Building Better Minds with Minecraft
Building Better Minds with Minecraft
Reflection: Week Eleven: Essential question: What specific policies will help your district prepare students for current and emerging technology use? How can you help lead your district in creating these policies?
Implementing technology into a school’s curriculum is more than buying hardware or purchasing subscriptions to software. It takes a well thought out plan to properly excuse an effective technology plan. In developing a school technology plan and a BYOD plan schools can ask themselves these questions.
What is the school’s vision and how technology will be effectively used to support teaching, learning, and school management?
How can school leaders, staff, students, community and families play a central role in the development, assessment, implementation, and revision of school technology plans.
All students and teachers must have equal access to technology and software?
How can teachers effectively integrate technology into daily classroom practice?
How can administration evaluate technology to inform decision making and ensure continuous improvement in teaching and learning?
What supports need to be in place to ensure the continual maintenance and upgrade for technology?
What kind of professional development can be provided meaningful ongoing technology training?
What can schools do promote digital citizenship and at the same time protect student and staff privacy?
I always considered myself rather tech savvy, but I have learned so much over the course of this semester. I think technology is the way to go to increase student learning and differentiate teaching. There is a generational gap. What I considered new innovations, my students see as everyday tools. Most of their parents are onboard with technology. Doesn’t everyone have a smart phone these days? One obstacle to overcome in integrating technology to become a 21st century school is administration and teachers. We do what we know and for many veteran educators that does not include technology. With proper education and proselytization we can spread the word of the benefits of technology in education. I believe an emphasis on technology in professional development is a key to overcoming opposition to technology in schools. It’s is not a matter of if education will become computer based it is a question of when? The following is a video clip, “Can Computers Replace Teachers”, by Joe Bower features Katherine Mangu-Ward talking about the future of educations. I do not totally agree with what she says but she does make a point about the need for change in schools and she mentions many of the technologies we have studied in class.
The need for change for change in our educational system is evident. How to foster change is a task for every educational professional, parent and community member.
Bower, J. (2013). Can Computers Replace Teachers. National Education Policy Center. April 15, 2013. Retrieved August 2, 2015 from http://nepc.colorado.edu/blog/can-computers-replace-teachers.
Week Eleven: Essential question: What specific policies will help your district prepare students for current and emerging technology use? How can you help lead your district in creating these policies?
The Technology Plan for the Ketchikan Gateway School District has goals. They are:
Goal I: Seek and acquire necessary funding to ensure smooth and efficient implementation of the stated goals.
Goal II: Maintain a District Technology Committee to support, evaluate, advise and promote the use of instructional technology in the classroom.
Goal III: Provide training, support and compensation for a technology representative in each building.
Goal IV: The district will maintain support staff in the area of technology.
Goal V: Establish technology committees annually for each building to assess building priorities as needed.
Goal VI: Improve integration and implementation of instructional technology in all discipline areas to insure all students meet the grade appropriate and required National Education Technology Standards (NETS) in each grade level and to insure proficiency for the any grade technology literacy report.
Goal VII: Cost effectively integrate and appropriate new and emerging technologies into the classroom environment that is accessible to all students, faculty, parents and administration.
Goal VIII: Continue to upgrade existing wide area and building networks to allow for increased access to Internet and other technology resources.
Goal IX: Involve parents in use of technology in the classroom/district.
Goal X: Provide continuing to support Fast Track Virtual School.
Goal XI: Establish a process for technical support, maintenance, upgrade and replacement of equipment.
Goal XII: Provide ongoing professional development to increase the appropriate integration of technology for teachers, staff, and administrators with funding available either through district general funds or grant applications and as it coincides with other curricular revisions. The six-year cycle for curriculum development will generally be followed.
The KGBSD Technology Plan was created in 2012 and is due for review this year, 2015. The plan is based off a blended model. Technology has advanced greatly since the plan was adopted in 2012. The district has done a good job of increasing the amount of computers, laptops and IPads available to students at school. The District does subscribe to many web based learning programs to assess students and enhance learning. KGBSD does a good job, but they can do better. There is a need for ALL students to have access to technology and web based programs and staff and teachers need training in technology. Hopefully these issues will be addressed this fall when the plan goes under revision.
According to Dr. Jenson, Professor of Pedagogy and Technology at York University, components of successful technology plans include a clear comprehensive BYOD policy, viewing social media as an opportunity to learn and deter bullying, and parents, IT staff, teachers, principals and superintendents need to be involved in creating technology plan and user policy (Winski, 2014). In order to create a successful 21st Century learning environment we must step out of our comfort zone and embrace the fact that technology cannot replace a teacher but it can enhance and differentiate learning for the variety of today’s students.
Superintendent Mark Edwards says “What really matters is what schools and systems do with technology. He explains, “This is not about the technology. It’s not about the box. It’s about changing the culture of instruction. We are not trying to add on to old ways of teaching and learning. Rather we are trying to ‘rethink school’ from the ground up, enabled by today’s technologies and guided by the demands of the 21st-century workplace.” (Hess, 2013) Technology is just one component in upgrading and enhancing the way we teach students.
In order to reap the benefits of technology, schools must develop a plan for integrating technology into the curriculum. An effective technology plan is based on the shared vision of educators, parents, community members, and business leaders who have technological expertise. It ensures that technology strengthens existing curricula and supports meaningful, engaged learning for all students. It also specifies how the technology will be paid for and how its use will be supported (November, 1998) A successful plan is more than a well constructed document that qualifies for federal funding. It is a living document that grows, adapts, and changes as current goals are achieved and new goals are adopted. A successful plan is more than a piece of paper. It must be a collaborative plan that is active in everyday school life.
Douglas County School District Technology Plan
Alberta Learning and Technology Policy Framework. (2013). Retrieved July 28, 2015 https://education.alberta.ca/media/7792655/learning-and-technology-policy-framework-web.pdf
Chrissy, W. (2014). Tips for Creating Technology Policy for K12. February 17, 2014. Retrieved July 28, 2015 http://www.k- 12techdecisions.com/article/creating_an_acceptable_use_policy_for_mobile_learning_ini tiatives
Current Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District Technology Plan. http://www.kgbsd.org/site/handlers/filedownload.ashx?moduleinstanceid=6230&dataid= 6366&FileName=KGBSD%20Tech%20Plan%202012%202015.pdf
Hess, F.M., Hochleitner, T. H., Saxberg, B. (2013). ERate, Educational Technology and School Reform. American Enterprise Institute. October 22, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2015 https://www.aei.org/publication/e-rate-education-technology-and-school-reform/
Minecraft Builds Successful Students
My Students: The biggest challenge in teaching is getting students engaged in their own learning. In the 21st Century we recognize that the most effective way to teach is to stop lecturing and start empowering students to take charge of their own education through student centered activities.
Our school is a Title One school where over 50% of the population qualifies for free and reduced lunch. The school’s demographic makeup is Alaskan Native(53%), Caucasian (37.5 %), Asian (3.6 %), mixed ethnicities (2.9 %), Hispanic (2.4 %), African American (0.3 %) and Pacific Islander (0.3 %). The kindergarten classroom is made up of between 18 and 26 energetic 5 year old students. Kindergarten students come to school with a range of skill sets.
Some students have attended preschool and are ready to learn how to read, write, add and subtract; while others do not know the difference between a letter and a number. This wide range of skills sets can be a change when creating and implementing lessons. One of the many reasons I love teaching young children is the enthusiasm they show for learning. An enormous amount of growth can be witness in a short amount of time when the students are given the right tools.
My Project: This pass summer I did a lot of research on the benefits of Minecraft in the classroom for a graduate program I am enrolled in. What I found was the benefits to learning are only limited by the imagination of the participants. Minecraft can literally be used to support every content standard. For example in Language students can demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking by print upper- and lower-case letters. Letters can easily be created from bricks.
Assign a student a letter and let them use bricks to create the letter. They can even take a screen shot of it and create a Minecraft Alphabet Book. Students in Kindergarten can write their names in Minecraft using the various bricks available to them. They can practice of writing sight words, rhyming words and CVC words using upper and lower case letters. In math students can count blocks, make numbers with blocks, identify and build different shapes learn how to add and subtract.
One of the biggest challenges in education is creating a student centered learning environment that is effective, engages the student, includes families and is equitable to all types of learners. Minecraft.edu is it is a school friendly version of the tremendously popular game Minecraft with security and supports built in. Students and families are already playing it and they love it. Minecraft is not just about playing the game but being able to apply knowledge and practice digital citizenship.
My students need 26 MINECRAFTEDU USER LICENSE and 1 MINECRAFTEDU SERVER SOFTWARE License so they came learn academics through gaming.
MINECRAFTEDU USER LICENSE
|MINECRAFTEDU SERVER SOFTWARE||MinecraftEduTeacherGaming LLC||$41.00||1||$41.00|
Vendor shipping charges $0.00
State sales tax $33.41
County: Ketchikan Gateway
District: Ketchikan Gateway Boro SD
Free/reduced lunch: 40%64%
Level: Grades PreK2
Expiration: Nov 24, 2015
Project ID: 1614754
Please share this project to help me get Minecraft into my classroom and into my students hands.
Reflection: Week Ten: How are electronics viable additions to “crafting” for today’s young person?
What I learned this week are there are many ways to investigate electronics. Tools like Sparksfun, Chibitronics, Adafruit and Littlebits are easy to use kits that stimulate the imagination. It is best said by Sparksfun “Electronics as a creative medium and hands-on learning tool, with products and curriculum designed to develop foundational skills for students to explore the world of electronics, increase investment and ownership in education, and plant the seeds of inventorship in today’s youth.”
LittleBits are “easy-to-use color coded electronic building blocks that empower students to understand the world around them and create inventions that transform it.” At the Littlebits education website you can buy kits in different size and website offers support and lesson plans. One of the things I liked about the Littlebit kits is they components are reusable. Kits start at $99 and go up to $5000 for the Pro Library kit intended for makerspaces. Littlebits mission is to inspire the next generation of inventors by providing a 21st-century learning tool at the intersection of STEM/STEAM and the Maker Movement.
With electronics students can build a robot, create a circuit, make your clothes light up or your door bell ring. There are so many possible ways for students to utilize this powerful tool. Electronics are hands on student centered learning that encourage collaboration and imagination.
I would really like to try out the conductive thread and pen. Tool Cool.
Littlebits. Retrieved from http://littlebits.cc/
“From the earliest age, children are fascinated by the movement and lights of objects. As young as months old, children will stare wondrously at these flashing and moving objects, and will watch these for minutes and sometimes even longer. As kids get older they still are often fascinated by moving objects. Young children have spent many hours trying to take toys and other objects apart to see what makes them work.”
AFA: Using Chibitronics in the English Classroom: Lee Graham. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aGB0_8Y-w4
Chibitronics Site. http://store.chibitronics.com/
Einarson, E. (2013). Go Bionic With These Wearable Arduino Projects. http://www.wired.com/2013/01/wearable-arduinos/
Interactive Light Painting: Pu Gong Ying Tu (Dandelion Painting). https://vimeo.com/40904471
Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District Curriculum Standards. file:///C:/Users/Jane/Downloads/Science_Curriculum_Grade_3_Revised_2011_2012.pdf
Ladyada’s “E is for Electronics”. Adafruit. http://www.adafruit.com/coloringbook
Leah Buechley: How to “sketch” with electronics. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTBp0Z5GPeI
Mellis, D. (2014). Interview with Leah Buechley: Sew Electric. https://blog.arduino.cc/2014/02/04/sew-electric-with-leah-buechley-interview/
Terranova, A. (2014). 10 Fabulous and Fashionable Wearable Projects from Becky Stern. Makezine. http://makezine.com/2014/07/15/10-fabulous-and-fashionable-wearable-projects- from-becky-stern/
Yes, every school needs a BYOD policy. BYOD (bring your own device) has the potential to positively impact education. The a critical component to allowing students to bring their own devices is establishing a usage policy. Without protocols schools will encounter difficulties managing student devices. In today’s budget shortages it only makes sense for students to supplies the devices they are familiar with.
Here are the pros:
Here are the cons:
In the end the decision to allow personal devices at schools comes down to two issues. One it saves schools money and two it is an opportunity to teach student how to use technology responsible.
Thinking about implementing a BYOD program? Download Your Comprehensive Resource Guide to BYOD.