Janna's blog

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Technology Outcomes Blog Post

Related (specific) Technology Outcome being integrated: C.6.2.2.3 use graphic organizers, such as mind mapping/webbing, flow charting and outlining, to present connections between ideas and information in a problem-solving environment.

Subject: Science

Grade: 5

Description for Topic A, Electricity and Magnetism:
The teacher concludes the static electricity topic with a Powerpoint presentation. Specifically, the teacher reviews empirical descriptions developed by students in recent classroom experiments chart on a Powerpoint slide. This is followed by a conceptual summary (concept map) of the essential characteristics of static electricity, displayed in a step-wise fashion. The teacher then leads into a class problem-solving exercise about the nature of lightning that prompt students to apply their knowledge about static electricity and develop a list of precautions they should take during a lightning storm. Finally, the teacher provides a sample flow-chart diagram format and students are asked to develop their own flow chart that shows how lightning works.

What is Technology Integration?
Technology Integration is the utilization of technology, e.g. computers, as a tool to assist the teacher in presenting materials in a variety ways and facilitating learning in the classroom. Teachers should use technology in a manner that is sensitive to the interests, comfort, and needs of all students while demonstrating applications for continuous learning and for future opportunities (Kennedy, 2002; Schrum, n.d.). Good technology integration will incorporate devices that will match any student’s special requirements, such as voice recognition software for students unable to type on a keyboard. This is using technology as a tool, not as a lesson in itself. As well, good integration will fit in as a component of a lesson, but again is not a lesson in itself. For example in a Career and Life Management class, applying word processing skills for students to develop electronic resumes is better than a separate lesson devoted to the use of Word or Word Perfect. That would reflect poor integration. In a MS Powerpoint presentation, the focus should be the content and not the program’s capabilities, i.e. a visual demonstration of key points covered by the presenter, not the number of coloured pictures that slide in and out of the screen during the presentation. Another example of poor technology integrations is the unnecessary use of teachnolgy; using it where it is not necessary and possible distracting; e.g. you want to present a simple diagram of a cell – sketching it on the board could be faster and easier and maybe better and a more realistic model for what students are expected to produce (compared with a fancy artist’s drawing with extraneous effects).

Barriers to technology implementation in the classroom may include the expense of resource materials, inconvenient access (booking, location, unreliable availability), outdated and incompatible software/hardware, lack of support from administration, and the unwillingness of teachers to incorporate technology use in combination with their existing teaching strategies. I concur with Beaudin and Grigg (2001) that professional development activities should include strategies for adapting teaching methods for technological use, rather than merely instruction on the use of new software or hardware. As beginner teachers, we need to be cognizant of adapting our teaching strategies with changes not only in curriculum programs, but in the use of technological methods.

References
Beaudin and Grigg (2001). Integration of Technology in the Social Studies Classroom: An Argument for a Focus on Teaching Methods. Canadian Social Studies, 35. Retrieved September 18, 2005 from
http://www.quasar.ualberta.ca/css/Css_35_2/integration_computer_ssclassroom.htm
Kennedy, G. (2002). Can I really do that in my classroom? Integrating Computer Technology into the
Classroom. Retrieved September 18, 2005 from h http://www.edbydesign.com/specneedsres/gerryk/integcomptech.html

Schrum, L. (n.d.) Technology in the Classroom: Asking the Right Questions. International Society for
Technology in Education. Retrieved September 18, 2005 from
http://www.enc.org/features/focus/archive/edtech/document.shtm?input=FOC-000694-index

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Blogging and Education

Blogging as a web publishing and communication tool can be valuable in education. It is important for teachers to keep up with the various technologies used by students to better connect with them. As mentioned in Mollie Crie’s article, blogs are a relatively simple way to create and access information (Crie, 2004). As well, teachers may utilize blogs for a variety of projects, including, by not limited to, journals, discussion groups, notice board, and other writing projects (Westworth, 2002; Hobgood, n.d.). However, if this technology is utilized, teachers must ensure student access to and comfort with this technology. For this to occur, teachers must either teach about the technology themselves or utilize peer tutors. This latter scenario can be a way to engage more technologically-literate students who might be bored by a lesson on blogging, which might be quite elementary for them.

Teachers are responsible for expanding the experiences and knowledge of students with both new and what is now considered more classical forms of communication technology. While blogging may allow for more rapid correspondence, patience once required for a more classical letter-writing process may be lost. Without specific guidelines, the quality of the student’s writing may be more colloquial in a blogging format than more traditional-styled papers. To prevent misunderstandings, it is thus important for the teacher to set out clear guidelines before the process begins. Blogging may allow students to express their feelings in their own words and encourage shy students to participate in a less confrontational environment, important components of building a sense of classroom community. However, I am a firm believer in the importance of students to learn specific written formats whether it is that of personal essays, research proposals, lab reports, or prose. Blogging is a potentially valuable education technology tool to encourage student participation, used in conjunction with other tools.


References
Crie, Mollie. (2004). Using Blogs to Integrate Technology in the Classroom. Retrieved September 10, 2005 from http://www.glencoe.com/sec/teachingtoday/educationupclose.phtml/print/47

Hobgood, Bobby. (n.d.). Blogging: an introduction. Retrieved September 10, 2005 from http://learnnc.org/articles/print/timesaver0501 (http://www.learnnc.org)

Westworth, Jane. (2002). Blogging in the classroom. Retrieved September 10, 2005 from http://aps.eu.rmit.edu.au/lsu/resources/classes/blogging/why.html