Blog Post 5

Looking back over the last twelve weeks of EDDL 5151, and reflecting on what I’ve gained from the course, perhaps the most useful piece has been the pedagogical focus of the material. Having taken a few other EDDL courses, I found that having time to examine some of the issues and the theories behind the design and delivery of online and blended models with other educators quite helpful in framing my own practice. With many technophiles, I think there is the temptation to race after the novel. I know I certainly like to experiment with the latest educational apps as they come down the pipe. However, the danger in this, is that sometimes a much-needed intentionality falls by the wayside.

There is no doubt, that integrating new technologies is an important part of an educator’s role. The real work however is in building and maintaining a learning community, wherein new technology will augment the learning, and not detract from it, or simply be innovation for innovations sake. To proceed meaningfully, the educator needs to take the unique needs of the students into consideration, informed also by the nature of the class setting, virtual, blended or in person. As the needs and goals are understood, the design process can begin, and then the requirements of the design can best inform which technological tools are most appropriate.

I think this shift in my thinking has also led me to be more focused in my research regarding which tools I seek out and familiarize myself with. Instead of just surveying various tech websites and periodicals, I can narrow down the ever-broadening field to emerging tech that is relevant and useful. There are a great many demands on the time of the modern teacher. If an educational technology isn’t serving the needs of my students, I likely need to rethink how I invest my energies.

I really appreciated being able to think through the many topics alongside a diverse group of educators. I felt the discussions were always of a high quality; the face that we cam from diverse educational and professional backgrounds ensured a variety of perspectives. I find that often times, the world of education can get a bit insular. We teach together, we socialize together, and we attend pro-D events together. To be able to step outside the K-12 world, and interact with people in business, healthcare, technology and other fields helps me contextualize my pedagogy in light of the larger world. As I move forward with my career and further education, I feel like I have some insight into myself as an educator, and a great many ideas to explore as I continue to learn.

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EDDL 5151 Presentation

Here is the presentation.

I hope you enjoy.

C.

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Blog Post 4

An audio reflection on selected readings from Unit 4.

Unit 4 Podcast.

Readings

Bates, T. (2019, January 27). Some reflections on the results of the 2018 national survey of online learning. Online Learning and Distance Education Resources. https://www.tonybates.ca/2019/01/27/some-reflections-on-the-results-of-the-2018-national-survey-of-online-learning/

Canadian Digital Learning Research Association. (2018). Tracking online learning in Canadian universities and colleges. https://onlinelearningsurveycanada.ca/

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Blog Post 3

 

Annotated Bibliography

Alternate Realities, Simplified: Augmented and virtual reality made easy. (2019). American Libraries50(11/12), 60–61.

Although a very short piece, I appreciated this article for being directed towards the non-specialist educator, interested in AR and VR application for use in the K-12 classroom. It introduces a purpose-built device, “the Merge Cube” built for 3D object exploration in AR/VR, as also discusses an online library of 3D educational experiences designed to enhance K-12 science curriculum. I find it particularly useful for an exemplar of what is currently available for students, in the realm of AR, as well as for the introduction of relatively low cost, purpose built devices that would allow for wider access to schools and students.

Antonioli, M., Blake, C., & Sparks, K. (2014). Augmented Reality Applications in Education. Journal of Technology Studies40(2), 96–107. https://doi-org.ezproxy.tru.ca/10.21061/jots.v40i2.a.4

In this article, three teachers at the middle and high school level are essentially conducting a literature review, with an eye to middle and high school implementation of AR. It has a very good eye to practice, addressing technical challenges in the classroom, student and teacher concerns and classroom management. Most of the literature surveyed was quite recent, with a few pieces dating back to the early 2000’s. The authors believe that AR has great potential in making education more efficient and engaging. They are fair minded in their commentary on the various works cited, and draw from peer reviewing journals, as well as educational journalism. As a K-12 teacher investigating how to prepare for the significant growth of AR in K-12 classrooms, this article was very useful for drawing my attention to some of the practical classroom elements of AR integration.

B.C. Government. (n.d.). BC’s digital literacy framework. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/kindergarten-to-grade-12/teach/teaching-tools/digital-literacy-framework.pdf

This document provides goals and guidelines for grade level learning objectives and competencies sought under the “digital literacy” banner. The document draws on material from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and other North American and European resources. Prepared by the BC Ministry of Education, it has a great deal of curricular relevance to K-12 teachers in our province. Although broad, and somewhat general in tone, it does provide six key themes (and a number of sub-headings) to guide practice when instructing students in digital literacy. The document is well balanced between the practical skills of digital literacy, as well as building understanding of larger issues surrounding safety, privacy and copyright.

Bower, M., Lee, M. J. W., & Dalgarno, B. (2017). Collaborative learning across physical and virtual worlds: Factors supporting and constraining learners in a blended reality environment. British Journal of Educational Technology48(2), 407–430. https://doi-org.ezproxy.tru.ca/10.1111/bjet.12435

This article detailed a pilot project with Australian undergraduate students in an education program. A lesson was taught in both physical and virtual spaces synchronously, with projectors and cameras enabling the students in either setting to interact with one another. After the lesson, students were surveyed, and participated in focus groups, to determine ease of collaboration, ability to engage with classmates across spaces, and the overall experience of the blended environment. The data collected suggested that while the “collaboration elements” across the face to face and virtual classrooms was rated as quite good, the verbal communication aspects were not rated very highly across the divide. The article goes on to discuss various factors: pedagogical, technological and logistical, that the students felt either supported or restricted their ability to meaningfully participate in the lesson. I felt that this study was particularly relevant to my project, specifically in light of the pandemic, as I wanted to explore some of the issues surrounding blended realities, as I look to what September instruction might look like, with part time / virtual attendance.

Bower, M., Howe, C., McCredie, N., Robinson, A., & Grover, D. (2014). Augmented Reality in education – cases, places and potentials. Educational Media International51(1), 1–15. https://doi-org.ezproxy.tru.ca/10.1080/09523987.2014.889400

In this article, the researchers from Macquarie University in Australia review some of the previous literature concerning AR in education. They discuss the various uses of AR in education, but then move into discussing a Learning by Design model, and a project in which 14-16-year-old students were invited to the university to participate in. After a one day workshop in various AR creation software, the students chose sculptures from the university park, and then designed AR overlays for the sculptures, incorporating video, audio, animations and commentaries. After the projects were completed, the students were debriefed, a discussion regarding their learning with and through AR was recorded, and their accompanying teachers were surveyed. The students reported a great deal of engagement with the project, in part because they were aware the AR experiences they crafted would be shared with the public.
This project was very interesting to me, and relevant to my paper, as it focused on the constructivist pedagogy, and AR artifacts being created by students, as opposed to being created for students.

Hughes, R. (2014). Augmented Reality : Developments, Technologies and Applications.
Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

I drew primarily from the first chapter of this work, which was focused on the use of AR in educational settings. The authors looked at some of the challenges in designing and utilizing AR in instructional material, with a good deal of focus on user interface in the design of AR experiences. The authors contended that a significant barrier to use of AR by educators was unfamiliarity with coding and programing languages. They looked at open source AR development tools that were graphical based and allowed for a more “WYSIWYG” experience. They also detailed other options for AR creation, requiring varying levels of computing and coding knowledge. I found the chapter particularly useful, because it addresses what is one of the chief concerns in adaptation of new educational technologies; ease of use for the instructor.

Juan Garzón, Juan Acevedo.
Meta-analysis of the impact of Augmented Reality on students’ learning gains.
Educational Research Review, Volume 27, 2019, p. 244-260,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2019.04.001.

This article conducts an analysis of fifty studies related to the use of AR with students of diverse needs. The authors discuss their methodology for searching out the various studies, the analysis of the literature, and then reports out their findings, and conclusions. I found their criteria for inclusion to be well suited for my paper, as it included recent publication (2008-2018) and focused on applications, models and frameworks of AR in relation to students with diverse learning needs. Particularly noteworthy, the authors highlighted the relative narrowness of the “target of inclusion” noting that most AR experiences and research focused on hearing impaired students and students with Autism. Identifying the gaps in AR research vis a vis diverse learners, gave a good sense of where the research and development of AR inclusive technologies needs to expand.

Kipper, G., & Rampolla, J. (2012). Augmented reality : An emerging technologies guide to AR. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.tru.ca

While written largely by and for laypersons, the book did contain a fairly good survey of AR it’s emerging importance across a number of fields. Most interesting to me was the last chapter, focusing on future devices and the merging of AR into everyday life via the widespread use of avatars, and even AR contact lenses. While perhaps at times fanciful, there are some very interesting futurist minded issues that arise through this chapter.

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EDDL 5151 Blog Post 2

As I begin to refine the topic for my major paper in light of the course readings and online discussions, I feel I need to incorporate sections discussing mobile devices and apps, privacy / safety, and the digital divide. I think as we move more and more towards wearable technology and the internet of things, there will be a great many questions to ask regarding learning goals, and what constitutes a contemporary educational canon. In much the same way as computational speed and rote memorization of math facts have been hedged out of our Math classrooms, in part due to innovation, we should expect other elements of traditional instruction to lose their luster in light of emerging technologies.

I think that in Canada, the largest concern will be managing the safety and privacy issues that will no doubt continue to present themselves. With the cross-border internet traffic, various foreign government access to data, any move to move cloud-based computing will likely run up against various privacy / information legislation. My hope is that as the cloud services become more and more prevalent, there is a greater movement towards servers handling traffic within national borders. Ostensibly, if there is a demand, and it is economically viable, I.T. business will move to provide the service. It could be that provincial and federal government also invest in this sort of architecture, especially with COVID-19 having highlighted the need for a robust I.T. infrastructure.

Other concerns will come in the areas of mobile devices and the digital divide. With a move to a cloud-based system, the actual device may become less important, so long as it can interface with the cloud system in use. This in itself, might provide a narrowing of the digital divide in terms of the socioeconomic concerns. Alternatively, the schools and districts might be able to roll out low cost, easily managed devices to students, perhaps as a subsidized B.Y.O.D. program. The apps available through a school based or district-based account could be managed by the I.T. department, which might also allay some of the aforementioned privacy and security concerns. Perhaps the more challenging piece will be narrowing the digital divide in regard to training and digital literacy. However as digital literacy instruction becomes more widespread, and more professional development in this area is offered to educators, I believe the challenge is manageable. Educators already engage with students with disparate backgrounds, and vastly different learning needs. With the proper support and training, I see no reason why teachers cannot bridge any digital literacy gaps within the scope of the curriculum.

As far as research and articles I plan to incorporate into my paper, I have drawn from course materials as well as online discussions with classmates. I’ve tried to keep the articles consulted very contemporary, as the field of AR is one that is constantly innovating. I’ve looked at some meta-analysis on student gains with AR, alongside some more narrow studies. As well, I wanted to ground myself within a firm understanding of the technology itself, and the directions in which the field seems to be moving. Essentially, a survey of where we are, and where we are going with Augmented Reality. These articles have already helped me to refine my research question, which has narrowed from my first post.

So, for my major paper, my working title will be:

Augmented Reality in Education : Where we are headed and how do we prepare?

Comments and suggestions are welcome!

Chris.


Bibliography

Arnaldi, B., Guitton, P., & Moreau, G. (Eds.). (2018). Virtual reality and augmented reality : Myths and realities.
https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.tru.ca

Juan Garzón, Juan Acevedo. Meta-analysis of the impact of Augmented Reality on students’ learning gains. Educational Research Review, Volume 27, 2019, p. 244-260. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2019.04.001.

Hughes, R. Augmented Reality : Developments, Technologies and Applications. Nova Science Publishers, Inc. 2014

Kipper, G., & Rampolla, J. (2012). Augmented reality : An emerging technologies guide to A.R. https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.tru.ca

ŢURCANU, D. C., PRODEA, B. M., & CONSTANTIN, C. (2018). The Opportunity of Using Augmented Reality in Educating Disadvantaged Children. Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Brasov. Series V: Economic Sciences, 11(1), 71–78.

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EDDL 5151 Blog Post 1

As a Grade 8 middle school teacher, in a rapidly expanding suburb of metro Vancouver, in a retrofitted high school in its first year, the themes are growth and change. Inevitably, the demand for near instantaneous adaptability comes rushing through systemic cracks in waves of despair. Yet those threatening waters can be harnessed by nimble educators and adventurous students. The energy and vitality that can seem so overwhelming, is also exciting, and animating. The trick then, is to keep your head above water, and enjoy the ride.

Technological innovation, perhaps the greatest disruptor of formalized education is constantly moving forward and presenting new opportunities and pitfalls for teachers and students. As a lifetime tech aficionado, I find this exciting and frustrating. Exciting because there are a great many new and exciting technologies to explore, particularly in the realm of “A.R.”, Augmented Reality. Frustrating, because I so often find myself running up against technological and bureaucratic barriers. Technological, in that the devices provided to students by school districts are generally two or three generations behind the current hardware iterations. Bureaucratic, in that trying to get any individual application permitted / supported can take months, if not years.

Perhaps the one saving grace is that the vast majority of my students have personal technology, most often smartphones, that have hardware that is up to the challenge. Of course, the ubiquity of smartphones in the classroom comes with its own set of caveats. Of course, in light of the current pandemic and the resulting educational upheavals, smartphones have often been a saving grace; in our district, the ability for students to install the Teams app on their phones. I suppose the question I’m gravitating towards is, what role should augmented reality, play in the contemporary classroom?

This is a very broad question, and so I imagine I will have to narrow it down as I move forward, however it does give me a starting point as I begin to explore the literature, and ideas that come to the forefront as I engage with classmates.

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Assignment 3 – Media exemplar collection.

My media collection links.

Image

Video

Audio

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Assignment 3 – Video

 

Immersive Reader

I got to see a great deal of great educational technology as a Microsoft Educator. As part of the MIEE program, I was able to visit some Microsoft Engineers, and see first hand some of the tools in development. Immersive Reader came to fruition as a passion project of two Vancouver Microsoft employees during a Microsoft hackathon, originally envisioned as an add-in to OneNote. It was wildly successful, and later integrated into other Microsoft platforms. When I present it to my students, I think the screen capture video is most appropriate. I like them to be able to “follow along” as they try out the feature. I also find that my ELL students, as well as some with IEP’s concerning reading difficulties can use the tool whenever they find it useful.

 

 

 

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Assignment 3 – Image

BEDMAS Graphic

For this graphic, I wanted something visually striking, paired with a catchy slogan. Interestingly, though I thought this would be the simplest piece to produce, it ended up taking me the longest time to come up with a final version that I was happy with.
The theme I decided to run with was a military one. I’ve always been less than satisfied with most BEDMAS graphics, as there is often no distinction between the brackets component, versus the exponents. Whereas the Multiplication and division are of “equal rank” as are addition and subtraction; and thus, governed by “left to right,” brackets and exponents must be handled in order. This has caused some confusion for my students in the past, which led me to want to revisit and clarify a very old acronym.

My first choice was orientation of the word. I have often seen BEDMAS as a vertical acrostic, however as most of my students are naturally oriented left to right readers, I thought that a horizontal orientation was a better choice, and less distracting. The guiding principle for me needed to be impactful, but not distracting. I wanted to reduce cognitive load wherever possible. This principle also informed my color choice. As I was moving towards a “rank” theme, I wanted to go with a traditional army color. I experimented with various camouflage patterns but found them too distracting for my purposes. I also tried olive drab, and army green, but they didn’t seem to engage the eye as well as the green I eventually settled on, which was sort of mid way between the two. Being that the eye is most sensitive to shades of green, I thought this was a good overall choice, both thematically and physiologically. I considered using chevrons to indicate and reinforce the rank of the operations, but decided on gold stars, as I felt that students would be much more familiar with the idea of stars being used to rank or rate various things.

I experimented with various fonts, but made the decision quite quickly, and settled on a bold, very low-complexity font. I felt the block letters were straightforward and complemented the overall theme. After a few attempts with 3D effects, I found them to be just a distraction, with no real educational purpose, so I discarded the idea. The final element was the caption. I wanted it to rhyme and be short. I also wanted to have it reinforce the idea of tackling the operations in the correct order, with elements of the same “rank” being dealt with in left to right fashion. I felt this also tied back into my earlier choice to orient the letters left to right.

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Assignment 3 – Audio

Jabberwocky

I always do Jabberwocky during my poetry unit, as an activity to hook students into recitation as a dramatic performance. It’s a good activity to break the ice with regards to anxiety, because it’s a chance to play with nonsensical language in a dramatic way that doesn’t really have a “right” answer. I like them to experiment with different tones, voices, inflections, volume and the like.
I recorded my own version for two primary reasons; so that students can listen to me “at play” as an exemplar, and to guide them in common pronunciations of some of the more difficult words. While there are some existing videos / audio recordings of performances of Jabberwocky, I find that most of them have some particularities that I dislike; borogoves pronounced “borogroves” and tulgey pronounced “tugley” for example. I also find it useful to have the students hear my version of it, as I feel it let’s them understand that we are all in this together, and I’m not going to ask them to perform, if I’m not willing to.

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