Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sal Khan Interview

This interview brings up a lot of key issues in education. It also opened my eyes to the possibility for technology to change the face of education. It discusses the roles of a teacher, student interaction....

Sunday, March 3, 2013

I had a vision

I wanted to share this with anyone who was peaking in on my blog. This visually summarizes what I have been learning about over the past 7 weeks.

Of all the models that would work best for my learners and I, some form of blended learning would be a good fit.

Hybrid/Blended learning

6 types of blended learning
definition of blended learning
4 benefits of blended learning

I have wrote in previous posts about the flipped classroom. i learn more it turns out that this is just one model of blended learning. I have provided a few links above that are very helpful in explaining blended learning. All the links come from a resource that I am finding very helpful in my understanding of technology and learning.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Job Ready

Generation Jobless discusses the fact that today's graduates are not getting careers in their field of study. They are getting stuck in "dead end" jobs to pay down huge student debt. This poses issues not only on the educational level, but also the social level. This documentary discusses issues with the Canadian model, it also looks at models that are working around the world.

 Should educators take on the role take on the role of getting students industry or field experience?

I teach an apprenticeship program. My students go to school, then go work in the field and after 3 years write an inter provincial exam (IP)  and become journey persons. A trend that I am seeing is that apprentices are not diversifying within the trade. They get comfortable doing one aspect or even worse do their whole apprenticeship on one project (Port Mann bridge). The IP is experience based, and covers a broad spectrum of the trade, as it should.

I was thinking that there should be not for profit businesses in place that are dedicated to the training of new or young workers. Companies with professionals that are willing to train new workers in industry. Obviously people would be paid including students, but any profits would be cycled back into a fund that supports the system. The system would be a collaborative learning experience, where students will eventually become mentors for newer workers.

The way this model would differ from the existing apprenticeship model is; When students have spent a certain amount of time on one aspect of the trade they would be moved to another and so on.

For the construction trade this is just a minor adjustment to the apprenticeship model. Would it work in other industries? Accounting, engineering....I believe that the medical field does something similar to this in university hospitals.

I am looking at this purely from and educational point of view. Maybe there would be problems on an economical level. Maybe this model would dilute industry, or take money out of the pockets of others. Who knows?

The problem is that Canada wants to be considered a "skilled work force", but our workers either get comfortable doing the same tasks over and over, or employers think that someone is good at a task so they keep them doing the same thing again and again. It's funny employers want experienced workers, but when they get employees they often pigeon hole them.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Individual Expertise to Peer Based Collaboration

This documentary is not about adult learning, it's about future adult learner's. The video found on this link touches on some of the concepts that have been discussed in this course and the PID as a whole. Mainly creativity, and collaboration.
The documentary covers five stories about using digital media in the classroom.
They quote John Dewey in the film. "If we teach today's student's the way we taught them yesterday we rob them of tomorrow."
Another quote that I enjoyed was; "Literacy has always been defined by technology, before the printing press being able to recite something orally meant you were literate. As technology becomes cheaper we have to ask; is someone literate if they cannot critique media or able to take media in?"
Story #1 is about Quest to learn a school that has students create game to learn (among other things). The video game concept aligns with our book. Something interesting was said in this video. Paraphrased " Games don't allow you to the next level until you master it or have learned to master it. This eliminates the need for assessment. Learning systems so rich that they assess themselves. No need to waste time assessing, only spend time learning". Amen?
If this has peaked your interest watch the video the other 4 stories are:
  • Digital Youth Network (Chicago)
  • Smithsonian Scavenger Hunt
  • Middleton WI Place based learning
  • Science Learning Academy (Philly)
Another thing that was interesting was the student to mentor program at Digital Youth Network. Twelfth grader's with their own class creating their own curriculum. 
Too much to talk about here. If you have an hour to kill watch the video. My eyes have been opened and if this is the future of learning the future is now.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Virtual Field Trip Vision

     Have you ever watched  National Geographic's Megastructures? I love this show, and other shows like it shown by other networks.

     I teach the Ironworker program at BCIT, and I quite often direct my students to watch these types of shows mainly for interest sake. These shows are great but they are just shows. I have worked on projects that have been filmed by The Discovery Channel. I understand that they are not on site for the whole project. They show up and shoot on schedule milestones.

     My vision for the future of these shows is to make them interactive. A virtual tour of a mega project. I think that this could be done rather easily with today's technology. All you need is an HD Gopro, and an iPhone; well maybe some other things too.

     I think the first step would be to get in contact with large contractors around the world and sell the idea of  using their construction sites as virtual classrooms. Once contractors were on board you would have to get in touch with trades programs around Canada or the globe for that matter. Once you have a data base of contractors and educators you would need to build some sort of schedule or data base. You would need to carefully construct a schedule so that trades classes would know where and when you would be doing your next tour. Communication would be have to be done with institutions prior to going on site. You would need to know what aspects of a project educators and there students were interested in learning about. The same site could be visited at different intervals to serve different trades; One day focus on steel construction, and the next day focus on pipe trades. Imagine students being able to ask live questions about a construction process with out leaving their classroom, or even their bedroom. Industry professionals on site willing to answer students questions in real time, sounds pretty cool to me.

    I have done a little bit of research on this idea. I have found many "virtual tours", but none with live feed two way communication. I have done a tour of the International Space Station, but never talked to someone living on it. Astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield is sending tweets from the space station like never before.The possibilities are endless for what I a proposing.

   I think that this idea could work for all construction trades and even engineering students. At this point it is just an idea in my head, and now on my blog. I can see the possibilities of media and technology going places we never thought were possible. Communication and scheduling seem to be the largest setbacks in this sort of activity. I think we have hit a point in time where technology is the easy part.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Technology out of the Classroom

 I teach a trade apprenticeship program. Applying theory to practical application is the most valuable learning my students can gain. Making podcasts would be beneficial to me and my learners. My students would be able to replay or skip content at will. I think that the content needs to be complimented with formative evaluation. My colleague and I have already started creating excel documents for our math unit to put online. Our vision is to have these sheets be interactive, where variables are placed in the sheet and the student has to get the correct answer to move on to the next one, similar to Khan Academy. We will be able log student’s progress, how many tries it took, what level they are at etc. There is nothing more frustrating than being at home studying and not understanding a concept. We will need to have our students hooked into a social network to help each other with the competencies. My students go work in the field for a year between upgrades. The flipped classroom or technology for first exposure model would be a great asset to their learning. Students would be able to log on while in the field to refresh their selves. They would be able to do refreshers before returning to school for their next upgrade too. I know I am going off topic here but I think that in the future students could do all of their theoretical learning prior to attending school. This is taking pre-requisites to the next level. By doing this I think that we would be able to shorten the duration of the program, and in return be able to turn over more apprentices. This is important to recognize due to the amount of people retiring from the trade in the next ten years. The future holds many possibilities for the application of these concepts and it is an exciting time to be an instructor. Reading and researching has opened my eyes to the possibilities of technology and learning. I am looking forward to trying to implement these concepts into my practice.