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.

Blog Post 7: Technology in the Classroom

At Millridge Elementary School, there are many different people in charge of the technologies available to advance the learning of students. One of which is the library media specialist. Every Wednesday, the students spend roughly 45 minutes in the library. The librarian starts off the class by playing a digital story on the SmartBoard. The story has a narrator and corresponding pictures. When the story ends, half of the class picks out books while the other half plays educational games on abcya.com by using chrome books. The library has a class set of chrome books, and two chrome books are left on each table for the students to use. The games that they play help with their keyboarding skills.

Another person in charge of technology is the technology maintenance crew. Recently, my teacher was having technology issues and could not log into Lexia to track her students’ progress on her desktop computer. My teacher called maintenance, and they immediately fixed the problem at hand. In case the technology maintenance crew could not help, my teacher was able to schedule time in the computer lab. This way, the students would be able to complete their online assignments regardless. The teacher in the computer lab is also another person in charge of technology. Although I never had the opportunity to observe my students in this setting, I know that the students work on computer skills during this time.

My cooperating teacher is also in charge of technology, and she is a major advocate for using technology in the classroom. She uses various websites to increase and monitor student learning. The students have access to chrome books and four computers in the classroom. They can also use computers as resources for classroom learning. At Millridge Elementary School, various instructors are in charge of technology use.

As noted above, technology is available throughout different areas of the school. Chromebook’s are in all of the classrooms and library, and computers are provided in the classrooms and computer lab.

Technologies are readily available at Millridge. The students are allowed to use technology, Chromebooks specifically, to guide them through class assignments. The students have their own username and password to their assigned Chromebooks and class websites. The teacher is able to access and view her students’ progress on Lexia. There is not necessarily a means for reserving technology because the class has it right at their fingerprints, and there are no required purchases by families.

There is no firewall blocking access to applications at Millridge. The students are too young to have their own social media accounts, and sites such as Youtube could be used as a resource. However, the students in my classroom are very well-behaved and stay on track with their school work, so I do not believe that they would necessarily need a firewall.

I received the information above from my own observations and from talking to my cooperating teacher. She was able to answer all of my questions about technology in the classroom. She told me that if I wanted to talk to someone with the most information to go to the library media specialist because he is very knowledgable on the subject. Even so, my teacher is very knowledgable herself. The school also has a technology maintenance crew on call who comes into the classroom if they receive a technical difficulties report. I received useful information about technology in my classroom at Millridge Elementary School.

Blog Post 5: Digital Storytelling Script

In a one-room cabin in Kentucky back in 1809, a legend was born. Abraham Lincoln lived in that cabin with his parents, Thomas and Nancy, and his siblings, Sarah and Thomas. Sarah was the oldest, born in 1807. Abraham was the middle children, And unfortunately, his youngest brother died at the age of three due to the high death rate of this era.

During his childhood years, Abraham Lincoln became self-educated, and was often found reading and studying many books and topics.

In 1830, Lincoln made his way to Illinois and attempted to run for the Illinois General Assembly, the legislature of the state that consists of the Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois Senate. He lost his first election, but won two years later and proceeded to win reelection three more times after that. During this time, Lincoln grew interested in studying law, and by 1846, he set out for U.S. Congress and gained a seat in the House of Representatives.

Throughout the 1850s, the question was asked of whether or not states should support slavery.

This question divided the nation due to the different opinions of different states. Lincoln opposed slavery, but tried to avoid conflict as much as possible. The divide, however, led to the “Lincoln Douglas Debates” with Stephen Douglas, which reflected on the issue at hand. The attention that Lincoln gained from these debates led him to run for president in the 1860 election. Lincoln won the election, and became the 16th President of the United States.

Lincoln entered the office at a difficult time, just as the Civil War was underway. Lincoln was challenged to win the war against the Confederacy, while balancing the issue of slavery, and planning a way to reconstruct the nation after the war.

The Confederates surrendered on April 9th, 1865 at the Appomattox Court House. Following these four long years of war, Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd, decided to attend a play. While watching the play, a Confederate supporter, John Wilkes Booth, snuck into Lincoln’s viewing booth and shot him in the head. Lincoln died later that day, and the nation mourned their great loss.

Abraham Lincoln passed away before he could achieve all of his goals, but he was still an inspiration to many. Through his beliefs and actions, Lincoln started the march for Civil Rights in American History, which advocated for the civil and economic rights of African Americans. During his presidency, he created the Emancipation Proclamation, which states that “all persons held as slaves are, and henceforward shall be free”. The Emancipation Proclamation paved the way for Civil Right victories and the 13th Amendment, which served to abolish slavery. Slavery was put to rest a year after the passing of Lincoln.

Due to his dedication and hard work, Lincoln left this world as a legacy. He passed the torch for future leaders to follow in his path, and exemplified that all men are created equal. Although Abraham Lincoln did not get to live to old age, the years he lived made a profound impact on the world. Are you making your years count? Are you changing the world?