Blog

Technology Philosophy Statement

I believe that it is pivotal, as a 21st Century educator, to constantly work to truly incorporate technology in the classroom. Technology opens so many doors for a plethora of students. When used correctly, tech has the opportunity to really extend the learning of students to heights never-before imagined. It’s important to note that technology shouldn’t just be used on a basic level as a way to “check” a standards box.

As stated previously, technology should be used in a way that extends student learning in ways that weren’t possible in years past. In order to do this, educators should reflect on their student’s tech use in conjunction with the ISTE  (International Society for Technology in Education) standards, and even deeper, with the Technology Integration Matrix (TIM). The ISTE standards are a great framework that help provide teachers with the knowledge of what proper tech integration looks like for both their students and themselves. As an educator, I will constantly reflect on my practice in comparison with those standards. Additionally, the TIM is a resource that should be readily utilized, as it provides several ways that tech integration goes from entry to transformation.

Aside from extending the learning of students, I truly believe that technology makes learning possible for many kids. Assistive Technologies make accommodations possible for students with disabilities. I think it’s important to stay current on all of these technologies, and to be open in communication with para-professionals and institutions like SWAAC, who provide reliable resources and support for students with disabilities. In this way, I don’t think we should ever shy away from integrating these technologies with students, as it is merely a form of differentiation in order to provide the best learning experience for all students.

Over the course of my Educ 331 class at Colorado State University, I was exposed to many of these resources and technologies. In that same respect, I have become much more open-minded in my beliefs about technology’s place in the classroom. Before, I had a very old-fashioned mindset: I thought technology was merely a distraction and an excuse for modern students to not think on their own. But, now I have realized that technology, when used in conjunction to the resources above, can be so influential in the educations of so many kids. It’s also important to note, that I plan to learn as much as possible from my future students in order to keep up with as many trends as possible-they are the masters of tech.

Yet, I still have so many things to learn. Between now, and when I enter a classroom of my own, I hope to continue pushing myself to stay current on new technologies. I will also work to refine my use of so many of the tech resources that I have learned about this year: Google Classroom, FlipGrid, Weebly, Mindomo, Schoology, etc. As I continue through the teaching program at CSU, I will continue to observe how current educators are integrating tech into their classrooms, and will challenge myself to use it when I have opportunities to teach.

We live in a world filled with incredible technologies. Education has the opportunity to be something it never has been before, if educators are willing to implement it in ways that foster adoption, adaptation, infusion, and transformation (TIM).

Advertisements

Assistive Technology in the Classroom

Assistive Technology (AT) is a very diverse term that covers a vast array of technologies designed to help enhance the classroom experience for students with special needs. AT can be anything that helps with rehabilitation, adaptation, and synthesis for students. By this, I mean that AT can be technologies designed to improve skills (ex. help their eyes track across a page at the same time), provide modifications for actions/skills simply not in their tool-box (ex. speech software for non-verbal students), and can simply provide scaffolding (ex. prompted questions). It is absolutely incredible what has been developed for students that covers a vast spectrum of needs.

AT has really begun to make the 100% inclusion philosophy become possible. Now, just because a student is non-verbal, or has a low range of motion, they are not limited to isolated education. I was most intrigued by the technology that allows a student with almost no bodily control to answer a pre-recorded question. In cases like this, I really like how even their simple participation in discussions is possible, and encouraged.

It is so important for every educator to have some innate knowledge about various AT’s and their possible uses. Special Education teachers and Para-Professionals are not the only ones who should be able to help special needs students. By having even a basic awareness, every teacher should be able to find ways to include every single student in some way. This will help to ensure that every student has a place in the classroom, and is not simply left feeling like an outsider.

So….how do we get AT?

It is really important that you communicate with your principle, corresponding Para-Professionals, and Special Education teachers in regard to AT. Collaboration is always a great tool to figure out options for AT, and the funding necessary to acquire it. Aside of these obvious resources, there are organizations that are well-equipped and excited to help. For example, in Colorado, SWAAC (Statewide Assistive Technolgy, Augmetative and Alternative Communication) is who you need to talk to. They help to provide AT and educate teachers on how to implement them in the classroom.

Overall, AT is just another way that technology can help to create a diverse classroom. The technology that we have today is pretty incredible, and it is important that we are able to embrace, and utilize, it as educators. Technology helps to enhance learning of traditional students, and there’s no reason that it shouldn’t be utilized in the exact same way for students will special needs students.

Now, I think the most important takeaway from this week, is that students with special needs are deserving of the same rights and respect as every other person! It seems pretty simple, but it’s also extremely important to emphasize. Just because students need AT, doesn’t mean that they are undeserving of being treated as the autonomous person that they are. No matter what.

Web 2.0 Tools Continued

Following class presentations on several different Web 2.0 Tools for the classroom, I have chosen three that I would be interested in using. Listed below are descriptions of how to access and use each tool, its alignment with Bloom’s Taxonomy, and ideas of how to use them in the classroom.

Using technology in the classroom is absolutely essential in the world we live in-specifically students learning should be enhanced with their use of technology (rather than passively consumed). In doing so, we are giving every single kid the access to technology that they deserve. Not only can it be more engaging, but when used properly, it can adhere to so many different learning styles. Technology is versatile and adaptable, and educators should constantly be on the lookout for new strategies and ways to use it in the classroom.

 

Wufoo-https://www.wufoo.com/

This is a website that allows you to create forms and surveys of your very own. It gives you the opportunity to sign up for free, and to choose a more advanced subscription with more options. You can choose forms that are already made, and customize them to fit your needs. Or, you can simply make your own form from scratch.This is a very basic site that is extremely accessible and easy to use. The website allows you to either print the forms or to share them online where you can instantly review results.

Bloom’s Taxonomy- Wufoo would most likely hit the “remember” portion of the scale., because its format harkens toward basic recall. Although, the fact that you can customize it for your own use, makes it so you can take it to a deeper level. For example, if students were asked to elaborate or make their own connections, it could advance to the “apply’ and “analyze” sections.

My Adaptation- I would utilize Wufoo in its basic form that aligns with the “remember” of Bloom’s Taxonomy. I would create a questionnaire to give to students at the beginning of each year/semester that would allow me to get to know students on a personal level. I would ask them about their favorite subjects, hobbies, and interests, along with their personal goals for the year.

Quizizz– https://quizizz.com/?imageFix=true

This site follows the format of the popular site Kahoot. It allows teachers to create their own quizzes that will flash on the screen of their students’ devices. Students are rewarded for quick, correct answers. This allows for a lot of competition as students can see where they rank in the class after each class, and are given instant feedback as to if their answer was correct. Logistically speaking, each account is given a specific pass code that students will enter in order to join the game. It is very flexible in terms of what format you can use, how the results are presented, and even with how long students have to answer. This is an extremely engaging activity.

Bloom’s Taxonomy- No matter the format, this site will most likely hit the “remember” and “understand” sections. There are really no opportunities to elaborate or create (unless students create a quiz of their own). Mainly, they are asked to recall information as quickly and efficiently as possible.

My Adaptation- This would be a great tool to use as a reward after a day of hard, engaged work. It allows students to kind of unwind and be competitive with each other. Specifically, I would pair this with a book or text that has difficult vocabulary words that we have been studying. This would be a great way to check in with their understanding of their words, in a way that they don’t really realize because it is fun and engaging.

Peardeck– https://www.peardeck.com/

This is an extremely cool and adaptive presentation application that is very much like powerpoint. The difference lies in the opportunities for students to actually interact with the presentation on their own screen. For example, they can click and drag an icon to a different side of a spectrum created by the teacher. This would then show up on the presentation screen so the entire class can see the anonymous responses of each student. Also, there are options where students can even write their own  responses to certain questions that will appear on the screen. From peer-feedback, this was a fairly difficult application to get the hang of. There are just very different presentation options that show up differently on student views than presentation views. Additionally, a lot of the extremely interactive options are not free. Fairly expensive subscriptions are required to gain access to the facets of this application that really set it apart from powerpoint. In my opinion, it would be worth it if this type of presentation is applicable in your daily classroom.

Bloom’s Taxonomy- This program has the ability to cover everything from the “remember” to the “evaluate” sections of this scale. Depending on the choices that students are given in terms of interaction, they can give their opinions, judgments, questions, and even just basic recall of information.

My Adaptation- I would use this application in the discussion of authors using imagery in their writing in terms of character and scene descriptions. One specific slide could have a quote from an author describing a scene. Students can then be asked to drag the icon on their screen to the image that best represents the descriptions the authors used. Then, when all of the student responses are up on the screen, I would have them discuss whether the imagery used was effective in painting a clear picture in the eyes of students. I could then have them take this a step further, and write a response that rephrases an example of “bad” imagery into one that’s more descriptive.

Web 2.0

This week, I interacted with two very different Web 2.0 applications that I will most definitely be using in my future classroom. I learned how to use “A Web Whiteboard” and “Poll Everywhere”.

A Web Whiteboard:

This application is more geared toward use by students. It’s name describes what it literally is: an online whiteboard. Students have the ability to choose different types of writing “utensils” in different colors. They are then able to write, draw, and create with their mouse as their paintbrush. Logistically speaking, teachers or schools need to buy an actual subscription to this website that allows for even greater opportunities. BUT, a very functional and basic option is available for free.

Cognition: This is a fairly basic source that could allow students to create on a fairly sophisticated and advanced level. In terms of Bloom’s Taxonomy, AWW would hit somewhere in the “apply” range, but depending on the task could easily fit into the “create category”. This allows students to be very creative in their work, and would allow them to create graphic organizers or draw about what they learned, but gives them the ability to create something entirely new. This would also fall into the “active” section of the Technology Integration Matrix, and potentially the “collaborative” section.

I would definitely use this in my own classroom. Although, I would actually prefer students to be able to work with the physical whiteboards in the room (providing there’s enough space). Students could create work as a group or individually. By having their work up on their screens, I could even show them with a screen sharing application, or simply have the students complete “gallery walk”.

Poll Everywhere:

This is a very unique tool that allows teachers to create mini-assessments in several different forms. By going to polleverywhere.com, teachers can set up a free account and begin making their own polls. There are several different options for the type of assessment you use (a,b,c answer, short answer, etc.), how it is viewed (can students see who answered what), and how many answers students are limited to. Upon signing up, each teacher is given a unique code that will associate with every single poll they create. Then, students or participants can either text that code in and answer questions from their phones, or go to pollev.com and type in the code. Again, the “basics” are provided for free, and a subscription can be bought to gain access to more tools.

Cognition:  The teacher’s choice of assessment type will affects the level cognition students will be applying. For example, by simply allowing them to choose a,b,c answers, that is touching on the “remember” section in Bloom’s Taxonomy. By allowing them to answer open-ended questions, it steps more into the “understand”. This application is tough to place on the TIM, as it is more a means of assessment rather than an activity to gain deep, new insights. It definitely won’t ever enter the “transformative” section of any of the TIM sections. BUT, it could definitely provide information to the educator that would allow them to create activities that are in that category.

I would use this in my classroom, but not every day. It would be a good way to test prior knowledge and understanding at the beginning of the unit. Also, it would be a good tool to use as a mini check-in or even as an assessment. It could also provide opportunity for collaboration on ideas and group discussion. Additionally, students could even create their own account and create assessments of their own.

Educ 331 Reflection

My biggest question coming into this course is this: how much use of technology is necessary in a 21st century classroom? Over these past two weeks, we have begun to explore how greatly technology permeates our lives today. Exposure is inevitable. Reflecting on myself as a student, I have begun to realize how much I use technology on a daily basis and the vast amount of media I consume.The video below, which we viewed during the first day of class, truly shows how much technology and media affect us every day, and how important it is becoming.

As someone who has a more “traditionalist” approach to education, this video really impacted me. As stated before, technology use is inevitable, and I need to be open to integrating it within my classroom. Not only will it be important for me to allow students to use the technology around them for assignments, projects, and lessons, but it is becoming apparent that educating them on safe use of technology is a must.

As a result of our discussion today, I have realized the importance of educating kids on “digital citizenship.” There are so many shows on today (i.e. Catfish) that are revealing the grim reality behind social media: not everyone is who they claim to be. In a world where social media is a staple in the lives of people, even as young as Elementary school, it will be a necessary life skill to help them learn to navigate the internet safely and efficiently.

The actual integration of technology (that goes deeper than simply researching on google) will be necessary to help keep learning relevant to today’s students. For example, creating word clouds (like we did for class this week) can be a very easy way to test for comprehension, and as a creative outlet. One way I would use this technique in my classroom someday would be to encourage students to make predictions about a book or article they are about to read. By asking them to write down one word that would describe what they predict the book will be about (ex. love, adventure, friendship etc.), I could then compile them into a word cloud to show to the class. At the end of the book, we could do the same activity to show how those predictions were or weren’t verified.

Along with that, I think that classroom blogs are a great way to build a comfortable sharing community, and help foster writing and blogging as an outlet in the future. This would be a simple way to have kids respond to discussion questions on their own time, and in class. It would also be a great method for them to look at the writing of their classmates and comment on it. In an English classroom, I see this as a way to engage my students in deeper reflection about books we are reading in class. I envision using it on a weekly basis, where students are required to respond to a prompt by a certain day of the week. Then, I  would have them respond to a few of their classmate’s posts in order to see their perspective. Not only would this be a great way to foster critical thinking and gauge comprehension, but it would also allow me to plant the seeds

classroom
                                         Brad Flickinger                                                     http://flickr.com/photos/56155476@No8/6660073861

of good “digital citizenship” in a controlled environment.

While I think technology and social media can be wonderful things, I also think they can be very dangerous. I think they make school easier for kids, and don’t require them to use deep thinking of their own, rather than just “googling” the answer. How much do I encourage students to use the internet to answer their inquiries? Am I to direct them to books for research, or simply require it? Yes, I believe that so many projects and activities can be enhanced with technology. Yet, I continue to wonder what the intrinsic value of traditional, “hands on”, work is today?

 

Why am I here?

As a future educator, I am hoping to begin networking with other students that are traveling along the same path, as well as veteran educators. I hope to share my responses to current issues in the field, and to get feedback from others.

Additionally, this page is a current requirement for a course at Colorado State University where I will be exploring different uses of technology in the classroom.