Future of Technology

When watching the videos this week I could not help but think that these technologies are very complex and the pathways of technology movement was very fascinating. At times, it was hard to wrap my brain around the different technological lingo. I think to some varying degree that these types of technology have already started to plant a seed within the confines of the classroom environment.

For example, I have recently had a conversation with a fellow educator from another state and she was talking about how her elementary school were looking to integrate a more unified data system. They have just upgraded to using Blade PCs to help supplement the technology in their school. Before this week, I had no idea that they even existed. From her description, they were financially feasible, and were easier to maintain since they can be replaced without the adverse effects of lost information, she also noted that there are fewer security issues. They do sound promising, I would be curious to see if there are any schools in Oregon that are implementing them.

After watching the video on virtualization I think that it could help strengthen the infrastructure of the computer networking system to allow for multiple operating systems. The article and the video mentioned that virtualization is faster; performance is better, and operating is enhanced. Again, I think that this type of system would supplement Thin Clients and Blade PCs but it would be a matter of time before they would be in the classroom.

As a child, I remember sitting underneath the tree as a ripped open a present underneath the Christmas tree to reveal the original Nintendo Entertainment System. As I played it I though there could never be a game better than this. However, things change and even technology changes, it evolves into something much bigger than words can describe. And then when Xbox introduced Kinect I thought what else is there? No more physical controllers needed, the death gripping, sweaty cramping hands as you navigate around obstacles in your way are a thing of the past. Just gesture based movements to control your movements and navigate through your interests.

I can definitely see gesture based learning providing an outlet for engagement in the classroom as well as an outlet for those students who are more bodily kinesthetic than others. But where education is currently, I do not see it becoming a common place just yet. I am hopeful but I mean the disparity of technological resources in classrooms around just the Willamette Valley area is huge. I do think that we all will be using some form of gesture-based learning at some point in the near future.

Week 9 Hybrid Learning Resources

1. Collaborize Classroom is a Learning Management System LMS much like Blackboard referenced in my article review this week. The virtual classroom space supports shared lesson, a place for discussions, the use of Web 2.0 tools for learning, a springboard for communication with students and parents into the home environment. As an educator want to use technology in the classroom it provides potential internet educators webinars, professional development and resources to get started. And it is all FREE! This is connected to NETS-T # 1 A-D and #5 A-D since teachers are engaging in not only professional growth and development but also providing a learning environment that is interactive and educational for student and parents, which is connected to NETS-S #2. http://www.collaborizeclassroom.com//

2. & 3.  Story Jumper is another collaborative storytelling tool much like a more familiar site called Story Bird to use in the classroom. In both websites students can create short stories with illustrations that can be shared or printed out to bring their stories to life. This incorporates literacy and technology skills to navigate through the program. It is related to NETS-S #1 A-D and #5 B. Story Jumper http://www.storyjumper.com/ Story Bird http://storybird.com/teachers/

4. Prezi is a cloud-based presentation software that is visually stimulating and can group concepts together and zoom in and out. It allows for sharing and collaboratively editing presentations. It is directly related to NETS-S # 1 B) and NETS-S # 2 A) through D) as well as NETS-S #3 B). http://prezi.com/

5. Podcasts are another tool that can aid in the Hybrid learning classroom. Students can use them to showcase their skills and they can challenge students collaborative and critical thinking skills which is related to NETS-S #1 and #2. http://learntech.ties.k12.mn.us/find_education_podcasts.html

6. Study Blue is an online tool for making, studying and sharing flashcards, taking note or preparing for exams. It provides students with video options, audio elements, pictures and text. It literally is a modern way to receive and share information for testing purposes. The best part is that students can take this anywhere anytime and study on their phones, which is connected to NETS-S #2 and #3.  I think that this would probably be more useful for high school or college students, but still is a really good site to utilize. http://www.studyblue.com/

7. Edmodo is a site that provides teachers and students a platform to connect, share and collaborate. There are many different wonderful tools for teachers to utilize while using this site. It is definitely another LMS site that is connected to NETS-T # 1 A-D #4 and #5 A-D since teachers are engaging in not only professional growth and development but also providing a learning environment that is interactive and educational for student and parents. http://www.edmodo.com/

8. Glogster is one of my new favorite finds from this class! It is an interactive poster/collage maker that is very interactive and fun. This is closely related to the NETS-S #1 and #2 and #3 B. From my tinkering around with it this site is an alternative to cutting images out of magazines and gluing them on poster boards. Students are able to combine text, music, pictures and video to create an online sample of their knowledge to share with others. This could also be a visual supplement for students when they are giving a speech. It kind of reminds me of Prezi but in a more collage type of format instead of a presentation format. http://www.glogster.com/  or the free version for educators at http://edu.glogster.com/

9.  & 10. Primary Wall is a web-based sticky note tool designed for students and educators to work in real-time together. Primary Pad is also a web-based word processor that is another resource that is similar. Both are a way for students to all share their ideas on a subject and post them without raising their hand and waiting for their turn this is related to the NETS-S #1 C and #2 A, B and D.  All comments are in real-time and instantaneous to other users so that students can get information, ideas and collaborate quickly by posting their responses. Primary Wall http://primarywall.com/ Primary Pad http://primarypad.com/

11. LiveBinders is a final site that I must share to help other collegues organize all of their resources from this course. This site is basically a collection of all of your online links in a virtual binder that you create your own tabs for. It is an excellent resource to help organize all of the technological information. This is connected to NETS-T #5. http://www.livebinders.com/

Week 9 Hybrid Learning

Lin, Q. (2009). Student Views of Hybrid Learning: A One-Year Exploratory Study. Journal Of Computing In Teacher Education, 25(2), 57-66.

This study was a one-year case study that examined the hybrid learning model in two elementary pre-service education course taught at an east coast university. The case study followed two courses where 27 students in course A had never taken a hybrid class and the 21 students in course B had previously taken course A as a hybrid class. Out of the 48 pre-service teachers in both courses 21 of them had prior experience in the hybrid classroom setting. The participants were 90% female with an average GPA of 2.93.

Though both courses were very different in study they both did use the Blackboard Learning Management System as part of the coursework. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected from surveys to measure the students’ views of hybrid learning. The researchers wanted to track how pre-service teachers felt about their hybrid learning experience.

The researchers found that well-designed online learning experiences made the learners accept an increased amount of responsibility for their learning than observed in face-to-face (FTF) learning (Lin, 2009, p 57). Students found the content to be more accessible and convenient to their own pace of learning. Students also liked to learn with the interactive technology resources provided. The researchers also found that online students valued the convenience and flexibility that the course had to offer rather than more FTF interactions with peers and instructors. Students enrolled found that a hybrid approach to learning provided them with diverse approaches or modes of delivery of the teaching and learning that could not necessarily be achieved by traditional FTF classroom time. A majority of the students felt more connected to peers and the content were transcended from the classroom to online chat discussion boards than traditional FTF. Of which instructors commented on that when students participated in authentic tasks online it directly benefited them in valuable and meaningful ways (p 62). I believe that after reading the article that all of the NETS-T core standards 1- 5 were utilized in one way or another throughout the course study.

Like every good idea, students experienced several drawbacks such as lack of technology skills/experience and lack of high-speed access and/or access to a computer. Finally, researchers observed that even though almost all students know how to use a computer in this modern era that students even at the college level needed to be convinced of the educational benefits of incorporating web-based instruction into learning new skill sets (p 62).

Overall, the results of the study showed that a majority of the students held positive views of hybrid learning. In addition, the study helped provide valuable feedback to better utilize this new pedagogy in pre-service teacher education classes. This is my second online course at WOU and it is more interactive and collaborative then my previous course. I am not even sure if WOU offers hybrid-learning courses, but after learning about them, I would be curious to try it out.

After rereading this article, I was also reflecting on the technological implications this study might have on the pre-service teachers’ views on integrating technology into their own classrooms. I would be curious to see if the 80 % of pre-service teachers that enjoyed hybrid learning themselves would be more apt to using/integrating technology with their own students which might have further implications for the NETS-S 1- 6.

Week 8 Hybrid Learning

This article is written about elementary students over a two-year period where an accumulation of data was collected to investigate the experiences of students in a hybrid adventure-learning program. A main component of this study was how hybrid and adventure learning helped the overall educational experience for the students. Hybrid learning is simply a combination of face-to-face classroom methods with the addition of computer based activities infused into the curriculum. In theory, the strategy should create a more integrated approach for the educator and the learners, which is what this study wanted to investigate. Adventure learning is an approach of learning that focuses on authentic real world problems and how to solve them in a collaborative way using multiple forms and strategies of learning.

In the study the researchers used a panel study approach of thirty students who had the same teacher over a period of two years for the fourth and fifth grade. The students used the GoNorth! Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 2006 and GoNorth! Chukotka 2007 Adventure Learning programs. The educator used a mixture of constructivist and direct methods that focused on authentic real world applications and an online learning connection. The students spent two days a week online in a computer lab.

Researchers hoped to find students long-term experiences with adventure learning, factors that contribute to student’s sustained interest and how technology, pedagogy and overall design of the program can affect the successfulness of the students learning experience.

By using the adventure learning process the researchers found that, students have not only learned the content but that they have also began to take ownership in the content that they were studying. Students were engaged with the project, the content and their peers throughout the duration of the two year implementation of the program. The students were also seen outside of the classroom trying to encourage and educate others to make behavioral changes consist to the content they were studying in the classroom (p 283). The educators varied technological and pedagogical approach to the content played a factor in the sustained interest in the scientific and ecological studies that the students participated in, which is directly related to the NETS-T #1 standards.

Students found that the online communities helped them feel connected to the topic studies. During this experience, the students were very connected with the NETS-S #1 and #2. Students eagerly became part of the experience both inside and outside of the classroom, and it quickly became apparent that they saw themselves as valued members of the unfolding storyline that mediated their learning (p 286). Since the students were part of an online community that corresponded with individuals in the Arctic the students were interacting and collaboratively sharing their ideas with one another across space and time. The educator’s commitment to the NETS-T #1 and #2 helped to facilitate the content rich experiences for the students. The overall, long-term implementation of technology helped to enhance the learning experiences of the students involved. I have not heard of this adventure learning program but based upon the results of the case study I am going to look into it a little bit more.

Veletsianos, G,. & Doering,. A (2010). Long-Term Student Experiences in a Hybrid, Open-Ended and Problem Based Adventure Learning Program, Australasian Journal Of Educational Technology, 26(2), 280-296.

Week 7 PBL Resources

Project Based Learning Resources:

 

1. This is a website that I have become very familiar with most recently in my masters studies called Prezi. It is a website similar to powerpoint where individuals can make visual presentations, add media content, pictures, you name it. It is a more modern way to present data or information to individuals. It is also different from powerpoint in the respect that if people are invited to join your prezi you can all be editing the project at one time from different locations and visually see the changes, and the person who is making them. It is directly related to NETS-S # 1 B) and NETS-S # 2 A) through D) as well as NETS-S #3 B). I personally have not seen it used in the classroom as it is very new to me as well but I would definitely use it in the classroom for students to use as a way to present data to report information to others in group projects. http://prezi.com/

 

2. This program is called Garage Band I have used the software on an Apple Computer but it is also available as an app under Apple. This has infinite possibilities for educators and students in the classroom. As an educator with the software I was able to create educational raps for my then second grade students in my undergraduate program, which is related to NETS-T # 2 A) and C). The students were able to listen to them as centers within the classroom and it helped them to remember important math concepts. However, for students I could see them using it in literacy with reading, speaking and listening it could also for example be a form of oral productions when recording themselves reading. On the other hand, it could help them to create an end product for a topic study there are many possibilities. Related to NETS-S #1 B) and #2 A) and B). http://www.apple.com/ilife/garageband/

 

3. The next site is called CoSketch which is a free collaborative online site that uses a multipurpose whiteboard. It is a multi-user whiteboard tool designed to give others a quick visualization and a chance to share images and ideas. It is also integrated with a live Google Map and other innovative features. This is related to NETS-T #1 and # 2 as well as NETS-S #1. Students and teachers alike are able to use this site at no cost and the information and work can be transferred, uploaded and shared. http://www.cosketch.com/

 

4. Global Schoolhouse.net is a great PBL website where educators can get started collaborating with other schools and cultures to create cooperative research together. It walks educators through tutorials and videos on how to establish partnerships on topic studies. I found it very user friendly. This is most connected to educators and students participating in global and cultural communication of ideas and information to publish their information together connected to NETS-S #2 and NETS-T #4 D) #5 A) and C). http://www.gsn.org/WEB/index.html

 

5. If educators are still unsure of implementing PBLs into the classroom 4Teachers.org is a site they should check out. It has useful information and theoretical backing for reasons why PBL should be used in the classroom. I really enjoyed the article on how PBL activities can cater towards Multiple Intelligences and the user-friendly project checklists that educators can use to customize their students learning. This is related to the professional growth and development of educators so all parts of the NETS-T #5 are applicable. http://4teachers.org/projectbased/

 

 

6.  Edutopia is another very good  educational resource for educators to use in their classroom and for professional development purposes since it has many different articles on PBL. By using Edutopia’s resources students are able to explore real-world problems in a quest to solve them while working in collaborative groups. It promotes critical thinking skills and provides a creative approach to problem solving. Again, this is related to the professional growth and development of educators so all parts of the NETS-T #5 are applicable as well as, NETS-S #2 A- D and #4 A. http://www.edutopia.org/

 

7. I really enjoyed using the National Geographic Education website in the classroom. It provides iconic media images, current research, allow students to explore topics in geography, social science and even science. It also has educational resources for educators as well. It is connected to NETS-S #2 C where students are provided with an opportunity to explore the world around themselves in order to build their awareness of other cultures. http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/st/?ar_a=4

 

8.  ReadWriteThink was created by the International Reading Association and the NCTE. It provides digital resources and instructional practice to support effective language arts instruction for all ages. This is related to the NETS-S #1 B and C as well as #3 A and B. Students are able to use digital tools on the site to help supplement their content knowledge on a subject and put their theory into practice so to speak. http://www.readwritethink.org/

 

9.  I was referred by a friend to a website called Spelling City that fits right in with this weeks topic study. I was on this website for about fifteen to twenty minutes and I could really see its value as an additional resource in the classroom. It helps students use their vocabulary words that they are learning in class in a meaningful and fun way. This fits in with NETS-S #3 since students are gathering evaluating and using information for educational purposes. I would also say that it fits NETS-S #6 B because students are using digital applications effectively and productively. http://www.spellingcity.com/

 

10. I discovered a website called Thinkfinity. It has a multitude of resources and support for educators for which I have not even scratched the surface. However, I did stumble upon a section of the site called Recursos para docents del castellano. Which is an area of resources solely for the purpose of connecting other Spanish language educators and those who teach about the Hispanic culture in a bilingual global community. This is related to the professional growth and development of educators so all parts of the NETS-T #5 are applicable because it is providing educators an outlet for which to connect with other professionals to continue their own growth as well as become part of a global community. http://www.thinkfinity.org/groups/docentesdelcastellano

Week 7 PBL for Educators

Parson, S. A., Metzger, S., Askew, J., & Carswell, A. R. (2011). Teaching against the Grain: One Title I School’s Journey toward Project-Based Literacy Instruction. Literacy Research And Instruction, 50(1), 1-14.

K-5 and Educator Development

This article takes a glimpse into a Title I elementary school that was teaching literacy in a very prescriptive and programmatic way that focused primarily on test score results. Here are several sociocultural factors that played a role in the dynamics of the elementary school; 92 % of students in this Title I school were minorities and 35% of students were English Language Learners, 82 % were qualified for free and reduced lunch and over 50% of students were from single parent households. The current literacy method of teaching left them under a lot of pressure when the test scores finally plateau and they were not meeting the requirements of the NCLB Act. The school had to adapt or face some serious consequences. They decided instead of implement and adopting a program but instead to help provide professional development to educators with an emphasis on a project-based approach to their current literacy model in hopes of raising students test scores.

This research was administered from a more instructor-based approach where instructors were asked to participate in professional development opportunities and researchers tracked how the teachers were implementing project-based literacy instruction in the classroom. Researchers also, track the educator’s feelings about implementation of project-based literacy models into their classrooms. At the heart of this study there were two very important questions; 1) How do the teachers involved in this professional development implement project-based literacy instruction? 2) What are these teachers’ views of using project-based literacy instruction?

The educators used the Frayer model as a tool for concept development that included four sections: definition, characteristics, examples, and non-examples (Parson, Metzger, Askew, & Carswell, 2011). Educators wanted to provide students with instruction that was authentic, challenging, student-directed, and that included an end product (Parson et al., 2011). Even though technology was mentioned throughout the article, technology was not a focal point in the article however, its manipulation provided the vehicle through which most of the educational development was fostered. Teachers used it as a communicative tool, a data collector, an analysis tool, and in some cases as an outlet for which their students could express their end products of learning. I would say that throughout this article it related most with NETS-T #1 and NETS-T #5 (I did not individually mention them all because all subheadings are applied) because the teachers were using creative ways to facilitate the students learning experiences as well as taking time for themselves to participate in rigorous professional growth and improve their professional practice.

I really enjoyed this article and the perspective that it had on the current situation of education in elementary schools. Specifically, asking teachers to ‘teach against the grain’ or the current trend in education to simplify their instruction to instruction with the single purpose of raising students test scores without the benefit of student understanding of the concepts. The students after the yearlong study were able to transfer their learning to new situations; it improved their critical thinking and ultimately gave them a deeper understanding of the content that they could apply to new situations (NETS-S #4)

There were four real themes that emerged from the data concerning obstacles that teachers were faced with when implementing PBL into their literacy instruction:  time, resources, classroom management, and teacher restraint. Overall, I believe that these four issues will present themselves in one form or another when trying to turn an entire program or community’s way of thinking of a program. Implementation of a new program is very time consuming especially on the scale that was presented in the article. Nonetheless, the teachers in this school community idea of PBL were altered for the better and impacted their students.

Even though I am not in a classroom, I guess at the end of the day all we can do as educators is continue to push our students and ourselves to be critical thinkers and model by example what it means to be part of a constantly evolving learning community.

Week 6 PBL

ChanLin, L. (2008). Technology integration applied to project-based learning in science. Innovations In Education & Teaching International., 45(1), 55-65.

K-5 Project Based Learning

There has been a shift in education and they way that teachers approach education for that matter. More teachers are using constructivism and fostering sociocultural perspective learning environments inside of their classrooms, more recently another method called project-based learning or PBL has also started to rise in popularity since education reforms in the 1990’s. PBL has an emphasis on the students constructing ideas, asking real-world questions and solving problems collaboratively.

This study took place in Taiwan for six months with fifth graders that all were participating in an extra-curricular science program called SciCamp. Students grouped together in four or five students per grouping that conducted research activities on assigned topic studies that were directly related to the fifth-grade curriculum. In the classroom six computers with internet access were provide for students use. The science classroom was also arranged to accommodate for group workspace as well as laboratory experiments. The students kept a project journal that detailed their notes throughout the process of the project as well as learning how to utilize internet technology to explore a multitude of resources and information for their topic studies. Teachers helped students to identify, analyze and interpret their findings in a way that was relevant to their learning goals. Teachers created worksheets, activity plans for the groups to participate in, a weekly meeting was conducted as a collaborative approach to help the students, and the teachers come together.

I was very interested to read this week about how technology is playing a role within PBL activities. ChanLin (2008) found that in order to integrate technology into PBL the students education of basic web-based materials and applications was essential in collecting, recording analyzing and presenting information (p 55). Students also were taught how to use computer software projects like Microsoft Word, Excel, Namo editors and more. Students also were part of a web-based cyber community where they interacted and submitted test results of data that they had collected with other students around the world.

I really liked that this study connected to all of the NETS-S in some medium or another. More specifically in what I have described of their study is directly linked to NETS-S #2, 4 and 6 since students are working together in a collaborative work environment sharing their resources with other and moving through different modalities of technology to research and problem solve issues happening within their community.

ChanLin (2008) described that in more recent years PBL has been growing and computer technology has helped foster student directed scientific inquiry. ChanLin felt that when technology was integrated into the learning atmosphere student were able to capitalize on the skills they had previously learned and felt that their skills were being acknowledged as useful in the classroom environment (p 55).

Researchers observed, interviewed and conducted questionnaires to collect data on the students learning growth.  The researchers found that through the guidance supplemented from the educators and the scaffolding that they provided for the students that the students in fact did take on responsibility for their own learning and were able to ask intelligent questions, analyze data and present their scientific findings in a way that was not possible before the study. The teacher as a facilitator of learning played a vital role in helping guide students towards becoming self-directed learners. Educators helped students to make connections and have a depth and breadth of understanding of the concepts and skills they were trying to obtain.

Students were able to present their research using technological tools like webpage editors to present their projects to their peers, educators and members of their community (ChanLin 2008, p 62). The study found that students actually benefitted from using webpage design tools to convey their knowledge on subject matter because it helped them organize their construction of knowledge and materials.

I think that when integrating technology into a PBL activity teacher need to have well-planned lessons that gradually release responsibility to the students as well as providing more opportunities for students to prepare and practice the skills that they are learning. By allowing students to participate in PBL activities students, they will become self-motivated seekers of knowledge. The study found that the new knowledge that was produced was a result of students own investigations of the topics studied.