Saturday, February 6, 2010

Implementation of Technology

I am personally going to take this blog into a completely opposite direction than I expected I would and play devil's advocate.

I would have to say I have learned about many great tools that could be useful within many different classrooms. Glogster and googledocs are two of my favorites and the research I have done on the Ignite Software I found while doing article critiques for my research methods course is something I believe I will try and utilize in my own classroom dependant on cost. I am however finding myself drifting as we learn many of the things I grew up doing and have often utilized on a daily basis, for years.

I personally came from a school of block scheduling and the use of technology is easily implemented into the lengthy courses. In a 45 minute class how simple or difficult would it be to utilize your instructional time wisely and maximiz the use of technology? As a teacher would you become dependant on the utilization of the computer lab? In a low budget school with minimum access to technology, how would one implement and utilize technology to their advantage or would the teacher be bound by budget restrictions? What ways could a teacher easily work around these budget restrictions? I would love to learn different ways to utilize some of these items and work them into lesson plans based on the content areas we are teaching.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ignite Software

http://www.ignitelearning.com/

Ignite is an online learning software that can be utilized by teachers to supplement their instruction. There is a 30 day free trial but a license to use it must be purchased by the school if its use will continue. I actually researched this software in my Research Methods course and after looking at studies that including action research of this program it is highly rated in its ability to improve student grades in courses that are content-based such as social studies and science. It can also be used in math classes.
The following are the Ignite Software's goals:
-Accommodate diverse learning styles
-Challenge students to learn by doing
-Help students learn in context by unifying big-picture ideas
-Help students recognize relevance of material to their daily lives
-Challenge students to demonstrate learning in a variety of ways
After trying out the software, I realized it is a great tool for both the teacher and the students. Teachers can utilize lesson plans and assessments from the program and students have the ability to be more hands on with the material through interactive games, music and videos. The range of material available through this program is quite extensive and is available in an easy to use program. Students can quickly become engaged in the variety of activities available learn the content of their courses in a way that they can relate to much more than lecture. Through a range of activities they can be challenged to think through doing in a form of learning many of them are more accustomed to.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Students Accessing the Digital World

What is meant by student access to the digital world? I believe that this is defined as the teachers ability to incorporate technology into their students education given the resources available to them. Can teachers provide equal access to the digital world? To some extent yes.

I believe that it is up to the teacher to determine what means and to what extent they are incorporating technology into the classroom. A teacher can not expect to assign a film making assignment without the means to provide students with the equipment and means to do so. By no means do I believe that every school will have the ability to provide every student with a computer as the Wyndham School District has done. Although this initiative is incredible and fully provides equal access to the digital world to all students it is not practical for it to be applied very often.

School budgets will be the main obstacle to overcome for any teacher but by no means do I believe that teachers should be using this obstacle as an excuse to not integrate technology. There are many forms of technology integration and all students can be given equal access to do so. Technology integration can be as simple as using the computer lab on a regular basis to use programs such as Primary Access (see previous blog) or Inspiration 6 (a graphic organizational software). Studies have shown that the use of programs such as these do increase student success and understanding of content-based material.

Other school districts have been utilizing programs such as "Cell Phones in the Classroom" or "iPods in the Classroom" to integrate technology and learning. Once again these programs can become expensive and there becomes a need to budget or fund raise in order to initiate said programs but I do believe that with time more schools will make programs such as these available to their students as the educational system begins to accommodate the 21st learners.

What can we gain through collaboration?

Teacher collaboration for most professional teachers is not a norm. In many schools teachers know each other as colleagues by name and have little teacher-to-teacher interaction. They work on their own, prepare lessons on their own, solve instructional and classroom management problems on their own and on occasion seek the help of their administration and colleagues. It is through collaboration within schools and through other resources such as online networking sites that teachers can learn to improve their own teaching skills and learn new ways to incorporate technology into their lesson plans to improve student learning. I believe many teachers have developed a stagnant form of teaching in which year after year they use the same lesson plans and never change them. In order to become a better teacher and educator a teacher must evolve with the times and their lessons must evolve as well. Collaboration is the key for teachers to learn how to incorporate and utilize technology successfully into their classrooms.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Digital Documentaries in History Classrooms

On the k12conference website i watched a video conference on the Student Creation of Digital Documentaries in History Classrooms: PrimaryAccess is a free online digital documentary maker designed for social studies instruction. I found this extremely interesting because as a future social studies teacher I look for many different ways to incorporate technology into my lessons and make learning fun for my students. History classes are too often lectures in which students are less than interested. Through research it was determined that students averaged better grades by making movies and made greater gains in content knowledge than with powerpoint usage. The use of this online program allows students and teachers to jointly edit and create a video presentation that allows them to learn and create in a 21st century method.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Integrating Technology in Education

Why should we integrate technology into lessons and what is the purpose:

Technology should be integrated into the classroom because it is how people in the 21st century learn on a daily basis. The educational system has not changed over decades, we still have our students sit in rows at desk and write on paper to take notes while they listen to their teachers lecture. Children do more gaming, texting, chatting, looking up info on the computer than they do reading books these days and it is important for teachers to get students to learn more and enjoy what they are learning in a medium they are accustomed to. By utilizing different methods of technology teachers will continue to change the way the educational system is viewed and managed and bring it into the 21st century and out of the dark ages.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A little about me.......

My name is Pam and I am currently a grad student at Southern New Hampshire University working on my masters in secondary education. I graduated from the University of New Hampshire with my BA in history and my minor in education. I am working towards my certification in Mass as well as NH and hope to find a job teaching middle school social studies this fall in Mass. I currently and for the past 5 years have worked full time for Best Buy and will continue to work full time and go to school full time dependant on whether or not a teaching opportunity presents itself.