As I said in my first comic strip essay, I have had many experiences out in the field observing lessons where technology is integrated in the efforts to enhance learning and help the students think about material in ways aimed to expand their minds. Distributed cognition is something I have been observing in classrooms that rely on technology in lessons and how using that technology affects the student’s learning. These lessons have posed the question of whether or not learning with technology makes students smarter. As Salomon and Perkins talk about in their essay “effects with technology emerge through the interaction when certain intellectual functions are downloaded onto technology…establishing an intellectual partnership,” (Salomon, Perkins; pg. 74). Effects of technology in learning can cause an interdependence between the technology and student but the affordances that come with learning with technology can enhance student learning and performance on assessments. This idea of learning with technology making students smarter can be seen in my second comic strip where I detail another lesson with technology out in the field.
My second distributed cognition comic strip is capturing a lesson from Mr. Miller’s 9th grade world history class. In this lesson, my mentor teacher is having his students create shared notes on the chapter of the textbook they were on. He uploaded a google doc to his class’ google classroom, and every student had access and could edit the google doc. The google doc had multiple subheadings from the chapter and under the subheadings, the students had to bullet point everything they knew about the topic of the subheadings and they could use the book for help. The students were all working on and adding to the same google doc, so they were in essence working together. Also, my mentor teacher had access to the google doc so he could monitor how the students were working and understanding the material. This lesson was really interesting because in having everyone work on the same google doc contributing ideas, the students were learning from each other. The students could fill in whatever they knew about a topic and lean on their fellow students for what they did not know as well. It was a great way for the students to learn and bounce ideas off of one another. The lesson was a great way to introduce more thoughts and perspectives to each student because they all had different ideas and opinions on a topic and could bring new knowledge to the table and help their fellow students out.
My mentor teacher said that technology like google docs is great for assignments like shared notes where students can collaborate and work together, allowing them to build off of each other’s understanding of the material and therefore, expanding their knowledge. This lesson using google docs was also a good example of formative assessment because my mentor teacher had access to the google doc and could provide ongoing feedback for the students and the students were able to help eachother out. This lesson was a great way for my mentor teacher to gage student understanding on the textbook chapter. All in all I believe that integrating technology, being the google docs, into this lesson did have the effect of masking the students smarter and allowed them to expand their knowledge by collaborating with others.
Gavriel Salomon, David Perkins. “Do Technologies Make us Smarter?” (2005). Pg. 74.
Throughout my time in the field and in classrooms, I have observed a lot of how students learn with technology and how teachers craft lessons with technology to get students to approach learning in new ways. Learning with technology helps expand the minds of students, allows them to see the world in new ways, and affords efficiency in learning in order to focus on the most important aspects of a lesson. This is in essence the meaning of distributed cognition, which is how technology is used in classrooms to help spread information and knowledge among students and teachers. Distributed cognition has everything to do with how technology is used in the classroom and how information is spread and acquired. Therefore, In this essay, I will discuss technology being used in the classroom to promote learning as I’ve observed in the classrooms I’m in this year.
To capture the lessons with technology that I have observed in the classroom, I made a Pixton comic strip detailing how the lesson went. For my first distributed cognition comic strip, I captured a lesson from Ms. Manzuk’s 8th grade language arts class which I have been observing this fall. In this class, the students read a lot of books and then they watch the movies that go along with the books they’ve read. In this particular lesson, the students had just finished reading The Hobbit and they were going to begin watching the movie to compare and contrast the book and the movie. The teacher told the students that while they are watching the movie, they needed to look out for what the movie did differently from the book, and they needed to look out for how the directors use visuals throughout the movie to emphasize certain themes. At the end of the movie, the students listed similarities and differences between the book and the movie and the teacher wrote them on the whiteboard. The students were then told to write an essay, picking two similarities and two differences between the book and the movie to write about. The students had to emphasize in their writing how the changes made by the director in the movie impacted the overall plot of the book.
In the case of this lesson, the technology being used is the movies. My mentor teacher explained to me that movies are a great way to integrate technology into the classroom because if movies are directly connected with learning, they can really help students see books in a more visual way, which can help them to understand the plots better. Therefore, movies have beneficial affordances especially in language arts classrooms. Furthermore, while the movie is causing some offloading to occur because the movie is taking away some of the imaginative effort the students have to put forth when reading and understanding a book, I don’t think there is too much negative offloading in this lesson because the movie can also help the students remember the plot better, which is positive offloading. To conclude, learning with movies in regards to this lesson did make the students smarter and enhance learning because they are thinking critically about the book and getting a better understanding of the plot in a visual way. As Salomon and Perkins says “working with certain technologies makes us smarter at least in the sense that it leads to smarter performances,” (Salomon, Perkins; pg. 75).
Gavriel Salomon , David Perkins. “Do Technologies Make us Smarter?” (2005). Pg. 75.
- The people at Richmond Heights High School in charge of the technologies available to advance the learning of students:
- Joy S. Howard: technology services/support
- David Miller: Technology teacher
- Darrell Gray: LTS
- Timothy King SR.: Director of Operations
- Technology is readily available at Richmond Heights High school. Each student is equipped with their own chrome book provided by the school. Students are allowed to take their chrome books home to work on assignments as much of their school work is on these chrome books.
- Students and teachers always have access to technology at Richmond Heights High School. The students are provided with chrome books that they get to keep and they use them for all their classes and at home. These chrome books are donated to the school and given to the students. Teachers, I have observed, typically use their own laptops at school, but hook them up to smart boards in their classrooms provided by the school where they broadcast their lessons on these smart boards. However, it does seem that chargers for the chrome books are scarce at Richmond Heights. The students are always misplacing theirs and they often have to borrow from the teacher who only has one or two.
- There is a firewall at Richmond Heights that blocks access to many inappropriate sites on the students’ chrome books. There seems to be a great number of websites blocked by the firewall. All social media sites are blocked for example and even some educational websites are blocked. My teacher told me that there are ways to get around the educational sites being blocked so that they can use sites like Quizlet or Kahoot. Technology services is in charge of the firewall and what is or isn’t blocked at Richmond heights.
- A lot of the information I got about access to technology at Richmond Heights I got from my cooperating teacher David Miller who in addition to being a social studies teacher is also a technology teacher at Richmond Heights, so he is largely in the know of technology use at Richmond. Mr. Miller was able to give me a lot of good information and he was also able to direct me to who has the best information. Joy S. Howard probably has the most information about technology at Richmond Heights because she is in charge of technology services and support so she organizes and is involved in a lot of what is happening with technology at Richmond heights.
- The students at Richmond Heights High School mainly use google chrome and all their classes and assignments are on google classroom.
- In Google classroom, the students can receive messages from the teacher, they can keep track of all their assignments, and they can work on and submit their assignments. Additionally, in World History class, many of the students take notes on documents the teacher put on google classroom and they can go back and look at the teacher’s powerpoints on google classroom.
- Google classroom is in many ways facilitating learning in the classroom that I observed in.
- This is because Google classroom allows the students to be organized with little effort on their own part. It’s very easy for the students to operate and it helps them keep track of all their assignments and important information regarding their class. Furthermore, students can get direct feedback from their teacher on assignments using google classroom. Google classroom creates a classroom environment in which the conditions are excellent for student learning based on how it allows for an organized classroom where communication is easy.
Observing Cooperating Teacher::
- My cooperating teacher at Richmond Heights High School uses both excel spreadsheets and google chrome in the classroom. For hardware, my teacher uses his laptop that is connected by bluetooth to a smartboard that is at the front of the classroom.
- My cooperating teacher uses excel spreadsheets to keep track of student attendance, student grades, and class averages among his class periods. My teacher uses google chrome in many ways. He uses google classroom mainly to organize his class. He also uses google slides to create his powerpoint presentations to present his lectures to the class. My cooperating teacher uses his laptop for everything regarding excel and google classroom. He uses the smartboard when displaying his google slides to the class.
- My cooperating teacher’s excel spreadsheets, google slides, use of google classroom, and use of the smartboard are facilitating student learning in the classroom.
- This is because excel does a great job of keeping information about all my teacher’s student’s organized and confidential. The google slides and the smartboard are a great way to present information to the students in interesting and creative ways and it allows students to take notes easily. Google classroom once again facilitates student learning through organization and easy communication between students and teachers.
Digital Story Script:
I’ve had many experiences learning with technology throughout my life, but I feel that one online learning platform has helped me the most throughout my education and into my teaching and that is Kahoot. Kahoot is a game-based learning platform that allows students and teachers to create multiple choice quizzes on any topic, which can be great tools for review when preparing for an exam or test. Some of my fondest memories from middle school and high school were the days in which my teacher would have the class play a Kahoot game to review for a test. It is such an engaging and fun method of review, which I think in turn helps the students retain the information better. Kahoot came back into my life recently when I was teaching a lesson with my mentor teacher at Richmond Heights high school. The students were reviewing for their test over the Columbian Exchange and their teacher and I created a Kahoot game to review the test material. We played the Kahoot in class and the game consisted of multiple choice questions and true or false questions. The students have a specific amount of time to answer the question, and once everyone has answered, the screen says how many students got the correct answer and how many got it wrong, which can be a great gage for both students and teachers to get a feel for how everyone is understanding the question or if it needs more review. Additionally, my mentor teacher showed me that after the Kahoot game is finished, the teacher gets an overview of how each student did on an individual level. They can see what the individual student got right or wrong or if they didn’t answer the question at all. This can be a great way for the teacher to help individual students who may be struggling with the material. All and all, it seemed that the class really enjoyed Kahoot and got a lot out of the review, reaffirming my belief that Kahoot is a fun and helpful technological tool for learning both for students and for teachers.
Article: “Digital Storytelling: Capturing Children’s Participation in Preschool Activities.” Lisa Kervin , Jessica Mantei. 2016. Issues in Educational Research (2). https://dshutkin386.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/kervinmantei2016digitalstorytellingpreschool.pdf
Article: “Critical Lessons and Playful Literacies: Digital Media in PK-12 Classrooms.” Nicholas E. Husbye. 2012. Volume 2. https://dshutkin386.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/husbye2012_k2multimodal1.pdf
Article: “The Effect of Digital Storytelling in Improving the Third Graders Writing Skills.” Mustafa Ulusoy/ Ahmet Yamac. 2016. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education 9 (1). https://dshutkin386.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/yamac%CC%A72016digitalstorytellingthirdgraderswriting.pdf
Today I finished playing the final parts of Mission US “City of Immigrants” and it ended up being just as fun, engaging, and interactive as I thought it would be. The last couple parts of “City of Immigrants” were super interesting and rich with historical context and historical events that the player gets to witness first hand as Lena navigates and explores life in New York City as an immigrant. One thing I really like about this game is that we get to truly take a walk in another person’s shoes and experience the perspectives of immigrants at the turn of the century in America. As we talked about in class when discussing the Squire reading, an important aspect of video gaming is the ability for students to experience things that they are unfamiliar with thus broadening their horizons and making them more open minded to the experiences of others, and this game is full of these unfamiliar experiences. For instance, the game shows the struggle that Lena goes through learning English in America, which allows student’s who may have never struggled with English to gain empathy for immigrants like Lena. Furthermore, this game includes many significant historical events that were happening around the turn of the century and the player gets to experience these first hand through Lena. For example, Lena gets a job at the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory that burned down in New York, and the player gets to witness and navigate all the horrible treatment that the workers endured in this factory, including the brutal labor, long hours, poor wages, and other safety issues. This particular aspect of the game reminds me of Gee’s principle of sandboxes because the player can face real world problems in a game without facing the negative consequences in real life. This game also explores the ideas of workers rights and unions to go up against the unfair treatment of immigrant workers in the factories, which were big changes that were taking place during the early 20th century. This game would be really beneficial in any high school history class learning about the industrial revolution, workers rights, and immigration to America as it is fun and engaging but also very historically relevant and accurate.
All images from Mission US “City of Immigrants”: https://www.mission-us.org/games/city-of-immigrants/
Today I played part two of Mission U.S. “City of Immigrants” and it is still very engaging and interactive. In part two of the “City of Immigrants,” Lena gets lost in New York and you have to help her find her way back to her brother’s apartment, and while you are making decisions to help her find her way back home, you get to explore manhattan. The game lets you click on different famous sites in Manhattan and it tells you the history of it. For example, I clicked on Trinity Church in Manhattan and it told me when it was built, who built it, and other interesting facts. Once you get Lena to her brother’s apartment, she has to get a job as a seamstress and you get to learn about the harsh factory conditions during the industrial revolution. Some of the content about the factory and tenement life is quite harsh so I don’t think this game would be appropriate for students younger than high schoolers but it is still very knowledgeable and important for students to learn. Another thing that I liked about part two of this game was that Lena is Jewish and you as the player get to learn so much about Judaism and Jewish traditions, which reminded me about what we were learning about in class regarding the Squire reading that video games can help us to understand people who are different from us and see things from other perspectives. This video game is very interesting and engaging, but it is also challenging because sometimes you will think a certain decision is right for Lena to choose but then it will have certain consequences that I never saw coming so it’s a lot of learning from your mistakes. It’s just like the video gaming principle of sandboxes in the Gee reading– players can face real risks and dangers that arise from their actions but there are no real consequences, allowing them to learn from the wrong decisions they make.
All images from Mission US : “City of Immigrants”