Technology That Guides Learning

Using technology in the classroom

GAME over…end of class Reflection October 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — emilypartyka @ 2:03 pm

While this class seemed to fly by this past eight weeks, I think I learned a lot of valuable information that I can implement into my lessons immediately. I really enjoyed creating GAME plan types of lessons because I can actually picture my students using them and truly benefitting from the content of them.

I think above all, I have learned how to efficiently plan for my students to use technology to further their learning through activities that are meaningful to them. Rather than being asked to figure out how to use a specific tool in the classroom, we were asked how to implement a certain activity and to use whichever tools we needed in order to help our students to learn a concept through that activity. That freedom has shown me all the different ways that one activity, such as digital storytelling, can be displayed by reading my peers’ submissions. Because I have seen all the different ways for one activity to be used in the classroom, I think I will also be much more open-minded in how my students want to portray their final products. If PowerPoint isn’t working for a student, then they will absolutely be given permission to show what they know through whatever it is that they are comfortable using.  I think most of my modifications to the GAME plan process will come after I begin implementing them. I feel that I gave my students plenty of time to complete the projects that I came up with; however, it’s difficult to tell at this point how much time they will actually need. I look forward to seeing how quickly they can work with an assignment that is really interesting to them.

Language Arts I think is a very easy subject to be able to incorporate problem-based learning, social networking, and digital storytelling. I feel that all of my lessons and units have at least one opportunity or more to integrate the technology tools that can be used with these particular assignments. At this point, I will being making a vested effort to incorporate one of these activities into each of my lessons or units in order to provide my students a meaningful education as well as prepare them for 21st century skills.

 

Time Out! GAME Plan Progression September 26, 2012

I feel that sometimes working toward a goal is often harder than coming up with a goal in the first place. This week we have been asked to determine how we are doing with regards to progressing through our goals that we established two weeks ago.

My first goal includes being able to improve how I “facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity” (ISTE, 2012). I have already begun planning a lesson that will allow me to offer my students an authentic way of learning and require them to really use some creativity. I have been using internet resources to find unique ways of introducing this lesson and keep my students engaged. It has really been fun finding all these resources that are so adaptable to my classroom. Even lessons that are originally made for pencil and paper format, I am able to tweak them to include technology. While I feel confident that my lesson will allow my students to show their creativity, I always have the question of “will they get it?” I am currently working on my template to make sure that everything is well planned out so my students have no questions about what is expected.

Secondly, my other goal for this year is to become more comfortable in “design[ing] and develop[ing] digital age learning experiences and assessments” (ISTE, 2012). I am trying to incorporate technology into my lessons whenever I can. So far, I have been able to use overhead projectors and laptops for word processing. One problem I am running into is that when I plan out my lessons, I generally do it one month at a time. I sign out laptop carts for the days that I think we’ll use them, but by the time we get to that point, I have been forced to push back other lessons due to necessary extended time. Since my school only has six laptop carts, it becomes difficult to ask for them a few days in advance. I need to remind myself to plan for more time on lessons to avoid this type of problem. On the other hand, in order to learn about new digital tools that I can use, I am in weekly contact with our school’s technology coordinator to learn of new tools that I can use in my classroom. Sometimes I ask her for a tool to use with a specific lesson or student and other times she will share new technology that she has read or attended a conference about.

Overall, I think my progress is going fairly smoothly and gradually. I have implemented what I can, and I have begun planning for what I see my students doing in the near future. I am very excited to introduce my students to these new lessons and technologies, and I hope that they embrace them as much as I have!

ISTE, I.S. (2012). Nets for Teachers. Retrieved September 12, 2012 from:
http://www.iste.org/docs/pdfs/nets-t-standards.pdf?sfvrsn=2

 

GAME On: Carrying Out My GAME Plan September 19, 2012

As I begin the process of breaking down my GAME plan into smaller chunks, I need to determine the resources and additional information that I need in order to carry out the plan. As I stated in my previous post, I want to be able to improve on assisting and encouraging my students’ creativity as well as constructing and developing digital lessons and activities.

In order to find success in my goals, I will need access to specific information and technology tools. In cultivating creativity among my students, I need to become more familiar and comfortable with technology tools that will allow my students to express themselves via audio, video, and project presentation software. I am familiar with programs such as VoiceThread, iVideo, and powerpoint, but I think that a visit to our school’s technology coordinator would be a great way to learn new types of technology and to also become more accustomed to using the tools I already know.

Constructing and developing digital lessons will also lead me to using our technology coordinator, but I also think that researching this type of planning will also lead me to a variety of ideas from different teachers. Subscribing to blogs is a definite way to stay on top of new ideas and discover how others have implemented their digital lessons into the classroom.

In addition to finding my resources, I also need to determine what my students are capable of with these different technologies and how comfortable they are with learning new tools. In my Resource classes, it is much easier to learn this information because I have about ten students per period. I have also had several of the students before, so I know what they are capable of doing. My Inclusion classes will be more challenging due to the numbers and my unfamiliarity with them. Through class discussions and observations, I think that I will find out any restrictions in due time. Plus, having a co-teacher will absolutely aid in attempting to teach the new technologies that we incorporate. In the first five weeks of school, I have already begun the process of learning what my students are capable of doing. I hope to discover even more as we begin implementing more of these tools.

 

 

The GAME Plan September 12, 2012

Cennamo, Ross, and Ertmer (2009) offer four suggestions of self-directed learning. These suggestions and recommendations are what they consider the GAME plan. As they mention, “The GAME plan requires you to think about and take steps to direct your learning process, specifically while learning about technology and how to integrate it into the curriculum” (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009, p. 3). In other words, teachers must determine the steps that will help their students to benefit the most from their education while using technology to enrich the curriculum. The acronym GAME stands for setting Goals, taking Action to meet those goals, Monitoring progress toward achieving goals, and Evaluating whether the goals were achieved and Extending your learning to new situations (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009, p. 3).

As our class assignment requests, I have read through the National Education Standards for Teacher (NETS-T) from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and determined which two standards I would like to improve upon. I feel that standards one and two are areas that I would like to further develop within my teaching profession. These standards state that teachers will “Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity” and “Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments” (ISTE, 2012). Using the GAME plan, I have developed ideas on how I will gain more knowledge and experience with these standards.

GOALS:

I would like to improve the way that I am able to “facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity” (ISTE, 2012). While I am confident in my content knowledge, I want to support my students’ learning by offering creative ways to share their knowledge. I want to engage my students in real-world issues and ask them to work them out using technology tools.

I also want to become more comfortable in “design[ing] and develop[ing] digital age learning experiences and assessments” (ISTE, 2012). I want to create authentic lessons and assessments that will give my students real-world experiences within the realm of English. I would also like to incorporate more virtual experiences for my students as many of them do not have the opportunities to go outside of our city.

ACTIONS:

I know that I can offer more real-world issues through project-based learning. I will need to determine which parts of my curriculum that I am able to turn into project-based learning activities and allow my students to use the available technology to work on these issues.

I will need to become more comfortable in using new technology in order to allow my students more authentic assessments in the digital age. I know that I can attend mini-workshops with my school’s technology coordinator in order to become more up to date on these technologies.

MONITOR:

In order to ensure that I accomplish my goals and actions, I need to determine dates to implement these goals and activities. In keeping with a timeline, I can set mini goals for myself in order to plan, implement, and reflect on my chosen standards.

EVALUATE:

I will evaluate whether I was able to “facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity” (ISTE, 2012) by reflecting on my own lesson plans as well as using student feedback. I think my students will be able to offer me those most honest opinions on whether or not they felt that they were being asked to be creative. I think it will also be easy to determine whether the lessons I produce are based on real-world issues by how my students respond to them.

Evaluating my goal of “design[ing] and develop[ing] digital age learning experiences and assessments” (ISTE, 2012) will also be determined by how my students respond to the activities. My students will be able to provide invaluable information on the authenticity of the lesson and on how much they felt they learned from it.

In the end, I think reflection will be the biggest key in helping myself improve upon these standards. I also feel that asking for colleague and peer assistance will help me to enhance what I know as well as learn new teaching ideas and technology tools.

Other than those that we have used through Walden, what are other technology tools that you all have used to enhance real-world activities and lessons?

References:

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.

ISTE, I.S. (2012). Nets for Teachers. Retrieved September 12, 2012 from:
http://www.iste.org/docs/pdfs/nets-t-standards.pdf?sfvrsn=2

 

End of Course Reflection April 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — emilypartyka @ 8:35 pm

As I look back at what I have learned in the last eight weeks, I find myself in awe that I could have learned so much valuable information in such a short time. Although at times it did seem like it would never end, I come out of this class with a sense of power in my teaching and tools. I have already begun to implement the technology and theories that I’ve been introduced to in this course, and I look forward to continuing this process.

In week one, we were asked to take a look at our personal theory of learning. At that time I felt that the two most important strategies for learning were behaviorism and social constructionism. While I do believe that cognitivism and constructionism/constructivism are important, I still feel that my learning theory has stayed fairly similar. If anything, I have a deeper understanding of the theory of social constructionism which has made me incorporate more of it into my plans. I realize how important it is for students to understand how to use outside resources in their daily lives. I make my students work hard to find answers even though it hurts to watch them struggle. In the end, however, I am teaching them to become lifelong learners and that is one goal of mine for my students.

The use of technology in the classroom has always been important for me to integrate – I wouldn’t be working toward my Masters in integrating technology if I didn’t believe this. This course, though, has given me a much deeper understanding of the uses of technology as instructional devices as well as learning tools. I feel much more comfortable showing my students how to use these tools, and I feel competent in my reasoning behind using them. The two technology tools that I foresee myself using the most with my students include VoiceThread and SpiderScribe for concept mapping. Both of these programs are easy to use and allow my students to deepen their understanding of what is being taught. I look forward to giving my students the chance to really understand the 21st century skills and using these tools independently.

Two long term goals that I would like to give myself with regards to my instructional practices and technology integration include using at least one technology learning tool per unit and one instructional tool per unit. I need to take a look at the lessons I have for the remainder of the year and decide which technology tools will give my students the chance to comprehend the material at a deeper level. Likewise, I need to decide how to best introduce new information that works for my group of students. I think this can be an easy task as long as I can find the resources. Next year, especially, I will have the knowledge of these tools and be able to use our district sign out policy to integrate them more easily. I think the students will really appreciate these use of these tools to prepare them for their future.

Overall, this course has been one of the most useful courses I have taken through my Masters program. I am very excited to continue using the knowledge and tools that I have been introduced to, and I really look forward to watching my students grow with the use of these tools.

 

My Very First Voice Thread March 29, 2012

Filed under: Education,Technology,Voice Thread — emilypartyka @ 7:59 pm

Here I have created a Voice Thread that could be used in my Inclusion English I class. I’ll gladly take any constructive criticism, but please be nice 🙂

http://voicethread.com/share/2912326/

 

Connectivism and Social Learning in Practice

Connectivism states that “Knowledge resides in the patterns of how different concepts are networked” according to George Siemens in the course video “Connectivism as a Learning Theory” (Laureate Inc., 2011). In other words, connectivism is when the learner “plugs” into another network to receive the information that he/she needs at the moment. Because of this, connectivism is primarily considered a new type of learning theory as it more closely relates to learning through technology.

Siemens also introduces the three roles that a learning theory should have. These include the task of explaining how learning occurs, allowing us to create future models of learning, and help us to make sense of the present. Using connectivism, these three roles are easier to see. Connectivism shows us how we learn through focusing on our connections. When we are in need of information, it will show the thought process of where we go for the information. Whether we use Google or social networking, we are finding the source of information most appropriate for our inquiry. Connectivism also allows us to visualize what sources of information work best for learners and create future models of learning. As our society becomes much more in need of social learning, we are able to use that to create useful resources, i.e., YouTube and Pinterest. Lastly, using connectivism, we are able to make more sense of the present because we have a better grasp of why and how we learn in certain ways. Connectivism is helping us to create future trends in education and stay atop of new instructional strategies.

In order to incorporate the information that connectivism offers us along with using technology in the classroom, we look at cooperative learning. As it is stated in “Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works,” cooperative learning “focuses on having students interact with each other in groups in ways that enhance their learning (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, Malenoski, p. 139). Students are able to make more sense of the material being introduced when they have the option to work collaboratively rather than individually. Using each other as resources gives them a different knowledge base and, quite simply, a different way of hearing information instead of always coming from the teacher.

Important information to keep in mind when constructing cooperative learning groups include:

  • Organizing groups based on ability levels should be done sparingly.
  • Cooperative learning groups should be rather small in size.
  • Cooperative learning should be used consistently and systematically but should not be overused. (Pitler et al., 2007)

This particular chapter on cooperative learning gives several examples of instructional strategies to use within the classroom. In the area of multimedia, educators can integrate this learning theory through the use of video making. This relates to the idea of connectivism by helping create new trends of relaying information to a classroom. It also gives students a chance to interact with each other and explore different skill sets. Keypals (ePALS), WebQuests (Zunal), Web Site Creation (TOWeb), Collaborative Organizing (Google Calendar), Shared Bookmarking (del.icio.us), Course Management (Moodle), and Web-Enabled Multiplayer Simulation Games (Jigsaw Classroom) are web resources that allow students to work from multiple locations to solve a problem or work on a project. Students can work with peers in their classrooms or even peers in another state. In referencing Siemens, this contributes to connectivism through offering different ways to learn and creating future models of learning. Students are also given the chance to work and organize collaboratively toward a common goal. Lastly, Communication Software, such as Skype, gives students a chance to interact with others without the constraints of time and location. This technology also gives our students the network tools to use each other as resources when working toward a common project.

The connectivism theory is helping to shape the future of education. As educators continue to find new instructional strategies that include technology, we will also continue to create new paths for students to use to gain their knowledge.

References

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program nine: Connectivism as a learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.