Author Archives: Candace

The Constructivist Theory and Educational Technology

The Constructivist Theory and Educational Technology

Annotated Bibliography: Instructional Design Theories and Models as they relate to Educational Technology

Instructional Design Theories and Models as they relate to Educational Technology

Instructional Model Concept Map

EdTech 503: Instructional Design

503Instructional Design Project

EdTech 501: Tech Use Plan Presentation

EdTech 522:Final Reflection

This is my first semester in the EdTech program, and I am so excited to continue on this journey and learn even more than I already have.  This course was especially enlightening to me because even though I have taken several online courses, I have never had the opportunity to teach one, and I have never felt as though I gained as much knowledge as I could have from them.  This semester, however, all of that changed and I learned a vast amount of information from each of my online Ed Tech courses.  Ed Tech 522 especially helped me to learn the methods of an effective online teacher, but I think that it will go a long ways in helping me to be a better online student as well.

While I gained knowledge from all of our projects, I think that my “favorite” project was the Moodle course development. It was a great project for a variety of reasons. I enjoyed getting to interact with another classmate to learn about him and what kind of lesson he would like. This gave me the opportunity to bring in the “community” aspect of online learning. I was also able to evaluate his strengths and learning style so that I could create a course that was customized for him. Additionally, I really enjoy curriculum development, so I enjoyed having the ability to create a lesson on Moodle, while getting to learn how to utilize Moodle as the effective teaching tool that it is.

I believe that the amount of knowledge that I am taking away from this semester in the Ed Tech program has gone a long ways in preparing me to be a better teacher. I now have at my disposal a wide variety of effective Web 2.0 tools, organizational methods, communication methods, as well as lesson plan development and delivery.  I now understand how online learners learn the best as well as how to create lessons that are highly effective and utilize a variety of instructional methods.

Overall, my time has been well spent and I have the opportunity to continue to teach and to learn with a large number of highly effective resources.

EdTech 522 Final Project: Online Learning for Adults

School Environment Evaluation

Embedded below is the School Evaluation Survey that I completed for a school that I am familiar with. This project, which allowed me to use the technology maturity benchmarks to evaluate the technological maturity of this school, was an interesting project. I was able to evaluate the school and in doing so, met many of the AECT Standards. This project involved problem analysis in which I was required to analyze the current school and consider their areas of weakness and strength. It was fascinating because I had to carefully consider things that I had never before considered when looking at the technology use of this school. Additionally, my evaluation gave me the opportunity to take the information that I gathered and apply it to a plan, or idea, for further development and utilization.  Throughout the course of this project, I considered long-range plans and how I could help to apply the things that I learned to the school in order to help them to better develop their technology use.

Overall, I feel as though by completing this project, I am better prepared for the future in which I will be required to look at and evaluate various schools and the way that they use technology. I will know how to consider the various points of their technology use plan and then make recommendations based on where they are and what their weaknesses are.

Technology Use Planning Overview

 

Technology use planning incorporates the “big picture” of technology use with the objectives of a district, school, or classroom. Technology use planning answers the question posed by John See in his article Developing Effective Technology Plans, “What applications of technology are available to help our students, staff, and administration work smarter, not harder?” (See 1992). Effective technology use planning examines what the applications can do, rather than what the technology can do.  A technology use plan uses identified objectives to create a technological environment in which students can learn and teachers can teach in an interesting, collaborative, accessible, and productive manner.  The National Educational Technology Plan is an effective resource to help schools to develop and implement a technology use plan.  It provides goals that schools can use to help create a plan that is effective and useful. It also provides, most importantly, reasons why certain goals and plans are needed, as well as why they are effective. Overall, the plan provides technology plan developers with a tool as well as an example with which to develop their own plan that pertains to their own school district.
I enjoyed reading John See’s article about technology use planning, and yes, I do agree with him. I believe that he made some very valid points about technology use planning. He seems to have a very good understanding of the way that most schools operate when it comes to technology planning, and he had very effective arguments as to why those methods would not and were not working. When it comes to applications, I do agree with his points about the applications being what teachers and students need to learn with, not the technology. The technology (computers, tablets, etc.) are the foundation for the actual learning that happens in applications. What he is suggesting is that districts take a proactive, rather than retroactive approach.  Plan for technology based on what the school’s needs and objectives are.  Start with the defined objectives, and ask the question of what is needed to get there in the most effective manner.  Opposed to approaching it from the opposite direction where the schools look at what they have and then  consider how they can cram their objectives into that platform.  The National Education Technology plan discusses the important process of planning and sets guidelines for educational institutions for planning that include:

    • “Be clear about the outcomes we seek.
    • Collaborate to redesign structures and processes for effectiveness, efficiency, and flexibility.
    • Continually monitor and measure our performance.
    • Hold ourselves accountable for progress and results every step of the way” (Atkins 2010).

It is important to choose the correct type of technology that can support the necessary applications, but what it comes down to is the goals, the objectives, of the environment.  What do the students, staff and administration need and want to be able to do? Additionally, it is key that the structure is effective and that that occurs through continual monitoring and measuring of the system’s performance. There needs to be progress, but progress is impossible unless the effective guidelines that the National Educational Technology plan discusses are followed. The plan is a key element and resource for schools as they collaborate to develop their own technology use plans.  Technology can be used for productivity, management of instruction, and curriculum all at the same time using a basic platform of Mac’s, PC’s, netbooks, or tablets. The applications are what builds those up to allow the elements to work together to allow our staff and students to work smarter, not harder (See 1992).  I also think that in order for a school to have the most effective technology, an effective use plan would focus on the short term more than the long term.  With my experience with school districts, I do think that there needs to be a long term “plan” in place, but I think that that needs to be a very loose and easy to change plan that provides a direction, but is flexible and always changing. Just like a good teacher is always changing their plan, so to do the technology plan developers need to be willing to change and adjust their plan based on new technology and results of assessments. We need to be constantly looking at how we can change things to create a better learning and teaching environment for our students and staff.  It is all about change and adaptation.

As for me personally, I have had limited experience with technology use planning. The school district that I taught for last year was all the bad examples that John See used in his article. It was rigid, and focused on the technology itself rather than what the teachers or the staff could do with it. Most of the computers were dated and slow and frustrating to work with. The school seemed to focus more on teaching what the computers could do than teaching the teachers how to use the technology to use applications to help the students learn and the staff teach more effectively. There was little support and little forward thinking. The administrators in charge of the technology development were also rather dated and inexperienced with how to use technology in the classroom, and I felt that they were ineffective in the teaching the skills they were focusing on. I didn’t attend any professional development classes that helped me to be a better teacher by using applications in my classroom. Their focus was on how to use the technology, not how to utilize the technology and applications to help us become better teachers.

Atkins, D.E., Bennet, J., Brown, J.S., Chopra, A., Dede, C., Fishman, B., … Gomez, L. (November 2010) National Education Technology Plan 2010. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files.netp2010.pdf

See, J. (1992). Developing effective technology plans. The Computing Teacher, 19(8). Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/html/john_see.cfm

 

RSS Feeds for Education

I had so much fun working on this assignment. There is nothing that I love more than being organized, and for some reason, I have managed to miss RSS feeds in all my internet explorations. As an educational technology student, this tool will help me to keep all my informational blogs organized, just like Diigo helps me to keep all my bookmarks organized.  The key thing that I enjoy about RSS feeds is that rather than having to go out and seek information, the information comes directly to my Reader, which is a huge time saver as well as extremely convenient. Additionally, as an educator, there are a variety of advantages to using RSS Feeds in my classroom.From a teacher’s perspective, RSS feeds allow me to collect information from sites that are consistently publishing interesting and relevant information, which is a huge time saver. RSS feeds allow educators to have access to consistently new and interesting information for their students. Also,  if the classroom is set up to with student blogs already, it is a great tool for a teacher to save time by subscribing to their student’s blogs.  Again, this provides the benefit of the  information coming to the teacher, rather than the teacher having to seek out the content.
While RSS Feeds provide great advantages for a teacher, they also can provide great opportunities for students of all ages as well.

From a student’s perspective, RSS Feeds allow a student to collect information on a particular subject for a project, paper, or research.  They could further demonstrate knowledge of the topic by organizing it into different categories, or folders. RSS feeds provide students with consistent access to news and current events very easily.  It is often difficult for schools to provide economical and simple access to current events and news. RSS feeds provide a great alternative to newspapers and allow students to access and read information that they are interested in, which is key for student engagement and interest.

To summarize, RSS Feeds are a key tool for any educator that is wanting to integrate technology in the classroom. They allow the user to control what information they recieve, as well as the amount of information they receive. RSS feeds allow the user, teacher or student, to easily classify and categorize information. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, RSS feeds allow the user to easily locate information in a world that can easily make anyone feel inundated with information.

Click here to visit my RSS Feed for Education.