Final Blog Entry Part One

Water and Light Water reflections

For the first part of the final blog post for EDTECH 541, I am providing a reflection on the entire course by using the provided guiding questions:

What have I learned?

I have learned a lot!  I appreciated learning about what can impact integrating technology — namely, the school and district’s network, Acceptable Use Policy, and walled gardens.  For teachers and students to use technology, there are more factors that will determine whether or not they have the opportunities to use the tools that I learned to use: VoiceThread, Google Sites, WordPress, ThingLink, Prezi, GoogleHangouts, Weebly, Google Slides, Socrative, Google Community, and much more.  I also developed and honed skills, such as creating proper APA citation, ethically using Creative Commons images, embedding code, and searching databases for scholarly articles.  I also was given opportunities to practice other ‘softer’ skills, such as time management, perseverance, and creativity.

How did theory guide the development of the projects and assignments I created?

Theory was the basis for all of the projects and assignments.  Often the theories outlined in the text established the logic and rationale for use of technology in different contexts.  Theory underlies the purpose for integrating technology in the classroom.

How does the course work demonstrate my mastery of the AECT standards?

A link to an artifact from this course exemplifies the demonstration of mastery of the standard:

STANDARD 1 DESIGN

  • 1.1 Instructional Systems Design
  • 1.2 Message Design
  • 1.3 Instructional Strategies
  • 1.4 Learner Characteristics

Relative Advantage Chart

Content Area Presentation: Mobile Learning

Content Area Presentation: ELL Vocabulary

Adaptive/Assistive Technology Presentation


 STANDARD 2 DEVELOPMENT
  • 2.2 Print Technologies
  • 2.2 Audiovisual Technologies
  • 2.3 Computer-Based Technologies
  • 2.4 Integrated Technologies

Video Integration Lesson Plan & Video Library

Using the Internet for Instruction Project

Instructional Software Presentation


STANDARD 3 UTILIZATION
  • 3.1 Media Utilization

Using the Internet for Instruction Project

Network Project

 

How have I grown professionally?

I have grown because of the 100+ hours that I have spent reading studies, textbooks, research, websites, blog posts, discussion boards, and tweets.  The readings, in combination with the creation of projects, websites, and other artifacts, have established a solid base for integrating technology in the classroom.  In addition, I have confidence in my own process and implementation of instructional technology.

 

How have my own teaching practice or thoughts about teaching been impacted by what I have learned or accomplished in this course?

One of the most powerful exercises of this course was the Relative Advantage chart.  The chart itself was valuable, but more so was the concept of thoughtfully considering the relative advantage before selecting and implementing technology.  In my vision statement, I focus on the need for continual professional development for educators as a means of successfully and effectively integrating more technology into their classrooms.  Using the idea of ‘relative advantage,’ teachers will be able to better determine the value of technology, and perhaps be even more motivated to finding and creating situations that enhance and transform student learning in their classrooms.

 

What will I do differently as an educator as a result of this course?

As an educator, I will be more likely to investigate and evaluate the reasoning behind implementing technology in the classroom first.  I think it is important to give purpose and appropriate placement of technology in the curriculum.  Determining the relative advantages before implementation will be essential when making decisions on increasing technology.

Final Blog Entry Part Two

download (1)

For second part of the final blog for EDTECH 541, I am posting an assessment of my blogging performance.  As a motivated learner, I look to the highest level of achievement for evaluating my work. Here are the four criteria areas with descriptions of the “Outstanding” category along with my own assessment of each.

  • Content (100 points)
    Rich in content, full of thought, insight and synthesis with clear connections to previous or current content and/or to real life situations made with depth and detail.

The content of many of my blog posts are thoughtful, insightful, and thorough.  There was one posting, in looking back through all of the posts, that was lacking.  I did try to find connections and write about what was important and new to me.  Because of this, I would give myself 95 points.

  • Readings and Resources (35 points)
    Readings (from course text) and other resource materials are used to support blog comments. APA style is used to cite references.

There was one post that I did not use other resources to support my comments, I only used the course textbook.  For the most part, I tried to find additional sources to support the ideas I was discussing. With this in mind, I give myself 30 points.

  • Timeliness (25 points)
    All required postings are made early in the module to give others time to comment.

I always posted by the end of the module, and in the relative view of the course, I think they were all posted with sufficient time for response because other students were able to comment on my posts at the end of the module.  Additionally, I noticed that there were really no early posters, and we all tended to post near the end of the module.  I give myself 25 points.

  • Responses to Other Students (30 points)
    Two or more substantial posts with at least one detailed response made to address another students’ post.

I posted on at least two students as required.  I always tried to leave comments that were specific and relevant.  I want to note that I often posted in the course discussion boards when providing feedback for other classmates.  At times I also replied to a student on the discussion board as notification that I left a comment on their site.  I give myself 30 points.

Overall, I gave myself 180 points out of 190.

Obstacles and Suggested Solutions for Integrating Technology Into English and Language Arts

hackNY spring 2013 student hackathon by hackNY, on Flickr
By hackNY licensed under CC-BY-SA-2.0
English teachers are expected to teach more than grammar, writing, vocabulary, and Shakespeare.  Their responsibilities also include additional skills students must have when using technology to read, write, collaborate, and more.  These skills include information and digital literacies, two concepts with flexible definitions –and numerous related-skills.  Digital literacy refers to “skills in using the information that technological devices carry in addition to skills in using  the devices themselves (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p.267).  While information literacy, according to the American Library Association, is “a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information” (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p.268).

Not only do English and Language Arts teachers need to (learn and) teach multiple literacies, they must also learn new strategies for effectively integrating technology into their curriculum in order to improve student learning.  Such strategies include 21st Century skills for students to be able to communicate, collaborate, solve problems, and be creative (Learning and innovation skills).

Such changes to the role of the English teacher are often “not fully realized unless teachers receive continued and systematic professional development (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p.271).  Of course, this kind of support takes time.  According to a study on teachers’ perceptions of the integration of instructional technology, “the most prominent obstacle was a lack of time to integrate [technology] during a class period” (Hutchison & Reinking, 2011, p. 328), followed by lack of access to technology and lack of professional development.

When teachers perceive technology as a vital part of their teaching, it no longer becomes an extra component, but rather an inextricable part of learning.  Then, teachers may be more willing to evolve into a “networked” teacher through a developing personal network (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p.271).  Indeed, the solution lies in the support of organizations, such the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the American Library Association (ALA) through web sources, listservs, blogs, wikis, and other social media.

 

To summarize…

Obstacles

  • perception that technology is additional to, rather than a part of learning
  • time (for integrating, for planning, for support, for professional development)

Solutions

  • change perception that technology is vital
  • encourage developing Personal Learning Networks for support, professional development

 

References

Hutchison, A., & Reinking, D. (2011). Teachers’ perceptions of integrating information and communication technologies into literacy instruction: A national survey in the United States. Reading Research Quarterly, 46(4), 312-333. doi:10.1002/RRQ.002

Learning and innovation skills. (n.d.). Route 21. Retrieved from http://route21.p21.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=4

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th ed.). Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon Publishers.

Making sure students understand that their online actions can
have consequences is an important part of “digital citizenship” and online safety.  Because of an ongoing evolution of technology in education, it is imperative that schools now take on this responsibility of keeping students as safe as possible as they spend more time online.

 

“Fully 95% of all teens ages 12-17 are now online and 80% of those online teens are users of social media sites.”
(Lenhart, et al., 2011)

 

Similar to the meaning of citizenship in the offlineicon-36881_640 world, society is a kinder place when everyone plays by certain rules and follows guidelines for appropriate, respectful behavior. Teaching students about digital citizenship, including how to be safe online, should be a key learning component at every grade level.

 

The concept of digital citizenship refers to “norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use,” according to Mike Ribble’s Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship (2014).  Ribble breaks the nine facets into groups of three:

Respect Your Self/Respect Others

  • Etiquette
  • Access
  • Law

Educate Yourself/Connect with Others

  • Communication
  • Literacy
  • Commerce

Protect Your Self/Protect Others

  • Rights and Responsibility
  • Safety (Security)
  • Health and Welfare

While all of the areas are important for teachers to include in their instruction, this post focuses on the area of safety and protection, particularly on safety.  Students need to understand that their online actions can have lasting effects, positive or negative.  Teachers should help students establish an awareness of their part in the connected, online world.

 

“I can see a day in the not too distant future (if it’s not already here) where your “digital footprint” will carry far more weight than anything you might include in a resume” (Betcher, 2009)

 

Resources for teachers to use with teenagers:

  • To help teens make safer choices online, check out this site that has games, videos and more: http://www.nsteens.org/
  • NetSmartz Workshop has information, and a lot of videos, for teenagers all geared toward helping them make safer choices: http://www.netsmartz.org/Teens

Teenagers use cell phones after school t

The following are sites that have lists of tips:

Internet safety and the law:


 

References

Betcher, C. (2009, May 14). Footsteps. Betchablog. Retrieved from http://chrisbetcher.com/2009/05/footsteps/

Lenhart, A., Madden, M., Smith, A., Purcell, K., Zickuhr, K., & Rainie, L. (2011). Teens, kindness, and cruelty on social network sites. PEW Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED537516.pdf

Morin, O. (2010, March 29). Teenagers Using Cell Phones. [Digital image]. Getty Images. Retrieved from http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/sns-rt-us-millennials-pollbre95i1j4-20130619,0,5718904.story

Ribble, M. (N.d.) Nine Elements. Digitalcitizenship. Retrieved from  http://digitalcitizenship.net/Nine_Elements.html

Safety on the Internet

Instructional Software – Relative Advantages

Below are listed the relative advantages of five types of instructional software:

Drill and Practice

Particularly when isolated skills need to be honed, drill and practice software can benefit the teacher by saving time in creating additional individualized practice.  For the student, the advantage is access to additional drills that provide specific feedback.  According to Roblyer and Doering (2013, p. 84), the advantages of using drill and practice software “have been well-established by research.”

Tutorials

The relative advantage for integrating tutorials into the classroom is the convenience of providing missing or additional instruction to meet students’ needs.  The flexibility of accessing an online tutorial at anytime from anywhere, as well as the flexibility to proceed through a tutorial at one’s pace are other advantages.

Simulations

Relative advantages of simulations are that can provide cost and time effective, as well as interactive practice for students who are solidifying concepts.  Because the simulations are often available online anytime or anywhere, they provide a flexible, repeatable learning opportunity.

Instructional games

The relative advantage for this type of software is for the additional amusement while exercising skills.  Students will enjoy playing games that provide interest, levity, and entertainment.

Problem Solving software

The relative advantage for problem-solving software is that it often offers unexpected situations that demand higher order thinking skills.  Some software, such as Minecraft, may even promote engagement.

Acceptable Use Policies (AUP)

The purposes of an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) is not only to protect students, as is required under the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), but also to describe what behaviors are inappropriate.  According to this act, schools receiving governmental “e-rate” funding must maintain an Internet safety policy that includes:

(a) access by minors to inappropriate matter on the Internet;

(b) the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communications;

(c) unauthorized access, including so-called “hacking,” and other unlawful activities by minors online;

(d) unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors; and

(e) measures restricting minors’ access to materials harmful to them.

Other organizations, such as the National Education Association (NEA), also suggest inclusion of specific sections in a district’s AUP:

  • preamble
  • definition section
  • policy statement
  • acceptable uses section
  • unacceptable uses section
  • violation section

The suggested parts of an AUP make sense.  The students and their parents need to know the background of the policy, as well as the terms used in the policy.  When districts specify what the key words mean, as well as clarify what behavior is acceptable and unacceptable, then there is less subjectivity and uncertainty of what is appropriate.  To also include the penalties give the students and their parents an idea of the severity of violating the policy.

Often an AUP requires parent and student signatures.  Districts are not uniform in how often they update the policy or have students update their agreement.

Many AUPs tend to be of the don’t-do-this nature, mainly supplying the students with a series of behaviors to avoid.  The emphasis tends to be on the safety of the student.  Issues of safety include avoidance of obscenities, but also personal safety as well as bullying.   Another topic typically found deals with ethics.  Generally, to be ethical online, school districts’ AUPs state that there shall be no selling, threatening, hacking, impersonating, and the like.  In addition, students are to use information ethically, i.e. avoid plagiarism.

As technology and the capabilities of those technologies change, the AUP should also reflect current changes.


 

Examples of school districts’ AUPs:

1.  From Portland Public Schools in Portland, Washington:

Short, online form: http://www.pps.k12.or.us/departments/information-technology/1247.htm

Or the longer version: http://www.pps.k12.or.us/files/board/8_60_041_AD.pdf

2.  From the Murray City School District in Murray, Utah:

http://www.murrayschools.org/Board-Of-Education2/brdplcy/PS_405_INTERNET_ACCEPTABLE_USE_POLICY.pdf

3.  Beals School Department in Washington County, Maine:

http://www.union103.org/Beals%20Policies/IJNDB-R%206-24-2010.pdf

4.  Albuquerque Public Schools in Albuquerque, New Mexico:

http://www.aps.edu/about-us/policies-and-procedural-directives/policies/j.-students/ji5-acceptable-student-use-of-personal-electronic-devices

 


 

Resources:

Getting Started on the Internet: Acceptable Use Policies. Education World.  Retrieved June 20, 2014, from http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr093.shtml

Guide Print Email. Children’s Internet Protection Act. Retrieved June 18, 2014, from http://www.fcc.gov/guides/childrens-internet-protection-act

Week 2 Reflection for EDTECH 541

Unexpectedly, I learned more about my school district’s network than I ever thought possible.  My office is down the technology hallway even though I am officially in the curriculum department.  Besides my counterpart in the technology training department, all of the nearby offices are filled with technicians without backgrounds in education.  Until this assignment, I was never interested in the main server room — enough to find out about it anyway.  Possibly this is similar to how they feel about objectives and assessments.

So for this assignment, I interviewed the district’s Technology Director.  He gladly described the LAN and toured me through the MDF and main data center.  I got to ask questions about the hardware and software we use (Infinite Campus, Microsoft, LIghtspeed, etc.) and how we maintain all of it for the district.  I learned about some of the district programs that are running on our district virtual servers, such as Destiny, the Follett library program.  I don’t know enough about AC/DC to explain it here, but I was shown how the power coming in the main data center is conditioned before going to the servers.

After the tour, I talked with a couple of the Help Desk guys about what I learned.  I felt like a new student of a foreign language who just learned how to say, ‘hi, my name is Cheryl,’ eager to talk to someone about what I learned.  But it dawned on me that they work in a world of server maintenance with all of its complexity, while I am surrounded by teachers, students and the more granular uses of technology.  I imagine a Venn diagram with two bubbles that only partially overlap.  The small overlap does not give either side sufficient insight into the rest of what happens in the technology and curriculum realms.

 


 

The other assignment on Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) gave me a chance to dive into the structure of AUPs.  Of the ones I viewed, most were mapped out the same way: preamble, definitions, acceptable uses, unacceptable uses, etc.  As technology and its uses change, the AUP needs to reflect that.  My school district recently deleted “pagers” from its list of devices, for example.  But also, the uses of technology have grown to include social uses.  Some school embrace the use of school Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram, etc.  Having policies to delineated the expected behavior and purposes for using social media is important for both the school district and the faculty and students.  During this past year, my school district has received statewide, nationwide, and even international news coverage regarding a staff member’s use of social media and the district reaction to it.  Our school board is currently going through the process of creating and approving new social media policy.

I look forward to what next week brings!

 

 

Week 1 Reflection for EDTECH 541

“(O)ur society is beginning to place a high value on the ability to solve novel problems in creative ways.” (p.49)

Image

Technology has given teaching and learning new tools to solve problems in ways that were previously thought to be impossible.  Teachers know that students who can extrapolate their skills into different areas will be most successful as they advance through their educational careers and beyond.  Society expects this, too.  For me, learning more in depth about the processes of educational technology is exciting and rewarding.  Making teaching and learning more effective is an on-going goal that I continue to strive towards.  I am looking forward to all this course and the EDTECH program will offer.

Having worked directly in the field of educational technology for two years, I have a strong sense that being familiar with the foundational learning theories that underlie the integration of technology will make my decisions as an instructor that much more solid.  Often educators will ask, “I want to get some technology, what should I get?”  On the one hand, the interest and motivation these teachers show is commendable.  They are willing to try new tools (whatever they may be) in their time-strapped days.  On the other hand, the question also shows that there is no road map in place for making integrating technology effective.  They only know they want technology, but there is no clear understanding of how and why.  

“Planning must always begin with this question: What specific needs do my students and I have that (any given resources) can help meet?” (p.10)

As I begin this course, I am constantly looking for ideas that I can bring to the teachers in my district.  As a technology coach, the focus has been on training teachers on using technology.  I am starting to see that the necessity for teachers to be willing participants in the ever-evolving landscape of educational technology is a crucial component of a successful technology program.  Teachers deal with curriculum changes, district policy changes, principal agendas, complicated student and parent backgrounds, etc. — all with the assumption that the technology phases are naturally a part of life.  Being able to accept change is a powerful mindset.  

“(R)esources and accepted methods of applying them will change, often quickly and dramatically” (p.10)

Many people like consistency and predictability to provide a sense of control and efficacy.  When constant change interrupts the normalcy of a classroom, school, and district, the reaction will greatly influence and determine how teachers will find balance and improvement in their own teaching.  New technology can be disruptive, or it can be a new way of expanding learning.  

In my role as a technology trainer, I fully stand by the need to provide resources, including ongoing training for teachers as they gain knowledge and confidence to be able to step beyond the normal and risk trying a new process.   Even before this course, I knew several of the statements in Roblyer and Doering’s Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching to be true:

The process of integrating technology effectively into education requires substantial, ongoing investments in technology infrastructure and teacher training. (p. 23)

 

“Successful technology programs hinge on well-trained, motivated teachers.  A technology plan should acknowledge and address this need with appropriate training activities.” (p. 65)

 

“Have a backup plan in case something goes wrong at the last minute.” (p.63)

With my first week down, I am looking forward to learning and practicing the methods for the effective integration of technology.

 

Resources:

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2010).Integrating educational technology into teaching (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Anciss. (Photographer). 2008. You Can Change the World. [Digital Image]. Retrieved from http://anciss.deviantart.com/art/you-can-change-the-world-81681894