Author Archives: Andrew Yeung

TELE Design

Echoing Kozma (2003) and Roblyer (2012), ideal pedagogical TELE design restructures classroom environments towards collaborative learning, where each teacher as ‘script writer’ contributes intentional goals towards purposeful vision for education. Jonassen’s (2000) definition of technology as providing ‘cognitive affordances’ helps reframe learning from computers and teachers towards learning with computers and teachers, thinking in meaningful ways accessing ‘mindtools’ to construct knowledge engaged by activities.

Designers create interactive environments (ex. physical classrooms and virtual spaces) as opportunities for students to move from passive consumers towards active constructors, facilitating knowledge acquisition and application, individually and collectively to critically solve problems. Based on gamification, designers should personalize instruction differentiating learners through achievable challenges, rewarding incentives and frequent reinforcement (Willis, 2017). Designing TELEs require creative reflection, exploring ‘intellectual tools’ given social context, experimenting through iterative prototypes by trial-and-error, keeping recent with literature on changing technological relationships. Teacher perception and professional development are key factors affecting success, wrestling between technology as substitute or supplement along with other social dynamics.

Willis, Judy. “A Neurologist Makes The Case For The Video Game Model As A Learning Tool”. Edutopia. N.p., 2017. Web. 12 June 2017.

Trial and Error, Relationship, Advancement

The interviewee is a colleague at my school, presently in his fourth year teaching in areas of Science, Math and PE. The interview took place in my classroom after lunch on a professional development day. Three summary points are elaborated below:

  • Trial and Error

Technology can at least be used for instruction, administration and interaction, where the interviewee described using computer-based technology: Tablets and projectors for teaching, Websites for announcements to keep up to date, and Online simulations like PhET and Youtube where students can explore. The interviewee explained how simulations help visualize concepts to understand phase changes for molecules, in place of stationary pictures in textbooks. Geogebra and Desmos likewise help learners connect with math, accessing through open source platforms. The biggest advice from him was “trial and error”, in that technology might not work after all, but at least you’ll know by trying it out. To confront fear of failure, he suggested not trying with the entire class, but maybe a small group afterschool first.

  • Relationship

The interviewee modelled a genuine and mutual interaction with students, receiving feedback to determine whether technology was successful. Certain students learn better with technology, while others disengage as phones can be distractions. He described how social media is always at their fingertips, possibly eliciting worry about their online presence the whole time. The interviewee emphasized being clear with expectations (ex. when to use technology), discretely trying not to make a scene. Of course that depends on students, though it escalates for him when student not only affects him/herself but those around him. Students want genuine teachers who acknowledge weaknesses, promoting collaborative attitudes like “let’s work on this together”. Otherwise student doesn’t want to participate when they don’t understand, perceiving teacher as the expert. The model is teamwork based, so educators don’t have to know everything, but can problem solve with colleagues and peers. Interviewee described how teachers often forget how good students are with technology, where learners can feel empowered to passionately share with the class.

  • Advancement

Interviewee described how when he went through school, while technology was not limited (ex. All The Right Type, Paint), it was very simple technology with limited programming even in computer classes. While Science and Math used different software, he would only rarely go to computer labs for the purpose of research. Sometimes even tried technologies like Powerpoint doesn’t work too well, presenting information too quickly for students to process. Interviewee recognizes that now technology is everywhere, so why try to hide something so powerful when “they can search up the world”. As such, the interviewee encourages bringing laptops for learning, exploring modern apps that make phones wonderful learning tools. The gender stereotypes that were prominent before are much less pronounced, as girls use modern apps equally shrinking possible gender discrimination issues.

Video Case Issues

One underlying issue arises from multiple functionality: Graphing calculators have capabilities beyond mathematical computation, serving as mobile computers with emerging potential and continual source of distraction. Calculator tricks provide automaticity to iteratively work out kinks, but may also promote laziness. Technology enhances learning helping to visualize concepts quicker and easier than paper concepts. Ideas can be observed during the process, which is more fun than writing all out, allowing students to engage even if they missed certain theory. Along with Clickers, technology enables tactile learning, participating with rapid feedback and peer teaching in risk free environments. Students view experiences as more hands-on than textbooks, acquiring knowledge of what to do without thinking about it. It frames homework less as questions assigned towards working for time period to accomplish goals. It makes me wonder how much background instruction is needed before teachers can leave students towards free inquiry. No doubt teachers use open questions as blueprints to have learners solve problems, playing without necessarily knowing the answer beforehand.

Gender equity was raised as another issue with differing proportions of boys and girls interacting differently with technology. Not only are certain subjects traditionally dominated by one gender, boys for example are stereotypically excited to try stuff, pulling on force sensors to test limits whereas girls maybe feeling less experienced are not as eager to explore, potentially giving up early. Here perhaps students can benefit through collaborative projects between interdisciplinary fields. Learners can focus on final products to inform the planning process, putting greater effort into presentations and developing media literacy related to curriculum. Accessibility issues are less common now as rarely do students lack home internet. What students were graphing on TI-83’s have evolved towards open platforms like Desmos, providing instant results for critical analysis with data interpretation.

Activity-based planning gives control back to students to balance traditional instruction, encountering personal teachable moments. Technology can be implemented at three levels: teacher-directed instruction, lock-step student and self-paced inquiry. No doubt students can teach each other, but again how much content do learners need before technology can be effectively used, and how is the role of teacher changing in response? 21st century learning is more interactive than transmissive, reflecting upon how to learn and developing transferable life skills. Technology can help bypass measurements and focus on key concepts over static components. Teachers can use problem-based learning for students to design labs, solving problems like friction coefficient with force sensors. Data Studio still requires critical thinking when computers show incredible detail, doing additional runs to average minor fluctuations. Everyone has a part to play in groups, with opportunities to correct in low risk environments.

Technology provides real-world relevance, giving students images that professionals work with to come up with similar conclusions. Computer simulations replace physical needs, though learners might feel disconnect lacking manual application, feeling like computers are merely programmed to do that, not actually representative of life. Many educators dream of incorporating technology, but simply do not have time to balance work, feeling pressured to know everything before teaching kids. Professional development workshops can help, though is easily forgotten without application. Another issue is lack of familiarity as some teachers begin with initial hatred, being unsure and afraid of technical problems. Colleagues can provide support networks to troubleshoot, though people may not want to continually be a bother. While upgrading technology, districts should prioritize training, introducing tools as early as teacher education programs, though pre-service teachers may find jumping into teaching is difficult enough already. An interesting perspective arose from one such teacher wanting to actively teach than watch students learn, viewing technology as medium and accessory. A possible response is letting go of being the expert, and promoting student ownership as it is much easier for students to pick up and conduct peer teaching. Group-based learning may come with noisier classes, but can often lead to surprising results.

Playing with Simulations

A good use of digital technology in the science classroom includes visualizing concepts in real-time, providing individual/group interaction to supplement instruction. It could involve having volunteers demonstrate for classes, or working in teams to solve real world problems. It should not replace formal knowledge, but supplement before, during and after learning. For example, playing with simulations promotes scientific curiosity, generating inquiry questions and exploring misconceptions to confirm/reject expectations, returning control to learners for active engagement and constructive participation.

What makes this a good use of digital technology is enabling students to be present in their learning, not passively memorizing facts but taking responsibility with curricula. During my practicum, I taught position-time graphs using a motion sensor that captured movements in real time. This semester (without access to necessary hardware) students played with PHET simulations to achieve similar results. With emerging technology, there will always be costs associated (ex. time, money, experience) that causes local challenges with implementation.

Dealing with Misconceptions

The video introduced graduates having similar misconceptions before and after formal knowledge (ex. seasons from earth-sun distance; lunar phases from eclipsing clouds). The clip then focused on Heather’s private theories (ex. peculiar orbit, indirect bounce), confidently holding onto confusing assumptions with interpretive frameworks outliving contradictory instruction. These misconceptions are basic ideas and lingering thoughts arising from experience and association, not limited to perspective drawings or abstract concepts, but depend upon everyday sense perception (where in the first example closer does suggest warmer). Students have firm beliefs or naïve preconceptions through spontaneous interaction with their environments, adapting new ideas to prior knowledge, isolating formal instruction from intuition. Misconceptions are often surprising, pervasive and resilient contingent upon existing frameworks, where students misinterpret common sense (Chi, 2005) with loosely connected reinforcing conceptions that do not match reality. At times misconceptions even share correct propositions, which can be accurate in parts but incomplete affecting ease of removal. Students are not blank slates, and unless sufficiently dissatisfied with old models, are unlikely to accommodate new theories (Confrey, 1990).

In response, Posner et al. define learning as conceptual change, modifying paradigms through assimilation and accommodation, historically valued for problem solving over prediction making, requiring layered adaptation and reconciliation. Learners must face dissatisfaction with anomalies and be presented with intelligible, plausible and extendable alternative frameworks to challenge conceptual ecology (Posner et. al, 1982). Educators need to first probe student understanding, providing counterexamples and critical barriers with different kinds of knowledge, giving time to sort out confusion with expectations. Have students give reasons for answers, redirecting representations to focus attention and understanding belief as arbitrary point of view, having gradual tolerance for inconsistency to reconcile fundamental assumptions. Students learn through peer teaching and correction, straightening ideas with tangible manipulatives, making viable adaptations upon empirical data and reflection. Teachers need to help learners be aware of continual competition between new concepts and old ideas to free them from private universes, giving value to process as well as outcome.


Chi, M. T. (2005). Commonsense conceptions of emergent processes: Why some misconceptions are robust. The journal of the learning sciences14(2), 161-199.

Confrey, J. (1990). A review of the research on student conceptions in mathematics, science, and programming. Review of research in education, 16, 3-56.

Posner, G. J., Strike, K. A., Hewson, P. W. and Gertzog, W. A. (1982). Accommodation of a scientific conception: Toward a theory of conceptual change. Sci. Ed., 66: 211–227. doi: 10.1002/sce.373066020.

All The Right Type

One of my earliest memories with technology involved learning to type with portable keyboards in elementary school. In the midst of learning to print and handwrite on paper, we were given smaller standalone keypads to interact with words on a digital display. We started finding letters on standard QWERTY keyboards, and progressed through spelling drills and contests for most words per minute. Reflecting on those moments reminds me to be continually amazed how far technology has come: Green screens have been replaced with color, small fonts with zooming functionality, tangible hardware to digital keyboards, etc. Some questions it raises for me however: while students learn to interact seamlessly with tablets (more naturally than parents can teach), is this generation losing out on the ability to actually write, legibly forming letters to communicate thoughts and shape memory?

Hello from White Rock BC

Hi everyone,

My name is Andrew Yeung, and I’m currently in my sixth year teaching high school in White Rock, BC. My background is in Physics and Chemistry, and I have the privilege of teaching the International Baccalaureate IB program as part of my course load.

This semester I’m taking my fourth and fifth MET classes (also taking 512), having completed 511, 500 and 510. As this course is specific to teaching Science and Math, I’m excited to explore different technologies to a) reflect on my teaching practice, and b) see where digital media can practically enhance the learning experience.

In my free time, I like going for walks and playing sports like Ultimate and Badminton. Looking forward to learning with you all. Cheers,