Author Archives: samia

A Big Thank you

Dear class,

This week marks our official last week of class.

I’m honored to have been a small part of a lifelong journey of discovery and experimentation in the arena of digital technologies in math and science education. For me, it has been intellectually engaging and insightful to learn about you and your thoughts on teaching and learning challenging concepts in the math and science classroom. The growth in scholarship and pedagogical design has been laudatory as it has involved the merging of practice, experience, design, and theorizing.

We began this journey with our personal experiences of using technology.  These experiences often produced a shared nod and a chuckle at times as we recognized a common experience with technology. In analyzing our experiences, we were also able to unpack our assumptions of what good teaching with digital technology looks like and how we might teach with technology. We viewed video cases of others using digital technology in a variety of contexts, and from our examination of them, crystallized a salient issue of personal interest.  We also saw Heather in the Private Universe and learned about her powerful alternative conceptions about the solar system, prompting us to think about how we arrive at our personal conceptions and how enduring these early conceptions can be. This reflection launched seminal readings of the scholarship of Paul Cobb, Ross Driver, and Posner et al. who have articulated the fields of math and science education and conceptual understanding significantly. We read their work as we grappled with alternative conceptions we have witnessed with our students. This and other issues involving technology were explored further in in-depth interviews with our colleagues. Sharing excerpts from these interviews allowed us also to see that our educational settings shared some commonalities with each other as patterns began to emerge across contexts. Using research, we were able to frame these issues, in the form a cogent annotated bibliography. Many of these bibliographies were exceptionally concise at framing the issue relevant to STEM and using empirical research to deftly analyze it. For some, unexpected answers to long-standing questions were found. For others, the issue was personally salient but had never been explored using research before. A number of students who have previously graduated from this course have used their annotated bibliographies to inform papers, grants, district technology proposals, and future theses.  The next module focused on instructional frameworks that allowed an examination of multiple ways that such conceptions might be addressed. With a TPACK and PCK lens, four established frameworks were examined: AI, SKI, LfU, and T-GEM. We went into depth into this research. The breadth of these well-established projects also allowed us to examine affordances and STEM topics such as: pedagogical content knowledge (or how we teach particular topics in science and math), math for children with learning disabilities, various ways to scaffold inquiry and provide good feedback, and multiple levels of external representations and abstraction (symbolic, macro and micro) that are prescient in simulations.  We also looked at “pedagogical design” with multi-step coordinated approaches, sometimes using the technology (eg. WISE, GIS) or integrating other activities without it, depending on the goal of the teacher. Our foray into pedagogical design prompted a (re)consideration of the roles of the teacher and the students as being key to learning. With these vital roles in mind, we were able to design guided lessons and activities based on these frameworks in lesson 3. Syntheses of the frameworks were insightful as they each have something to offer. Looking back at earlier posts on technology, there was visible growth in our understanding of how technologies can be thoughtfully integrated with purposeful decisions about interaction with students; I very much enjoyed reading the activities you created in this module. Our final module embarked upon an exploration of embodied learning, mobilization knowledge, and the visualization of information with digital technologies for STEM. We discussed embodied learning research and explored how the body can move to learn math concepts involving shapes, rate of change, or concepts such as molecular motion. Our discussions on embodied learning allowed us to imagine how we might use mobile technologies with probes, graphing calculators, augmented reality, VR headsets and motion-aware technologies, and current mobile apps to name a few. Then, we explored the social construction of knowledge as it diffuses and is mobilized over virtual networks. Through this exploration, we had fun visiting online exhibits about bugs and mathematical conundrums at museums, traveling to ponds in Africa and across Canada in expeditions, viewing weather data from thousands of children in schools near our backyard and close to Antarctica with Globe, and diving to immersive games.  Benny’s conceptions, math in the streets, when the problem is not the question, and constructing scientific knowledge using guidance provoked us to think deeply about how we engage children in a dialogue with us, their peers, and their world about mathematical and scientific concepts. Finally, we explored how concepts can be visualized in math and science education with simulation and modeling programs, like NetLogo, GS, Illuminations, and PhET. You were able to share initial ideas for possible activities that integrated simulations and other forms of information visualization. Well-thought out multi-step and multi-cyclical approaches were generated for us to address challenging concepts in math or science. These designs of technology-enhanced learning experiences were further enriched by roles for teachers and students as they interacted with each other and the technology in a cognitive process to co-construct mental models. By the time this module will be over, we would have examined over 25 free on-line digital resources for science and math education. We also created a forum for sharing resources and it grew to include a number of technologies for our community of learners to try now and in the future. Your posts have been incredible for me to read as a number of you tried your TELEs out in the classroom, and many of us will be trying out the wonderful ideas for TELEs in the year to come.

As the course culminates this week, in many ways, your journey of education on teaching and learning with technology continues beyond it. Thank you so much for your participation, engagement in the material, and willingness to learn. You are an immensely talented and insightful group of educators. You do important work and have much to offer children and young adults with each interaction. Your journey doesn’t end here as your explorations for teaching math and science have also impacted each of us in positive ways and, in turn, our own students. On a personal note, I must let you know this was the most gratifying class I have taught (and I have never told a class that before). I told someone today that if I could continue teaching this group all year, I would. You were an amazing group of learners came together in the best way as a supportive community. Every week I looked forward to the gems in your understanding and trials and thoughts on technology. I have truly enjoyed this class as one of my best teaching experiences, and I must thank you so much. I would like to invite you to visit if you are ever in Vancouver. My email is Please feel free to share your contact info here if you wish to stay in contact. With great thanks for sharing this journey with me; I wish you all the very best now and in the future in education.

With a great many thanks, Samia

Planning multi-layered lessons with visualization

Planning multi-layered lessons with info-vis


There have been many well informed technology-enhanced lessons emerging in this forum, a number of which postulated the affordances of visualizing with the programs. Additionally, there were excellent examples of possible teacher questions and student responses in your posts in this forum. Some of your posts employed LfU, Anchored instruction, WISE, and others T-GEM, while also drawing upon the research on visualization in math and science learning to enrich your ideas. Challenging concepts, use of labs, demonstrations, physical manipulatives, affordances of digital and non-digital technologies,  and opportunities for dialogue and reflective tasks created a multi-layered enhanced set of activities. It is noteworthy that none of the lessons lectured the entire content of the math or science topic with an “add on” of technology at the end —arguably a more traditional approach to using technology in the math and science classroom. Rather, these emergent lessons illustrated, in effect, a substantiated pedagogy behind the use of the technology. The frameworks and tasks were varied, as well as the choices of digital technologies, underscoring an incredible growth of ideas that has occurred this semester and your facility with addressing challenging concepts in STEM in a well-integrated technology enhanced fashion.  Bravo!



Dear class,

I have read each of your syntheses and thought provoking replies to posts, realizations, and strategies to take forward into your teaching as discussed with your peers. In them, you undertook a comparative analysis of the four different TELEs of Module B, while folding in additional scholarship (c.f. from the International Journal of Science education, Computers and Education, edited books on GIS and AI, Educational Researcher) and making extensions to your personal practice in lessons that you have already tried out or plan to teach.

Bolded themes, color-coded cells and connectors found in integrated mind maps (Gloria), a Venn diagram (Anne, Josh), and collaborative c-Map (Mary) and a flowchart (Tyler). Tables were created with features; for several examples, check out comparisons on removal of scaffolding and identification of misconceptions (Michelle), scientific processes/mode of operation in the classroom (Vibhu), underlying theories of education (Haneefa), depth of tech integration (Lawrence), or specific affordances of the technology (Stephanie) to name a few. Imagistic representations also were constructed, including a key word search and infographic with symbols (Catherine), a wordle of abstracts in papers (see the size of particular words from Allison) and the Sway presentation by Dana (with images and comparative categories based on learning and knowledge). Collective, the depictionslent themselves very well to facilitating visual comparisons and interconnections among instructional approaches and teaching strategies for the class. Thank you for contributing these sound comparisons that could be used as a guide for the future on pedagogy.

A number of posts identified the constructivist nature of the pedagogies put forth in this Module (c.f. Anne, Darren, Josh), and indeed, they all stem from this epistemological standpoint. In this sense, the frameworks are a departure from pedagogies reflecting behaviourism (and content driven drill software) or technocentrism (and the limitations of AI and many CAI models) or pure discovery models (c.f Jerome Bruner by contrast with Ross Driver’s guided discovery). Our discussions came to life when specific math or science topics, learner preconceptions and misconceptions, and possible activities with students were raised.

There are almost few digital technologies that can (and some would argue should) tutor the student independently on math and science concepts or inquiry. At the same time there are few guidelines or approaches to teaching math or science with technology. The four Module B TELEs, as many of your posts suggest, each in their own way provide more specified guidance for teachers and multi-step methods for teaching science and math with (or without) technology than the common terms such as facilitate and guide on the side would suggest.

It was excellent to hear how several posts reflected on this by raising the role of the teacher as being integral to the design of the entire learning experience. Some of you extended this by highlighting the importance of the level of guidance enacted by the teacher. Others pointed to a teacher role in designing and enhancing collaborative experiences as a means to supporting the goals of the lesson. Jessica provided us with a series of circular representations and interconnections from the lens of a teacher’s TPCK that could be developed through the use of these TELEs.

Untethered from the software itself, the customizability of the TELE stretched beyond interfaces for many of you in your previous entries, to think about other digital technologies (or selecting no digital technology in some phases), school resources, and a spectrum of roles for students. Our pedagogical frameworks in this Module offer comparatively rare evidence-based models to integrate a variety of digital technologies with teaching methods and strategies applicable to STEM. It was enlightening to read the multiple ways such pedagogical frameworks could inform the k-16 landscape of teaching and learning contexts herein, Samia

Around the World with…the Learning for Use Pedagogy

Around the World with…the Learning for Use Pedagogy

I enjoyed reading your great subject headers for this forum-they are a way to entice your audience to read your post. Thank you also to GIS newcomers who have taken on the challenge of learning new software over the last ten days! As several of your posts hypothesized, GIS software has technological capacities to assist us in the construction, visualization, and analysis of geographic information. I have read each of your posts and responses. The research on student alternative conceptions, constructivism, learning with the LfU pedagogy, and other pedagogical frameworks we have studied in Module B such as WISE were reported well in your posts to support your ideas about teaching. There were also incorporation of quotations directly from the research by that enriched our discussions of how we might teach math or science as an integrated experience.

LfU as a pedagogical framework was applied across many different subjects and topic areas in your examples of how to teach. For example, what the LfU framework does, is it packages these principles up in a clear, understandable way. (Similar to Newton’s Three Laws! At least for me…) So, the topic that I would like to touch on is one that I have taught for my entire career of 18 years—linear equations. Your posts on LfU were applied to teaching: math, earth science topics such as plate tectonics, social justice, science, teaching with literature, scientific inquiry, biology, engineering, environmental education, forestry, iconic building structures, and mapping the town in which you live. The variety of k-12 topics collectively illustrate how such a transfer of principles, concepts, and technologies can begin to occur across age levels and teaching and learning contexts.

We were treated in this forum to several examples also of how we might use LfU in combination with other digital technologies, such as interactive LfU lessons that used a SMART board, or LfU lessons with Gizmos through the Explore Learning website ( and its math and science topics which would allow students to explore such concepts as Weather and Climate, Tidal Effects, Seasons, and Topographic Maps rather than GIS. An additional example in the same vein as the drawings by Camilla, using LfU and iMovie and an online game, “[students] could create an evolution video on how their world was formed using iMovie or other similar software applications; Activity 2 is a teacher-led discussion on the concepts of red blood cells, antigens, and antibodies using analogies like donuts and sprinkles, animations and videos for visualization purposes, as well as manipulative models using tools like Play-Doh so that different learning styles are touched upon during the activity….Students are then taken to the computer lab where they all have access to the Blood Typing game (2017) presented by that helps students practice blood transfusions on fictitious patients in attempt to save their lives.  Another example, to name a few: Desmos Faces were integrated in an LfU framework for a math lesson: Through an inquiry process, students eventually construct a simple face using horizontal and vertical lines. There is a collaborative component to the pre-made, online activity, as well. As reflected by authors in philosophy and science studies, scientific and mathematical thinking is mediated by interactions among people, and the various models, tools, and artifacts they work and think with (Latour, 1990; Lemke, 1998, 2000). This capacity to envision how a pedagogical framework may be applied to different technologies permits us to release being tethered to one particular tool and shift to overarching designs of the entire learning experience (or TELE). Well done in stretching your designs for learning for use to include an array of digital technologies.

Several posts raised students’ alternative conceptions: “water is always colder than land”, “water is always warmer than land”, “can light can be felt or heat.” It was further noted in your posts that students are not likely to change their understandings in science until they notice contradictions to existing ones and that constructing relationships is a way to breach this divide (DeLaughter, Stein, Stein & Bain, 1998). This “noticing” can occur independently but is much more likely to happen with teacher guidance and the creative design of the learning environment. We hear from Radinsky about what teaching strategies look like in an LfU environment, for example, the teacher can “review shared assumptions, reference from other’s work, combine separate ideas, create multiple shared representations, leverage peers’ language and clarify ideas, and then develop new shared explanations” (Radinsky et al, 2010). There were additional teaching strategies developed to support noticing, dissonance, and enrichment from your posts, for example: we could leverage forestry map overlay from arcGIS to examine how our local forest has changed over type…. My role would entail more the curation of generative data sets that the distribution of facts. Another example of teaching strategies: When working with measurement in math, and specifically with unit conversions in early high school, LfU-based activities can involve students exploring the actual space of the classroom, school, and school yard to look for patterns in relationships between measurements taken using different measurement devices… The teacher can help to build a common record of findings and patterns, working towards conversion rules.  Another example, to name a few, included assessments provided by the teacher where the teacher integrates LfU with varying levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, from knowledge and comprehension, to application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation of the world around them (Moore, n.d.) and a rubric (see assessments fr. Dana).

Your posts also explored how GIS technology might be used to learn about the local environment, with attention to using math or science to do so. To name just a few: Here in the United Arab Emirates using GIS is a rather new phenomenon. This puts the information into context.  We can then expand and take a look at iconic building in the UAE such as Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and the man-made Pal Jumairah and compare their square footage to their homes. Combining place-based learning with GIS tools offers opportunity for indigenous and western learners to gain a deeper understanding of their local world, and intuitively of the world beyond them. Inquiries related to physical environmental changes, population increase or decline of species, migration patterns and weather patterns are all relevant areas of situated learning for both indigenous and western learners. I liked the Google Earth activity of adding paths and polygons and how it could relate to our “Frolicking Friday” adventures. Every Friday we take our learning outside to our local area. Often this is in the form of treks down in the gully beside our school, and walks to our neighbour.

It was important that students’ cognitive processes were evaluated in tandem with the LfU teaching strategies and the cognitive and social affordances of various technologies. Your posts exemplified this analysis of what is happening with the student in these TELE: application and reflection are both critically important to the development of useful knowledge. It was one of the aspects of the WISE projects that I appreciated, there was time for the students to go back and revisit some of the information and reflect on what they had learned. Students need to be able to bridge the gap between the real and digital worlds (Perkins et al, 2010).  It is valuable to teach students how to use GIS when it comes to place-based learning because it gives them a tangible experience that they can relate to. It is important that students establish spatial awareness. Introducing the book in an interdisciplinary science and social justice activity: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: William Kamkwamba. William used his knowledge of science, his imagination and found materials to create a windmill for his town. He harnessed the only natural resource available and used it to better the lives of the villagers. Students could use Google Earth technology to view the African landscape and look for other suitable locations to build wind turbines. They are able to manipulate variables and “see” the outcome. To aid student understanding of basic bridge structures (namely, trusses), a domain specific bridge building simulator can be used to allow students to test and verify their ideas: reading Edelson’s description of the LfU process, I realised that my unit plan could be separated into the three stages discussed above.

These excerpts are just a few of the many richly detailed examples of your thinking about the guided integration of a framework with technology in support of student learning. Way to go all around (the world and the scholarship, I might add).

Best regards, Samia

Anchoring instruction (with PCK)

Dear class,

I am enjoying reading the posts and several extended conversations thus far analyzing the Anchored Instruction, Math Education, and Learning Disabilities literature. Anchored instruction continues to be used today not just in math but a number of different domains, including reading and special education. As you have already noted, it is an approach to teaching math that considers anchoring mathematics in situational problem-solving as key, and is yet different from other traditional and some contemporary resources and strategies available to us.

In response to the questions, a number of posts have been enhanced with analyses of anchored instruction, incorporating excerpts of problem-solving scenarios from the articles, findings from empirical research, and observations on video and digital technology included in the questions. Several of your posts thus far also have discussed the implications of teaching children or adults with or without learning issues (be they (mis)conceptions, learning disabilities, foundations in math, scaffolding learning, guidance and group processes, cognitive apprenticeship by older students, heuristics, visualization of a problem, “thinking out loud” to name a few) and cited the literature in some depth in this regard. Indeed, all of our teaching settings have students who require additional help.  There have also been several posts that have made connections to previous posts and a personal framing issues assignment.

Grounding anchored instruction with teaching examples from math (either specific to one of the Jasper videos from the situational video series) or particular math concepts or skills from your own context (eg. noting patterns, statistics, mathematical reasoning) has also been helpful in providing rich detail and begins to orient our discussions from PK towards PCK. I look forward to reading more of your thoughtful responses as the forum continues.

Thank you for all of your informed ideas on teaching math,


PCK and TPACK in Module B

Dear class,

It was great to read how you are thinking about TPCK  in terms of your own practice. PCK and TPCK or TPACK will help to frame our discussions throughout Module B. A few “snapshots “of ideas and questions are collated  below. (You can search using the text to locate and read more about the teaching strategies used by our class members). As you are reading them, it will be useful to think about which strategies you would like to try? How would you modify them to support TPCK in your teaching context?


  • Jigsaw Research. Individually, students are each responsible for one part of the content knowledge.
  • Scientific Inquiry. Write out the steps to make an ice cream sunday.
  • Solar system. Students created models of our solar system not in the usual sense but rather to scale (obviously with in reason but they had to understand that and explain it). This activity required students to use math skills in measuring and finding replicas of the size of each planet in relation to each other. It involved problem-solving and collaboration ( I can’t tell you how many groups ended up frustrated when they chose thin thread to represent the distance- thin thread tangles easily and when it is metres long it is even harder to control). Students had to figure out how to store their projects so they didn’t return each day to a jumble of threads. In addition to their own amazement at the distance of the planets from each other and their size they also had to find a way to demonstrate this to students in grade one and two.
  • Digestive system. For example, for a science unit on the human body, my students and I explored, together as a class, the digestive system, which included some textbook reading (read and discussed together as a class, not individually), a look at x-rays of human intestines (belonging to a colleague of mine who recently retired and passed on a set of old x-rays to me – the kids love them!), student diagrams/models, and so on. Once we have done one body system together, students are sent out to research and become “experts” on one other body system that they will be able to share with their peers.
  • Sig. figs. significant figures to real world data. Following discussion of these topics, students then complete a mini lab where they use lab equipment (such as meter sticks, rulers, calipers, tape measures and various graduated cylinders) and apply those concepts to practical measurements. They are faced with four problems that involve measurement and calculations that will assist them later in the course.
  • Structures. One of my favorite science units to teach is Structures, Mechanisms, and Forces. During this unit the students build a variety of structures out of different materials, for different purposes, and make observations about the process. As a way to bring the unit together at the end we do a study of Rube Goldberg and his fantastic machines.
  • Fractions When I teach students about fractions, I spend time developing understandings with physical manipulatives (e.g. coloured cubes, fraction magnets, egg cartons and marbles, fraction pizzas) and digital simulations in Smart Notebook or on the iPad, and then move into the more abstract concepts of the written algebra.  This comes to mind as an example of PCK (or TPACK
  • Bridge building. My own personal experience with TPACK (although I did not think about it in such terms) came in a Science & Technology 11 course in which I did a unit on bridge building.  Throughout the design of the unit I went through the various stages that Shulman discussed, from comprehension (understanding trusses and force distribution), to transformation (planning lessons and designing activities), to instruction (lessons), and evaluation (assessing their final bridge projects).
  • Algebra. One strategy that I have only recently used, is to teach/review algebra with my FPC Math 10 (academic math) class, having the students sit in pairs of their choosing. Each pair has a table top whiteboard (London Drugs sometimes clears them out…), marker and eraser.  I review the basic “moves” and reinforce opposite operations and remind them that the order of the “moves” is important (“Reverse BEDMAS”, usually helps them remember).  Then, we do a series of increasingly difficult algebraic problems, WITHOUT variables. For example, rearrange “2 + 3= 5” for 3
  • Lunar phases and tides. I sent the students an excel file with data on the times when the ocean was at high tide and low tide. We had spent some times prior discussing the phases of the moon and the gravitational influence on the ocean water.  Then they investigated how the times changed different times of the year in different regions of the world. They choose a country and researched how the changing phases of the moon, seasons and orbit impacted that particular country certain times of the year.
  • Telling time. Digitally I use an interactive clock on the smart board to practice telling time, and I also have children engaged in time games which helps solidify understandings in a fun way.
  • Biology. Blood types and transfusions shows up in the biology 30s Manitoba curriculum under the circulatory system. The presence of antibodies is explained and the Blood Typing Came from ( is used to help gamify transfusions and help the development of the concept in an engaging way.  I suppose this is where I use technology and essentially  I am using TPACK at this point in the lesson.
  • Learning plans. One example of incorporating PCK in my own teaching is in constructing individualized student learning plans for each of my students. As a distance learning teacher, I work with each student individually rather than offering a standard course or program.  Throughout the year, the student learning plan evolves as necessary,

For several you, (re)reading Shulman helped to clarify ideas and raised new questions, such as: What sort of balance needs to exist between content and pedagogical knowledge? I was struck by quotes I hadn’t really even noticed before. For example, Shulman (1986) states: Teachers must not only be capable of defining for students the accepted truths in a domain. They must also be able to explain why a particular proposition is deemed warranted, why it is worth knowing, and how it relates to other propositions, both within the discipline and without, both in theory and in practice. TPCK is useful to think about as we engage with examples of TPCK in this module.

Thank you for your contributions towards this organizing framework,


A conversation with Punya Mishra

Dear Class,

I really enjoyed reading this week about how you would teach particular content in your classrooms or organizations. In each thread, where possible, I tried to identify the “PCK” in the post, as it will be helpful to orient future posts by you in Modules B and C.

The concept of PCK has had tremendous influence in educational research. And more recently, TPACK has emerged as a new concept. As your posts emphasized in this forum, PCK suggests that educators have (or ought to inspire to have) a specialized knowledge base that goes beyond content or disciplinary knowledge or knowledge about how to teach. As shared earlier, Shulman calls the knowledge of a teacher an “amalgam.”  The amalgam includes the two aforementioned knowledge bases plus knowing how to teach particular content (or as some view, what is it about the content that makes this teaching method appropriate). In addition to the techne (or the how we teach particular content or topic areas), Aristotle suggests that we also articulate the value of doing so this way.

The technological domain or (T) put forward this idea that teachers not only need PCK but knowledge of how to teach particular content with particular technologies (TPCK or TPACK). TPACK is a powerful concept that has been reflected in recent dissertations on it. I have written about TPACK in some of my papers (Khan, S. (2011). New pedagogies on teaching science with computer simulations. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 20(3), 215-232).

In a recent conversation with Punya Mishra, I talked with him about the TPACK concept. We discussed how do we best delineate the “interstitial spaces” of this concept. Dr. Mishra shared with me that he is impressed by new questions from students that have taken this concept and attempted to delineate mergers where T meets C, K, and P. What do these look like? Your posts have begun this conversation this week. We shall endeavour in our discussions in Module B and C to think in terms of PCK and TPACK using topics of your interest.



These Challenging Times

Dear class,

Cullum wrote the poem,

The robin sang and sang, but teacher you went right on.

The last bell sounded the end of the day, but teacher you went right on.

The geranium on the windowsill just died, but teacher you went right on. (Cullum, 1971, p. 58).

In the spirit of Cullum, I have been compelled to write given the tragedy in Canada. I know many of you are reaching out to your own students this week about painful events in the US and Quebec City. We cannot hear accents, see physical limitations, or know that you might wear a headscarf in this online place. In some respects, online education might be akin to a borderless classroom. I cherish the fact that we can and are able to participate in this environment.  But I recognize too that we must work to maintain an inclusive environment that honors the diversity of our community and society at large. This we can do with our welcoming words that communicate the value of such diversity with our students and colleagues. Our actions with our children, such as introducing a science project that began in a country from “the list,” might also go a long way too– and you will have other classroom ideas. I would also like to share with you a book about how institutions and organizations can respond to challenges in these times in society written by my colleague, a sociologist, Dr. Robert VanWynsberghe

Attached is a link to a statement from our Canadian Society for the Study of Education on the US and Canada sent today and below are resources for UBC students in these challenging times and responsive panel events being held at UBC.
Thank you for allowing me to share here, Samia
Sent on behalf of Diana Jung, Strategic Initiatives & Special Projects Coordinator-Wellbeing
Good morning Everyone,
In light of events in the U.S. and Quebec, we wanted to reach out to share some of the key supports that are available to the campus community.  As Wellbeing Liaisons, it is helpful to be aware of these resources and supports and to share them with your colleagues. Many of the following Vancouver campus resources were highlighted in a recent update/message to the campus community from President Ono ( (Links to an external site.)):
If you have immediate safety concerns for yourself or others, call 911.
Information about hate crimes:
The non-emergency phone number for the RCMP on Campus is 604 224 1322

Equity & Inclusion Office (Links to an external site.)
For anyone experiencing racism, harassment or discrimination, the best resource on campus is the Equity and Inclusion Office, in Brock Hall, 604 822 6353 or (Links to an external site.).
International students who would like to speak with an advisor about immigration questions or travel advice or questions about their student visa can contact International Student Development at 604 822 5021 or (Links to an external site.). After hours, you can contact Campus Security (Links to an external site.) and you will be directed to an on-call advisor.
Counselling Services (Links to an external site.)
Students seeking mental health support can contact Counselling Services (Links to an external site.).  Faculty & staff wishing to talk to a counsellor can call Shepell (Links to an external site.) Care Access Centre at 1 800 387 4765.
After hours community resources:
Vancouver Crisis Line – 1 800 SUICIDE (784 2433)
Crisis Centre BC (Links to an external site.)
Emergency Financial Support
Provides 24/7 security services, including safety planning, and can be reached at 604 822 2222
Chaplains at UBC (Links to an external site.)
Chaplains of several different faiths offer support to UBC students, faculty and staff.
Additionally – these events may be of interest to our community:
Students, faculty and staff wishing to express their solidarity can attend a vigil on Saturday, February 4 at the Al Masjid Al Jamia mosque: (Links to an external site.)
Ban the Ban: A Learn-in for UBC Students, Faculty, and Staff
This panel is an immediate and urgent response to President Trump’s Executive Order which imposes a 90 day suspension of visas and other travel documents on nationals from 7 countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen.  Join UBC Students and Faculty for a discussion that connects the ‘Muslim Ban,’ the Keystone XL/ Dakota Pipelines, and Standing Rock; historical precedents to the Order; and how the ban will affect Muslims in the identified countries and beyond.
St. John’s College, Social Lounge
Friday February 3rd, 2017
University of British Columbia
Unceded Musqueam Territory
Within the Vice President Students portfolio, we are working in collaboration with campus partners to address the needs of all students. If you have specific student concerns that are not addressed with the resources listed above, please let us know and we can work together to address these concerns.
Diana & Patty

Technology and Design

Dear class,

Like many of you have already expressed, I am very much enjoying reading the diversity of definitions for technology that have emerged from our class discussions thus far. We are learning together how each of you are conceptualizing technology. The additional definitions, readings, and visual images you are bringing in have enriched and broadened our scope of what might “count” as a technology. This is an important starting point in any program on edtech.

It is also interesting to note  how we sometimes conceive of ourselves as designers and what becomes designed in the math and science learning space. From the posts that I’ve read already, design is broadly conceived of as moving beyond the interface to include the environment and interactions within the environment.   As we enter Module B, we shall begin to extrapolate, extend, and elaborate upon our visions for technology-enhanced learning in math and science environments.

I look forward to reading more,


Thematic Issues are Revealed by our Analyses of Video Case Studies

Several thematic issues for STEM education

Dear ETEC 533,

I enjoyed reading each of your analyses of technology-enhanced learning experiences, as shown by the video case studies we viewed this week. The video cases that were viewed were of several different math and science learning environments in BC. Despite their different settings and contexts, your analyses of these video cases appeared to share several points in common, points which are definitely worth further reflection because they also seem to be recurring themes in much of the dialogue about technology in Math and Science. There may also be additional patterns of observations and analytic intersections that you noted as you read posts, so please feel free to add voices to this as we engage in a process of grounding issues and finding patterns in experience—both within the video cases and with our upcoming interviews. Thank you too for your creative subject headers to invite responses. Additional themes most welcome!

Theme on “Gender Inequity and Educational Technologies: An Issue Relevant to STEM”
One of the clear observations in your posts was about gender and technology in the math and science classroom. A number of you reflected on the different uses of technology by boys and girls. This and other observations of your classrooms raise interesting issues regarding gender and technology. A few emergent questions relevant to STEM that emerged for me are: Is technology use gender neutral? Do children assume traditional roles by gender (girls take notes, boys control equipment and make decisions or otherwise)? Are these roles changing today? Do STEM disciplines foster different relationships to technology compared to digital humanities? The conversation emanated from your analyses of the video. For example, Dana was compelled in the video case with Teacher F to raise that, “The issue that he raised that was most compelling to me was the notion that using technology within the classroom is a way to bring the boys back into the academic arena.  I would also agree that in the last ten years, girls have been dominating in both my Math 10 and Physics 11/12 courses.” Dana further compared that, “Teacher A raised a couple of interesting issues, as well. He noted that girls prefer to experiment with the computer simulations on their own, saving themselves any embarrassment as they navigate through their learning process, whereas boys appreciate the immediate gratification that technology can afford in the lab.” Darren weighed in and pointed out the differences he observes in his physics classes from the past to today: “The differences in attention to detail, focus, and simple ability to follow instructions are becoming quite jarring between the sexes. In terms of technology in the classroom, I do not see as many differences in behaviour between the genders. Both are less likely to ask technology-related questions; however, it is possible that they are already familiar with those used in the classroom.” Anne raised the issue of the achievement of girls and boys in STEM classes as being sometimes incongruent with onward trajectories to STEM careers as well. Further questions raised were on whether technology impacts achievement and career trajectories.

Equity is a theme worthy of further investigation and requires observation and evidence to show, among other things, the value of these differences for learning with technology.  Research will contribute to our insights on the intersections among, gender, diverse groups such as language learners as mentioned earlier, and technology.

Theme on “How can technology be employed to enhance conceptual learning and skills for STEM?”

After comparing and contrasting cases, several descriptions focused on learning with technology emerged in our posts. Perhaps another question underscoring the descriptions of the technology-enhanced experiences was how can technology be used effectively for STEM learning of concepts and process skills? Darren analyzed video 4 and generated a set of levels of integration of technology. It is plausible that each level has the potential to support conceptual understanding: He suggested for “level 2 or 3” integration with simulations and animations, that, “As described in the ‘Case 3’ videos, students develop transferable skills that will inevitably enhance their own lives outside of the classroom”. How a teacher sets up the use of the digital technology, or not, leads to a composite of learning, as suggested by the analysis of the interviews from Mary where, “Teacher E” discussed the fact that digital technology should not be treated as a stand-alone subject area, but must instead be integrated into our classrooms. In addition to this, digital technologies should be used only when they are enhancing students’ learning. “Teacher E” pointed out that if a student can learn just as well from a book, then perhaps we should simply allow them to read the book. However, if learning can be enhanced by using digital technology, then we must be prepared to use digital technology. This was an important point for me because it emphasized the fact that we do not have to try to integrate digital technology into all aspects of our classroom. Sometimes, more traditional methods continue to work quite well.” Mary’s examination of Teacher E helped us to see how learning might be fostered with a variety of methods, including those without the use of digital technology.

Lawrence, while inquiring into student learning, discussed the role of technology in understanding. In his examination of Case 3, he questioned “whether technology’s ability to remove more menial components of tasks is a detriment to skill development.  Teacher A mentions that measuring lengths and angles and using other tools are certainly skills in their own right, but also rightly points out that technology proves more time efficient by removing the more mundane tasks so that students can quickly get to the concepts at hand.  Developing fundamental skills may or may not necessary to accomplish a certain task (ie- one does not need to know how to develop film in a dark room to take a photo), but it does help to provide a depth of understanding. “Michelle reflected on the videos she watched and concluded that, “Students are not only bound to textbooks and written work, but are able to act, produce, reflect, create, problem solve, hypothesize, cooperate and present using technology as a tool. This is important and is providing for a deeper and more engaging learning experience for many.” In terms of learning, Vibhu reflected that, “For me, it was the transferable skills that really emerged from the video cases like being literate in technology, being comfortable with using technology, working together to solve problems: skills that professionals use every day.” Jessica acknowledge the new BC curriculum that includes a set of competencies for students as they progress in the math and science curriculum. She wrote, “As the Physics 12 teacher (Case 3) describes technology as evolving his teaching from being transmissive to transactive, this idea of practicing the competencies through using technology, while gaining a deeper understanding of content is highly evident. Students are collaborating with peers who are not necessarily their friends, managing their time and resources, problem solving and integrating technology appropriately – all of these activities are considered both competencies and important life skills!”

These posts begin to underscore a theme on deeper learning in science and math and suggest a need for thoughtful pedagogical approaches, frameworks, and strategies that may move deeper beyond the seemingly appealing and engaging activities we can create with technologies.

Theme on student assessment in STEM

To gauge whether the integration of digital technology is effective for STEM learning, student assessment was raised in a number of your posts. For example, Gloria and others ascertained an issue with assessment. After watching the elementary space science and middle school videos, Gloria questioned: “how will educators adequately assess students when they use different ways to showcase their learning? For instance, in both classrooms, the teachers mentioned the use of raps, podcasts, videos, experiments, and interactive websites where different groups of students are engaged in.”

Our readings thus far on conceptual understanding would suggest that typical assessments do not test for deeper conceptual understanding. Several of you alluded to here, and in the last forum, that typical classroom assessments may not get at this challenge and require us to consider how we are assessing our students for deeper conceptual understanding with digital technology.

Theme on Teachers and Educational Technology

Teacher education was also a major thread throughout our discussions. Daniel revealed, after watching the middle school science video, “I found it distressing that some of the case teachers considered technology to be an ad hoc item to be used “on the fly”. Technology can eat up incredible amounts of time with limited gains to show for it if its use is not properly planned and scaffolded.” He further offered several ideas for PD for math and science teachers in schools on using technology. Teacher education was also an area of special focus for Catherine who found that, “After much consideration, my mind constantly returned to the struggle of the teacher (pre-service, new teacher, teacher and retiring teacher). I will admit however, that I likely returned to this struggle because it is an area of interest I would like to explore further when I have completed the MET program”. Catherine suggested that, “New and preservice teachers felt they were not educated on the use of technology in the classroom, and many seemed overwhelmed at the prospect.” Similarly, Anne recalled in her videos that the teachers, “[S]tated that they would still be reluctant to use it in their own classroom because they were not “experts” and it would take too much time to implement it. I still find it odd that there are people who still consider themselves not “tech savvy”. To me this is like saying you are not math smart. Everyone is math smart and everyone can be tech savvy, it is a learning experience, not an innate talent. This tells me that there is not enough technology education for educators to allow them to feel competent about including this as part of their teaching.” Anne put forward that this type of education be mandatory for preservice teachers.

The teachers in the STEM video in particular (the 360 videos) were able to get together to develop and work on their curriculum. Stephanie related her analysis of the STEM video to her own school like many of you. She shared that staff are engaged in a long term process of technology integration, described this way: “As my division has worked through the implementation of personalized electronic blended learning, a phrase my school has adopted is “dipping a toe in and getting our feet wet.” In addition to professional learning communities, “New teachers should be mentored and supported through being teamed up with more seasoned educators and then allowed to use technology in their teaching with guidance and supports. In addition, educators should be given time to share technology tools at staff meetings or division meetings.” Allison watched the 360 videos and suggested that, like the teachers from the case who worked to integrate digital technology in a maker space STEM learning environment, one “could go and visit other schools with models they were interested in and also to talk with other educators about new directions that could and should be taken. In my district we can apply for collaborative grants and I see how this type of teacher inquiry could be very meaningful and impactful.” Math and science teacher education is truly a lifelong journey and many of you are a testament to this.

To sum up, a few of the many themes that emerged from our discussion are suggested here and include:  Gender and Equity Issues in STEM; How the Digital Technology is Effectively Integrated in Learning Settings (where math and science concepts are being taught), Student Assessment for deeper conceptual understanding, and supporting Math and Science Teacher Education. Please feel free to add more that you may have seen emerge from our discussion in our forum where this summary has also been posted.

A number of important observations and salient questions were raised throughout your analysis of the video cases, and there are likely more that were not addressed in this summary but remain important for you to explore. If any of these “thematic questions “are ones that you cannot articulate an answer for or resonate with your current practice, consider asking about them in your interviews@home.  Coupled with your auto e-ographies and unpacking assumptions, the questions you raised from the video cases may also serve as a source of salient issues for your first major assignment in the course, the Framing Issues Assignment.


Thank you for your interesting analyses of the videos, Samia