Blog Post 11d: Distributed Cognition

My observations at Millridge Elementary School helped lead me to the conclusion that technologies can potentially allow for an increase in learning, which can make students smarter. By using technology, the students had opportunity to work on their own skill set. Activities, such as those suggested in my Distributed Cognition Blogs, were individualized based off of the students needs and abilities. EPIC! allows the students to look up books that they could use for class projects and activities, or find books for pleasure that interest them. Happy Numbers pinpoints where the students are doing well and where they need practice in math, and focuses in on areas that the students struggle with. ABCYA has various activities based around a variety of topics, such as keyboarding, coding and programming. The students can pick out games that appeal to them and work at their own pace.

Technology allows for my cooperating teacher to increase her efficiency in creating lessons based off of the students’ needs. She can see where her students struggle and create individualized mini lessons. The technology that I have observed in the classroom seemed to increase the cognition of students as they gain new skills and practice old ones. Technology has led to a change in the way that teachers teach today, and I feel that it is important to incorporate technology in the classroom.

Blog Post 11c: Distributed Cognition

Lastly, I have noted the use of technology during library time. The students go to the library once a week and start off each lesson with an Ebook on the SmartBoard. The story has a narrator, subtitles and relevant pictures, so the students enjoy both listening and watching. Martin (2012) depicts the connection between online stories and the reader. His article states, “when the person loads a book to read, the device is performing the function of connection, which is the most fundamental of an e-reader’s capabilities. Without connection, the person could not hope to coordinate with the text” (pg. 97). The connection between Ebooks and the reader rely on translation, or a “tour guide” who can make the unfamiliar understandable. These translation functions may be useful to students who struggle with reading a text as its presented. An Ebook allows for the students to listen and read along to a story, creating a greater understanding of the text.

After the story, half of the class goes to pick out books while the other half uses the library ChromeBooks to go to ABCYA, which is an educational gaming website that the students use to practice their typing ability, programming, and coding skills. The students do not view ABCYA as a form of learning, rather, they view it as a fun game. This “game”, however, is a technology that makes its students smarter and leads to smarter performance. During a recent lesson that I observed, the students were working on basic coding and programming skills. They were tasked with getting “Mr. Fuzzball” from point A to point B by using left, right, up, and down arrows. Although it was a basic task, it is setting the students up for future success. By starting young and completing basic coding and programming now, they will be able to continue practicing and learn harder skills over time.

Based off of the work on Salomon and Perkins (2005), the skills touched upon in ABCYA can be considered an effect of technology. They state, “…mastering the programming of computers might enhance thinking. The notion was that the cognitively complex and challenging activity of programming provides a kind of mental gymnasium, both exercising and drawing students’ attention to patterns of analytical and diagnostic reasoning” (pg. 78). Skills, such as programming and coding, encourage reflective abstraction and sufficient depth of experience with programming to develop a reasonable skill set. The lessons that I observed during library time demonstrate yet another way that technology is incorporated into the classroom and help make students smarter.

Martin, L. (2012). Connection, Translation, Off-Loading, and Monitoring: A Framework for Characterizing the Pedagogical Functions of Educational Technologies. Technology, Knowledge & Learning17(3), 87-107.

Salomon, G. & Perkins, D. (2005) Do Technologies Make Us Smarter? Intellectual Amplification With, Of and Through Technology

Blog Post 11b: Distributed Cognition

Technologies, such as EPIC!, that were depicted in Blog Post 11a help make us smarter. However, there are also other technologies that help advance classroom learning as well. I have had various opportunities to observe the class participate in math lessons and have noted how technology is integrated into this subject.

Last week, the class was finishing up their unit on arrays. The teacher started off the particular math class that I observed by gathering the students onto the carpet with their white boards and dry erase markers. A projector is located right above the carpet, and its images are displayed on a screen directly in front of the carpet. The teacher used the projector to write down and explain examples of the array problems that the students would be working on. Projectors are a useful form of technology because they offer a way of reaching the learning needs of students. They allow for the teacher to interact with the students better, use a multimodal form of teaching, and provide a visual to get objectives across. Projectors also expand images to be large enough for a room full of people to see.

After the carpet meeting, the students went back to their desks to complete a few pages in their math packet on the array problems they just learned about. Once finished, they check their answers in the answer key, log into their class-assigned ChromeBooks, and go to Happy Numbers. The class just received a set of ChromeBooks this past school year and use them frequently for educational purposes.

Happy Numbers is an independent math center that provides individualized instruction for students. My teacher likes this program because it demonstrates to her where her students are performing well and where they need more help. It also hits on topics that are not necessarily covered in lessons taught by the curriculum (Eureka). The helps advance a student’s math ability. Happy Numbers is another example of a technology that can improve student performance.

Sources such as Happy Number can be described as what Salomon and Perkins (2005) refer to as an effect with technology. Their article states, “effects with technology emerge through the interaction when certain intellectual functions are downloaded onto the technology, this establishing an intellectual partnership with the user” (pg. 74). Effects with technology allows for an interdependence between the individual and technology. As previously stated, Happy Numbers recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of individual students and creates problems that pertain to their current knowledge. Therefore, cognition is distributed between the student and the technology as the technological device creates questions that relate to the needs of its students while the student takes the material and applies it to their current knowledge of mathematics. Without this form of technology, the students would not be able to touch on the areas of math in which they need more practice, causing a decrease in their math ability. Technology, such as Happy Numbers, allow for positive development in one’s education.

Sources:

Salomon, G. & Perkins, D. (2005) Do Technologies Make Us Smarter? Intellectual Amplification With, Of and Through Technology

Blog Post 11a: Distributed Cognition

Distributed cognition provides a language for the cognitive process that is distributed across people, their environments, and time. Martin (2012) would agree with this, as he states in his article that cognitive functioning is not confined to the individual, rather, it is distributed among several people and resources. Today, the use of technology in the classroom has become an increasing need amongst teachers and students. Using technology in education allows for distributed cognition since it could be used as a learning resource.

Students and teachers use technology to increase classroom learning, and I have personally noted this occurrence in my field placement. This semester, I have been observing in a second grade classroom at Millridge Elementary School. My cooperating teacher frequently incorporates technology into her lessons because she feels that it is beneficial for her students and can help address topics that she may not necessarily be able to in her lessons. In their article, Salomon and Perkins (2005) claim that technology leads to real and sustained learning through the use of cognitive distribution. The article states, “…working with certain technologies makes us smarter, at least in the sense that it leads to smarter performance…they are what might be called cognitive technologies, technologies that enhance cognitive functioning through directly affording cognitive support…” (pg. 75). Through my writing, I would like to argue how a student’s capacities to learn and a teacher’s capacities to teach are augmented by educational technologies by tying in my own experiences at Millridge.

I have observed multiple lessons at Millridge Elementary School in which technology was integrated. Recently, the class finished a unit on dinosaurs. During the particular lesson that I observed, the students broke off into groups of three or four to work on a dinosaur research project. Technology was integrated as the students used their ChromeBooks to log into EPIC!, an online book source. The students were able to look up books online about their dinosaur of choice to help answer questions in their packet. They were also able to look up academic articles on their dinosaur. Whenever the students came across a word they did not know or a word they were unable to spell for their research project, they would use Google. This provided the students with an accurate definition or a correctly-spelled word. Without technology, the students would not have had access to helpful information.

I find EPIC! to be a positive addition to classroom learning. It gives students the opportunity to look up various books of various topics. My cooperating teacher has her own EPIC! account that her students can search. My teacher created a page of books that she felt were appropriate for her students to read. If the students have down time and have completed all of their other work, they are allowed to browse and select a book from her page. They also have access to EPIC! at home if they would like to leisurely read. In the case of the dinosaur research project, all the students had to do was search the dinosaur of their book, then they had a plethora of books at their fingertips. EPIC! makes reading convenient and the students truly seem to enjoy using this website. Technological resources, such as EPIC!, enhance cognitive functioning through directly affording cognitive support to students.

Sources

Martin, L. (2012). Connection, Translation, Off-Loading, and Monitoring: A Framework for Characterizing the Pedagogical Functions of Educational Technologies. Technology, Knowledge & Learning17(3), 87-107.

Salomon, G. & Perkins, D. (2005) Do Technologies Make Us Smarter? Intellectual Amplification With, Of and Through Technology

Blog Post 10: Technology in the Classroom

At Millridge Elementary School, various types of software applications and hardware are used by the students in order to enhance learning. In the classroom that I have been observing, I noted how students complete schoolwork on their class set of chrome books. For example, last week the students were doing group research assignments on dinosaurs. They were able to utilize their chrome books to find information on the dinosaur they chose to study. Most of their information came from Epic!, a site that consists of many books of many different subjects.

I have also observed the students utilizing Google Slides. Each week, my cooperating teacher asks her students to create one slide about something that they learned. She wants her students to be familiar with Google Drive for when they have to create larger projects and presentations in their later years of school. The slides have to contain bullet points, pictures, and a background. At the end of the school year, each student will have their own slide show containing information about what they learned each week in second grade. The students shared their powerpoint with the teacher so she can see if they are keeping up with their work.

Another software application that the students use is Happy Numbers, an online resource that brings math to life through graphics, simple instructions and immediate feedback. The students enjoy this software program because it feels like a game. My cooperating teacher likes it because she is able to monitor their progress and see where her students need to improve. Based off of the information, my teacher will create mini-lessons for students in the areas where they need help.

Other technological devices are used, such as the projector and printers, but the software and hardware demonstrated above were those that I most heavily observed. It is crucial that teachers effectively use these tools to further classroom learning and engagement. The software and hardware described above make teaching possible, because the technology that is incorporated in the classroom make learning interesting.

Blog Post 9: Final Digital Story Telling

Below is a a digital story about Abraham Lincoln created by me and my partner, Natalie Bens. Press play to see the full project! Scroll below to view our rolling credits.

Rolling Credits:

Visuals:

Log Cabin Address: https://goo.gl/images/amkL3H

Abraham Lincoln Reading Address: https://goo.gl/images/J6nZ4W

Illinois LegislatureAddress: https://goo.gl/images/R5JNMg

Lincoln the Lawyer Address: https://goo.gl/images/VisgMc

Abraham Lincoln Visiting the House of Representatives Address: https://goo.gl/images/Zy9uGE

Lincoln Emancipating the Slaves Address: https://goo.gl/images/pWw5aS

Lincoln Douglas Debates Address: https://goo.gl/images/jZhiGz

President Abraham Lincoln Address: https://goo.gl/images/kTXpCv

Abraham Lincoln Civil War Address: https://goo.gl/images/BhHAEz

Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Address: https://goo.gl/images/pbJi7V

The Lincoln Assassination Address: https://goo.gl/images/9ShPoZ

Abraham Lincoln Address: https://goo.gl/images/zkibna

Civil Rights March Address: http://danielsmediacenter.weebly.com/civil-rights.html

Abraham Lincoln QuoteAddress: https://goo.gl/images/ep7dzP

Audio:

“Piccolo (Endless Love)”Address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLsWtBgCVpM&frags=pl%2Cwn.“American Civil War Music” Address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8epv1Y25XA&frags=pl%2Cwn

“Hail to the Chief” Address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1wXEEQBHeQ&frags=pl%2Cwn

Weapon Gun Shots Sound Effects Pack – Best Gun Sounds [High Quality]Address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRI0f_tF0so

Yelling Soldiers Sound Effect | High Audio Quality Address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-XwWeQWZFE

Background Crowd Cheering Address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6XB-KXvZJ8

Pistol Sound Effect Address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHf6RwHO5dQ

Gettysburg Address Address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=RqNeskjjQrQ

Blog Post 8: Digital Storytelling Assessment

Click here to view the Digital Storytelling Assessment on the Abraham Lincoln Project. The assessment was created by me and my partner, Natalie Bens. The assessment depicts crucial aspects of the storyboard-making process, including the planning of the project, understanding of the concept, structure and presentation of the digital story, visuals, and audio.