July 15, 2005
Today we looked at an overview of assistive technology and also some cool tools that some of my classmates knew about. Both of these activities were extremely beneficial. The videos that we watched on the internet were very amazing and interesting. I want to show other people these videos and share with them this valuable information. I have a cousin with CP who has a very cool piece of technology to help him communicate, but today's class makes me want to invest in even more technology that can help him to do other things that many didn't even imagine he could do. I know that he is just going into high school, and therefore had to leave the team that was working with him for so long in elementary and middle school. I heard about all of his farewells, and from what I can tell the team gets very close due to the connection they have for so long. Including students with special needs in the classroom is necessary and priceless for our school districts. While trying to analyze how well other websites do for visually impaired individuals, I looked at the school district's website that I just interviewed with and was amazed at how it was not user friendly for everyone. School websites really should be! The cool tools that were presented were very useable and make me want to invest in even more technology. I am excited to use most of the tools that my classmates presented.
My Cool Tools
Build a Class Website
July 14, 2005
Digital Divide/ 21st Century Skills
Today was a very useful class because it allowed me a chance to try and connect some of the different topics of our reading. We first started looking at the digital divide by focusing on topics like poverty, race, gender, academic ability, location, special needs, literacy, and training. By reviewing these and other topics, I feel that the things most of our schools have to focus on are giving our students access to technology and creating quality things to do with the technology. Getting computers with Internet access and quality software has to be done. Ways to do this in our schools include checking out computers, having high speeed wireless Internet city-wide, and having before and after school programs that can transport kids to and from school at different times. Teachers also have to focus on what we do with the technology. We have to use them as tools to increase students' use of higher order thinking. This topic ties directly into the ISTE website and the 21st century article. In this use, I feel that the ISTE articles are much more useful than the 21st century article. They both show a need to teach students 21st century tools while in a quality context, however the 21st article is very broad, while the ISTE website allows us a chance to see how different types of technology can be categorized as different types of tools in the different contexts used. I feel that the 21st century skills article does have a place in our education in that it is a nice reminder of some of the things we are trying to do, but the ISTE website is a more practical resource for evaluating and seeing what we still have to do or use in increasing higher order thinking with technology.
July 12, 2005
Criteria: Technology Integration
Today we looked at our comments from yesturday about what makes a computer software very good and useful. We came up with many criterions as a class including things like: ease of use, increases student motivation, enhances the curriculum, positively assists student learning, extends to the real world, is age appropriate, etc. In addition to this we also looked at what some experts thought technology integration meant. Trying to combine all of these things in my mind seems overwhelming, but very helpful. What the experts added to what I thought technology integration was, was priceless. It is so good to be able to look at a lesson with software and see if it is amplifying the results or even changing the results for the better. It is also great to classify different types of software so we as teachers know what parts we need to strive for more (ex. mindtools and constructing student understanding). All lessons with technology can be classified, now we know what are good qualities and what we should aim for.
July 11, 2005
Today's class was very informative and interesting. Going around to different computers with different software was a great way to experience many different types of technology at many different grade levels. I was especially interested in the Inspiration and KidPix softwares since I am an elementary teacher. They were both really great to play with and to get to know better. Of course there were computers that I wanted to get to, but didn't have the chance to yet. That is why looking over the survey tomorrow, especially on the ones that I wanted to look at, will be interesting.
What is Technology Integration 1
I think that technology integration means that technology is used in a lesson in which the technology increases the quality of the lesson. The technology and the student can work together to get a deeper understanding of the main objective of the lesson. A good technology integrated lesson does not have the technology doing everything for the student, neither does it simply have the technology teaching the student, but rather the technology is used as a tool to help more learning happen than before was possible. Technology can help the student have more insights on a topic and can give a way for the student to apply or use some of their knowledge. A good technology integrated lesson will help students be prepared for their future in that they are comfortable with technology, which is so vital now-a-days, and will also help more be learned on important topics.
July 7, 2005
Reflection on… Conditions for Classroom Technology Innovations
This was an interesting article because it brought the whole idea of integrating technology into a classroom full circle. A group of teachers tried to incorporate substantial projects that were centered on technology in their teaching. What this article found out was that, on average, certain factors either helped or hindered the probability of their project coming out successful. It was really nice to find out that taking small gradual steps with technology is better than trying huge innovative projects. I also thought it was interesting that this article noted the difference between access and easy access to technology. Most schools seem to say that teachers have access to technology, but most have to sign-up for a lab or sign out computers. Making it hard to teachers to get a hold of technology is never a good idea, especially when using technology in the classroom is so vital in this day in age.
Reflection on… A Nine-Step Program
Right before I took time to write a reaction on this article, I took some time looking at the Solution Site (http://www.thesolutionsite.com). I am still in ah of how many great “integrated, cross-disciplinary technology units” I now have on hand. All of these units look awesome and I am very excited to try many of them. I think the most important part of the Nine-Step Program that helped create such great units was actually giving teachers time to collaborate. Teachers always seem to be very limited in their time, which makes teaching, planning and trying new things very stressful. Some more good ideas that this program had were connecting what they did to the standards and showing that these units help to raise standardized test scores. The government seems to think that these are the only things that really matter anymore, which makes student’s motivation and interest in school go down. These lessons will bring that up. Ultimately for me, the best thing that this program did was allow the lessons to be accessible to all teachers everywhere. There is so much time and effort that is put into many lessons that are used in only one class, this seems like such a waste. That is why I am so glad that more than a few classes get to benefit from all of this hard work.
Reflection on… How to Become a Technology Integrationist: A Framework for Teachers to Interpret their Technology-supported Practices and Technology Knowledge
The abbreviations for the different types of professional knowledge got a little confusing at times, however really made me stop and think what I predominately use (the Venn-diagram really helped me understand what the author was saying). I definitely think that my most used area is the TPK. My second most common use of technology is in the TCK zone. And sadly my least used zone is TPCK. Hopefully this class can change that. It is funny because I could intuitively tell that I needed to use technology in a different way, but this article was really able to put it in black and white form. The other thing that I really liked about this article was that it gave me lots of different ideas for different lessons along with giving me some quality websites, like…
Reflection on… Technology Learning Principles for Preservice and In-service Teacher Education
Since technology has become so vital in life, it has also become vital in education. In schools, most students know more about technology than their teachers do. This fact helps to create a community of learners, but also makes it very difficult for teachers to plan effective lessons and projects that integrate subject matter and technology to their fullest potential. This article’s goal is to help this become a reality for all teachers at all different levels (often a link that is forgotten about many times). I really liked the part in the article where it goes into trying to “connect technology learning to professional knowledge”. This section really came alive to me when the example of writers workshop came about. Another part of the article that stuck out to me was on page 351 when the article talks about how “even teachers who possess depth in their mathematics content knowledge may lack conceptual knowledge of some mathematical topics, and learning these topics with technology may lead to many ‘ah ha!’ moments” because this happened to me once during my last teaching elementary school mathematics class. This is even funnier because my license is elementary education K-6, with 5-8 science and math specialties:)