Activity 12.1 and 12.2

Activity 12.1
QR codes for augmented reality can be used in variety of ways and can suit many different courses and topics. For example, students can make poster of their project and put QR codes to explain more because poster does not provide enough space to include all details. Other students or staff can scan QR code and watch their video. This brings variety to teaching plan because students like to play with gadgets these days. It can be used even with concept maps where students can make concepts maps and put QR code on every node that will link to some video sharing website where video or documents are available to explain further. Such concepts maps can be printed to put on school bulletin boards. Students can access the contents that they need help in. I think one important topic is lab safety. I assign project of lab safety to my grade 10 every year. This year I can ask them to make poster and record a video to explain one aspect of lab safety. We host lot of videos on our local school server. Students can upload their video to school server and link their video to poster by putting a QR code on their poster. QR triggers all around a science laboratory can quickly help students learn the different safety procedures and protocols for the lab equipment. Now all students have smart phone with QR scanner. They can watch other’s videos and learn more in detail about all aspects of lab safety. I am sure students will enjoy it. Dalgarno and Lee argue that five affordances or benefits are spatial knowledge representation, experiential learning, engagement, contextual learning and collaborative learning. Moreover, viewer or user of contents can also check their understanding through interaction with AR contents. Moreover, video contents or other contents, to where QR code leads to, can also allow viewers to comment on. This will provide feedback to people who created contents. This feedback can allow interaction and dialogue between two unrelated persons. This also increases scope of created contents because in offline face-to-face settings, students create lot of contents just to earn marks and target audience of contents is teacher only. It is not fair that students’ efforts in creating work are wasted to earn marks only. Greater audience can boost their self-efficacy level and can also encourage students to put more effort to create quality contents. “The key message is that designing for learning must explicitly incorporate pedagogical
considerations into their specification of a technology-enhanced learning experience.”( Fowler, 2015).)

Learning Objectives:
1. identify the safety and protective equipment available in the laboratory and describe how and when to use each piece of equipment
2. indicate on a school map the location of the nearest fire alarm and appropriate fire exits
3. list sources of first-aid assistance other than the classroom teacher
4. describe common chemistry laboratory hazards and the appropriate procedure or technique for dealing with each
5. produce a list of general rules of safe laboratory conduct
How augmented reality would be used to support learning?
Students can make five groups. Each group will make a poster and record a video about one learning objective. It can make learning activities very engaging students in variety of ways. Poster encourages students to involve themselves in complex mental operations and encourages thinking at the analysis and evolution level of bloom taxonomy. Students will have to collect information, decipher, categorize, which will help student look for patterns and develop inductive reasoning skills. Moreover, it provides students experience of identifying critical relationships for grouping data and thus they learn to make sense of information. Students develop poster as a group work and record video to provide contents in details. Group work will teach them collaborative skills and make learning academic and social. Furthermore, it encourages student to accept and extend ideas of others. They will put QR trigger on their poster to provide more information to other students. Other students can not only watch videos but can also provide feedback. Moreover, this can also become useful for other classes at the same time because these posters can be put on school bulletin board for greater audience. I think videos can greatly improve quality of contents. For example, typically students would make a school map and show location of nearest fire alarm and appropriate exits but if they link it to video then they can be more precise and may be walk to their and may use animation to show that route. Students may also interview other people like doctor or can connect to some YouTube video where such things are explained in greater detail. It will significantly improve quality of contents as students will connect to right source of information. Students may not understand certain aspects of lab safety very well, which will be reflected in their videos. But if they link their poster to video of an expert of lab safety then it can greatly improve students’ understanding of general safety rules in lab. One group may make a list of general safety rules in lab and can put QR code right next to each rule. The QR trigger could lead to a video or documents that can explain the rule and its applications in greater detail. Students are quite tech-savvy these days. They learn word processing and image and video manipulation skills in their school. They love to record videos.

Activity 12.2
I often use QR code in class for diagnostic assessment. Students scan QR codes that lead them to an online short quiz. On completion of the quiz, they receive email that shows them their responses and correct responses. Thus it helps students identify their shortcomings and guides them to improvements. I developed a QR trigger based assessment system, (http://usman.jksz.com:8088/makeQuestion.php) . I developed it as an effective learning-for-assessment tool to provide real time feedback to students. Teacher can use the system to assign a topic and students create questions about the topic as they read and research on that topic. Teacher side of system randomly picks questions from student-submitted question bank and allows students to write diagnostic quiz online. In this way, students are stake holder of assessment-for-learning and it also guides me to adjust my teaching practices. I have been using it for about two years now. Over this period, I have improved it a lot. First problem was some students didn’t submit right questions so I added a function to review/edit/delete student questions. Later, as the question bank grew bigger, some students started submitting same questions which were already present in the system so I had to improve logic of system to verify it against previously stored question. Moreover, interface was improved a lot to match different kind of devices that are present in students’ hand these days. Students seem to enjoy this interaction as they are quizzed mostly based on question created by them or other students from previous years. It also keeps them active in class because they know that they will be quizzed at the end of every lesson. Assessment drives learning. Moreover, it does not add lot of workload for me because I don’t have to mark hundreds of student scripts every week.

Reference
Fowler, C. (2015). Virtual reality and learning: Where is the pedagogy?. British Journal Of Educational Technology, 46(2), 412-422. doi:10.1111/bjet.12135
Dalgarno, B. & Lee, M. (2010). What are the learning affordances of 3-D virtual environments? BritishJournal of Educational Technology, 41 , 10–32.

Week 11: Technological Determinism

Technology finds its way to school classrooms consciously or subconsciously. Some teachers are making conscious decisions to use technology in classroom to make their teaching more affective by applying different kinds of learning theories. Moreover, education administrators are also pushing for more technology in classroom. So sometime teachers may not be fully aware of potential of technology in classroom but they use it because it is expected of them. So increasingly more teachers are using technology because “ease of use’ equates with high invitational appeal” (Adam)

Proper use of technology can greatly enhance learning experience of students. For instance, sometime it is not possible to conduct experiments in lab due to unavailability of chemicals then simulation with guided exploration sheets can emulate the lab experience. Moreover, sometime students are expected to visualize tiny particles but it is impossible to visualize them due to their size then simulations and animations can fill in that gap of hand on experience. “Our tools or techne extend our reach, abilities, sensory perception, locomotion, and understanding”. (Adam). Moreover, all objects invite us to extend or change our relationship to our world. These enhancements or transformations can be minor to profound (Adam). So students find it very easy to understand contents with the help of simulations. Similarly, online editable mind maps can be used right from the start of a new course and students can continuously build, fine-tune and add new nodes to them as they learn more things.

Moreover, technology acts as a tool for constructivist and connectivist theory of learning because it links to information network, which is not limited to one library only. Anytime students open internet browser, then source of information is unlimited for them. Students can collect information from variety of resources and analyze, verify with their previous knowledge and reasoning, and reconstruct their thoughts. All this leads to exponential growth of knowledge. Moreover, it develops international mindedness because students get information from difference sources and thus they get to appreciate entity that generated that knowledge. However, a teacher should always use technology consciously and should not fall into trap of technology unknowingly. “An unassisted novice, a new teacher, or a busy lecturer may be more inclined to accept as given the PowerPoint defaults in forming their presentations, and subsequently the ideas about how they will present their material.” (Adam)

When I was reading Adam’s article on technology determinism, I was thinking about how often I have been conscious about use of technology and how often I have checked it against pedagogical theory. Unfortunately, there were not many instances. Most of time, technology provided its defaults and I used it according to provided format. So it is the software developer who controls pedagogical theory, whenever a piece of technology is being used in class. A teacher’s choice is mostly limited to technology tool but once a teacher decides to use a tool then mostly it is developer of the software who controls pedagogical theory. Moreover technology influences “him or her to organize and present knowledge in a certain way.”(Adam) “This particular way is evoked primarily through ease of access to default patterns or templates.” (Adam) For example, a teacher may decide to use online assessment system for efficient marking. Once he had made his choice then options are limited by the assessment system. If the assessment system does not allow graphics, or system lacks math formula builder or limits choice or limits device, or limits types of questions, then teacher has to live with the restrictions. We know that higher order thinking cannot be accessed with simple MCQ type of questions. Thus teacher has been “constrained by particular design decisions embedded in this software (Adam)

Adam raised another important point that teachers slip “into the easiest, most accessible, efficient path and seldom thinking to diverge from it.” (Adam) Although Adam wrote mainly about PowerPoint, his points are valid with other forms of technology as well. He believes that technology “exerts a kind of soft determinism upon a sleepy teacher-user, by turns inviting him or her to try certain ways of preparing a lesson or lecture. (Adam) He does provide a solution to this by saying that “The inevitable tendency of any given technology to enact its ‘vortex of side-effects’ is counterbalanced by each user’s willing-ness to pay attention, to remain focused on the purposeful task at hand—in this case, teaching.” (Adam) If a teacher consciously decide technological tool according to pedagogical theories of learning then technology will not determine his teaching style. Adam also raised question about habits of mind and styles of teaching and forms of thinking that technology determines. Teachers have lot of workload so they easily fall victim of unconscious use of technology. Van Manen (1997: 21) proves by saying that “cool water invites us to drink, the sandy beach invites the child to play, an easy chair invites our tired body to sink in it.” Teacher need time to find workaround to do away with software templates and to make sure that they use software according to pedagogical theory. Technology solutions ‘elevates format over content’ (Tufte 2003a), which puts pedagogical theory behind. Another important thing is limitations of online assessment system in terms of providing formative feedback. These systems can mechanically check if inputted answer is correct or not but they fail to provide feedback that leads to improvement. So they hamper dialogue between students and teachers.
It is very important that teachers are well trained about technology in education so they make conscious decisions to use right form of technology for different tasks in class because “good ICT could worsen teaching when it is placed in the hands of the untrained” (Young 2004). Teachers are going to use technology in classroom anyway. If they are not well trained then it is going to “negatively affect [their] habits of mind” (Turkle 2004)

Reference
Adams, C. (2006) PowerPoint, habits of mind, and classroom culture. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 38(4), 389–411.

Tufte, E. R. (2003a) PowerPoint is evil: power corrupts. PowerPoint corrupts absolutely, 11(09), September. Available online at: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.09/ppt2.html, accessed 1 December 2016.

Turkle, S. (2004) The fellowship of the microchip: global technologies as evocative objects. In M. M. Suárez-Orozco and D. B. Qin-Hilliard (eds),Globalization: Culture and Education in the New Millennium (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press), 97–113.

Van Manen, M. (1997) Researching Lived Experience: Human Science for an Action Sensitive
Pedagogy, nd edn (London, ON: Althouse Press).

Young, J. R. (2004) When good technology means bad teaching. Chronicle of Higher Education,
51(12), A31. Available online at: http://chronicle.com/free/v51/i12/12a03101.htm, accessed 1 December 2016