I have had almost zero exposure to augmented reality in a teaching or learning context. From what I’ve read and looked at online it looks like it would be beneficial in my teaching practice going forward. Virtual reality could be used in almost any educational area, as a science teacher I could see using it for science labs. Also it could be used to explore the microscopic world of cells or to explore body systems. As someone who is always looking for new ways to engage and motivate kids, this could be a valuable tool to make the learning process more active and meaningful.
In the education field, technology is constantly changing and placing demands and stress on educators to keep up with these changes. It’s been my experience that we tend to jump on board with these new advancements in the classroom without much thought as to the benefits versus the drawbacks. For me, one of the major drawbacks is the time it takes to learn the new technology and how to apply it in a classroom. It seems ever more prevalent that I’m using technology that I haven’t been properly trained on and haven’t had the time to adequately investigate it on my own. My one experience over the years that illustrates is my use of the Smartboard.
I used a Smartboard for about 7 years in a row at the previous school I was teaching. I had this giant contraption mounted on the wall at the front of my room that I had to use, it was the focal point of the classroom. There was very a small whiteboard at the back of the room, like it or not, I had to do my work on the Smartboard. The Smartboard was cutting edge technology when it arrived and I’ve spent many hours being trained an additional many hours trying to figure functions out on my own. In many ways it was an excellent tool and it worked especially well when dealing with graphing lines and slope in algebra. I did however spend a lot of instructional time waiting for my technology to start up, and dealing with technological issues that seemed constant. It seemed I was always putting out “small fires” where I’m up at the board trouble shooting and I can hear the students behind me getting louder and louder while they are waiting for their teacher to get the issue sorted. For the past three years I have not used the Smartboard, I use a projector that I have hooked up to my laptop instead. It seems strange to say but it is less of a burden to me than I thought, I now longer have these long waits while I’m up at the screen trying to get my technology “right” and I find this simpler approach to teaching much less stressful and as a result I feel my teaching is better without the Smartboard.
In my case the tools I was using guided some of my choices as an educator. I wasn’t so much limited in how creative I could be but I was limited by technology that I wasn’t really prepared to use efficiently. The technology, many times, got in the way of my teaching and the “flow” of my class. I was locked into using this Smartboard and it had an affect on the way I would structure my lessons. I found that it did limit me and became more of a focal point for my lessons. Now, I realize that by not having it, I am much more free in he classroom and not “chained” to this giant computer mounted on the front wall. I have fewer technical issues and my lessons seem to go off with less hitches than in the past.
For the novice teacher, with the constant demands to use technology in the classroom, I think it can limit and encumber at a time when they are learning how to teach and find their “voice” in the classroom. Sometimes the simpler approach can be more effective and create less stress in the classroom for students and teachers alike. Obviously using technology in the classroom is important, however it has to be done in a purposeful manner, not just because it is there. Proper training and practice are a must for it’s effective use and it should never guide your teaching practice. It should be something that enhances and clarifies the concepts you are teaching.
Grade 9 Humanities Lesson Plan
Class: Grade 9 Humanities
Task: Introduce students to issue of plagiarism
- Determine how information serves a variety of purposes and that the accuracy or relevance may need verification
- Organize and synthesize researched information
- Practice responsible and ethical use of information and technology
- Include and organize references as part of research
Report Card Outcomes:
- Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of citizenship and identity
- Skills and processes for inquiry and research
1. Introduction of lesson (10 min)
Introduction and Explanation
Show students various examples of reference book passages and what a student wrote based on the passage. Students will say if it constitutes plagiarism and explain why or why not.
2. Activity Sequence (40 min)
Research plagiarism using the following videos and reading. Students can work in groups of 3 or 4.
Understanding plagiarism (video):
Plagairism and the internet (video):
How the Internet changed plagairism(reading):
Answer the following questions:
- Define what is plagiarism?
- Give an example of someone who plagiarized, was found guilty in court and what was the penalty.
- How can you can avoid plagiarism?
- What constitutes plagiarism?
- Is it okay to paraphrase?
- How do you avoid plagiarism?
- How do you write a bibliography?
- How do you use text citations.
- How did the Internet change plagiarism? Give three examples.
3. Closure (10 min)
Ask each group one at a time to give an answer to a question. Have other groups add additional information that their group may have omitted and discuss their groups answer to that particular question.
The program I am exploring is called Powtoons. https://www.powtoon.com/my-powtoons/?#/ It is a web based animation software that lets you create an animated presentation. You are able manipulate objects, import various images, use a voice over and use music in your animated video. Powtoon is a free online resource, but with certain restrictions.
Ease of use:
I made a Powtoon for another course I was taking. It was the first one I had attempted and it was rather easy to complete. It would be very manageable for a junior high or high school age student. I did a lesson on the Particle Theory of Matter where I had a different character present each part of the theory with me providing a voice over. I also used text so that students would be able to copy each part into their notes. I am in the process of creating a lesson where my students will have to make a Powtoon to show the difference between pure substances and mixtures. I did, however, notice that Powtoons has changed since the last time I was on. It has become more commercial and it’s now only free for 4 days, after which you are required to pay.
Confidentiality of content/discussion:
Powtoon will collect different types of information depending on how site is being used. The site can be used anonymously without having to log in or purchase a subscription. In this case no personal information needs to be provided. If a person signs up for a free subscription they would have to provide name, email address, job description and reason why this website was chosen. There is an option to buy a subscription, however this would not be and option for students. When students access Powtoon for a school project, they have the opportunity to provide the contact details of their teacher, instead of their own personal data.
After a Powtoon is published the text in it is made available to search engines. If you have a paid subscription you can make your Powtoons private. You can upload your Powtoons to Youtube, however that work is easily accessible by the public unless you change your settings for that video to private within youtube. I haven’t seen a discussion feature on the site, I can’t see a way to comment on someones Powtoon, however when posted on youtube comments are allowable at the discretion of the publisher.
You are able to delete Powtoons very easily, you simply go to your Powtoon page, locate the one you want and press delete. I’m unsure as to Powtoons policy regarding deleted files and ownership. This information would be contained in their 400 page EULA. With Powtoons paid service you can download your work as an MP4 video which is a transportable private document.
Appropriateness for academic use:
I think that Powtoons is an excellent tool for junior high age students and older. I have no experience with elementary age students, but depending on their level of technological skill, it would be appropriate for certain students. It can be used in any subject area to help a student display their knowledge in a dynamic format. As I have mentioned earlier I am in the process of creating a lesson for my grade 8 science class using Powtoons. However, after some further investigation I have discovered that the students will have 4 days to complete their assignment due to the changes in purchase agreements with the company. Previously there was a free subscription portion to the site which provided limited access but now there is a 4 day trial period and beyond that students would have to pay for the service.
Questions to discuss:
Is 4 days enough time to finish assignment?
Is the process of teaching students how to use this site to make a video a good use of my time as a teacher, considering it could take at least 4 days to cover a relatively simple concept?
How could you use this tool in your subject area?
Has anyone used Powtoons with their students? What was the age group and subject area? How did it work out?
Here is a website that I use all the time:
A list of my favourite movies:
- Shawshank Redemption
- No Country for Old Men
Boiling Point and Melting Point for Copper and Nitrogen
|Element||Boiling Point(degrees celsius)||Melting Point(degrees celsius)|
I could see myself having the students make a mind map as a review for a science unit exam. This would be a good way of having them organize and review their concepts within a structure that seems to mimic how their brains work. This might enable them to retain more information for test day.
I have to admit that I’ve infringed on copyright laws on numerous occasions throughout my teaching career. I know ignorance is not a great excuse, however, I have paid almost zero attention to copyright laws and any guidelines that I would have to follow to avoid infringement. As an example I’ve shown Bill Nye videos multiple times over my career. On youtube you can find full episodes that people have posted, and I use these sites without any hesitation or thought. I know that Bill Nye has exclusive rights that include distribution of copies and to display the work publicly and if you go onto his itunes or Amazon, episodes of his show are for sale.
I’ve also shown other videos, such as Planet Earth or A Plastic Ocean to my students from my Netflix account. I, again , have done this without even checking the legalities. To find out which titles are available for educational screenings you have to go to the “Only On Netflix” section of media.netflix.com. I looked at Netflix’s grant of permission for educational screenings and here’s what it says on their site:
“Netflix is proud to present original documentaries that speak to our users in a meaningful way. We know that many of you are as excited about these films as we are; and because of their informational aspects, you’d like to show them in an educational setting — e.g., in the classroom, at the next meeting of your community group, with your book club, etc. Consequently, we will permit one-time educational screenings of permitted documentaries. We use the term “one-time screening” to mean that you can’t hold screenings of the same documentary several times in one day or one week. However if, for example, you are an educator who wants to show a documentary once a semester over multiple semesters, that is permitted.”
I looked up the documentaries that I have shown to my students and again I am in violation of these copyright laws because they were not listed in the “only on Netflix” site and I was showing them multiple times in one day. Now that I’m more aware and have researched the legalities of using certain copyright material, I’m curious as to how it will affect my practice. It would be quite difficult as a teacher to be in total compliance with copyright laws in every instance, especially with the technology at our fingertips. However, being more aware of the copyright laws and guidelines set by information providers is a good place to start to improving ones practice.
To be honest, until now I haven’t given the issue of Cybersafety much thought. The times I use our school computers or the students are allowed to use their phones for research, I’m assuming they are using their technology appropriately. I know our school board has a system that blocks access to “bad” websites so I trust that it will work properly and keep kids from certain sites. I’ve never thought of it from the perspective of the student and how limiting internet access may actually be doing kids a disservice. I also haven’t had any kids ever complain about not being able to access critical information on a project. This is likely because of the age group I teach, I would imagine that in high school, this could be an even bigger issue.
As an educator I realize the importance of cybersafety and know that I need to ensure the safety of kids using and online platform. In the future I need to take a more proactive approach to ensuring students are using the internet in an appropriate manner. As well I need to be aware of the limitations of firewalls and the information they are blocking students from discovering.