EDFD 601

EDFD 601 – Educational Foundations

Reflection

This course was quite different from the typical educational technology course, as the ideas presented extended over the 8 weeks. In most of the EDTC courses I found each week or two had a separate idea, and later those ideas would work together towards a final project. Because of this difference I found that it was difficult to pick out a single project or discussion worth noting, and instead I chose the final course project, which was a display of the core course ideas. The format was up to us, and I chose a magazine with multiple articles which covered the analysis of the class observations. In a way this is one artifact, but it could be seen as multiple artifacts combined into one.

One of the key components of this course was learning how culture affects education, and because of this I had a chance to reflect on the differences between the US system I had worked in previously, and that of China, where I work now. I had the chance to observe a Chinese teacher who teaches primarily foreigners. During this time I was able to see how one can integrate culture into the classroom in a way that is unobtrusive. By using movies, jokes and slang as a means of normal communication the teacher I observed made their students feel as if they were not just gaining a better understanding of the language, but were part of the local culture. Having taken Chinese classes myself I found this a welcome respite from the default traditional Chinese culture topics which are normally brought up. The teacher I observed used resources which touched on things that people are using in everyday life, which seemed to be of far more interest to the students.

Another aspect of this course that the effect of media on the development of student learning. These digital natives, as they’re often referred to, have access to and consume far greater amounts of information than students did in the decades before the internet. While much of it is not necessarily useful to their formal education, it does have an impact on the way they think. For one, the rapidity of which they consume information means their style of working may be different. They may prefer to pull up two or three sources at a time and bounce between them as opposed to reading a single text fully. It can also change the way they take exams, and even the value they place on accruing certain types of information. For example, why do they need to memorize dates, names or places when as long as they can recall the situation they can look up the rest online?  This has a lot of educators and policymakers rethinking the way we educate and test.

Lastly, I was challenged to look at the difference between public and private schools, the latter of which I have been a part of for the last six years. In doing research on the subject I found that while private schools, and those which receive vouchers in the US, often look much better on paper, at least academically, that it does come at a cost. Private schools can get away with weeding out students which take up more of their time, such as those with physical disabilities or learning problems, and there is little the law can do in many countries to dissuade them from doing such. There is also not a lot of oversight in the way that funding is spent, and this can result in frustrations from the staff if it seems the owner’s bank account takes precedence over the state of the school and the welfare of the staff and students. That being said, private schools do seem to offer much more in the way of giving parents what they want. As they are the customers, their needs are listened to and often acted upon. This differs from public schools where the primary driver of change is the state.

Artifact(s)

Summative Project

Research

Atweh, B., Forgasz, H., & Nebres, B. (2001). Sociocultural research on mathematics education: An international perspective. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

This book covers mathematics from the perspective of its impact on the way we think, interact, and deal with issues of equality, gender, and culture. In reading this I was surprised at some of the underlying issues that come with teaching math, a subject that normally seems like it crosses cultural boundaries quite easily.

Schuck, S. (2012). Butterfly Brains and Digital Natives Inhabiting Schools in Transition. Dordrecht: Springer.

This article provides information on the problems that teachers face when dealing with technology in schools. As technology changes rapidly both new and old teachers are faced with having to adapt at a faster rate, something the students seem to do naturally. Issues come with striking a balance between learning these new skills and creating consistency in the classroom and curriculum.

Stack, M., & Kelly, D. (2006). Popular Media, Education, and Resistance. Canadian Journal of Education, 29(1), 5-25. Retrieved January 27, 2016.

This article is quite interesting in that it discusses not just how technology is changing the landscape of education, but the resistance to it.  It also describe how media can be mined for information that will help educational researchers understand and adapt to these resistances.

Callahan, M., & Low, B. (2004). At the Crossroads of Expertise: The Risky Business of Teaching Popular Culture. The English Journal, 93(3). Retrieved January 29, 2016.

I like the examples given here that support adding popular culture to the class curriculum. The two teachers they observe integrating elements of popular culture into the class both encounter issues, but they also find ways to use these as part of the teaching process. This source helped me to write on the issues of public vs. private schools and how what is allowed in the classroom can vary between the two.

 Standards – NETS Standards and 21st Century Skills

The NETS Standards for Teachers addressed in this artifact are:

– Communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital age media and formats.

– Evaluate and reflect on current research and professional practice on a regular basis to make effective use of existing and emerging digital tools and resources in support of student learning.

– Participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning.

– Collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation.