July 14, 2006

Friday: GOAAAAAL!

Today we met in small groups to create a goal, indicator, benchmark, and measure.
Our goal setting exercise was very interesting. It provided important insight into the complexity of the goal setting process. A number of points come to mind:
(1) The importance of wording and the careful control of the goal-setting process; (2) The importance of maintaining focus during the process (we can easily get bogged down in wording and loose sight of the real objective). (3) The emotional involvement in goal setting when it comes down to actual action steps. We were all pretty attached to our goals (even for hypothetical schools). This is important to remember when dealing with goals that have actual impact.

The survey tools we saw will also be very helpful.

Practical Principles for Professional Development

I really liked the four practical principles to training and development that we saw today. While it took us some time to tease out the connection, the activity that we did really helped solidify their importance and applicabiltiy to training and development. It was also fun to bounce the ideas off of the rest of the group becasue we were able to address a number of complex issues and topics. Mentoring is a topic that also has interesting dynamics in hgiher ed. It is something I will be thinking about further.

July 13, 2006

Thursday: Thought-provoking Questions

WOW! There are so many things to reflect on from this class sessions, that I could write 30 pages. Here are some of the questions I foudn to be especially thought-provoking:

*"The Mcleod Question (aka Gerry's comment): How good does software or a peice fo technology have to be before it is good enough?

* The Technology Generation: While it may not be as evident now, what will the impact be on kids who do not get same type of technology-integrated training that others do?

* Master Teacher: Is a great teacher still great if he or she is not willing to improve?

July 12, 2006

Wednesday: From Replacement to Transformational

Wow! Today's class really got me thinking about perceptions of technology and what technology integration really means. We have read over and over again that perception is critical and today's discussion was a good example of that. What was most alarming is what people see as replacement vs. amplification or transformational. If teachers really believe that what they are doing is transformational (when it really is replacement), it is easy to see where problems come from. As our kids get better and better at technology, what moves the activity from replacement to transformational will be very different and needs to always be considered. Evolution and constant improvement is key to making this type of integration successful. I would have liked to talk about more than one lesson in order to get a more global picture of how we, as a group, might classify different lessons.

July 11, 2006

Tuesday: National Tech Plans: What has happened since 1996?

The component of today's class that I really liked was talking over the 1996 tech plan in our group. In looking at the goals we started talking about how none of them had really been met (in almost 12 years). This really demonstrates a need for the kind of program that we are in right now. It is really important to start making changes so that our goals can be met. As things keep speeding up, we really need to keep pushing more and more. While this is not a new or surprising idea, it was interesting to talk it over in our group with people who have lots of different perspectives.

July 10, 2006

Technology Integration

The topic addressed in our class today that I found interesting was the idea of the integration or separation of the "technology specialists" and IT staff. From my perspective, it seems like both sides have to understand what is happening. It will not be far off that what we see as innovative technology is an everyday standard. I really resonated with Kathy's point that we should view the new tools much like we view textbooks. This is an important perspective in technology planning, especially since this is probably how our students see many of the tools we are using.

Monday, July 10--Technology Tools Exploration

There are many things about today's class that have been insightful and helpful in thinking about technology integration. First of all, of all of the tools that we looked at, I am really excited about Inspiration and the possibilities for language learning. I am planning on using it next semester for my Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics course. It will be a great way for students to link different concepts and then explore them further. I also really liked David's idea of using the outline form for expansion. The second thought that came to mind as we were evaluating the tools was the fact that no tool or technology is perfect. Even for the lessons that people thought were good or excellent, there was a lot of criticism. This is a great living example of how the tool itself does not make integration successful. The best tool used poorly is still ineffective. The reverse is also true. Even the worst platform might be very useful if integrated successfully. I am looking forward to exploring all of the tools we looked at today in more detail to see how they can best be used.

July 3, 2006

Conditions for Integration (Zhao et. al. 2002)

This was a very good empirical approach to much of what we think to be true empirically. I especially liked the inclusion of the need for knowledge of the social culture of the organization of the school as well as technology. As this study shows, it is very important to think about how all of the factors fit together to make the integration model successful. Another interesting aspect of the article related to these areas is the understanding of the context of the innovation and implementations. This does seem to play a huge role in the success (or un-success) of different integration efforts.

Phase 9 Training and Higher Education (Taylor)

Coming from a totally different background, I had never heard of Phase 9 training. In thinking about how it could be applied to my area, two of the phases that seemed especially important were Administrator workshops and Evaluation. Due to time constraints, these two areas seem to be forgotten; yet, they are also very important for making technology integration successful. I am looking forward to thinking more about these issues throughout the course.

Using Professional Knowledge Constructs in Higher Education (Hughes, in press)

Of all of the articles that we have read so far for this class, I found this one to be the most helpful for future training in technology education and in foreign language education. Figure 2 will be a great teaching tool for helping instructors understand how knowledge, pedagogy, and technology all fit together to make a successful program. I especially like the inclusion of pedagogical knowledge because it seems like when technology comes into play, people often forget important pedagogical strategies. I think this is what might have lead into the drill and kill activities so prevalent in online language programs. This will be a very helpful model in helping people create effective and useful technology-based activities and curriculums.

Collaborative Inquiry & Technology Integration (Hughes, 2004)

This article was a very interesting and hands-on, theoretical approach to integrating technology. Two things about the article really stuck me as far as integrating technology into university language departments. First of all, the implementation idea of collaborative inquiry groups could be very effective. At the university level, TAs and instructors seem to work very independently and often do not collaborate. Therefore, lots of little things are happening without the time for big change. The addition of collaborative inquiry groups would be a great way to get people to work together and make big changes in the courses and curriculum using technology. The other aspect that was interesting to me was the financial limitation mentioned. At the university level, this is still an issue; however, it is less of one. There are many technology-targeted grants and funds that are not fully tapped by instructors each year. In order to make these more effective, instructors and administrators really need to work to access these funds in the most efficient way possible. At the university level, this limitation should be easier to overcome.

July 2, 2006

Project-based Language Learning (McGrath, 2004)

After reading the article on the Digital Divide, it was interesting to read this article as well. The idea of project-based learning via technology is a very important step to successful integration and would be a great application for language learning. By teaching students who are learning Spanish to use technology effectively for enhancing their own knowledge, motivation and practice will likely increase. People often end up in a language course with very general purposes that are not very interesting to them personally. Sometimes this results in years of learning followed by an inability to communicate in the language. By creating more project-based units on the internet and online course, language education can be more easily targeted towards each person’s individual needs, which will likely increase their motivation for learning the language.

Another point from the article that I found to be interesting was the idea that, in terms of technology, ``at-risk¨ does not always mean economics. It is not always what students have access to, but also how it is used. This is congruent with what we saw in the other Digital Divide article.

Understanding the Digital Divide (Tapscott, 2000)

Wow! This article was very interesting. While I had heard some about the digital divide and impact that technology might have on re-defining social class, this article really solidified what I had seen on the surface. Three things about the article really struck me. First of all, the article really demonstrates the how embedded the internet and computers are in our society. It has an impact at all levels and in all walks of life. The concrete examples given in this article were a great reminder of that. The second thing that really struck me was the Plugged-In project. It was amazing to read about the impact that the program is having on the youth in that community. The final suggestion given in the article that was very interesting was the suggestion that corporations give their employees time to volunteer in technology integration. It would be great to see the impact this would have if companies were willing to do so. I am looking forward to discussing this topic more in class with people who have had hands-on experience.

NETS-Standards for Students: Social Responsibility

Much like the technology standards that we saw for teachers in CI5342, the standards for students are very comprehensive and important. These guidelines play a big role in making technology integration successful at all levels. If good guidelines and standards are set at all levels, students are more likely to be successful throughout their lives. I especially liked set of guidelines addressing the social, ethical, and human issues in the use of technology. This is a very important step in (1) keeping children safe by teaching them the dangers of the internet, and (2) helping avoid bullying and othe rmalicious acts that are often associated with irresponsible use of the internet. I was very glad to see it as part of the guidleines. Social responsiility is a very important compontent of education as a whole, and it was great to see it as part of the technology standards as well.

Mindtools and Language Learning (Jonassen et. al. 1998)

This article was a great resource for different types of practical ideas for integrating technology in the classroom effectively. The brief description of each of the tools was practical and helpful for thinking about cognitive approaches to learning. In the fall, I will be teaching an Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics Course and am planning on using some of these tools. We will be examining some complex topics, and the Semantic Networking ideas and Dynamic Modeling Tools will definitely come in handy. In terms of technology in language education, we have many more tools available for lower levels of instruction, but these ideas will be very helpful for more advanced levels of language learning. I am looking forward to exploring the applications further!