I am surprised at how much I’ve learned about educational technology in such a short amount of time. It is only one week into my Intro to Educational Technology class, yet I’ve already done an extensive amount of research and completed several projects, which have deeply expanded my knowledge on the topic.
I learned the benefits and downfalls of integrating technology in the classroom. Technology is a crucial component of education and allows students to be more engaged as classroom management flows much easier. Heather Wolpert-Gawron’s article “5 Reasons for Integrating Technology” and Adam S. Bellow’s speech “The 7 Golden Rules of Using Technology in Schools,” disproved typical arguments against integrating technology in the classroom by giving better reasons supporting technology in schools. Wolpert-Gawron believes policymakers are hindering the accessibility to technology by to denying schools funding; Bellow, however, says that money should not be the issue, as teachers have access to thousands of free web tools. Bellow also suggests that one piece of technology could replace several expensive items such as cameras, calculators and reference books. Wolpert-Gawron gives a solution to the debate over technology training by suggesting that teachers train other teachers. Bellow discusses a solution to content monitoring by stating that the blocking of websites is counterproductive and propose that instead students should be trained on things such as Creative Commons and copyright rules.
After learning about the importance of integrating technology, I educated myself on the NETS Standards, which allowed me to imagine how I could apply technology in my own classroom. NETS’ Implementation wiki was a helpful resource for discovering real-life lesson plans that I can apply to my grade level and subject area. Through one scenario, I was inspired to build my own mock lesson plan, which included technology such as iMovie and podcasts, which I never would have come up with otherwise.
A large part of technology in schools today is social media. Social media can be a powerful tool to build professional communities with colleagues, students, parents and the community. However, there are some issues that must be closely monitored; when using social media professionally and for extending the classroom there are certain considerations and policies a teacher should implement. After reading several articles on this subject, I discovered several positive benefits of utilizing social media in schools: it lowers the cost of producing written material essentially to zero; it encourages engagement, discussion and collaboration between students; it promotes creativity by allowing passionate interest and personal expression; and it makes it easy to connect with others and form relationships over several different platforms. Despite the positive benefits of social media, I learned there are some issues that teachers must take into consideration. Social media can create legal liabilities for schools in regards to student exposure to inappropriate material and potential predators. Students must be made aware that the content the post on the internet could affect future employers, school admissions officials, identity thieves, spammers and stalkers.
Incorporating Blogging Into the Classroom:
Once I developed a genuine understanding of the importance of integrating technology into the classroom, the NETS standards that are involved with this technology and the appropriate way to incorporate social media, I was able to develop a wiki that included several educational tech tools. First, I researched Live Binders, which is a tech tool that is much like a real-life three ring binder; it allows you to collect and organize resources. Live Binders are a step above a binder, however, as the site comes with tools to collect and collaborate and features a virtual whiteboard. Live Binders offer a way for teachers and students to collect their resources, organize them cleanly and neatly, and make an impression. I also wrote about Google Docs, which gives teachers to be ablity to create and share documents, presentations and spreadsheets with students and colleagues. The application also enables teachers to be able to give feedback on projects created by students. Google Docs gives teachers the ability to access, create and edit documents anywhere and at anytime, even when they are offline. Like Live Binders, it also helps keep teachers organized with “add-ons” that can do things such as create labels and name tags. The final educational tech tool I included in my wiki was Haiku Learning, which is a full suite of cloud-based tools designed for quick digital learning. The lesson-centric Learning Management system helps schools launch blended and virtual learning. The software is focused on content, and is able to provide a medium for efficient exchange of information between teachers, students and parents. Through Haiku Learning, teachers can organize and deliver course content such as assessments and assignments. Teachers are able to manage their class and deliver a full range of curriculum online through this technology. It also gives teachers a convenient way to collect homework, grade assignments and take attendance. Instructors can creatively lay out and rearrange lessons with images, audio and video. All of these technologies support any educational content area and grade level, so I will definitely be utilizing them in my future classroom.
This past week of activities has completely opened my eyes to just how important technology is in school. In addition, I learned the standards for this technology, specific ways to incorporate it, concerns to be aware of and specific tools I can use. I look forward to delving deeper into the discussion of educational technology in this class and learning ways to apply it in my future teaching career.