A Technology Based Grant Proposal for Transformative Learning
I am a computer programming instructor. I normally teach programming concepts by demonstrating how to write code on my computer while displaying what I type on each computer in the lab using Visions software by Netop. The software does its job well. But students can get too focused on their own computers. They can easily be distracted by games or on the internet. They can also mindlessly copy the code that I write without listening to the explanation. And I may not recognize that this is going on because to me it looks like they are working. Without an understanding of the programming concepts I teach, students are not able to write computer programs on their own.
I would like to transform the culture of my room from a solitary working environment to a noisy, interactive, collaborative environment. I would like to observe that students are communicating with each other and supporting each other. To do this, I am proposing to purchase a digital collaboration system called TeamWorks by Extron Electronics. It’s a system that allows teams of four students at a table to connect to a digital screen and share what they are working on with their teammates. It would also allow me to display my demonstrations on a shared monitor instead of at individual computers in the lab.
My Proposed Transformation
When students finish my class, I would like them to be able to create* software applications by writing their own computer programs. I want students to be able to take the programming concepts they learned in my class and apply* them to many different situations or any different programming language. Learning to write code isn’t about the syntax of the chosen language. It’s about the algorithmic, detailed steps it takes to solve a problem. To be able to do this, students need to understand* how, when, where and why to use the programming concepts that I teach. I want them to see the potential and wonder “How can I……?” or be able to imagine the possibilities. I want to prepare my students for the next chapter in their lives, whether they go straight into a career or on to college. And, no matter if they choose to pursue computer programming or not, I want them to be thinkers and problem solvers.
My ultimate goal in choosing new technology is to transform the culture of my classroom. Instead of students working in isolation and silence, I would like to create an atmosphere of collaboration where students are encouraged to ask each other for help. I would like to be able to observe that students are actively participating and engaged or struggling with the lesson. I would like to provide a way where students learn how to work cooperatively and support each other by developing their teamwork and communication skills. The new technology I bring into my classroom must have an impact on the way my students learn.
Currently, I assess student’s understanding of programming concepts by having them complete an assessment on Moodle and by giving them programming projects to complete. I currently do not have a way of assessing how my students use problem solving concepts I teach once they move on to a career or college. At some point, that would be an interesting survey. So, at this point, I don’t think that I would change the way I assess student’s knowledge of computer programming.
*Six Facets of Understanding: Explanation, Interpretation, Application, Perspective, Empathy, Self-Knowledge.