Technology Use Planning Overview

I would describe technology planning as a plan both concrete on paper and implemented by personnel that outlines an effective means of how to use technology in an effective way.  How might the new National Educational Technology Plan 2010 be an effective and powerful resource for technology use planning? “The National Educational Technology Plan 2012” has the potential to be effective by approaching education as being individualistic in nature. The Educational Technology Plan can be a great tool for technology use planning. Technology can be brought in on all levels. It can help individual needs through being accessible to those who need after the day ends. Through a plan, teachers can connect to students, family members, and colleagues through the use of technology. This in turn can help build a community feel to a child’s education.

I agree that a plan should be short-term simply because a plan needs to be evaluated and then modified if needed. Also with new technology coming out, it helps with keeping up to date with new technology and methods. This in turn can keep technology and its applications fresh and relevant. It is more important to focus technology plans on applications and not just technology. Just because something in technological, does not mean that it needs to be implemented in the classroom.  In the Article, “Relating Technology Education Goals to Curriculum Planning” it asserts that If the technology’s application enhance the content or standard being taught, then, and only then, can it be seen as an attribute to the classroom.

I have never been in a school that had a technology plan. I am sure now after viewing the U.S. Government’s website on state plans, that there was some sort of plan at the state level, but as a school we were given technology and left to see what we could come up with. In the schools that I have taught in there was no real collaboration, and no real goal. We could brag that we had Smart-boards, but had not idea how to use their application for the most beneficial outcome. In most cases it was a glorified white board. There were some teachers that used the available technology and are able to create an authentic learning environment, but there was no formal plan. I am not taking anything away from those schools. They were all great schools. However, having a technology plan if done with right goals in mind could only help performance.

I would address technology issues in the schools discussed by trying to get a technology plan implemented. I would suggest looking in the state technology plan and aggressively implement it in the school. Times have changes since I started in education just 10 years ago, and things will keep on changing. As an educator, I feel that it is my duty to keep abreast on anything that could help the learning environment in my class.

Sources:

Enhancing education through technology (ed-tech) state program. (2010). Retrieved               from http://ed.gov/programs/edtech/techstateplan.htm.

Feds release new national ed-tech plan. (2010, March 8). Retrieved from                                    http://www.eschoolnews.com/2010/03/08/feds-release-new-national-etech-plan.

Guidebook for developing an effective instructional technology plan. (1996).                              Unpublished manuscript, Education, Mississippi State University, Starkville,                        Mississippi. Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/downloads/guidebook.pdf.

Zuga, K. (1998). Relating technology education goals to curriculum planning . Journal of         Technology Education1(1), Retrieved from  http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JTE

Spreadsheets and Databases-Part 1

When we think about using technology in the classroom, visions of whiteboards, computers, and elaborate presentations come to mind. All of these things are wonderful to use and there is a place for flash and pomp. However, we as educators must not lose sight of teaching students how to use tools that can help them in the near and distant future. Two examples that we will be discussing are spreadsheets and databases.

When we talk about spreadsheets and databases you can almost hear the collective yawn. I use spreadsheet programs such as excel to balance my budget and plan big purchase items. Not exactly an exciting technological trip. Again though, I have been enlightened at how these tools can be used to engage students in their learning. It may be that Math and Science teachers have understood the importance of using spreadsheets, but in Social Studies for me, it was never a tool that I thought about using. Databases, are used in my class because they are more text-based, but spreadsheets, graphs, and sums? In Social Science? I can see it, but is it really worth the effort? After my research, I would say…..definitely.

Whenever I can, I like to incorporate other disciplines into Social Studies. English was always an easy one. Students practice their writing skills or read a novel. The English teachers and Social Studies teachers would work on thematic units that coincided with a topic. Here I see with the use of spreadsheets, Social Studies can bring math into the Social Studies classroom. Numbers are prevalent in Social Studies (dates, population amounts, etc…) but here they can plug-in numbers and reinforce what they are learning in Math class as well. This is a very exciting prospect for me.

The article, “A Short Article on the Value of Technology in Education”, it is pointed out that by having students use databases to gather information as well as having them implement a tool such as databases and spreadsheet, students use “real world” tools to help solve problems. Here again the article uses my favorite word, “authentic”. It makes the lesson authentic for the students. It gives them a chance to use real world applications in a classroom setting.  By having students create databases, they pick up extra information as they go which can be built on. They learn how to group and present information. Students must understand the relationship between categories and how to organize them. It really lends itself to a constructive approach to education, which I am a proponent of.

As pointed out on the website Teach-nology.com, Tools such as Databases and Spreadsheets can be used for all ages and all grades. Using this type of technology can also help students of different learning styles. Those who have issues becoming engaged in text-based lessons may be able to become fully immersed in lessons that use these tools. The great thing about using these two forms of technology is that it help students gather and organize both quantitative and qualitative information. This shows them how important all disciplines are and what kind of role it will play throughout life.

Review of a Database lesson.

This lesson has students create a database on famous Virginians. The teacher has students collect information on a certain individual using text books, encyclopedias, and virtual encyclopedieas. Students learn through modeling how to put information into a database. They research, and then put the information they deem as important into the database. In the end, the class has a database of important Virginians.

Depending on the age and grade I would adjust the preparation. For middle school students I may provide the information, for high school, I would probably not give them the information, but have them locate it on their own.

If it is the first time students ever worked with a database, I might change it to be more of a cooperative assignment where students work in pairs.

I would ask the students certain facts about their person.

  1. What year were they born, died?
  2. What makes them an important Virginian?
  3. What, in your opinion, is the most important thing they accomplished?

Site for lesson: http://www.knowledge.state.va.us/cgi-bin/lesview.cgi?idl=276

Review of a Spreadsheet Lesson Plan

In this lesson, students find out how much in taxes they would pay if they were business owners. It would be a good lesson for Economics and Government as well as History. The teacher gives the students numbers to plug in to figure out taxes. They figure out how much in business taxes they pay and how much personal tax. After they are done, the students go back and raise or lower their income to see what happens to the tax amount, and report their findings.

For high school, I would have students research and find the numbers to plug into instead of giving it to them. Again here, if it is the first time for students working with spreadsheets, I may make it a cooperative lesson plan.

I would the students what their opinion was on taxes.

  1. Why do we pay taxes?
  2. Do you think we pay to much in taxes? Why or why not.
  3. What are our taxes used for?

Site for lesson: http://web.ai/club/spread02.html

Sources:

The value of technology in educatio. (2001). Retrieved from http://www.sun-associates .com/resources/bastools.htm.

Whats all the hype?. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.teachnology.com/ tutorials/database.

Teacher Professional Development Models

Teacher Professional Development Models     

Teacher professional development is how teachers continue to grow and learn. TPD’s are used to teach and educate teachers on different ways to teach and how to improve as educators.

In the ICT and Education Series Manual, “Using Technology to Train Teachers,” it describes the three models of TPDs:

  1. Standardized TPD programs are used to propagate information among a large teacher population. It is the most centralized method. This approach works well when there is a need to disseminate information among a large number of teachers or to introduce a new concept, tool or idea.
  2. School-centered TPD/Site-based TBD often takes place in schools, resource centers or teacher training colleges. Teachers work with local (“in-house”) facilitator or master teachers to engage in more gradual processes of learning, and building mastery of pedagogy, content and technology skills. Site-based TPD often focuses on the specific, situational problems that individual teachers encounter as they try to implement new techniques. This method is best when there is a need at a particular school. They can also be use in conjunction with or a follow-up to Standardized TPD
  3. Individual or self-directed TPD n self-directed TPD, teachers are asked to determine their own. This is usually a personal endeavor that relies little on the school. This can be utilized when there are no TPD’s that address a certain area a teacher needs improvement.

The model currently used at the school where I am is exclusively school centered. We have professional development once a month and it consists of meeting in a classroom and learning a technique to use in our classrooms. There is a person on staff whose only job is to set up TBD’s on site. Unfortunately, most topics discussed, most everyone uses already. Unfortunately, they are seen as a waste of time.

The greatest need in our school is learning how to use technology. Every classroom has a Smartboard, and yet only half of them are utilized beyond anything besides a whiteboard. Most don’t know how to use them and the training at the beginning of the year lasts about an hour and that’s it. There really is no tech support. The media specialist is so busy doing Library tasks, there is no spare time to work one on one with teachers.

TBDs that use a specialist for the technology in the classroom,  would help a great deal. It could be a series of in-house TBDs that focuses on using technology and how to integrate it successfully in conjunction with the content and standards. Also, for those teachers who want to learn more, the individual TPD would work for them. They can either find out more information on the use of the equipment through the internet or have one on one time with the specialist. Having expensive technology is great, if it is utilized correctly. Otherwise, save the money and put in white boards.

Sources:

Why is teacher development important?: because students deserve the best. (2008, March 17). Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/teacher-development-introduction

Gaible, E, & Burns, Melodee. (2005). Using technology to train teachers: appropriate uses of ict for teacher professional development in developing countries. Washington, DC: infoDev / World Bank., Retrieved from http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/unpan/unpan037314.pdf

Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliographies on writings describing the importance of technology in the classroom and reform.
Melodee Sweeney
Bibliographies

Kozma, R. (2003). Technology and classroom practices: an international study. Journal      of Research on Technology in Education (1539-1523), 36(1), 1.

Annotated Bibliography

The author of the article, Rober B. Kozma, is currently associated with Center for Technology in Learning, SRI International. This article discusses the findings of research done on the effects of technology in the classroom. It researches the practices in classrooms that use technology effectively and how the students react and learn. The findings show that students collaborated and searched on their own how to solve problems. They would pick their own tasks, which show they are taking control of their own learning. The results also show that it is not only the students who are collaborating, but there is more collaboration between teachers. Teachers come together more to discuss using technology in the classroom, which in turn can create a stronger community within the faculty. There are also results that show teachers and students who use technology in the classroom are more prone to be more creative in their assignments. Communication also tended to be better between students.

Brush, T., Brinkerhoff, J., Igoe, A., Glazewski, K., Heng-Yu, K., & Smith, C. (2003).                    Lessons from the field: Integrating technology into pre-service teacher education,              Arizona State University,16.

Annotated Bibliography

The authors, doctoral candidates from Arizona State University, contend training teachers to use technology in the classroom should start at the undergraduate level. Their research shows how important technology implementation is in the classroom, and in order for more teachers to use technology to its fullest extent; it must be a requirement for graduation instead of an elective. They assert that in order for teachers to prepare their students, they must prepare themselves to be fluent in integrating technology in the classroom. They achieve this by doing technology training that it hands on. This is the field-based model, which takes teachers in training to a classroom that implements technology correctly. The University is starting to implement this model to ensure that graduates know how to implement technology in the classroom in the most effective way possible and to prepare them for the future role of technology in education.

Vrasidas, C., & McIsaacs, M. (2001). Integrating technology in teaching and teacher                  education: Implications for policy and curriculum reform. Educational Media                      International (0952-3987), 38(2), 127.

Annotated Bibliography

One author of this article, Dr. McIsaac is a professor for the Department of Educational Technology at Virginia State. The other author of this article is a visiting professor at Western Illinois University, and is the coordinator of Research and Evaluation ant the Center for the Application of Information Technologies.  In this article they discuss how important implementing technology into the classroom is since it is everywhere outside of the classroom. The article is discussing how important it is in schools all over the world (especially Cyprus) to incorporate technology. There is a comparison to the United States and how 99% of schools here are online. Studies show that where there is technology in the classroom there are more opportunities for peer teaching among students. There are also more opportunities for collaboration, and reflection. Technology also converts a classroom into a place where students take control of their studies and are able to do more “authentic” tasks that help engage.

Pellegrino, JW, & Quellmalz,, E. (2010). Perspectives on integration of technology and            assessment. Journal on Research of Technology in Education, 43(2), 119-134.

Annotated Bibliography

JW Pellegrino is associated with Wested, and E. Quellmalz is associated with the Learning Sciences Research Institute, University of Illinois. This article takes a look at the importance of assessment in the classroom and how technology can be used to improve it. By giving immediate feedback technology can help improve learning in the classroom. It also discusses how technology can help with assessment on different levels. Not only summative and formative, but across standards and benchmarks to create a more conducive learning environment. The article also enforces the idea of creating “authentic” learning tasks that they believe help with higher order thinking. It asserts that the new era of assessment is learning-centered. Technology improves on the quality of tasks presented to students. It will only get better in the future.

Davis, N., & Roblyer,, M. (2005). Preparing teachers for the “schools that technology              built”: Evaluation of a program to train teachers for virtual schooling. Journal of                Research on Technology in Education, 37(4), 399-409.

Annotated Bibliography

N. Davis is currently with Iowa State University Education Department, and M. Roblyer is currently with University of Maryland College Education Department. The main focus of their article is virtual schools and online teaching. It takes technology to the ultimate, and can benefit students of all learning styles. They believe that the demand for virtual schools seems to be growing, and state that it is a great alternative for parents who home school. It discusses ways to make sure that online teaching can be just as effective as teaching in a classroom setting. It also eludes to the fact that online teaching can be as effective as more traditional forms of instruction with proper preparation. Many Universities are trying to find ways to incorporate teaching skills for online education. Communication skills are just as important for online teaching as classroom teaching.

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

RSS or “Really Simple Syndication” is a group of web feeds that get updated regularly. It can be news headlines, blogs, videos, and audio. By understanding how to use RSS, people can receive information as it is published. You can continually check information without missing anything vital all in one place. You can also send out or publish information to your audience keeping your website or blog current with ease and bring in more readers.

RSS can have educational benefits as well. If you are a teacher you can easily share information with your students from many different sources all in one place. It can also be used as a tool for communication.  You can have a classroom blog, where students all have their own blogs that you can combine and create into a type of newsletter for parents to see what is going on in class. You can share blogs that may be of interest for parents, which in turn builds a relationship with them.

Teachers can share blogs or websites that may be of interest to students as well as blogs that relate to a topic being studied in class. Students can read the blogs and comment on them, and post their own in response. It can be a great community-building tool for the classroom.

Link to my Google Shared Reader Items:  http://www.google.com/reader/shared/melodeelsweeney

One Size Fits All: Adaptive and Assistive Technology in the Classroom

With money for education lacking, is spending what little there is on adaptive and assistive technology really necessary? It is,  if we believe that all students should have equal access to what is being taught in the classroom. Differentiation goes beyond pulling students over to the kidney shaped table to discuss a problem or question they don’t understand. However, the truth is, some of the technology needed can be pricy. But considering the cost of giving each student, no matter what the handicap, an equal opportunity to learn, how can we as a society not afford it. It is easy to tell someone to throw money at the problem, but what if there is no money to throw? We need to explore options, such as grants and loan programs to make sure that no student is lacking. We need to try and fit in in, or find alternative ways to acquire the more expensive technology.

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) state that technology is essential in including children with disabilities. Without it these students will continue to struggle and get left behind without given the chance that technology can give. In the report by the CEC, “Embedding Technology in Education for All Learners: CEC’s Recommendations to the National Education Technology Plan”, more and more exceptional students are being placed in normal classrooms. This could be due to growing class size, and/or lack of funding. Either way, it is crucial now more than ever that these exceptional students have the tools they need to be involved in the regular classroom. If not, they will be left behind.

There is no question that technology does work to help students. In the article, “Assistive Technology for Students with Learning Disabilities inWriting:Beliefs, Knowledge, and Use”, students with disabilities were shown to be able to work more independently and use higher order thinking using assistive technology. They are able to participate in a normal classroom, and feel involved. This in turn will help them take ownership in their learning.

Many states are seeing the need for adaptive technology and have programs set up to help schools acquire the technology needed. In Nebraska, for example, they have put into place a program called “Assistive Technology Partnership”. It uses the service AT4ALL.com to help find technology that students can have on loan to use. People can post items they may have and teachers as well as parents can go online to see what technology is available for loan. This program is a wonderful example of how a community can come together and provide educational needs.

Even though technology can be expensive, usually it is a very low percentage that needs overly expensive technology. Since the percentage is so low,  the materials could be used over and over again. In this sense, it can be seen as an investment in the schools that will last a while. Even if the number were greater, there are some things that should not have a price tag placed on it. An equal opportunity for learning should be one of those things.

Sources

Atp assistive technology solutions. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.atp.ne.gov/services/AT.html

Bigelow, D.L. (2008). Assistive technology for students with learning disabilities in         writing: beliefs, knowledge, and use. Informally published manuscript, Department of Education, Miami University, Miami, Florida. Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/36537205/Assistive-Technology-for-Students-With-Learning-Disabilities-in-Writing-Beliefs-Knowledge-A

Embedding technology in education for all learners. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.cec.sped.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Assistive_Technology&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=13604