EdTech 504: Reflections

Theoretical Foundations of Educational Technology: Final Reflective Journal 

What were the most important things I learned this semester?

The most important piece of information that I gained from this course was the need, as an educator, to understand educational learning theories and their application in the use of educational or instructional technologies. It is important to not only understand foundational theories about also emerging theories and how these relate to the evolving ed tech field. I learned that it is important to stay up-to-date with learning theories and the research surrounding these topics with relation to the digitally changing classroom or educational environments. As a technology instructional coach, it is important to guide teachers in technology implementation for increased powerful learning experiences rather than implementation for implementations sake. It is essential to understand how students learn and how these technologies have changed and added to this with their own theories.

How was my teaching (or thoughts about teaching) impacted by what I learned or experienced this semester?

As previously mentioned, I am a technology instructional coach. I have the pleasure of working with classroom teachers to plan and implement technologies into their practice and lessons when most appropriate. This course continued to strengthen my beliefs in the power of connectivism and communities of practice. Over the last few years, I have really come to witness and believe in social networking for students and staff. I hope to continue to train and share the best usages and practices with regards to these tools, which can often be labeled as not educationally pertinent if one does not understand emerging educational learning theories.

 Did I (or will I) use the projects, skills, or ideas from this course in my teaching, training, or professional practice? If so, how?

I have already begun to use what I have learned in this course for a few summer Tech Talks I will be doing for local teachers. As I prepare to create these teach talks I have always added the goal or student outcome with regards to the training topic, however now I will also add information on the learning theory behind the possible “why”. It is important that teachers know the why behind their decisions for integration within their classroom.

Select three of the projects/assignments you created/wrote in this class and read the description of the related AECT standard. Then answer this question: How do these projects/assignments demonstrate my mastery of the AECT standards?

Learning Theories Paper: This assignment had me trace the lines form a major school of thought to theory then to its major contributors and finally the application of this theory.

AECT Standard 5.1 Research-Theoretical Foundations: Peer-reviewed journals were used to develop our understanding of learning theory and a particular major school of thought.

AECT Standard 5.3 Research-Assessing/Evaluating: Critical thinking and analysis was needed of researched materials to argue applications of the theory at hand.

 Annotated Bibliography: For this bibliography, we were to research peer-reviewed articles around a similar educational technology and learning theories theme. I choose to focus on the Web 2.0 tools and the theories of constructivism and connectivisim.

 AECT Standard 5.1 Research-Theoretical Foundations: Peer-reviewed articles were referenced and cited with ties to the theme of connectivisim, constructivism, communities of practice and educational technology/Web. 2.0

AECT Standard 5.3 Research-Assessing/Evaluating: Each peer-reviewed bibliography entry was to be critically critiqued. It wasn’t simply a summary, but rather an analysis of the author’s work and research that made up the bibliography.

 Synthesis Paper: This final paper was an opportunity for me to showcase learning theories related to educational technology. I focused on the need for increased research around emerging learning theories, like connectivism, and their implications for the digital classroom.

 AECT Standard 1.2 Content Knowledge-Using: I was able to focus my synthesis paper on Web 2.0 and the theories that support this collaborative environment, but also reflecting on the need for increased research.

AECT Standard 1.3 Content Knowledge-Assessing/Evaluating: A major component of my paper was assessing social media and the theory of connectivism. This topic shows my interest and understanding that student engagement increases with learning that occurs socially.

 AECT Standard 5.1 Research-Theoretical Foundations: Research for this paper took into account past, present and future learning theories surrounding educational technology and Web 2.0 tools.

AECT Standard 5.3 Research-Assessing/Evaluating: Using peer-reviewed resources I was able to assess that more research is needed so that educators will be more apt to integrate digital technologies with the use of learning theories in mind. The synthesis paper was not  summary paper, but rather an evaluation of theory and implications for educational technology in learning environments.

Accessibility Features – Windows Laptop

Technology makes our lives better in so many ways. We can be more organized, more efficient, and more collaborative – all thanks to technologies. However, technology can also open doors for individuals in ways that prior to advances in technology were impossible. One of technologies most positive influences can be seen in adaptive and assistive technologies. These tools can give each individual tools to meet their needs. We see assistive technologies helping individuals in a wide variety of tasks and daily occurrences that they were unable to accomplish without the aid of these tools.

These assistive technologies can also serve to support the equity we need within our school system. In a recent Edutopia article, author Amy Borovoy stated, “In schools, assistive tech can mean the difference between a student falling behind or being able to successfully work alongside other kids in an inclusion model.” And as schools continue to strive to offer the best inclusive environment, we see all educators stepping up to support all students. It is not enough for special education teachers alone to understand the needs of special needs students (Roblyer, 2016, p. 404).

Accessibility Features – Lenovo Thinkpad – Windows 7

EaseofAccessDue to the fact that my laptop is Windows based Lenovo calls out on their accessibility website that as a device running windows, one can access the Ease of Access Center through the control panel. Immediately upon opening this center a screen reader begins to read choices for the user. You can select by pushing the spacebar.

Windows Ease of Access Tools

On-screen Notification: This tool uses visual cues to replace sound notifications that a computer executes and benefits individuals who are hearing-impaired.

Audio Notification: This tool will offer audio interpretations of what is happening on the screen or in videos when available. This tool can benefit individuals with visual impairments.

Narrator: This tool is a screen reader that is built into Windows itself. Narrator will read aloud items being displayed and pop up messages. This tool would benefit individuals needing visual assistance.

Speech Recognition: This tool is used to control computer functions through the use of ones voice. Speech recognition allows dictation for word processing as well as vocally launching programs. This would benefit individuals needing physical assistance.

Customizable Text Size: This alteration allows for the user to change text size in certain areas rather than the desktop size as a whole. This text size alternations would benefit individuals with visual impairments.

Magnifier: This tool allows the user to magnify portions of the screen or all of the screen by choice. This allows the user to see words or images at any size need to access. This would benefit someone in need of visual or certain cognitive needs.

Zoom: This tool allows the user to zoom in and out of the browser display screen, in turn increasing or decrease text or image size. Zoom is an assistive tool for anyone with visual needs.

On-Screen Keyboard: This tool allows some access to the keyboard functions by clicking using a mouse or another device along an on-screen keyboard. This tool would benefit an individual with physical or cognitive needs.

Check out some curated assistive technology resources for students in the elementary language arts classroom.


Resources:

Borovoy, A., (2014). 5-Minute film festival: The power of assistive technology. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/film-festival-assistive-technology.

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Relative Advantage of Using Technology to Enhance Content Area Learning

Language Arts & Technology Integration

Any teacher knows it can be challenging to motivate students to read and write and this challenge only intensifies if the student struggles with literacy skills. Inability to motivate a below level reader is what holds most of these non-proficient students back. Students become discouraged by their continued failures to achieve proficiency. And so this catch 22 becomes an insurmountable hurdle. Technology integration can help to break this cycle of literacy discouragement.

Educational technologist Dr. Roblyer (2016) pointed out (as cited by Rideout, Foehr, & Roberts, 2010) that students aged 8– 18 increased their reading minutes from 21 to 25 minutes per day between 1999 – 2009, while computer use, which includes reading online, increased from 27 minutes to 73 minutes (p. 266). The stark differences in these increases speaks to the relative advantage using technology has over not using technology in the realm of language arts. Students are motivated by interacting with digital medias and this should be leveraged in all areas including the teaching of reading and writing.

Students are more engaged by digitally rich media as it is often time equiped with interactives, visuals and necessary assistive technologies that can bridge the literacy gap for students. Online article programs, such as Newsela, offer students accessibility to the same article/content but at their own Lexile level. Now all students can engage in the work successfully  at their instructional level. Students are motivated by success and emerging readers find much success through digital scaffolds.

Not only are learners motivated by reading through interactive digital methods, but Roblyer (2016) also points out that students, as writers, can be motivated when they see their writing tasks as authentic or purposeful especially if published on a blog or wiki (p. 267). This is true of all individuals, adults and students alike, if our writing will be read for an authentic purpose it becomes more intentional and purposeful for the writer themselves.

 


Resources:

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

 

Social Networking & Walled Gardens

Please take some time to check out my VoiceThread on Social Networking and Walled Gardens here:

https://ed.voicethread.com/share/7172213/

Capture


Resources:

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Empowering Digital Citizens: Embracing Social Media in Schools – edWeb. (2015, August). Retrieved from http://home.edweb.net/empowering-digital-citizens-embracing-social-media-in-schools/

Davis, Michelle R., Education Weekly: Digital Directions.  Social Networking Goes to School. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/dd/articles/2010/06/16/03networking.h03.html

Social Networking as a Tool for Student and Teacher Learning. Retrieved from http://www.districtadministration.com/article/social-networking-tool-student-and-teacher-learning

Blog: Acceptable Use Policies

In a world where generations of people have only experienced easy access to the information highway and where others struggle to remember a time that they couldn’t digitally find any information they needed, it is clear that society and the world will not be reverting to an era without these resources. And yet with all this access comes a responsibility to be accountable users and communicators. And because of this trajectory, schools increasing exposure and usage of technology with students must also teach students digital citizenship skills (Roblyer, 2016, p. 117).

Schools must embrace this new role of the digital citizenship teacher so that students learn the appropriate ways to interact and behave online. To outline the possible risks involved with online access and interaction as well as to teach proper use of the tool, many schools have developed and utilize an Acceptable Use Policy with their staff and student body. Some schools, such as Campbell Hall in Studio City California, have even introduced the policy as a set of values. Because really AUPs are asking students to have integrity while engaging in technology use.

DCPS schools have an Acceptable Use Policy that they established in 2009 to highlight ways in which the school’s technological property can be used and cannot be used. It speaks to the filters in place due to the Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2000. It also details acceptable uses for devices and email. Interestingly enough DCPS does not have email for students even internally but speaks to students private email use.

My site based Acceptable Use Policy includes similar topics and also speaks to filters not being the absolute solution to blocking all inappropriate text, sites, and images. It tries to make students and parents aware that it is still the responsibility of the child to seek only appropriate materials. And from here use them in legal ways while interacting with resources as an ambassador for Powell Elementary School.

School-based Acceptable Use Policies help to start the conversation between students, their families and schools as they lead the way to better digital citizens in safety, legal and responsibly ethic usage. In 2007, another urban district grappled with the purpose and current state of their AUPs. Boston Public Schools worked very hard to revamp their AUPs to make them student friendly. They were careful to craft no more than ten main points starting with the student-centered phrase, “I am responsible for…”. They even included podcasts to discuss the AUPs by grade bands. Because in reality AUPs are only as effective as the students who understand them.


Resources:

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Powell Elementary Technology Use

DCPS Acceptable Use Policy

Campbell Hall

Boston Public Schools

Video Blog: Relative Advantage of Using Hypermedia in the Classroom

Advantages Hiding in Plain Sight

video-481821_1280I would be hard pressed to find an educator who does not understand the relative advantages of integrating video into the classroom. This isn’t to say that some educators use video for non-instructional purposes at times. However, I would argue that the vast majority of educators want to leverage the power of video integration for powerful student growth.

In her book, Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching, Roblyer (2016) details the many uses for video in the classroom and their relative advantage. Roblyer includes ideas such as recorded demonstrations for students who need multiple viewings, student-created presentations, classroom discussion starters, videos of experts/speakers, video portfolios, and documentation of school events to name a few advantages (pp. 216-218). Roblyer goes on to also detail the benefits of collaboration and multicultural perspective that come with video integration and development (p. 219).

While it is no secret that teachers and students may run into pitfalls when using video integration, this should not stop integration. We have all experienced pitfalls in the form of technical issues and time constraints. However, the advantages outweigh the pitfalls. The Pinellas School District and the Florida Center of Instructional Technology laid out some of the major advantages on their Multimedia in the Classroom website. They argue that the call for collaboration, problem-solving, technical skills gained and increased levels of engagement are all reasons to keep integrating (“Multimedia in the Classroom”).

Check out this video where my own colleagues highlight how and why they use video integration within their own practice:


Video Integration Ideas & Lesson Plan


 

Resources:

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Multimedia in the Classroom. Retrieved from http://fcit.usf.edu/multimedia/overview/overviewa.html

Relative Advantage of Using the Basic Suite for Learning

Basic Productivity ToolsWorkplace influences Education

Throughout the professional world, individuals and companies utilize the three big productivity software programs including word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation. It is so engrained into our modern society that it has become almost expected that an employee would be proficient with these tools while being able to leverage their benefits. The advantages of the basic suite software have not been lost on teachers either. Educational technologist author, Roblyer (2016), expresses that “teachers choose them not only because they have qualities that aid classroom instruction and help make classroom time more productive, but also because they give students experience with 21st-century tools that they will see again and again in their workplaces” (p. 109).

Word processing in Schools

Arguably the most useful of the basic suite would be word processing software. Educators and students use this software most often, as it allows the user to create typed documents for any number of purposes. One of the biggest relative advantages Roblyer (2016) contends is the versatility word processing allows for its many uses in the classroom (p. 114). A student can type a research paper, another can create an “how-to” poster while the teacher can make a parent newsletter all with word processing software. Roblyer (2016) goes on to point out the many overarching relative advantages of saving time, enhancing design appearance and enhancing writing and language skills (p. 115). And with the increased availability of Google Drive and Microsoft 365 in schools, collaboration and document sharing has become an incredible additional advantage.

Spreadsheets go to School

Spreadsheets are used as a way to organize and interpret numerical data. Teachers have felt the benefits of spreadsheet usage when they turn to this organization tool for grade book purposes, but educators also expose students to the advantages of spreadsheets. Roblyer (2016) lists many advantages for using spreadsheets with students including the saving of time, organization, mathematically focus and displaying information over time and in “what-if” scenarios (p. 121). While students, on the whole, are more comfortable manipulating words than numbers, spreadsheet work and exposure, if introduced and taught effectively, can aide in a student’s mathematical comfort (Roblyer, 2016, p. 125).

Presentation Software

Presentation software allows individuals to create a multipage slideshow to highlight a topic using visuals and words for an audience. Presentation software is used in education to allow students to develop and understand their content at a level in which they can present to an audience. Robyler (2016) points out its significant relative advantages as a way for a student to develop such a deep-rooted understanding in order to develop and deliver a presentation all while practicing the art of public speaking (p. 127). Like word processing, presentation collaboration has also entered the educational world through powerful applications in programs such as Google Drive and Microsoft 365.

Relative Advantage in Elementary ELA/SLA

There are many uses for the basic suite in the elementary ELA/SLA classroom. Getting students to word process and publish their work in a design format can be a powerful learning experience. It is important for a teacher not to get hung up on needing to teach every component of the software, but rather stick to an “as-needed” mini-lesson teaching style in reference to the basic suite (Roblyer, 2016, p. 125). Students can support research projects with spreadsheet data and present all findings through presentation software. What better way to increase your second language skills than to practice language production with a small presentation audience. The advantages are endless with the basic suite. As my school district goes Microsoft 365 at the beginning of October, the sharing and collaborative benefits will only add to the already powerful advantages.


Here I created an Interactive Presentation Example for a 3rd ELA Main Idea interactive class lesson.


 

Resources:

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.