Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Journal #4

Integrating Technology and Creating Change


Focus Question:  What are the key stages and pressing issues of technology integration?
I'm sure you are wondering, "what is technology integration?" as I too was.  Technology integration is defined as, The process of making technology a central feature of teaching and learning in schools or strategies for successfully using technology in and out of the classroom. Technology integration refers to ways that teachers build technology into all aspects of their professional work, while Educational change relates to innovations by teachers that create new patterns of teaching and learning in schools. Technology integration and educational change together make technology a central part of education, enabling the uniwue, powerful, and transforming impacts of computers and other tools to be part of every student's daily experience in schools. However, technology integration and educational change do not automatically occur by including computers in a lesson. There are two elements necessary for technology and instruction to create a successful learning enviroment, Teacher mindset and multiple pathways. Technology integration starts with the teachers mindset that asks how computer enables students to best meet the curriculum goals. The use of technology should be to help provide improvement in better understanding the lesson, not to do your job. Multiple pathways relates to the use of technology in the classroom. Teachers need more than computers to promote technology in the classroom.
There are five key stages dealing with Technology integration. The five key stages include, entry, adoption, adaption, appropriation, and invention.  Integrating technology into teaching takes patience, perseverance, and willingness to involve students in learning about technology. The first step in integrating technology is assessing where you are personally as a technology-using educator and then taking the following steps needed to move to the next level.
Entry- Teachers are beginning to learn information technologies, teachers need to gain specific skills in how to use computers and technologies before they are able to hink about how to apply new knowledge to classroom situations.
Adoption- at the adoption stage, a teacher knows enough to use technology in the classroom, but only at a basic level and only occasionally. "Teachers blend technology into their classroom practices without  making any significant changes to those practices."
Adaption-at the adaption stage, a teacher is using technology regulary as part of teaching. " Teachers fully integrate new technologies into traditional classroom practices."
Appropriation- at the appropriation stage, a teacher is using technology as both and inside-the classroom and outside-the-classroom tool.
Invention- at the invention stage, a teacher is exploring new ways to creatively use technology in and out of the clarroom as well as adding emerging technologies to a personal repertoire of professional skill and practices.
When teachers make technology a resource for learning, students benefit. K-12 students, the ACOT study found, demonstrated greater accomplishment with technology as well as improved problem solving skills as teachers move along the integration scale from the entry stage toward the invention stage.
Now, there are still issues in Technology integration that we as educators are continuing to tackle. Some of these issues involving Technology integration include,  unwillingness to change favorite lesson plans to include technology, reluctance to use technology when teaching new lesson plans, using computers as a reward or punishment for students, using computers as an add-on to other activities, and using computers as a way to seperate students by ability groups.
Unwillingness to change favorite lesson plan to include technology- Many busy teachers have a set lesson plan and curriculum in which they are too comfortable with to want to change to incorporate technology.
Reluctance to use technology when teaching new lesson plans- Disincentives to use technology occur when teachers are asked to teach material they  have not taught before. It takes thought and energy to organize new lesson plans so infuising technology may seem like an added burden, so teachers avoid spending the extra time needed to include it.
Using technology as a reward or punishment-As educators most of us are aware that youngsters gravitate toward computers and other electronic devices. Some teachers are using use of technology as a reward or punishment for students. In these instances, students are not using technology for academic ourposes; it is not central to the completion of assignments or the learning of knowledge. The potential power of technology to produce unique, powerful, and transforming learning is minimized.
Using Technology as an Add-On to other activities- Teachers use technology whether it enhances or detracts from learning. For example, students may watch movies or videos rather than researching a topic of conducting a real-world investigations. Using videos all the time creates a situation where the technology is replacing the opportunity for hands on/ minds-on learning by students.
Using technology to seperate students by ability groups- Seperate programs seem to make sense because they appear to challenge the high achievers while not frustrating the lower achievers. But dividing the class according to percieved ability groups means, high achievers and low achievers rarely are together for the same learning activities. This reinforces a sense of haves and have-nots in academic achievement.
Tech Tool Link: NETS
This website has an abundant amount of resources for teachers, students, coaches, and administrators. NETS for teachers include, the standards for evaluating the skills and knowledge educators need to teach, work, and learn in an increasingly connected global and digital society. This website helps prepare you for the ever changing technology in our world. You are able to create a membership and order books and tools for your needs. This website promotes advocacy with ISTE, ISTE's dedication to bringing the voice of educators to policy makers regarding educational technology and digital age learning.  I found this website to be extremely useful and beneficial to educators and students.
Chapter Summary & Connection
I loved this chapter! I was able to investigate and study the uses of integrating technology in and outside of the classroom. I enjoyed exploring the issues within Technology integration, and hope to be able to better tackle those issues now that I am aware.  I was intrigued to learn more about Digital inequality, the idea that access to the latest computer technology varies greatly within society with low-income and non-white Americans less likely to be able to afford and use the newest tools.  I find the subject of digital divide very important in the schools. How can we as educators help incorporate technology in our lessons while being fair to the class as a whole? 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Journal #3

Focus Question:  How can teachers evaluate and assess their students?
Planning, teaching, and assessing are directly connected. Choosing academic content and creating engaging activities seems rocket science when beginning a lesson, with an assesment at the lessons end. Not suprisingly, new teachers are unaware or unsure of the different ways they might asess students' learning. There are three factors that strongly influence how teachers think about assesment; personal experience, standardized testing, and teacher tests. However, we may not be aware of the substantial benefits that technology can also provide in assessing our students.

Technology provides multiple ways to conduct tests and performance assessments with supporting performance measures such as, portfolios, exhibitions, and students writing. Many times, teachers will assess their students similiar to the way they were tested in the past. Teachers who took multiple-choice tests and quizzes in elementary and secondary school, often assume these tests are the best way to measure te learning of their students. Teachers do not automatically envision using porfolios, creative writing, groupwork, or other assessment tools with studens if these techniques were not part of their own experience K-12.

There has been a huge incline in standardized testing since the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. With standardized testing, students are continuously being testing K-12 in English, Math, Science, and History. Within a climate of test score accountability, teachers can easily conclude that the only tests that matter are the ones that rank order students according to their numerical score on local, state, and national exams.Teacher tests are tests for teachers to see how they think about assessments. Most states require new teachers to pass a test before earning a teacher license. Many states use Praxis, an exam developed by the Educational Testing Service, while other states use customized teacher exams from Pearson The goal of teacher testsis to ensure anywone recieving a license to teach has the competencies needed to do the work.  New teachers might assume that students must be assessed in the same way that they themselves were assessed and that passing a standardized test is the only true valid assessment format.

Tech Tool Link: 4Teachers
Loved this website! Very insightful for new and experienced educators! This website helps teachers find creative ways to incorporate technology in their lessons. 4Teachers offers online tools and resources helping teachers locate and create ready-to-use Web lessons, quizzes, rubrics and classroom calendars. There are also tools for the students to use. Not only does this webstite offer the teachers and students creative ways to use technology in their work, but it also provides valuable professional development resources addressing issues such as equity, ELL, technology planning, and at-risk or special-needs students.  I would suggest this website to any future or present educator and I will most definently be using this website in my future career.

Chapter Summary & Connection:

I really enjoyed studying this chapter. I was reminded the importance of technology in today's world inside and outside of the classroom.  I loved learning about the different ways educators assess their students and I plan to use more than just one skill to test my students.  One issue I was intrigued to continue studying was, Electronic grading software. Electronic grading software is a software that allows teachers to quickly calculate and record students grades on a computer. I am so happy to hear about a more simple way to record this information! Technology is truly a gift to educators.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Transforming Learning with Unique,Powerful Technology

Chapter 2-

Focus Question: How can students express their creativity using technology?

Students can express their creativity using technology through, Word processing, desktop publishing, design tools, digital cameras, digital video movies, and podcasts.

Creativity is a much-prized quality in society-but it is not always clearly understood in schools. What defines one being creative? Children express creativity in many ways, some by drawing, painting, or sculpting; some build with blocks or clay; or explore outdoors. Others express themselves on bikes, skateboards, roller blades, or sports. Still, others play musical instruments, act in plays, or write stories and poetry. To be creative, children do not need to design, compose, or develop something no one has done before, they may need to say or do things they have not thought or done before in quite the same way or style. Being creative is what is new to the individual, not new to the world.

Computers give novelists, essayists, poets, journalists, and everyday writers a different experience from working on paper and pen. noted one art critic:
            The computer had enabled artists to create works,and new types of work, never before possible: intricate images that could not be created by hand; sculptures formed in three-dimensional databases rather than in stone or metal; interactive installations taht involve Internet participation from around the globe; and virtually worlds within which artificial life forms live and die. (Wands,2006,p.8)

When students incorporate technology with creativity, it allows them to open up many more ideas. By using Word Processing and desktop publishing, students are able to freely write on the computer with the added help of sentence structure and spell check. These programs are not only beneficial but also almost required in all schools and businesses around the globe. With the help of design tools, digital cameras, digitial videos, and podcasts, students are able to express creativity through visual and action.

Tech Tool Link:  Bridge Building Contest
WOW! This website is packed with creative ideas waiting to be heard. The website is designed for making of the West Point Bridge Design Contest.  All you have to do is download the West Point Bridge Designer 2007 software and submit as many designs as you would like! This website allows the opportunity to use design tools and incorprate ones creative design skills.  This website is easy to maneuver and self- explanitory. I think this website would be a fun, new, educational way for students to get involved with their community and in touch with their creative side.

Summary & Connection:
This chapter was full of great ideas and setbacks of learning with technology.  Learning about the NETS-T and NETS-S was very useful the issue of visual learning was intriguing.  Visual learning is gaining knowledge through the use of pictures, drawings, video, animation, and other visual sources of information. I can see myself as a future educator using the practice of visual learning because it increases instructional options for teachers and the students. Visual technology offers multidimensional ways of seeing the world.

I am interested in learning more about visual literacy, defined as; "study of visualization in all of its aspects of communication and education" (Braden,1996, p.491) Visual literacy involves giving students the skills needed to critically read color and form and asess the many types of visual presentations they will encounter in school and society.  I find this to be a very crucual subject matter for educators to understand.

Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon.