Tag Archives: Classroom

Webinar: #AstTechUDL #MAETBridge

As education has transformed, the challenge of using technology, especially assistive technologies in conjunction with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) concepts has become more complex. But what does that all mean? UDL has three primary components; there must be multiple means of representation, action and expression and engagement. While uncovering this framework, we wanted to better understand how to use it while ensuring all students’ needs are met. Additionally, we wanted to explore how assistive technology can come along side UDL to enrich learning for all learners in our classrooms.

We hosted a webinar on YouTube Live on Wednesday, August 9 

While having our conversations using Google Hangout and the twitter hashtags, #MAETBridge #AstTechUDL, we learned a lot and had great conversation with our four guests.

  • Marnie Diem – Coordinator of Technological Adventures at Hillel Day School
  • Mike Ryan- Research Associate at Georgia Tech in the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC)
  • Randy Brookins- 4th grade teacher with experiences at Children’s Healthcare of atlanta, and resource at elementary , middle and high school levels
  • Stephen Blosser- Assistive Technology Specialist at MSU
We discussed the framework of UDL and different types of assistive technologies. Low tech versus high tech was something discussed a lot. Our experts mentioned that there are many applications now that students can use to aide in their learning. However, one of our experts mentioned how important it is to teach our students which aide works best for their learning. Allow students to play with different tools, but ensure they realize that the ‘fun’ one might not work best for them. As teachers, we must also get to know our students both academically and personally to ensure they are engaged while learning.

Our last statement from Marnie Diem was that we should not use technology just to use technology, we need to use it with a purpose so it aides in learning.

Participating and hosting a webinar was new to all of us, but it was a great experience and we learned new tools and ways to implement UDL and utilize assistive technologies that best fit our students.

Hosted by Jocelyn Paez, Earl Whittemore and Emily Sherbin (MAET students)

Specifically for CEP 815

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STEAMlab

At first, going to a conference with MAET sounded great. I couldn’t wait to sit with peers in my program and learning from other educators about great tools and resources involving STEAM.

DFHDonMXsAAvAU5.jpgThen I come to find out that I’ll be one of those presenters, too. When the project was initially announced, I was apprehensive about presenting in front of teachers who have been teaching for longer than I have and to even figure out a topic. But with the help of my friends and group members, Bridget Bennett [@MsBennett4th] and Mary Ciotta [@MsCiotta], we figured it out.

Infographics. STEAM-Y Infographics. An infographic is a tool we have all used in our classrooms and with our students the past school year. We felt comfortable presenting and sharing this tool with other teachers.

The day of 517STEAMlab arrived and we were excited. We had eight educators in our audience including teachers and administrators. We started with a poll to gauge our attendees and we were happy to see that we had mostly novices and we could really impact their teaching.

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Our presentation went well and we felt successful as we had never had the opportunity to present at a conference. This experience made me realize that I, too, have something to share with the educational world.

 

Specifically for CEP 800

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My Dream Space

By following Berger’s flow of questioning, I can rethink how I want my classroom to look (2014).

Why does my classroom need to be redesigned?

Empathize: Room 105 needs a makeover. Although the construction is being done at Hillel Day School, this is what I want my classroom to look like. Right now, it’s a box. It’s boring, the space feels contained, it’s dull and outdated. There is a chalkboard. This isn’t the 90’s any more, we can upgrade.  When moving into my classroom, I made it bright and colorful to look visually appealing to my students. But I wonder if my students would have been more successful in a redesigned space.IMG_8838 Define: My classroom is small and I don’t have enough money to make changes myself. I want to create a space allowing creativity and idea generation. But how can I create this environment that can please my administration while allowing my students to coexist with one another as different learners?

According to Barrett, Zhang, Moffat and Kobbacy, students perform better based on multiple factors including color, choice, complexity, flexibility, connection, and light (2013). I have to redesign my classroom with these factors in mind.

What if I take away standard desks and create flexible seating?

Ideate: What do my students need? They need to be able to move around and be comfortable in the classroom. To learn best, they need the flexibility and choice of modular seating. I want wheels.

“Allow students time and space to choose what they want to do — their choices will illuminate their individual strengths” (Mau, O’Donnell, Wicklund, Pigozzi, Peterson 2010). This reflects the concept of multiple intelligences by Howard Gardner. Giving students the choice, I can expand their creativity and collaboration in addition to letting them grow and feel comfortable.

Changing the way the room is set up allows for a sense of veja du. This concept spoken about by Punya Mishra makes the familiar seem strange (2008). My students and I know this classroom, but when it is transformed they won’t feel the same way. I want to remix the space and make it a more successful learning environment.

How can I make this happen?

Prototype: If I had the unlimited budget and ability to transform my classroom this is what it would look like as designed on SketchUp.Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 2.35.42 PM
The walls and floor are painted with warm colors just as Barrett, Zhang, Moffat and Kobbacy suggested (2013). I have two dry erase boards on either side of the SmartBoard. I added cubbies to serve as storage for both myself and my students. Underneath the quote is a painted dry erase wall. The other wall is filled with windows allowing natural light to shine through.

I chose to have multiple options for students’ seating arrangements. There are three pods with stools and chairs. These are all on wheels to accommodate for students who need to wiggle and give me the ability to rearrange the tables. By having this option, students can work individually or in groups without the hassle of dragging a desk across the room. I have chosen to also have a high top table where students can sit or stand. In addition, there is a couch with small tables for a laptop or paperwork. These different seating options can be comfortable for all students as they get the choice to decide where they work best.

Click here to view a 3D model of my redesigned classroom.

Test: My vision for the new classroom might not be successful. But testing it out in phases can give me the knowledge to decide if it will work. I can bring in new types of chairs for kids to sit in and bring in a high top table. Students can play around through trial and error to see where they are most successful.

Right now, the space I have redesigned is small and might not be able to accommodate my big visions. Another implication is I might miss more open space for students to gather and move more fluidly throughout the room. If I were able to expand the space, I would feel more comfortable teaching here.

I want my students to have the flexibility to make connections with one another. By having the opportunity to redesign my classroom, I have seen how there are many factors to consider and each detail can make all the difference.

How would you redesign your classroom?

Berger, W. (2014). A more beautiful question: The power of inquiry to spark breakthrough ideas. New York, NY: Bloomsbury.

Barrett, P., Zhang, Y., Moffat, J., & Kobbacy, K. (2013). A holistic, multi-level analysis identifying the impact of classroom design on on pupils’ learning. Building and Environment, 59, 678-689. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2012.09.016

Mau, B., O’Donnell, Wicklund, Pigozzi, & Peterson. (2010). The third teacher: 79 ways you can use design to transform teaching & learning. New York: Abrams.

Mishra, P. (2008, August 4). Véjà du for the first time ever! Retrieved from http://punya.educ.msu.edu/2008/08/04/veja-du-for-the-first-time-ever/

 

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