Ah, well, an awkward topic indeed to discuss. But something that I occasionally find does happen in class.
I try to make up projects that aren't easy to Google, but alas, cheating seems to happen anyways. Whether it's students "helping" each other by copying and pasting their own code, lately I've been finding it more and more important to go ethics and responsibilities, and the value of schooling.
I do encourage a level of cooperation in my classes, I like to see students explaining things to each other, and being good citizens and helping out a brother or sister in need!
Manitoba has a whole ICT curriculum that is supposed to be taught by all teachers. My informal findings is that very few teachers even know what it is, and if they do, they certainly don't have much time to spend on it.
Click the picture to go to the LwICT continuum website
If you don't want to go reading a bunch, the continuum stresses the importance of...
-Higher order thinking skills
-creativity and thinking
-Horribly named "21st century skills" (this would make a great blog post some other time)
-Digital citizenship (part of this is ethics and responsibility)
-constructivist learning (and gradual release of responsibility)
Etc. I do show many of my classes websites like StackOverFlow... and general internet searching skills. Since I think I am leaning towards option 1, and having my kids make YouTube tutorials, it'll be more important that ever that I ensure that I cover ethics and digital citizenship.
It's never fun having conversations with students when you find clearly duplicate code, or code they aren't really able to explain. Other times students can explain it just fine, as they've gone and actually done some research or reading on the internet... this is something I encourage and WANT to see.
I think the importance of going over ethics cannot be understated. I won't want students to eventually find themselves in some sort of trouble over it, and obviously it's also the wrong thing to do as well. What do you think?
A big week is upon us! In deciding what my major project will be, I've basically given thought to two things:
1) Having my students use YouTube in my computer science class to upload tutorials and summaries of their learning (which is actually something I ended up doing anyways this year...)
2) Learning how to play the accordion.
Onto the options!
OPTION 1: Student YouTube Tutorials and Videos
So, in this option, I would have students create tutorials using any method they prefer. I have shown them how to use ScreencastOmatic and then create a voice over with their phone later. Some have opted to type their comments in Word or a similar program.
Page one of the brief (and very rough!) brochure I made explaining the project to the students.
They are to create summaries of their learning each unit, and create a video that basically would supposedly teach someone all the important elements of the unit, and include some coding examples (or at least this is what I am thinking).
For now, I've had them upload their Scratch Tutorials (Scratch is a kid friendly programming language that I have my grade 12's go out and teach in some local elementary schools).
I'm also considering having them also frequent sites like StackOverFlow (click the picture to the left to see!) to answer other people's questions.
I haven't created a rubric or any marking guides yet, because I actually wanted to get some input from my students, which I will do tomorrow! Your input would be appreciated though if you have any ideas or suggestions!
OPTION 2: Learn the Accordion
This is very self explanatory. I am a classically trained classical guitarist, but I haven't played at all since I was about 24. Life, you know, it gets in the way of the music!
A friend of mine purchased a used accordion for me a few years ago, and I really want to learn how to play it! I've tracked down a few promising channels and videos.... let's see the line up (click the picture if you want to see the video)!
The first one below simply has the most views, so it seems promising....
The second just seems like a good alternative to the first, it's a bit newer which is what caught my interest
The last option seems attractive because she claims to do it in 7 days... so it might be a good crash course.
Well, I'd be remiss if I didn't take a stab at talking about the article I posted up on Twitter.
A few standouts:
1) Mr. Walsh seems to thinks all teachers will be leveraging AI to some extent--I don't think this will be a thing. It's kinda like how most teachers aren't leveraging any of the tech we have right now, why would AI be any different? Sure, some teachers might (not even sure what exactly that would look like to be honest, as I don't get AIs really).
2) Just for the record, I don't think teachers are going to be replaced by AIs anytime soon either--the job is just too complicated right now.
3) I do think Deepfakes will be a problem, and that worries me as someone who has enough videos on YouTube to probably make a good deepfake. Not sure what a deepfake is? Check it out!
The biggest standout for me was:
"...we do have a responsibility to coach kids and the next generation on taking steps to safeguard their own data, understanding risks to their online reputation and knowing how to protect their digital identities" (Randles, 2019, p. 14).
This is something that as teachers, I'm sure we could all do more of. Someone made the comment to me that we should encourage students to put their BEST work on the internet, and if they do that they shouldn't have any major issues down the road. I couldn't agree more.
Randles, J. (2019). Mike Walsh discusses AI, 5G networks and our relationship with tech. ISTE: Empowered Learner, 10-14. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/explore/category/empowered-learner
Just a quick little video to briefly showcase some of the relationships I have with social media.
Twitter and YouTube are definitely my top spots. I don't tweet a lot, but I do enjoy stealing ideas from teachers who are far better and more clever than me on Twitter. YouTube is a hub of education, not really "social media" per say, unless you count the (often wonderful) comment sections! Nonetheless, I think YouTube has probably made the biggest impact on education... there is literally a how to video for ANYTHING on there. I have students use it all the time, all in a gambit to get them to take control of their learning, and to make them into useful, productive, and self-sufficient little people!
I also enjoy staying up to date with my friends on SnapChat, it's crazy how easy it is to communicate, share some laughs, and just basically be there via videos, voice, and whatever on a platform like SnapChat. A friend is never too far away, literally no matter how far they actually are, they are sort of just there, in your phone. Can't wait until we have those implanted into our eyes so we can go hands free.
Of course, these are the positive effects of social media on my life.
The negatives would be... you are sort of always connected. It's far too easy to waste time. Faaaar too easy. Students experience this, but, so do teachers, or at least I think they do!
Probably the most terrible thing I can think of regarding social media is it's capacity to "remember everything"... as in everything you share online is there forever. Countless times we've seen the story played out in the media... somebody famous said something silly/ill advised/something they no longer believe x number of years ago, and it gets puked out from the past to tarnish some present moment. This is something we really need to address with students, is the horrible capacity of the internet to remember everything, but, more importantly, how some people can't wrap their minds around the idea that people do, and can grow and change over time... and some opinion you held for 3 days 15 years ago may no longer apply to what you believe today.
Last negative about social media: it's pretty damn hard to have any privacy nowadays. If you have a phone, credit card, or social media accounts, you literally are tracked everywhere.
Below you'll find a video just posted on MSNBC, where they interview Edward Snowden on privacy. What amazing timing, as I write this it literally came up in my YouTube feed. Thanks, Google!
OK, internet people, stay curious!
Having just come off of two days of "professional development" within my division, this article in particular interested me. Of course, Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) was a word that was tossed about. There are many definitions, but to put it in my own words, I would say a PLN is a group of learners who pool their resources in order to solve a particular problem. Whether the problem is "how do I make sure my students understand this particular math concept", or more broad like "I want to get better at making computer science interesting for my students" is up to the group. Members may float in and out of the group. These ideas may develop formally, informally, or as a result of in group discussion. I've heard people compare it to a mentor and student relationship, but this is plain wrong. A PLN really is a network of learners.
My current understanding of PLNs, how they are formed, and what benefit they serve, and to whom, was a topic of my master's degree. I am 100% just speaking off the cuff here, My opinion is that they are rarely successful when created by top-down mandate. I think they require an interested group of teachers or learners gathering together informally over a common goal that interests them AND is relevant to their current practice or interests.
Trust, Krutka, and Carpenter (2016) echo a similar sentiment: first by discrediting the current state of top-down professional development approaches utilized by most school divisions as deficient and of not much use to teachers. They later float the idea that "informal learning opportunities allow educators to co-construct knowledge for their practice in collaboration with peers, colleagues, and other individuals who are situated locally" (p. 16-17). The authors also note that this type of PD has not been studied well, and that online learning spaces are further adding to the informal nature of PLNs (Trust, Krutka, & Carpenter, 2016).
The studies' findings are interesting. I'll note there was a wide variety of teachers who taught a wide variety of subjects involved, and that the study was qualitative in nature. Trust, Krutka, and Carpenter (2016) report that teachers mostly met their PLNs in person, but also that a fair share met online via Twitter, Edmodo, blogs, and other platforms (p. 22). Reasons for joining a PLN ranged from "curating information, exchanging opinions, and [staying] current on research and best practices ... [teachers] learned about and implemented specific teaching strategies, while others redefined their roles and aims as teachers" (p. 23).
While we can all agree that these findings are certainly encouraging, my issue begins with the lack of any quantitative evidence within classrooms themselves. I see this paper as an interesting prestudy to what should be a larger effort investigating, say, the effects of teachers learning new strategies in PLNs and implementing them in their classrooms. Did their students performance increase? Would students report that they had a better experience in class? Do not get me wrong... I very heartily believe that if a teacher develops a new appreciation for a subject, or a new want to continue learning so called "best practices", I think this is a GOOD thing that PLNs do. I think people gathering together and learning more is GOOD, as I'm sure we can all agree. But it's also important to know how much of a difference that time utilized actually did for students. Seeing as time is limited, while my idea can seem a bit harsh... why would I use my time doing one thing when perhaps it would be more effectively placed elsewhere? This is where solid research can help us, to save time and grief.
Many educational studies are worthwhile and useful, and present ideas that definitely warrant further investigation. Too many stop short of measuring real world effects, always opting to investigate people's opinions (which are fluid, and not always based in reality... I am certainly guilty of not always being based in reality). I have this exact criticism for a paper I am currently writing and have already presented on... my response to myself would be to complete another study on the same topic, but this time implement a quantitative tool as well in order to measure student difference before and after the "treatment" so to speak.
Feel free to comment. Remember, stay curious!
Trust, T., Krutka, D., & Carpenter, J. (2016). "Together we are better": Professional learning networks for teachers. Computers & Education, 102(2016), 15-34. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2016.06.007
Well, it's been a while since I've taken the time to actually post content to a blog! I'm usually out there reading blogs, not creating them! Perhaps it's time for that to change!
For today, I'd just like to post a link to a (better) website than mine, outline 3 reasons why computer science should become a core subject!
Now, I'm not sure if I think it should be a core subject just yet, but the article does outline a few good ideas on why it might be important!
Find the article below! Happy reading!
My name is Matteo Di Muro, the original Prairie Boy, and I've been teaching since I was 14. I currently teach mathematics and computer science in Brandon. I try to keep on learning things, and I'm getting onboard with sharing with others, hence this site!