July 14, 2006

Fri. July 14 Reflection

Today's activity of the analysis of common approaches to technology professional development for teachers has helped me see the connections between the learning principles and the way training is happening in real life. At my school we are doing a variety of types of training and are always trying to improve our methods. One factor that is always difficult is finding the time for trainers and teachers to participate. After the discussions about the need for technology training that is subject specific, I am going to promote more training workshops for each department rather than general training for all faculty.

July 13, 2006

Tues. July 11 Reflection

I just noticed that my reflection post for July 11 is not showing up. So I will attempted to post it now - at least what I can remember. The exercise of going over and discussing the type of technology used in light of the RAT framework was interesting. It helped me get a better understanding of RAT and made me consider the many intergation projects that I have been involved in developing and implementing. I realize that I can do a better job of helping teachers in my school plan their technology integration with these examples in mind. I can now pose the question: "Are students learning FROM technology or are they learning WITH technology?"

Classroom Conditions by Zhao

I could relate to many of the theories and examples presented in this study. I am in complete agreement with the conclusions reached by the researchers. It is nice to now have the correct terminology to be able to organize these ideas that I deal with daily. In my experience the way that technology innovation occurs is by evolution not revolution. We must constantly take into account the level of experience and comfort level of our teachers in helping them to integrate technology. The social or interpersonal interaction between the technology leaders or trainers and the faculty is often overlooked, but is a very critical piece in technology change and innovation.

July 13 Reflections

The discussion of Content Knowledge, Pedagogical Knowledge, and Technology Knowledge and their intersections helps me understand the need to consider where the teachers are in this framework. When I am trying to help them develop lessons using technology, I have to know where they are coming from to know best how to help them. It can be a waste of my time and theirs if I just push technology use when they are not ready to incorporate it meaningfully into student learning.

July 12, 2006

Wed. July 12 - Class Reflection

The class discussion of analyzing the Blackwater Creek lesson really helped me get a better understanding of the RAT concepts and also helped me think of the process that I use in evaluation teachers' use of technology. The RAT question guide will be helpful in working with teachers in integrating technology and I will be bringing these ideas into my technology workshops. It will also be important to keep in mind and the ISTE and NET-S guidelines in developing the technology integration in my school.

July 10, 2006

Mon. July 10 Class Reflection

Technology Exploration
This was a nice opportunity to check out some technology tools. I didn't have time to see all of them, but the discussion gave me valuable information for future use. I will be doing more exploration and I will be sending some websites and information to various teachers in my school who may be interested in the various programs.

July 9, 2006

Technology Integrationist - Reaction

“How to Become a Technology Integrationist� by Hughes
These are all new terms and concepts for me. I hope that we will be discussing these ideas so that I can better understand them. More concrete examples would be very helpful and perhaps an exercise where teachers would analyze some of their own technology supported lessons or activities to see where they fit on the TPK. TCK, and TPCK grid.

NIne Step Program - Reaction

“A Nine Step Program� by Taylor and Wills

This is exactly the type of program that we need at my school. I plan to get more information and present it to my technology department.

Technology Learning Principles - Reactions

“Technology Learning Principles for Preservice and In-service Teacher Education� by Hughes

This article is very informative and gives me new insights into my approach to technology training. I’m sure I will be referring to it to keep the theories fresh in mind as I design staff training programs. In the past I haven’t been concerned with knowing much about preservice technology training, but now I realize that in order to provide the necessary on-going technology training for the new teachers coming into our school, I must be proactive in finding out what their previous technology training and experiences are and use that as a starting point in helping them integrate technology into their teaching. I have recently begun to shift the technology training focus from how teachers use technology to teach to a focus on how students use technology to learn. Summer technology training is only a starting point – we need a system built into our school schedule in which we have on-site training during the school day with the school furnishing substitute teachers in order to give teacher time out of the classroom to attend. I hope to conduct the extended training by departments thus allowing teachers time to explore ways to integrate technology to improve student learning, to share best practices, and to create a mentoring system within each department. Finding the time to do this is my greatest obstacle.

Equity Revisited - Reaction

“Equity Revisited� by McGrath
This article is packed with information and ideas that are new to me. I was already familiar with PBL but had not made the connection with how powerful it is in motivating and teaching at-risk students. The examples really illustrate how we must “integrate technology into schools to meet student needs.� I hope to learn more about how these excellent teaching strategies are being used and figure out ways to promote their use by teachers in my school.

The 21st Century Learning skills are certainly what students need but it is difficult to correlate them with the NCLB standards. How do you give a standardized test to evaluate “information and communication skills, thinking and problem-solving skills, and interpersonal and self-directional skills?�

July 8, 2006

Digital Divide - Reaction

“The Digital Divide� by Tapscott
I think the digital divide is even wider now than it was when this article was published in 2000. We have seen more businesses get on board with helping provide technology to schools and community centers, but much more can be done. It certainly doesn’t help when the government pulls back on technology funding to schools. It is nice to see Bill Gates take a leadership role in funding and being active in promoting educational projects and access to technology in public libraries.

A new issue of access to the internet occurs even in homes with a computer and internet access. The parent or parents as well as the children all want and need to use the computer and internet every evening for work and school work. One or even 2 computers in a home may not be enough to fill this need. I think that teachers must keep this in mind when assigning homework that requires computer and/or internet access. At some point everyone will need to have her/his own computer or other device for communicating, accessing information, and doing work or school related tasks.

Computers as Mindtools - Reaction

“Computers as Mindtools� by Jonassen and Yueh
Many of the theories and predictions made in this 1998 article are being realized today with the many mindtools available. I see many examples of technology used as mindtools rather than just electronic tutors delivering and controlling learning. Some examples are electronic portfolios, science tools for collecting data to support student-proposed hypotheses, mapping tools, multimedia production tools for creating presentations, online surveys, and discussion boards. Many resources are now available online to help teachers develop lesson plans that incorporate the use of mindtools. Just a few are WebQuest, “Read, Write, and Think�, MarcoPolo, ThinkQuest, and many project based learning activity websites.

Constructivism - Reaction

"Constructivism" by Duffy and Cunningham (1996)
Some of the learning theories discussed in this article were familiar to me and many are new. I realize that in applying the constructivism theories in a real life school setting, we cannot just throw a group of materials, tools, and technology at the students without any plan, directions, or guidance leading to a desired outcome and expect the students to successfully construct knowledge and learning. Teachers must learn to be good coaches and to use various techniques of scaffolding to fulfill this role. I ‘m not sure how a curriculum that promotes inquiry, active learning, and cooperative interaction can also fulfill the required acquisition of mandated knowledge and skill. It can be very frustrating to have these wonderful theories of how students should learn, but not be able to apply them when constraints of time, money, and standards all work against us. We are still fighting the battle to implement these wonderful theories 10 years, 20 years and more since the theories were first proposed.

June 21, 2006

First Post - Reflections on Summer 2006 Technology Program

I am looking forward to attending the School Technology Leadership Program in July. I hope to discover many resources and ideas for integrating technology into the curricula in my school and to take advantage of this opportunity to connect with other technology specialists and teachers.