2016 EdTech Internship Summary

The primary objective of the EdTech internship is to provide graduate students with an opportunity to develop their understanding of the educational technology industry and educational entrepreneurship while applying their knowledge of educational research and theory to innovative technology products that seek to address the challenges of the 21st century classroom. 

This objective is achieved by providing interns with a field placement with EdTech companies that have an existing relationship with the Niagara Educational Research and Innovation Hub (ihub). 

Pairing EdTech entrepreneurs with interns that are pursuing a Masters degree in education provides these companies with the educational insight needed to ensure that their products address the needs of educational practitioners while also ensuring these products are informed by best practices and current educational research. 

For the 2016 session. MEd. student Rebecca Bunz worked with a startup creating an immersive, gamified immersive classroom platform, Answerables. Building on his experience as an ESL teacher, MEd student Keith Crawford worked with established industry leader, Strategic Transitions to support the development of resources to support second language learning.

A secondary goal of the internship is to support knowledge mobilization. As such, the interns are required to use a variety of social media resources to share their expertise and insight. Their blogs and Twitter accounts documents their experience throughout the internship while the culminating podcasts highlights their overall experience and understanding of working in the EdTech industry as well as their research pursuits and predictions for future EdTech products.

Rebecca Bunz: Twitter; Blog



Keith Crawford: Twitter; Blog

Tech-Enabled Teacher Leaders: How technology is redistributing school leadership

Similar to the way technology is transforming classroom practice, the use of technology has begun to disrupt traditional notions of educational leadership. This disruption will cause the education community to reconsider not just how school leadership is enacted, but also the role teacher-leaders play. With the plethora of tech resources that are now available, individual educators can connect, collaborate and share with educators throughout their school, district and beyond. In this article, the author examines how tech-enabled teachers from across the country are using a variety of technological resources to redistribute educational leadership and enhance the role teachers play in supporting the success of their schools and their profession.

Rutherford (2016). Tech-Enabled Teacher Leaders: How technology is redistributing school leadership. Education Canada 56(1). http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada/article/tech-enabled-teacher-leaders


Tweet, Research and Curate


Using Social Media to Support Your Research Journey

Social Media can be a thriving digital habitat for finding your voice, curating your disciplinary interests, track cutting-edge research and seek out trail blazing professionals within your field. Learn practical strategies for management, engagement, reach and impact that just may turn a ‘mild’ interest into a ‘wild’ interest.

Presentation for the Brock Faculty of Graduate Studies Vitae Research Communication Skills series

Tech-Enabled Teacher Leaders


Tech-enabled leadership, that capitalizes on the affordance of social media, may be able to further enhance the distribution of leadership influence by significantly increasing the number of people who influence the knowledge, practice or motivation of organizational members.

Technology can serve to activate leadership influence by increasing the opportunities for organizational members to interact with each other. Despite the number of members that may be part of an organization or profession, busy schedules that limit in-person interactions, frequently contributed to professional isolation. Technological resources, that allow users to interact, collaborate and exchange ideas and resources without the need to be in the same location, at the same time, can be used to overcome some of the challenges of professional isolation. Social media resources that facilitate asynchronous discussions allow educators to interact even though they may have widely differing schedules.  

Tech-enabled teachers have the potential to redefine educational leadership and the role teachers play in supporting the success of their school and the profession.



Future Education Technology Conference Podcasts

For the past four years, we've travelled to Orlando to attend the FETC. This year we had a large group of nine that included graduate students, technology specialists and startups founders. As we do each year, we created a podcast to share the insight gained from attending the conference.


Making Space for Inquiry-Focused Maker Spaces at School

In contrast to the community-based Makerspaces that began as adult playgrounds for tinkering and whimsical inventions, the maker movement in education is founded upon inquiry-based learning within a hands-on focused environment (Kurti, R., Kurti, D., & Fleming, 2014). Consequently, maker education should be considered an evolution of constructivist philosophy that views learning as a highly personal endeavor that is student-driven and requires educators to act as inquiry facilitator rather than simply a disseminator of knowledge.

As an essential element of inquiry-based learning is to address the individual interests, needs, and skills of students, it is imperative that teachers have access to a variety of material and resources to differentiate the learning experience. Thus, inquiry-focused maker spaces need to be stocked with a wide array of hands-on and digital resources. This can include, but is not limited to a variety of resources to support STEAM learning such as laptops, web-based reference materials, digital cameras, robotics and circuitry resources, 3D printers, as well as traditional construction, art, and craft materials.

Ann Richards School, Austin, TX
As students proceed through the inquiry cycle, they often require different physical spaces to facilitate the process. Ideally, as students transition through the exploring, investigating, processing and creating stages they would have access to a physical space that was best suited to the task they were engaged in. This would result in the merging of what has traditionally been considered the library learning commons, computer lab and shop class into one unified location. A large space with modular centres that are connected by movable walls, large windows or pocket doors would serve to create a reconfigurable learning environment that would be ideally suited to fostering an inquiry-focused approach to STEAM learning.
Photo by Zoe Branigan-Pipe http://pipedreams-education.ca/
Common to both the maker movement and inquiry-focused learning is an emphasis on authentic learning and real-world problem solving. Consequently, inquiry-focused maker spaces should facilitate community connections and permit community use of the space outside of school hours. Having an external facing door would allow extra-curricular and community groups access to the space while also allowing the school to access community resources to support the continual acquisition of learning materials and ongoing enhancements to the location.

Google Offices, Dublin Ireland
Not only do these types of spaces facilitate progressive approaches to learning, they also mirror the workplaces created by innovative companies seeking to create an environment that is conducive to collaboration and creativity.  Thus, making space for inquiry-based maker spaces in schools could help students develop the self-regulation, critical thinking and cooperative skills needed to succeed in the modern workplace.


Kurti, R. S., Kurti, D. L., & Fleming, L. (2014). The Philosophy of Educational Makerspaces. Teacher Librarian, 41(5), 8–12. http://www.teacherlibrarian.com/2014/06/18/educational-makerspaces/





Jason Riberio - President’s Surgite Award Winner

The President’s Surgite Award is awarded to current students to recognize those who have been outstanding in one or more of the following areas: leadership, advancing the University’s reputation, contribution to life at Brock, or valuable service to the University or broader community.

***
Jason Ribeiro
Master’s of Education, 2015
Hometown: Hamilton
Graduate award highlights: 2015 President’s Surgite Awards, 2015 Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock Award, 2015 Research Ventures Award, 2015 Jack M. Miller Excellence in Research Award


Jason Ribeiro was determined to squeeze in as many graduate student experiences as possible over the past two years while studying in Brock’s master’s of education program.

It’s difficult to imagine when he found time to sleep within a steady schedule that included occasional teaching for the Halton Catholic District School Board, a research assistantship with Brock’s Social Innovation Research Associate Program (SIRAP), serving on the Graduate Students’ Association, an EdTech internship, and one of the biggest projects of his academic life, his master’s thesis.

Ribeiro’s master’s research focused on the decision-making process of senior leaders in publicly funded Ontario school districts, and how they acquire educational technology.

“The study may be the first of its kind in Canada that calls upon the viewpoints of senior leaders and it will impact approximately 746,000 Ontario students,” he explains. “School boards aren’t necessarily being advised on how to best spend those dollars and that will be the key going forward.

“I hope this research captures the attention of … the Ministry of Education in Ontario and other senior leaders who recognize we need to shift the way we’re purchasing technology so that it’s in enhancement of student learning, and for teachers as well.”

Ribeiro, who is from Hamilton, defended his thesis last spring, just in time for June Convocation. The past spring has been particularly busy with a series of conference presentations that have taken him to Philadelphia and Las Vegas.

“It is so important that you are able to visualize your research as having a life outside of your office and just outside of the paper itself,” he says. “I liken it to almost creating an album where you actually get to take it on tour. It’s an incredible experience to engage in conversations and professional development with your peers and scholars who you look up to.”

He decided to forego an invitation to present his research at a conference in New Zealand this summer to give himself more time to prepare for his move to Alberta. He will do his PhD studies at the University of Calgary starting in September.

“I plan to expand on this work in my PhD studies and take a pan-Canadian focus with the goal of fostering innovation and refined collaboration between ministries of education, and startup and established tech companies,” he says.

Ribeiro leaves Brock with a great sense of gratitude for the mentorship and support he received throughout his studies.

21st Century Assessment Strategies

Twenty-first century assessment differs from traditional assessment strategies because of its focus on formative rather than summative assessment. Formative assessment is the process of using assessment or feedback for the purpose of improving learning and helping students become independent learners.
An essential element of formative assessment or assessment for learning, is that students are provided with timely and ongoing feedback. The goal of providing timely feedback is to reduce the gap between a student’s current level of knowledge and skills and the desired learning goal (Davies, 2005). Consequently, because formative assessment needs to occur frequently and be integrated into the instructional process, it is essential that teachers have the necessary tools to ensure that the assessment and feedback process can take place in an efficient and effective manner without being overly burdensome.


When students are actively engaged in the formative assessment process and have an opportunity to self-assess their work or determine the degree to which they have fulfilled a specific learning goal, their ability to self-regulate their learning and behavior is enhanced (Harlen and Deakin-Crick, 2004). Thus, tools that allow students to participate in the formative assessment process can be effective in enhancing self-regulation, critical reflection and student engagement. These skills are essential to the development of independent, 21st century learners.

Twenty-first century assessment strategies emphasize the importance of capturing learning activities that support higher-order thinking, are authentic in nature and are aligned with real world tasks. These types of tasks often result in learning products that are three dimensional in nature and difficult to capture with simple pen and paper tests. While there are a number of assessment tools that use photographs or videos to document learning, few of these resources allow for the provision of detailed or standards-aligned feedback and assessment.

21st Century Assessment Resources

The following resources can be used to implement a variety of 21st century assessment strategies by using technology to move beyond simply documenting the end result of student learning and instead use the latest innovations to support the learning process by facilitating assessment for learning and assessment as learning.

Using Online Videos to Enhance Instructor Presence & Feedback

        Research indicates that instructor presence has an impact on students’ success in online learning (Bliss and Lawrence, 2009; Garrison and Cleveland-Innes, 2005; Garrison, Cleveland-Innes and Fung, 2010; Pawan, Paulus, Yalcin, and Chang, 2003; Varnhagen, Wilson, Krupa, Kasprzak, and Hunting, 2005 and Hiltz).  Since instructor presence can be an important predictor of online learning success (Baker 2004) and student satisfaction (Arbaugh, et al., 2009) it is vital that online instructors find effective and efficient ways to use the available technology resources to enhance online instructor presence

        Instead of simply being a faceless figure that periodically interject comments and grades into an online learning environment, instructor-created videos can be an effective and efficient way to connect with students, provide information and feedback and most importantly, share your passion and excitement for the teaching and learning process.  
   Being able to easily and quickly create online videos is a highly efficient way to provide detailed and complex information to learners. This is important because a high degree of clarity and communication has been demonstrated as being essential for online student satisfaction and success. Consequently, the immediacy of instructor feedback directly contributes to student learning and overall course satisfaction

       Listed below are five different types of instructor created videos. Each fulfills a different instructional function, while also serving to enhance instructor presence

1. Welcome video: This is an essential way to provide students with an introduction to the course format and content, while welcoming them to the learning environment.
2. Lecture video: An effective way to present course content that is more effective that simply providing slides with text.
3: Weekly update: An important means to establish an ongoing relationship with students and provide timely input and feedback. 
4: Assignment preparation: This is essential to providing students with the information and resources needed to be successful on upcoming assignments. 
5. Assignment feedback: This is an efficient way to provide students with the feedback on the class-wide strengths and weakness on completed assignments. This type of feedback is essential to support ongoing learning and academic growth.

Welcome video example:

Green screen example

ADED 4P97 Welcome Video from C Rutherford on Vimeo.

Lecture Video example:


ADED 4P97 Session 1 from C Rutherford on Vimeo.


Weekly Announcement example:


ADED 4P97 Session 3 Announcements from C Rutherford on Vimeo.

Assignment preparation video examples:


ADED 4P97 Case Study Assignment Prep from C Rutherford on Vimeo.

ADED 4P97 Session 10 Announcements from C Rutherford on Vimeo.

ADED 4P97 Change Plan Prep from C Rutherford on Vimeo.

Assignment feedback video example:


ADED 4P97 Session #9 Announcements from C Rutherford on Vimeo.