Looking at the many tools and changes that web 2.0 provides to education is both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. I have found myself to love the benefits of technology and feel that I’ve incorporated many neat ideas that have enhanced my teaching or learning experience for my students, yet after truly exploring the tools that web 2.0 has to offer and the ideas of what might come with web 3.0 I feel way behind. With each new idea, I get excited about the changes I could make in my classroom. But with each excited feeling come time, research, and development.
Many of the skills mentioned from the article “a day in the life of web 2.0” by David Warlick's refer to amazing ideas that are producing a very dynamic learning experience for the students. Blogs and wiki’s are a great way to allow students to see and benefit from each other’s ideas. Some teachers even record and podcast their classroom discussions which many community members and parents will subscribe to. Being informed by these podcasts, parents then can have specific conversations with their kids about what they are learning at school.
These ideas and skills are great, but they are quite a bit above the level of grade 5 & 6. They will just be introduced to the technologies involved with doing these projects let alone to be working at a high enough comprehensive level to use them in this manner. At what grade level can students begin to work at this interactive level in the life of web 2.0? This leads to my question about what I should be doing in my classroom with grades 5 & 6.
What are the first basic technological skills in web 2.0 that I should be building and giving my students experiences with. My stage is the beginning and what are the beginning stepping stones that I need to be teaching to prepare my students for what they will be asked to do in later years? Are there any guidelines to follow or do I just begin with what I think is most relevant for them in hopes that it will be the right skill they will need in a few years.
After learning about the SAMR model of technological implementation in education by Dr Reuben Peuntedura, my question now is to what level of this model do I push my grade 5 & 6 level students to do? Maybe my questions will be answered as I creatively think of or find classroom activities that will incorporate each of the four SAMR levels.
S – Substitution
At this level in the model Dr. Peuntedura explains that technology is just simply substituted for something that has been used before to perform a specific task; Such as a word processor now being used instead of a typewriter. The additional functions and tools of the word processor is not utilized at this level, it is just simply used and substitutes the use of a typewriter.
Class Activity for Substitution: My Book About Me – Writing Project
One of the writing projects I have down with my students every year has been a book they write about themselves. They actually write eight chapters and two of the chapters are written by a family member or a close friend who has known them for quite some time. This entire project has been designed to be a keepsake for the students and the final project is bounded and laminated and full of pictures and writing.
During the writing stage I have used technology to do something a little different. I have incorporated a password protected page from our school website, that each of the students has used to do their writing. Our website is one of the SimplyUpdates websites provided by the NAD which provides a fairly easy and user friendly updates web application to edit the articles on the website. Because of the nature of the assignment the student’s web page articles are not open to the public or even open to their classmates. This is an area where they can edit and write at school or at home, or even grandma’s house (wherever they have Internet). They don’t even have to worry about USB drives, or even emailing word documents back and forth from home and school. This also allows me as a teacher to see how their progress of their writing is going. I can post some comments and recommendations right in their chapters on their pages as I have administration rights to each of their pages.
It has worked extremely well for the writing stage of the project, but this technology has only substituted writing on paper or writing in a word document.
A – Augmentation
At the augmentation stage, technology is used as a direct tool to substitute with enhancement. In the word processor analogy, the tools and functions such as copy, cut and paste, or the spell checker are used. This does make enhancements to what has been substituted but doesn’t involve much change.
Class Activity for Augmentation:
One of the substitution activities I’ve done with technology involves two different types of study games I play with my students to help them review material that they will be tested on. I have set up PowerPoint presentations that are hyperlinked throughout the slideshow that allows me to maneuver through questions. They styles and games that I have created are set up to play a “Jeopardy” game as well as “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” Both are taken off of game shows that the students are familiar with. I have now begun loading them to my grade 5 & 6 class website. By doing this I’ve enhanced the document to allow for multiple users to play it simultaneously and my students love going home playing these games on their own. Parents have gotten on board with these games now that they are online, and I’ve noticed a big improvement in my students test scores as their study time at home has increased.
M – Modification
At the modification stage, technology allows for significant task redesign. The involvement with the task and learning is changed now with the interactive tools of web 2.0 that will allow for feedback and change of up to a global audience.
A Classroom Activity: Electric Car Contest
In grade 5 science “Mechanisms Using Electricity” the students could be challenged to create their own unique design of an electric toy car using a simple circuit with an electric motor and a variety of materials to build their car. A web resource for the students to access at home could be set up to link a variety of resource ideas on wiring a simple circuit to other resources giving students ideas about building a toy car with working axels.
YouTube videos could be linked to provide students with a moving example of how they could create their toy car and get it to move.
To push this activity to the modification level, I could have a blog site created for students to share their progress with other grade 5 students across the province. Here they could load their pictures and blog about some of the problems they encountered and what solutions they have come up with. They then can go back to their design to make additional modifications to it after this interaction has taken place.
R - Redefinition Level
At the redefinition level, technology is used to create new tasks. What could I do that I could never do before?
A classroom activity that would use the redefinition level of technology could be doing the same science experiment with the electric toy car but we could open up the audience to which they post their ideas and challenges. The students could video tape their design and performance of their electric car and post this video to YouTube to gain feedback from a much broader audience. Students then can ask the questions, “How could I make my car go faster or farther? What changes could be made to allow it to travel on tougher terrain such as carpet or even roll over obstacles?” They then could get feedback which would allow them to gain more ideas and suggestions on making improvements to their design or completely changing their task altogether.