Tag Archives: Technology in the Classroom

Course 4

In the year…

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What will education look like in 15 years and how will technology have played a role in the shaping of it? I wish I had a crystal ball, but since I don’t I’ve turned to my sons Magic 8 Ball for answers (mind you unlike technology the Magic 8 Ball has not changed since I was a small boy).  So without further ado…will technology play a major role in the reshaping of education? Shake…waiting for inky purple bubbles to clear…answer revealed…”Without A Doubt”! Unfortunately that is the extent of the Magic 8 Balls powers. It does not reveal how technology will change the face of education in 15 more years so I’ll have to take a swing.

Throughout the entire CoeTaIL program one common theme continue to resurface for me. It is the idea of networking. The future of education will depend upon social networking. Kids are already learning about things without our help. Our role will continue to grow as a facilitator. Upon completing our latest readings, watching vodcast and then setting out on my own in search of where the future of education lies I found that this idea of networking continued to resonate throughout. MOOCs or learning philosophies such as rhizomatic learning all require individuals to seek out and create networks.

Massive Open Online Course or MOOC’s have grown exponentially since it’s first course in 2008. The idea that education can not only be free, but also caters to the individuals interests and connects them with others who in turn share similar interests. It all revolves around creating a learning network through collaboration, participation, sharing and differs from a traditional educational format in the sense that the participant can determine where the learning takes place, what they learn and whom they learn with.

Education is already changing because of technology and will continue to do so at a staggering pace. However the disparity between “good” schools and “bad” schools will continue to grow. And by “good” schools I mean schools that can continue to grow and move forward with technology. Schools that have the leadership, vision and of course financial means to do so. Schools that cannot keep pace will suffer as will the level of education that it can offer to better prepare our students for a future immersed in technology. Teaching overseas in this sense most certainly has its advantages. Many international schools are on cutting edge with technology or have the desire and means to do so. As long as this is the case I expect to continue teaching in and growing alongside with them. These are the schools that I will seek out one it comes time to actively recruit. I’ll continue to lean on my established social networks in order to stay active and to stay current. Refining them as times and needs change. Doing what I can to see that as long as technology is relevant, which in 5, 10, even 15 years it will most certainly be, that my students are aware of its significance and necessity in the real world.

Course 4

Casting a Net over the NETs: Meeting the Standards

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The way in which technology integration manifests itself in the classroom is always changing. New tools arrive at a staggering pace and are constantly redefining the way in which we do things in the classroom. However the way in which technology integration itself works remains constant. Boni Hamilton describes integration in her 2007 book “IT’s Elementary!: Integrating Technology in the Primary Grades” as when “teachers use technology to introduce, reinforce, extend, enrich, assess, and remediate student mastery of curricular targets.” The key point that Hamilton makes is that in order to actually integrate technology we need to go way beyond simply using the tools that our schools provide but to actually use them in constructive ways while embedding them into the schools curriculum.

All of this cannot be done on a whim. It requires teachers and administration buy in. Inserting the NETs standards into curriculum mapping is a common start to “ensuring” that teachers are at the very least thinking about integrating them into the classroom. It doesn’t however mean that they are meeting them. In order to ensure that they are being taught teachers need to plan for their use. They need to take advantage of the vast resources already available to them in their schools and/or online in order to extend the learning that is already meant to be taking place in the classroom all the while actively engaging all students involved. Collaboration amongst colleagues across the curriculum and/or their network of experts on the Internet is also essential to guarantee a rich and far reaching experience that ensures that students are in constant contact with the technology standards regardless of subject area. In planning for the inclusion of NETs teachers are able to see how they align with their own subject standards or that of their collaborators. This would make assessment of the NETs simply part of a teachers regular assessment tools. Common assessments across the curriculum could also be established and used a certain number of times throughout the year. The school would then be able to self assess their level of success through the collection of data on a regular annual cycle. Appropriate adjustments could then be made to help solidify the successful integration of technology standards throughout the school.

Course 4

It’s Time to Grow Up and Taking Responsibility

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The expectation that a classroom teacher is solely going to be responsible for and able to successfully meet each NETs standard is highly unreasonable. The obligations already imposed upon classroom teachers or specialists are difficult enough to accomplish by school years end and the onus put upon them just continues to grow. On top of all that we also forget that not all teachers have jumped on the tech train yet, even at schools where technology is being embraced. Many are intimidated by technology or again feel inundated with other obligations to want to even bother spending the extra time to integrate technology into their planning.

So whose job is it to teach the NETs in our schools? In my mind it is still the teacher’s responsibility along with the support technology coordinator. It does take a real commitment of time, effort and perhaps most imperative a willingness to learn about these standards. Teachers need to take an active role in seeking out professional development opportunities that will assist in their quest for understanding the NETs. Rely upon others with more knowledge in the area such as the tech coordinator at school or even by participating in online social networks that share a similar desire to learn about integrating the NETs. ISTE has a great support group called Community Ning for teachers who are there to share and support ideas for integrating technology and all the while incorporating the NETs.

Having a better understanding of the NETs along with taking an active role in integrating the technology into the classroom through collaborative planning will help ensure that these standards are being taught. The administration must also support the processes. Requiring all teachers to link NETs into curriculum maps can effectively reinforce and further extended what is already being taught in the technology classrooms into their own classrooms and beyond!

Course 3

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!


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It’s seems like we are finally hitting our stride after a crazy start to the school year with the completion of only our 3rd full week with students since the first day of school on August 15th. There were a number of false beginnings with Indonesian national and religious holidays as well as school professional development workdays. Needless to say the incorporation of technology into my classes up to this point has been minimal and unfortunately not all that exciting for students.

Diana and I were very pleased to see that our suggestions for strengthening the schools AUP were accepted by the technology coordinators here at ISR and implemented for the new school year. The use of the online student art gallery artsonia.com for all student work continues with much success for our tiny school. Parents have raved about the use of the site and students have been recognized with “Artist of the Week” nominations twice already this school year. The school has also just received our green screen kit. I’m looking forward to playing with that in collaboration with the schools technology teacher. Should be a great new toy for the students in Performing Arts who love getting in front of the camera a lot more than getting in front of a live audience!

In middle school art class we are working on correctly citing our sources for all images used in presentations regardless of media. It’s a learning process for all involved. I continue to grapple with how we should be citing images of famous paintings located on sites that are selling prints and posters or even artist search sites such as http://www.famous-painters.org/ .There seems to be little if any evidence of who has taken the photo of the painting that is now posted on these sites. Another issue that has come up is the lack of material available on sites like compfight.com for more specific topics.  For example recently my students were expected to research a contemporary modular sculptor. The artist would be presented to the class through any visual media selected by the student with one of the expectations being that all sources are cited. Compfight.com provided my student with all of 15 creative commons images. Hardly enough for a class to use. Using the “Any License” option provided us with a much larger number of images, however I am unclear as to what is meant by “Any License” on Compfight. In the end it was decided that since students would only be using the images in a classroom setting and not in the Internets public realm, that the URL would be sufficient for citing sources.

Looking forward to the rest of course 3! Jeff shared some very exciting things with his most recent posting. My mind is already buzzing with how I’m going sell them to the kids a la advertiser style!