Week 2 Application

One of the benefits of teaching is that teachers also get to be students.  We wish for our students to be self-directed, life-long learners, and, because of the changing nature of education, we have to take steps to be the same.  We must set goals for ourselves and then put a plan into motion.  One area that requires consistent professional development, and therefore goal-setting, is the inclusion of technology in the classroom.  Because technology is constantly evolving, teachers have to take steps to learn new tools and new methods.  “Strategic learners begin the goal-setting process by analyzing the task at hand.  Strategic learners also consider what they already know that can be useful in obtaining their new learning goals” (Cennamo, Ross, and Ertmer, 2009, p. 85).  The ISTE National Education Technology Standards and Performance Indicators for Teachers provides teachers a foundation from which to gauge their confidence and proficiency with technology inclusion.  I have selected two indicators upon which to focus.

The first indicator I would like to focus on is Technology Operations and Concepts.  While I do believe that I am quite knowledgeable about technology and what kinds to use in my plans, I am fully aware that there is much more available to me and, I would like to explore new options each year.  My students are growing up in a digital world, and I did not.  I have had to train myself to look at technology as part of my plans and not as a special project.  Technology inclusion should become the norm for me, not something unique.  “Teachers who use technology in the classroom find ways to use it as a pedagogical tool that supports their beliefs about teaching and learning.  But for teachers to use technology in support of their learning, and to see it as a pedagogically useful tool, they must be confident and competent with the technology they are planning to use” (Topper, 2004, p.304).  Fortunately, my schools greatly advocates the use of technology and encourages teachers to explore new options.

The second indicator I have chosen to focus on is Planning and Designing Learning Environments and Experiences.  Simply knowing that certain technology is available is not enough.  Simply telling students to use KeyNote or Prezi is not enough.  I have to be sure to develop plans and assessments that allow students to use technology to learn content, not just to show the class a final product.  At the same time, students need to become more and more familiar and proficient in certain technology skills as they will be necessary in the work place.  “It is apparent that with the acceleration in the pace of technological innovation and saturation in society, skills such as problem solving, synthesizing information, and communicating via technology are essential for today’s students” (Barron, Kemker, Harmes, and Kalaydjian, 2004, p. 489).  Whatever I plan and implement can’t be technology for technology’s sake; my plans need to be purposeful for not only my classroom but also beyond it.

In order to achieve these goals, I will take several steps.  Firstly, I will include what I have learned throughout this program in my lesson plans, and I will work with others in my school.  I have felt very grateful that this program has allowed us the chance to try new technologies, to experiment with new tools, and to share our results with others.  My department is very supportive, and we try never to reinvent the wheel.  We share successful plans regularly, and as my school moves towards Standards Based Assessment, we will be aligning our curriculum more all year.  We will clearly be using the same activities, and I intend to share the plans I have implemented .  Secondly, I have joined my school’s Technology Team, which meets twice a month.  It is led by the district’s Technology Coordinator, and during these meeting he addresses issues teachers have encountered and tries to answer questions that have arisen.  In addition, teachers also share success stories.  Participation in this group seems a logical step in my GAME plan.

I can monitor my progress through monthly or unit check-ups.  That is, I can make sure I am using some kind of technology in at least one of my classes each month.  The technology tool does not need to be complex, nor does the project need to be huge, but I would like to make sure I am using both new technology as well as some with which I am already familiar.

Finally, I can evaluate my progress by reviewing my lesson plans each month.  I can reflect on them, determine which technology helped my students learn content, which helped them to show what they have learned, and which allowed them to practice important technology skills.  Likewise, I can also evaluate what did not work well and what changes I would need to make.  I would like to keep track of how many different kinds of technology opportunities I am able to incorporate.  Surveying students is also in my plans.  I’d like to know what worked for them, what didn’t, and whether or not they have any suggestions.  In many cases, they are more tech-savvy than their teachers.  Including them in the discussion could prove enlightening.

References
Barron, A. E., Kemker, K., Harmes, C., & Kalaydjian, K. (2003). Large-scale research study on technology in K-12 schools: Technology integration as it relates to the national technology standards. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 35(4), 489-507.

Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from  http://www.iste.org/Libraries/PDFs/NETS_for_Teachers_2008_EN.sflb.ashx

Topper, A. (2004). How are we doing? using self-assessment to measure changing teacher technology literacy within a graduate educational technology program. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 12(3), 303-317.

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6 Responses to Week 2 Application

  1. L. Yancey says:

    I love your opening statement because it is so true! I am constantly learning from my colleagues and my students. The first step in a teacher becoming a student is for the teacher to realize that they do not know everything. I am constantly asking my students how to load or use an app on my phone or share with me what newest version of technology they are downloading. The curiosity and sharing of information that teachers and students have is the foundation of being a self-directed learner. Technology also plays a big role in this learning concept because it allows all learners to learn at their own pace regards of their learning style. I applauded you for acknowledging your technology level and your willingness to teach yourself how to use technology in your lessons. I also think it is a great advantage to have the support of your school and colleagues. As you mentioned our jobs are stressful enough so there is no need for us to try to “reinvent the wheel”. Our colleagues share and understand our burden so it is a great advantage to share and exchange ideas and activities that we can use in the classroom, especially when it comes to the integration of technology.

    L. Yancey

    • Rachel says:

      I am very lucky to be working where I am. Even though we have budget woes like everyone else, my school does try to get as much tech as it can. I am also very fortunate about my department. We really do all work together. As we head toward SBE and Common Core, we will be realigning our curriculum even more. I will be interested to see what will have with tech and whether or not it will remain a priority.

  2. Jennifer Czaplicki says:

    It is great that you realize that the project doesn’t have to be really big or time consuming for students and teachers to find it beneficial. I am routinely having a similar discussion about lab explorations. One of my colleagues is constantly carrying around a huge stack of labs to grade. While I only periodically have formal lab reports. That is not to say my students do fewer labs, there are just fewer that I feel students benefit from going through the write up process. I think using technology can be the same, as a student is learning to use a program, we should be able to simply see them working with the material and offer feedback so they can improve. If everything is associated with a formal grade when can students take a chance to just learn and think? There is a really great article at http://www.edutopia.org/blog/benefits-mistakes-classroom-alina-tugend which talks about some associated research.

    I include surveys and reflection as part of my plan as well. However, I realize that often the students will hear of a new program or utility before any of us do. I have happened onto some great videos and tutorials that I use in my classroom now because a student brought it to my attention. I make it clear when I find a new resource and I encourage students to look and share as well. After reading your post, I wonder if I have a small project or idea for students to work on, could we pose the challenge and see what kind of process the kids come up with? Certainly it would be a good idea to have an answer in case they come back empty handed but allowing them to do some online research about what application might work seems to fit within the plan as well. It may be an informal homework idea. I believe this ties into the self guided research and creative thinking model as well.
    Thanks,
    J. Czaplicki

    • Rachel says:

      Thank you for the article. I appreciate any new insight into working with tech. I think your idea about having the students work on a challenge for homework. How about putting them in teams? Maybe if they had a chance to work together, do some research, and then present why their idea would work, they would be more engaged. I like your idea about having the students have a say in the plans. I am going to try that as well. Thanks.

      • Jennifer Czaplicki says:

        Teams are a great idea -especially if they have the time to work on it in class. Some of my kids find it difficult to collaborate outside of school hours although this would be a good implementation of Skype or online chat as well.
        Thanks

  3. Mark Rabbitt says:

    Rachel,

    Your idea to work with other department members as a way of implementing your GAME plan is an idea we all need to incorporate in order to grow as educators. The issue becomes where or not individual members of your department are willing to help. I say this because there is a great lack of support in my own department to work cooperatively on ideas. It is very frustrating because the goal of education should be to assist in the growth of learning for each student. However, if you have a good support team then your GAME plan will be implemented smoothly.

    Furthermore, I like the idea of using technology as only a final product not being enough in the learning process. It is a difficult process to pick activities that incorporate technology in a meaningful way because what does that idea of meaningful truly mean. But as you stated technology should not just be used for technology sakes. Great GAME plan!!!

    Mark Rabbitt

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