Reflection – A Look Back

Prior to CEP811, I had never heard of the Maker Movement and how it’s being integrated into and affecting education. I have experienced an entire new way of thinking where the opportunities to incorporate the Maker culture into the classroom and in the area that I teach, are endless! Combining the use of Scratch (an online interactive programming teaching and learning tool) with an invention kit such as Makey Makey to create Maker-inspired lessons, offers opportunities for collaborative group work in which the group members are both teachers and learners.

I now understand what the America’s Greatest Makers TV show is all about – I get it! Tinkering, exploring, playing, creating, problem solving, innovating, and collaborating…the possibilities are limitless and also integrates nicely into teaching the 21C skill sets that are now expected of learners. Educators can transform a traditional classroom into a Makerspace and create a personalized learning environment with Maker-inspired lessons – what a fantastic way to promote engagement and excitement in learning!

An interactive visual summation of what I’ve learned over the past 7 weeks can be viewed at: https://infograph.venngage.com/p/100942/reflection-a-look-back.

A look back at CEP811 - Infographic

References:

Culatta, Richard. (2013, January). Reimagining Learning [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0uAuonMXrg

Dougherty, D. (2011, January). We are makers [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/dale_dougherty_we_are_makers

Herman Miller, Inc. (2008). Solution Essay: Rethinking the Classroom. Retrieved from http://www.hermanmiller.com/content/dam/hermanmiller/documents/solution_essays/se_Rethinking_the_Classroom.pdf

Wanner, J. (2016, March 23). Are you a Maker? Take 2. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a50rUQnEwuw

Wiggins, G. (2012, February 3). On assessing for creativity: yes you can, and yes you should. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/on-assessing-for-creativity-yes-you-can-and-yes-you-should/

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Play, MAKE, and Learn – Personalized Learning Lesson Plan

Science Technology Education Research Digital by M. Mags: https://pixabay.com/en/science-technology-education-1182713/

“Personalized learning requires not only a shift in the design of schooling, but also a leveraging of modern technologies” (Wolf, 2010). As an educator working with learners that range from ages 16-65, the different experience levels, learning styles, and teaching methods that are used vary from one learner to another. Using a prescriptive approach that adopts a “one-size-fits-all” strategy where all learners are taught exactly the same despite their individual needs, does not create a unique, dynamic learning environment. Learners have their own unique needs and require a more personalized learning environment. Richard Culatta suggests that switching to a personalized learning approach and leveraging the use of technology to “reimagine learning” will create a more engaging environment tailored to the needs of each learner.

Within our classrooms, we have the amazing opportunity to work with learners to help create engaging personal learning environments and teach them how to develop confidence and use creativity to actively participate throughout the entire learning experience.  Encouraging students to be inquisitive, to engage in creative problem-solving, to think outside of the box to find solutions, and to communicate and collaborate with each other (our peers are one of our greatest resources), are essential 21st Century skills that we, as educators, can foster within our classroom(s) given that a more personalized learning environment exists.

“21C Skills” refers to a broad set of knowledge, skills, work habits, and character traits that are important to succeed in today’s world, particularly for college and career readiness and in the workplace. Examples of these skills include collaboration, communication, creativity, and problem-solving. (Mozilla Learning Network, 2015)

The Maker Education approach to learning brings personalized learning and technology together to create an environment that encourages learners to create, play, imagine, and explore based on their individual needs and interests. Learners become invested and engaged within the learning experience when it’s personal and unique to their needs.

The Mozilla Learning Network developed a framework for “entry-level web literacy and 21st Century Skills” which I am using as a framework for the Play, MAKE, and Learn lesson plan that I created for a Computer & Information Principles course taught at the Community College. This lesson plan brings Maker Education and a personalized learning environment together through the use of technology to expose learners to basic programming techniques (through the use of Scratch) and to interact with technology by creating a computer interface (using Makey Makey) in order to help students make the connection between programming and computers.

Enjoy!

References:

Culatta, Richard. (2013, January). Reimagining Learning [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0uAuonMXrg

Mags, M. (2016, February). [Science, Technology, Education] [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/science-technology-education-1182713/

Mozilla Learning Network. (2015). Web Literacy 2.0. Retrieved from http://mozilla.github.io/content/web-lit-whitepaper/

Wolf, M. (2010). Innovate to education: System [re]design for personalized learning. A report from the 2010 symposium. [PDF file]. Washington, DC: Software & Information Industry Association. Retrieved from http://www.ccsso.org/Documents/2010%20Symposium%20on%20Personalized%20Learning.pdf

A Look into Personalized Learning

Technology on a blackboard - CC0 Public Domain

Richard Culatta, formerly with the Office of Educational Technology, identified three major challenges that exist within our current educational system: we treat all learners the same, we keep a constant schedule despite varied learning, and we provide feedback too late for it be useful to learners. In his TEDx talk, “Reimagining Learning”, Culatta suggests that shifting to a personalized learning approach is essential for the future of education. This approach leverages the use of technology to “reimagine learning” not in a way that simply digitizes traditional media but rather a way that provokes learner engagement and allows for a more personalized learning environment tailored to each learner’s individual needs.

A problem arises when all learners are being taught exactly the same despite their unique needs, interests, and challenges. “In order to develop a learning environment, individual differences need to be taken into consideration to ensure the impact on students’ achievements and satisfactions.” (Samah, Noraffandy, & Ali, 2011).

Culatta cleverly equates the issue of teaching every learner exactly the same to that of a physician who prescribes the same medication for each individual patient despite his or her illness or condition. The prescription is not based on an individual’s needs but rather adopts a “one-size-fits-all” strategy. This prescriptive approach is very similar to the current approach to education, Culatta believes it’s crucial to make the shift to personalized learning.

Personalized learning is defined in the following way by the U.S. Department of Education (2010):

Personalization refers to instruction that is paced to learning needs (i.e., individualized), tailored to learning preferences (i.e., differentiated), and tailored to the specific interests of different learners. In an environment that is fully personalized, the learning objectives and content as well as the method and pace may all vary. (p. 12)

Sam Redding, executive director at Academic Development Institute, believes that

…a student’s desire to learn and effectiveness in learning are enhanced when the learning is personalized, meaning that the student is given greater choice in selecting topics, greater control over the learning environment and learning strategies, greater access to learning resources, and frequent feedback about learning progress. (Redding, 2014, p. 4)

Technology can be used to make the connection between a learner and their individual interests. Today’s learners have 24/7 access to information, they can use multimedia to play, create, and explore, and they can connect with people all around the world to collaborate, share ideas, and learn! Mary Ann Wolf, PhD describes the use of technology in personalized learning:

Personalized learning requires not only a shift in the design of schooling, but also a leveraging of modern technologies. Personalization cannot take place at scale without technology. Personalized learning is enabled by smart e-learning systems, which help dynamically track and manage the learning needs of all students, and provide a platform to access myriad engaging learning content, resources, and learning opportunities needed to meet each student’s needs everywhere at any time, but which are not all available within the four walls of the traditional classroom. (Wolf, 2010, p. 10)

Maker Education marries a personalized learning environment with the use of technology creating a legitimate approach to learning.

Within the Maker culture, the learner is encouraged to create, play, imagine, and explore possibilities and outcomes based on their individual needs, challenges, and interests through the use of technology and innovation. When learning becomes personal, the learner becomes invested in the experience. If a learner was tasked with the assignment to use only the Makey Makey invention kit and only red Play-Doh to act as controllers in order to play Super Mario on a laptop computer, would the learning experience be the same compared to someone that had the opportunity to choose a Maker invention kit, controller objects, device(s), and project outcome(s) based on their personal interests? Would the experience of using a Maker invention kit be the same without the use of technology? How does technology enhance the overall learning experience? Does greater learning occur in a more personalized environment when the learner has the choice of creating their unique experience ?

21st century learning provides a more malleable learner-centered environment that can be tailored to individual needs through the use of technology creating a more dynamic, engaging, and personal learning experience.

Resources:

Culatta, Richard. (2013, January). Reimagining Learning [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0uAuonMXrg.

Redding, S. (2014) Personal Competencies in Personalized Learning. [PDF file]. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University (Center on Innovations in Learning). Retrieved from http://www.centeril.org/publications/Personalized_Learning.pdf.

Redding, S. (2013). Through the student’s eyes: A Perspective on Personalized Learning and Practice Guide for Teachers. [PDF file]. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University (Center on Innovations in Learning). Retrieved from http://www.centeril.org/publications/2013_09_through_the_eyes.pdf.

Samah, N. A., Yahaya, N., & Ali, M. B. (2011). Individual differences in online personalized learning environment. Educational Research and Reviews, 6(7), 516-521. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.msu.edu.proxy2.cl.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.proxy2.cl.msu.edu/docview/1657313561?accountid=12598.

U.S. Department of Education. (2010). Transforming American education: Learning powered by technology. [PDF file]. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from https://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files/NETP-2010-final-report.pdf.

Wolf, M. (2010). Innovate to education: System [re]design for personalized learning. A report from the 2010 symposium. [PDF file]. Washington, DC: Software & Information Industry Association. Retrieved from http://www.ccsso.org/Documents/2010%20Symposium%20on%20Personalized%20Learning.pdf.

Altmann, G. (2014, December). [Blackboard Technology Board] [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/blackboard-technology-board-school-573023/.