Author Archives: lizstrawbridge

Summary of “TPACK and Web 2.0: Transformation of Teaching and Learning”

For my final article summary, I read “TPACK and Web 2.0: Transformation of Teaching and Learning” by Jennifer Nelson, Angela Christopher and Clif Mims, of the University of Memphis. This article was published in the September/October 2009 issue of TechTrends magazine. This article gave a thoughtfully-written overview of recent research showing the positive value of Web 2.0 applications in K-12 education. The authors also discussed the importance of teachers having a solid understanding of Technological Pedagogical Conceptual Framework (TPACK). The article’s authors cited many benefits of Web 2.0 applications in the classroom, including:

  • “Web 2.0 technologies support creative and collective contribution” (Christopher, Mims, & Nelson, 2009, p. 80)
  • “…engaged learners develop a deeper understanding and relationship with content. Learning is meaningful when students co-create and develop their own knowledge” (80).
  • “…integration of Web 2.0 technologies, utilized by skillful teachers, can promote student learning and facilitate the development of lifelong skills such as collaboration, creative thinking and knowledge construction” (80).

The article also gave several statistics about the rise of Internet use in public schools (nearly 100% by fall 2005) and use of social networking among students (97% of 9-17-year-olds surveyed reported that they engaged in social networking on the Internet) (81). The authors described the importance of technology in the everyday lives of students, and that it is the role of teachers to prepare students for “innovation and the advancement of society” (81), and that using collaborative technology within the classroom is a natural piece of that preparation.

The authors made a special point that, while Web 2.0 technology can be a wonderful addition to a classroom, there are certain considerations that teachers need to make in order for the technology to be effective. Web 2.0 tools should “focus [on] the curriculum, and not the tool itself” (82). The use of Web 2.0 tools should have a direct relation to curriculum standards and should support student understanding, as well as contain some aspect of assessment or reflection for both students and teachers (82). They also noted that safety concerns (online predators, etc.), school-imposed firewall restrictions, and online privacy issues could stand in the way of teachers using certain Web 2.0 tools (84). I also think that parents who do not yet want their children to have personal social networking profiles, especially on sites like Facebook and Twitter, could prevent teachers from using those types of social networking for school-related purposes.

The authors profiled several different types of Web 2.0 technology, including blogs, wikis, social bookmarking and digital storytelling. Because I am using a Prezi for my lesson plan, I especially enjoyed the authors’ digital storytelling discussion. They noted that “digital storytelling allows students to be actively engaged in their work, play a part in literacy communities, and delineate themselves as readers and writers” (83). This was one of the most informative and well-written articles I have read on this topic, and it might be a good one to have future grad students in this program read as an introduction to Web 2.0.

 

Reference

Christopher, A., Mims, C., & Nelson, J. (2009). TPACK and web 2.0: transformation of teaching and learning. TechTrends. 53 (5): 80-85.

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Summary of “High Tech Classrooms”

In “High Tech Classrooms,” an article for Information Today, writer Kurt Schiller details the rise of technology in both K-12 and higher education. He specifically discusses the use of Prezi, a tool launched in 2009 that allows users to create presentations on “a single, large canvas and build conceptual maps that show how ideas relate to one another” (Schiller, 2011, p. 34). Unlike traditional PowerPoint slideshows, that walk viewers through the presentation slide-by-slide, Prezis have a main “hub” and many different branches of information. Within those branches, creators can add additional content, such as video or web links, and can always return back to the “big picture” (34).

The article included an interview with Prezi Marketing Director Drew Banks, who believes that Prezis are more like movies than presentations, and that part of what has made Prezi successful is that the tool takes information and transforms it into an enjoyable, well-organized viewing experience (34). The author also noted that Prezis have “found favor” (34) in K-12 education, and in institutions of higher learning such as Stanford University.

In addition to looking at the Prezi tool, the article also focused on the use of social media tools within the classroom, such as Edmodo, an education-specific tool, and “all-purpose” social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. While it is clear that these tools are on the rise in education, the author noted that teachers who use such tools need to make sure that all students can access them, and that they don’t make the assumption that all students know how to use them.

Because I am planning on using a Prezi for my lesson plan, I was glad that this article focused specifically on that tool. I like Prezis because they are more visually appealing and interactive than regular PowerPoint slideshows, and that they can be used independently by users, without necessarily being tied to a presentation given by a facilitator or teacher.

Reference

Schiller, K. (2011). High-tech classrooms. Information Today. 28 (8): 34-35.

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Summary of “Use of Unsupervised Online Quizzes as Formative Assessment in a Medical Physiology Course: Effects of Incentives on Student Participation and Performance”

In the article titled “Use of Unsupervised Online Quizzes as Formative Assessment in a Medical Physiology Course: Effects of Incentives on Student Participation and Performance,” published on May 9, 2007, in Advances in Physiology Education, researcher Jonathan Kibble detailed the findings of his study on formative assessment, via online quiz, among university students. He found that students who used formative quizzes were, overall, more likely to have higher scores on their summative assessments (Kibble, 2007, p. 257). He also conducted a survey among students who participated in the quizzes, and found that 80% of those who responded to the survey found them to be useful learning tools that provided quality feedback and helped them prepare for summative assessments (p.257). Faculty members surveyed agreed that the practice quizzes were “useful in helping students keep up with their studies” (p.257) and helped students to master the learning objectives of the class (p.257).

This study also focused on how giving students incentives to participate in formative online quizzes can influence both quiz participation and eventual summative assessment results. Kibble used several different quizzing models—some in which students received no credit for quizzes and could take them an unlimited number of times, some in which students received credit for simply taking quizzes, and some in which students received credit for quizzes based on their actual score (p.254). Students who participated in the online quizzes were overall more likely to do well on summative assessments—except for the group of students who received credit based on their quiz score, and who were limited to taking the quiz either once or twice (p.258-259). The majority of students in this category scored between 95% and 100% on their quizzes, but were not more likely to score any higher on summative assessments than their peers who did not participate in the quizzes (259). This suggests that students were using textbooks, notes, or other sources to “cheat” on the quizzes to simply get a high score, rather than using the quizzes as the learning tools they were designed to be (259).

I found this aspect of the study to be especially interesting. I think one of the benefits of formative testing is for students to truly get to practice their skills and test their knowledge without fear of punishment, and tying a formative assessment to a recorded grade seems to defeat the purpose. On the other hand, the study did find that students who had some kind of incentive were more likely to participate in the quizzes (258), so as a future teacher, I may want to consider offering a (non-graded) incentive for students to use any online quizzes I may design for them. This particular study focused on graduate-level students, but I still thought it had valuable information on how formative online quizzes can be used in a classroom setting, and I think I will be able to apply this information for use with middle-and-high school students.

Reference

Kibble, J. (2007). Use of unsupervised online quizzes as formative assessment in a medical physiology course: effects of incentives on student participation and performance. Advances in Physiology Education. 31: 253-260.

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Summary of “Evaluating the Use of a Wiki for Collaborative Learning”

Here’s my first attempt at summarizing an article! Please contact me on the discussion board if you have any questions!

In Evaluating the Use of a Wiki for Collaborative Learning, published in Innovations in Education and Teaching International (Vol. 47, No.4, Nov. 2010), researchers Feng Su and Chris Beaumont reported their findings from a study they conducted at Liverpool Hope University in Liverpool, United Kingdom. Through a study of university students (37 male, 10 female), they found that, in general, wikis are useful tools for fostering collaborative discussion, interactive learning and promoting “confidence in formative self and peer assessment by facilitating rapid feedback” (Beaumont & Su, 2010, p.417) and in promoting constructivist educational principles (417). Wikis provide a platform for multiple authors to edit and contribute to a single page. Because of this, Beaumont & Su found wikis to be more effective than similar collaborative tools (such as blogs) in creating content-specific websites and in providing easily accessible feedback to authors directly within the content (as opposed to potentially getting lost within a comment thread) (417). While many students in the study initially expressed concern that the public nature of wikis could lead to vandalism and plagiarism, the researchers found that because the wikis were open to all students and teachers (called “tutors” in the study), wikis in fact promoted academic integrity and fostered a sense of ownership and pride in students’ work (426). Finally, the study also noted that in order to be effective, educators need to take into account the needs of students with learning disabilities or other difficulties when using wikis (428).

 

I found this article to be very helpful in getting an idea of the benefits of using a wiki to foster collaborative learning. While this study focused on university students, rather than high school or middle school students, I still found it to have relevant information about what wikis are and how students and teachers can use them. I especially found the discussion of plagiarism and vandalism interesting, and how students were more likely to have a sense of ownership over their own work when it was presented in a public forum. Based on my discussions with my mentor, who has used many wikis in various ways in her classroom, wikis can be a great way to reach learners who may have difficulty speaking up in class. Essentially, wikis can be used as another form of “discussion,” just one that takes place the shape of a web site with multiple authors. In general, I am looking forward to learning more about this tool and how to best use it in both my graduate lesson plan and future classroom.

 

Reference

Beaumont, C. & Feng Su. Evaluating the use of a wiki for collaborative learning. Education and Teaching International. 47 (4), 417-431.

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Introductory Post

Hello fellow grad students!

I am very much looking forward to jumping into the Graduate portion of Ed. Psych! I hope we can learn lots of new and exciting things from each other. Web 2.0 is something that is totally foreign to me for now, so I know this will be a great learning experience for me as well.

I am pursuing my 5-12 Communication Arts & Literature license, and it feels great to have arrived here in my career/life path. I majored in English at St. Ben’s (I’m a Bennie!) with a Communication minor, and I worked in corporate marketing and PR for four years prior to making the choice to pursue a teaching career. I also run a little side photography business, but that is mostly for fun! I have such a passion for literature of all kinds, and I become absolutely elated at the prospect of someday getting to share that passion with students. I really think that English class is about so much more than books–it’s about history, cultural identity, personal identity, critical thinking and creative thought.

I tend to lean bit more toward Empirical thinking when it comes to my teaching philosophy–I am very open trying new things and implementing non-traditional teaching methods, but I also want to create some type of clearly measurable progress in the classroom. Maybe that’s my “it’s all about the bottom line” corporate experience rubbing off on me…In any case, I am so eager to learn more about new and exciting ways to work with students in the classroom, particularly by using new technology that is both interesting and useful to students!

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