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    Imparting Lessons in the Face of Artificial Intelligence

    By Kip Glazer
     | Nov 23, 2016
    Watson's_avatarI watched Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey as a little girl. I felt both extremely frightened and profoundly sad as Hal 9000 begged for his life by saying, “Dave, stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop Dave? Stop, Dave.” I knew intellectually that Hal was a machine and not a person, so to think of his death was rather strange. But when he said, “I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it... I'm a... fraid,” I felt conflicted. After all, he said he was “afraid.” A machine having a mind? And it feels afraid? How is that possible?

     

    Recently, I watched an episode of 60 Minutes on Artificial Intelligence (AI). The episode featured a number of researchers working on the development of AI that could not only mimic but also surpass humans because it can learn through experiences and it never forgets. And it has already shown amazing results. Watson, an IBM computer, won Jeopardy! in 2011 and is now learning to become a cancer expert at University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill.

    Although the cancer researchers at UNC lauded Watson as a potentially lifesaving tool for doctors because of its capacity to read and search nearly 8,000 cancer research papers being published on a daily basis around the world, some experts are expressing concerns on its capacity to become smarter than humans. For example, both Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have said there could be dark sides to the future of AI if machines become smarter at the expense of kindness and generosity toward humans.

    Consider that scientists can now edit the human genome to cure diseases but are calling for a moratorium on such practices while ethical issues are sorted. I believe that’s a sign scientific achievement must be balanced against the advancement in humanity.

    One way to do this is to read more literature pieces that ask the hard questions. Our students can learn the peril of scientific creation sans human guidance by reading Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley. Before students become computer scientists, shouldn’t they read I, Robot by Isaac Asimov to learn The Three Laws of Robotics? Unfortunately, many English teachers are now asked to read more informational or nonfiction texts or than novels in the classroom.

    Having been an English teacher for over a decade in Bakersfield, California, I like to think that I understand frustration over Common Core State Standards better than many others. However, I would never give up teaching classics like the works of Shakespeare because our students need our fortitude and perseverance more than ever before. In the new world where AI could take over every aspect of our lives without a stronger moral compass, I would hope that our students will be able to recall the horrible fate of the boys in Lord of the Flies.

    Kip Glazeris a native of Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated to the United States in 1993 as a college student. She holds California Single Subject Teaching Credentials in Social Studies, English, Health, Foundational Mathematics, and School Administration. In 2014, she was named the Kern County Teacher of the Year. She earned her doctorate of education in learning technologies at Pepperdine University in October 2015. She has presented and keynoted at many state and national conferences on game-based learning and educational technologies. She has also consulted for Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning and the Kennedy Center ArtsEdge Program.


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    The Digital Natives Myth

    By Kip Glazer
     | Oct 26, 2016

    ThinkstockPhotos-155787182_x300A friend of mine who teaches at a premier college in the United States lamented over Facebook about an e-mail he received from a student. In it, the student said he couldn’t figure out how to play a DVD on his computer even after asking a number of friends. My friend said he would be tempted to “staple the e-mail to a speaker’s forehead” if one more person talks about how intuitive young people are with technology. Considering how his university has been ranked in the top 10 public universities in the United States according to U.S. World News and Report, I want to talk about a couple of terms we hear often: digital natives and digital immigrants.

    In his 2001 article, Marc Prensky coined the terms that have been used frequently by various scholars. He claimed that students were vastly different from their teachers because of their exposure to technology. He declared, “The single biggest problem facing education today is that our Digital Immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language (that of the pre-digital age), are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language.” He argued that educators should become innovative in the way that they teach their content because the old way of teaching was no longer serving our students who were so much savvier than their teachers.

    In my previous post, I pointed out the importance of access to all students in terms of computer coding education. I argued that access matters a great deal when it comes to technology education. So it may sound strange that I do not subscribe to Prensky’s idea of calling this generation of learners digital natives. No one can dispute that today’s youths have access to more technology in comparison with previous generations. Clearly our young people have more devices, more services, and more apps.

    As much as I believe in the importance of access, I also know access doesn’t automatically equal competency. It is true that access is a prerequisite to creating competency. However, to transform such access to learner competency, intentional instruction must follow. Just because a student can use Snapchat doesn’t mean that he knows how to harness the power of instant communication. Just because a student can post photos on Instagram doesn’t mean that she knows not to share sensitive photos in a text message. In fact, a Washington Post article indicates that access allows more opportunities for youngsters to make decisions that may compromise privacy or safety or may lead to cyberbullying. Calling our young people digital natives allows adults to relinquish our responsibility to our young people who need more guidance than ever before.

    Educators of today must remember that our students need us to set good examples when it comes to using technology. Rather than shying away from using social media, we can set good examples for our students. Rather than avoiding YouTube, we can use it as an instructional platform and a valuable resource. Rather than relying on someone else to post instructional content, we can use free blog sites such as WordPress or Google Sites to share educational content. In today’s digital wilderness where so many commercial companies lead our students astray, we all must step up and lead our students by behaving like the adults that we are.

    Kip Glazer is a native of Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated to the United States in 1993 as a college student. She holds California Single Subject Teaching Credentials in Social Studies, English, Health, Foundational Mathematics, and School Administration. In 2014, she was named the Kern County Teacher of the Year. She earned her doctorate of education in learning technologies at Pepperdine University in October 2015. She has presented and keynoted at many state and national conferences on game-based learning and educational technologies. She has also consulted for Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning and the Kennedy Center ArtsEdge Program.

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    Developing Digital Literacy for All Students

    By Kip Glazer
     | Sep 28, 2016

    Glazer092816Recently, a computer engineer working for a local technology company contacted me. He told me his  freshman son was interested in starting a coding club at his high school. He remembered coming to one of my after-school club meetings to speak to my students about his choice of career as a computer engineer. He asked what my strategy was to have a club that had nearly 30–40 members, some of whom won the Congressional App Challenge, representing the 23rd California Congressional District. Because I consider coding as one of the major components of digital literacy skills, I’d like to share the answer I gave my friend.

    Access matters

    I began teaching computer coding by accident. I had to learn to code to pass a doctoral course that required me to create an item using an Arduino board. I quickly realized my limitations and hired a former student as a tutor. While I was struggling to learn to program and create a project to pass my course, I realized how much better my classmates were doing because they had some prior experience with coding.

    Focus on exposure

    I decided to start a coding club at my school. Clearly, I was in no position to be an expert coder in the room, so I asked for help. In addition to asking my tutor for help, I asked my classmates. That’s when I found out how many free resources are available. Although there are many outstanding resources now, I used CodeHS and Codecademy. I also wrote a grant to purchase more Arduino boards and e-textile materials. Finally, I asked my own students who have done coding to help. We began meeting twice a week, once during the week and on Saturdays.

    I thought of my coding club like the thousands of little league baseball teams or youth soccer leagues. Not everyone who plays baseball as a little kid will become a professional, but having some experience will help one to appreciate the sport. Not having the opportunity to play certainly hurts the chances of having quality players in the future. Likewise, we need thousands of coding clubs to create future computer coders and engineers.

    Interest over skills development

    In addition to introducing free tools to my students to learn to program, I encouraged my students to chase their own interests. Not surprisingly, many of my computer coding club members were also avid video gamers. They were interested in learning about game development. So when they chose to create games using different tools, I encouraged them to do so while looking at the codes behind the tools. Other students wanted to learn HTML to create a simple website or learn to use Photoshop.

    All hands on deck approach to developing digital literacy

    In a recent Quartz article, Idit Harel, CEO of Globaloria, criticized the way U.S. schools are treating coding. She called this new wave of desire to teach coding by using free online applications “pop computing.” She argued that just as a person playing Guitar Hero shouldn’t be considered a musician, someone playing with coding applications or programs shouldn’t be considered a coder. I agree that we shouldn’t have unrealistic expectations. I do not expect that my students who came to a few club meetings will all become expert computer programmers.

    However, as a former English teacher, I must say that I would rather my students read popular books like the Twilight or Harry Potter series than no books at all. I spent over a decade working hard to encourage my students to read more books, even writing a dissertation on a new pedagogy to help my students to read more classics such as Beowulf, Fahrenheit 451, and The Importance of Being Earnest. But when my students asked to read a biography of a baseball player or a book on how to assemble a race bike as their choice of independent reading materials, I always said yes because reading something was better than reading nothing. I believe that providing access to resources, creating structures to provide exposure, and supplying encouragement for interest-driven learning are ways to developing digital literacy for all our students.

    Kip Glazer is a native of Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated to the United States in 1993 as a college student. She holds California Single Subject Teaching Credentials in Social Studies, English, Health, Foundational Mathematics, and School Administration. In 2014, she was named the Kern County Teacher of the Year. She earned her doctorate of education in learning technologies at Pepperdine University in October 2015. She has presented and keynoted at many state and national conferences on game-based learning and educational technologies. She has also consulted for Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning and the Kennedy Center ArtsEdge Program.

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    How a Pokémon Trainer Can Engage Students

    By Kip Glazer
     | Aug 24, 2016

    pokemon goAs a person in the technology field, I have seen adults missing incredible opportunities to connect with their children using technology. So I was thrilled to learn about the success of Pokémon Go. Aside from reading about the game, I knew it was a big deal when I heard a waitress complaining about it in Las Vegas recently during our family trip. She told me how ridiculous it was for her to see adults glued to their phones trying to catch the ridiculous-looking creatures. I shared with her that I play the game with my boys. By the end of our conversation, she expressed interest in getting the game to play with her children for its numerous benefits.

    The success of Pokémon Go represents the inclusive nature of technology. The game blurs the boundaries between subjects such as literature, geography, history, and even physical education. The game informs players of the name of the landmarks, provides numerous opportunities for players to learn about the history of such landmarks, and encourages players to move about in the real world. Furthermore, players learn to negotiate group dynamics as they battle each other in teams. In essence, it truly augments the real-life experiences of players by adding literacy skills of being able to read the world around them. When our students can read the world, we know they are truly literate. Pokémon Go allows students to read the world they live in.

    What’s fascinating to me is that the game is inclusive of all types of players! Clearly, adults and children alike play the game. Many of my colleagues and friends report playing the game with their children. Even as a school administrator in charge of discipline, I have used my experience with the game to create positive connections with my students. When my students know that not only do I play the game but also am willing to seek their advice as to how to play the game better, it creates an interesting power dynamic beneficial to both parties.

    By being able to teach me how to play the game, students have shared more about who they are and what they know. I observed my own children using a more authoritative voice with me as they instruct me on how to improve my game. Even as they excoriated me for being an incompetent player, I could see their pleasure in their ability to coach me in the gameplay. As a high school teacher, I often capitalize on the desires of my students to help me become more technologically proficient or improve at playing digital games. By allowing the students to become the experts in a situation, teachers can help students to learn better. After all, when you teach something to others, you can learn more.

    Most important, I think Pokémon Go illustrates what we know of teaching and learning. Teaching and learning have always been a form of augmented reality. Teachers have been able to help the students to augment their reality without technology. For decades, if not centuries, students get a sense of what it was like for Michelangelo to create the murals in the Sistine Chapel beyond the painting itself in an art history class. In an English class, students learn what Shakespeare meant when he said, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players” with proper assistance from their teachers. Now with digital tools, a teacher can augment such reality more efficiently. It is no surprise that Apple is doubling down on augmented reality.

    At the end of our Vegas family trip, we visited Hoover Dam. My boys and I caught numerous Pokémon while learning about the historical landmarks around us. I like to think I improved my eye–hand coordination skills, which my younger boy might disagree with as he was the one tasked to assist me every time I missed a creature. I also learned more about the features of my smartphone as my older boy showed me. And how about the number of steps I took while attempting to catch as many creatures as possible with my boys? But, most important, I was able to talk to my two boys during the entire vacation, which was an augmentation of my reality as a mother. Wouldn’t you agree?

    Kip Glazer is a native of Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated to the United States in 1993 as a college student. She holds California Single Subject Teaching Credentials in Social Studies, English, Health, Foundational Mathematics, and School Administration. In 2014, she was named the Kern County Teacher of the Year. She earned her doctorate of education in learning technologies at Pepperdine University in October 2015. She has presented and keynoted at many state and national conferences on game-based learning and educational technologies. She has also consulted for Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning and the Kennedy Center ArtsEdge Program.

     

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    Controlling Your Personal Brand

    By Kip Glazer
     | Jul 27, 2016

    ThinkstockPhotos-179016018_x300As a former high school teacher who taught at a Title I school, getting a call from a graduate who seeks advice as he or she attempts to navigate the challenge that is college is not uncommon. So I wasn’t surprised to get a call from my former Associated Students Government President who was a junior at UCLA. He was hoping to get the summer internship at Hulu. As he was completing the application, he realized that Hulu wanted a personal digital portfolio. Despite my telling all my students repeatedly to set up an engaging personal website, to be active on Twitter, and to maintain a robust LinkedIn profile, he did not think it was that important for him to do so until it was too late.

    Some readers might wonder why I would encourage anyone, especially high school students, to create an online presence. After all, if The New York Times’ article, “European Court Lets Users Erase Records on Web” is any indication, wouldn’t it just be better for my students to not have a social media account or a website?

    I began working on creating positive digital footprints because of a post I saw on a website called Rate My Teachers 10 years ago. Although they were mostly positive, seeing posts about me as a teacher without my input prompted me to create a personal website. I did not want someone else’s perception of myself and my work to be the only thing on the Internet. It is true that I have received more than my share of junk e-mails, but I continue to collaborate and connect with researchers and teachers all around the world.

    Social media and getting a job

    According to the 2014 Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey, 73% of employers used social media as their primary recruiting tool, and 94% of those used LinkedIn as their primary tool. For highly skilled tech-related jobs, the percentage increases. Although many employers said they rarely care about a candidate’s political statements, their negative perceptions are strong against illegal drug references (83%), sexual posts (70%), spelling and grammar errors (66%), and profanity (63%) on any social media platforms. With the advancement of big data analysis tools, teaching our students to take control over what is being posted on the Internet is more important than ever! Here are a few things to remember to share with students.

    • Whether you want to or not, you will make digital footprints. Once I spoke with a teacher about the need to maintain a professional website. She said, “I don’t want people to know about me, so I don’t have Facebook or any social media accounts.” I told her to Google herself. Needless to say, she was not happy with what she found. She realized that her students, friends, and family members have posted a lot of information without her knowing. For some teachers who have not considered themselves to be public figures, knowing that our salaries, work places, and our licenses are all accessible by the public under The Freedom of Information Act could come as a shock. Our work e-mails and browsing history when we access information on our work-issued devices can also become public. I don’t know about you, but I would rather maintain my professional website where I have control over what is being posted to be the first result to come up if someone searched my information. This leads me to my next point and example.
    • If you don’t, someone else will tell your story. Take control. At the recent International Literacy Association (ILA) Conference in Boston, an attendee asked me if I had a business card with my information. Before I could answer her, she said, “Never mind. I will just Google you.” I was thankful I have maintained my personal website and a YouTube channel for many years. In fact, my first presentation at the ILA conference (then the International Reading Association) three years ago came about when another researcher found me on YouTube and wanted to include me in her presentation.
    • Everything is permanent. Even the things you share on Snapchat. Many of my students believe that disappearing display on Snapchat means that the information is gone forever. I always tell them it is gone until they are running for political office or applying to become an FBI agent. I tell them unless they want whatever they shared to be on the homepage of Yahoo, MSN, or Bing or as a Google Doodle, they shouldn’t share it. Ever. I also inform them they should remember that having a Wi-Fi–enabled device means that the information is posted somewhere or shared with someone as soon as they take photos or videos on that device.
    • Every post tells a story. Make it count. Because everything is nearly permanent online, one should be careful of what one chooses to share. I used to tell my students that I am an advocate for freedom of speech, which doesn’t guarantee them freedom of judgment from others. As the Jobvite Survey shows, all employers judge potential candidates on the basis of their social media behaviors.
    • Be discreet on different tools, but keep in mind of the larger online persona. Although I have all the major social media accounts, I use different tools for different purposes. For example, I post only professional information on LinkedIn and Twitter as I consider it to be a professional space. On the other hand, I use Facebook and Instagram to share my personal activities only with my friends and family. It is no different from choosing the right type of literature genre to express one’s feelings and ideas. Sometimes one needs to write poems whereas other times one must write an essay! So why not consider it before your next post?

    Exercising digital citizenship

    We all live in a digitally enriched world where one’s knowledge and information have become an important commodity for success. You will notice now many major news outlets such as NBC, ABC, and CNN reported what was posted on the Facebook accounts of the victims of Orlando shootings or the slain Dallas police officers. You hear daily what was tweeted by presidential candidates.

    Whether you consider yourself to be a public figure, taking control over your digital persona is a must. And teachers must teach their students to exercise good digital citizenship. For more information on how to help your students, please check out Common Sense Media.

    Most important, remember that your digital footprint is your personal brand.

    Kip Glazer is a native of Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated to the United States in 1993 as a college student. She holds California Single Subject Teaching Credentials in Social Studies, English, Health, Foundational Mathematics, and School Administration. In 2014, she was named the Kern County Teacher of the Year. She earned her doctorate of education in learning technologies at Pepperdine University in October 2015. She has presented and keynoted at many state and national conferences on game-based learning and educational technologies. She has also consulted for Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning and the Kennedy Center ArtsEdge Program.

     
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