Communication Plan

Communication Plan

Routine Tasks for Instructor

  1. Check email daily.
  2. Respond to emails within 24 hours.
  3. Make presence known in all discussions and posts.
  4. Monitor all posts and discussions to provide guidance, insure proper use, and that students stay on topic.
  5. Contact individual students to check on progress, answer questions, or address concerns.
  6. Assess student’s work in a timely manner with appropriate feedback.

Routine Tasks for Students

  1. Check email daily.
  2. Stay active in all discussions.
  3. Respond to posts in a timely manner.
  4. Communicate professionally and responsibly.
  5. Turn in all assignments in a timely manner.

Classroom Building and Communication

It is crucial for a successful online classroom to have a plan for building a classroom community. Discussion begins with the instructor providing activities to encourage student involvement. There are several strategies that can be implemented to help the teacher in creating a classroom community. In order to feel comfortable in any kind of forum, students must be introduced. This is where the icebreaker activity comes in to play.

Activities for Discussion Forums

Icebreaker

Activity   “One Question”  (Original)

Once a month have one student come up with and post a non-academic question that everyone must respond to. An example of a possible question could be something like, “What is the best thing you ever tasted?” or “What was the most dangerous thing you have ever done?” Each student must respond to one post and each student must receive a response. The instructor could also join in to help build the relationship between instructor and student.

Activity  “Googlism”

Have each student go to Googlism  website and type in their name. Your name will come up with neat sayings and information. For example when Melodee is typed in the results are:

melodee is told by dolores leddy
melodee is the space station coordinator
melodee is 37
melodee is located in the heart of minneapolis and services the entire twin cities of minneapolis/st
melodee is located in the heart of minneapolis and kansas music teacher association
melodee is also a highly talented stunt artist
melodee is not going away entirely
melodee is a licensed california real estate salesperson

The list goes can go on and on. Have students pick the first ten and post them then have the other students guess if any relate to their classmate. The students will then divulge if any of the information pertains to them. For example: Melodee is 37, however she is not a highly talented stunt artist.

Critical Thinking Prompts

In order for students to reach a higher level of thinking, the teacher must prompt critical thinking skills. Listed are some ways to help encourage critical thinking.

Encourage students to see the “bigger picture”

  • How does this idea relate to other ideas or issues?Have students use details when posting and ask for examples.
  • Can you give an example to back up your assumption?
Encourage students to think about their to post, either initially or in response to someone else. Do not post something you have not thought through.

Elaborate on ideas by asking students to clarify

  • What do you mean when you say…?
  • How does this relate to the bigger picture?
  • What is the main point? Assert why you think that is the main point?

Ask students to evaluate their post before they post it.

Encourage students to explain their answers.

  • Are there preconceptions that could sway your answer or thinking?


Management Issue and Strategies

As in a traditional classroom where management help quell discipline issues, a good management strategy can do the same for issues in an online classroom environment.

Possible Issues

  • Flaming
  • Inappropriate language
  • Lack of participation by one or more students
  • “Hogging” of posts or discussions by one or more students
  • Getting off topic

Strategies

  • Have students review the rules of Netiquette.
  • Call or email a student to approach the subject of behavior or participation.
  • Create a rubric for students to refer to to stay on topic.
  • Instructors monitor the posts and discussion and make their presence felt by adding to the discussion.
  • Instructors can get students back on topic by joining in the discussion and prompting students.

Online Discussion Rubric

Criteria

Excellent

5

Average

3

Poor

0

 

Stay on topic with the content being discussed while using proper spelling and grammar. Utilized proper netiquette.

 

 

Post is meaningful and stays on topic throughout post. No spelling or grammar mistakes. Proper netiquette is exhibited.

 

 

Post is may lack some thought but mainly stays on topic. Two or fewer grammar or spelling mistakes. Proper netiquette is exhibited.

 

Post either lacks meanin  or does not stay on topic, and /or there are three or more grammar or spelling mistakes. Or proper netiquette is not exhibited.

 

 

Respond meaningfully to at least three other posts

 

Three or more responses that are meaningful and stays on topic throughout post.

 

Three responses that are meaningful and mainly stays on topic.

 

Did not post three responses or three responses that either lacks meaning, or does not stay on topic.

 

 

Post and respond in a timely manner.

 

 

All Posts are turned in early or on time.

 

Most posts are turned in on time.

 

Posts are not turned in on time.

Advertisements

School Evaluation

School Technological Evaluation

There are those who hear the term “private school”, and envision tweed uniforms, polo ponies, and snooty parents with over privileged children. Although, as we generally know, this is usually not the case. When I got a job at a private school that we will call “Town Academy” for the sake of this piece, I thought that I would be entering a school that was on the cutting edge of technology and educational tools. I myself went to a private school in Houston, Texas and it was a wonderful experience. However, when I went to work at Town Academy I was surprised to see that technologically speaking, the school was sorely lacking. I had previously taught at a public school in Florida that had all the latest technology, large classrooms, and plenty of tech help and support. That school however, had funds available from taxes and the “Adopt a Classroom” program. Town Academy depended on tuition and fundraisers. The technological evaluation made me realize where we were lacking and why.

Demographic: Private school in a rural area. School population was approximately 80% White and 20% Black, Asian, and Hispanic.

Administration

Policy
Behavioral – islands
Resource/infrastructure – islands
Planning
Behavioral – islands
Resource/infrastructure – emergent
Budget
Behavioral – islands
Resource/infrastructure – islands
Administration Information
Behavioral – islands
Resource/infrastructure – islands

Although there was technology available many did not utilize it. There was a policy in place and certain criteria such as having lesson plans that integrated technology, but it was never followed up on or enforced. As for planning, behavioral, was mainly an island since there was one administrator who really tried to integrate technology, but even then, it remained isolated to a certain subject and not across all subjects. The resource/infrastructure of planning was emergent since there was no formal plan for using technology. For the most part, the administration left it up to the teaching staff. There was a technology budget,  but it was mainly on paper. Most of the fundraising meant for technology would end up being used in part to build new classrooms. As for administration information, behavior and infrastructure is listed as an island. There are many resources that were used by the staff, but not on a regular basis.

Curriculum

Electronic Information
Behavioral – emergent
Resources/Infrastructure -islands
Assessment
Behavioral – islands
Resources/Infrastructure – islands
Curricular Integration
Behavioral – emergent
Resources/Infrastructure – emergent
Teacher Use
Behavioral – emergent
Resources/Infrastructure – emergent
Student Use
Behavioral – islands
Resources/Infrastructure – islands

Many of the educators at Town Academy did not know where to begin in using technology in the classroom. Many stuck to the notion they were from the “old school” and if it’s not broke don’t fix it.  The school had electronic resources available for teachers through Internet and one smart-board. Teachers had to plan way ahead of time to use the smart-board, but the Internet was readily available. Using technology for assessment was used, but mainly for reading in math. There was hardly any exploration in using technology is assessment. Any curriculum integration that went on depended completely on teacher interest and motivation. Many teachers were not able to see the relative advantage of using technology, and some simply did not understand how to integrate technology. As with integrating it in the curriculum, many were just unaware with how to use technology in their classroom.  Students knew how to use technology, but the access was limited. If there were computers for students to use in the classroom it was usually not connected to the Internet and it was hard to get slots in the library to use computers that were online.

Support

Stakeholder Involvement
Behavioral – islands
Resources/Infrastructure – emergent
Administrative Support
Behavior – islands
Resources/Infrastructure – islands
Training
Behavioral – emergent
Resources/Infrastructure – emergent
Technical/Infrastructure Support
Behavioral – emergent
Resources/Infrastructure – emergent

The next category deals with support. The stakeholder involvement is listed as an island in behavioral because they were beginning to understand the importance of technology and a push towards implementing it more. However the resources/infrastructure were emergent since no one really knew how to go about it. It was more talk than action at that point. The school leadership wanted a cutting edge school, but were not sure what all that entailed and believed that enlarging the physical school was more important. However, they were supportive in the use of technology.  There was no training in the use of technology. We would have professional development, but it dealt with how to implement student centered projects and work. Of course this is vital, but professional development never covered technology use. Each classroom usually has one computer that is connected to the Internet. Unfortunately, students are not allowed to have access to that computer. There was no formal training or a designated IT person.

Connectivity

LAN
Behavioral – Integrated
Resources/Infrastructure – Integrated
WAN
Behavioral – Integrated
Resources/Infrastructure – Integrated
Internet Access
Behavioral – Islands
Resources/Infrastructure – Integrated
Communication
Behavioral – Integrated
Resources/Infrastructure – Integrated

The LAN networks at the school both behavioral and resource/infrastructure were integrated in the schools. As well as for WAN networks. They were the main sources for communications between colleges and the leadership. Internet access resources were integrated and readily available for teachers and students if computers were available. During my time as a teacher there, the school went “wireless” which made it easier for teachers to bring laptops into the classroom and work with the Internet in a more mobile way. Behavior was labeled an island since many teachers were trying to learn how to integrate it into the classroom curriculum. Communication systems are also labeled as integrated both in behavior and in resources. The main form was mass and individual emails.

Innovation

New Technology
Behavioral – islands
Resources/Infrastructure – islands
Comprehensive Technology
Behavioral – islands
Resources/Infrastructure – islands

New technology as well as comprehensive technology are labeled an island both behavioral and resource/infrastructure. The administration began to really look into new technology, especially after they installed a smart board in the library and realized all the advantages for using it in the classroom. After the installation of the smart board, there were requests by more teachers and parents for such technology in the individual classroom.

Even though Town Academy did not have much in the way of technology, I don’t want it to seem like the school was bad academically. Kids were still challenged, and the school was going through a period of growth.  Parents were beginning to see the advantages of having technology integrated into curriculum, but have been slower pushing the topic because they feel like their children are getting an adequate education without it. With more teachers putting technology into their classroom, usually by using their own money, parents were hearing their children talk more about what was going on in the classroom and how engaging or “fun” it was to learn. When I arrived at the school, they were trying to move away from using worksheets and  having more project based learning. There is a lot to be said for that. I just hope that they continue to see the advantage of using technology in the classroom as well.

Edtech 501 Term Paper

Technology and the 21st Century Educator


        Education evolves with time.  It is vital that educational practices be reviewed and revamped when the need arises. For the 21st century, education has been ushered into the age of technology. Students in today’s classroom have been brought up with technology all around them. In order to engage the technologically saturated generation, educators must use what is relatable to their students. They must become 21st century educators in order to effectively instruct 21st century learners. If educators are trained to create a authentic learning experience for their students, students will in turn take ownership and create a deeper meaning in their learning. Technology can improve classroom activities, assessment and differentiation when used in conjunction with effective Teacher training.

       Technology gives teachers a way to engage students like never before. Of course it helps keep a student’s attention and makes class more interesting, but the most important advantage of using technology in the classroom is how technology can help relate a topic to the “real world”. Technology is everywhere everyday, especially for the youthful demographic. Students in today’s classroom are being raised in a technological era. Technology is their reality, and by bringing it into the classroom, we are bringing in the world around them.

        In the journal article entitled “Technology and Classroom Practices”, it discusses the findings of research done on the effects of technology in the classroom. The research showed that in classrooms, which use technology effectively, the students collaborated and searched on their own how to solve problems. This higher order thinking skill is the “holy grail” of education. It is a crucial skill to help students will their future success in their educational careers. They would pick their own tasks, which show they are taking control of their own learning. Creativity and communication as well not only improves among students but teachers as well.

        The Internet is everywhere, and there is more opportunity than ever to make the most out of planning lessons. That is not to say that technology should be integrated in every single lesson. If a lesson works and the desired effect is achieved without technology, it may be best to leave the technology out of it. If there is a lesson that does not have the desired effect or the students are not engaged and get nothing out of it, then technology could be the answer to make it more effective. In the article, “Integrating Technology in Teaching and Teacher Education: Implications for Policy and Curriculum Reform” it touches on how important implementing technology into the classroom is crucial since it is everywhere outside of the classroom. The article is discussing how important it is in schools all over the world to incorporate technology.  Technology allows for more effective peer teaching opportunities among students. Peer teaching is more prevalent in classrooms with technology, which in turn creates a more authentic learning experience.

        Not only is creating activities involving activities important, but technology use in assessment is as equally crucial. Immediate feedback is important to the development and understanding of students. The faster a student can receive feedback, the quicker corrections to learning can be made. Not only summative and formative, but across standards and benchmarks, which will create a more conducive learning environment. It helps the teacher as well see where adjustments need to be made for students. It helps them to realize what needs to be retaught before too much time has passed to make the assessment irrelevant.

       Teachers realize that assessment is not only for the students, but for themselves, as well. If there is an assignment that a single student or a group of students have problems with, then the Teacher can step back a figure out if it is the student who needs reinforcement, if the lesson needs to be retaught as a group, or if the lesson needs to be scrapped altogether and the concept in question should be taught in a different manner. All of this can happen in a short span of time instead of days. Being able to reteach or correct a student while the concept is fresh in their mind is reason enough to integrate technology into the classroom. The article, “Perspectives on Integration of Technology and Assessment” 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.

        Another important benefit to using technology in the classroom is individual instruction. When educators discuss the benefits of technology they use word such as “authentic” and “personal”. One of the hardest things to accomplish as a Teacher, especially if there is a large class size, is differentiation. It is hard to focus on one or two students needs when there could be 30 plus students to teach. With technology, using online tools such as tutorials and games help those students who need extra time and more review that a teacher may not have the time for. At least not without taking away from the other students. It works the other way as well. Gifted students sometimes get overlooked and not challenged enough so they are never able to meet their full potential. Technology by being a creative outlet for gifted students. Online activities can help gifted students to extend on a concept and help them take it further.

      Technology has allowed differentiation to go even further, through a still new concept of online schools. Now a 21st century educator has the choice of where to work, a choice that Teachers have never had before. Use to Teachers worked in a classroom, and that was the only option. Now Teachers can work from anywhere and there is a flexibility that has never been there before. In the article, “Schools That Technology Built: Evaluation of a Program to Train Teachers for Virtual Schooling” online education and teacher preparation are the topic. The article comments that upside for student is that online schools can be the answer to students who struggle in a more traditional class setting. It also has a flexibility that some families may require or want. It is also a great tool for parents who home school. Their children work with certified teachers and parents feel more confident knowing that standards are getting met. For this reason demand for these types of educational institutions are on the rise. With this new avenue of schools, the realization is dawning that Universities have to take another look at how they are currently training soon to be teachers. Teacher education must evolve as well to keep up with the growing integration of education and technology.

     As stated in the article by Roblyer and Davis discusses the importance of re approaching how Universities education up and coming Teachers. The argument is that technology should become a requirement for all education majors and not just an elective. This way, if the Teachers are prepared, they can then prepare their students for life in the technological era. The authors believe that Teachers should receive hands on training as well as go into the classroom for hands on training with technology. According to the article, there are many Universities that have already started implementing technology into their education curriculum as a requirement They assert that in order for teachers to understand how to use technology properly in their own classroom when they get one, they need to see how it is done out in the field. Doing this, according to the authors will 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.

Success using technology in the classroom must start with Teacher training meaning both up and coming Teachers and those who have been in the classroom for any length of time. In an article entitled, “Can Teacher Technology Integration Training Alone Lead to High Levels of Technology Integration?” it states that most of the time training deals more with administration and less about how to use it as part of the curriculum. The paper states that 58% of teachers still do not use technology in the classroom and that after “training” the number does not improve by much.                                                             This asserts that it is not the lack of training, but the type of training. Teachers need the type of training that makes technology use both relevant and authentic to them, terms that are used when describing using technology for student learning. If the type of training used can’t convince teachers who teach core subjects, how can it be used to any success in the classroom? It makes sense, that like classroom assignments, technology training for teachers need to be geared to be more individualized. One solution could be for more schools should have a full-time technology coordinator who is able to show teachers how to use technology in the classroom. If more technology is to be used by teachers in all subject areas, there must be better training geared toward making it more relevant and personalized so that teachers can see the benefits and how it can apply to their classroom. Otherwise, it will be viewed as another thing they have to do and another standard that needs covering.

In order to create 21st century students, we must have 21st century teachers. Technology helps students and teachers create an individualized and authentic learning environment. Through immediate feedback, students can correct learning sooner and more effectively. Technology also can help in differentiation in the classroom as well as through online schools. With proper and relevant training, teachers will be able to use technology effectively and appropriately in their classrooms. They will have the understanding that only when used in conjunction with standards can it reach its full potential to create a technological savvy student. Teachers must remember that the goal for technology use is to enhance what is already there, not to replace it.

References

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

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.

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

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

Vrasidas, C., & McIsaacs, M. (2001). Integrating technology in teaching and teacher
Education: Implications for policy and curriculum reform. Educational Media
International (0952-3897), 38(2), 127.