Technology’s Impact on Learning
The readings for this week continue to enforce my vision for teaching and learning. After reviewing the variety of learning theories, my vision is still strongly rooted in the constructivist approach and technology is an enhancement to this approach. We as teachers should be the facilitator by providing the topic and core information, and then the learning process should be multifaceted. Not all students absorb knowledge and learning in the same manner, so we as teacher must develop a variety of approaches, environments and experiments to allow the learning to take place. “The knowledge that each student constructs is not predictable from the individual pieces of information in the information landscape or the curriculum but emerges from the sum of the encounters and from the relations established by the student within the knowledge domain.” (Spector, Merrill, Elen, Bishop, 2014, p. 116) Our students may have access to the same information however, it is how they engage the knowledge will determine their individual learning outcomes.
Through the use of technology, we as teachers are allowed to develop a variety of learning environments which are multi-faceted to meet the student’s needs. These learning environments are developed to meet learning styles, varied path and pace, and provides student a voice in the development of these environments are well. Personalized learning environments are further developed through the use of technology in creating engaging and student centered learning experiences. “The question, however, is not if tools can contribute to learning but how instructional materials in various forms can enhance learning and allow the manipulation of the properties of instruction that impact learning (Lumsdaine, 1963).” (Spector, Merrill, Elen, Bishop, 2014, p. 106) Teachers must create learning environments with proper materials to ensure students have the ability to be self-directed learners in these authentic and engaged learning environments.
“Instructional design theories typically contain a taxonomy of learning outcomes, which makes it possible to classify the desired outcomes and then to select the most suitable instructional method or methods for helping learners to reach these outcomes.” (Spector, Merrill, Elen, Bishop, 2014, p. 186) I wonder though do we have a set outcome beyond basic information, would all students have the same outcomes if their learning experience was individualized? Not all experiences would be the same so would not all outcomes be the same?
In moving to student centered approach, teachers allow students to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills in a collaborative environment. The need for students to think and work creatively, develop problem solving skills, work in collaboration and communicate as outlined in the P-21 Framework to be prepared for life and work environments of the future, technology contributes and enhances to this learning. Technology enhanced learning environments allow students to actively seek resources for knowledge, tools and resources.
However, in a constructivist approach, students are part of the design process of their learning and their experiences to gain the knowledge. “Teachers and learners are co-designers of their learning processes which affect knowledge-construction and management as well as products that result from collaboration in distributed knowledge environments.” (Spector, Merrill, Elen, Bishop, 2014, p. 152) The P-21 Framework and the ISTE Standards for Students provide a design, support and expectations for these learning environments. While the material fully supports a constructivist approach, is does ask the same question I have which is: In the design approaches ranging from path and pace, voice and choice, inquiry and problem based learning where does the control start or stop?
International Society for Technology in Education. (2016). ISTE Standards for Students. Retrieved June 03, 2016, from http://www.iste.org/standards/ISTE-standards/standards-for-students
Partnership for 21st Century Learning. (n.d.). Framework for 21st Century Learning - P21. Retrieved June 03, 2016, from http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework
Spector, J. M., Merrill, M. D., Elen, J., & Bishop, M. J. (Eds.). (2014). Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (4th ed.). doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-3185-5.
This class was a great extension of my school’s already in place PLC teams and great use of data. I felt that my school did a great job in the use of data and that this course would help me see the ways in which we used data effectively and might show me some small ways we could improve. The activities listed in the Data Coach provided me a better understanding and insight in my school’s Data Support Specialist role. At the same time, with this understanding and insight to support her in her role at our school and further guide others in direction for change.
The most valuable field experience in this course was the Data Overview. It represented project-based, authentic learning at its best. It made me aware that in addition to avoiding personal bias in my interpretation of data, I have to develop the skill of choosing the right data to interpret in the first place. In creating this project, I began further aware of how the use of data is important and the correct interpretation of the data. As my school district and state moves to teacher compensation and school success based upon student growth percentile developing this project around a 3 year cohort allowed me to gather, view and interpret a group of students and how this data is vital. The data reflected a clear picture of what our school’s success and where we needed to improve across the district and state to close achievement gaps.
While I believe our school is very successful in our PLC Data teams and using data to improve instruction and learning there is still room to grow stronger. It is important after review data whether it be state assessments or our school’s common content assessment clear Action Plans must be developed. These require time and to be effective time must be allocated to review, analyze, discuss, and conclude the right direction. I hope to work further with our Data Support Specialist to training the faculty deeper in seeing data as a means to improving data instead of as a way to judge teachers would allow for more positive teacher acceptance to the topic of data analysis.
I have become a life-long learner and I hope I instill this in my students and working to complete my third degree in the last 6 years is a reflection of this. However, I do not stop just in course work. Learning comes in many ways. In developing my skills as am Instructional Technologist, I look to find various paths to broaden my horizons in this field. Several conferences over the past two years have provided insights to instructional strategies, new tools to use and being an eye opener to many the impact technology has on the learning for today’s students. The last two years I have attended two conferences: Georgia Association of Technology Educators Conference (GAETC) and International Society of Technology Educators (ISTE). The ISTE conferences was held in Atlanta this past summer was an incredible experience.
In attending these two conference, the biggest impact to me was interacting with young students at poster sessions displaying how they have used technology in their learning and to display what they have learned. One in particular was a group of elementary age students from Mexico. The school had students creating a town farm using a CAD design system which was environmental sound including creating power from solar and hydro resources as well. The students were able to show the programs they were using but also created a video program reflects and showcasing their design work and the beginning stages of their work. This is authentic learning at its best. Gandhi said it best “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
As a Fulton County educator, I have been blessed to be a part of two great programs. One was the Technology Leadership Forum, I first began my quest to integrate my former life working in technology with education. I was able to interact with incredible resources such as Tony Vincent and attend my first GAETC conference. Today, I a member of Fulton County’s Vanguard Team which is further developing my skills as an Instructional Technology educator and coach to my peers. I am further extending my learning through the use of the Sanderling we are using for learning and coaching plus various professional learning sessions throughout the year. I will be coaching at least 4 peers at my school and hope they will improve my learning as well in technology and as a coach.
As teacher, “we must talk the talk but also walk the walk “to show our students the importance of learning and it does not end when school ends.
I began my journey in earning my Educational Specialist degree in Instructional Technology degree in June 2013, I had hoped by this time I would have completed this journey. However, sometimes in life bumps are put in place to make the journey more meaningful. As I complete ITEC 7500 and my portfolio, I am able to reflect on this journey as I review the artifacts of my work and learning. In creating reflections of my work I can note my areas of strengths and weakness and are they still the case. How have I grow farther in my understanding in mastery of the ISTE standards and becoming an Educational Technologist.
As I continue to grow as an Educational Technologist and Coach, the evidence of the tremendous work and mastery of the ISTE standards in my portfolio will continue to be sources for me to refer back to and reflect for improvement. Along with the standards, the completion of my Capstone Project provides evidence of my understanding and support in the growing trends and changes in education in how it relates in the vast world of technology. My push as an educator to blend these two worlds together will provide the rigor, relevance and real world learning the students of today need.
In completing this program, I have been able to grow as an educator in ways many of peers have not and I am supporting and developing this shift in education.
It has been an amazing and fast semester, cannot believe half way through the program. The internet tools class has been an eye opener in many different ways.
Through the course, I have learned many new tools and at the same time it has provided new ways to integrate tools which I had use and knew in past. The course has also further validated my belief it is not all about the app. So many people see apps as the greatest things and not realize in most cases they do not have the full functionality and benefits of Web 2.0 tools. Understanding this has helped me grow as a user of instructional technology and as a leader as I guide my colleagues at school in their integration.
Outside of the great tools, as a leader and a coach, I must reflect the proper ways to integrate technology. I must practice with my student’s internet safety and stress the importance to my peers this importance in their classrooms. Our students are digital citizens and must be aware of their internet presence and how this presence will be with them always. Since I teach at a Title 1 school, I must plan my lessons with technology to ensure everyone has equal access and time to complete assignments. I must offer any type of assistive technology I can to ensure all students have the tools they need to ensure their academic achievement.
This semester and ITEC 7430 is definitely a course to grow as a technology leader and coach.
Teaching at Title 1school with over 55% of our students on free and reduced lunch, I see the issue of equitable access to technology first hand very day. The students at my school come from both ends of the soci-economic spectrum along with being from over 40 countries. With technology becoming ever more integrated into education and learning, schools must be the first place to ensure equitability. “Schools may be a critical component in developing community technology centers for empowering and educating economically disadvantaged communities” (Hohlfeld, Ritzhaupt & Barron).
One way my school works to being a technology center for the community is it offers seminar and classes throughout the year for our parents about various computer and technology skills and safety, in addition sometimes the courses given in Spanish. Our media center is open throughout the school day if our parents need access to a computer. Students are able to use computers in the media center before and after school and during their lunch if they need to work on assignments which require computers. I also allow students in my classroom to use my technology tools during the same time. If a student does not have access to computers or internet at home, I will work with them to ensure they have enough time and access to complete their work.
Our school district is working to ensure a 1:1 device for our students. It is a slow process but at the same time our school is working separately to try to get more technology in our student’s hands. Along with having three computer labs and two computers in each of our classrooms our school purchased two iPad carts this year, being a Title 1 school allows additional funding for such needs. I have worked with teachers in requesting funding from outside source such as Donor Choose. In the last month, we have received 10,000 in technology assistance we over 20 new devices at the school.
Along with increasing access at school, home access plays an important role in student’s development. Findings have shown that students with greater home access have a correlation positively to standardized reading achievement scores, math scores and grade point average (Barron, Walter, Martin & Schatz, 2009, pg 186). Internet Service Providers (ISP) such as Comcast and AT&T offer service to family who individually cannot afford full services. My school district is currently working with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to allow the district to be a provider of internet services to our students whether at school or home. These types of services will further close the gap in students experience with educational tools.
While understanding the role in which technology plays in student’s learning today and wanting all students to have access, at the same time, I do find it disheartening, when some students do have access to a smart phone or a tablet but not to more pressing needs such as proper clothing or food.
Hohlfeld, T., Ritzhaupt, A., & Barron, A. (n.d.). Connecting schools, community, and family with ict: Four-year trends related to school level and ses of public schools in florida. Computers and Education, 55(2010), 391-405. doi: doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2010.02.004
Barron, B., Walter, S., Martin, C., & Schatz, C. (2009). Predictors of creative computing participation and profiles of experience in two silicon valley middle schools. Computers and Education, 54(2010), 178-189. doi: doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2009.07.017
I had a blog all in my head and ready to go then I read the article The Case for Cultivating Cultural Awareness. As I was reading through in so many ways the first part was reading my life history and then my goals as a teacher. The article has the question, “How can we involve our students in authentic and connected learning experiences that will encourage collaboration with classmates, among grade levels, and with students from all over the world?”(Hilt, 2011) So how can we do this without ensuring we meet the needs of all types of diverse learners?
When many think of the world “Diversity” cultural diversity is what comes to mind, however we all are diverse in many different way beyond our culture. As we go into our classrooms each day, we must understand our students do not come out of the same cookie cutter and we must be aware of this. Our students in many cases are different socio-economically, have different learning styles, levels of learning and disabilities.
The use of technology in our classrooms can address and help these diversities n many ways. Teaching 7th grade social studies in Georgia our curriculum is world studies including Southwest Asia, Africa and Southern and East Asia, I spend my day teaching how the world is different. I able to share my experiences of 20 years in travel business, along with the students I have each day from 30 different countries. I tell the students the world is a whole lot smaller than it was when I was their age. But share these differences with them is so much easier with technology. Pictures are great but the use of videos and tools such as Google Earth makes it so much easier. Global collaboration is where we want to be students Skyping with students from places they are learning about or taking virtual field trips make students. One of my classes is creating a blog, while others are developing Weebly sites on the Israeli Palestine Conflict. We hope to share these sites with students across the globe to allow this type of collaboration and discussion.
I am strong believer in students understanding the different learning styles. I have my students complete multiple learning styles assessment at the beginning of the year. I then keep track of their topic two from groupings later. I am able to use technology to meet the needs of these learning styles. I have created different assignments for the learners and assigned to the students through Edmodo. I also use Discovery Education a lot to meet the needs of my visual learners. I could even stretch this out with my musical, kinesthetic and visual learners by playing the video of the dance “The Hustle” and we do the dance to learn cardinal direction. Along with using technology to deliver content using various means of technology, I allow my students to have a choice in their output of products to me. Our students have different levels of interest, understanding and capabilities in the use of technology. My expectations of them should be the same.
Along with different learning styles students today are at many different levels of learning in one classroom. Technology can provide a means to bring everyone on the same playing field. This could be as simple as providing real aloud function on a worksheet using computer software or enlarging the text font. These same technologies can be used with your ELL learners, being able to have material read out loud to students while they are reading a lot builds their reading comprehension. There are many writing tools readily available to assist students prompting and guiding students in the writing process. A student who struggles with solving math equations could have access to numerous videos and how to’s at their finger tips.
The power of technology in role of meeting the needs of diverse learners is clearly stated by Grace and Throne (2009):
“Technology facilitates modification of instruction in several areas to meet the needs of diverse students by making changes to subject matter (content), channels of throughput (process), means of output (product), and the learning environment. As a great motivator, technology has a powerful influence on our students’ affect levels.”
Once we allow technology to facilitate learning to meet the needs of our learner, Oh !! The doors it will open to the world we live in and allow authentic and connected learning experiences.
Hilt, L. (0). Retrieved from http://plpnetwork.com/2011/10/26/the-case-for-cultivating-cultural-awareness/
Smith , G., & Throne , S. (2009). Differentiating instruction with technology in middle school classrooms. ISTE.
Our students are a part of a digital society. As we teach our students to be a member of a global society we must also teach them digital citizenship. Part of digital citizenship is teaching students how to ensure their safety as they navigate the internet. The Digital Citizenship web site offers numerous resources including videos which cover the nine elements of digital citizenship.
As a way to guide and safeguard my student’s safety while using the internet, I set ways which will keep my students focused on certain sites. When I have a project t or assignment they students will use the internet I place all materials and approved web sites as part of a assignment in my classes Edmodo site. I know my students will have web sites which are safe for them to use.
I also had my student’s sign a digital citizenship pledge which I hung on my wall in my classroom all throughout the year. This pledge I received from Common Sense Media. This site provides lesson plans and videos for educators to use in their classroom along with materials for families. Along with teaching students proper internet safety at school, we hope this education transfers to home but it is important that this knowledge is transferred outside of school.
A strategic to teach our students proper internet safety teaching our students proper and safe ways to search for information. Our students must know how to tell who is a safe site and what information could be a hoax and when and when not to provide personal information. The Center for Safe Schools provides resources and courses for students and their parents to review have to navigate the internet including the “Friend or Foe “ program.
In the new age of BYOT and BYOD (Bring Own Technology and Device), I have found many teachers do not understand it is so important that we limit the students use of technology to our school Wi-Fi systems and not cell providers. We as educators are responsible for keeping our students safe as required by the Child Internet Protection Act (Richardson, 2010, p10). Allowing students to use their devices under their cell plans does not provide a filter of content and websites. Students could take pictures of student’s right in our classrooms or of use and post to social media sites right then. These actions could contribute to bullying or even but our students and us in danger in allowing the public to be aware of what is going on in our classrooms.
We as leaders we must model to our student’s proper usage and safety in the digital world. We can do this by ensuring in our classrooms we guide our students to be digitally responsible.
Edmodo. (2013). Retrieved from www.edmodo.com
Ribble, M., & Ribble, M. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://digitalcitizenship.net/
Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.
(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.safeschools.info/internet-safety
James Steyer. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.commonsensemedia.org/advice-for-parents/internet-safety-tips-middle-school-kids
What can I say about this little jewel. Last year I took part in a Technology Leadership Forum for our District and was out once a month, I presented at a conference and took our Model UN team to several conferences. So I was out of my classroom a lot and did not want my students to miss a lot of instruction. So I started screen casting. I record several days’ worth of lessons just as though I would be in classroom. I would include any material we would cover and record all instructions/directions. The students felt I was there with them and it was a normal day. I thought it would be funny to include "stop talking" every now and then but never did it. My co-teacher told me one day, the students actually tried to ask me a question like we were skyping.
Along with recording lessons, the tools can be used to record additional lessons for to review later or if you have centers created with different tasks at each center. An excellent way for differentiation.
I have used both Jing and Screencast-O-matic. Both are great tools; however I love Screencast-O-matic direct updates to YouTube and Drop box.
I created a screen cast below and included part of one of the screen cast lessons I did last year.
Social Networking and Google
Where do I begin with social networking… I have had a Facebook account since 2006. This was when you had to have a college email to have an account. I found it to be a great way for two way communication about school work and by using groups for collaboration. When Edmodo was introduced for education, I jumped on the bandwagon early on. Here was a great safe way for two way communication for my students about class work. A blog or web site did not allow this instant communication or networking for my classes. I have used Edmodo as a way to differentiation assignments for students, create assignments for grading, and load classroom content and homework for easy student access. My students have been able to communicate with their whole class and myself about class work. There are so many wonderful apps built into Edmodo which allow enrichment to our students. Edmodo just launched a new version with quizzes as part of the software. And there is an app for that!! Some student who do not have access to a computer or the internet at home, many of them have smart phones and allows them to access the content from their phones. Along with all of the other amazing uses for my students, Edmodo has become a networking site for me with teachers who teach the same content. There is a group for just 7th grade Social Studies teachers in Georgia. I have also created a technology group for my school. I post a different technology tool for teachers each day. I have also folders which included information about different TKES information and school procedures.
I am slowly making my way into the world of Google; however I have learned to not have all of my eggs in one basket. I have not used Google docs in my classroom because I tend to have my students create something other than word or PowerPoint documents. However, our school staff does use Google documents in various ways. As part of our professional learning communities, each of our grade levels has a Google Doc create to enter student concerns and celebrations. We then use this data each week to discuss students with concerns. This allows us to have document of this data already complete at the end of the year. I recently created a Google Doc for our school to use in our Instructional Rounds. We are assigned different classrooms to go observe as part of preparation for different TKES criteria. Instead of writing the observation form, the teachers were able to complete the Google doc using their iPad while in the classroom they were observing. The use of Google docs in professional use has allowed our teachers to have better practices working collaboratively. I am sure there are great uses in the classroom, but I have not had the need yet.
Being a social studies teacher, pictures and other forms of media play an important part of instruction. Many times these images are incorporated into lecture in a PowerPoint. I upload these lectures to my class Edmodo groups for students to have access to these files. I have also uploaded class lectures and videos on to websites for substitute to be able to go over the same material I would if I was in the classroom.
A site such as Slide Share allows teachers to share videos and presentations. But also teachers can search for content which could boost their own instruction. This site includes tags for teachers to search.
Social Networking, Google and presentation sharing sites allow us and our students to work in a more collaborative network.
Christa Evans Heath