innovation

Seeking Teachers & Entrepreneurs

Seeking Study Participants: Teachers and Entrepreneurs who Innovate with Technology in or for K-12 Schools

Dr. Joan Hughes and Adam Papendieck, educational researchers from the University of Texas, are conducting research to understand how teachers and entrepreneurs innovate in K-12 schools. We are seeking the following people to participate in our study:

  1. Teachers who are innovating with technology in K-12 schools (i.e., integrating edtech products to solve educational problems.)
  2. Teachers, currently teaching in K-12 schools, who have developed edtech products for K-12 schools.
  3. Teachers, who have taught in K-12, who have developed edtech products for K-12 schools, and who have left the K-12 teaching profession to focus on their edtech product(s)/company for K-12 schools.
  4. Entrepreneurs/developers/inventors of edtech products or companies who never taught in a K-12 school.

Participating will involve no more than two interviews (about 60 minutes each) in person, by telephone, or via digital conference at a time of your convenience. We hope to learn about how you approach educational innovation, what networks and resources you use in your work, what difficulties you encounter, and how to create positive impact in schools.

We’ve included a consent form (https://goo.gl/fNGtfo) for your review that describes the purpose of the research and conditions for participating. If you would like to participate, please contact Adam Papendieck (apapendieck@utexas.edu).

Thanks for considering this!

Dr. Joan E. Hughes

Associate Professor in Learning Technologies

UT Austin College of Education

joanh@austin.utexas.edu

Adam Papendieck

Doctoral Student in Learning Technologies

UT Austin College of Education

apapendieck@utexas.edu

Slow Pitch: An EdTech Design ThinkTank (a 2016 SXSWedu Proposal)

In collaboration with Sean Duffy, founder of the EdTech meetup and co-founder of EdTech Action, an edtech incubator, we developed what we hope will be a transformational summit for all participants and attendees at SXSWedu 2016. We’ve summarized our proposal below and would love your feedback. We still need to get our proposal accepted so stay tuned – later in August, we’ll call upon you to vote for it in panelpicker! If we are lucky to earn a spot at SXSWedu next year, we’ll open up an application process to invite edupreneurs, teacherpreneurs, and edtech startups to apply to participate.

Slow Pitch: An EdTech Design ThinkTank (#slowpitch)

Organizer: Dr. Joan E. Hughes

Moderator: Mr. Sean Duffy

Join an interactive pitch session where startups, mentors and the audience will dialogue and hone startups’ products so that they will transform learning and penetrate school markets. Selected edtech startups (follow @techedges and @dearmrduffy to apply) will provide demos, evidence of real/potential impact, and marketing/monetization plans prior to SXSWedu. At the summit, we’ll cultivate a focused, generative dialogue between the startups, the 10+ educator, research, and business mentors, and the audience. Audience participation will be curated throughout with twitter, polls, and open-mic opps. This design thinktank will help emerging edtech advance and innovate.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Experience a design process for edtech development that includes input from a wide array K-12 and business mentors to increase technology adoption
  2. Assist edtech startups in crafting their products/missions to transform young people’s learning and/or teachers’ instruction
  3. Work through edtech goals, design, development, funding, and business complexity with mentors from education, technology, and business

Mentors:

  • Ms. Rafranz Davis, Executive Director of Professional and Digital Learning, Lufkin ISD, Texas
  • Dr. Joan Hughes, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Learning Technologies, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Dr. Janice Trinidad, Ph.D., Veteran Science Teacher & Instructional Coach, Manor New Tech HS and ThinkForward PBL Institute
  • Mr. Marc Wright, 12th grade student, Round Rock High School
  • Mr. Eric Silva, Undergraduate Student, Computer Science, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • Dr. Gloria Gonzales Dholakia, Ph.D., Parent and Executive Director at Leander ISD Educational Excellence Foundation
  • Ms. Carolyn Foote, Librarian, Westlake High School, Austin Texas  
  • Mr. Lincoln Turner, EdTech Entrepreneur at Wizzimo
  • Ms. Angela Lee, Assistant Dean, Columbia Business School & Founder, 37 Angels
  • Developer, to be announced

4 Questions & Answers about Technology Integration (from a journalist to me)

A journalist, Emily S., is writing a piece about 1:1 technology initiatives for the Highland Lakes Newspapers (The Highlander, Burnet Bulletin, Llano County Journal, Lake Country Life) and requested to ask me some questions. I share the questions and my answers here.

Q: What are some ways technology has changed the typical classroom? What do you think is the biggest change (for teachers, for students)?

Technology does not inherently change classrooms. But some uses of technology can change the approach to instruction shifting it from teacher-centric, teacher-controlled to instruction and learning that is more student-centered. This is more likely to occur when the technology is put in the hands of the students, as opposed to technologies that are teacher-centric, such as projectors, teacher computers, grading and attendance software. Putting technology in the hands of the students can give the learners more agency in their learning, in which they might be able to choose the best way to engage in a task. Or student might even design an inquiry learning task.

Given that, though, 1:1 implementations do not always create such a student-centered learning environment. My research and others in the field also show school classroom environments in which students who all have computing devices simply take notes of teacher lectures or creating presentations that summarize textbook chapters. In these settings, the technology is having no impact toward changing pedagogy or learning.

The biggest change is vastness of information on the Internet and available apps. Schools think that they’ll eliminate textbooks in order to buy laptops or tablets. But this shifts the curricular development onto the shoulders of teachers who are not only trying to learn a new technology but now also have to curate an entire year’s curriculum using open educational resources (educational resources that are available on the internet for free) that are seemingly endless. While the idea of having teachers create their own curriculum and choose resources is amazing, this responsibility cannot just be dropped onto teachers’ shoulders with no notice, support, or resources for development.

Q: How can teachers avoid side-effects of technology, such as decreases in attention spans, being easily distracted?

The best way to avoid students from being distracted (daydreaming, shopping on the internet, ordering take-out for lunch, playing off-task games) is to create vibrant, interesting, motivating lessons that involve students in interactive ways that lead students to developing new knowledge (that solve real problems – even better if the problems are community-based!).

Q: Do you think students are apt to give up more quickly when the answers don’t come easily? (Students might get used to instant answers, in other words…)

Motivational theory puts forth that learners maintain motivation when given series of short, attainable goals that have importance. Designing instructional activities, then, would lead a teacher not to create assessments that have short, instant answers, but instead are complex problems that require inquiry. The answers are unique and are not necessarily known already by the teacher or the students. Through the inquiry, the teacher would work with students in developing small goals that, as each are completed, help the students move farther towards solving the larger problem.

Overall, students are not motivated by worksheets that ask for one answer, which reflects information easily found in textbooks or on the Internet.

Q: Do you think using technology in the classroom makes students less sociable? How can teachers avoid this pitfall?

For the most part, I do not think that technology in the classroom makes students less sociable. But it all depends on how the teacher organizes the use of technology.

If the teacher implements a “personalized” tutoring software in which students put on earphones and listen to problems on a computer screen and answer multiple choice questions individually, then YES this approach to the use of technology makes students less sociable.
If the teacher implements an inquiry-based lesson in which students (in groups) are using tablets to collect data about our social world, pull the data into data analysis software (such as spreadsheet or visualization tools) and find answers to the inquiry, then NO, technology IS supporting social learning, which is optimal for learning to occur.

Most contemporary technologies are social and interactive technologies. Educational apps that do not have features that allow collaboration, sharing, and publication are not supportive of optimal pedagogy and learning.
The general public can simply reflect on what technologies motivate them to engage? They will most likely realize the technologies they are excited to be involved in involve small doable challenges (video games with levels), social interaction with other people (Facebook, twitter), interest-based social groups (the biking club, the knitting club), creating or sharing (e.g., a writers group, photography site).

Situational ingenuity of teachers: The key to transformative, content-focused technology integration

Yesterday, I spent a very enjoyable day at the University of Houston, Victoria School of Education. In addition to meeting with them to discuss their new educational technology degree program, I presented for a colloquium that drew university professors, PK-12 teachers in the Victoria school district, and university students. I met several 5th grader teachers – two who were sitting near each other and work in two of the more rural schools in Victoria – so they got to meet each other. There was a gentleman who taught a plethora of subjects at a high school – crossing both science and history. I met about 6 undergraduates who are earning their degrees in teaching. And UHV university student recruited his mom, also a practicing teacher, to attend. Several of the COE and UHV administration was also in attendance. As advertised, it was quite a diverse audience.

In my presentation (see below), I share my vision for the use of digital technologies in education. I refer to it as transformative, content-focused classroom technology integration. I illustrate this concept through 3 stories of practice: from teachers, a school and its district, and a college of education. Tom is a mathematics teachers who designs a lesson with ropes, video, ipads, and graphing calculators to help students learn to write an equation for a trig function. Hilly High School began a iPad learning innovation in which all students receive iPads – I share how they developed their vision which included both a technology-focus and a learning-focus. Finally, I share data on preservice teachers’ use of social technologies and discuss how COEs could design a set of experiences that would develop preservice teachers to be connected educators. These will show the possibilities but also many of the challenges involved in this work. In these stories, I hope that you’ll discover ways that you, as a teacher, a school leader, a teacher educator, a parent, can assist in this transformation. I end by describing “situational ingenuity” and how I see teachers as most interested in this challenging work in their classrooms and how I see it as the key to designing content-focused, technology-supported innovations in classrooms.


Chapter Publication: “The Iron Grip of Productivity Software within Teacher Education”

We are pleased to announce the publication of our chapter, “The Iron Grip of Productivity Software within Teacher Education” (Ch. 12) in the new book Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education Programs. I co-authored this chapter with several Ph.D. students in our Learning Technologies program, including: Gloria Gonzales Dholakia, Yu-Chi Wen, and Hyo-Jin Yoon.

Our chapter’s abstract:

This chapter discusses several challenges and recommendations in obtaining the desired outcome from technology-rich teacher education programs, including a novice teacher prepared to make decisions supporting students’ subject-area learning with technology. The authors shape the discussion using select findings from two studies of preservice teachers enrolled in a technology-rich teacher education program at a U.S. university. The authors discuss the importance of the modeling relationship between instructors’ and preservice teachers’ experiences with digital technologies and describe productivity software’s enduring grip as the most used digital technology among preservice teachers during teacher education – even in technology-rich teacher education programs. The authors argue that teacher education’s overemphasis on productivity tools is not adequately preparing new teachers for the knowledge society in which teachers live, work, and educate. The authors argue that educational change, such as shifts toward technology-rich teaching and learning, will only be successful with a concerted change effort in both teacher education programs and PK-12 institutions.

Please see our full Chapter Description and ordering information. You may read the abstract and first page of the chapter in this PDF sample.

Browse the book’s Table of Contents with its 34 chapters.

If you are unable to secure a copy of our chapter, please email me [joanh at austin dot utexas dot edu] to get a copy.

 

 

iTeach & iLearn with iPads

I have begun a collaborative school-university research project examining: What happens to the culture of teaching and learning in a high school when iPad tablet technology becomes ubiquitous? Our project is called “iTeach and iLearn with iPads.”

In our digital society, schools are purchasing new technologies, like the iPad tablet, for teaching and learning. However, no research currently exists that examines how iPads and their software apps assist in students’ learning and teachers’ instruction in school subjects. Our ethnographic research examines one high school’s culture (knowledge, beliefs, and practices of students, teachers, school leaders, parents, and community) as they use iPads to participate in content learning and develop media literacy.