Archive for the ‘EDTech 541’ Category

My final blog entry for the Spring semester is final here, and I need to evaluate my blog entries. I will first start with the “Content”. I felt that my blog entries drew more from the real life situations and were full of content and observations from dealing with technology in the classroom. My thoughts related back to the topic of the week. I’m sure that I bent the topic to more fit my own personal experience. Overall, I thought I did do a good job of backing my opinions up with examples, and research. I know that I missed one of the weeks post, because I couldn’t really type with one left hand, and heavy painkillers. I would say that I deserve a 69/75 for that reason.

I always to my knowledge properly sighted in an APA style. I was guilty of not have two sights source on two posts. I picked relevant research papers, and if they were not available I searched out articles that backed my opinion. For these reasons I would only give my self-21/25.

I posted on time for the most part. I might have posted late twice (the morning of Wednesday). I always responded to other people’s post by Thursday. I followed up on posts that were made on my posts, and I tried to post on other people’s post that had not gotten any feedback yet. For these reasons, I deserve a 24/25.

I wrote lengthy response to numerous posts, and when possible tried to maintain a discussion. Sadly, I rarely could keep a discussion going on a post. I did however make an effort to post on people’s post that had no feedback. I tried to make early posts in the week and asked questions I thought would lead to more conversation. I believe I deserve a 25/25.


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I have learned a great deal from this class. I think have about a hundred website links for educational and web 2.0 sites built up after this class. I would say that have grown in my ability to my make and publish my own content on the web. I have a better understand of how to infusion technology into the curriculum through a variety of tools. I felt that workload was project heavy, but yet practical materials for the classroom. I felt that the projects lead me to think about incorporating technology in all of the curriculum areas.

My course work has met the ACET standards. Standard 1(Instructional Design) covered almost every substandard. I have designed instructional materials with goals, assessments, evaluations, and strategies. The material shows conscious thought about the intended audiences, and design message. Standard 2 (Development), standard 3 (Utilization), and standard 4 (Management) is covered because of development of material from the activities and the requirement that the activities be pulled together for a thematic unit. Standard 5 is covered mostly by reflections and blogging entry required for the class.

I had to push myself to think in creative ways on how to develop a cross-curriculum thematic unit. I have often done cross-curriculum units, but nothing that incorporated almost every discipline represented in my school district. I have changed way of thinking about how to develop and deliver content to my students using the Internet and web 2.0 tools. I have only scratched the surface of using web 2.0 tools in my classrooms. I have to temper myself in using of them. Normally I would want force a tool into a lesson or project, just because it is cool. Now I understand that the educational goal is more important than using the newest cool tech tool. I have also realized that I can spend days searching for new web 2.0 sites, software, etc. I would be better served to focus on the blogs, wikis, and websites that have done all the groundwork. It can be overwhelming the choice a person has in educational technology, and thought should be given to how appropriate is for the educational goal that is trying to be achieved.

I feel that I have been pushed to think about educational technology in all the curriculum areas, and not just my own special interest. It has been a struggle at times to wrestle with subject areas that I’m not an expert in, but the struggle only helps you to better understand what a teacher or person that is technology illiterate might go through when I’m trying to teach them how use educational technology. Struggling is not as was a bad thing if you learn from it, and I have.

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“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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I really believe that eBooks will be in cards for schools in the future.  The computer industry is starting to get serious about eReaders like the: Kindle, Sony Book Reader, iPad, etc.  It is only fitting to assume that there will be more eBooks out there for children to read.  It is great opportunity to make a book available to children at school or at home.  While I have not switch over to reading books from my iTouch or laptop, that is a preference issue for me.  The Digital Natives will much more likely prefer to have all their media in one device, because that is the way they were raised.

Study by Weber & Cavanaugh in Gifted Chile Today showed that eBooks allowed all readers excel at reading, but especial talented and special needs readers.  The flexibility of the format of the material, leans itself to address their needs more than a traditional book.  A book is a one-way medium of exchange, while an eBook can provide multiple options for readers.   What student wouldn’t want to able to instant look up a word they didn’t know, or be able to watch video embed in the text instead of a picture of a process you are reading about. A nice sample of the iPad by Penguin books.

I also because that eBooks can save schools money and space in the long run. Schools unfortunately have budgets, and you can only have so much to spend. Right now eBooks might be more expensive in the beginning, but in the long run it would be cheaper. As a social studies teacher is great to see the Gutenberg Project. We are talking 30,000 free primary sources for class.

I also because that eBooks can save schools money and space in the long run. Schools unfortunately have budgets, and you can only have so much to spend. Right now eBooks might be more expensive in the beginning, but in the long run it would be cheaper. As a social studies teacher is great to see the Gutenberg Project. We are talking 30,000 free primary sources for class.

The print media has a new challenger, and students will want in the classroom. You only need to look at the information provide by the “Did You Know 4.0” video media to see that traditional media is dying out, just incase missed all the cutbacks and deaths of newspapers and other traditional printed media.

Weber, C, & Cavanaugh, t. (2006). Promoting reading: using eBooks with gifted and advanced readers. Gifted Child Today, 29(4), 56-63

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I live in the “Closed Garden” environment at my school.  It is not that oppressive environment, just another frustration of dealing with technology in my school.  I’m obviously a huge fan of technology in schools, and because of that I’m for an open Internet environment of school.

I know there are problems with opening up access to information.  Students being on improper sites, students wasting time on Facebook instead of working on homework, and cyber bulling on school computers.  Most of these problems are not worth the time and energy to prevent it, other than cyber bulling.  Students find ways around most blocked sites overtime.  Students should be monitored when using the Internet by the computer lab supervisor or the teacher that has students using the Internet.  If teachers want the student’s undivided attention, then tell them to close their computers.  A computer is only a tool, it still takes effective instruction to engage students in learning and not open to distractions.  It would be a tech person’s full time job to monitor and block sites, to make sure that students were not non-educational sites.  Too many sites come online everyday to keep up.

The biggest problem is that school wants to act in a traditional way of teaching students when it comes to technology.   Schools need to recognize that they are no longer the gatekeepers of information.  It should be the facilitator helping students find ways to located information and analyze its worth.  The amount of information available on the Internet is staggering, and it will only grow.  Schools need to embrace the new way of thinking.  We live in a digital age, and this digital age is destroying the traditional work environment.  People can work from anywhere in the world, and traditional media (newspapers, radio, etc.) is dying out.  We are starting to see the way the Internet is changing the world and it only going to increase.  Students need to be educated in an environment that does not restrict the information and social networking sites.  This is most likely going to be the kind of environment they will be working in the future.  Tony Wagner points out in the The Global achievement gap, students need information fluency and media literacy, data synthesis and analysis.  That can only happen if they have open environment of information.

Students are already socially networking with Facebook, MySpace, texting, and others.  Why not use this as a tool in the classroom.  You need to have an open Internet to allow these social networks.  Picardo points out a plethora uses for microblogging in the classroom on his website article Microblogging: making the case for social networking in education.  A closed system, like the one in my school doesn’t trust the students enough to use these types of networks for schoolwork.

Instead of making it a strong temptation for students to find ways around the wall to communicate to fellow students, we take down the walls and teach students how to use these networking sites and Web 2.0 tools to help make them better students.  It is time for schools to stop being the gatekeepers of information, and become teachers of the new digital age.

Picardo, J. (2010, February 16). Microblogging: making the case for social networking in education. Retrieved from http://www.boxoftricks.net/?p=1727

Wagner, Tony. (2008). The Global achievement gap. Perseus Books Group.

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