Social Media Isn’t a New ‘Problem’

An AISQ8 student approached us to contribute articles for his teenage handbook. It wasn’t until later that I put 2 & 2 together to realize that he was an MYP 5 student and this handbook was part of his MYP Personal Project. I love it when their projects are unique an relevant.

Scanned from a Xerox Multifunction Printer

At first I wasn’t sure what to write and waited until the last minute to start writing. His questions helped guide me and I ended up enjoying reflecting and writing.

Please answer the following questions:

  • What are your personal experiences with bullying during your upbringing/coming of age?
  • Do you find technology a “great escape” to relieve yourself from anxiety and stress?
  • How can information technology cause teenage issues?
  • How can information technology alleviate teenage issues?
  • What is the impact of integrating information technology in school subjects?
  • Should technology be used as a source of education despite its harms?

I was in 7th grade when AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) was released. Social media was basically invented during my teenage years. But no one quite understood its power or how it might affect our well-being. It hadn’t been around long enough for teachers or parents to know that it added a new dynamic to our already complicated teenage lives. Creating fake accounts was easy. Bullying a former friend anonymously wasn’t difficult. And, while I think we knew it was wrong, cyber-bullying wasn’t a topic that was discussed yet. I was not always a nice teenager. And sometimes technology gave me an anonymous alter-ego who struggled to be principled and caring.

I’m not sure the scenario has changed much in the last 20 years. Maybe now people are less concerned with being anonymous and their alter-egos have been replaced by their egos. We have to acknowledge that technology has an important role in our lives. And, it’s not going away anytime soon. We are all on a learning journey to harness the power of technology to make principled contributions to our global society. In order to do this, we need to be able to learn and live with technology. Technology has the potential to enhance teaching and learning and inspire open-mindedness and collaboration. However, this must be taught and practiced and re-enforced. Everything can be harmful if you have too much of it, even water. We must be purposefully balanced with technology in order to support our well-being. Parents and educators are the key to supporting children and teenagers in learning how to be balanced, principled and caring. If we don’t talk about and use technology at home or at school, how will the adults of the future (you!) be able to make principled contributions to our global society?

Technology helps us connect to other people around the world, both local and global. Technology does not tell us how to act; it simply gives us the platform to act. We, the users, are the problem. Not technology. Technology causes issues when we choose to use it to inflict harm on others. Technology alleviates issues when we choose to use it to find like-minded people to support us during our life journey. When we choose to use technology to disconnect from our lives and numb our feelings, it can actually increase our anxiety and stress. When we choose to use technology to support our productivity, enhance our learning, communicate and collaborate with others, and stay in touch with family and friends, it can help us experience life deeper.  

Technology is powerful. What type of power it has in our lives is up to us. What choices will you make to positively impact the world? How might your IB education support you when learning and living with technology? What choices will you make to bring others up, instead of taking them down?

 

Entering the #MYPscience Classroom – Seeking Connections

Some facts:

  • My undergrad major was Chemistry. I graduated 10 years ago.
  • I worked in a raw materials pharmaceutical lab. That was 9 years ago.
  • I am certified to teach Chemistry. I passed the PRAXIS 5 years ago
  • I’ve tutored a few students in science during the last 5 years.
  • I’ve never taught a science class.
  • I will be teaching an MYP 5 science class for the remainder of the 2016-17 school year.

So there’s all that. My biggest fear is that I won’t be able to find the balance to be both a good teacher and a good instructional coach (without going insane). Oh…and I’m currently coaching track & field too. My biggest hopes are that I will make meaningful connections with students and positively impact student learning. Weighing it all, this is a great opportunity to get back into the classroom and experience teaching science with a supportive & collaborative 10th grade teaching team.

As I start to tune in to both the content and the pedagogy of teaching science, I’m looking to connect with anyone who:

  • has successfully transitioned from 1 teacher to another during a school year.
  • teaches MYP 4 or 5 science (I’m especially interested in integrating ATL skills, the IB Learner Profile, concepts, global contexts & statements of inquiry in everything we do).
  • uses protocols with (HS) students.
  • uses visible thinking routines to help (HS/MYP) students better understand science.
  • integrates technology in the teaching & learning of (MYP) science.
  • balances the responsibilities of leadership & classroom teacher.

#AISQ8 has some amazing educators and I’m excited to collaborate with the department. However I’d love to expand my PLN as I take some risks this year. Say hi, suggest educators I should connect with or whatever you see fit. Sending lots of gratitude into the universe!

Keeping Design Alive

We have a dilemma at AIS Kuwait. We weren’t able to find a high school Design teacher on the recruiting trail. Because of this, our two K-12 technology integration coaches may have to each teach 2 classes next year. To be clear, I think coaches teaching can be a great idea in some situations. However in our case we have 2 educational technology positions for a student body of 2000 students and over 200 staff. I am eager to see both Design and educational technology thrive at AIS.

There’s still hope…but only if we can find and hire the right candidate. Please spread the word to anyone still looking for international teaching jobs for next year. Jeff or I would be happy to answer any questions you have. And Dave Botbyl is eagerly awaiting your application.

Need a little more information about IB MYP Design? Read on…

From the IB MYP Design Guide (2014):
Nature of Design Design, and the resultant development of new technologies, has given rise to profound changes in society: transforming how we access and process information; how we adapt our environment; how we communicate with others; how we are able to solve problems; how we work and live. Design is the link between innovation and creativity, taking thoughts and exploring the possibilities and constraints associated with products or systems, allowing them to redefine and manage the generation of further thought through prototyping, experimentation and adaptation. It is human-centred and focuses on the needs, wants and limitations of the end user. Competent design is not only within the reach of a small set of uniquely skilled individuals, but can be achieved by all. The use of well-established design principles and processes increases the probability that a design will be successful. To do this, designers use a wide variety of principles which, taken together, make up what is known as the design cycle.

  • Designers adapt their approach to different design situations, but they have a common understanding of the process necessary to form valid and suitable solutions.
  • A designer has a role and responsibility to the community and the environment. Their decisions can have a huge impact and, therefore, their ethics and morals can and should be questioned regularly.
  • A designer should have the ability to maintain an unbiased view of a situation and evaluate a situation objectively, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of a common product or system.
  • Good communication is a key trait of any good designer through visual and oral presentation.

Designing requires an individual to be imaginative and creative, while having a substantial knowledge base of important factors that will aid or constrain the process. Decisions made need to be supported by adequate and appropriate research and investigation. Designers must adopt an approach that allows them to think creatively, while conforming to the requirements of a design specification. Both the ideas of design and the process of design can only occur in a human context. Design is carried out by a community of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and traditions, and this has clearly influenced the way design has progressed at different times. It is important to understand, however, that to design is to be involved in a community of inquiry with certain common beliefs, methodologies, understandings and processes. MYP design challenges all students to apply practical and creative thinking skills to solve design problems; encourages students to explore the role of design in both historical and contemporary contexts; and raises students’ awareness of their responsibilities when making design decisions and taking action. Inquiry and problem-solving are at the heart of the subject group. MYP design requires the use of the design cycle as a tool, which provides the methodology used to structure the inquiry and analysis of problems, the development of feasible solutions, the creation of solutions, and the testing and evaluation of the solution. In MYP design, a solution can be defined as a model, prototype, product or system that students have developed and created independently. A well-planned design programme enables students to develop not only practical skills but also strategies for creative and critical thinking. The MYP expects all students to become actively involved in, and to focus on, the whole design process rather than on the final product/solution.

Aims of Design: The aims of MYP design are to encourage and enable students to:

  • enjoy the design process, develop an appreciation of its elegance and power
  • develop knowledge, understanding and skills from different disciplines to design and create solutions to problems using the design cycle
  • use and apply technology effectively as a means to access, process and communicate information, model and create solutions, and to solve problems
  • develop an appreciation of the impact of design innovations for life, global society and environments
  • appreciate past, present and emerging design within cultural, political, social, historical and environmental contexts
  • develop respect for others’ viewpoints and appreciate alternative solutions to problems
  • act with integrity and honesty, and take responsibility for their own actions developing effective working practices.

The MYP Design Cycle:
Every designer may approach a problem in a different way. Depending on their specialism, designers tend to have their own methodology, but some general activities are common to all designers. The design cycle model underpins the design process. The design cycle model (Figure 3) represents the MYP design methodology of how designers develop products. The process is divided into four stages: inquiring and analysing; developing ideas; creating the solution; evaluating. This incremental process allows the designer to go from identifying a design opportunity to the testing and evaluation of a solution. This process leads to the creation of solutions that solve a problem. It is important to note that, while the design cycle includes several successive stages, the design cycle is an iterative and cyclical process. When using the design cycle, students will often need to revisit a previous stage before they can complete the stage they are currently working on. Solving design problems is not always a linear process.

a #coetail story: falling in love with teaching (all over again)

My COETAIL course 5 final project made remember why I love teaching today (a much needed reminder!). My final project is an IB MYP Art & Design unit involving photography & social media. Check out more info here. I’m reposting the post below from my COETAIL blog cause it was just that awesome of a day. 🙂

Today. Was. Awesome. Seriously today’s Art/Design class was cool. Brian & Yuko from Photohoku ‘hung out’ with us…Lindsay and I weren’t sure how the students would respond but they were awesome. While I was setting up the Hangout a few of the students were whispering “I see Brian!” The students actually did their homework! They were pretty excited and a little in awe. It was one of those classes that was way too short and everyone probably would have skipped their next class to continue the conversation. I loved it.

Since we got cut a little short and the students didn’t get to ask all their questions, I created a post where students can ask questions in the comments. Brian and Yuko have kindly agreed to answer them when they have time.

What a great way to end the week…on a super high note!

What I’ve been up to lately: #COETAIL edition

I realized I haven’t really blogged much at all this semester. While there are a few reasons for that, one of them is that I’ve been putting a lot of time into my M.Ed. So here’s what I’ve been up to lately! [see also part 1: UKSTL edition]

I just wrote my last post for COETAIL course 4! This semester: three classes down, 1 to finish up. I had 2 COETAIL classes this semester – courses 3 & 4. Courses 1 & 2 weren’t too challenging for me so I’m happy to report that courses 3 & 4 did the job! I learned a few new things, was forced to think deeply and had some great discussions.

Course 3 – Visual Literacy: Effective Communicators and Creators
All of my posts from the course can be seen here. My two favorite posts were redesigning a powerpoint and my digital story (which I used as a first draft for my Google Apps Certified Trainer application). Although I’d thought about visual literacy in the past (mostly because of my husband) it was rewarding to dive a little deeper and actually create/recreate.

Course 4 – Technology: A Catalyst for Learning
All of my posts from the course can be seen here. I really really enjoyed how this course made me think…hard. I was passionate about all the posts and loved the discussions had during this course. UKSTL rubbed off on me a bit and I went the research route with my post on Gamification. It’s definitely my most commented on post and the author of one of the articles I quoted even participated :). Go take a look and add your own! I finished up the course with a brainstorm for my course 5 (Alive in the Classroom: Applied Web 2.0 Technology for Learning) final project. I’m hoping to help our middle school art teacher create a photography unit using the MYP design cycle that hits the redefinition level.

As always, I’d love input! What do you think about the redesigned presentation? Do you have any ideas for MYP design cycle & art?

Visual interpretation in the language B classroom

Yesterday I attended the MS/HS language B department meeting. We have both MYP & DP Language B offered in Arabic and French. One of their criterion is Visual Interpretation. The teachers wanted to learn about a few ways they could create posters (etc) for summative tasks for their students. After doing a little research, I decided to highlight 4 tools: PS Touch, Glogster, ThingLink and Tumblr. Below is the follow-up email I sent out this morning. I would love to hear about how you and your students create visual interpretation tasks & summatives in your MYP or DP language B classes! 

My reflection: First – why not use authentic realia for visual interpretation tasks? The power of language B is that it is alive and real in the world. Second – as a language B teacher and technology integration lover, my mind goes to what can my students create. The tools I presented can simply be used by staff to create tasks for the students but the real power comes when the tasks can be transformative.

  • Students create their own media (or find Creative Commons licensed media).
  • Pictures are edited using Photoshop (Instagram?) and videos could be uploaded to YouTube.
  • This media is then be used to create Glogs and/or ThingLinks.
  • The next step (towards redefinition) would be to compile the media into a Tumblr blog where students could document the journey of their visual, reflect on their visual and others’ and get input from the teacher, classmates and people around the world.

Good morning!

Thanks for letting me stop by your department meeting yesterday. I hope the tech tools you saw gave you a few ideas for visual interpretation in your classrooms. When I chose them I thought that they could be used by teachers or students to create visuals. These tools range from augmentation (PS Touch) to the possibility for redefinition (Tumbr). If you’ve found other tools, please don’t hesitate to share! Let me know if you have any questions. 🙂

Creative Commons Search – a great place to start to find media (photos, videos, audio, etc) that you are allowed to use (not copyrighted).

PS Touch (school iPad app)

  • No account needed.
  • Can create visuals with text from basic to advanced.
  • Tutorials built into app.
  • Students can email photo and/or print (or export to use in one of the options below).

Glogster (create & view on computer, view only on iPad)

  • You must create an account.
  • There is a free version that includes a 31-day premium trial.
  • Students should use Glogster.com to create accounts.
  • Great for students or teachers to create.
  • Choose your editable template. Add text, graphics, images, audio and video. Save & share the link. Can be printed.
  • CAN view on iPad (with free app) but cannot create.

ThingLink (also a free app)

  • You must create an account.
  • Great for students or teachers to create.
  • Can create and view on both computer & iPad.
  • Add an image. Then add ‘tags’ to insert text, photos, web links, music or videos. Share & save the link. Not ideal for printing.
  • Cool example

Tumblr (also a free app)

  • You must create an account.
  • You can have multiple ‘blogs’ per account.
  • Best for students to create on-going visuals throughout a unit.
  • Add text, photos, quotes, web links, chats, audio & video.
  • Students can share the link to their Tumblr blog with teachers. Not ideal for printing.
  • Has potential for redefinition (SAMR).

Medieval Medley – a MYP Humanities Summative

In April, our two 8th grade MYP Humanities teachers approached us to collaborate on their upcoming summative. Students were able to pick a person, place or event, do research and then present their information to the class in a variety of ways. The teachers had already given students options for steps 1 to 3s. It took many meetings to come to a mutual understanding of what they wanted from us and how technology integration might look throughout the process. My biggest concern was that we keep the summative as inquiry based as possible (following what they had already created). I wasn’t a big fan of giving them a list of technology options with examples for each – I wanted students to be creative, not me. We ended up coming up with a variety of ways that students could use technology to create presentations from step 3. When I was contemplating the list, I made sure to start with the task (step 3) and then create a list of technology options.

Each tech coach took a couple class sections and attended three of their work sessions (after their research was complete). During the first session, we introduced a couple of the technology options.My goal was to focus on technology tools that they probably hadn’t seen or used before and talk about the task.

For the next 3 class periods, I circulated the room asking students how they had chosen to present (step 3) and giving advice/tech help where needed. Although there were still many students who simply used a PowerPoint or Keynote to give a lecture, there were a few who had some really great products. My favorite non-tech project was a medical time capsule. The student went all out and was completely committed to his project: he introduced it by saying he found this box while on vacation in Italy. It was quite creative!

Some of my favorite projects (using technology):

Overall, the project was further proof to me of how much work we “tech integrators” have to do to help people (students and teachers alike) understand the power of meaningful integration. I am not impressed by Keynotes with distracting transitions – what does this do to make a project BETTER, to increase learning? We need to get away from the flashy and encourage quality based in curriculum and pedogogy. It also struck me (again) that students have no concept for copyright. I used my COETAIL learning to talk to students about using images that they are allowed to use as I circulated the room. Next year I would suggest that a short lesson on copyright and creative commons is done before students start researching. Since the only criterion that was being assessed was D (Communicating) I would also suggest doing more with that – what makes good presentations, how can students best communicate their learning? Christina and I even thought the MYP Design Cycle might be able to be used 🙂

This was a good learning experience for me and I look forward to seeing what happens with the project next year!