Educational Technology Graphic

To me, Educational Technology is made up of three main areas: Study, ethical practice, and facilitating learning and improving performance. Educational technology requires continuous research in order to come up with new ideas and improve processes.  However, it is also necessary to reflect on this research in order to decide whether the new ideas are actually making an improvement in educational outcomes.  An ethical stance is also an important aspect of educational technology.  One cannot work effectively without a code of conduct or basis for how technology should be used.  Finally, educational technology should facilitate learning and improve performance.  Technology should be used as a tool to support the learner using effective processes and proper resources.  The products created with the use of technology should demonstrate effective learning and learners should be able to apply what they have learned in real world settings.

I chose to use Prezi for my Educational Technology Graphic.  In the past, I have avoided Prezi due to the fact that when my students have used it for presentations, I have nearly gotten sick with the zoom in and out feature that they enjoy using.  What I like about Prezi is that it is web based so I do not have to worry about whether or not the viewer has the proper software to view my presentation.  I also wanted to be able to show the “big picture” of the breakdown of the definition of Educational Technology and Prezi seemed to be the best option.  I liked that the information would be presented in a non linear fashion and could better show how the concepts are interconnected.

View my Prezi.

 

School Evaluation Summary

Our recent module on technology use planning could not have come at a better time. Our school is in the middle of going through an accreditation year which requires a technology committee that develops a detailed technology plan.  A formal technology committee has not be formed or met as a group on a regular basis at my school probably since our last accreditation year which was 2010.  After reading through version 3.5 of the Guidebook for Developing an Effective Technology Plan prepared by the Graduate Students at Mississippi State for the National Center for Technology Planning (NCTP) and the articles and guidelines provided by the NCTP on developing an effective technology plan, I feel that I have a wealth of information to share with the technology committee that we will be forming within our school.   I have also studied the technology plans of the districts that surround my school to help shape our plan so that we remain competitive and current on technology use and standards in our area.

     In addition to studying how to develop a comprehensive technology plan, I also completed a survey sheet analyzing the technological maturity of my school.  This survey sheet used the maturity model benchmarks from the Technology Use Plan Primer created by Peter H.R. Sibley and Chip Kimball.  After completing the survey and analyzing the results, I did not really find anything too surprising.  I knew that our main areas of weakness were budget development, communication, and professional development for our teachers.  These are areas that I hope will be addressed as we form a technology committee and develop a more current technology plan.  I had hoped we would have fallen more solidly in the Integrated stage, but I am proud of our school and pleased with the progress we have made with the resources we have.  Many of the teachers use technology on a daily basis and are willing to try integrating technology into their curriculum on a more frequent basis.  With the right planning, leadership, and funding, it will be possible for MQH to make it to the Intelligent level of maturity.  It may take some time, but it is achievable.  

Below you will find links to my survey spreadsheet and summary:

Survey Spreadsheet

Summary   

Flipped Classroom

After reading the National Media Consortium’s 2015 K-12 edition of the NMC Horizon Report, I was excited to learn that many of the top tech trends to watch were trends that I am already interested in implementing  in my computer lab and at my elementary school.  It was hard to narrow down which trend to focus my studies on because there is so much potential for innovation that could be carried out at my school.  In the end, I decided to focus on the Flipped Classroom model and how I could best use this trend with my students in the computer lab.  

My students only come to class in the computer lab once a week for 40-50 minutes.  In order to maximize this time, a flipped classroom concept would be a great model to follow.  Currently, my class time is broken up into typing practice, a lesson, and then a project that carries out that lesson. If the students could preview my lesson before coming into the computer lab, the actual time spent on the lesson could focus on questions the students have and review of what they previewed. This would allow more time for me to work with my students on creating and reflecting on the projects they need to accomplish.

My eighth grade students are about to begin a unit on spreadsheets. The objectives for the first lesson are for the students to be able to format a spreadsheet including: Using center and merge, changing the page layout, changing the font, centering information in a column, using bold and underline, and adding a header.  The students will also need to input the correct formula to provide the sum and a percentage.  Here is my lesson plan and rubrics and the instructions that the students will download when they come into class to complete the project.     

As part of the flipped classroom, I created two short screencasts on how to carry out the tasks necessary to meet my lesson objectives.  You can view the screencasts here:

At first, I was only going to create a screencast for Microsoft Excel, but as I thought about it more, I decided to include one using Google Docs.  Primarily we use Excel at school, but as I thought about it, the students are using Google Docs more and more and they may not have access to Excel on their computer at home.  The essential skills are basically the same, but the process varies a little depending on which program the student uses.  I decided that I would allow them to decide which program they would like to use as they create their project in the lab. Subsequent lessons in this unit will cover: Continuing to format a spreadsheet and using various formulas, creating pie charts, line graphs, and bar graphs, and creating a table of information and using the data sort function.

The use of the screencasts in the flipped classroom would fall under the Augmentation level of the SAMR model.  The screencasts act as a substitute for lesson presentation in the classroom, but it would improve instruction because it would allow for more differentiation.  While watching the screencasts, students who need more help or review would be able to stop and re-play the portions that they needed. Likewise, students who have an understanding of the assignment would not have to sit and listen to a lecture on information that they already know.   

Following viewing the screencasts for this lesson, the students will be instructed to provide a reflection.  This reflection should discuss what they learned, what they found to be challenging, how it will help them, and how this knowledge is relevant or will be relevant in their daily life.  Providing this information would fall under the SAMR level of Modification because the students are reflecting on their learning.  I’d like to say that they would be sharing this information in a Blog, but at this time I do not have a classroom Blog set up.  Instead the students will email me their reflection and we will discuss them as a class during the question and answer part of class before the students begin their project. I think this is important especially with a flipped classroom concept.  The students need to take the time to process what they have learned especially since I won’t be there initially to discuss this information as they watch the videos.  The reflection will provide a springboard for discussion in the classroom.

It is my ultimate goal to reach the Redefinition stage of SAMR with this unit. At the end of the unit, I would like my students to create and upload their own screencast on creating and formatting a spreadsheet.  Initially I wanted them to do this on their iPads since all the students have been provided one from the school.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to find an app that would work well for this.  I took a look at three apps: Educreations, ShowMe, and Nearpod.  They did not seem to work feasibly with this type of project, but I am keeping them in mind for future units and to share with our core content area teachers who might be able to integrate the use of these apps in their classroom.  Since I found Screencast-o-matic easy to use, I will have the students use it to create their presentation.    

Annotated Bibliography

This week I created an annotated bibliography of research articles on the topic of using iPads to enhance early literacy instruction.  I found that going through the exercise of annotating my bibliography was very helpful.  I was able to collect my thoughts and evaluate the usefulness of each article.  Many of the articles I read were very helpful and worth sharing with my colleagues. The annotated bibliography will help me locate these articles quickly and I won’t have to try and remember the contents of the article by looking at just the citation.  Using APA formatting is very intricate and still very new to me.  I was thankful to have the tool Zotero to create a library of the articles and help me create the citation correctly.  While it isn’t perfect, it is a very helpful tool.  Please take a look at the annotated bibliography I created.

Content Curation

Content curation is the process of digitally collecting, organizing, and sharing information on a topic in a meaningful way either for personal use or with others.  I have been curating content for quite some time but never really put a label on it.  Three methods of content curation that I currently use professionally and personally are Pinterest, Evernote, and Symbaloo.  Professionally, I use Pinterest to curate ideas for my library and computer lab.  Personally, I use it to collect ideas for my house and recipes.  I have used Evernote to create lists and take notes.  I like that Pinterest and Evernote can be accessed on my computer, phone, and iPad. Symbaloo has been a blessing in my computer lab.  I struggled for two years to help my students plug in website addresses before I created Symbaloos for each one of my grade levels.  I include the websites that we visit on a regular basis for lessons and websites the students can visit when they finish their projects.  During the holidays, I also attach a Symbaloo of websites related to the holiday.   This has been a huge timesaver for me and the classroom teachers because the Symbaloos are on my classroom website that the students pull up as their home page when they go online. Because these Symbaloos are on my classroom website, many of my students have been able to visit websites from home that they enjoyed at school.  It pleases me that they are able to share websites that they learned about and enjoy with their parents.

For my project this week, I set out to explore three more content curation tools.  I decided to look at educlipper, ClipZine, and Scoop.It!  I was very excited about educlipper because it was education related and I thought it would be one that I could use in the computer lab with my students.  In educlipper, a teacher can set up classes, add students, and assignments. After attempting to work with the tool, I found it to be very frustrating. I could barely figure out how to create a board and clip information to put on that board.  It was very slow and I could not find any kind of help feature or instructions on how to use the tool.  I was very disappointed.

Next I investigated ClipZine.  ClipZine allows the user to create a visual collection of content related to a subject.  One can then share the information on a blog or website, in a brochure, or even in a collage on Pinterest.  This looks like a neat tool and I like how visually appealing the collages looked on the site, but I didn’t think it would be helpful for my curation project this week. ClipZine could be used by students to create a visual collage on a topic and present the collage to the class.  This would help them with their presentation skills by getting them away from reading PowerPoints and getting used to presenting by actually talking to their audience about what is on the screen.

Finally I worked with Scoop.It!  This was a wonderful tool to work with and I plan to use it both personally and with my students.  My students could use Scoop.It to collect information while doing research.  Scoop.It reminds me of Pinterest, but it has additional features that make it more robust such as being able to comment on your Scoops.  The user starts by selecting a topic which is then created into a board based on that topic and related key words.  You can add information to your board from suggestions given by Scoop.It, by re-scooping content from other users, by scooping a link by entering the URL or by using the Scoop.It bookmark.  Finally, you can share your Scoops via your social media accounts.  This tool was very user friendly and I look forward to using it again for other topics.

This week I chose to curate information on the world of gamification and game based learning in educational technology.  Last March, I attended the Kyste (Kentucky Society for Technology in Education) Conference in Louisville and sat in on a few sessions regarding game based learning.  The sessions were interesting but I still lacked a clear idea of how to include these ideas into my computer lab.

Since the conference, I have not been able to take the time to sit down and focus on the concepts of gamification and game based learning and how they could be implemented in my computer lab.  By curating relevant articles and videos on my Scoop.It board, I was able to centralize the information and start to formulate ideas.  I decided to focus on articles and videos that discuss the topic, weigh the pros and cons, provide ideas on how to use gamification in the classroom, and provide training.  I think this is a good start and after reading the articles, I am planning on taking small steps to pilot Classcraft with my eighth grade students.

Content curation is a powerful tool that helps both adults and students with their organizational skills. It is well worth the time and effort to curate materials on a topic in this world of information overload.  Please take a look at my Scoop.It Board:

Scoop.It!

RSS Feeds

It is amazingDigg that I have never heard of or used a RSS Feed before this week. I never knew something like this existed and how beneficial it could be.  I have started to use the tool Digg Reader to subscribe and receive updated content from my favorite websites.  I like the fact that RSS feeds and Digg make it more efficient for me to consume my favorite web content.  It is must nicer to be provided with the latest content rather than having to visit the website for information.  No more bookmarking sites for future reference!  I am also extremely thankful that I was able to import my classmates’ learning logs into Digg Reader.  This has made it so much easier to access and view them.

Because RSS Feeds and Digg Reader are so new to me, I am not sure how I would integrate them into my classroom at this time.  I’d like to spend more time working with both of them before I jump into showing them to my students.  Therefore, I plan on using RSS for my own professional development.  I’d like to get the hang of actually using Digg Reader on a regular basis, reading articles, and subscribing to feeds.   I look forward to getting to know this tool and all that it has to offer.

Digital Divide/Digital Inequality

For the past few weeks I have spent some time reading about the issues of digital divide and digital inequality. Digital divide and digital inequality are two separate factors that impact our society.  Digital divide refers to the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology and those that do not or have restricted access.   The technology applies to landline telephones, cellular phones and services, television, computers, tablets, and the internet.  Digital inequality moves beyond an inequality in access to technology and encompasses inequality among people with access to technology.  Digital inequality includes people with lack of technical ability, lack of interest or computer literacy, and those who cannot afford it.

We rely on technology more and more each day. We cannot take for granted that everyone in society has the access to technology and knows the most effective way to use it. Even though a gap still exists between technology users, it is shrinking.  The next step is to provide users with the equipment and skills they need to use this technology.  Without this, the gap of digital inequality will widen.  With the knowledge I have gained from my readings, I will better be able to identify areas of digital inequality in my school  and address them according to the AECT Code of Professional Ethics.

After reading about these issues, I used the presentation tool Haiku Deck to explain the issues of digital divide and digital inequality and factors that create digital inequality at the school where I am the technology coordinator.  Please click on this link to view my presentation.  I have created many presentations in PowerPoint, but by using Haiku Deck, I learned new methods for making them more effective.  My takeaway from this project was to keep my slides simple, limit the number of images, use keywords, and break up information into multiple slides.  If I had more time to work on this artifact, I would have broken up my issues of digital inequality and my solutions for these problems even further into more slides.  In order to elicit a discussion from the audience, I  would have asked more questions of the viewer on the solutions slides. Finally, I might have also come up with some catchier titles on my slides and incorporated some of my own images rather than stock photos.  I plan on having my junior high students use Haiku Deck for a future project so that they can become accustomed to creating and giving a more effective presentation.

Code of Professional Ethics in Educational Technology

This past week I spent time reading and reflecting on professional ethics in educational technology including the history behind their creation, the reasoning for them, and how they should be used by educational technologists.  I learned that a code of professional ethics in educational technology was approved by the AECT in November of 2001. Before my EDTECH 501 class, I had not even heard of the AECT and did not even know that a code of professional ethics for educational technology even existed.  This code of professional ethics provides me with a set of guidelines to refer to as I work with my students, my fellow educators, and our school families.  The one thing that I found to be extremely important from my reading is that not only does the AECT provide a code of ethics, but they also emphasize the importance of scenarios related to each principle.  These scenarios provide real-world examples that help an educational technologist to make better informed decisions and avoid unethical situations.  I like that the AECT has gone a step further than just providing a list of principles.  This code of professional ethics helps make educational technology a more visible entity in the field of education.  You can read more of my reflection and my own real-world scenario by clicking on the this link.

Welcome!

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Welcome to my Learning Log.  As I travel on my journey through the EDTECH program at Boise State, I will be adding examples of my work from each course. Along the way, I will also include reflections of what I have learned, my accomplishments and struggles, and how this journey has impacted my role as an educator.

Photo:www.gotcredit.com