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Archive for June, 2010

I see the New Digital Inequities as part of my future job and a real concern to all educational technologists.  I know I must try to lower the level of digital inequities in the district that I serve.  I have been part of the technology committee in my district for the last three years, and one of my main goals is to increase the ratio of students to technologies within the districts.  We recently rolled out a plan for 1:1 laptops at the high school and set up a deal with a local broadband provider.    I teach in a rural district, and many students lack broadband in their homes.  For rural districts, such as mine, we need more technology so our students can be better prepared for the high-tech environment of the future.  We lack the opportunities (online classes, AP classes, etc.) that larger schools can offer students.  A good number of students will see a future where they will telecommute to work, like at IBM. (Dretzin, & Rushkoff, 2010)

I think the digital inequities will exist for quite some time, because to the sheer number of people living in the Third World.   Possible solutions exist for the world and the United States.

For the world, programs like One Laptop Per Child, is a possible solution.  Technology price will drop, and innovative people will step forward with new solutions like the One Laptop Per Child, so there is a real possibility that digital inequity will sink.

The United States needs to look at a nation like South Korea, and think about federally mandated nation broadband.  (Giaser, 2007)  I would prefer something more like an incentive plan for companies to create infarstructure in rural areas and in areas were poor conditions exists.  I not thrilled with the idea of the US government run a digital network that is rapidly changing technology, because the nature of a bureaucracy is not to change quickly with the times and the areas served would be back to square one with outdated service.

Digital Inequity holds back people and places from competing in the new global economy.  (“Five days on,” 2008) It hinders students in any situation from being able to maximize their educational potential , because they lack access to the resources that put the world and it vast amount of information at your fingertips.

Dretzin, R, & Rushkoff, D. (2010, Feburary 2). Digital_nation : life on the virtual frontier. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/digitalnation/virtual-worlds/second-lives/the-believer.html?play

Five days on the digital dirt road. (2008, June 20). Retrieved from http://www.internetforeveryone.org/americaoffline/nc

Giaser, M. (2007, January 17). Your guide to the digital divide. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2007/01/your-guide-to-the-digital-divide017.html

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We have always used technology in the classroom to instruction students. Be it chalkboard, chalk, and books or their modern counterpart the projector, Internet, and computer. Instructional design was started to make sure that instruction took into account the environment factors, learning styles, obstacles to the instructional delivery, and so on. The main point being that they wanted to make sure that the instruction was teaching their intended audience the intended goal or outcomes. Technology is another tool in the delivery of the materials, media, and interaction (hands-on activities) that help in adding to effectiveness of the instruction. The effectiveness of the instruction and the technology involved in the instruction, hinges on the engagement level of the student, constant assessment and continued evaluation of instruction.

One could show a modern class of students the videos that the WWII soldiers watched and some of the students would learn from it. Now if you a WWII soldier facing the idea of the front line, the video is much more engaging. That is why the video alone showed that the soldiers learned as much from the video as the other types of instructional medium. (Reiser, 2001) Thankfully our students’ learning doesn’t result in life or death in the coming months for them, but it very important in the long run. Engagement is the key to why the WWII soldiers learned. It was a very real and important thing to their immediate future. Computers, mobile technology, and the Internet have the same impact on modern students engagement. These are the tools they will use in the real working world, and it is sad that they have to “power down” to come to school. These instructional technologies do not alone make students learn, but they can be one more advantage for the instructor for engagement in the classroom.

A great deal of assessment take place in effective instructional design, and its history tells the story of theories that have developed throughout the years. No matter what type of instructional design model a person uses, assessment has to take place. Assessments is key to understand if the instruction is working, and when the audience has become proficient it the educational goals of the program. Assessment is helped by technology. At first it was bubble sheets, and now there are things like MAPs (Measures of Academic Progress). Technology can allow more data than ever to be collected and analyzed. It takes time for teachers to be trained, but it gives a real picture of what is actually being learned when applied right.

Lastly, evaluation is always taking place in instructional design. Let’s face it, no one ever teaching something perfectly the first time they do it for an audience. Technology can add in the evaluation of the instruction through assessment.

The articles both points out that technology is a fad that comes and goes in instruction. (Reiser, 2001b)That it can never deliver on the promises of new best thing. It is maybe true that technology cannot delivery everything, but with the advent of the computer and Internet, and their rapid development I believe that we are reaching a day when can do more with technology in instruction than we think we can. The problem is making sure that we are not using technology in instruction to just replace an older technology. That is what good is a computer, if you only use it to type; it is too expensive of a typewriter for just that one function.

Reiser, R.A. (2001), A History of Instructional Design and Technology: Part I: A History of Instructional Media. Educational Technology, Research and Development; 2001; 49, 1; ProQuest Central.

Reiser, R.A. (2001b), A History of Instructional Design and Technology: Part II: A History of Instructional Design. Educational Technology, Research and Development; 2001; 49, 2; ProQuest Central.

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Digital Natives

A “digital native” is someone born roughly after the 1980s, and speak the “digital language” that “digital immigrates” have more trouble grasping too.

In my opinion, after reading these articles they’re not enough empirical evidence to back up everything that both articles, Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants and Educating the Net Generation. However, I personal believe there is a generation of “digital natives”

All the articles emphasis that technology should play a role in the education of this generation and the following generations, and the debate seems to boil down to is it too much of a generalization to call a group a people tech savvy because they were born at a certain time. I would say that it is fair to label this generation “digital natives” because they have grown up with the modern technology of the Internet, Web 2.0, and mobile devices, and are more comfortable with using it. It is fair to generalize a whole generation of children, maybe not but that is what people do. Is everyone is this generation going to have access to technology and be a technological literate, no. Was every person in the “great generation”, brave and willing to die for their nation, no. But the label is fair because it mostly accurate, and that is all you can ask for when labeling a group that is so large and diverse.

In the Bullen, Morgan, Belfar, & Oayyum study they complained that the other studies were to board in their generalization, but yet they only interviewed 69 people on their campuses to somehow refute the myth of the idea of “digital natives”. While they is not a great of empirical evidence for “digital natives”, 69 students doesn’t give a valid sampling for a generation.

The Selwyn article reads more of a cautionary tale of the use of technology in the classroom, then any real hard data that shows that is students are technology savvy or not. I do agree with Selwyn when he talks about concern of the digital divide, and how it could impact students if a teacher thought that all students were tech ready to go.

Maybe I own background makes me basis towards believing that we have a generation that is ready to exploit technology in education, and that is why I agree with the “digital native” group. In my personal experience, I have seen a change in my years of teaching from students that thought using computers was a treat, to a vast group of students that expect to use computers on everything. Since we opened up the wireless access in my building, I have seen a rapid rise in the number of laptops in my classrooms. Anybody in education can tell you that you cannot generalize when it comes to the background knowledge of your students. The articles are worried about the labels that we put on students, and I believe that good instruction assess skills and knowledge of their students to maximize the potential of those students. I think that these types of debates are great to bring up concerns and hopes, but the real concern should be that students will need technology skills in most professions that they will pursue after school. We need to teach children how to think and create to make sure that they can be productive citizens in the future. Factory jobs are drying up, and this next generation needs these skills to compete with the world. This website has a great argument for the future of employment of children. dangerouslyirrelevant.org

Bullen, M., Morgan, T., Belfer, K., & Qayyum, A. (2009). The Net Generation in Higher Education: Rhetoric and Reality. International Journal of Excellence in E-Learning, 2(1), 3-4

Owen, M. (2004) The Myth of the Digital Native. Futurelab innovation in education. Retrieved from http://www.futurelab.org.uk/resources/publications-reports-articles/web-articles

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon. 9(5), 1-6.
Selwyn, M. (2009). The digital native: Myth and Reality. Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives, 61(4). 364-379.

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Kinect

I happen to be home the other day babysitting my niece, nephew and daughter when Xbox put on their live presentation from E3.  I was impressed with Xbox new game interaction hardware the Kinect.  Professor Hutchison wondered what this would mean for learning after looking at this link?  It is hard to tell.  Educational software is not a huge part of these platform type consoles, but I don’t see why they should be for younger children.  The LeapFrog is wildly popular among small children.

The main draw back of the consoles for smaller children and people that don’t play video games is that they cannot figure out the controls for the games.  When using the Kinect system it is not an issue how to control the game because you are using your body to control the game from the demonstration I saw.  The system I hope will develop games that the elderly and young can use to be more active in their daily lives, much like the Wii Fit has done, and other Wii games.  I don’t know what kind of educational value it would have at home or at school, because I feel that developers will overlook it’s capability to teach children.  I can only image about the exciting and fun educational games that could be developed for this system.  It would make virtual field trips amazing, or other interact experiences. My hope is that this type of system takes off, and other companies develop similar devices for the computer, which will than make more realistic for classroom use.  I really do think these types of things are a glimpse of the awesome interactive tools of the future.

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Intro

Hello, my name is Shane Wheeler. This is my blog for EDTech 501 at Boise State University. I’m a social studies teacher in a small school in Earlham, IA. I’m a huge advocate of technology infusion into the classroom. In this blog I hope to explore issue of educational technology.

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