I love the way McLeod framed the school model we currently work in, wherein students are being taught according to “the past fifty years” as opposed to the “future fifty years.” If the function of schools is centered around preparing students to be socially functional, much of the technology world already creates social environments without classroom interference. If another function of schools is to have students master the dominant informational landscape of the time, technology is that very landscape. Lastly, if the third function of schools is for students to be economically productive then, as teachers, we would be blind to teach in a way that denies students participation in the digital world.
With these ideas in mind, I think transitioning the educational experience more towards the future needs of society we should be holding students responsible for being publishers of their own ideas in a way that uses these digital tools. I think standards and curriculum are important frames within the school environment, but as a professor of mine recently said in an analogy, “they are not the actual picture.” With all of the different resources we have been exposed to, like wiki’s and blogging, I feel like much of what students need to learn to be functional citizens of the digital age is in the creation and presentation of their ideas, and should not be restricted to school walls.
The type of technology leadership skills that I will bring to my future educational environments will be centered around promoting the use of technology alongside the traditional teaching strategies. We are so blessed to be able to access all types of learners and all types of learning disablities through the use of online media and resources that promote individuality and self-motivated learning. Let’s take advantage of the opportunity to be role models as we have always been taught to be and teach our students how to grab the future advancements by the horns and take chances.
I still have one concern, funding. As important as I have discovered, especially in this class, about using technology across disciplines, I don’t see how practical it is to provide all schools access.There are already so many SES gaps that exist in schools within the United States alone, schools that barely have equal access to traditional resources. Won’t the implementation put lower SES schools drastically behind?
Just do it. Possibly one of the best motivators (thank you Nike) that can help teachers, administrators and even parents become educational technology leaders. It is truly by doing, that one can promote change and adaptation. Therefore, upon taking the task of implementing any new technology into the school experience, whether that be a very simple blog, or a richly embedded website with audio and/or video, we ourselves will lay a path becoming a tech savvy school community that drives innovation. Yes, taking this on is a huge step that involves incredible risk, time, the possibility of conflict and frustrations…in other words change.
One model that I found useful was the Scaling Framework presented by Chris Dede. This model reminds us that change is never quick, nor should it be. It reminds that from innovation comes many adaptations. And, once we see that innovation become common practice (marketplace) the actual original form of the innovation has changed, quite possibly into a new innovation. Because this cycle defines technology, using technology can become frustrating for educators. Especially when using the same text book curriculum day to day, year to year. This framework offers support to educators who need a map to follow and comfort in knowing the possible “traps” to avoid when implementing new technologies and new methods of instruction into their curriculums. Eventually as we begin to see this ‘scaling up’ educational technology, we will begin to see true change, an evolution in education.
Another inspiring voice in the field of education technology comes in the research done by Helen Barrett. After viewing her presentation on e-portfolios, I recognized the importance of sharing not only our student’s works, but also our work. In a school, teachers often become so caught up in their ‘curriculum’ that we forget to share and reflect. Sharing and reflecting provides two purposes. First, when we share and try what others have shared, we become richer teachers, therefore enriching the student (classic trickle down theory). Secondly, it makes the teacher accountable for using new technologies to provide engaging lessons. This alone drives the teacher to search for new ways, new technologies to implement into the curriculum. When more and more teachers begin to make this shift, we will see more and more teachers do the same.
TEDxASB. (Producer). (2010). Helen Barrett - Social networks and interactive portfolios: Blurring the boundaries. [Web Video]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckcSegrwjkA&feature=relmfu.
Ellis, K. (Producer). (2010). Big thinkers: Chris dede on scaling success. [Web Video]. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/chris-dede-replication-scalability-video.
I think scaling framework is a very useful model for technology integration. What struck me the most is the stage where the framework talks about making users as co-designers and co-evaluators.I think this is usually missing from the entire teaching learning process. And there so many issues related with it. The first one that comes to mind is the shift of control and authority.
I read a few discussion posts this morning across groups and I felt that most of us are talking about 'teacher learning' as a first step on the path of technology leadership.
Below is a table that speaks about the same idea. Incase, you are interested to read, this table is from article The Path to Teacher Leadership in Educational Technology available from http://www.citejournal.org/vol2/iss2/general/article2.cfm .
Effective Strategies for the Stages of Learning/Adoption
|Developmental Stage||Effective Strategies|
Teacher as Learner.
In this information-gathering stage, teachers learn the knowledge and skills necessary for performing instructional tasks using technology.
|Time for training; demonstrations of promising practices; ongoing professional development by peers rather than one-shot workshops by outside experts; inservice sessions that stress the alignment of technology with curriculum and standards.|
Teacher as Adopter.
In this stage, teachers progress through stages of personal and task management concern as they experiment with the technology, begin to try it out in their classrooms, and share their experiences with their peers.
|Online resources. Help desks and other forms of readily accessible technical support. Mechanisms to deal with technical problems as they arise; in-building technical specialists; other technology-savvy teachers who can mentor new users and provide them with care and comfort as well as information. Open lab workshops at school sites to solve specific technical problems.|
Teacher as Colearner.
In this stage, teachers focus on developing a clear relationship between technology and the curriculum, rather than concentrating on task management aspects.
|Workshops and online resources with strategies for enhancing instruction and integrating technology into the curriculum. Collegial sharing of standards integration; exemplary products and assessment ideas; use of students as informal technical assistants.|
Teacher as Reaffirmer or Rejecter.
In this stage, teachers develop a greater awareness of intermediate learning outcomes. They begin to create new ways to observe and assess impact on student products and performances, and to disseminate exemplary student work to a larger audience.
|Administrative support; an incentive system that is valued by adopting teachers. Awareness of intermediate learning outcomes such as increased time on task, lower absenteeism, greater student engagement, and increased metacognitive skills; evidence of impact on student products and performances; dissemination of exemplary student work.|
Teacher as Leader.
In this stage, experienced teachers expand their roles to become active researchers who carefully observe their practice, collect data, share the improvements in practice with peers, and teach new members. Their skills become portable.
|Incentives for coteaching onsite workshops; release time and other semi-permanent role changes to allow peer coaching and outside consulting. Support from an outside network of teacher-leaders; structured time for leading in-house discussions and workshops. Transfer of skills if teacher goes to another school.|
I love this Chesta! It lays it out quite nicely. I think LeAtta and I both feel like teachers are in a sense students of a new age. This course and other online forums like this could be great tools for all teachers and future teachers to exchange ideas and learn new technology and adpat it to their settings.
I was going to ask, do you know if they have implemented technology forums like this across any districts. I mean professional development workshops are one thing, but from my little experience with them they seemed so transient and ill-enforced.
Yes there are many discussion forums which function across content areas. One that I participate in is proteacher.net. Apart from this, Ning has a strong network of teachers that participate in discussion forums. Here is a link to one of the ning discussion boards for elementary teachers using technology http://elementarytechteachers.ning.com/forum/topic/listForTag?tag=ning. Though ning charges you 2.90$ a month or so but it provides access to huge amount of active and participating professionals in the community. If you are interested, you can try it for a month before signing up.
As I look at this chart, I see myself in the adoption stage, moving quickly to the colearner stage. Although, I wish my district would give us more time for PD. We often spend our weekly meeting working on very mundane tasks which, many teachers will disregard. I like the idea that PD ideas should come from the teachers. Teachers know what they need to do to implement new strategies or resources into thier classrooms, what they don't know is the amount of resources available to them. This, in my eyes, is the largest barrier from teachers moving from the adpotion stage to the colearner stage.
Professional development definitely needs to be expanded for teachers regarding technology integration as well as how to use specific technology tools. I was lucky at my last school that technology was a big part of the science department; the new science department supervisor was always busy adding new types of technology to our tool belts. However, she also planned several workshops for us on how to use each type of technology. This is extremely important, as many teachers I talk to from other schools have plenty of technology at their fingertips but have no idea how to utilize any of it. Worse, some of them are lucky enough to have SMART Boards in their classrooms and basically use them as a fancy expensive touch screen. It costs a lot for schools to provide this type of technology, but it's worthless if they don't spend the few extra bucks to provide the training that goes along with it.
Technology workshops were the focus of my attention at the Atlantic City Teachers' Convention this year. One that I attended was about security in technology and cyber-bullying. On this nationwide attack against bullying, it's good to see that cyber-bullying has not been overlooked. As more and more teens are getting access to smart phones, cyber-bullying is even easier (and more common) than it was in the days of old school instant messenger software. This is a type of bullying in classrooms that is happening right in front of teachers, but quietly under desks. Technology integration in schools brings on many more challenges than simply teaching educators which technologies to use, but also how to use them, how to teach students how to use them, and how to use them ethically. This definitely increases the number of training hours teachers would need in a year, but I think all teachers would agree that the PD requirements for the state of NJ are quite low (even without taking courses, it's not difficult to earn your five-year quota in one year).
Steve! I posted that funding was my concern. I mean forget just funding the technology but the training that goes with it! From what I have heard and seen in my classrooms, education isn't really on the receiving end of the money train.
Cyber-bullying is a scary phenomenon, its so hard to even wrap my head around those issues. I mean it is one thing for us to be monitoring how children treat each other on our own classroom usage of wiki or blogging or whatever the case may be, but I think we all know its far beyond that. We definitely need more PD workshops on how to tackle that issue along with how to use technology effectively. All things come with a downside, but teachers are given a lot of responsibility over these issues.
(Pardon my disjointed-ness! All of this tech talk is bumming me out since I am typing this on my husband’s computer as my computer is currently having a meltdown!)
Part of my professional development plan will be to seek out multi-session workshops where I can personally interact with different technologies. As mentioned in the ncrel.org article, “Research indicates that teachers learn and incorporate new information best when it is presented over a long time frame instead of a single session.” I often leave a workshop feeling like I have learned so much yet by the time I complete the next workshop, I feel disconnected from the last one. Teacher’s know that students need a variety of experiences with subject matter in order to develop a complete understanding of it, yet we structure our own learning around one-and-done.
In addition to simply training on the technical ins and outs of a piece of technology, teachers must be given opportunities to see real uses of hardware and software that are relevant to their grade level and subject matter. I love the idea of integrating new technology into my classroom of kindergarteners but it is hard for me to see how to use it to its fullest extent.
I have definitely had grand hopes for some of my technology attempts. I would love for my preschoolers to have more freedom to explore the computer but both safety concerns and practical concerns (most preschoolers cannot read) can make that difficult. I taught the 4th grade for a year and tried to create projects that would give my students the opportunity to use the computer, however there was one computer for 8 students to share and there was no practical way to do it.
After watching Helen Barrett’s TED talk, I will be in search of a website or software to create an e-portfolio that can approximate the multimedia flow of a Facebook page. Her comparison to scrapbooking is exactly what I have in mind, a digital book of pictures, documents, videos and more that can give a fuller picture than a student’s report card or a résumé. This could work for a preschooler’s journey from toddler to kindergarten, a school-aged student from k-8, 12 or through college, or an adult professional looking to document research, work experience, or a business plan. The social networking model (minus the actual networking) is a great frame for creating a rich, flowing representation of a person’s work or life. I can’t wait to start!
While I'm totally on board with the digital portfolio, I think you're going to have a rough time trying to convince parents they are better than report cards! Parents see grades and report cards as the be all, end all of education, (at least in my opinion). I don't think they would be too willing to replace them. Of course, supplementing the report cards could be a really useful tool, and something I think even the most grade conscious parent could get on board with!
I also loved the idea of a digital scrapbook that Helen Barrett spoke about in her talk. One of the biggest struggles that teachers encounter is the loss of learning students face over the summer break. I think this portfolio can help supplement the knowledge they are able to carry across grades. Certainly it will be helpful for them to have references to look back on when they need to. I also think, from a teacher's perspective they are a great tool for getting a feel for a student's progress from year to year. While you can always talk to the teacher that a student previously had, sometimes changing schools prevents this, and beyond that, the scrapbook provides more of a concrete reference. I think digital portfolios are tools that are going to be more and more common, and I think I am happy about that!
As my district is embarqing on using an e-portfolio system, I too was excited by Helen Barrett's presentation. Many argue about the validity of using online portfolios at such a young age, but they fail to see that it is such a great way to record a timeline of how children change. What I find overwhelming is how to get it all started. This is where I too would need to attend multiple (or more) workshops to guide me in the right direction. Also, to give me some more ideas to convince others in my team who do not think online portfolios are valid.
I found this article over the web that talks about few strategies to develop these portfolios. Additionally, the article shares information on how students can be engaged in the process of creating their own portfolios.
E-Portfolios Evolve Thanks to Web 2.0 Tools
Web 2.0 and other technology tools are making it quicker and easier than ever to create digital portfolios of student work, a method of assessment experts say increases student engagement
by Katie Ash, Education Week
Thank you for sharing the article. For many years, I have been collecting student work and trying to get student to find pride in their work. This is difficult when thier work usually ends up in a box and when they graduate from the district, or leave the distrtict, their work is then disposed of. What a shame, but not for long. Thanks to the digital revolution, now thier work can stay with them and show true growth of the individual - not the group as tends to happen with standardized test scores. And, the best part is that now they can easily share this work with others for feedback from a larger audience, which is so important when getting judged on something so subjective. I will be sharing this artcile with my principal.
Yes, I feel that the changing child, the learning student is something that is difficult to capture in a grade from A-F. Parents want to know how their child is doing in my class and there are only so many pieces of writing and artwork that I can handle keeping neat, organized, and stored someplace. A digital portfoilio could hold samples, videos of the child creating the samples and could practically be a time-lapse version of the child's learning and development.
Tara, I also felt a bit inspired by Helen Barrett in the TED video. I like the idea of figuring out what makes social networking sites so great and user friendly, and using those concepts for the good of our classroom. The way she talked about online was similar to how I learned that making traditional portfolios should be made. Just as users choose what material to post on their profile to share their life as it happens, students should have options of what pieces of work can go in their portfolio to show their progress as it happens.
Kristen, I think you are right in the sense where we are largely responsible, but I am concerned about the other things we have to involve ourselves in. I am not saying teachers won't take initiative, I just think that if districts aren't pushing everyone in a certain direction, no one is really going to find the TIME to budge. I have seen PD workshops on the most mundane and repetitive of topics. I seriously sat there with the teachers in my grade level, and even I rolled my eyes once or twice. PD workshop time should be dedicated to something more hands on and useful. We need to learn about big ideas not have the same old thing spoon fed to us just to have ours clocked into our PD WS time.
I agree 100% that teachers cannot rely on professional development from their school districts alone; they need to be actively searching other sources to attend. Districts do not require too many hours, probably due to the limited funds that are available to districts for PD as well as unions limiting the number of hours teachers work outside of the classroom. However, if teachers do not actively search out PD (for technology, as an obvious example), they are going to be left far behind other teachers in technology literacy.
I always had this idea that professional development always entailed taking time outside of class time to attend conferences and workshops for hours at a time, listen to talks and presentations, collect some materials that may have been put together for us, and receiving a certificate at the end as physical proof of our attendance to such workshops. After reading the article “Critical Issue: Providing Professional Development for Effective Technology Use,” I saw hat the annual workshop is not necessarily the end-all of possible professional development opportunities for educators. The more I think about it, the more I realize that there are different topics and content that needs to be refreshed, practiced and continually tracked, especially when it comes to skills (have you ever taken a CPR or First Aid course and thought you should take more than 1 course per year to be confident enough to step in at any emergency?).
There is concentration on the fact that mastery of (or at least learning to be comfortable with) technology is a process that happens over time, and it needs frequent opportunities to practice implementing in the classroom. How else are we supposed to become “fearless in [the] use of technology”? (Illinois State Board of Education, n.d.) The article not only suggests the need to have regularly scheduled technology workshops to build skill in actual use of technology, but also to learn how to decide which kind of technology to use based on your goals at the time and how to implement your technology of choice.
Using basic office programs is not enough for implementing technology in classrooms anymore. Back when I did my student teaching in a first grade class, I created a few power point presentations to introduce new material in a way that was different but still allowed all students to see the presented material. For them, it was a nice break from the usual form of whole group instruction. That kind of lesson may not be considered “new” in a classroom now. That’s why in our technology implementation project for the class, I wanted to come up with something where technology can be used by the students, even if at a young age. Having children contribute pictures to a math blog will give children practice as well as raising the bar for me to design a blog page, and create the habit of maintaining it on a regular basis.
I totally agree with the idea you brought up from the article that learning new technology is a process. While you may be able to learn to use a new tool and/or new technology in a couple of hours, it is going to take a lot more than that to master the use. Beyond this, it takes time to think of how to implement these things realistically into our personal curriculum and classroom settings. Simply getting a certificate to show we were present is just not enough. As I said in my post, I need to be hands on to learn; just being presented with material is not enough. Technological PD has to be an ongoing process, not something with a finite "completion" date. This is particularly true when technologies and tools are constantly changing; we need to be on our guard to continuously adapt to these changes, and what that means for classroom implementation. While being presented with technology in the initial stages of learning is fine, we need to take ownership of this technology and use it in a way that is best suited to very personal classroom and student needs.
Isn't it every two years that CPR needs to be renewed? I know I'm due for another renewal, and suuuuure I remember exactly what all the steps are... at least the first one where you call for help. You're absolutely right that a one-hour stand-alone course is not going to provide enough sustained knowledge to affect your teaching style by much. Many people have mentioned funding and in-school time as constraints, but in the end teachers simply need to engage in profession development on their own time to stay current on teaching strategies (I think we all knew this when we entered the field). I like you're idea, Amanda, about creating teacher peer groups to discuss and share technologies with each other; many people stumble on amazing new technologies all on their own and this would provide a perfect opportunity for teachers to share their discoveries and ideas for implementation of these new technologies in the classroom.
Yasmin, I really liked your paragraph about using technology to address all types of learners; I haven't really thought of that during this course. I know a great challenge is balancing the kinds of teaching methods and activities you bring to the classroom in order to reach out to all of your students. The thing about technology is that there is something for everybody. Multimedia can provide information and text, pictures, video and sound. If the technology in your classroom does not have something for everyone, chances are, it can access resources that you will need to fulfill that learning type.
Funding is a big road block to technology availability. I feel like tech companies could and should do so much more to help fund education. They make all sorts of amazing technology but the young people of the world who are not wealthy may have no access to it. We are trying to educate the youth that will be the makers and designers of the technology of the future. Perhaps Apple, Dell, HP, etc could help schools integrate their technology into the classroom to enhance education and inspire students.