July 15, 2006

Smartboard

Smartboards are interactive whiteboards that help energize presentations. Smartboards are touch-sensitive displays that connect to your computer and/or digital projector to illustrate the image. You then control the computer application directly from the display and with a smartboard pen you can: write on the board, drag items, use it as a note-taking tool, oral review, and more.
Very cool tool! Can save the presentations and post them on the web for students who are absent or need extra review.

Moodle

moodle.com

Moodle is a course management system designed to help educators who want to create online courses. It is a free system, that is seamless, and simple to use. Students can access it at home. It is a great and you can have the following activity modules: assignment, chat, choice, database, forum, glossary, quizzes, lessons, resources, wikis, etc.

Explore Learning

explorelearning.com

Subscription based website paid per student who uses it ($12-$15 per student). It is a site that offers math and science simulations and is divided up by grade level and subject area. Gizmos are online simulations that power inquiry and understanding. Very cool. On the website you can try it out for free. The simulations also include assessment questions in which students can test theories, check answers, and further explore the topic. When the student logs out the grades go straight to a folder in which the teacher keeps track of the grades.

Smart Music

www.makemusic.com

www.smartmusic.com

The program listens to and records your music. There are many method books, exercises, and more for students to access. Super Cool!!! You play your instrument and it is an assessment tool. Your grades can be sent to your teachers. Easy to use for tools. It will tell you the knows you played correctly and incorrectly. It is subscription based and costs anywhere from $200 (school) and then you can sell it to kids for $25.

Dancing With Words-Spanish

Helps in learning about Spanish. It is a learner-based site, not an instruction-based site. Anyone can use it. There are 10 modules and a reference module.

Plone (Content Management System)

Plone:
-is a content management system (like "webct")
-is an open source software
-is a major player (especially in Europe)
-empowers collaboration

Plone is server-software and people can learn to use in an hour-very easy! Members of sites can add, edit, share, and discuss content. It is open source software-a philosophy of community control/open access. It has multi-lingual abilities. Great for diversity!

eFolio Minnesota

efoliomn.com

It is FREE!!
Students need a portfolio to measure the inter-disciplinary process of learning. The tool is not designed for high school students however it has been used for hs students. It is very simple and provides templates. Can include sections such as: Layers of My Life, Learning Reflections (by Unit), Writing Process and Progress, Reading Reflections, My Activities, Current Events, and Feedback. The program is password protected and students need to provide their password to teachers so they can view the eFolio and make comments/suggestions.

Visual Thesaurus

Also Check Out:
net tracker
microsoft student-$60-$70

You type a word in and you will visually see many words that have the same meaning appear around the word. On the right side it will give you grammatical information of the word. As well, it will pronounce the words for you.
Very visual. It costs around $30 a seat.

Portaportal

Portaportal.com
It is FREE!!

Portaportal is a web based bookmarking utility that lets you store links to websites. This is good to provide links for students for certain projects. Very simplistic and easy for students to use!

Playmaker Pro

This program was developed for the Michigan Football program. However, there are also templates for basketball, hockey, and soccer. Many of the football coaches throughout the country utilizes this. It is great and easy to understand for the players as well. It runs plays as well so coaches and players can learn through watching the play(s) (versus simply explaining it). It is relatively inexpensive and it eliminates redunancies.

July 14, 2006

Reflections-7/14/06

Today we went over Technology Learning Principles (Hughes). We applied the four technology learning principles and Zhao's article to analyze common approaches to teaching professional development. The various approaches include: leanring communities, short-term in-service, students helping teachers, independent learning, and a mentor approach. My group focused on short-term in-service and we found that short-term in-service can apply Hughes technology learning principles. Moreover, we found that Zhao would not support short-term in-service for various reasons. First, many in-service workshops take the format of motivational speeches and neglect to acknowledge pedagogical and curricular connections. Furthermore, in-service workshops fail to develop knowledge of the social and organizational aspects of the school. Our perspective, in-service workshops, best fulfills Hughes framework.
Overall, it has been illustrated that there is no one solution because there are various teachers/schools. Maybe we can develop a program that will include pieces of each framework to maximize development. This is the challenge....

July 13, 2006

Reflection-7/13/06

Class discussions have been very insightful. Today we focused on the "Techonology Integrationist" and the article by Zhao and Pugh. First, the technology integrationist are "teachers who have the ability to understand, consider, and choose to use technologies only when they uniquely enhance the curriculum, instruction, and students' learning" (CI 5344, Lecture Notes, Summer 2006). Technology integrationists propose a framework to help teachers understand what kinds of knowledge they are using. This should be used as a self-assessment to adapt and adjust various instructional strategies to maximize learning. The framework poses three different knowledges: Pedagogical Knowledge, Content Knowledge, and Technology Knowledge. These knowledges are connected and can be interrelated. The extent of importance in utilizing all three knowledges at the same time was questioned. The challenges faculty face with these knowledges was discussed. How do we get teachers to learn more knowledge? One problem with Pedagogical Knowledge is the difficulty for teachers to change their ingrained beliefs and practices. To attempt changing these we should create cognitive conflict. Cognitive conflict is created when new knowledge is presented and the teacher reflects and recognizes, particularly the differences, perhaps resulting in changing and conforming to the new information to resolve this imbalance. As well, another problem with technology integration among "traditional" teachers is they are often uncomfortable and unfamiliar. Perhaps this is importan for a knowledgeable person or leader in technology to assist them until they feel comfortable with technology. By the end of class we came to a question that can be terrifying and needs active teachers to ensure there is a positive outcome. The question: Are we preparing our students for the 21st century? I would like to optimistically answer, "yes." However, I feel overall there are numerous things that the community, adminstrators, and educators need to take responsibility for and improve on so we can confidently answer this question. Regardless of how strong we feel about this topic, regardless of the position taken, in years from now we will see how well our students were prepared to lead the nation. Personally I feel we need to integrate technology, civic values, life skills, and further critical thinking skills and expectations. I hope that every individual, regardless of their occupation, ponders the question and attempts to further promote these qualities and many more in our children. This class has encouraged me to critically think about several areas of technology and I quickly realized the significance of technology in the classroom. I approached this class and was adamant about utilizing technology, yet I failed to think about the importance of technology beyond enhancing instruction. The discussions have helped me critically think about several problems in integrating technolgy and the necessity of overcoming these challenges to maximize student learning and productivity for the 21st century.

July 12, 2006

Jonassen and Hughes-7/12/06

Various frameworks and theories are important to consider when integrating and evaluating technology. The framework by Johnassen focuses primarily on "mindtools" to engage learners in critical thinking. According to Jonassen, mindtools are "computer applications that, when used by learners to represent what they know, necessarily engage them in critical thinking about the content they are studying" (Jonassen, 1996). Jonassen advocates that technology has previously been used to deliver instruction and often times "replace the teacher" however it should be used as a tool to further critical thinking.
Another concept discussed to evaluate the integration of technology is by our own professor Joan Hughes. The "RAT" concept is a self-assessment tool to evaluate if one's own use of technology has replaced, amplified, or transformed their curriculum. In discussion today we discovered that there are many ways these terms can be interpreted and applied. It all depends on self-evaluation and the context of the lesson. Evaluating our own lesson will be far more beneficial than observing someone else for one class period. When observing someone for a short time we miss out on many important aspects the teacher may have covered or is planning to cover. Futhermore, the connotation of these terms was discussed. For example, is replacement necessarily bad? Questions were discussed and as with anything, it is clear that various perspectives and contexts should be considered before deciding what frameworks to implement.

July 10, 2006

Reflections for Class--7/10

Exploring various technology programs was insightful. First, I didn't realize the number of programs available. I was able to explore 5 different programs: Blogs, KidPix, KidSpiration, ArcVoyager, and Wikis. Of these I was really drawn to the ArcVoyager and Wikis programs. Through the sample lesson in ArcVoyager students are able to better understand geography, culture, and link connecting themes. I feel this program is more complex however many students today are more technologically advanced than teachers and likely able to easily navigate this program. With specific directions I feel this program (and lesson) is very beneficial! Furthermore, Wikis is a program I would like to learn more about and implement. Wikis can be very successful in requiring students to critically think. Students can gather knowledge about a topic and compile it on a class Wiki. As students learn more information they are able to change their existing information if needed. This allows students to observe their intellectual growth and work with other students to explore one topic. Lastly, this is a good resource for students when studying for an exam or writing a paper.
Even though there are many strengths with these programs I also learned the limitations. Unfortuantely some of these programs such as the Geometer's Sketchpad Software is only useful/applicable for certain subject areas (i.e. geometry). Schools may not invest in these programs because they are expensive and only resourceful for certain subject areas. As well, a teacher may want to become a "technology integrationist" however the school district may not be on "board." Therefore, a teacher may have the knowledge and enthusiasm but is unable to implement it because the program is not available.
Overall, the strengths of integrating technology far outweigh the limitations associated with integrating technology. As educators, it is our responsibility to keep up with the technological advances and further maximize classroom learning.

Reflections-Entry 1

I am excited to take CI 5344 and learn more about successfully integrating technology. I am on campus daily taking other courses so I have no initial excitement to be in a new place. I hope to learn about how to effectively integrate technology into curriculum so I am able to further intellectual quality and promote critical thinking in the classroom. My desired outcomes are to become more confident and comfortable when working with technology and continue to better myself for the classroom to maximize learning. I look forward to seeing everyone on Monday. Have a good weekend!