Tag: integration of technology in education (page 1 of 2)

The Future of Writing is . . . Writing Brad Wilson's Alphabetical Take on the Future of Writing

Our students have an opportunity to write on an incredible range of platforms.  These include emails, texts, blog posts, and other more traditional platforms.  So, how does the plethora of platforms influence the teaching of writing?

Brad Wilson, in a presentation at the Michigan Reading Association’s 2015 conference, discussed the teaching of writing in this new technological milieu in this thought-provoking presentation, The Future of Writing.

Still More New Features in COW 2.0 Writing Goals

The Monthly Writing Goal

One of the goals of COW is to motivate students to write more frequently. With this in mind, we’ve created an all new Monthly Writing Goal. Students are challenged to write at least twelve sessions a month. They can chart their progress as they write their way through the perils of Alieo’s Universe toward a final reward– a special free item from the avatar store!

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The Class Writing Goal

There’s nothing like a common goal to build teamwork and keep a class writing throughout the year. In COW 2.0, we’ve taken the Class Writing Goal into the stratosphere and beyond! Entire classes can strive to write their way towards a bronze asteroid, a silver moon, a golden planet, and finally to arrive at a platinum star. At each new stop along their journey, they’ll be rewarded with the ability to buy a special avatar item.

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Coming Soon . . . COW 2.0 New Stats for Teachers and Administrators

On August 1st, 2015, Alieo Games will be unleashing COW 2.0 upon an unsuspecting world! We’ve been working on revamping the site in a big way. Included in COW 2.0 are a number of new features to make COW an even more effective tool for improving student writing and enhancing classroom instruction. Over the next few blog posts, we’ll be highlighting some of the new features of COW 2.0.

Class and School Usage Stats

Teachers and Admins will now have a veritable smorgasbord of stats on student use of COW. These stats will include:

  • number of student logins over the past week.
  • number of words written on a daily or weekly basis.
  • number of daily writing sessions.
  • top students writers for a week and for the year.
  • a list of students who have not used COW over the past week.

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These stats provide teachers and administrators with a quick and insightful overview of how COW is being used by their students. By more closely monitoring student usage of COW, teachers will be better able to adapt their instructional approaches in writing.

Will Technology Make Teachers Redundant?

The short answer is, “Of course not!”  Teachers play a critical role even when students are engaging with technology within the classroom or at home.  Right from day one, when computers arrived on the scene in schools, educators have been grappling with how these new technologies can be used most effectively to enhance instruction.  Here’s an article that explores the intriguing role between teachers and technology.

Chromebooks versus iPads What's the best tech solution for schools?

Over the past year, I’ve had the privilege of visiting a number of schools in various jurisdictions around British Columbia and Alberta.  As a former teacher with a strong interest in the use of technology in schools, it’s always enlightening to talk with teachers about their tech set-up.

One particularly interesting trend I’ve seen is the move away from the traditional computer lab towards having mobile trolleys with class sets of Chromebooks. 

Another trend is the move away from iPads to Chromebooks.  There are a number of significant advantages of using Chromebooks over iPads.  Chris Hoffman’s article, “Why Chromebooks are schooling iPads in education” outlines some very compelling reasons for this development.

Can Technology Help Students Become Better Writers? Food for thought in the brave new world of Ed. Tech.

Although the question posed by an article in EdTech Magazine was, “Can Technology Help Students Become Better Writers?” a much more compelling question is, “How are teachers using technology to help students become better writers?”

According to a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and the National Writing Project, technology is used to teach writing by the use of wikis, websites, blogs, interactive whiteboards and various tools to help students edit their own work and review the work of others.

Missing from this list are a number of key elements for effective writing instructional programs.  The use of technology in writing instruction should also address:

  • how to motivate students to become engaged in the writing process.
  • how to develop the all-important skill of writing fluency (i.e. the ease with which a writer is able to generate ideas and put them into words.)
  • how to develop original ideas and think critically.
  • how to give students feedback on their writing so that they can become self-regulating learners.
  • how to cater writing assignments to individual needs.

All of these elements have been key in the development of the writing app COW.  Our goal is to provide educators with a practical and effective tool that enhances writing programs with the use of technology.

 

Bring Your Own Device Can this really work?

One of the major hurdles facing many teachers wishing to integrate technology into curriculum is, quite simply, student access to technology.  In visits to many schools and conversations with a multitude of teachers, so often, teachers voiced their frustrations in dealing with limited student access to technology– not enough computers or tablets, slow networks, and the list goes on.

One solution that’s been batted about is the idea of “Bring Your Own Device.”  This entails students using their own laptops, tablets or smart phones at school to improve access to technology during school time.

Is this really a practical solution for giving students greater access to technology for meaningful educational pursuits?  Are there too many potential problems accompanying this approach to make it workable?

Sherry Langland, a junior high school teacher in Edmonton, Alberta, spearheaded a B.Y.O.D. at her school.  Her blog post, “Our ‘Bring Your Own Device’ is a Success!” describes the steps her school took to make B.Y.O.D. a practical, workable solution to the challenges of giving students more access to technology.

Algoauthors and the Brave New World of Writing How Writing Alogrithms and Other Technological Advances Should Change the Way We Teach

Before reading any further, take this very brief quiz:

Did a Human or a Computer Write This?

If you’re anything like me, you were bamboozled on more than a few of these questions. The capacity for a computer algorithm to generate text is quite astonishing.

This immediately raises a few questions in my mind, including:

  1. What role will humans play in the future of writing?
  2. What implications does this have for writing instruction?

We’ve already seen a revolution in the world of writing with the advent of the word processor and its accompanying tools such as spelling and grammar checkers, autocorrect, and other text analysis tools. As we look back at these writing tools and ahead to what may be available in the future, what adaptations have we, as teachers and curriculum leaders, made in the teaching of writing?

  • Can we shift our emphasis away from the teaching of spelling, grammar, and other conventions when such tools are available?
  • How much time is spend with students maximizing their ability to use these tools to improve their writing?
  • With such tools to help with the conventions of writing, can more emphasis now be placed upon the essence of writing– generating and communicating ideas?

As technology advances, educators must be in a constant state of re-evaluation, questioning their instructional strategies, curriculum content, and fundamental classroom structures. In no curriculum area is this need for questioning more pertinent than in the teaching of writing. It’s this constantly shifting landscape that makes teaching relentlessly fascinating.

Oh, and by the way. This was written by a human.

COW’s Meteoric Journey Guided by Students and Teachers

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At the Calgary Teacher’s Convention on February 12th and 13th, a comment we often heard at the Alieo Games booth was, “We’ve never heard of you.”

There’s a good reason for this.  As recently as the fall of 2014, COW was nothing more than the snap of a synapse, the drumming of a dendrite, and the inkling of an idea.  Over the ensuing eighteen months, COW has been on a warp-speed journey of epic proportions.  Thanks to the insightful suggestions of countless teachers and students, COW has undergone dramatic transformations to arrive at the product you see today.

At Alieo Games, we are committed to creating a writing experience that is playfully engaging, creatively challenging and a valuable tool for the development of literacy.  We’re excited by the positive feedback we’ve been receiving from students, teachers, parents and school administrators.

COW’s Journey Continues

We are in a constant state of reviewing, enhancing, upgrading, and streamlining COW to benefit our student and teacher users.  Any feedback you can provide to us on the COW experience will be warmly received.  Please contact us if you have any thoughts on COW.

We look forward to meeting teachers at the Greater Edmonton Teacher Convention on February 26th and 27th.  Please stop by for a chat, give COW a try, and be sure to enter our draw for prizes that are nothing short of fabulous!

Techno-gaga. Techno-lust. Techno-struck. Call it what you will.

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In the last post, How a 1200 Baud Modem Didn’t Change Our World, three questions were raised which educators have always needed to ask when considering the implementation of a new technology in schools. The first question was:

Does the technology address curriculum goals?

This seems like a hopelessly obvious question to ask. If it’s such an obvious question, then why isn’t it asked with the necessary regularity? The simple answer? Techno-gaga. Techno-lust. Techno-struck. Call it what you will.

Let’s define it as the state of being infatuated with the idea of using technology. Over the years, we’ve been wowed with the appearance of new technology, and the promise of how it will change education. Paradigms would shift, curricula would be redesigned, and the role of the teacher would be drastically altered. Appearing in schools was Logo, Hypercard, iMovie, Powerpoint– the list goes on. Amazing educational experiences for students, yet . . .

. . . they still have to learn to read and write. The reality of education is that fundamental literacy skills are still a primary focus of the curriculum. Many more areas of curricular concern have been added to the teacher’s proverbial plate. In addition to teaching literacy, mathematics, content areas such as social studies and science, the fine arts, and many others, teachers are now enlisted in the fight against childhood obesity, bullying, drugs, and other social problems. This is all to happen within the limited timeframe of the school day.

Given the present state of curricular pressures placed upon teachers, any new technology introduced to a school must address current curriculum requirements. Otherwise, it will go the way of past innovations and fall off that proverbial plate.

In designing COW (Creative Online Writing), Alieo Games has developed a tool for teachers that will enable them to effectively enhance the teaching of one fundamental curriculum goal: writing.

Using COW with students will not be an “add on,” but a valuable tool to get students motivated to write and receive relevant feedback upon the quality of their writing. COW provides an online learning environment in which students will not only improve their writing fluency, but also practice using elements of writing as taught by their teacher.

So, in answer to the question, “Does COW address curriculum goals?” the answer is a resounding, “Moo!” (Translated from the bovine to mean, “Yes.”)

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