2.3 My Take on Digital Literacy

Verifying that online information is credible/relevant/accurate

As part of my ICT 11 course, I taught a lesson on identifying credible information online. Objective of the lesson was to identify website that provide credible information for academic articles. I began with brainstorming activity allowing students to come up with criteria to find credible information online.  Students worked in small groups to outline good criteria to assess credibility of online resources.

Students identified authority of author, timeliness, accuracy, contents, bias and resources of the online information most important to judge credibility of the information. After that students developed a rubric by following the criteria. Here is link to their criteria format.  http://usman.jksz.com:8088/owncloud/data/urusman/files/bcict11/unit1/day06/ValidityAndReliabilityOfInformationOnTheInternetRubricAssignment.docx

Finally, students used the criteria to evaluate different websites. Students found it very helpful topic as they are required in other courses to search information on web-based recourse. Students told me that before the lesson, they had hard time identifying what type of information was credible.

 

2.2 Educational Technology Help

I teach in China. So my challenges are relatively different from Canadian teachers. Here is list of my challenges and solutions.

Chinese Firewall. There are lots of great resources available online for students on video-streaming websites and educational websites but most of them are blocked in China. So my solution was to have a locally-hosted-system to share recourse with students.  I explored many stock-solutions like moodle but they didn’t meet my expectations as they were very demanding on server resources. So I learned programming all by myself. Many websites like stalkoverflow and w3school was very helpful in learning programming languages. I keep improving my website by learning more about programming.

Expensive and Foreign hosted server. It is hard to find data center in China with English services. On the other hand, foreign servers are not easily accessible in China. So I turned to our IT department. They set up server for teacher’s use. Our Chinese administration is very supportive of use of technology so they very generously spend money on updating technical resources.

Workshops have also been very helpful. Our school does a lot of workshop so that provides many opportunities for teachers to learn new stuff in technology.

2.1 State of Technology in Education

I found the survey responses on “students learning about Internet topics” very interesting. Part of reason, the statistics got my interest is because I teach ICT 11 and 12 courses in a BC offshore school. I focus a lot on these topics in my ICT 11 course.

 

The statistics confirms that we are heading in right direction as most of people considered safety, appropriate behavior, dealing with cyber bullying, understanding privacy issues and searching credible information online  “very important”. As all of us are mostly interacting with the other people through internet these days, so all these topics are relevant to modern technological advancement.

 

It was interesting to know that more and more people are showing interest in how their personal information are being collected and used. Now a days,  AI, big-data and APIs are becoming common features of the virtual world, so information are being used by many different authorities in different ways. If any one of the authority fails to protect user data then it may be exploited by hackers. More than half of the survey participants (69%) find it “very important” to learn that how their personal information are being collected and used.

 

RSS Feeds

I signed up for feedly account. I never used google reader even when it was working because I live in Shanghai and google services are blocked here. I have never used RSS for learning and teaching. It was my first experience and I found it very rewarding. I am fan of idea of technology in Education and I found many good feeds on this topic. I think I will continue to use it in future. One, great thing about RSS that I discovered is that I don’t have to go to those websites again and again to find something new, Feedly will collect all important stuff for me in one place.  I found following RSS feeds very useful.

1. http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2016/09/6-essential-edtech-tools-for-your.html

I found many important and useful apps for teachers on this feed that can significantly improve teaching and learning experience in class. For example, TechEdu allows teacher to create lesson using youtube videos. Moreover it allows students to respond to question on the videos, Teachers can monitor the statistics on who has watched the video and has responded to the question. I found it to be the best solution on the feed. In modern days, most students tend to learn from videos rather than reading books.

Another important solution on the link was “seesaw”, which allows students to create and share work with other students. It is electronic solution of typical pair-share activity in class.

2. http://www.edudemic.com/setting-classroom-expectations/

This feed also has quite a few interesting articles for teachers. I found “setting classroom expectations” very useful in class. it emphases on consistency on behavioral and learning expectations all through the course, Moreover, i learned that students can be involved in the beginning of the year to set the behavioral expectations so they become stake holder and own those expectations.

I can be reached at urusman|at|qq|dot|com

Introduction

My name is Muhammad Usman Farooq, I have been teaching BC high school science curriculum for over 10 years now. Although my expertise are in Chemistry and Biology,  but my interest in technology-for-education lead me to explore more into computer programming. So I taught myself html, css, ajax and php programming about five years ago. So, since 2013, i also started teaching ICT 11 and ICT12 courses. Over the years, I have explored many web-based application to share resources with students affectively, I learned about moodle, wordpress ,  weebly and wikispaces but I found that all of them were either very demanding on server resources or were having too many irrelevant features. Moreover, I am in China and I have to make sure that uninterrupted service of the website continues for my students. Irrelevant feature, heavy load on server and interruptions in some services were very discouraging. Part of problem could be that that those systems were not developed by teachers. So I developed my own system (http://usmanscience.com) which later on was adopted by our school. Now many teachers are using this system in my school. I also have privilege of leading two workshops on the effective use of technology in education. My main interests have been in

  1. web publishing system to share resources with students in timely manner
  2. student-centered assessment -for-learning system,  i.e students make question,  and quizzes could be designed based on their students’  submitted-question, so I developed a system to allow students to electronically submit question and then teachers can use/recycle/edit/delete those questions. Moreover, teachers can make quizzes and students can do quizzes online on their gadgets. Once students finish doing quiz, teacher can allow them to check their response (with correct answers) online or send them email.
  3. Getting assignments from student electronically. So I developed a simple feature where student can submit their assignments, which get saved into a cloud-storage system of our school. This cloud storage system synchronizes contents with teacher’s desktop so they can check all assignments right from my desktop.

I used many open sources applications like tinymce , owncloud and responsive-file-manager to build my system. Moreover, this website is hosted on our school server so rendering is really good for students. Teachers can put videos online and many students at one time can watch those videos.

On the downside, I am not good at graphic designing so my website does not very good interface but it has many good features.

I applied for this course to learn more about use of technology in education. Technology in education is future and we are in transition now,  as more and more educational institutions are accepting this idea. Moreover, there are hundreds of educational applications available out there so it is important to learn how and when technology should be correctly used to deliver contents of the prescribed curriculum. Over use can also discourage some students because some students just don’t like to learn using electronic gadgets, whereas talk-chalk based traditional teaching can discourage many more students so an educator need to balance the use.

I can be reached at urusman|at|qq|dot|com