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computer design students, and the like graduate with a degree with most of the information they have learned is outdated.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 #24: Revising 2.0! Teaching Kids to Revise Their Writing with iPads

 The second post I chose this week for my blog discussion assignment is from Musings from the Middle School, Jenna Smith shares a way to incorporate iPads into writing on Revising 2.0! Teaching Kids to Revise Their Writing with iPads. I really like the way she adds technology to the writing process. In revising the papers, she has students record another person reading their paper; enabling the students to listen to their paper read over and over again to assist in hearing mistakes. I find listening to my paper being read extremely helpful and love this editing tactic. According to Smith,

I could not believe how much pausing, erasing (or scribbling out), and writing I saw! They easily spent a good 15 minutes working.

This is incredible, as it eliminates the students having to re-read their essay another time. Often students are so bored at that process they miss the mistakes.

I love reading and only writing comes a very close second to my favorite subjects. I am looking forward to completing this activity in my classroom!


Blog Review #23: 9 Simple Solutions for Common Teaching Problems

My first blog post for the week is, 9 Simple Solutions for Common Teaching Problems by Jennifer Gonzalez on Cult of Pedagogy. Jennifer speaks to author Mark Barnes about his Hack Learning book series which assists teachers with their issues in the classroom. These are solutions that can be completed right now; knowing how busy teachers are and are not into pursue long drawn out ideas.

The blog post describes 9 problems; lack of tech support in school, lack of writing prompts, tracking student growth, dry vocabulary teaching methods, providing ways for students to have a voice, classroom library expansion on a budget, learning student names, homework assistance, and fresh ideas for group projects. Each problem includes a solution; as well as a task a teacher can do in his or her classroom tomorrow. The post ends with links on the hack books Barnes has written.I found this post full of useful ideas that can be used in the classroom. I also found the resources provided valuable for every teacher. Mark Barnes is the classroom handyman for teachers!


Blog Review #22 After the Election: A To-Do List

My second post I chose this week for my blog discussion assignment was After the Election: A To- Do List published on the website, Cult of Pedagogy. Jennifer Gonzalez decides to discuss the election after all, as an educator she does not want to miss the opportunity (I decided to share something as well). The stories of the aftermath have led her to this post in which she says,

 I’d like to propose a few ideas for things educators can do to move us forward in a way that’s healing and productive.

She directs a list of things for teachers to do in the classroom (although helpful for parents or anyone else who works with children) and things that we all can do outside of the classroom. She includes some great resources to assist you in different ways to your approach toward building a school culture.

I am reminded of our discussions in class about the purpose of education is to create citizenship in the American people. I reflect on election results personally, knowing that statistics show large numbers of non-college educated (some no high school graduate) citizens ran to the election polls this year to elect our 45th president. I will not share my opinio in this post, yet I wanted the reminder to be left here for your own reflection after reading Gonzalez’s post on Cult of Pedagogy.

I am not teaching yet, but my day will come. This post is very beneficial to that time I am in the classroom, and this list will still be necessary to keep attuned to what is important when we are teaching our students.

Blog Review #21 : 3 Reasons Students Don’t Hate Book Projects

The first post I chose this week for my blog discussion assignment was 3 Reasons Students Don’t Hate Book Projects published on the website, Mrs. Beers: A Language Arts Classroom. Erin Beers begins this post by sharing her ability to fake read while she was in school, she just was not compelled to do so during silent reading time. Not being able to recall anytime reading as a whole group or small group; however she remembers a teacher that had them perform a readers theater of Alice in Wonderland in the fourth grade. She calls herself a reformed “book-unfinisher” and she wants her own students to have a different experience in school than she did; a chance to enjoy reading, excited about the trips to the library, wanting to share their books in literature circles, and experience joy in their book from cover to cover. (Oh, I want that for my future students too!)

Erin shares,

a way I have found success with my students is through different end of book activities and projects.  I want to give my students the opportunity to share and reflect on their reading, while giving them a purpose, if picking up a book and simply reading for pleasure is also not their forte’. While reading a book is so much more than completing a book project at the end, I have found that students truly enjoy the opportunity to showcase what they have read about and their learning.  They want to create, they want to discuss, and they want to share.

She shares two examples of her end of book projects for the students and her  3 reasons your students won’t hate book projects:
#1: Book projects give students a purpose for reading.  #2: Book projects provide a creative outlet. #3: Book projects encourage problem-solving.

I will definitely be using these ideas for future classroom use. These are terrific end of book projects to replace the book report. I love how they provide options for students to choose how they want to showcase their book. This post was full of information, I tried to capture all of the goodies; however, I invite you to head over to read it.. Because there is so much more!

Blog Review #20: Your Top 10 Genius Hour Questions Answered

The second post I chose this week for my blog discussion assignment was Your Top 10 Genius Hour Questions Answered published on the website, Cult of Pedagogy. In this article, Jennifer Gonzalez discusses Genius Hour with A.J Juliani author of the online course, Genius Hour Master Course.

Genius Hour is a teaching practice that a teacher sets up a time frame once a day, a class period a week, or a specific portion of class time for students to learn about whatever they want (with structure). During the interview Juliani shares the 7 steps of this structure; Planning, Topic Selection, The Pitch, Research /Learning & Documentation, Making, Presentations, and Reflection. The final product is not important, some teachers do not even grade these, it is the process that matters. So if there is a grade attached to Genius Hour, it would be on the whole process not just the finished project.
The remainder of the article discusses the specifics that Genius Hour can or cannot include. This depends on time, curriculum, and teaching style. I like the idea of Genius Hour and will consider approaching it with my students when the time comes. As Jennifer Gonzalez says,

We hear all the time about how we need to give students more choice. About how we should be helping them discover their passions, how we need more student-directed, inquiry-based learning in the classroom. But all of that can feel like a load of abstract, pie-in-the-sky hooey without practical instructions for how to actually do it. We need a structure, a format, a plan for delivering this kind of experience. Good news: That plan is here, and it’s called Genius Hour.

Blog Review #19: Writing Intervention for Big Kids

The first post I chose this week for my blog discussion assignment was Writing Intervention for Big Kids published on the website, Musings from the Middle School. In this article Jenna Smith shares her ideas about assisting struggling writers. She shares her sound writing interventions with us that she has been working with and has found success in her classroom.

It starts with creating a time for small group writing intervention. Because she has no aide or other adult in the classroom she has chosen to pull groups during bell ringers in the start of class. She streams jazz music to help with the sound of talking in the room with her small group. I really like the idea of playing music during independent reading or working time. She continues to share the type of writer that is in need of intervention; those who struggle with structure and those who struggle with motivation. Both of which she explains the student and the intervention to assist them with during these small group times (15 minutes).

Throughout the post she shares some useful resources to use as well. Overall this was a very beneficial reading that I will pin on one of my plethora of Pinterest Boards. Do you have Pinterest? I cannot imagine being a student/teacher without one! We should follow each other so we can continue sharing ideas during our student/teaching career.

Blog Review #17: Laughter, Learning, and Why Teens are such a Tough Crowd

On Edutopia, I found the blog post, Laughter, Learning, and Why Teens Are Such a Tough Crowd. Dr. Matt Bellace discusses using tips from stand up comedy in teaching the middle school students. Some of the strategies for bringing humor, novelty, and engagement to classroom activities are: Use something relatable to the topic being taught that is funny, use the funny noises and odd interruptions to work with your lecture instead of against it, use the names and details of students in the class, and use relatable stories.

I really enjoyed this post and found it beneficial toward the idea of engaging the tween/teen brain. As Dr. Matt Bellace says,

In today’s world of decreased attention spans and distracting smartphones, students need all the help they can get to increase retention of the important information you’re teaching them.

Blog Review #18: Is Your Lesson a Grecian Urn?

On Cult of Pedagogy, Jennifer Gonzalez writes, Is Your Lesson a Grecian Urn? In this post she asks teachers to think about the why they are completing projects, arts and crafts, and other items in their lessons. In particular, the story of the Grecian Urn, the teacher was not sure why he was doing it other than he always did during the unit. Though valuable teaching time was used to complete the project, even though there was not educational value to it.

It makes me think of all the pretty cool stuff I find on Pinterest. I must remember to ask myself,

  • Does this serve a purpose toward learning the standard that is required?
  • Will it help students achieve the educational goal/objective that I have set out for them?
  • Is it just something that would be cool to complete?

Gonzalez continues by providing ways to help us spot these Grecian Urns in our lessons, and great ways to replace them. I found these tips very helpful and a fantastic way to make sure that I keep my lessons on the right track.

Blog Review #15: How Loud is Your Classroom?

This week in our EDUC 3302 class we prepare for our Classroom Management Plan Part 4, which focuses on managing student behavior. I found two posts that leaned toward this subject, since I find this one to be extremely important.

The first post I chose this week for my blog discussion assignment was How Loud is Your Classroom? published on the website, Musings from the Middle School. Jenna Smith discusses the sound of learning. Did you know it had a sound? I was unaware of it, until I read this post. The sound of learning is what happens in your loud classroom. This is not yelling at the top of your lungs loud, but it is a classroom of 25+ students talking out their assignments loud.

At first, Jenna Smith was applaud to the idea of a loud classroom, she felt as though it smek_designreflected a poor learning enviroment. She tried EVERYTHING to get the students to keep their talking down during independent work time. They were great during lecture and class discussions. But when it was time for them to work on their class assignment, the chatter was uncontrollable. She decided to receive assistance from her district’s Teaching and Learning Facilitators (TLF’s). The TLF’s came to her classroom for observation to see how they could help, what they said was surprising to Jenna.

I know the noise is bothering you, but have you ever stopped to listen to what they are saying? (Jenna replied no) I know that it is making you uncomfortable but I think if you stopped and listened to what they were saying, you’d be much happier about the noise level… I was walking around listening to the kids during their workbook page while you met with your small group. They were not off task. In fact, each and every student I watched and heard was ON-TASK. They were working through the math problems together, trying different strategies and comparing results. What you are hearing is the sound of learning.

The next day Jenna observed what the TLF’s had said! She was in amazement. The irony was the student she found being quiet was completely disengaged with his head in the clouds. She spent all of her focus trying to shh the engaged students and ignored the student who was completely off task. Needless to say, Jenna made some changes that day to her classroom.

I found this quite helpful as I try to prepare for my own classroom. I never expected a library feel; but I never would have thought that a noisy classroom could be productive. This article definitely gives me a new perspective on learning and something to look into (or should I say listen in) in the future.