding of how digital blurring can be brought into the classroom and the impact it can have, I definitely approached this week’s discussion board task with an open and inquisitive mind. The task was to create a video game using software called ‘Sploder’. I found this task very frustrating. I had never attempted a task such as this before and had to begin by conducting a lot of research and readings on how to do this. It took me several hours of fiddling to begin creating my game. Once I had completed my game, I stepped away from my computer and as a result lost all my work. As I had completed this prior, it was slightly quicker to recreate however still very frustrated due to my lack of understanding.

With the amount of struggle I was presented with in the creation of this game, I was able to empathise with those that are a part of the digital divide and created awareness in myself of the importance of teacher understanding on the various kinds of technology. As I was unsure of the creation or purpose of Sploder, I would be very hesitant in using it in the classroom. It wasn’t until after continual persistence with the program did I gain a more comprehensive understanding of how to incorporate it in the classroom. My game was very simple due to the aforementioned lack of understanding or experience with the game, so the benefits it could bring to the classroom would therefore be reduced.

One way I believe to address this lack of understanding in the classroom is to allow the ‘experts’ in this situation do the leading. In the instance of video games, this would be the students.. “This can be empowering and exciting for both students and teachers… by allowing students to provide input in constructing activities, you will create a high level of engagement and commitment to learning” (Harvey, 2014).

Below is the link to sploder

http://www.sploder.com/?s=d004c7dl

References

Harvey, B (2014). Bridging the digital divide in classrooms. Retrieved October 15, 2014 from http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2014/07/02/ctq-harvey-digital.html

Howell, J. (2014), Living and learning in thedigital world Mod 02 04 week 7 [ilecture]. Retrieved from https://echo.ilecture.curtin.edu.au:8443/ess/echo/presentation/9d8a1cd3-f679-4184-8791-6765f6454274

Digital Fluency

The focus for this week was on digital fluency. Before familiarisation with the topic, I was able to assume the concept by associating with the word ‘fluency’. Looking at defining fluency I thought of the words speed, accuracy and ease, terms used by Holland (2012). Digital fluency is the “ability to use digital technologies in a confident manner” (Howell, 2012, p.246). Extending on this “a student not only navigates within a single environment, but also begins to demonstrate an ability to make effective choices and use the tools to advance their understanding and communication” (Holland 2013).  I found this to be a key point in developing my position on digital fluency in the classroom, as it encouraged me to view fluency as not only how to use technology, but how to utilise these technologies to further their understanding and assist their own learning.

Through the study of this concept I have found a deeper understanding of the connectivism theory. Not only has my understanding of the concept strengthened, but the relevance and validity of it in a classroom setting. The advancement of ICT’s allow the gaining of information to occur through the internet and other means to build on current knowledge (Gilbert, 2007). I have found myself a lot more open minded to the thinking that because of the huge impact technology has made on the way we live, communicate and learn, current learning theories need to reflect and consider this (Siemens, 2004).

There are many skills that are required for competency in the 21st century (White, 2013). My current understanding is that it is necessary for the production of a workforce that is able to keep up with the advancements in the world. I believe as teachers there are many activities and experiences that can be presented to students to develop their digital fluency. From the readings I conducted, I have conduced that the most effective way to develop digital fluency is to offer a wide mixture of technologies in the classroom and expand their experiences with a variety of tools and software (Howell, 2012).

References

Gilbert, J (2007). Knowledge, the disciplines, and learning in the Digital Age. Educational Reasearch Policy and Practice, 6(2), 115-122

Holland, B. (2013). Building technology fluency: preparing students to be digital leaners. Retrieved October 10, 2014 from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/building-tech-fluency-digital-learners-beth-holland

Howell, J. (2012).  Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity, Oxford University Press: South Melbourne, Australia.

Information fluency [Image] (2011). Retrieved from http://deeprunwildcats.org/metcalf/?cat=3

Siemens, G. (2004).Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved October 10, 2014 from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

White, Gerald K. (2013) Digital fluency : skills necessary for learning in the digital age. Melbourne : ACER

Digital Information

Digital Information

Working through the topic of digital information I found the readings and lecture very relevant to me both now and as a pre-service teacher. It opened my eyes to the large amount of ways we can retrieve information online and digitally. It also showed me how to ensure reliability and validity of sources, and the importance of teaching this to children. It was not hard to see a natural connection between computers and education. As stated in Resnick (n.d., p.32) “because education is associated with information and computers are associated with information, the two seem to make a perfect marriage”.

One digital information resource I found to be most useful in a classroom setting was Pinterest. Working as an aide in a public school, I had heard the wonders of Pinterest many times before however prior to this week’s tasks, I had never used it. Needless to say, I have since discovered what a valuable resource Pinterest is to teachers specifically. I found Pinterest to be a very simple tool to use and creating a profile was a quick and easy process.

From exploring Pinterest and various other online resource tools, I have begun to understand how these tools can influence and improve teaching strategies and pedagogies. I examined Pinterest specifically and was able to list multiple ways in which this one form of digital information can impact in the classroom.

  • Accumulation of resources- From the variety of links, videos, images and ideas that can be found on Pinterest it allows educators to create a type of resource board for themselves and their students and allows them to share these ideas with colleagues quickly and easily (Wells, 2012)
  • Teachers can use Pinterest as a tool in the classroom with students in order to engage and build their skills. Teachers could get students to set up boards for projects, or portfolios (Heike, 2012)
  • Pinterest has the option to set up collaborative boards, and allows multiple users to contribute to the group brainstorming and idea collections (Heike, 2012)
  • As a tool to teach copyright and digital citizenship (Wells, 2012)

Through the use of Pinterest in such a way, it allows teachers to access a wide variety of teaching options and strategies, and when used in conjunction with nanotechnological resources, allows teachers to create a resource collection that is varied and caters to multiple learning styles to best assist students in reaching each learning objective (Bitter & Legacy, 2008). It allows benefits to all types of learners by allowing access to information “through visual, auditory and kinaesthetic sensory inputs” (Gage, 2006, p. 17).

References

Bitter, G., Legacy, J. (2008). Planning and developing technology-rich instruction. In Using technology in the classroom (7th ed.) (pp. 162-193). Boston, MA : Pearson.

Gage, J. (2006). Pedagogy. In How to use an interactive whiteboard really effectively in your secondary classroom . London: David Fulton.

Heike, T. (2012) 5 tips for using Pinterest In your classroom. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from http://www.edudemic.com/5-tips-for-using-pinterest-in-your-classroom/

Lion, W. (2008). Information hydrant [Image] Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/will-lion/2595497078/

Wells, S. (2012).  How teachers and educators can use pinterest as a resource in and out of the classroom. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from  http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/blog/education-today/how-teachers-and-educators-can-use-pinterest-as-a-resource-in-and-out-of-the-classroom/