July 16, 2006

Article--Partnership for 21st Century Skills

Here is a link to the website which is doing lots of research on the topic (and from where I got the pdf 'Learning for the 21st century')

The pdf has lots of great stuff for someone who is writing a grant as one's methods and priorities ought to align with these principles and priorites and methods.

It starts out by trying to persuade one of the need for change in the way that education happens in the US.

Part 1 argues that there are 2 main areas to work on, both reflecting constructivist principles--making the education connect to students lives and base it on research indicating how people learn.

Part 2 gives a broad view of what must be the focus of education: 'priveledge core content', emphasize higher order thinking/learning skills and metacognition, use advanced technology as per Jonassen's Mindtools, teach in the current world context of My Space and Hurricane Katrina and use authentic assessment.

Part 3 talks give 'nine steps to build momentum' towards this kind of education. These nine steps are basically action planning applied to achieving what was described earlier in the ways it said were most effective.

In the appendix are given different resources. Again, I see the main use of this document for me is when I design my grants to know what parts of the program to emphasize and the important vocabulary to use. I feel that what I'm doing is down the right alley and that it coincides with this article.

Article--Preparing Teachers to Use Technology

The title of this page is: Preparing Teachers to Use Technology. Predictably it has lots of info for doing this. I might use this information if I were to be leading a workshop for our district on the use of technology in a science classroom. Actually, I just did this on the use of probeware. I would have liked to have known about this site as it has great resources and I would have done my class differently. In addition to providing a broad overview of probeware and thier use (which I did), I would have done the lesson on using the motion detector with balls instead of my simple activity with temperature probes. Frankly, it's a better lesson and shows a more well-rounded use of probeware. I'll keep this in mind as well as the blog with the link!

Article--Understanding the NCLB act of 2001

The following is a very selective 'cut and paste' only showing the outline of the NCREL presentation. To see the entire site, click here. I've done this for its use in a presentation. It provides very useful direction for the utilization of technology at our program.

The purpose of this article was to:
"...assist policymakers, administrators, and educators in understanding the fundamentals of how the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 translates into their own technology integration initiatives."

The specific NCLB goals for Title II, Part D—Enhancing Education Through Technology are as follows:

Key Concepts: Improving Student Achievement
In Title II, Part D, Goal 1 of the NCLB Act, the emphasis is on the improvement of student achievement in academics with the use of technology in elementary and secondary schools. This focus is laid out in several ways:
• Technology Integration Initiatives
• Parental Involvement

Key Concepts: Technology Integration Into the Curriculum
In Title II, Part D, Goal 2(b) of the NCLB Act, the emphasis is on the effective integration of technology into the professional development of teachers, principals, and other school staff. It is further stressed that the training for instructional staff should establish research-based methods that can be replicated as best practices.
• Professional Development
• Technology Curriculum Integration

Key Concepts: Improving Students' Use of Technology in Grades K-8
Title II, Part D, Goal 2(a) of the NCLB Act states that by eighth grade each student must be technologically literate. The sample of technology literacy standards below suggests the proficiencies necessary for a student to be considered technologically literate. These standards were developed by the U.S. Department of Education and the International Society for Technology in Education. The proficiencies in each grade build upon previous ones, enabling the students to reach technological literacy by the eighth grade. A major focus of the technology literacy standards is their integration into each content area within each grade level.
• Basic Operations and Concepts
• Productivity Tools
• Social, Ethical, and Human Issues in Dealing with Technology
• Technology Communications Tools
• Technology Research Tools
• Technology Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Tools

July 15, 2006

Article--NETS for Students, 2 pdfs

The NETSfor_Students.pdf is a pdf. I've found the same content as a web page here. It is a comprehensive outline with links to the different outlines of "Connecting Curriculum and Technology". It provides some visionary perspectives on the use of Technology in school, strategies for its use, standards as well as some good examples of lessons were students use technology to learn particular content. This will be a useful link (above) when working with my team mates as we work to integrate technology.

The NETSS_standards contain both NETS for Students and Performance Indicators.
The following are the NETS for Students:
1. Basic operations and concepts
?? Students demonstrate a sound understanding of the nature and operation of technology systems.
?? Students are proficient in the use of technology.
2. Social, ethical, and human issues
?? Students understand the ethical, cultural, and societal issues related to technology.
?? Students practice responsible use of technology systems, information, and software.
?? Students develop positive attitudes toward technology uses that support lifelong learning, collaboration, personal pursuits, and productivity.
3. Technology productivity tools
?? Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.
?? Students use productivity tools to collaborate in constructing technology-enhanced models, prepare publications, and produce other creative works.
4. Technology communications tools
?? Students use telecommunications to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences.
?? Students use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences.
5. Technology research tools
?? Students use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources.
?? Students use technology tools to process data and report results.
?? Students evaluate and select new information resources and technological innovations based on the appropriateness for specific tasks.
6. Technology problem-solving and decision-making tools
?? Students use technology resources for solving problems and making informed decisions.
?? Students employ technology in the development of strategies for solving problems in the real world.

The following are the performance indicators for middle school:
Prior to completion of Grade 8 students will:
1. Apply strategies for identifying and solving routine hardware and software problems that occur during everyday use. (1)
2. Demonstrate knowledge of current changes in information technologies and the effect those changes have on the workplace and society. (2)
3. Exhibit legal and ethical behaviors when using information and technology, and discuss consequences of misuse. (2)
4. Use content-specific tools, software, and simulations (e.g., environmental probes, graphing calculators, exploratory environments, Web tools) to support learning and research. (3, 5)
5. Apply productivity/multimedia tools and peripherals to support personal productivity, group collaboration, and learning throughout the curriculum. (3, 6)
6. Design, develop, publish, and present products (e.g., Web pages, videotapes) using technology resources that demonstrate and communicate curriculum concepts to audiences inside and outside the classroom. (4, 5, 6)
7. Collaborate with peers, experts, and others using telecommunications and collaborative tools to investigate curriculum-related problems, issues, and information, and to develop solutions or products for audiences inside and outside the classroom. (4, 5)
8. Select and use appropriate tools and technology resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and solve problems. (5, 6)
9. Demonstrate an understanding of concepts underlying hardware, software, and connectivity, and of practical applications to learning and problem solving. (1, 6)
10. Research and evaluate the accuracy, relevance, appropriateness, comprehensiveness, and bias of electronic information sources concerning real-world problems. (2, 5, 6)

These are good and are useful whenever I need to justify what I'm doing to my administrator as well as provides me with help in providing additional dimentions to my lessons. The performance indicators provide a very general answer to the question: "how do I know when my students have reached these standards"?

Here is a link to document which give information for K-12:
Profiles for Technology Literate Students

Article--Hughes: Tech learning principles for teacher prof devel.

This article provides a vision for technology integratin in teacher education. Key goal is for teachers to become "Technology Integrationists" ie teachers who thoughtfully choose to integrate technology when it supports students' subject matter learning. 4 principles are:

1. Connect tech learning to professional knowledge
Tech learning needs to articulate with teachers present professional knowledge (as Zhao says, close distance to teacher's pedagog beliefs and knowledge. This can be done either with trainer scaffolding or by teacher identifying own needs via reflection.

2. Put subject matter and pedagogical concerns at center
This is core to the effective use of technology and is perhaps the area that teachers know the least about and thus will need the most direction. While using content specific tools, even teachers with profound content knowledge will have many 'ah ha' moments and this will be good opportunities to discuss pedagogical beliefs--transmissive vs constructivist

3. Use tech learning to challenge pedagogical beliefs
As mentioned at the end of the last section, these experiences can be used as experiences that can be turned into cognitive dissonance and lead to conceptual change. It is important to realize that any conceptual change that may occur needs nurturing and time for it to become mainly established.

4. Teach many technologies
Choice is good. There are lots of different powerful tools out there and no silver bullets. This behoves one to know and use different tools for different learning goals, even within the same discipline. However, as Dave mentioned in class, one must balance this principle with the admonishment to not be 'a jack of all trades and master of none'.

Finally, some different ways of organizing these pre and in-service learning experiences eg specific courses, collaborative inquiry groups, Team Action Projects. I'll be using this article to find other sources of info--nice bib, also when working with my team mates this year on advancing their/our skills and knowledge.

Article--The digital divide--Tapscott

Have-nots, know-nots and do-nots... That is a powerful premis. He supported it with some data, many stories and some good logic. This article was written in response to arguments from many camps that we don't need to/it would be bad to try and address the digital divide.

I had heard of the TV analogy that 99% of families have them w/out govt subsidies so it will come to happen with computers when the price comes down some. Well, Tapscott blew that out of the water by reminding people that TV's are a source of passive entertainment, not something that requires active engagement and decent technology knowledge to utilize and maintain.

Also, he argued that universal access to computers and the net isn't sufficent in and of itself. It requires fluency, motivation, and integration of digital tools with different parts of their lives. True.

He talked about ways that business can help out, and argued that they ought to, too. He talked about businesses dropping off their old tech at community centers, often not ready to be used but it gives good press and tax discounts for them and raises the expectations for services at the community center. He argued for a more useful model of businesses helping out where it wasn't only beneficial to themselves but to the community, too.

I like his idea of a company helping all of it's employees get a computer and get on line. That was a cool idea.

Really, there were lots of arguments and many of them were good. I guess this article was meant to motivate people to action and provide some possible mechanisms to do this. I've grown a bit disatisfied by this kind of writing. While I like the info and logic, it takes case histories and makes them into ideal situations. Then, when people try to recreate these ideal situations and meet with reality, they can become discouraged or support can be withdrawn etc.

In conclusion, this article motivates me to continue to redouble my efforts... :-)

Day 6--Professional Devel cont. Equity

**Learning Communities is another model of PD
--Focused on student learning, results and a culture of staff collaboration
--Tapped in is a cool web site where you can join/make virtual learning communities, promotes communication--very cool.

**Short term inservices
--Considered a drive-by solution to the need of PD
--Could be used as a focused strategy to provide specific skills to those who want them.

**Independent learning
--Most powerful for those that are self-reflective and know what they want.
--Least useful for those who need their horizons extended ie pedagogical conceptual change
--Other issue is that the person will be moved further distance from their context as they grow and those around them don't (as which is more likely to happen with a mandated PD experience.
--All in all, this is a very powerful method, though and needs to be encouraged with PDP's

The rest of the class was for students to show their cool tools. This was incredible--should have been done 1 per day though and spread them out. I'll refer to the document that Joan posts which has notes, and comment on that.

Really liked the Visual thesaurs; Moodle; Spanish site; the expensive science one Dave talked about was incredible, PortalPortal, the MusicMaker, really, I was very impressed with all of them and even if not for me then to show to a colleague.

This has been a good class and I'm looking forward to see what I do with the reflection... it will be good.

July 14, 2006

Article--McGrath, Equity revisited (PBL and digital divide)

The author looked in detail at three large reports of the state of technology use in schools. She concludes that "It should come a no surprise that PBL (project based learning) provides a key teaching strategy". She asserts that the results show that there are 2 groups, one that has good computer access and the other that doesn't. She said that she is focusing on in this article, though, is HOW technology is used in school. She said that Ray Yau concluded that poor and minority students were given an excess of drill and practice and very little opportunity to use tech for higher-order thinking tasks.

She then stated that the skills identified in the enGauge 21st Century Skills inclued 4 skills that all learners need to successfully negotiate the 21st century:
• Digital-age literacy
• Inventive thinking
•Effective communication
•High productivity
and thise correspond nicely with the basic requirements for PBL:
• A driving question
• Construction and presentation of an artifact
• Collaborative research over an extended period of time
• Community of inquiry
• Use of technology-based cognitive and communication tools.

She concludes by saying: "My conclusion is that at-risk children, like their less at-risk counterparts, thrive in a PBL environment in which technology connects them to the real world by bring access to resources into their classroom."

She has a web site that has lots of resources.
This is a website from a PBL (problem based learning) group that has been around for a long time.

I will take a fresh look at PBL as I have new tools at my disposal and am a much more experienced teacher.

Day 5--Applying what we've learned to help new teachers use tech


Connecting technology learning to professional knowledge
**identified by another
**identified by practioner (requires good self-reflection)
-careful to not over-scaffold--may inhibit teacher reflection (goal, give a man a fish and he has food for a day...)
-both methods require self-reflection and awareness of their knowledge.

Privileging subject matter and pedagogical content connections
**move beyond technology-pedagogy connections
**esp w/ novice teachers
**strategy of grouping novice and expert teachers

Using technology learnit to challegne professional knowledge
**Intro tech and lesson examples to challegne teachers believers
**new subjet matter epistemology or ped can challenge a belief

Teaching many technologies
**not one solution existf roa all teacher/student
**must provide an array of options
**often limited budgest constrian enacting this principle

Awesome activity--We broke into groups and each group was charged in evaluating 1 model of technology professional development. Each of these models were quite distinct. We were to use the Hughes and Zhao models to evaluate the model. The models were:
1. Learning communities (including face-to-face and Online approaches)
2. Short term inservice
3. Students helping teachers
4. Independent Learning
5. Mentor Approach

• "Idea Virus" an idea that gets people excited to do something
• "United Streaming" a huge, subscription based service that streams tons of different videos
• Gen Y kids--students support teachers doing tech stuff like recording parts of a play with audacity
• I need to find ways for kids to give me feedback on the tech and other aspects of my lessons
• Elective class start w/ FLE discussion: "how could we use Sci/Tech to improve our school?"

Article--A nine-step program

The Nine-Step Program is "a successful, replicable model for professional development". This is a detailed process that really takes into account such diverse, often overlooked, and very critical components of creating a technological integrated team and unit. Briefly, the componets are:
**Learn NETS for teachers and Students
**Team commitment
**create the integrated lessons
**integrated lessons are evaluated and posted if good
**Principal of school gets workshop-ed for their buy in.
**Lessons/units are used and evaluated
**trained teachers train others in their school/county
**Evaluation of NETS become more central
**Finally, a state of nirvana is reached...

This article was a bit of advertisement, but to tell you the truth, I would love to be part of something like this because it wouldn't all have to come from me, someone else would train principal and colleagues and it would create some truely beautiful lessons and units and really bring a team together on the same page.

July 13, 2006

Article--Zhao 'Conditions for classroom technology innovations'

Arrg! I just lost about an hours worth of writing on this very interesting article--when I went to post, it took me to a login screen, and all was lost!

I'll say only a bit (this time) about this article

It is very important because it lists 11 factors in 3 different domains (the teacher, the project and the context) that affect the success of an innovative tech project.

This article was very interesting personally because I could see these factors in action in a variety of projects of mine over the years. They are indeed all significant and some seem to be so intertwined that it almost doesn't seem worth extricating them.

However, I do plan on using these factors to try to augment the factors for success in my classroom projects as well as team tech projects. Some factors I'm not willing to scale down to the 'low' end of Zhao's spectrums, but will therefore try to make the other factors 'asymetric' as the authors said, hoping that there will be some useful compensation going on. In their study, they did indicate that the teacher component was the most important one and that is, more or less, under my control;-)

Day 4-- Contextual issues to classroom innovations

How does technology play a role in student learning, instruction and curriculum--Important thread.

Technology Knowledge Framework
Content knowledge---what does the teacher know about their domain eg Newtons laws
Pedagogical Knowledge---what does the teacher know about teaching eg Strategies to spark discussion
Technology Knowledge---What knowledge and skills does a teacher have eg use spreadsheets
When these overlap in a venn diagram, the center is a special area in that it has complex knowledge that is uniquely applicable to their content/technology/pedagogical situation.

Again, I think it is important to emphasize that the TPCK model, like the RAT model, isn't a simple continuum from good to bad. As a teacher, we

Elaine told a nice story about a teacher who had deep tpck but hadn't put them together in the classroom. He finally asked for help from her, he took the dive and tried to use geometry sketchpad and things turned out great. She also noted that 2 other teachers at the end of this year asked to learn to use this program for the start of the next year...

Reconsider the idea of removing technology from a student for extended periods of time as a consequence and instead, only remove it until I've had a home contact. Also, the idea of having a ladder structure so that each time it were to happen the consequence might increase. If so, then I would also need to have some data recording of this...

--To Do---e-mail Joan a description of the project for grant possibilities.

Article--Jonassen et al on Mindtools (1998)

Jonassen presents his idea of Mindtools, a category of software that students use to learn. He distinguishes between mindtools and (my category label cuz I couldn't find his) transmitter tools. He advocates the use of mindtools as they engage students in open-ended ways to interact with the content. Instead of simply being a rather passive tourist lead by the computer program.

These categories include:
Semantic Organization tools (eg databases and concept mapping tools)
Dynamic Modeling tools (eg spreadsheets, expert systems, systems modeling tools and microworlds)
Information Interpretation tools (eg search engines)
Visualization tools (eg one helping people view molecular arrangement)
Knowledge construction tools (eg CAD, I think--no examples given)
Hypermedia tools (wikis, web pages, actually this capability is now part of many tools)
Conversation tools (eg Chats, FLE, email, listserve and Collaboratory Notebook which hasn't been upgraded in last 6 years)

The way I conceptualize this difference is the amount of scaffolding provided by the software. On one end, the transmissive end, their is narrow (i.e. limited choices) learner options. On the other end are mindtools that are open-ended allowing a very wide range of interaction.

I do believe it is very important to recognize the potential of certain kinds of software and it's useful to categorize them in how open-endedly they can be used. Simultaneously, I think it's important to emphasize that a tool can be used in multitudes of ways and that mindtools can also be used in very restrictive manners, inconsistent with Jonassen's description. Here is a link to Jonassen's page where he gives lots of examples for uses of the different categories of mindtools

July 12, 2006

Day 3--Practice using evaluative frameworks...

Started class by reviewing yesterday--I need to look into NETS-S and NETS-T--has lots of rubrics.

Importance of considering the use of a technology tool--anything could perhaps be a 'from' or 'with' technology (Using Jonassen ideas of mindtools). In other words, there is a whole continuum from computer as tutor (rigid scaffolding) to Mindtool (open scaffolding).

Need to use case-studies with video and have the teacher there to answer the specific questions, otherwise it is hard to assess things because assessment must be based on a large background of knowledge.

Need to move students to the point of automicity with a tech tool so that students can use their automicity to do the conceptual work! What kinds of lessons are best for teaching students to learn a tool to automicity? Maybe use replacement lessons? A very important thinking in my curriculum development is to decide on the tools I need students to use (for the higher order critical thinking that helps for concept development) and develop their use of these tools to automaticity

July 11, 2006

Article by Hughes (on TPCK)

Help! TPKPTCKC! I don’t do acronyms well, but I can do them with effort. I liked this article as it presented a way to classify lessons as to how technology was used in them. Also, it wasn’t a rating such as ‘well used’ or ‘not so well used’ but the aspects of the lesson which were supported by the technology. It also focused on the skills and knowledge that it takes to find and create computer technologies that support these different aspects of the lesson. Specifically, the domains of knowledge required are Technological, Disciplinary and Pedagogical.

Joan gave an example of a social studies teacher who had students use powerpoint presentations as a way to motivate them to engage in the process of learning about elections. The tool was used in a way to motivate students to engage i.e. the teacher used it to increase motivation—a pedagogical consideration. There really is nothing special about powerpoint presentations that teachers the concepts of social studies. Well, actually maybe there is—part of the content is that our elected officials have to sell themselves and their ideas, and Powerpoint presentations are a way of doing this. In that way, perhaps some situational knowledge was learned by the participating students—I guess it partly depends on how the teacher contextualized the activity.

While both TPK (Technology and Pedagogical Knowledge) and TCK (Technology and Content Knowledge) were good ways of supporting lessons, perhaps the most transformative lessons happen with TPCK. Thinking about it, not all the lessons require the Technology knowledge. I think that all require pedagogical knowledge, too, whether or not it was well applied is another question! For example, I’m having a hard time thinking of an example of a TCK lesson that really isn’t a TPCK lesson.

I wonder how I can apply this to my own thinking. I guess it will help me really focus so that the technology supports the content knowledge of my discipline. Also, it will be helpful when talking with teammates as I help them integrate technology into their lessons. Also, I want to think about how I can use technology for students to learn content, ‘situated’ knowledge.

Questions remaining:
**What would be an example of a TCK lesson that doesn’t take into account pedagogical knowledge—I guess a poorly run lesson :-)?