EDET 677 Robotics

Week One: Constructionism

I had not heard of the word Constructionism until I read the prompt for this class. I read the first two chapters in our suggested reading book and researched the word and Seymour Papert online. This is what I have learned:

According to Edith Ackermann article, “Piaget’s constructivism offers a window into what children are interested in, and able to achieve, at different stages of their development. The theory describes how children’s ways of doing and thinking evolve over time, and under which circumstance children are more likely to let go of—or hold onto— their currently held views. Piaget suggests that children have very good reasons not to abandon their worldviews just because someone else, be it an expert, tells them they’re wrong. Papert’s constructionism, in contrast, focuses more on the art of learning, or ‘learning to learn’, and on the significance of making things in learning. Papert is interested in how learners engage in a conversation with [their own or other people’s] artifacts, and how these conversations boost self-directed learning, and ultimately facilitate the construction of new knowledge. He stresses the importance of tools, media, and context in human development.” This to me, sounds like place-based learning with a twist. Constructionism is the student wanting to learn more about “X” and guides their learning to learn about “X”.

Before the United States switched to high stakes testing of students, I would say that more hands-on learning and  the “wanting to learning” happened in the classrooms. Once No Child Left Behind came into effect the way in which subjects were taught switched to traditional teaching and no more hands-on. Teachers had to teach to the test.  Now with the maker movement pushing its way back into the classroom, I believe that we will see more inventing, more constructionism, happening in schools. “This is much more than “hands-on “ learning. The “meaningful” part of constructionism is not just touchy-feely new age language. It acknowledges that the power of making something comes from a question or impulse that the learner has, and is not imposed from the outside.” (Martinez & Stager, 2013)

The Inupiat communities on the North Slope of Alaska are facing a big problem with global warming and the lack of sea ice. It is affecting our way of life with the spring hunt of the bowhead whale. The use of drones with cameras has helped the scientist see what is happening from the safety of land. I would love to see our students working closely with whaling captains and crews to come up with questions and the willingness to learn. How do we save our tradition, our food, our way of life?

What would constructionist learning lab look like and how do we get started? Papert gives Eight Big Ideas Behind the Constructionist Learning Lab (1999) and they are:

  1. Learning by doing
  2. Technology as building material
  3. Hard fun
  4. Learning to learn
  5. Taking time – the proper time for the job
  6. You can’t get it right without getting it wrong
  7. Do unto ourselves what we do unto our students
  8. We are entering a digital world where knowing about digital technology is as important as reading and writing.

I believe that if these big ideas were to be adopted by school boards and brought into the schools, we would see a shift in education. We would see a shift in dropout rates decreasing and engagement in education increasing. The students today are digital students but they use it for non-educational purposes (gaming and you-tube). So yes, I believe Constructionism can bring new ideas to the table as a theory of education.

Resources

Ackermann, Edith. Piaget’s Constructivism, Papert’s Constructionism: What’s the difference?. Retrieved May 18, 2019 from https://learning.media.mit.edu/content/publications/EA.Piaget%20_%20Papert.pdf.

Martinez, S. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Kindle Edition.

Papert, S. & Harel, I. (1991). Constructionism. Ablex Publishing Corporation. Retrieved May 18, 2019 from http://www.papert.org/articles/SituatingConstructionism.html.

Stager, Gary. (2007). An Investigation of Constructionism in the Maine Youth Center. Retrieved May 18, 2019 from http://stager.org/articles/8bigideas.pdf.

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EDET 668 Leadership

Bio

Hello Everyone, my name is Alice Sage and I am currently in the 13th year of teaching in Alaska. I taught my first two years in my hometown of Ruby, Alaska at the Merrreline A. Kangas school before moving to Barrow, Alaska. I am currently in my 11th year at the Kiita Learning Community and I love my job.

Kiita is the only alternative school on the North Slope and we serve students 10th through 12th grade (made a freshman here or there) and adult students during night school. We are a small school of about 55 students. 39 students make up the 10th to 12 graders and 16 make up the adults enrolled in night school. (89.2% Inupiaq (Alaska Native), 3.6% white, 3.6% Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 1.8% American Indian and 1.8% Hispanic/Latino) I am in the 4th year of teaching night school (Tuesday and Thursday evenings) to adults who wish to obtain their high school diploma. Currently I have graduated 7 young adults, who would have otherwise not been able to obtain their high school diploma.

My duties at work vary from quarter to quarter and year to year. I am a certified general science teacher and passed the praxis II for Biology. I am four classes shy of my masters in K-8 mathematics from UAS and plan to graduate December 2019. During my 11 year at Kiita, I have taught almost every subject and have been the right-hand woman to the principal. We are a small staff of a principal, a secretary, a counselor, ¼ time SPED teacher, 3¼ general education teachers.

I have been the lead teacher for about six years now and have done many of the counseling duties for my school over the years. I plan on obtaining my counselors degree/certification soon and one day maybe becoming a principal. I do not plan on leaving this school that I am in, ever. I have hopes and dreams for our school and our community.

My husband and I have seven children, 4 girls and 3 boys. The two older girls have graduated high school and are in the work force. We have two ninth graders, a fifth grader, a kindergartener and one in preschool at home. We love to go camping, hunting, and whaling. My husband is captain of the Akootchook whaling crew and we plan on going whaling Fall 2019. I head home to Ruby every summer to thaw out with some or all of the kids. Life is very busy and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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week 6 reflection

1. What new resources, curated resources, or ideas did you share this week?

I shared a blog by Jackie Gerstein and the seven suggestions she had for play with technology:

  • Let learners bring in their devices (all types – mobile, gaming, robotics) for use in the classroom, to reinforce learning, and for show and tell.
  • Use some educational monies to purchase “fun” technologies – gaming systems, Lego robotics, iPad apps.
  • Give kids unstructured free time play using their and their peer’s devices.
  • Ask learners to teach you and the class about a technology he or she is using at home.
  • Give learners a choice how they want to demonstrate their content area learning – a video? a online game?  a board game?
  • Explore and integrate Maker Education as part of the curriculum.
  • Encourage and provide the time and tools for students to share their learning with a global audience – e.g. Skyping with another classroom, blogging, Tweeting, creating videos and newscast.

2. What did you intend these new resources, curated resources, or ideas to do in terms of impacting others’ learning? 

These suggestions just stuck with me so I thought I would share them with my classmates. They might be helpful for someone. Never hurts to share our thoughts and ideas. I have learned a lot from my classmates and was just hoping to share some good suggestions with them.

3. What was the actual impact (that you could discern)?

Because I am a week behind I am not sure there will be an impact. We are busy and I don’t expect my colleges to go back and read post that should have already been posted. I did however post the seven suggestions on a few classmates’ blogs. After reading their blogs I thought it could help them.

4. What would you do differently next week?

I will be right on track with the class and will be able to give my input at the correct time in hopes that it helps my classmates.

5. What resources did others share that made a difference to your learning?

Heather shared 5 keys bulletin about when we play. I am saved them and will share with our principals at our elementary school how often cancel PE and recess when there is no sub. Karen shared several websites for math play that I am going to use with my own children.

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Play: Good and Bad

What does play have to do with embracing change and how does this impact you as a professional?

“Children use play and imagination as the primary mechanisms for making sense of their new, rapidly evolving world. In other words, as children encounter new places, people, things, and ideas, they use play and imagination to cope with the massive influx of information they receive.” (Thomas and Brown, 546 or 2399)

The importance of play is part of our development when we are young. “Play activities are essential to healthy development for children and adolescents. Research shows that 75% of brain development occurs after birth. The activities engaged in by children both stimulate and influence the pattern of the connections made between the nerve cells. This process influences the development of fine and gross motor skills, language, socialization, personal awareness, emotional well-being, creativity, problem solving and learning ability.  The most important role that play can have is to help children to be active, make choices and practice actions to mastery. They should have experience with a wide variety of content (art, music, language, science, math, social relations) because each is important for the development of a complex and integrated brain. Play that links sensori-motor, cognitive, and social-emotional experiences provides an ideal setting from brain development.” (Gerstein, 2013)

Up until today I had problems with the technology age of learning. I do not want my children spending all their time on computers, Ipads, Ipods, phones or playing video games. I want my children actually playing with their friends. Am I doing dis-serves to my children? I think not, but some articles and people say I am. I don’t care. After reading Gerstein’s blog (2013) I think that I can help my children with the technology age of learning by allowing certain programs and games and not others. My children will not play games that involve killing another person or monster/zombie. My children will not play a game that does not overall teach them something. My children love the just dance games for their Wii. I love the just dance game. We are up active and exercising yet having loads of fun. My sons love to hunt and so they play Cabelas hunting 2012. This is real for them because they go hunting as a part of our everyday lives. I do not believe in using technology as a babysitter.

“With touchscreens, simple programming languages, and other lowered barriers for human-computer interaction, kids are poised to gain a high level of technical proficiency. When you combine this access with the resources kids have—time, a highly plastic brain, and the freedom to experiment with new behaviors, interests, and ways of being—it is not hard to imagine a level of empowerment for kids never before seen in human history.” (Kidtech) We need to help our students and children understand the technology. Thomas and Brown say, the challenge is to find a way to marry structure and freedom to create something altogether new. (562 of 2399) As a parent and professional I am waiting to this to happen.

As a professional I play with technology to better understand it for my children and students. I do not always enjoy it but I give it a try. I am open to the idea of it helping me a teacher and helping my students. Currently I am playing with safari montage, khan academy and ABC mouse. I am engaged and learning but will my students be. To my surprise my health students were very engage in Mouse Party. They were learning how the brain reacts on certain drugs. The discussion to follow this activity was very engaging and informative.

Gerstein lists some simple suggestions to facilitate play with technology in educational settings:

  • Let learners bring in their devices (all types – mobile, gaming, robotics) for use in the classroom, to reinforce learning, and for show and tell.
  • Use some educational monies to purchase “fun” technologies – gaming systems, Lego robotics, iPad apps.
  • Give kids unstructured free time play using their and their peer’s devices.
  • Ask learners to teach you and the class about a technology he or she is using at home.
  • Give learners a choice how they want to demonstrate their content area learning – a video? a online game?  a board game?
  • Explore and integrate Maker Education as part of the curriculum.
  • Encourage and provide the time and tools for students to share their learning with a global audience – e.g. Skyping with another classroom, blogging, Tweeting, creating videos and newscast.

 

Enchantments and Curses. (2011- 11) http://www.iftf.org/our-work/people-technology/technology-horizons/the-magic-of-kidstech/

Gerstein, Jackie Ed.D. (2103-01-12) Let Children’s Play (with Technology) Be Their Work in Education. http://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/let-childrens-play-with-technology-be-their-work-in-education/

Thomas, Douglas; Brown, John Seely (2011-03-12). A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change (Kindle Location 546). Create Space. Kindle Edition.

 

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week 5 reflection

We all know that the culture in our classrooms is very different from the classroom we sat in as students. Today our classrooms differ from teacher to teacher. We need to embrace that change.

Karens last paragraph of her blog 5 really stuck with me. “The classroom is changing because the world is changing. Teachers are the link between the world as it is and the world as it will be. We must be constantly evolving as individuals and educators in order to challenge our students to think and learn with hope that by the end of 12 years they will be able to contribute to and adapt with the whirlwind of change coming in the next generation.” In my science classroom we talk a lot about global warming because we have seen so much change here in Barrow, Alaska.  I share the link of the past with the present and we work together on hypothesis.

I encourage Jennifer to try PBL in her classroom. I love place-based learning and my students are more engaged in the project or task because it is about them and their culture. It is more meaningful for them to butcher, dissect or prepare the animal then to read about. I am not sure what she able to do with 30 little ones but I hope parents and community members will come in to help her.

I told Courtney about Safari Montage and hopes that is something her school will look into. It should help with her bandwidth problem.

I do share some of Jon’s frustration and I love reading his blogs and reflections. He says it like it is.

My mentor project is going along great and my mentee is learning a lot about smart board and is ready to use it for the first time in his classroom this coming week or next. YAY!