Meta-reflection: Standard 10: Technology

Here is my 5 minute technology tip on how to use the word processing tool Buzzword. This is an easy to use program that allows for the development of documents collaboratively! This is so much easier than trying to develop documents school wide than emailing Word documents back and forth! This artifact satisfies standard 10: Technology: Integrates current technology into instruction and professional communication/collaboration activities where appropriate.

Here is the link to my screencast tutorial on Buzzword (using Jing):

http://screencast.com/t/fLsT1MPZKki

My outline of the technology tip is attached below in a Word document.

Buzzword Outline

Below is a direct link to all artifacts and discussions that I feel have implications regarding technology standard 10.

https://oswook.wordpress.com/category/standard-10-technology/

Teachers’ Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge and Learning Activity Types: Curriculum-based Technology Integration Reframed

This article is comforting in the sense that it reassures me, as an educator, that technology knowledge (TK) is a “conceptualization…to be developmental, evolving over a lifetime of generative interactions with multiple technologies” (2009, 398). But is also daunting because, as Harris, et.al., state on page 399, “the flexible use of tools becomes particularly important because most popular software programs are not designed for educational purposes.” So, this begs the questions, What do I do? and How do I begin to organize the tangled Web?

The article begins to answer my questions through examples of the multiple uses of whiteboards and various examples of specific teachers integrating technology and content successfully and the importance of collaborative brainstorming. But, what activity goes best with what technology?

Harris, et.al., help begin the tedious organization and brainstorming task by providing tables on pages 408-411. These tables “help teachers become aware of the full range of possible curriculum-based learning activity options and the different ways that digital and nondigital tools support each” (2009, 400). Which also lends itself to instructional differentiation via the multiple tools and uses for each tool.

As the article convinced me, content knowledge and technology have evolved together and must, rather, will continue to do so, “Content (be it physics of engineering or sociology) shapes new technologies and offers new uses for existing technologies, while at the same time the affordances and constraints of technologies shape how this content is represented, manipulated, and applied” (2009, 400). Doesn’t this imply the necessity of integrating technology knowledge and content knowledge so that our students can be successful and influential citizens in our future democratic society?

Harris, J., Mishra, P., Koehler, M. (2009). Teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge and learning activity types: Curriculum-based technology integration reframed. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 41(4). 393-416.

Thoughts About the iSAFE Program

I found this curriculum to be educational and very informative as it cleared up confusions and misunderstandings I had about certain terms and concepts surrounding the web. The designers created engaging analogies to explain these concepts to every age student. Also, the people documenting iSAFE, in the videos, seemed knowledgeable and understanding of how children/teens operate. They have the knowledge that children are curious and so educate students on how to explore those curiosities in a safe and healthy manner with students their own age (guaranteed to be their own age via certified programs).

Some of the points that were most beneficial in my mind where; the education of parents, the 90, 180, 360 degrees of information visibility, cyber bullying, gaming safety (especially with the many students that play ‘Mature Audiences Only’ video games where they are exposed to adult interactions and conversations, the predator video (made by a student), and the mentor program! Having older students come into a younger student’s classroom is always engaging; students listen when their older peers are telling them it’s important. Also, the assembly ideas for concepts such as; computer security, predators, illegal downloading, intellectual property, etc.

I would have liked video footage on how this curriculum is integrated into a primary level classroom as all the videos seemed focused on 5 grade and up audiences.

Overall, I find this curriculum to be extremely relevant and essential for a 21st century classroom and home (the iSAFE parent program). If students are expected to use this technology it should be expected that they know the dangers and how to use the technology safely.

Below is a copy of my iSAFE certificate of completion.

https://auth.isafe.org/login/certificate.php?event_id=5050

Using Buzzword

Here is my 5 minute technology tip on how to use the word processing tool Buzzword. This is an easy to use program that allows for the development of documents collaboratively! This is so much easier than trying to develop documents school wide than emailing Word documents back and forth! Check it out!

Here is the link to my screencast tutorial on Buzzword (using Jing):

Buzzword Screencast

My outline of the technology tip is attached below in a Word document.

Buzzword Outline

From SuperGoo to Scratch: Exploring creative digital media production in informal learning.

Despite what the title of this article by Peppler and Kafai implies, these tools, such as Scratch, can be used in formal educational environments as well as informal ones. As many of my cohort colleagues have expressed, I too felt pessimistic about Scratch. I couldn’t figure out how and why I would use this tool in my classroom to establish essential learnings in my students’ educations.

This quote, mentioned also in last week’s blog posting, “Change in beliefs follows, rather than precedes practice, and that by helping teachers adopt new practices that are successful, the associated beliefs will also change” (Ertmer, 32).

After revisiting this notion, I decided to download Scratch and actually attempt using the program and from there seeing what I could discover that may be applicable to a second grade classroom.

After jumping headfirst into the programming for beginners program Scratch I remembered the quote from this article that defined the notion of a ‘convergent and participatory culture,’ (Peppler, 4) which also takes me back to the purpose of wikis). As Peppler and Kafai explain, these are concepts build upon the idea that we must begin producing for multiple audiences instead of merely consuming others’ productions.

Scratch is a highly motivating program that allows me to produce my very own productions! I have never programmed anything before and was able to get a cat character to move around and say, “Meow!” I can see my class having a very engaging educational experience using this to program their own stories or to reenact their favorite story as a whole class or in center time. As Nicole mentioned in her voice thread, this is high level think as one must organize, plan, read and interpret, and revise programming commands.

I suggest to anyone who is still skeptical to at least give Scratch a try and let practice proceed your belief! And… it’s free!

Ertmer, P. A. (2005). Teacher pedagogical beliefs: The final frontier in our quest for technology integration? Educational Technology Research & Development, 53(4). 25-39.

Peppler, K. A., Kafai, Y. B. (2007). From SuperGoo to Scratch: Exploring creative digital media production in informal learning. Learning, Media and Technology Special Issue: Media Education Goes Digital, June issue.

Teacher Pedagogical Beliefs: The Final Frontier in Our Quest for Technology Integration?

On the very first page of the article Teacher Pedagogical Beliefs: The Final Frontier in Our Quest for Technology Integration? the statement, “computers serve as a ‘valuable and well-functioning instructional tool’ in schools and classrooms in which teachers: … (c)  have some freedom in the curriculum” (25). Perhaps that’s the first thing that needs to happen if there is to be a chance for technology integration; define curriculum and then make technology a part of the curriculum. As was discussed in my instructional strategies course as well as a curriculum course I took a few quarteres ago, the purpose of curriculum is to ensure that each child whether in Mrs. Q’s class or Mr. W’s class receives the same educational opportunities. Technology is in our state standards and so should be treated as such. Technology education is not merely a freedom of instructional artistry but an educational necessity.

Before reading the article I wrote two things that I would need to change my instructional practices -of any kind- and I came up with needing the necessary knowledge, modeled scaffolding and accountability of my practice. I found it difficult to read through the first part of the article do to the focus on teachers’ beliefs and how beliefs effects what and how we teach. First of all discussing beliefs of any kind is daunting and seems impossible to wade through as everyone has different experiences, and so, has different background knowledge surrounding everything. However, I was relieved and a bit excited when I got to the section titled Implications for Professional Development. Ertmer cited Guskey’s thoughts,  “Change in beliefs follows, rather than precedes practice, and that by helping teachers adopt new practices that are successful, the associated beliefs will also change” (32). Teachers, like students, need to experience empirically proven strategies (frankly, whether they like it our not) and be held accountable for practicing and implementing those newly learned strategies or else nothing will change. If there was a more efficient and effective medical procedure that would cure an ailment I would expect my doctor to learn, practice and implement that procedure.  Truthfully, who can argue with efficiency and effectiveness  when we are constantly given more to teach in less time.

Ertmer, P. A. (2005). Teacher pedagogical beliefs: The final frontier in our quest for technology integration? Educational Technology Research & Development, 53(4). 25-39.

The Wiki Way of Learning

As much of what I am learning throughout the Curriculum and Instruction Program is centered around the educational theory of constructivism-I appreciate the ‘wiki way of learning’. That is, the communal construction of knowledge.  Humans are innately social beings so we, as educators, must nurture that characteristic and shy away from a more competitive model.

I also clung to the idea that there cannot be a construction of knowledge that aids in understanding and mental growth if individualism is not nourished. For instance, as stated on page 138 of this article, “Collectively, teachers and students benefit from a shared collaborative document that could not have been built without unique contributions from different authors,” and continues by stating that, “…it is a mode of thinking and acting that requires individuality in order to be a collective experience” (2009).

Going forward with the ‘wiki way of learning’, and not having many resources in my classroom to work with currently, I am going to attempt this collaborative knowledge idea on bulletin boards. This will be a place where new learnings, elaborations, thoughts, feelings, and questions can be posted, in linguistic or nonlinguistic representations, surrounding a particular idea or concept that is aligned with the current unit of study. I would contribute to the collaboration as well to monitor understanding and clarify as needed. This will also be used as a formative assessment tool that will continuously provide information about students’ growth of knowledge.

Also, each Friday or so, the class and I could have a group discussion surrounding the ideas and thoughts posted on the bulletin boards and come up with a group generated summary that would be pasted on the classroom blog or website. This way, “…knowledge is formed by the individual as a process rather than a product that is presented by them. Being a process, knowledge is always ‘in formation’ rather than ‘already formed’ (2009).

Ruth, A., Houghton, L. (2009). The wiki way of learning. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 25(2). 135-152.

Bridging the Divide: Facilitating the exploration of emerging technologies that support innovative learning and teaching

An important question asked in this article, regarding technology use in instruction, was, “What do you want to be able to do?”  As I ponder this question I seem to come to the same answer over and over again, “I don’t know!” Mike Bogle, the author of this article, lists objectives he hopes to achieve:

an “increase awareness of emerging technology, particularly in its capactiry to enhance learning and teaching;

model effective use and best practice in a way that holistically integrates pedagogical factors;

establish a comprehensive support framework;

embed eLearning activities in wider policy measures.”

I need, not only insight into new technology, but someone to model for me how to use these technologies effectively and efficiantly in the classroom. Also, as Karin Stinger stated in her voice thread, I need to know if these technological teaching practices are going to be realistic in a second grade classroom with two computers. I need someone that is accessable, in the school, to, as Mike Bogle states, “help translate offline activities to an onlin framework and assess the pre-existing knowledge and comfort levels, and then having done that, to help develop a plan of attack for the next stage.”

What Bogle explains throughout the article; “…planning stages, through curriculum development and learning design, to the delivery and assessment stages…reflection and evaluation…” is explaining exactly what teachers do to learn the best practices of reading or math instruction. It’s just that technology, no matter how firmly it is planted in our societal culture, has not yet rooted itself as an essential ingredient of ‘best teaching practices.’

The people that know the answer to the question, “What do you want to be able to do?” Or, the people that have explored teaching through technology need to document and share their findings. Bogle’s last paragraph states exactly what education needs; real-world examples that we can analyze, enhance, practice -and from there- advance.

Bogle, Mike. (2008). Bridging the Divide: Facilitating the exploration of emerging technologies that support innovative learning and teaching. m.bogle@unsw.edu.au

Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0.

I found the most prominent idea in this article to be the social learning aspect, as stated on page 3, “the focus is not so much on what we are learning but on how we are learning.”  A child can only learn so much via direct instruction, say about tolerance of other perspectives and ideas, but if the child were to engage in discussions surrounding various topics and be able to consciously change his schema surrounding that concept – that knowledge, that student –  will want nothing more than to share the experience and, in turn, share and create a similar experience for another.

Also, I have always found apprenticeships to be an effective learning process; but how great to have multiple masters as well as multiple apprentices to learn with (I say to learn with instead of to learn from because learning to be is a evolutionary process; no matter if you are a master or an apprentice!)

Having open source forums increases motivation for students to further their education. On page 15, Brown and Adler write about the demand-pull approach, saying that it is a “passion-based learning.” The student’s natural intrinsic motivation is tapped simply by allowing access to information that is interesting and intriguing to the student. Ownership plays a large role as the student becomes an active participant in a community’s evolving knowledge-it is no longer solely the community molding the child. We all now have the opportunity to be heard and our ideas (no matter how small) are taken into account. We participate, therefore we are.

I teach second grade and I know my students would love to hear and see how others discuss their ideas. I wonder if, in my classroom, could set up a some sort of forum (perhaps it would be a blog) about certain children’s books where students, teachers, and parents to discuss what main ideas and learning they took away from the story (perhaps could invite the author to join in and give us what he or she thought when writing the story).

Brown, J. S., Adler, R.P. (2008). Minds on fire: Open education, the long tail, and learning 2.0. EDUCAUSE Review, 43(1).

Teachers, Not Technicians

Reflecting on my own instructional practices regarding technology, I discovered that I am in the adoption phase of the five stages of the instructional evolution to integrating technology in the classroom.

The stages, defined by Judith H. Sandholtz and Brian Reilly, are quite interesting: Entry; Learning the basics of using technology, Adoption; successfully using technology on a basic level consistent with existing instructional practices, Adaptation; using technology to increase productivity, more frequent and purposeful, Appropriation; use of technology with no effort to accomplish instructional and management goals, Invention; technology is a flexible tool, learning is collaborative, interactive and customized; new teaching and learning practices emerge (2004).

I feel that I am stuck in the adoption phase because of two main reasons; time and availability.

Time is needed not only to plan and collaborate but also to explore new  instructional strategies and learning practices surrounding technology use. In the Everyday Mathematics curriculum explorations are a key component to initially addressing critical concept information.  This exploration phase allows the students to discover and begin to define concepts on their own or with peers to begin making connections and thinking about their background knowledge before the teacher begins the presentation of new information. This effective instructional strategy should be implemented in educators’ professional development regarding technology’s implications for teaching and learning practices.

Availability of technology equipment and professional development opportunities of various kinds is necessary. There is only so much one can do to get more equipment so I have begun to assert my creativity in order to enhance my students’ learning experience surrounding technology. For example, this bportfolio gave me a great idea for my class next year. Seeing as I only have a couple computers in my room, I thought that it would be a good practice for the class as a whole to compile our reflections of learning into a summary on a blog page.  This way students, teachers, and parents are connected to the experiences occurring in the classroom. When parents ask, “What did you learn at school today?” There will no longer be a passing of silence but a “Look at our blog!”

Also, like many of our students, we learn differently.  Like David Wicks stated in his brief summary of our voice threads, what one can do with a handbook another needs to be face-to-face and so on. Professional Development also needs to be more focused on instructional practice rather than – this is how you use an online grade-book or make a graph. I want to know how to better engage my students and prepare them for our ever-changing world of technology.

Overall, technology needs educator buy-in. Technology use in instruction must become a district culture if it is going to be utilized effectively and effeciantly for all educators and students.

Sandholtz, J. H., Reilly, B. (2004). Teachers, not technicians: Rethinking technical expectations for teachers. Teachers College Record, 106(3), 487-512.