Educational Technology Context & Foundation

I absolutely love my Instructional Technology course I am taking this semester at ISU! Integrating technology into all aspects of the classroom to benefit both student and teacher is extremely important to me. Part of the requirement of this class will be to create a Philosophy of our own in regards to placing tecnhlogy into the classroom. In order for us to complete this, through the course we are finding professional resources and material within our textbook to expand and define our current technology ideals.

Here is my takeaways from our readings this week:

     In Chapter 1 of our textbook, Roblyer states,

For the processes, or instructional procedures for applying tools, we look to … applications of technology that help prepare students for future jobs by teaching them skills in using current tools, as well as skills in ‘learning to learn’ about tools of the future that have not yet been invented – or even imagined (p. 5).

     I find the idea of “learning to learn about tools of the future” to be an extremely important guide in today’s teaching of technology and preparing our students for the future. This changes the focus of learning technology, we need to learn enough to complete the tasks we are to complete; however, its not about having lessons on the particular technology that we know it deeply as software, hardware, etc changes so rapidly. Yet we should direct lessons on the ability of learning to learn. Being able to take the basic knowledge and apply it to any program that comes our way. I read once that computer programmers, computer design students, and the like graduate with a degree with most of the information they have learned is outdated. Similar to our students, It is important for them to know how to learn and adapt to the rapidly changing technology in our world. 

     In Chapter 1 of our textbook research completed by Devaney in 2010 teaches us, 

Schools with one-to- one computing programs had fewer discipline problems, lower dropout rates, and higher rates of college attendance (p. 22).

     I am not surprised by such research results. As a future teacher, I would love to adapt or be apart of a school in which is involved within a 1:1. Eliminating factors of students not having the technology accessible in and outside of the classroom. This research on technology in education tells us that there are many more benefits to the use than what we originally thought. My thought that the fewer discipline problems, lower dropout rates, and higher rates of college attendance is in the idea that students are engaged, lessons are adaptable to many learning styles, and they feel better prepared to go on to higher education because of their experience!

     In Chapter 2 of our textbook, Roblyer states, 

Teachers will always use some directed instruction as the most efficient means of teaching required skills; teachers will always need motivating, cooperative learning activities to ensure that students want to learn and that they can transfer what they learn to problems they encounter. Proficient technology-orientated teachers must learn to combine directed instruction and constructivist approaches and to select technology resources and integration methods that are best suited to their specific needs (p. 49).

     I tend to lean toward the constructivist methods, ideologies, and epistemologies in the modern day classroom. It is innovative, collective; it is about movement and collaboration. It is appealing to me as a teacher to make the classroom appealing to today’s student. Yet there is an importance in the ideals and methods of directed instruction. As a future teacher and as I go about creating my integrating technology philosophy is in important to develop a balance between the two.


Roblyer, M.D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson             Education, Inc. 

Blog Review #14: The Whole is Less Than the Sum of Its Parts – Focusing on the Small Stuff

The second post I chose this week for my blog discussion assignment was The Whole is Less Than the Sum of Its Parts – Focusing on the Small Stuff published on the website, Musings from the Middle. In this article, Jenna Smith shares her thoughts, fears, emotions, ups, and downs of standardized testing.

This post shares the truth about the real feelings teachers have regarding the tests wether there is great emphasis or little emphasis on the test in your school. We are human and we want our students to succeed and we want the tests to reflect what we know about them. But they are faulty, and do not have the ability to do such things.

Jenna shares words of wisdom she received from another teacher,

In teaching, when it comes to kids and their performance: The whole is LESS than the sum of its parts.

Jenna explains,

When I think about all the papers and tests and projects that I’ve graded over the years, they pale in comparison to what I watched a kid learn in the process of writing/taking/creating them. Final products, I realized, are always a bit of a letdown when you compare them to journey you watched a kid take to put it together.

Jenna reflects,

Immediately, I refocused myself. I decided to be present for those little moments that occur along a kid’s journey and to stop staring at the destination on the horizon. The test is the test is the test. I can’t change it. I can’t beat it. I can’t fight it. It’s there. But, I don’t have to make myself crazy staring at it looming in the distance. Instead, I can focus on all those little wins throughout the day and celebrate all the things my kids CAN do.

She shares a story involving a writing assignment  in the classroom after her reflection, this idea completely changed her perspective, and reminded her of why she became a teacher.

Jenna concludes,

These moments… these PARTS are most certainly greater than their SUM. These everyday lessons, experiences, moments… no test score could ever measure them. And so, from now on, I simply will not let them.

I love how Jenna was able to change her perspective toward the test, the final projects, the final assesments. I love the wisdom that her teacher friend shared with her, it is definitely a keeper.

My reflection on this post changes my perspective toward My Ends paper we recently completed in class. Yes the end is important, yes the end is our goal; just as the final project or the standardized test. HOWEVER, it is the journey that creates the learning, it is the education. It is the process of igniting the heart toward a change, to do something about it! It is the small stuff that leads the student to do big things. We cannot create that in a lesson plan, nor limit that to a classroom project, no matter how fabulous it is.

My Ends as an Educator

imagesJohn Dewey said,

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.

Education is defined as the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction (Merriam- Webster’s dictionary, 2003). My ends as an educator are to give my students instruction toward their intellectual, social, economical, and political knowledge.

What I mean by intellectual knowledge is developing important skills and becoming a life-long learner. This is valuable because a typical person will only spend 13 to 18 years of their life receiving systematic instruction through an institution. There is an abundance of truth to the words written in the book, I Can Read with my Eyes Shut, in which Dr. Seuss (1978) says,

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

A person who fluently reads and writes enjoys learning new things; the possibilities for them are endless. I want my students to have the ability to acquire and apply both knowledge and skills.

What I mean by social knowledge is enriching personal growth and developing community responsibility. This is valuable because many people find confusion in the process of figuring out who they are and how they can be a part of their community. Inspiration and guidance can be given to assist students toward understanding social responsibilities and the impact of the choices they make. I want my students to have the ability to participate well in society and organizations.

What I mean by economical knowledge is preparing for employment and understanding their role as a consumer. This is valuable because we do not know what the future holds for us. Schools today; educate the employees of tomorrow. Yet, we are unaware of what tomorrow includes. Basic employer skills and the understanding of one’s role in our economy, I believe are beneficial now and to the unknown. I want my students to have the ability to give significance toward their career and be sensible in relation to money, time, and effort.

What I mean by political knowledge is embracing democracy and acquiring citizenship skills. This is valuable because it is important to prepare our students for their active role as responsible, informed citizens in a democracy. It is advantageous that our students are given a voice, and then empowered to use it. Franklin D. Roosevelt said,

Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.

I want my students to have the ability to take interest and knowledgeably contribute in the government and public affairs of this country.

In conclusion, my ends as an educator are giving my students instruction toward their intellectual, social, economical, and political knowledge. Not in preparation for life, but for life itself.

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Blog Review #12: Is Your Classroom Academically Safe?

7d85e0411508231a7f90b0aeae047c98The second post I chose this week for my blog discussion assignment was Is Your Classroom Academically Safe? published on the website, Cult of Pedagogy. Jennifer Gonzalez opens up with a personal parental story between her and her child about homework, which ends in the all too un-comforting reflection:

No student should feel like they can’t ask questions in school. No student should go home not understanding how to do their homework. No student should ever worry that asking for more explanation will result in punishment  (para. 16).

She begins a rant regarding two sides of the story, that maybe just maybe her child is missing something, I mean he has to be … right? The student should not get in trouble for asking a question? Of course, a student should never ever feel like that is the case, what is happening in the classroom that makes a child feel this way?

Gonzalez states,

It can’t be argued …. the thought of telling her teacher makes her uncomfortable. There’s something about that teacher or that classroom that isn’t as academically safe as it could be. Every time a student chooses not to ask for help or clarification, it’s a missed opportunity for learning. And it’s something we have the power to improve (para. 22-23).

The lists a few simple, powerful ways you can make your classroom a place where students feel free to ask questions and take academic risks (I will list them here, please visit the posts for opinions and ideas):

  1. Build in more checks for understanding
  2. Teach Students How to Ask Questions
  3. Provide Time for Private Questions
  4. Create Contingency Plans
  5. Ask Your Students

The list appears to be short, yet there are sub topics for most. This was an incredible post with a plethora of suggestions in creating an atmosphere that is open and inviting for students to ask questions, know when they can be asked, and even tips on guiding them toward being better students who ask questions.

This is exactly the kind of learning environment I want for my students! It made me think, that my blog or our classroom blog would be a great place to create homework suggestions/assists and helps for those who still end up at home with questions regarding the assignment. In addition, having Class Dojo or some other phone app that allows parents and students (at this age I prefer the students) to ask questions through the evening and over the weekend.

Remembering the nights of homework frustration, I have personally experienced as a student and as a parent makes me believe that this is a tremendous idea! I know that giving 150 students the ability to contact me sounds ridiculous – yet it seems if you can simply tackle the problem head on right away with a quick message back – it can eliminate the snowball effect that can occur if the students have to wait… the assignment does not get completed .. and they are not understanding the material which is expected to be built upon the next day.

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Informed Belief Statement with Vision

My beliefs.

book-i-am-reading-a-book-and-a-hundred-more-none-of-them-speak-of-my-xt4j8e-clipartA student is not a blank book waiting to be filled from cover to cover when he or she enters a classroom. A student entering a new classroom is merely beginning a new chapter or a new page within his or her book; whereas, an experienced student will be making some necessary revisions. A student arrives at the classroom with pages and chapters filled with stories, ideas, understandings, and experiences. What is already written within the pages of the student’s book is the foundation for the new knowledge that will be inscribed. The teacher prompts and facilitates the new words upon these pages, by asking questions that will lead them to write additional chapters within their book. This analogy of a book describes my beliefs about learning, teaching, learners, and the role of a teacher.

My philosophy.
My teaching philosophy relates to the established philosophy of education, pragmatism. In the article, Philosophical Perspectives in Education, Cohen (1999) describes pragmatism beliefs as, “reality is constantly changing and that we learn best through applying our experiences and thoughts to problems, as they arise… thought must produce action, rather than linger in the mind and lead to indecisiveness” (para. 7).

My teaching methods.

My teaching methods are inclusive to the constructivism theory. In the article, Constructivist Teaching and Learning, Gray (n.d.) describes constructivism as,

a view of learning based on the belief that knowledge isn’t a thing that can be simply given by the teacher at the front of the room to students in their desks. Rather, knowledge is constructed by learners through an active, mental process of development; learners are the builders and creators of meaning and knowledge (para. 11).

In my classroom, the constructivism theory is put into action through a number of different teaching methods: such as inquiry- based learning, collaboration, critical exploration, reciprocal learning, and procedural facilitations for writing.

My classroom environment.

My classroom environment is home-like and comfortable; yet, invigorating and vibrant. You see bookshelves, lamps, floor-rugs, a reading area, walls decorated with student work, and curtains hung on the windows giving a sense of belonging. You also see a word wall, an objective bulletin, a large activity calendar, individual student mailboxes, and a homework station giving a sense of focus toward working. You hear the voices of students working together on their literacy project, incorporating what they just read in their book clubs.  You smell the aroma of a pumpkin spice wickless candle on my desk, that freshens the room just so. My classroom could be described by a student, as a place where they want to be. My classroom could be described by a visitor, as an environment conducive to the learning process.

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☕️ My thoughts on discipline in the classroom

interviewWhen I tell people that I would like to teach kindergartners or middle-schoolers; I am often told that managing one of those classrooms are similar to having to herd cats or catch squirrels. These comments remind me of something my Dad told me when I was young, “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make them drink.”
The statement is correct, you cannot force a horse to drink; if you take it by the straps, and sit it down at a bucket of water; however, there is a role that we have in regards to getting the horse to drink the water. We can run the horse until is hot and tired, or we can even offer the horse a salt lick. Either one could bring you one step closer to getting the horse to drink. If these do not work; time will.
My thoughts on classroom discipline is similar to my response to getting a horse to drink water. As teachers, we cannot force our students to behave (no mater how authoritarian we are). This behavior is a choice, similar to a horse choosing to drink the water or not. As teachers, we must act on this choice. A few keys to assisting students with the correct choice are: relationship, routine, engagement, and clear expectation.
Relationship is the most effective key toward gaining correct behavior in the classroom. James Comer said, “no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.” George Washington Carver said, “all learning is understanding relationships.” In Rita Pierson’s Ted Talk, Every Kid Needs a Champion (a must watch, seriously… go watch it now! I will wait) she speaks of the power teachers have through relationships with their students. When a student knows you are genuinely interested in who they are, and they are able to achieve success in your classroom; I believe they are capable of doing whatever it takes to do it, including following the classroom rules.
In addition to relationship, clear expectation and routine are keys in gaining students to making the correct choice in classroom discipline. I paired these together as they go together like coffee and cream. If a student has in front of them clear expectations of what you want, and you provide them with a routine of these expectations; there will be less behavior issues in the classroom. We are all creatures of habit. As teachers we can assist in forming positive habits in our students through consistent (an extremely important factor to these keys) expectations and routines in the classroom.
The last but not the least key to actively assisting students toward choosing correct behavior in the classroom is engagement. An involved student is a well behaved student. Short attention spans, distractions, and unable to concentrate on material are problems that are evident in the modern day classroom. Understanding how the brain works helps solve these known problems. Our brain is stimulated by its environment, and it will pay attention to whatever it is stimulated by. As a teacher we need to provide the stimulation for our student’s brain, or the brain will find something else to focus on (to think that the clock on the wall ticking second by second can be more stimulating to some lectures). Do you disagree? I recommend that you watch a child play a video game… then let’s talk about not being able to get through to students due to a student’s short attention span, distraction, and unable to concentrate. When engaged, these students are able to sustain activity for as long as they are allowed. I suggest: breaking up material in smaller portions, offering brain breaks, and making the lessons come alive to your students.
Relationship, routine, clear expectation, and engagement are effective keys to classroom discipline. Used together these tools can be powerful actions towards getting students to choose the correct behaviors; creating an environment for growth and learning.

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☕️ Too Many Starfish

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Once, a man was walking along a beach. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Off in the distance he could see a person going back and forth between the surf’s edge and the beach. Back and forth this person went. As the man approached he could see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as the result of the natural action of the tide.

The man was stuck by the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish. As he approached the person continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf.

As he came up to the person he said, “You must be crazy. There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can’t possibly make a difference.” The person looked at the man. He then stooped down and picked up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said, “It sure made a difference to that one!”

Author Unknown

My thought: There will be many students, you cannot change them all, but the ones you are able to touch, YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! 

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My Philosophy Statement

Objective: Determine your philosophy of education

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     Jean Piaget once said, “The principal goal of education is to create men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done- men and women who are creative, inventive, and discovers. The second goal of education is to form minds which can be critical, can verify, and not accept everything they are offered” (Silberman).

     My philosophies fall within the general philosophy, pragmatism. Pragmatism is an educational philosophy that says that education ought to be about life and growth. As a teacher, I would like to include teaching students things that are for everyday life and inspire them to mature into better individuals.

Cognitivism/Constructivism is a related educational philosophy of pragmatism. Cognitivism/Constructivism proposes that students create knowledge through their experiences and connections in the classroom. Cognitivism/Constructivism is closely related to learning through interactions with other students. Key proponent, Lev Vygotsky stated, “The most effective form of social learning doesn’t come from teacher interactions with students; however, it comes from students’ interactions with other students” (Kozulin).  As a teacher, I will be there to support my students, but instead of giving them the answers, I would ask questions of the students and encourage them to use each other to try to solve the problem. Having students work with one another to figure out a problem is the basics of project-based learning. Project –based learning (PBL) focuses on giving an open-ended questions and complex problems to a group of students and have them figure out the best solution to the problem. PBL is a constructivist method, the problems are real-world problems and students are encouraged to figure out a solution based on their own understanding of their world and the curriculum.

In my classroom, I am in hopes that I am able to make the required curriculum come alive to the students. Lessons will be supported through real-life problems and experiences that they will be able to relate to or find application within. It will be through discussion and collaboration the students will begin to solve these issues with their understanding of the material presented to them in the classroom, so that ultimately they will creatively and critically solve problems that will enrich their lives out in the world.

References

Kozulin, A., Gindis, B., Ageyev, V., Miller, S. (2003). Vygotsky’s educational theory and

practice in cultural context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Silberman, Charles E. (1973). The open classroom reader, edited by Charles E. Silberman.

Random House New York. Page xix

Do your homework

it is better to know how to learn than to know

Education, desire, intelligence, passion and talent are great tools to have in one teacher’s belt; however without a strong philosophical belief system holding your belt up one will have a difficult time trying to get all education, desire, passion and talent out of you and into your students. LouAnne Johnson shares her teaching philosophy, it is simple and to the point and one that she shares with her students often: When students believe success is possible, they will try. She also shares that once she solidified her philosophy to this one simple sentence, teaching became much simpler and more enjoyable, and her students stopped fighting with her and started learning (Johnson, 2011).

I continue to enjoy each chapter of this book and love the conversation that is being had while reading Teaching Outside the Box. I will begin to seek out my philosophy on teaching, in hopes in generating one as powerful and simple as LonAnne’s.  Please read the beginning thoughts on my teacher’s philosophy here.

 

Johnson, L. (2011). Do Your Homework. In Teaching outside the box: How to grab your students by their brains (2nd ed.). San
Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Creating a teaching philosophy

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Having a personal educational philosophy is important because it acts as a road map for your teaching. A road map shows you how to get to where you want to go, it is something that can be changed and is flexible depending on the direction you choose and what your destination is. Without a guide, a road map, a strong educational philosophy you are bound to get lost, lose your way, and end up where you did not want to be. To create an educational philosophy you need to do the following:

  1. Identify your own beliefs – what is the purpose of schooling? Is my role as a teacher to pass knowledge onto students or should I guide students as they learn on their own? How do student’s best learn? Is motivating students part of my job, or should motivation come from within students? (I strongly believe a teacher should be one of the child’s biggest fans!)
  2. Examine these beliefs to ensure they are consistent.
  3. Create your philosophy into a statement. (Kauchak, 2014, p168-169).

Kauchak, D., & Eggen, P. (2014). Educational Philosophy and Your Teaching In Introduction to Teaching: Becoming a Professional (5th      ed., pp. 168-169).Upper Saddle River, N.J.: PH/Merrill/Pearson

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