August 9, 2007

My 1st Podcast in iTunes

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This is my first podcast created in iTunes. It is a narrative for a class activity for a computer applications class that I teach.

June 11, 2007

Summer!

I made it to the end of my CI5351 class on Technology Tools for Teachers. I'm glad I read Lindsey's blog entry on how she feels so overwhelmed by K-12 Technology Integration because that's the way I feel too. For the past few summers I have signed up for different curriculum writing activities, summer workshops (both taking and teaching) and various other technology related tasks, that I am excited to say this summer I only have one Independent Study class. I hope to relax more this summer and then maybe I can step outside the box to come up with some new ideas. I'm anxious to see what I can dream up. Hopefully it'll be awesome!

June 6, 2007

Role of Technology in Education

I just can't seem to get that RAT theory out of my head. Whenever someone asks me about technology in education, I see RAT! I learned about RAT ealier this year in a class with Dr. Joan Hughes. The "R" in RAT stands for Replacement, the "A" is for Amplification, and the "T" is for transformation.

In RAT, technology as replacement means we use technology merelya s a replacement for something not dealing with technology. It really has no other advantage other than being a technology tool or piece of software. An example of a replacement for students would be for them to make a sign or poster using MS Publisher rather than creating on with paper and pencil/markers. In my viewpoint, the learning is still the same, its just a different medium. An example of a teacher using technology for replacement would be using a United Streaming video clip rather than showing a whole movie, or using MS PowerPoint to display notes, rather than writing the same notes on the chalk/white board.

Amplification is when you use technology, but the use of the technology speeds up the process. The most obvious amplification that I can see for students, I know from personal experience. I remember being in Mr. Adel's 10th grade math class trying to draw those conic sections out every night for homework. I think we probably had to graph 3 at the most, of course we did them by hand. As a licensed math teacher, I see how the graphing calculator has speeded up the process and how it has changed the way in which students learn how to graph. Wow! Using the Internet to look up information and conducting surveys and tabulating results using technology are also examples of students using technololgy as amplification. An example for teachers would be when we use document cameras to showcase something rather than passing it around the classroom. Calculating grades using a computer program rather than by pencil/paper would be another example.

Transformation is when the learning would not be possible without the use of the technology. One of the ISTE sample lessons that I think fits transformation is on the Gettysburg Address. Here the class is divided into 4 groups. One group bases their research on newspapers, one on maps, one on photographs, and one on letters. Each group then posts their information to an online wiki. Once the results have been compiled on the wiki, students are to read and analyze the other groups information. They are then to imagine they are journalists being sent to cover the Battle of Gettysburg. They are to write the cover story for the next days newspaper. I just believe that class collaboration doesn't happen like this without the use of technology. Another great lesson from the ISTE website is on Presidental Elections. You might check it out! Other examples that might be used in tranformative lessons would be GIS, computer microscopes, Arcview software.

I just think that too often teachers use technology as replacement and do not get to the point of really "seeing the learning" that can take place when we move past that replacement level and on to the mindtool level.

May 30, 2007

How Do We Move Students To The Highest Level?

Currently in my school we are working on Curriculum Mapping. (I actually can't believe that I am mentioning this...now it must be ingrained in my head?) Anyway, we discussed in class how it would be impossible to keep students at the higher levels for every assignment in a class. Now I am thinking that if curriculum mapping were to work as it should, then students could always be working at the highest level in at least one class. I think that would be kind of cool if the mapping were constructed so well that when a science and math class were working at a level one or two, then English could be at a level four or five. This might be too idealistic, but in a perfect world I think it could work.
In an imperfect world, I think we try to intentionally add some of the higher levels to each class and then see what happens. I am sure that there are opportunities for higher level activities in most classes already, they might just need a bit of tweeking/rewording.

Most Valuable During Week #1 of Tech Tools

I enjoyed reading the article on the various Levels of Teaching. It is always interesting to me to see how other people view the world of technology education. In this article, technology is not the main focus, but it can be easily transferred in. I see technology as having different roles in the classroom. Up until this point I was viewing the role of technology as Replacement, Amplification and Transformation. I also see technology as Mindtools. Now I believe there is another level in which we can "rank" technology. I don't think we should just be using one "level", one "mindtool" or one "RAT category". I think in order to get the most out of our money and the most student learning out of our students we need to use a variety of tools and use them effectively and efficiently.

Role of Blogging in a K-12 Classroom

I've done a little bit of research regarding blogging in a K-12 Classroom. Currently our district is using this in a pilot program as our AUP is somewhat limited as far as posting student work online.
* My research is not very scientific, but what I've found is that when students are asked to blog they actually do their homework. One teacher told a class they were going to start a blog the next day and by 9pm there were at least 9 entries on the next days assignment. My experience says that most students do not work on homework over 24 hours ahead of schedule.
* In addition to this, I've found readings that indicate how much students are online in the first place. Allowing them a new avenue for doing homework that is "up their alley" means they will do homework at all times of the day (and night). Blog postings by students are not just during normal "homework hours".
* English teachers want their students to write and blogging allows students a new avenue for writing. Those who have assigned a blogging assignment have found students are willing to write more often, and for a larger audience.
* Often teachers find students will participate more when they have time to think about what they are saying, rather than speaking during a larger class discussion.
I think blogging is a good idea because it gets students to write and write in a different setting. The more practice they have at communicating by writing, the better for them!

January 24, 2007

Polar Husky

I really enjoyed looking at this curriculum. I see a lot of neat ideas in here and I understand why the students would be so excited to join in on the exploration.
As I mentioned in class tonight, I think this full curriculum would work better in a setting where one or two teachers teach multiple content areas. Examples might be Elementary Ed, Special Ed, or ALC. I also see where this may be of interest to students as an after school activity.
I do see bits and pieces of the curriculum functional in various classes, but I do not think I would do justice to the site content by choosing just pieces. Maybe that's okay? Right now I think the activities involving ArcExplorer, Google Earth and GPS look the best.
If you are reading this and you would like to check it out...the site is www.polarhusky.com

Planning for K-12 Technology Design and Integration

I am really excited about this class. To think that it is so small and then to have 3 students with backgrounds in Math to be in the class is amazing.
I am also looking forward to the development of the Learning Technologies Wiki. I am anxious to see how this develops.

December 4, 2006

Technology Goals?

I know we've been talking about technology planning, which in turn must include technology goals. I'm still feeling a bit scattered on this, especially when I work on this stuff by myself. I feel like there are so many different things to work on that I don't know where to start for sure. Do we start with Staff Development, with trying to equalize the playing field, do we tackle "convincing" the right people to make changes, what about creating a successful technology planning committee? I feel like we need to have a group discussion on what is most important. I am sure this would work best in our own districts. I'm also sure that if I open my mouth about it, I will have more work to do and not enough time to do it. It will be interesting to see where this leads.

Technology Marketing Plan

I really liked the idea that we came up with last week for marketing our technology plan. I've been thinking about it a lot this past week. My thoughts are revolving around the cost that it might take to really get the plan going. I was thinking about how well a marketing class might do with it. Since I don't know much about teaching marketing, I'm wondering if I had the plan and they did the work would be too "prescribed" for a class project. I might need to check to see about that idea.
I liked the idea so well though. I really think it had potential somewhere, just finding someone to pay for it is the problem. I'm wondering what other schools do for projects like this. It almost sounds like you would need to be in a private school in order to secure this kind of funding. I wonder what others are thinking or if that portion of class is "long gone"?

November 27, 2006

Future Classroom Ideas

Business Week Online: http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/09/classroom/source/1.htm

BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/1749817.stm Click on the link on the right.http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/1749817.stm

November 21, 2006

Technology Planning

I don't have a real grasp of technology planning right now. I have some ideas, however I am still bound by the current educational system and trying to figure out how we might go about the transformation from our current system to one that will be the best possible learning environment for students. I keep thinking of the "convincing" and the amount of learning and training it will take to make the transformation. I think if I can remove myself from the current system and start from scratch, that may be the best and then try to work towards a transformation process.

Maybe I am looking at this wrong? Someone in my last class quoted W. Edward Eming, ?It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.? Maybe the current students will figure it out and take over the jobs of everyone else once they have gradutated from high school?

Federal Technology Plans

In a utopian world, the Federal Technology Plans would definitely not be published during the final year of a presidency. I would think that this would be a good platform on which to run a campaign. The politicians seem to have plans for this that and the other thing, why not put some of these plans into writing prior to the election and then during the years in office the politicians can work to make their plans better.
Without a change in the current system, we are just chasing our tails and not getting anywhere.

October 2, 2006

Equity Revisited...McGrath

This article analyzes information from enGauge 21st Centry Skills: Literacy in the Digital Age, Connecting the Bits, and Learning for the 21st Century for ways of teaching with technology that will benefit all learners. The author concludes that the 3 studies share the following: use prior knowlege, use technology in a way that you would in the future...to communicate and to help you understand, and present knowledge/project to others.

I think these 3 ideas are great, but I think the author watered them down a little too much, even in her terminology. I still like the approach of the enGauge article in which they have the areas divided into 4 groups: Digital Age Literacy, Inventive Thinking, Effective Communication and High Productivity. I agree you need to use a students prior knowledge as a basis and then build upon that. I also think you need to have the students look at the future and predict what kinds of things they will need to know based on what they think will happen in the future. I am sure they would come up with similar ideas.

I also agree that Project Based Learning (PBL) could be utilized more often. I would like see this as a combined effort between the teachers and the "community" to find projects that show why learning in school is important and what learning is important. In school we rely so much on that delayed gratification that it is no wonder students lack interest in some areas. As teachers we keep saying, you will need to know this for the test, but then students don't realize how often in life you run into a "test".

Random thought...maybe we shouldn't have testing anymore. Maybe we should have evaluations in which you are to "find an answer" to a question. Time of course is of essence bacause in quite a few jobs, the more you can do , the more you get paid. I really don't know if we can eliminate testing all together because of all the time it would take to conitue to reteach everything from the beginning. (addition, subtracation, etc.)

The equity though, would be great. If we could figure out how to stimulate students so they wanted to be in school and they wanted to learn, that would be awesome. If PBL would help that, then maybe we should be doing more projects. If we did more PBL then maybe we would get the at-risk students to stay on track. If they felt more responsible for a project would it be enough for the student to make it to class everyday?

Technology Learning Principles...Hughes

There are 4 Learning Principles suggested in this article:
1. Connecting Technology Learning to Professional Knowledge
2. Privileging Subject Matter and Pedagogical Content Connections.
3. Using Technology Learning to Challenge Professional Knowledge
4. Teaching Many Technologies.

I think all 4 tend to overlap.

The first principle, "Connecting Technology Learning to Professional Knowledge" would probably be done automatically. Anytime I learn something new, I want to know how this will apply to me, this includes learning new technologies. My automatic reaction is "How will this help me be a better teacher?" If I don't see a purpose in learning, then I am probably not going to learn how to use it in the first place.

The second principle, "Privileging Subject Matter and Pedagogical Content Connections" shows a good example of why teachers should work together. If departments work together on their "projects" they will be combining the best of all of their ideas. I see the problem more so as we are dividing up the chapters and each person in the group will take two chapters, rather than using the group work to come up with the best "technology-pedagogy" connection.

The third principle, "Using Technology Learning to Challenge Current Professional Knowledge" is closely related to the first principle. I see this principle as teaching the technology and hoping this will help the teacher to come up with their own idea of how to use it in the classroom. I also believe that learning to use technology, even if it is for personal use, will help a teacher to become a better technology integrationist. Once you have the background in how tools/toolbars work, that transfer of knowledge to other programs saves so much time. You are also exposing yourself to various options that may transfer between programs too. (For example, if you learn to use Photoshop Elements, you are then able to transfer the knowledge of toolbars, layering, filtering, pixels, etc to other programs where you may work with the same concepts even if you aren't working specifically with pictures. You may be using clipart and another "flipchart" program for animation.

The fourth principle, "Teaching Many Technologies" requires the teacher to be a learner for "many technologies". Oftentimes the problem is convincing the teacher to spend the time to learn the technologies in order to make educated decisions about their technology integration. I find this extremely frustrating, probably because I am willing to spend some time to learn/investigate software/technologies just to see what some of the benefits to it are. so that I would know whether I could use it in my classroom.