What’s YOUR aura?

Logan and Bill opened up a whole new world for me (and for many of you!) last Tuesday night.  With the exception of seeing a pilot training with a flight simulator at 15 Wing air base in Moose Jaw,  I had absolutely no experience with anything related to augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR).  I didn’t even know what Pokémon Go was until I started EC&I 833.  (Sacrilegious, I know!)  My thoughts were not unlike what Benita and Tyson shared in their posts …  AR/VR is just for ‘gamers’ – and there’s no place for THAT in my life or in my classroom.

My poor old brain was exhausted after watching/experiencing the demonstrations of SkyMap, Anatomy 4D, Aurasma, and Luke’s fascinating example of Splash.  Although it was totally fascinating, because I had such little understanding with AR/VR, I had trouble even seeing how it might fit into my teaching.

After watching how Bill used Aurasma in his Cree language instruction, I thought about setting up something similar for my daughters to use to practise their French at home in a fun way.  I might still do this, but, when a teacher-related idea popped into my head, I decided I was going to run with it!  (After reading Angus’s post in which he states, “[AR/VR] are loaded with potential and possibilities and they absolutely need to be part of the teachers toolkit in the future as they have the potential to take learning to entirely new levels”, I was glad that I chose to try this out with my students.

I recently tweeted about my Information Processing 10 students exploring some apps that I learned about in class, including Kahoot, Plickers, Quizizz, Mentimeter, Socrative, and QuickKey.  After each small group created and administered a twenty-five question quiz for their classmates using one of these apps, they collaborated in a


Google Doc to summarize their findings.  (I’ll share a link to the Google Doc, once it has been finalized.)  Exploring these apps was so much fun that I decided to extend the project.

I signed my class up to present at the next after school “Appy Hour” that’s

happening at my school (February 2017).  They were just absolutely thrilled that I did this.  Photo Source

Since discovering the world of AR/VR, I thought, “Why not use Aurasma to introduce the teachers to all of these great apps?”  My plan was to get my students up and running with Aurasma on Monday morning but, due to some nearby construction, my school had no water that day (holiday for the students!).  When I met with them this morning, we jumped right into this new technology.  Unfortunately, one hour was nowhere near enough time to really get using this program.

As my students had no experience with AR/VR, I started off slowly – sharing a couple of videos that I found on YouTube.  This video shows some great ways to use Aurasma with high school students, but it’s not a “how to” video:

This next, simple video was a huge help in understanding how to create a simple “aura”:

In watching both videos, my students and I realized that we would need to do a lot of prep work before we would be ready to create auras about our favourite assessment apps.  Here are the steps that we will follow when completing this task:

  1.  Print our Google Doc, split into five parts for the five apps. (Completed)
  2. Split each section of the Google Doc up so that each student has a small speaking role. (Completed)
  3. Print three different logos for each app that we studied so that each student can create her own aura for her app. (Completed)
  4. Re-do the quizzes that we created on the apps and take some screenshots along the way.
  5. Record some short screen casts using Screencast-o-matic.
  6. Capture the app logos in Aurasma.
  7. Add the screen casts as overlays.
  8. Set up our channel(s) and upload our auras.
  9. Test out each others’ creations!
  10. Hang up our assessment app logos at our February Appy Hour and assist teachers as they move about the room and (with an iPad), explore these apps using Aurasma.

Some details …

Videos used as overlays in Aurasma must be fewer than 100 MB.   From what I have read in our Google+ Community, this limits our screen cast length to about 1 minute for each student – for a total of 3 minutes of detail for each app.  This should be enough time to give the teachers who attend Appy Hour a quick introduction to what each app looks like, how it could be used, and in what format the results are available.  The other details about the apps will be provided through the Google Doc that is shared with teachers who sign up for the link at Appy Hour.

I’m excited to get back into Aurasma with my students tomorrow morning.  I thought I’d better post the blog tonight and provide updates (struggles and successes) via Google+ or my Twitter feed.

Wish me luck… and, thanks for reading!


p.s.  In searching for more information about Aurasma, I stumbled upon a competitor known as Kudan.  I watached a few demo videos from the company website, but I wasn’t overly impressed.  It might be worth checking out, though, as it may have some features that Aurasma doesn’t have.

p.p.s.  Luke – thanks for introducing me to Nearpod in your post.  I think I’ll take my Law 30 students to Greece, Italy, England, etc. next semster… to see where law began!


ATs for ALL, please!!


Body Sox – Photo Source

Having been blessed with three healthy children and, as a teacher of able-bodied high school students, I didn’t feel as though I would easily relate to the assistive technologies topic.  Thank you, Heidi, Holly, Allison, Launel, and Benita, for your very informative presentation; it helped me to realize that EVERYONE can benefit from assistive technologies!

As this topic was so unfamiliar to me, I decided to start with the definition.  Expert, Dave Edyburn did a great job of “dissecting” the definition of Assistive Technology in an article shared by the AT group:


Photo Source and Full Text PDF

While reading Edyburn’s article, I came across the term “universal design” a couple of times.  This seemed related to the concept that Alec introduced in the chat room last Tuesday night:  “universal design for learning” or UDL.  I had never heard of this, so I did a bit more digging.  I came across an article, Assistive Technology, Universal Design, Universal Design for Learning: Improved Learning Opportunities, that used a “windshield wiper analogy” to explain what UDL is and how it differs from what school divisions do.  (Note: you will need to log in on your University of Regina account to access the full PDF.)

Basically, the analogy takes  you on a journey through various kinds of weather without functioning windshield wipers.  Quick fixes are suggested, different routes and approaches are tried, but, in the end, the person is still driving without a clear windshield.  This is not unlike how many students (and teachers) are forced to navigate through their own educational journey.   The authors conclude their analogy with the following statement:

“Today, the general education curriculum is quite similar to an automobile without wipers. It requires special accommodations, modifications, supports, and add-on devices to overcome the barriers in the goals, methods, materials, and assessments.”

In this same article, the authors state the following:

“A universally designed curriculum is a curriculum that has been specifically designed, developed, and validated to meet the needs of the full range of students who are actually in our schools, students with a wide range of sensory, motor, cognitive, linguistic, and affective abilities and disabilities rather than a narrow range of students in the “middle” of the population.”

“Teaching to the middle” was a practice that I had heard of – and that I likely do on any given day; however, I hadn’t ever considered how assistive technologies might allow me to better reach (and challenge and motivate and enable!) a wider range of students and even my own young children.

With this in mind, I went online to browse some AT products; I was amazed at how many items there were.  One of the more unique items that I found were “Body Sox”; these were designed particularly for children with autism or ADHD.   (Product information was found on the Therapy Shoppe website.)

bodysox-purpleBody SoxPhoto Source

Body Sox are meant to help calm children down and improve their body awareness, among other things. They can create a safe space when the world is overstimulating for the child.

Here are a few of the more universal products that I believe would benefit most, if not all, children at times!   I would be more than willing to purchase some simple AT tools to help my own children to be more comfortable in their environment, to be able to focus better, or complete their work more efficiently.  I am certain that, if they were financially able, many parents would agree.  There are some who might resist the use of such AT tools for their children for fear that their children might be “labeled”, teased, or ostracized.  This is yet one more reason why assistive technology should become commonplace in every classroom, for every student who wants it.


Weighted Lap Pad Photo Source

The weighted lap pad provides a sense of security to children who might feel anxious.  It is also said to assist people with self-regulation (ie. knowing what they are doing with their bodies at any given time and self-correcting).


Chew Stick Photo Source

These durable, textured sticks offer great oral stimulation.  They were listed under products for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, but I have seen many nail biters, thumb suckers, and sleeve chewers who would benefit from something like this.


Visual Timer Photo Source

Time is a difficult thing to grasp for many children (and adults, too!).  This timer shows how much time has elapsed since a particular task was started and how much time is left.  There is an option to have “beep” notifications as well.  I will definitely be buying one (or two, or three) of these, as I have a few little ones at home who are always asking, “How much longer???”


Wiggle Seat Photo Source

The name says it all.  These seats are great for children who have trouble focusing and really need to keep moving.  The seats both notify children when they are moving in their seats and also allow for enough gentle movement that the children feel relatively comfortable in their rather rigid desks.

In addition to assistive technology products, I am sure that there are certain educational practices that teachers can adopt in order to help all students to succeed in their classrooms.  One such practice that I stumbled upon has to do with keeping kids moving and engaged … and with allowing the comfort of small groups help students who might be shy in large group settings.

Chat Stations

With “chat stations“, the teacher posts questions around the room and small groups of students move around, discussing the questions before returning to a large group format to share their thoughts.  This is likely something that elementary teachers do quite often, but not something that I’ve really done with the senior students whom I teach.  I found this idea on a website called Cult of Pedagogy; it focuses on good teaching practices, regardless of subject, level, or purpose.  Jennifer Gonzales, site author, says this about teaching:

“Teaching is an art, a craft, and a science, and perfecting it is an ongoing, endless process.”

When I read this statement, it resonated with me.  The “ongoing, endless process” made me ask – once again – what can I do differently in my classroom to help my students to learn more effectively or more easily?  One answer that pops into my head is “mindset”.  Teachers must always have an open mind – a willingness to try new teaching styles, new assessment strategies, and new educational technologies.  After a couple of years of teaching with very little spark, this class has certainly ignited that fire in me.

This is a quote from a Reading Rockets article, retweeted by Heidi earlier this week, that helped me to have a slight shift in my thinking when it comes to AT tools:

AT doesn’t cure or eliminate learning difficulties, but it can help your child reach her potential because it allows her to capitalize on her strengths and bypass areas of difficulty. For example, a student who struggles with reading but who has good listening skills might benefit from listening to audio books.

When I read this, I thought, “Why not??”  Why NOT give children as many successful, encouraging experiences as possible?  The TEDx video by Henry Evans that Luke posted is the perfect example of this.  Here is a brilliant man who, due to a stroke at the age of 40, is now challenged by even the simplest daily tasks.  With the help of his “quadrotor drone”, Evans is able to independently do the things that most able-bodied individuals take for granted (opening the refrigerator door, browsing the Internet, etc.).  He said it best with his statement, “All of us have disabilities in one form or another.”  Why not enable each and every one of us to use our abilities to overcome our disabilities?

Henry Evans’ connection with and use of technology developed gradually, over a long period of time, and required support from his family and technology experts.  How can we expect teachers to help students use more complex ATs without the strong foundation that Evans had?   The Student Achievement Division of the Government of Ontario had this to say in their publication entitled “What Works:  Research into Practice”:

“[T]he multitude of rapidly evolving assistive technology devices and programs can leave teachers feeling unprepared for supporting their use in the inclusive classroom. To address this issue, school systems need to put in place supports to enhance teachers’ ability to effectively use assistive technology tools.”

I decided to look at my school division’s staff directory to see who might be able to help teachers to prepare for the addition of AT tools in their classrooms.  I was disappointed to see only four occupational therapists on staff.  (Keep in mind that my division is responsible for educating 22,000 students each year.)  There were 19 speech-pathologists listed, but their primary focus would likely be working directly with students, as opposed to assisting teachers with speech-related AT tools.  I know of at least one specialist whose role is to assist students who are visually impaired.  I didn’t see any other people who had that type of title in the staff listing.  There were three or four staff members whose title was “Intensive Supports”.  I imagine their role would be to help teachers who had students with very particular needs, but I’m not certain about this.  With everything else that teachers have to do in a day, I am certain that many feel that they simply couldn’t add one more thing … even if that “one more thing” might enable them to help more of their students to learn more.

Next year, I will be teaching a boy whose vision has been deteriorating for his entire life.  The visual specialist visits our school on occasion but, from what I have been told, this boy is quite reluctant to make use of the AT tools that she offers.  I hope that, as he completes his grade nine year, he begins to accept the support that is being offered to him.  Regardless of his willingness to learn about these tools, I will be making a point of familiarizing myself with all of the “best practices” for teaching severely visually impaired children.    … just another part of the journey for an educator.

I am looking forward to going from zero to sixty tomorrow night when Logan and Bill blow our minds with their virtual and augmented reality presentation.


p.s.  Krista, Erin, Heidi, Luke and Andrew (and others!), thanks for sharing in our Google+ Community.  I feel as though I’ve been missing a massive piece of the “educator puzzle”.  The videos, etc. that you’ve found and passed along will really help me to fill in some gaps in my teaching.

You Don’t Have to Be Socrates-Smart to Use THIS App!


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With each semester that passes, I get to learn more and more about what type of educator I am.  Most recently, I’ve been inspired to think more about what kind of educator I want to / need to be.

I truly enjoy planning and delivering lessons.  I like watching students faces as “light bulbs” go on …I like hearing them share their newfound knowledge with a classmate … I like being surprised by a question that they ask that I hadn’t ever considered.   What I don’t enjoy is assessment.  I try to live each day from the standpoint ofcheer “why put off until tomorrow what can be done today?”   … but I don’t apply this when it comes to marking the work that my students submit.  Nope.  There, in that situation, I like to use the cheer:  

“Give me a P! R! O! C! A! S! T! I! N! A! T! E!” (Okay… that wasn’t quite as effective as I’d hoped it would be.  Better when I do it in person.)     Photo Source

I remind myself on a regular basis that, without assessment, how can I be certain that learning is taking place?  In her article, “Every Teacher’s Guide to Assessment”, Amanda Ronan states that

“not all assessment is high-stakes, and when done thoughtfully, the right assessment can provide extremely useful information for all stakeholders—students, teachers, parents, schools, and policy-makers”.  

This is what I need to keep in mind when staring at a stack of exams or essays.  The feedback that comes from the RIGHT assessment can be invaluable.

Moreover, when it comes to assessing student work, I understand the need for feedback to students to be as immediate as possible.  Michael Epstein and his colleagues conducted an experiment in 2004 that thoroughly supports this notion.  He shares his findings in the Psychology Report article entitled Provision of Feedback During Academic Testing:  Learning is Enhanced by Immediate but not Delayed Feedback.  In this experiment, researchers were able to use technology to

“permit the immediate delivery of corrective feedback on an item-by-item basis”.

 (Yaaaaay, technology!)  The students who received this immediate feedback performed better on the final exam than those who received feedback at the end of the test or after a delay of 24 hours.

I am currently trying immediate, item-by-item feedback with my eight-year-old daughter’s weekly spelling tests.  Rather than dictate all of the words and then go through the whole list with her right after, I’m looking at her work (or – better yet – having her tell me how she spelled the word) following each word.  Elementary teachers, if Epstein’s findings have been refuted or if you disagree with this approach, please let me know.  I don’t want to be responsible for Willow inakyouritly speling werds in the fewtshur ;).

Back to the blog prompt…  my original plan, after enjoying the fantastic presentation by Nicole Reeve, Tyson Lepage, Jennifer Huber, and Natalie Schapansky, was to try out QuickKey.  quickQuickKey allows the user to scan students’ answer sheets with his/her phone to quickly correct their work.  I have downloaded the app and will definitely give it a try later this month but, after doing that little bit of research into the timing of assessments, I’ve decided to try out something that provides immediate feedback.   I thought about looking at Plickers, but Andrew did a fantastic job of reviewing that one, as did Nicole, so I wanted to try something different. Photo Source

After reading Natalie’s blog post about Google Forms, I was extremely interested in trying that out for formative assessment purposes.  formsI love that she used it to see the general level of comprehension of the class… but I know that there would be times when she (and I) would want to see the responses matched up to the student.  Given that I was only Google-fied in the past five or six weeks, following the start of EC&I 833, I am still unsure as to whether or not I can use Google Forms the way that Natalie did without setting up a Google Classroom.  I’ll have to investigate that further!  Photo Source

socrativeAs such, I’m going to sign up for Socrative (so-CRA-tive) and try to create a little online test.  Stay tuned…

Photo Source

(The next day…)

socrative-1I created my Socrative account … it was pretty simple!  I had to enter my email address, set a password, and type in my school name, as it wasn’t listed – and, as usual, “Agree to Terms” without reading the “Terms”!  Once I clicked “Finish”, this is the screen that I saw.  

I am going to try “Short Answer”, as my plan is to use this for my daughter’s spelling tests.  I’m hoping the novelty of “online testing and immediate feedback” will spark her interest and have her begging me to sign her up for the next Spelling Bee of Canada (words dripping with sarcasm, here!).  

(Ten minutes later ….  )

Okay – I just realized that using Socrative for spelling tests will only work if the questions are multiple choice, with the word being misspelled three times and spelled correctly once.  Not ideal, as this isn’t the format of my daughter’s tests.  (NOTE:  U of R psychology professor, Dr. Tom Phenix, recommends always studying for tests in an environment similar to that in which you will be writing the test.  For example, if you’re being tested on your skill as an underwater welder, you’d better darn-well be doing
some underwater welding in preparation!) What I
really need is to be able to audio-super-starrecord my voice dictating the French words and to have Willow type in the words and
receive immediate feedback.  Socrative isn’t the answer for this type of testing but,
upon further investigation, I discovered a little-known app called
Super Star Speller (by Fred Sauer) that, I hope, will dictate spelling words and provide immediate corrections.  Photo Source

my-spelling-testA similar app that I read about in the process of researching for this post is My Spelling Test (called Spelling Test by FunExam.com on Android devices).  The cost for this one is $0.99, so I thought I’d try the free one (half-time teacher’s salary here, folks! 🙂  Photo Source

Plan B … My IP 10 students have a unit test coming up, so this will be used as a formative assessment tool to see if they’re doing okay with the content thus far!  

I will create a quiz from scratch to test my students’ ability to identify the six different types of cyberbullying. Multiple choice format will be appropriate for this situation, but it certainly isn’t my favourite method of assessment.  Now here I go …

(Twenty minutes later…)

Creating the quiz was easy. I typed in the first definition (well, I actually used talk-to-text… love that feature!) then entered four Cyberbullying terms as answers – only one was correct. I could have entered more answers, but I felt that four would be sufficient. I then had the opportunity to identify which letter – A, B, C, or D – was correct.

Setting up each question did take a bit of time, but, keep in mind that I was riding shotgun on a Saskatchewan highway in a vehicle with four little girls in the backseat.  In case you didn’t know … four little girls = L-O-U-D !  In spite of the chaos, the little multiple choice quiz is all set … just waiting to have students to try it out tomorrow morning.  One more sleep! Just one more sleep!

(The next morning …)

Well, we did it!  Thanks to the amazing Ashley, these students had all used Socrative before.  I had a little bit of trouble launching the quiz, but I logged out and logged back in once my students had joined the room and it worked perfectly!  I could watch as each of them responded to the questions. I set the quiz up to give them immediate feedback on each question.  Here is the play-by-play!

What I saw when the students were answering …1

What I saw when the students had finished…  (It appears that I forgot to indicate which answer was correct for the last question!)


What I saw when I clicked “Finish”…


What I saw when I chose to “Get Reports”…


What I saw when I selected the option to export my entire class results to Excel (Whole Class Excel)…


What I saw when I selected “Question Specific PDF”…


What I saw when I selected “Individual Student(s) PDF”…



Students didn’t have to set up student accounts

Teacher account set up was quick and easy

I could watch as students responded to each question

I could download my quiz to PDF format

I logged out and, when I logged back in, I was still able to view my quiz results

I could export my results to PDFs for individual student details

I could export the full class results to Excel

I could analyze my results in a table format right in Socrative


Students couldn’t see the question once they’d submitted each answer

Isn’t really suitable for open-ended questions

Given the success of my first time using Socrative, I already have plans to use this program in my Psychology 20 course later this month.  I’m trying a totally different method of teaching the senses.  Rather than small groups presenting to the entire class, I’ll be having each small group move through stations in the classroom, where they’ll be learning from another small group.  Each “sense group” will present four times (allows the opportunity to perfect content knowledge, delivery of material, etc.) and, with only four or five students as the “audience”, it is hoped that the audience will remain more engaged than they might in a large group format.  In the Policy Brief document by UNESCO, “How Technology Can Change Assessment” , it’s stated that a very important outcome of assessment is that it can help us to

“make inferences about the quality of different specific learning experiences”.

 If I use Socrative to test what each student learned about the senses following these mini-presentations, I’ll have a better idea as to whether or not the “rounds” was an effective way to teach this content.

Thank you for the great post prompt and fantastic presentation about assessment!

p.s.  After finishing most of this post, I checked out +AllisonGritzfeld’s link to the assessment tool, Recap.  Very interesting!  It reminds me of how +AlecCouros used Flipgrid at the start of this course to hear a little bit from each of us and to allow us to hear one-another.  I doubt that Recap would enable students to watch each other’s videos, though… perhaps a disaster in the making for certain subject areas where one student might totally lead the rest astray!!   Still… Recap is something that I will have to try before the end of the semester.

Kickin’ it Old School



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As teachers, one of our most important roles (like it or not!) is to assess, evaluate and critique the work of our students.  As professionals, we are also asked on an annual basis, if not more frequently, to assess, evaluate and critique our own practice – but many of us complete these informal “self-assessments” after every lesson and, for some, after every interaction with a student or colleague.  Depending upon our position, we may even have administrators and other “higher ups” watch what we do and offer suggestions for improvement.  We are always learning – always improving.  (Or, at least we should be.)

In a recent conversation with my friend and colleague, Ashley Murray, she talked about a change that took place in her mind during one of Alec’s previous classes. She had long been opposed to allowing students the opportunity to rewrites tests or assignments.  After participating in a class discussion, perusing some blog posts, and reading one particularly convincing article, she began to look at rewrites in a totally different light.  Just like that – she opened her mind up to the possibility that there was great value in allowing students to redo poorly done work.  This is what being an educator and a lifelong learner looks like.

For about a decade now, I have described myself as a “traditional teacher”. I have remained “grass roots”.  I’ve been “kickin’ it old school”.  I’ve been wearing that label with some small sense of pride, thinking that it meant that I was an educator who got through the curriculum, kept students working hard, had high expectations for academics and behaviour, and didn’t allow myself to get caught up in all of the “fluff” that would cdodoome and go in the  educational world.  By “fluff”, I’m referring, of course, to the Internet and other fly-by-night technological notions that ruffle the feathers of traditional teachers.  I, like Logan’s mom, did not really anticipate technology becoming an inherent part of life.  I honestly thought that the tweeters of Twitter would become as extinct as the dodo bird.  I thought that Facebook would die like MySpace.  Boy, was I wrong.

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Thanks to this class and to the incredible classmates who share this journey with me, I am starting to think that my “Traditional Teacher” badge is getting a bit tarnished. It is time to get a new badge and to redefine myself as an educator for the modern ages. I want to be one of those teachers who knows and responds to her clientele – a teacher who can acknowledge that the world is a different place today from when I was a teen.  I need to prepare myself for the educational reform that is on the horizon so that I can help prepare children for their future, whatever it may hold.

Do I feel that my current method of teaching is harming the teens in my classes?  No.  They have learned what they were supposed to learn with respect to course objectives and – even more importantly – many very positive relationships have been established.  But, can I do better?  Yes.  I believe that I can change what I’m doing in order to better prepare my students for the world that is waiting for them after graduation – a world that will include Web 3.0.

Jackie Gerstein’s article, “Moving from Education 1.0 Through Education 2.0 Towards Education 3.0”, she describes Education 1.0 as being based in behaviourism; at the foundation of this type of education are the three Rs:  “receiving”, “responding”, and “regurgitating”.  I see myself as being this type of teacher during my first few years.  It allowed me complete control over the students and over the path that we would take to reach the required outcomes.

Gerstein goes on to define Education 2.0 as being more interactive, with the three Cs at its roots:  “communicating”, “contributing”, and “collaborating”.  Despite my description of myself as a traditional teacher, I believe that, more recently, my teaching approach might fit into the parameters of Education 2.0.  However, when Gerstein speaks of the “convergence of resources, tools, open and free information access” and the onset of Education 3.0, I cringe… and here’s why:

1)  Limitless Connections = Limited Control


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In her 2014 article, “No Silver Bullets: Hybrid High Learns a Tough Edtech Lesson”, Mary Jo Madda describes the drastic flaw in the design of a special school for at risk students.  Hybrid High was supposed to be “a space where students could move at their own pace and be engaged in self-discovery activities that would allow them to gain a higher level of understanding”.  Instead of this model allowing technology to empower and engage the students, it “de-emphasized the role of the teachers” … taking away any power or influence that the teacher had.  Hybrid High had to complete redesign its approach in order to ensure that technology would work for the teachers – and not the other way around.  The teachers needed to regain their control.

Reading Madda’s article brought up the same uneasiness in me that I felt in reading George Siemens 2009 article about connectivism.  There, Siemens talks about technology and its importance in Web 2.0.  He describes technology as “an enabler of new opportunities” and acknowledges the ability of the Internet to connect people from all over the world.  With Web 2.0 and, even more, with Web 3.0, there will truly be no end to the tangents that learning could take.

As a teacher who determines her success by the completion of specific learning outcomes and content, how could I possibly control where this incredibly connected learning would take students?  Gerstein anticipates that Education 3.0 will allow for great personalization – for students to explore their own areas of interest.  How would I prevent them from taking off on tangents that interest them and, thereby, not completing the required content in the course?  This leads to my second fear…

2)  Assessment Nightmare


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It is SO easy to assess in an Education 1.0 environment. Education 2.0 … with its collaborative element … makes assessment more of a challenge, but still manageable.  As we get closer to Education 3.0, assessment becomes an elusive thing of the past.

In a recent tweet, international school leader, Brad Latzke, used this cartoon and checklist to describe how many teachers feel about the changes that are on the horizon:

The Cartoon


The Checklist

21C School     √

Tech                 √      

4Cs                    √

PLCs                 √

PBL                   √

Makerspace    √

SBG                   Uh-Oh

I had to look up a few of the “must-have” items on the checklist … I’ll share my findings for those who need them!

21C School = 21st Century School

Tech = Technology

4Cs = Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Creativity

PLCs = Professional Learning Communities

PBL = Project-based Learning

Makerspace = A place to collaborate and create (here’s a link to a quick YouTube about this!)

SBG = Standards-based Grading  (here’s an article to describe this grading practice that, though introduced about a decade ago, has still not gained the favour of many educators.)

In other words, despite having all of the characteristics of a 21st century school, many teachers still use out-of-date grading systems.  I am afraid that, even if I were able to adopt more of the Education 2.0 philosophies and – eventually – Education 3.0 practices, I would be stuck assessing students based on Education 1.0’s “regurgitation” approach.  How does one objectively evaluate learning in the very open, undefined space that is Education 3.0?  My final fear of Education 3.0?  Motivation.

3)  Motivation


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In her article, Gerstein describes Education 3.0 as being “characterized by educational opportunities where the learners themselves play a key role as creators of knowledge artifacts…”.  In my decade of teaching, I have never once taught a class in which 100% of the students were self-motivated.  When many students are unwilling to come to class regularly, to participate in or even listen to class discussions, etc., how in the world can we expect them to be creators of their own knowledge?  Sure – they might be more engaged if they had more control in their learning … but I don’t think that this would apply to all of them.

The need for students to be “self-determined” is inherent in Education 3.0.  This might be the greatest challenge for students to overcome as the world of learning changes.  Helping students to become “self-determined” learners might be the greatest challenge faced by teachers.

Taking a step back from Education 3.0 to Web 3.0, in his TedTalk, Philippe Modard describes this new web as “semantic”.  It seems as though, in order to use it effectively and efficiently, users will have to have a deep understanding of the language of web.  Who will teach students this new language?  If students have difficulty grasping Web 3.0, will they be able to function using Web 2.0 in an Education 3.0 classroom?

So, how do I continue on this career path and to keep from being stalled by these fears?  I will defer to the experts … and take baby steps.


Gerstein suggests that many students already have the skills that it takes to be self-determined learners.  A 2009 survey showed that many students have already taken learning “into their own hands”.  Perhaps they are more prepared for Education 3.0 than I believe them to be!

Sir Ken Robinson, in his TedTalk entitled “Bring on the Learning Revolution”, posted by Benita Struik, states that “education, in a way, dislocates many people from their natural talents.”  Wow. Like a stab to the heart for a traditional teacher. So, perhaps my previous comment that my (almost) past teaching style was not hurting anyone was a little bit off-base.  Come to think of it, I did have a student for whom the traditional classroom was especially excruciating.  Expecting him to function in an Education 1.0 – or even Education 2.0 – environment was like forcing a square peg into a round hole.  Andrew and Ashley – you know who I’m talking about!  Trying to teach this young man in a traditional way was not easy.

Robinson quotes Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 speech, saying that, “the dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion.”  In hearing this TedTalk (I truly could have quoted every word, as Robinson is very entertaining and incredibly insightful!), I began to think that trying to be successful in a Web 3.0 / Ed 3.0 environment and failing is, perhaps, better than not trying at all.  I cannot let my fear of the unknown cause me to stagnate with the other traditional teachers of the world.  And, for that student who was a square peg, and for all the other square pegs who go unnoticed, perhaps your time to shine has come.

In this post, I’ve spoken primarily from the perspective of a teacher – in particular – a traditional teacher who will clearly struggle with the introduction of Web 3.0 / Ed 3.0… at least for the first few years.  The same sentiments of lost control, fear of assessment, etc. would be felt by technology-averse students – only to a greater degree.  Students who live in technologically illiterate environments and who don’t have adequate access to the Internet and devices will fall even further behind when their teachers and classmates dive even deeper into the Web – unless they have the right kind of leader to support them.  It is my job to become that leader.