Saturday, March 19, 2011

Final Blog (3/19/11)

How has your opinion changed (or why has it stayed the same) over the past 11 weeks regarding technology integration?

I have always felt strongly about the importance of technology integration in the classroom.  The concept of being able to integrate technology has always been a part of my teaching experience and I have always seen it as important.  However, if you had asked me 11 weeks ago if technology integration was realistic and feasible in an average classroom, I would have said “not really”.  After taking this course, I still feel that technology integration is important and my opinions on how I feel about actually integrating technology into a classroom have changed for the better.
Over the past 11 weeks, my opinions on how realistic and doable integrating technology into the classroom actually is have greatly changed for the better.  I have realized that integrating technology into the classroom is not an impossible feat.  I now see how technology can be very accessible and manageable.  I also see that a classroom and school does not have to have all of the latest and greatest technology tools in order to still include technology in the classroom.  Integrating technology into the classroom does not have to be a daunting task and although it may take time, it is very possible.    
As I mentioned before, I have always thought that integrating technology is important, but before I would have said that it was important because it is fun and engaging for students.  While this is still true, I also see now how important integrating technology is in order to prepare students for the world we live in.  I now view technology in the classroom as more than just something “fun” to do.  I see it now as having a true, practical purpose for students and as being able to build and enforce lifelong skills that these students will need in a digital world.
Finally, this course has made me rethink what it actually means to integrate technology into the classroom.  Giving students access to any piece of technology that is available is great, but when a teacher can truly integrate technology into the classroom on a daily basis, they can provide students with more meaningful lessons that allow them to access more than just the teacher and the textbook.
Overall, I feel that my opinions have changed for the better and I am a lot more confident with the technology tools and programs that are available for classrooms and students.  I think that being able to integrate technology into my future classroom will make me a better teacher and will provide my students with new opportunities. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Literature Review #2 (3/12/11)

Equipping the Next Generation of Teachers: Technology Preparation and Practice
(see citation below)

This article focuses how to best provide valuable technology experiences and instruction to preservice teachers in teacher preparation programs.  The article begins by discussing how in today’s world, a major part of the teacher’s job is to create “…student-centered, technology-rich lessons…”, but obtaining the skills and knowledge needed to do this a huge task (Gronseth et al., 2010).  How to get technology training to teacher is difficult and although 100% of teacher preparation programs in the United States offer instruction on technology integration, research shows that there does not seem to be one approach that is completely effective when it comes to preparing preservice teachers to use technology in the classroom (Gronseth et al., 2010).  All of the teacher preparation programs are so different and all are using different approaches to train their teachers.  The article also mentions how there are many problems and limitations when trying to prepare teachers to use technology.  For example, it is difficult to maintain a level of authenticity in a teacher prep program and the technology tools necessary are not always available (Gronseth et al., 2010). 
The article mentions that much of the current research is focusing on what actual information and knowledge preservice teachers need during their program in regards to technology and how to effectively prepare them to use that knowledge in an actual classroom (Gronseth et al., 2010).  The study conducted in this article is part of a larger study aimed at studying the “various methods that teacher education institutions use to prepare teachers to use technology…” (Gronseth et al., 2010).  This particular study focuses on identifying and analyzing differences among teacher education programs with regards to their preparation in using technology (Gronseth et al., 2010).  Another goal of this study is to find an effective way to incorporate more successful technology experiences into teacher education programs (Gronseth et al., 2010).
In order to collect their data on this topic, the authors of the study sent out an online questionnaire to faculty members at certain colleges that have teacher certification programs.  Some of the findings include that many programs offer standalone technology courses and “…that field experiences that incorporate technology positively affect preservice teachers’ attitude toward technology.” (Gronseth et al., 2010).  This study also concluded that a way to most effectively prepare teachers for using technology in the classroom is for teacher preparation programs to provide multiple opportunities to practice with technology in an actual classroom (Gronseth et al., 2010).  This allows teachers to become familiar and comfortable with technology as well as work to overcome barriers that are presented.  Also, this creates an environment in which incorporating technology into engaging lessons becomes natural for teachers.  This study also found that the most effective teacher preparation programs used a lot of collaboration between teachers to help guide the integration of technology and keep up to date with current technology (Gronseth et al., 2010).  One area this study found where teacher preparation programs needs to improve is, “…experiences in using technology to support students with special needs.” (Gronseth et al., 2010).  Preservice teachers need experience with technology that special education students can utilize and benefit from.
Overall, this article was very positive about the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs and how they are preparing teachers to use and integrate technology into their lessons and classroom.  It is evident that when available, technology is being taught and used in the teacher preparation programs.          

I found this article interesting because being a certified teacher who recently graduated and is now perusing a Master’s, it really made me reflect on my teacher prep program and about how well they prepared me to use and integrate technology into the classroom.  I find that younger teachers I work with are more willing to incorporate technology into their classroom and lessons.  I also think this is an important topic because technology is very important in today’s world and teachers need be to be given the preparation and instruction on how to incorporate technology into their classrooms.  To me this also means providing current teachers with professional development courses in technology.  Teacher preparation programs need to be equipped to expose preservice teachers to technology and how it can be used in the classroom.  The only way in which we can get technology into the classroom is if the teachers feel comfortable to use it.  It is essential that teachers, especially young, preservice teachers, know how to incorporate and use technology in the classroom in order to prepare their students for the world we live in.      

Gronseth, S., Brush, T., Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A., Strycker, J., …van Leusen, P. (2010). Equipping the next generation of teachers: technology preparation and practice. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 27 (1), 30-36.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

K12 Online Conference Reflection – 2/5/11

The Classroom Teacher as a 21st Century Instructional Leader
Video By: Tim Tyson

Tim Tyson’s video focused on new ideas, change and leadership.  Tyson discussed how schools and classrooms do not live in isolation, but are affected by the culture and economy that they are a part of.  He also mentions how schools can have an effect on the community they serve.  During the beginning of his video, Tyson discussed a lack of national will in America and a lack of willingness to work together as a country.  He highlighted Finland as a country who has really come together to improve education and the country as a whole under the concept of Sisu.  He did say that although we might not want to copy Finland, their ideas are successful and they could be a great guide for our country.

The rest of Tyson’s video was a call for teachers to be leaders and to be advocates for change.  One comment he made that I especially liked was when he discussed how we cannot keep the same educational system and expect different results.  He proposed that in order to change our country and the way we think we need a fresh education policy in order to empower children who are the future of our country.  He tells us to give them hope and to give them a reason to want to be successful.  He urges us to be less reactive and more proactive.

I really enjoyed watching this video and listening to his ideas.  I do believe that teachers can and should be leaders in their classrooms and in their communities.  Giving students a teacher who is a strong leader and advocate for their community and for education can empower students and give them hope and a reason to improve themselves and their community. 
Tyson really made me think about how truly connected the community and schools are, and how one greatly affects the other.  I think teachers should use this connection to their advantage.  One of Tyson’s suggestions for improvement is for teachers to be “transparent”.  Show your work and your students’ work in order to improve and change education, do not work in isolation.  When teachers focus on students and community, they can really work to prepare their students for the future full of choices and opportunities.  I feel that Tyson made some great points throughout his video and he really encourages teachers to lead.        

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Equal Access Question 2/2/11

Is it the responsibility of the teacher to provide equal access to the digital world to all learners?

My personal belief is that teachers have the responsibility, in this day of technology, to expose students to as much of the digital world and technology as possible.  However, with that said I feel that the teachers are only responsible for providing equal access to technology that they use in the classroom.  This means that if a teacher assigns a Webquest as a project, he/she needs to provide equal access for all learners to a computer and the internet for enough time to complete the project.  Another aspect of this includes at home projects that require technology.  If a teacher assigns a project to do at home using technology, then they need to provide access to that technology at school for those students who do not have access at home.

I think one way to accomplish giving all leaners equal access is for teacher to integration technology that they and their students have access to.  If teachers have certain technology available to them, then I think they should integrate and expose students to it, but if certain technology is not available for regular use then why integrate it just for the sake of integrating it. 

Overall, I think that part of being a 21st century teacher is integrating and exposing students to the digital world, but only to the best of their ability with the technology they have available to them.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Literature Review 1 (1/29/11)

Perspectives on the Integration of Technology and Assessment
(see citation below)

This article discussed the use of technology in assessment.  The author’s main points revolved about a “21st century approach to assessment” in which educators use technology to create better assessments and to use the information from assessments more effectively (Pallegrino, 2010).  The article discusses how so much of today’s education is focused on standardized testing (mostly because of NCLB) that we should be harnessing the new technology we have in order to help us improve test scores.  If we use technology to improve our assessments, teachers will be able to take those assessments and improve student learning in the classroom which translates to improved test scores. 
The author mentions two computer programs that have been developed for this purpose.  One program, DIAGNOSER, can diagnose a student’s level of understanding of a concept based on their answers to questions (Pallegrino, 2010).  Teachers can then take these results and use them to guide their teaching.  The program also provides recommended activities for teachers based on student results.  The second program called ASSISTment, uses scaffolding questions and that the performance on this program has been predictive of performances on certain standardized tests (Pallegrino, 2010).  Therefore, teachers could use this new technology to help zero in on students’ skills and what needs to be taught. 
At the end of the article, the author points out how this is just one more way in which technology can change and improve education.  He argues that this technology and the data it could provide teachers about students could change the way we currently assess and teach.

I chose this article because assessment is such an integral part of education today and an aspect that I believe technology has not influenced enough yet.  Assessments are the basis for a majority of today’s teaching and curriculum and if we can use technology to improve that, then we should.  Also, I think using technology to assist in assessments in the classroom would benefit everyone (teachers, students, administration, and parents).  Having computerized assessments that narrow in and diagnose what students do and do not know would allow teachers to tailor their instruction to exactly what the students need.  In addition, I think it would make the students more aware of what their strengths and weaknesses are.  Having all of this data and information computerized would also allow educators to see students’ progress over time and make better educational decisions.
As much as I liked the ideas and concepts that were presented, but this type of technology integration into the classroom is going to take a long time.  Overall I felt, as I was reading this article, that this would be a great way to utilize technology to improve education and streamline educational standards and goals.

Pellegrino, J. & Quellmalz, E. (2010). Perspectives on the Integration of Technology and Assessment. Journal of Research of Technology in Education, 43 (2).  Retrieved from

Friday, January 21, 2011

K12OC Video Reflection

Shh!! The Students are Learning: Being an Effective Classroom Teacher
Video By: Clif Mims

Dr. Mims’ video presented the concept that teachers should facilitate learning and guide students through learning.  Mims describes the teacher’s role as the “guide on the side” so they are not teaching at the students.  I like this concept of a “student-centered” learning environment where the teacher establishes an environment for students to explore learning though inquiry and critical thinking.  One of the best aspects of this video was how Mims not only discussed the effectiveness of this type of teaching, but gave teachers tips for designing this type of instruction in their classroom.  He mentioned how teachers should develop guiding/driving questions or scenarios and also how important it is for teachers to predict what resources and tools their students may need.  Conferencing with students to find out how/what they are doing is also an important aspect of facilitating instruction. 

Something that Mims mentioned that I found very important was the reminder to constantly use formative assessment to evaluate students’ learning. It is important to guide the students in the right direction and for teachers to take the opportunity, when necessary, to teach mini-lessons that will help clear up any misconceptions/confusions that students have.    

Towards the end of the video, Mims mentioned how important it is for students to struggle at times and I couldn’t agree more.  He explains that by struggling, students will internalize and remember the information better while making the learning experience more meaningful.  It forces them to be active and critical thinkers.

Finally, I personally feel that this type of learning is not appropriate for all subjects/topics or for all students, but can be very effective is done correctly and at the appropriate times.  It can be very engaging for students and can really give them a sense of pride and accomplishment.  I enjoyed this video and feel that his ideas/suggestions really make this model of instruction a possibility in all classrooms.    

This video can be found at

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Digital Nation Reflection

I found the movie very interesting and I thought it touched on a lot of interesting points.  One of the most interesting and shocking topics was about multi-tasking.  I found it interesting how multi-tasking does not create the best learning environment and I found the Stanford study produced some interesting results.  I did not think multi-tasking has such an impact of each task’s performance, I always thought that some people were good multi-taskers and others were not.  I was also surprised to see the brain images of someone reading a book versus someone on Google.  I never expected such a difference in what part of the brain was working and how much more some parts had to work.  I never considered the long term effects of technology on our brain and the permanent changes that could be made. 
The other portion of the movie that really surprised me was the part about virtual worlds.  The extent to which these virtual worlds exists really surprised me and I definitely did not know that companies such as IBM were using programs such as Second Life to hold meetings and conference.  The video also mentioned how much the virtual world and the real world are coming together and I feel it is important for people to distinguish between the two.  I agree that young children who are digital natives can easily distinguish between virtual and real because it has always been around them, but for others it may be more difficult. 
Korea and their “public health crisis” of gaming and digital technology also shocked me.  It is clear for some that it is a true addiction and it is interesting to me how technology can create new successes in medicine, but can also create new diseases.
A final thought I had as I finished watching the movie was that no matter what, there are going to be positive and negative consequences to technology.  What the video made me believe was that as with many things in life, technology needs to be used in moderation.  Towards the end of the film, a professor from MIT talked about finding a balance between our world and technology and I find that to be a perfect way to look at it.