Monthly Archives: March 2013

Ed Tech 501 Challenges in Educational Technology

Over the past couple weeks, we read the New Media Consortium’s Annual Horizon Report on both trends and challenges in adopting technology in K-12 educational settings, as well as up and coming technology in grades K-12.  The report identifies six trends, six challenges,and six areas to adopt in the classroom.

The six trends in educational technology according to Johnson and Cummins are:

1. Education paradigms are shifting to include online learning, hybrid learning and collaborative models.

2. The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators.

3. As the cost of technology drops and school districts revise and open up their access policies, it is becoming increasingly common for students to bring their own mobile devices.

4. People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want.

5. Technology continues to profoundly affect the way we work, collaborate, communicate, and succeed.

6. There is a new emphasis in the classroom on more challenge-based, active learning. (p7).

These trends have varied sources, but paramount is that technology is advancing,and our students need to have access to technology to fully engage in their learning.

The six challenges in educational technology according to Johnson and Cummins are:

1. Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession, especially teaching.

2. K-12 must address the increased blending of formal and informal learning.

3. The demand for personalized learning is not adequately supported by current technology or practices.

4. Institutional barriers present formidable challenges to moving forward in a constructive way with emerging technologies.

5. Learning that incorporates real life experiences is not occurring enough and is  undervalued when it does take place.

6. Many activities related to learning and education take place outside the walls of the classroom and thus are not part of traditional learning metrics. (pp 9-10).

Another key challenge that is mentioned, but not included as one of the six is individual district’s constraints in terms of policy, human resources, budget, and physical plant.   

Lastly, the report reviews six emerging technologies.  The technologies are broken into three different time frames one year or less, two to three years, and and four to five years out.  The six technologies are as follows according to Johnson and Cummins:

One year or less

1. Mobile Devices

2. Tablet Computing

Two to three years

3. Game based Learning

4. Personal Learning Environments

Four to Five years out

5. Augmented reality

6. Natural User Interfaces

I thought about the trends, challenges, and possibilities listed in the report.  Our assignment was to think about the challenges listed in the report, and how one (or more) of the challenges relate to experiences in my class, and ultimately propose a solution.  We also needed to create an Xtranormal video to go along with the challenge(s).  I chose challenges 1-3, as they relate to accessing technology in the classroom.

 For my classroom, I see two obstacles.  I would like to create a student centered curriculum, where students have some freedom in choosing how they learn the standards and goals of the class.  As an integral piece of that, my students need to have access to technology to research, collaborate, share and create.  Currently our school has  desk-top computers in the library which can house about 40 students per period.  Our department also has a mobile laptop cart.  These are good starts to accessing technology, but our school has 1500 students, and the laptop cart is shared by 14 teachers.  As one might imagine, it is not always easy to access technology when needed.  In order to create a more student centered, project based classroom environment, I need to have access to technology in my classroom as needed.

There are two options available for implementing a one to one computing initiative, one, where the school provides the same type of device for all students, or a BYOD program where students bring their own electronics to school.  The former can be quite cost prohibitive, as it requires not only building the wireless infrastructure, but also buying, maintaining, and upgrading the devices.  For some districts, this is not feasible.   For example, Edina, Minnesota piloted a one to one computing strategy in the 2008-2009 school year, but realized “one to one computing is financially unsustainable” (Wong).  The Edina school district also did a study that suggested 55% of students prefer doing their homework on their own devices, rather than the district provided devices.  Accordingly,the district decided to adopt a BYOD program, where students were able to bring their own devices to school.  The district used the money that would have been spent on devices to “to train teachers and to build the technology infrastructure that would be needed to support BYOD. Specifically, the IT department beefed up the wireless network in its two middle schools and the high school and standardized on a set of cloud-based applications.” (Wong).  One concern about BYOD is that students do not always bring their devices with them or that students do not have their own devices.  The Hanover, PA district has 175 laptops on hand for students to use if they do not have one of their own or if they do not bring one with them.  According to the Hanover district, they are still working on this piece of the puzzle. (Wong).

When the Edina, Minnesota school district made the switch from one to one computing to BYOD, “91% of students reported accessing their own devices improved their learning, the majority of parents reported that their children were more organized, and completed more of their assignments, and lastly 97% of staff report that BYOD combined with a robust laptop cart program enhanced instruction”. (Walker).  It is in this light, that I chose implementing a BYOD for my challenge.

It is critical for a district to have a clear program and plan before beginning to implement any one to one or BYOD program   Studies show that to improve student achievement, any one to one program must have clear planning and implementation. (Herbert).  

The Edina district lays out 6 guidelines for a successful BYOD program including:

1. Define goals.  In order to be successful the district must have a clear picture of why/ how technology is important in the classroom.

2. Prepare the Infrastructure.  Before a school can roll out a program, the wireless network needs to in place and tested.  Schools should have access to cloud applications.  Also, schools need to have the necessary filters in place to ensure students are accessing appropriate sites.

3. Set Policy. Set acceptable use policy, be sure handbook is updated with policies.

4. Communicate with staff, students, parents. Some districts require permission slips and parent meeting before students can use their own devices.

5. Professional Development in terms of classroom management, curriculum integration ideas and differentiated products.  “Teachers should remember that there is often an analog equivalent to a student’s use of a device in the classroom. The same students who daydream out the window, doodle or write notes in the analog world will likely find ways to distract themselves in the digital world.” (Walker).

6. Address Equity and access to technology.  Some ideas include having a laptop cart available for students to sign out a laptop as needed.  Increase media center hours for students to work on computers before or after school.

Challenges in the assignment.

At first glance, I had a good solid plan for completing the assignment.  However, the more I read, and re-read the instructions, the more, I realized, I had to do.  I knew with some clarity, that the topic I had to research is obtaining technology in the classroom, but researching the different papers proved to be extremely time consuming.  Also, the Xtranormal video, although not difficult was time consuming.  I also wanted to keep my video simple to ensure that it was free technology.  It is important for me, as a teacher, to try free tech tools to determine their potential in my classroom, and free access is very important.   Playing with the camera angles was also time consuming.  After completing this assignment, I have a better idea of how to begin the conversation with school administration about the importance of integrating technology, as well as some basic information on how to begin to plan for any program.

Here is the xtranormal video.

 

Resources

Johnson, L., Adams, S., and Cummins, M. (2012). NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition. Retrieved from:  http://www.nmc.org/

Herbert, M. The advantages of Properly Implemented One to One technology.  District Administration. (November 2010).  Retrieved from: http://www.districtadministration.com/article/advantages-properly-implemented-one-one-technology

Walker, M. (2012).  6 Steps for increasing student access with BYOD.  Retrieved from: http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2012/03/6-steps-increasing-student-access-byod

Wong, W. (Spring 2012). One to One or BYOD? Districts explain thinking behind student computing initiatives. Ed Tech Magazine, Retrieved from http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2012/04/one-one-or-byod-districts-explain-thinking-behind-student-computing-initiatives

I chose the following AECT standards…

3.1 Media Utilization
3.1.1 Identify key factors in selecting and using technologies appropriate for learning situations specified in the instructional design process

3.2 Diffusion of Innovations
3.2.1 Identify strategies for the diffusion, adoption, and dissemination of innovations in learning communities.

3.2.2* Publicize the value of school media programs within the school, community, and local school district.

3.3 Implementation and Institutionalization
3.3.1 Use appropriate instructional materials and strategies in various learning contexts.3.3.2 Identify and apply techniques for integrating SMETS innovations in various learning contexts.
3.3.3 Identify strategies to maintain use after initial adoption.

I chose these because the project involved identifying strategies to adopt new technology.  I hope to share this with my principal to at least begin the discussion of implementing a technology policy and program.

 

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Ed Tech 501: Research in Educational Technology

English: Albertson's Library at Boise State Un...

English: Albertson’s Library at Boise State University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Link to annotated bibliography

One of my main objectives in pursuing the MET from Boise State is to use technology in my classroom, to both share information with students and also, to help students engage more fully in their learning by taking responsibility for their learning.  Accordingly, I am  interested in exploring the classroom efficacy of a one to one computing program, where all students have their own electronic device: laptop, tablet,smart phone, or other device.  I thought long and hard on the topic to research for the annotated bibliography artifact.  Two ideas came to mind immediately: 1. determine if one to one electronic device programs are effective learning tools in the high school setting, 2. determine if bring your own device (BYOD) programs are effective.  I decided to research the former because step one in my mind is to determine if having a one to one program in the high school classroom is an effective learning tool.  Step two is to determine what that device should be: laptop, tablet, or BYOD.  To that end, the five peer-reviewed articles that I researched relate to technology use in school, the efficacy of a 1:1 program in schools, and the potential of one to one programs on learning outcomes.

Subject Area: High School Science (Physics, Earth Science, Physical Science)

Instructional Objective: Pilot a 1:1 program in my classroom to to help students increase learning, and increase responsibility for their own learning.

Based on anecdotal stories that I have read in a variety of, blogs, and from speaking with peers, I have come to believe that each student should have access to some type of electronic device in the classroom via a dedicated one to one program.  However, my just saying that I think we need a dedicated one to one program in my classroom will not get the devices for my classroom,nor does it prove that it is a worthwhile program,  I need to demonstrate to school administration that access to electronics will enhance and increase student learning, and student’s ownership of the learning.  It is not enough to simply have technology, but to use that technology to  empower students to take ownership of their learning by using technology to learn, annotate, and ultimately showcase their learning.   A dedicated one to one program would help achieve this goal by giving students more choice in their learning, and in how they present they learning.  A dedicated one to one computing program will also help students hone their research and presentation skills.  Of course, living in the 21st century means that most schools will want proof in terms of high stake test scores; however, other important skills are developed by 1:1 programs that cannot be given a score on a high stakes test.  Some examples are research skills, collaborative skills, varied ways (beyond the test) to showcase learning, etc.  I envision interactive lessons, where the teacher guides the students with a series of questions, whole class activities, and project based learning activities.  The students then have the responsibility of learning the material with teacher guidance, and ultimately demonstrating that knowledge via both traditional test & other summative assessments that utilize the technology.

Reflections on the assignment

It took me several days  to figure out where to go with this assignment.  I knew in general, the topic that I wanted to explore, utilizing 1:1 technology in class.  I think that in order for a program to be effective as a learning program & cost effective, schools need to explore the BYOD method as part of any one to one initiative.  If a student does not have access to a device, the school can provide one in class. This way, students are using devices with which they are familiar, everyone in the class has access.  I have talked to my students, and those with laptops thought it would be a good idea to use their own device rather than one from the portable lap-top cart that I currently use.  At any given moment, several of the laptops seem not to work, adding to student frustration.

Another challenge was the initial research phase.  With the exception of one paper I did for a grad class about ten years ago, the last time I did serious research, I used a card catalog and the Dewey Decimal System to find resources.  Using the databases was a learning experience for me, and it was amazing to see how much is available.  I did find it challenging to figure out the best databases, but doing research is a skill that requires practice, and it will get easier.  I enjoyed the Google Scholar , and in fact showed my students this week in class how to use the Google Tool to do research directly from their Google Document.  I will definitely continue to fine tune my research skills as I prepare more artifacts, and share my knowledge with my students.

One of the more difficult aspects of this assignment was finding relevant articles that were both current and accessible to anyone.  I was able to find many articles using the databases available at Albertsons Library at Boise State University, but most of these could not be accessed by anyone, only people with access to the databases. Using Google Scholar, I was able to find some current articles accessible by everyone, but it seemed that many of the articles were several years old.

I chose the following AECT standards

1.1 Instructional Systems Design:  Instructional Systems Design (ISD) is an organized procedure that includes the steps of analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating instruction.

I chose this because for this assignment, I needed to analyze and evaluate a variety of articles.

2.3 Computer-Based Technologies:  Computer-based technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials using microprocessor-based resources.

I chose this standard, because in creating the annotated bibliography, I used computer based technologies to create the references, and complete the research.

3.4 Policies and Regulations:  Policies and regulations are the rules and actions of society (or its surrogates) that affect the diffusion and use of Instructional Technology.

This standard may pertain to the rules of bibliography formatting.

4.4 Information Management:  Information management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling the storage, transfer, or processing of information in order to provide resources for learning.

This is the bulk of the assignment.  For the assignment, I needed to plan and analyze a variety of articles for use to support my educational goal of implementing a one to one program.