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.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

About Me

Hi everyone!  This is my first blog I have ever created.  There is not a whole lot to say about me.  I am currently working in an elementary school with special ed students and I am back at school to work on my Master's.  I decided to come to back becasue my goal was to get my Master's and I realized that if I did not go back to school now, I might never make it here I am.  I love my job and it keeps me busy!  I love outdoor activities...especially in the winter.  I am very into skiing and snowshoeing.  I enjoy reading, but do not have a lot of time for pleasure reading at this time of year and I love spending time at my beach house in the summer!