Education today includes a wide variety of technology. Integrating technology into the classroom is important and an effective, efficient way to provide a wide variety of learning opportunities for students. According to Januszewski and Molenda, “Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technology.” Educational technology is much more than just the use of technology tools. The big and overriding goal of educational technology should be to redefine how we teach and learn. We need to provide students with opportunities to complete tasks that were previously inconceivable before we had access to the technology. A commonly used model for technology integration is the SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) model, created by Dr. Ruben Puentudura. The model “guides the process of reflecting on how we are integrating technology into our classrooms” as stated in Edutopia. In order to do that, we need to start moving away from traditional classrooms. We need to move toward 21st century classrooms where technology is used as a tool to empower learning. Bill Gates said, “Technology is just a tool in terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.” Teachers need to move away from a stand and deliver method and move toward being a facilitator.
There are several issues that educational technology can and should address. The most concerning issues are the lack of technology funding and the digital divide. There is an overall lack of proper funding in education, but even more so in technology. A big reason that the digital divide exists is due to lack of funding. Technology can provide opportunities to even the playing field in many areas. The lack of proper infrastructure and access to hi-speed internet gets in the way of providing those opportunities. Rural communities often suffer the most due to limited or no access. Economic status also divides the equality of providing technology to everyone. Lack of technology funding and the digital divide need to be addressed. This is a great place to focus on improving in order to start closing the gap.
There are four learning theories that drive educational technology. They are behaviorist theories, information-processing theories, cognitive behaviorist theories, and systems approaches to instructional design. Behaviorist theories are the consistent presentation of stimuli and reinforcement. Information-processing theories are attention-getting, repetitive, and provide individual practice. Cognitive-behaviorist theories are consistent presentation of sequences to fulfill events of instruction. Systems approaches to instructional design are the consistent presentation of new information, practice, and assessment. Roblyer (2016)
Technology integration is both challenging and rewarding. One of the most important things to remember is that “there’s nothing magical about any tech tool. Real magic rests in the minds and hearts of teachers using digital tools to introduce students to new individuals, ideas and opportunities.” (unknown) I plan on integrating technology into my classroom and focus on facilitating learning. I want to empower my students and provide engaging and authentic learning opportunities through the use of technology.
Here is my visual story:
Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (2008). Definition: Definition and terminology committee of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology. In Educational Technology (pp. 1–14). New York, NY: Routledge.
Roblyer, M. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed.). Massachusetts: Pearson.
What Is Successful Technology Integration? (2007, November 6). Retrieved August 30, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-description
I was asked to create an original graphic about the definition of Educational Technology for my final assignment in EdTech 501. I used a program called Piktochart. Piktochart was user friendly and relatively easy to use. Once I started to create my graphic, I adapted quickly and was very satisfied with the end result. I really enjoyed creating my graphic!
According to Januszewski and Molenda, Educational Technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources. I believe Educational Technology needs to be used to facilitate student-centered learning. We need to shift the balance and empower the learner, giving students the opportunity to learn skills at their own pace. We need to use content to organize activities. We need to think of teaching as a way to facilitate learning where the teacher can create learning experiences using technology as a tool. We need to make students responsible for their own learning. Students need to build connections, develop skills for their own learning style, and self evaluate. Teachers need to give regular evaluations. These evaluations can be designed to earn alternatives to grades. Students can instead earn badges and medals which motivate them to learn and succeed. Through teacher facilitation, technology can provide more engagement and improved student learning. We need to start moving away from traditional classrooms. We need to move toward 21st century classrooms where technology is used as a tool to empower learning.
See my graphic definition here.
School Evaluation Summary
For this assignment we were asked to review the National Education Technology Plan for 2016, as well as the my school’s technology plan. This was extremely difficult for me to do since our school doesn’t have a technology plan in place. I sat down with my building principal who helped me go over the Maturity Benchmark Rubric. It was very helpful to be able to talk through things since there were some areas that I didn’t know much about. Some of my initial thoughts changed after I started to look at everything closely.
This summary includes 5 Filters: Administrative, Curricular, Support, Connectivity, and Innovation. Each of these filters were broken down into two types, Behavioral and Resource/Infrastructure. Using the Maturity Benchmark Rubric, each category relates to 4 stages which are Emergent, Islands, Integrated, and Intelligent. First of all, I think Thatcher Elementary needs to get a technology plan in place. We need to make technology more of a priority. Hiring a A good place to focus is the Support Filter. Our teachers and students need more training. This would increase the comfort level of technology which in turn would lead to more use of technology. Overall, I would rank my school in the Islands Stage of Technology.
See the attached documents for further clarification.
Adaptive Learning Technology with Moby Max
After reviewing the Horizon Report and additional resources, the emerging technology that interests me the most is Adaptive Learning. A lot of the emerging technologies that I read about seem targeted more for upper elementary students or older. I was trying to find something that peaked my interest and that I could apply to my own classroom. Since I teach first grade, a lot of these tools and strategies seem as though they would be challenging for my kids.
What is Adaptive Learning Technology?
“Adaptive learning is a computer-based and/or online educational system that modifies the presentation of material in response to student performance. Best-of-breed systems capture fine-grained data and use learning analytics to enable human tailoring of responses. The associated learning management systems (LMS) provide comprehensive administration, documentation, tracking and reporting progress, and user management.”
Adaptive learning applies to any and all grade levels. Adaptive learning is a technology platform based on individual needs rather than a one size fits all approach. As a teacher, one of the greatest challenges that I face is meeting the needs of all of my students. I think at times we are somewhat forced to teach to a group rather than individuals. With the use of adaptive learning, I would have an opportunity to provide instruction and remediation based on individual needs. It allows some students to work on concepts that they need more time with while allowing those students who already understand a concept, to move on. It is such a great opportunity.
An adaptive learning program that I would use is called Moby Max. It is a free program that you can use on any device. Access to the basic portion of this program is free. There is an upgraded version that costs $99 per teacher or $699 per school. Since funding is an issue and understanding that my school is already behind in technology, I am going to focus on how I can utilize the free version to its full potential. The are many aspects of Moby Max that I appreciate, but the fact that it is Common Core based definitely makes it more appealing. Having a tool to use that is aligned with Common Core standards is a time saver.
Two summers ago, another colleague and I spent hours creating games and activities that aligned with Common Core standards. The students needed to spend more time on certain standards than the curriculum alone allotted. We created these games and activities to be used in a small group center. Most of what we created was done so using Microsoft Word and Teachers Pay Teachers. We printed what was created, cut out all the pieces necessary, laminated, and then cut out again. As you can see, this was a lengthy process. We created over 20 different centers, each having multiple activities to support a specific standard. The results have been great. The kids love centers and when we don’t have them, they always seem to ask for them.
As much as the kids love those handmade centers, replacing them with Kindles and the implementation of Moby Max is a no brainer. As of right now, the first grade only has 16 Kindles to use. However, there is a possibility of getting enough Kindles during center time, if that is coordinated with other grade levels. I will be able to reach the redefinition level of the SAMR model with the use of Moby Max. This will give my students individualized instruction with immediate feedback while tracking student progress. These are tasks that are previously inconceivable.
Here is an example and a little more detail on what this will look like in my classroom.
Accelerated Personalized Learning | MobyMax. (n.d.). Retrieved July 29, 2016, from http://www.mobymax.com/
Adaptive Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved July 29, 2016, from http://www.dreambox.com/adaptive-learning
Education Technology Thought Leader Interview: MobyMax CEO Glynn Willett — Emerging Education Technologies. (n.d.). Retrieved July 29, 2016, from http://www.emergingedtech.com/2016/03/education-technology-thought-leader-interview-mobymax-ceo-glynn-willett/
Moby Max is a Proven Adaptive Learning Toolset with Differentiated Curriculum for K-8 Students — Emerging Education Technologies. (n.d.). Retrieved July 29, 2016, from http://www.emergingedtech.com/2013/05/moby-max-is-a-proven-adaptive-learning-toolset-with-differentiated-curriculum-for-k-8-students/
Moby Max Makes Individualized, Adaptive Learning a Reality for Grades K-8 — Emerging Education Technologies. (n.d.). Retrieved July 29, 2016, from http://www.emergingedtech.com/2015/03/moby-max-individualized-adaptive-learning-grades-k-8/
Digital Divide/Digital Inequality
Our group decided to focus our presentation on the Digital Divide in Idaho. We met several times over the past couple of weeks mostly using Google Hangouts in video chats. Besides a few minor technological hangups, we figured it out and it allowed us to meet “face-to-face” to discuss our game plan for our presentation. From there, we got started right away. We each researched different solutions and statistics and began by creating a script for narration as well as the text that would be on each slide. Once that was completed, we transferred the text to the slides on our Prezi. None of the group members had used Prezi before, so it took more time than planned to get used to it. We created each slide and began to record our narration for each slide. Personally, that proved to be more difficult than expected. I found that since I was trying not to make any speaking mistakes I seemed to make more than usual. It took several tries for me to be satisfied with each recording. The recording device that I used wasn’t compatible with Prezi, but one of the group members was able to transfer it to a file that worked. We put finishing touches on each slide, adding images, trying to take out words so it wasn’t too wordy and checking for any errors. It was a great feeling to get it finalized and turned in.
I think the most challenging part of following the suggested multimedia principles were we didn’t really know what it would all look like until the end. We each read about the principles and tried to keep those in mind. When everything was into our Prezi, we started second guessing ourselves as to whether we should add more images to make sure it wasn’t to visually bland. We also did not want to overdo it. We wanted to make sure it wasn’t too wordy, but didn’t want to leave out any key words. It was a challenge. I learned that even though some suggested multimedia principles were black and white, others seemed to be more in the gray area.
I learned a lot about the Digital Divide through this presentation and research. I knew it existed and I also knew that Idaho was behind. I also learned that Idaho is not as well off as I had previously thought in regard to the Digital Divide. The access to high-speed Internet ranks Idaho 47th in the nation. Only 54% of Idahoans having access to 25 mbps or higher broadband service. In this digital age, that puts Idaho students and residents at a disadvantage in many areas. Idaho has a long way to go and improving infrastructures and access is the only way to start bridging the gap.
As a teacher in Idaho, I feel that the Digital Divide is a real problem. It really hits home. Here is a little snapshot of the building that I work in. As of the end of the school year (May 2016), we still only had wifi access in part of our building. In order to access it, you had to go to a certain classroom, which wasn’t ideal. The district is working on improving that. This upcoming school year, that is supposed to be fixed. The goal is to have wifi throughout our building. We just recently got Kindles to use in our classroom. Due to the wifi access, if we wanted to download an app, we had to take the Kindles home, download the app that we wanted and then bring them back to school to use. Again, not ideal and definitely not efficient. To add to that, we only have sixteen Kindles total for four First Grade teachers. The Digital Divide is real and present. I am going to use the knowledge that I have gained through this project, to push for more access to technology in my school. We obviously are behind. If I can make an improvement, even if it’s a small one, then I will be making an impact on improving Idaho’s Digital Divide in the near future.
Overall, our group did a great job on this project. We had several challenges including losing a group member which made more of a workload for each of us. Our group members all had planned vacations where Internet access was not available. Scheduling time to work on the project was also difficult while juggling our already busy lives. We are all really happy with our final result. We all worked really well together. There is only one thing that I would change and that would be to spend more time on the bells and whistles of our Prezi. After we finished recording each narration, adding them to our presentation, and listening to it all the way through, I thought we could have had two or three slides for each solution instead of just one. We could have put the solution on one slide and narrated our introduction of it, then put the pros and cons on a second slide. We could even have separated the pros and cons on a slide of their own. In saying that, I am not sure what that would look like either. Would that have meant too many slides only visible for a short amount of time? Would it really impact the overall effectiveness of our presentation? With more time we could have created both ways to see which we liked better. With all that being said, we are really pleased with our presentation and I am overly impressed with creating something like this with two other people that live hundreds of miles away. This project was both rewarding and satisfying.
View our Prezi here.
RSS in Education
As a first grade teacher, I never thought of using RSS (Really Simple Syndication). In fact, before taking this class, I never knew much about it. After exploring around and reading more about RSS, it is something that I think would be a great tool to use that would provide wonderful enrichment opportunities for my students as well as for me.
For this research activity, I was introduced to Zotero which is a wonderful and time saving tool to help with APA style citations. I was able to search for peer reviewed articles and add them to Zotero. It was very helpful in organizing as well as creating mostly correct (had to fix a few minor things) bibliography to add to my annotated bibliography paper. I haven’t written a paper let alone a research paper using APA citations since I was in college which was over ten years ago. I decided to research and write my paper on 1:1 computing. I learned a lot through reading the articles. What surprised me the most is that before I read the articles, I had a pretty simple way of thinking about how wonderful it would be. I didn’t think it was as complex as it was. I thought that 1:1 was great and that it was something that I wanted in my own classroom. After researching, I found that 1:1 computing is good, but that there is way more research that needs to be done before we can adopt it without any reservations. One of the articles talked about 1:2 computing which brought up some great ideas about group work and all the great aspects that can come out of working with peers. I still would love to be able to have access to 1:1 in my own classroom, but using them in groups is a valuable way of learning as well.