Computer Science and Digital Learning
In This Section
Welcome to the web page for the MCOE Educational Technology department. The EdTech world is an exciting landscape that is ever changing and it is our goal to help you navigate that space better.
- Ed Tech Theory and Frameworks
- Services for Districts
- The Curated List of Technology Tools
- Upcoming Professional Development
- Ed Tech Trends
Ed Tech Theory and Frameworks
There are a few EdTech Frameworks that are common parlance in the Educational Technology world. They are used to help guide discussions about the sophistication and depth of how technology is integrated into the classroom. Below are some of the common frameworks plus some of our own thinking here at MCOE.
- The SAMR Model
- The TPACK Model
- The Balanced EdTech Model (Original Framework from MCOE)
The SAMR Model
The SAMR model is probably the most often referenced framework in EdTech. It seeks to guide how sophisticated and integrated technology is used in the classroom. It divides that level of integration into four levels: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. The model is further divided into two halves, enhancement and transformation. The general idea is that it is more desirable to be in the transformation half.
Theory developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura.
|Substitution||Computer technology is used to perform the same task as was done before the use of computers.||Students print out worksheet, finish it, pass it in.||No functional change in teaching and learning. There may well be times when this the appropriate level of work as there is no real gain to be had from computer technology. One needs to decide computer use based on any other possible benefits. This area tends to be teacher centric where the instructor is guiding all aspects of a lesson.|
|Augmentation||Computer Technology offers an effective tool to perform common tasks.||Students take a quiz using a Google Form instead of using pencil and paper.||There is some functional benefit here in that paper is being saved, students and teacher can receive almost immediate feedback on student level of understanding of material. This level starts to move along the teacher / student centric continuum. The impact of immediate feedback is that students may begin to become more engaged in learning.|
|Modification||This is the first step over the line between enhancing the traditional goings-on of the classroom and transforming the classroom. Common classroom tasks are being accomplished through the use of computer technology.||Students are asked to write an essay around the theme "And This I Believe...". An audio recording of the essay is made along with an original musical soundtrack. The recording will be played in front of an authentic audience such as parents, or college admission counselors.||There is significant functional change in the classroom. While all students are learning similar writing skills, the reality of an authentic audience gives each student has a personal stake in the quality of the work. Computer technology is necessary for this classroom to function allowing peer and teacher feedback, easy rewriting, and audio recording. Questions about writing skills increasingly come from the students themselves.|
|Redefinition||Computer technology allows for new tasks that were previously inconceivable.||A classroom is asked to create a documentary video answering an essential question related to important concepts. Teams of students take on different subtopics and collaborate to create one final product. Teams are expected to contact outside sources for information.||At this level, common classroom tasks and computer technology exist not as ends but as supports for student centered learning. Students learn content and skills in support of important concepts as they pursue the challenge of creating a professional quality video. Collaboration becomes necessary and technology allows such communications to occur. Questions and discussion are increasingly student generated.|
The TPACK Model
The TPACK model is used to help demonstrate the necessary skillset that teachers need to effectively create a lesson with technology woven into it. It centers around the idea that effective technology integration requires the teacher be proficient in three different areas: Technological Knowledge, Pedagogical Knowledge, and Content Knowledge. This model can be used to target professional development needs for a teacher who may be weaker in one area versus another.
The Balanced EdTech Integration Model
This model was developed by Jonathan Green, former Educational Technology Coordinator, here at MCOE to help answer the question, "What does Common Core Technology Integration look like?" This framework takes the position that Common Core technology integration is no different from any other technology integration. Technology should be used as a tool to enhance the student learning objective, whether it is Common Core or not. According to the framework, there are four different domains of technology enhancement:
Collaboration and Communication
Collaboration and Communication are tools that facilitate dialog between the students and between the class and the teacher. Technology makes these things easier such as via an Learning Management System like Google Classroom or through video chats on WebX.
Access focuses on giving students ways to find and experience learning. Technology gives students more access to sources of information (archives or virtual tours), access to people (pen-pals or experts), and access to the home and community (text messages, parent portals, websites).
The Ephemeral is the flashy pizazz of technology: things that can awe students and inspire learning. These are things like virtual star maps on smartphones, augmented reality, or 3D design of roller coasters. They also, however, tend to be short lived and have a more narrow use.
Lastly, individualization focuses on more easily differentiating assignments. Technology is very efficient at giving targeted activities for different students. Varied assignments, interventions, and make-up activities are all enhanced and make the learning process easier for teachers, students, and parents.
Unfortunately, educators often get lost in the flashy apps and activities found in the Ephemeral and Access categories. Full technology integration needs to allow technology to enhance in all four domains. As a result, educators must focus on how they use the tools as well:
Everyday tools are things like Learning Management Systems (Showbie, Edmodo, etc.) that are used everyday to give structure and routine to the passing of information between the teacher and the student.
One-off tools are things that are used once (or a few times) and are discarded after that because of their limited use. These are often hooks for a unit or a short activity.
Project Based Tools
Project Based Tools are tools that have specific uses but are more complex. These projects require the tool to be learned by the student and then used to complete the activity. The tool may or may not be used again. These are things like iMovie or pinhole cameras.
In the end, the goal is to achieve a balance between these categories by carefully mapping out the tools educators use.
Services for Districts
Instructional Technology Services
MCOE provides Instructional Technology professional development and coaching for school districts in Monterey County. The focus of these services is to work with teachers to promote smarter and more effective use of technology in and out of the classroom. Topics include:
- Common Core Technology Integration
- 21st Century Learning
- Digital Citizenship
- Google Apps for Education (including Google Classroom)
- 1:1 Technology Usage
- Chromebook Apps and Usage
- iPad Apps and Usage
- Teacher Websites
- Smarter Balanced Testing
- And other topics by request
Educational Technology Services
MCOE also supports districts in their planning, purchasing, and implementation of technology devices in their schools. Categories of services include:
- Google Apps for Education Configuration
- Technology Planning Assistance
- Technology Purchasing Guidance
- Website Creation and Content Consultation
- Chromebook Configuration
- 1:1 and BYOD Policies and Procedures
- And other topics by request
The Curated List of Technology Tools
Big lists are fun, but sometimes we just need to cut to the chase: what stuff is the best? Below are my top technology tools that I've found. If you think something needs to be taken down or added, tell me using the form at the bottom of the page.
|Name||Platform||Cost||What it does and why it rocks||Honorable Mentions|
|Plickers||iOS or Android||Free||I love Plickers because it makes assessment in the classroom easy and effective with minimal technology needed. You ask students a question either orally or on a projector, they hold up their unique cards to answer, and you use a camera on an iOS or Android device to collect their answers. Plickers stores the student answers automatically on the app or website. Students can't easily copy off of one another and aren't as nervous about answering wrong because only the teacher will know.|
|Formative||Web Based||Free||Formative is another assessment tool that allows you to digitally assess students. It has lots of great features such as live drawing but my favorite is that you can easily take scanned or digital documents and convert them into answerable worksheets. This makes digitizing assignments from questions on textbooks or workbooks a breeze. The developer is constantly adding new features.||Socrative|
|Kahoot||Web Based||Free||Kahoot is the gem of EdTech right now and for good reason. It allows for fun, rapid, game-based student assessment that gets students excited and engaged. It's not something you need to use every day, but it is a great way to review and conduct formative assessment.||Quizizz|
|Showbie||iOS||Freemium||Although it's only on the iPad, Showbie is a very lightweight LMS. It allows teachers and students to easily pass back and forth documents that can be annotated on top of with ease. It makes digitizing your classroom an absolute walk in the park.|
|EdPuzzle||Web Based||Free||There are many different flipped video tools out there, but I personally prefer EdPuzzle mostly because its interface is much cleaner and easier to use, both for teachers and students. It allows you to easily take a video and add questions in the middle of them to check for understanding as students watch.||Educanon, Zaption|
|Evernote||Multiple||Freemium||Evernote is a must have for anyone who needs to jot down notes between different devices or anyone who wants to do easy portfolio building. It is a simple, lightweight note taking application that supports videos, voice annotations, pictures, and plain text. Notes are automatically synced to the Evernote server and can be accessed from any device or through the web portal.|
|Screenleap||Mac/Windows||Freemium||Do you need to quickly share your screen with someone? Don't have a projector? Enter Screenleap, a free, easy to use tool that allows you to broadcast your screen to anyone with the code generated from your session. Just install the plugin, press go, share the link, and up to 8 people can view your screen for free.|
|Screenflow||Mac||$99 one time||If you want to make high quality tutorial videos and are on Mac, Screenflow is your tool. It is incredibly powerful tool that allows you to do basic video editing plus add annotations, callouts, and highlights into your video.||Camtasia Studio|
|Nearpod||Multiple||Freemium||Nearpod is a cross between Google Slides and Socrative. Students watch your presentation on their screen and, when you deem it necessary, answer questions that you ask||Peardeck|
|Pixlr||Web Based||Free||I asked one of our vendors one time why they didn't offer a web based model and they replied, "Web based tools just aren't sophisticated enough." Well, the Pixlr developers would disagree. It is a slimmed down Photoshop-in-a-browser that can do a lot of powerful picture editing without any downloads needed.|
|Splashtop Classroom||Multiple||Varies||Splashtop Classroom is probably the ultimate tool for sending content between teachers and students. Teachers can send their screens to student devices and vice versa, making sharing ideas and content very easy. Although it is powerful, it requires significant setup on the infrastructure side.||Doceri, Splashtop Personal|
Upcoming Professional Development
Ed Tech Trends
EdTech is a constantly evolving field. There are new gizmos, gadgets, and trends in pedagogy happening all the time. This guide represents a very superficial view of the current landscape in EdTech. Disagree? Let us know below.
Disclaimer: Just because an item is in one category or another does not constitute an evaluative statement. We are fully aware that being popular or not is very much not an indication of its educational value.
The Maker Movement
The Maker Movement is all about DIY: do-it-yourself. Instead of working with prefabricated tools and toys, you make them yourself. With the proliferation of cheaper, easier-to-learn 3D printers, robots, and small computers (like Raspberry Pi), innovative educators have been looking toward teaching engineering, design, programming, and entrepreneurship through maker projects or maker classes. The goal of this movement is to inspire students to be self-started inventors that can identify problems and fabricate solutions themselves.
The other AR of Education (the other being Accelerated Reader), augmented reality is about providing an extra layer of interaction with technology. Using a variety of different apps and programs (Aurasma is a popular example), students can interact with 3D overlays projected on top of real-time camera feeds. Using a tablet or phone with a camera, you can explore the body's nervous system or join Chemistry blocks together to see what substance is formed.
3D Printing goes hand-in-hand with the Maker Movement. Schools are using 3D printers not only to create useful classroom tools (what better way to demonstrate the human brain than by printing one yourself?) but also to teach students about 3D modeling and engineering. A STEM class or school can't be STEM without a 3D printer.
This is less EdTech but general Ed, but Common Core standards is no longer the official moniker of the new set of standards that are rolling through education right now. In an effort to distance the standards from the political melee that Common Core standards have become, the state has officially rebranded them as the new "California Standards." It'll take a while for this new nomenclature to take root, however.
Games are nothing new to education. Teachers have been using games to engage students since pick-up sticks and Jacks (and probably earlier than that, too). However, they weren't nearly as easily customizable as they are now, with services like Kahoot or Quizizz storming through the edSphere. Even traditional PC games are getting Ed-friendly after the runaway success of Minecraft Edu. At its core, gamification is quite simple: using competition and goal-oriented games to propel learning.
Haiku, Moodle, and Blackboard are just a few of the many LMS's (Learning Management Systems) that compete in this very crowded space. Nevertheless, since its launch last summer, Google Classroom has become a very popular alternative for schools that are already GAFEd (Google Apps for Education). It doesn't have the features and tools of some of the more popular LMS's, but it's free, it's integrated with Google Docs, and Google seems to be continually adding features to it, such as adding Co-Teacher functionality a few months ago.
The Flipped Classroom
Flipping the Classroom has its roots in a problem that many educators face: students not doing or not getting much out of traditional homework. The solution is to flip the homework model. Instead of introducing things in class and reinforcing at home, students learn basic concepts at home and reinforce them with the teacher's help in the classroom. 1:1 Initiatives and easier access to video services specifically tailored to this need (Educanon, EdPuzzle) have made flipping the classroom a much more viable strategy than even just a few years ago.
Despite public concerns after seeing some 1:1 efforts crash and burn (see: LAUSD), 1:1 efforts are popping up around the county with inexpensive Chromebooks and cheaper tablets helping ease the financial burden. Many districts also began to phase in student technology in the past few years and are now reaching 1:1 numbers.
What's On The Way Out
Common Core State Standards
By name only. The Common Core standards are still here, they're just now referred to as the "California Standards" for various political reasons.
BYOD isn't dead, but as personal devices come down in price and schools try to grapple with the challenges of supporting many different device platforms, the BYOD movement is slowly losing steam. It's seemingly simpler, easier, and more effective to manage and acquire a single platform for devices for students.
SMARTBoards and Document Cameras
SMARTBoards and their competitors are losing the caché they had a few years ago, just like ELMO's and document cameras. There are still a great many classrooms without basic projectors (mounted or not), speakers, and doc cameras, but there is not as much drive to supply teachers with this technology. The current trends are for buying projectors with AppleTV's or student devices such as Chromebooks, iPads, or other tablets or personal devices. This particular trend is a little sad because it means less investment in basic teacher technology.
Laptops and Netbooks
The arrival of the Chromebook was a nuclear bomb for the Laptop and Netbook manufacturers. When presented with a $700 laptop or a $250 Chromebook, many school districts completely discount even considering buying laptops, let alone their smaller stepchildren, netbooks. Laptops are still going strong in the general consumer market and for teachers, but gone are the days where students aspire to get brand new shiny Dells. One exception to this trend has been the Macbook Air which has maintained strong popularity in the Ed arena due to its smaller form, lower price, Apple allure, and compatibility with AppleTVs.