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Archive for April, 2010

“I believe that everybody can learn” is a popular statement that you hear thrown around in education. Sadly, the number of people that preach it, doesn’t match the number of people that practice it. Educational technology is great opportunity for educators to practice what they preach in the classroom.
Technology opens up doors to all students, but especially the special needs students. (On a side note, all students have a special need or needs in the classroom. I have not meet one student yet that didn’t have a slightly different need or needs than the rest of the group to maximize their learning potential.) That is what makes technology so great. It helps the teacher create a classroom that is designed around the students needs and not the teacher preferred teaching style.
Formative assessment is key concern in any classroom, but is also more followed through with special needs students. According to Bennett & Cunningham research in 2009, mobile technology doesn’t show much statically improvement in the use of formative, but it qualitatively teacher believe it was an improvement. This is not bad news, considering that it was just the first year of the study.
Educational technology like the iPod Touch can provide a cheap alternative to dedicated hardware. The iPod Touch can provide multiple applications that can assist students, and increase engagement. For example a district can sync several iPod Touches to one computer and share an application like Proloquo2Go. A similar hardware and software piece of equipment would cost from $500 to $700 a unit. With a one time purchase of the application for $189, and the cost of the iPod Touch The iPod Touch can be used by students for multiple other applications.
Bennett, B, & Cunningham, A. (2009). Teaching formative assessment strategies to preservice teachers: exploring the use of handheld computing to facilitate the action research process. Journal of Computing in Teacher education, 25(3), 99-105.

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The arts can easy be tied into cross-curriculum project or instruction in the classroom. I find it easy to tie in music and art, but physical education is a little tougher for me personal. It might be it more fair to say that I don’t think about including physical activity into my projects. After the activities of this week, I have decide to try incorporate at least one physical activity in one of my units, like playing one of game from the past. Why should we be stuck in our desk in the classroom?
Technology only adds to infusion the arts to the classroom. In the past I would have to hunt down posters of painting or sculptures that I wanted to show in class. Now it is a quick mouse click away. Want to show a video on a musical performance, get on Youtube.com.

While technology makes music and videos easy for teachers to use, it can also be a distraction in the classroom. Students expect to be able to listen to music while working on projects while using the computer. In a study by Domitrek and Raby, they found that there are both advantages and disadvantage with students listening to music in the classroom while working. The conclusion is that the availability of media for student is only going to increase, so clear classroom rules need to be set and explain to this digital generation for students to accept the rules. The same is true when student view the arts in your classroom, so we need to make sure students are engaged in the activity, and not just watching and listening to what they want.

Technology doesn’t only make the arts more available, but it makes it easier for students to create art for projects. The sheer number of Web 2.0 sites that is amazing. eSchool News pointed out in the article Technology makes art education a bigger draw,, that technology is art more available and allows more student collaboration on art projects.. Art allow students to express themselves in ways that the usual written report cannot. It will open alternative assessments for students. Educational technology greatest asset is that it gives options to educators and students to express themselves, and that is why it works so great with the arts.

Devaney, L. (2008, September 19). Technology makes art education a bigger draw. Retrieved from http://www.eschoolnews.com/2008/09/19/technology-makes-art-education-a-bigger-draw/

Domitrek, J, & Raby, R. (2008). Are You listening to me? space, context and perspective in the regulation of mp3 players and cell phones in secondary school . Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, 81, 1-33.

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As a social studies teacher, I believe technology is a great tool to make history come alive, and make social studies more relevant to students. My subject area lends its self to all sorts of cross-curriculum projects. Social studies was once considered a subject were students memorized history, so not to repeat it. Thankfully those days are gone.

We can debate the advantages and disadvantages of memorization as the article Do Students Need to Facts in the Digital Age?. Both authors, Robert E. Mahoney & C. Curatola Knowles, make valid points. I would side more on the side that says memorization is less important. When books were invented, do you think people decided not to use them because it would decrease peoples’ memorization? All the stories and information up till then was purely passed on through oral communication and memorization. I understand the importance of having base knowledge to understand more complex concepts. The problem is that information is only going to be more rapidly available in a quantity that is too large for one person to every memorize even in a specialized field with the advent of the digital age.

I’m feel that it is a social studies teachers duty to give people skills to analyze, to synthesis, and see cause and effect. There is a lesson to be learned and applied in real life for any major historical event. However, does a student need to know every date and name of the event to see the bigger picture? I say no. I would rather spend my students time on creating original content on a historical theme or topic theme, that requires thinking on my students part. The article From Watching Newsreels to Making Videos by Thomas C. Hammond and John Lee points out that the digital age allows students to be historians and documentary makers, instead watching video that are feed to them. I find that students have a much better grasp on the material when they have to present their videos to the world, then just reading and filling out worksheets.

Hammond, T, & Lee, J. (2009). From Watching newsreels to making videos. Learning & Leading with Technology, 36(8), 32-33.

Mahoney, R, & Knowles, C. (2010). Do students need to memorize facts in the digital age? Learning & Leading with Technology, 37(5), 6-7.

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