My questions was; how can we teach students critical thinking skills along with digital literacy so that they can successfully analyze and evaluate information they find?
It has become crucial that learning structures are change and adapt to accommodate the new digital environment that exists today. Students must become proficient with not only digital information, but also digital tools. This is instrumental in all jobs and disciplines. Modern students are typically immersed in technology and use it for their own personal and casual needs. Teachers may assume that students are capable of successfully transferring these skills to academic work, but this is something students struggle with. It is important to see where students are at, and go from there. They need to develop the skills and gain knowledge on how to conduct higher level applications. For example, students need to dig deeper and go beyond free search engines when doing academic research. Teachers can support students by teaching them ways to research information for higher education purposes. They can help them identify topics, and narrow those topics down. Educators can help students see what information can be eliminated based on irrelevance or unreliable sources. We are living in a digital age in which the way we communicate and the way we find information has changed drastically. Students need to learn not only how to use technology, but they need to possess digital literacy and critical thinking skills. With so much information at their fingertips, they need to be able to identify credible resources. Blended learning allows for school to go outside the classroom walls and to extend beyond the normal school day hours. Students can work at their own pace, and receive customized instruction. Blended learning is a way of teaching students modern skills they can use in the future. Students tend to be more engaged because they are actively participating in their own learning. They can gain a much deeper understanding through their own self-guided investigation.
Morrison, R., & Greenfield, D. (2015). Towards an Assumption Responsive Information Literacy Curriculum: Lessons from Student Qualitative Data. Retrieved July 21, 2015, from http://digitalcommons.nl.edu/faculty_publications/48/
O’Connor, L., & Sharkey, J. (2013). Establishing twenty-first-century information fluency. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 53(1), 33–39.
Wong, W. (2014). How technology enables blended learning. EdTech Focus on K-12. Retrieved from http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2014/04
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My question was; how can technology be used by students with autism to help them learn, communicate. and collaborate with others?
Technology can be used effectively to help students with autism communicate, learn, and interact with their peers. One study found that the use of mobile touch devices led to great gains in social skills. communication skills, motivation and attention span for students with autism. The use of tablets allowed them to become active and engaged members of the general education classroom rather than just being passive bystanders. Technology is a great tool for facilitating learning that is student-led and peer-based. Another effective way of communicating that is useful to students of all abilities and grade levels is blogging. Blogging is a great way to get students to write for a variety of purposes in a structured way, while also giving them creative freedom. Teachers who utilize blogging in their classroom will find that it helps them get to know their students better and that it leads to improvement in the writing skills of their students. A significant advantage to blogging is that it can encourage introverted students to share more than they would in verbal classroom discussions. Blogging allows students to take time to organize and articulate their thoughts in a way that isn’t always possible in real-time discussions. It also gives students the opportunity to read what their peers write and provide feedback. The use of virtual worlds also has the advantage of creating a comfortable environment for students who are normally shy and quiet.
Aschaiek, S. (2013, August 22). Hand-held computers aid communication, social skills for children with autism, research shows. Retrieved July 13, 2015, from https://www.utm.utoronto.ca/main-news/hand-held-computers-aid-communication-social-skills-children-autism-research-shows
Cicconi, M. (2013). Vygotsky meets technology: A reinvention of collaboration in the early childhood mathematics classroom. Early Childhood Education Journal, 42(1), 57–65.
Lampinen, M. (2013). Blogging in the 21st-century classroom. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/blogging-in-21st-century-classroom-
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My question was; how can technology be used by students to facilitate critical thinking, creative thinking and complex problem solving?
The fact that we are living in the digital age necessitates utilizing technology in the classroom. Technology has greatly changed the way people communicate and learn. Teachers must also become skilled at evaluating various educational technologies. One way students can use technology creatively is through digital storytelling. Digital storytelling is great because it can be modified and scaffolded to all different ages and abilities. Digital stories are a great way to engage students and to help them learn on a deeper level. Additionally, in the process of digital storytelling students will be using writing and presentation skills. Another effective way of engaging students using technology is through video games. Many students enjoy video games and using them in the classroom in the right way can be a very effective way to increase their learning. One classroom I read about used the popular video game Minecraft. The students worked together and researched topics including architecture, physics, and model building. All the students in the class had improved attendance, confidence, engagement and participation. Another valuable tool in video games is alternate reality gaming. In an article I found, students worked in teams on simulated real-world problems. This project required that participants to think critically and creatively about complex problems, come up with strategies to address those problems, consider real-world problems (such as poverty and universal education), communicate effectively with group members, and work as part of a collaborative team. Simulations are a very valuable tool to help students gain a more in-depth understanding and to have a more involved experience with the course material/topic. The use of technology in the classroom, such as digital storytelling and video games can be a way for students to creatively express themselves, feel empowered, and learn information in a way that is more meaningful to them.
Tromba, P. (2013). Build engagement and knowledge one block at a time with Minecraft. Learning Leading with Technology, June/July, 20–23.
Dondlinger, M., & McLeod, J. (2015). Solving Real World Problems With Alternate Reality Gaming: Student Experiences in the Global Village Playground Capstone Course Design. The Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 9(2), 24-24. Retrieved July 5, 2015, from http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/ijpbl/vol9/iss2/3/
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One essential trait of an effective educator is the ability to create and maintain a safe learning environment. Students should feel comfortable sharing ideas and contributing to discussions. Teachers can provide support and guidance to assist with this. Everyone does their best learning and collaborating when they feel that their input is valued and respected. When a teacher cultivates a positive environment and enforces clear expectations, students will actively learn and participate. This also is connected to another important trait, which is strong classroom management skills. A educator who is good at managing student behavior in a positive way also teaches more effectively. It is also essential that teachers keep their students engaged. Teachers need to be able to think on their feet and change their approach when they see it is not working. Scaffolding and teaching to a student’s ability is key. Being flexible and solution-oriented is an central aspect of this. Relationship and trust building with students is also of great worth. Significant learning does not happen without a significant relationship. Students typically learn more from teachers that they have a real connection with and genuinely like. Teachers should put students first, and actively advocate for them and empower them. Educators need to be passionate about what they do, because if a student senses that you don’t want to teach them they will not want to learn. Educators also need to lead by example and model positive behaviors. Finally, I think it’s important that teachers are themselves lifelong learners always seeking to improve and refine their craft.