Monthly Archives: August 2015

ET541 Week 7 Final Reflection

Part One: Course Reflection

With each course in the MET program, I learn so much more and add to my working knowledge of integrating technology into the classroom. I have learned about some new tools (such as MixBook and Move Note) as well as new ways and ideas to use some familiar tools (Flickr, Weebly). I have also learned the importance of planning for technology as an integral part of the lesson using relative advantage. I loved reading my peers’ posts each week, it really helped to give insight to the varied topics. One of my favorite things was looking at my peers’ websites. Everyone has such good ideas and links, and I am definitely going to go back and review to get some ideas for my classes!

I realized that there is room in the classroom for both directed instruction and constructivist instruction, and that students can employ both within the same unit. My view is that students all start with different background knowledge, and as students go through some of the directed instruction activities, they can’t help but apply it to prior knowledge which helps them make their own understanding. I can still see using both traditional assessments and alternative assessments in the classroom.

I have created several new lessons to use, but more than that, I have ideas and resources to use for the future. I understand the importance of planning and revising my lessons to determine the relative advantage of using technology. I will definitely plan differently going forward. As I think about the learning objectives, I will try to determine the best ways for students to demonstrate mastery of the objectives, and will apply the idea of relative advantage to determine the best tools to meet the objectives. One thing that I know for sure is that I need update my presentations to reduce the word count!

My favorite assignments from the semester were the lesson plans that I created, and that I plan to use this coming year. These include the Volcano presentation and student project, the Heat transfer unit,  Big Bang Lesson w/ video and Plate tectonics.

The current AECT Standards can be found below.  AECT_Standards_adopted7_16_2_2012.

The AECT Standards that were mastered as a result of the activities for this course are as follows:

AECT Standard 1 Using and Assessing and evaluating. I was able to assess and use appropriate technology tools.

AECT Standard 2 Creating and using. I was able to create and use lessons for my classroom based on pedagogy.

AECT Standard 4 Reflection on Practive I was able to reflect on technologies and lessons and develop ways to improve them

AECT Standard 5 Theoretical Foundations and Assessing/Evaluating. I was able to apply the ideas of both directed instruction and constructivist instruction to my lessons.

Part Two: Self-Assessment

Content: I gave my self a score between proficient and outstanding because most of the time my posts were full of thought, insight and synthesis with clear connections to previous or current content and/or to real life situations made with depth and detail.  Score 65/70

Reading and Resource: I gave myself a score between proficient and outstanding because most of my posts included references from the course text and other resources. I tried to use correct APA formatting.  Score 15/20

Timeliness: I gave myself a score of outstanding as each week my blog was posted usually by Thursday (occasionally Friday) giving classmates time to read and respond.  Score 20/20.

Responses to Other Students: I gave myself a score of outstanding as each week I responded with thought to more than two of my classmates. In fact, this was one aspect that I really enjoyed as it helped to build a community of learners. Score  30/30.

Overall Score: 130/140

ET541 Week 7 Assistive Technology

For this Blog post, I chose to discuss the rationale for using adaptive/assistive technologies. First, I discuss the law, and second speak about one Mom’s journey in obtaining equipment for her children.

Judy Heuman (as cited in Roblyer, 2015, p. 404) states that “for most of us, technology makes things easier. For a person with a disability, it makes things possible.” I love this quote because it is at the heart  of what we as teachers are called upon to do, help each student learn and reach their potential, and if using assistive technology is part of the puzzle, we must use it! Roblyer continues that there are “five essential variables associated with educational technology: (1) the person, (2) the task, (3) the context/environment, (4) the technology tool, (5) the outcome. In order to determine the best solution for an individual, educators are challenged to optimize the complex interplay between the variables” (Roblyer, p.404). In fact, educators are not only challenged to do so, but are required by law. “The 1997 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) included a requirement that students with special needs must have an Individual Education Plan (IEP), or a written plan for how their needs will be addressed, and the IEP teams tasked with creating and carrying out the IEP must consider assistive technology in their planning” (Roblyer, 2016, p. 405). In addition,  Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a “set of principles that underlie how to develop  technology to give all individuals equal opportunity to learn. UDL is intended to offer students multiple ways to access, engage, and demonstrate mastery of their learning outcomes.” (Roblyer, 2016, p.405). Web accessibility, the process of making websites more accessible for all users by using color coding and underlining, enlarging images,etc. , like UDL is meant to help all people access information.  [(As an aside)Ironically, high stakes tests, along with funding tied to high stakes test scores seems to go against UDL. At the heart of UDL is multiple ways to access, engage, and demonstrate knowledge. High Stakes testing is only one way of demonstrating mastery.]

As educators, and in particular educators with an expertise in technology, our job is to help all students access curriculum. While the cost of some of the technologies might seem high, I argue that the cost of not doing so is higher. By including all students we not only follow the law, but also increase the students’ knowledge, confidence, and ability to fully integrate into society.

For this blog, I spoke with a friend of mine, Cindy. Cindy’s son Jake has both autism and Down Syndrome, and using technology has greatly increased his communication skills. She also has a son, Cal with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and he  relies heavily on technology to help him navigate the physical world. I see first hand how technology has helped both Jake and Cal. First, using technology has  increased Jake’s ability to communicate with the world. As Jake has grown so has the technology. Starting with PECS when he was young, moving to Dynavox in elementary school, and now an IPAD in middle school, Jake has made significant gains in his communication. The  Dynavox was paid for by medical insurance, but once the warranty ran out, Cindy decided that it was too cumbersome and expensive of a process to repair, and Jake moved on to an IPad purchased by Cindy, with apps also purchased by Cindy.

On the other hand, Cal requires assistance in navigating the world. Starting simply as grips for his pencil in elementary school, to learning to keyboard, to his scooter, and ultimately his power wheelchair, the adaptive/assistive technologies that Cal uses help him to navigate the world.  Cindy says that it is important to plan for future needs while helping with the current need. For example, all of Cal’s classroom must be able to accommodate his power chair in terms of table height, and general accessibility to teacher and peers. Another example might be planning for  the future when Cal might require using a joy stick to control the mouse on the computer or using  touch free phone such as Sesame-Enable.

According to Cindy, obtaining the right equipment involves a lot of planning by an entire team including educators, physicians, therapists, and manufacturers of equipment. Luckily, for both Cal and Jake, medical insurance is able to cover the cost of some of the adaptive technologies. It is NOT an easy process, and involves the team. The moral question arises, what if insurance does not cover the equipment? This is where schools need to get creative working with parents, foundations, and governmental agencies to find other sources of revenue. As educators, it is our job to educate all students, and if some of those students require adaptive/assistive technologies, we must work to find ways to help the student.

References

Quitzau, C. personal communication (interview), August, 2015.

Roblyer, M.D. (2016). Integrating technology into teaching. New York: Pearson.

 

ET 541 Week 6 assignments

This week had two assignments…

We had to choose two content areas.

I chose math and science for my first assignment which was a review of four simulations plus links/comments on twenty more. Here is the link in Weebly for the first assignment.

The second area I chose  was ELA. I wrote a book with MixBook about the Earth Science expecatations, and created a lesson where students write a book using MixBook on the solar system. Here is the link to second assignment.

ET541 Week 6 Obstacles to integrating technology in the science classroom

Science and technology work well together; however, there are some obstacles to implementing a technology into the science classroom.  According to Roblyer, “authentic science not only involves having students ‘do’ science, it also includes connecting science to students’ lives” (p.323). Making those connections can be challenging, using technology can help. Some obstacles include: 1. resistance to using virtual labs and simulations to replace hands on labs, 2, access to technology, 3. professional development.

  1. Minds-on, Hands-on virtual vs “real”: Currently online science courses and virtual schools must have a hands-on lab component in order to receive AP endorsement  from the College Board (Roblyer, p. 321). More research is needed to determine outcomes of virtual vs hands-on lab investigations. Since my class is not on line or virtual, I think it is beneficial for students to do both virtual and hands-on investigations. In my experience, the virtual labs help students understand the concepts, sometimes more so than the hands on component. Many students disassociate hands on lab time from class work (thinking lab is “time away” from  class!) and have a difficult time tying the labs to concepts. The virtual labs help students to make those connections. For now, virtual labs can be used to enhance hands on learning.
  2. Access to technology : Teachers and students need to have access to computers and the internet. Some schools have limited access to technology due to the cost. For schools with limited technology access, this requires planning of resources and time as equipment needs to be shared between classrooms. With advanced planning, technology can be woven into a classroom. For example, our library has enough desktops and Chromebooks for three or four class to use, so teachers must plan in advance and “sign up” for library computer or Chromebook time. The science department also has a laptop cart of about twenty laptops. Additionally, some classrooms have laptops (my classroom has sixteen!), so if I am doing an activity that requires all students to use a laptop, I will sign out additional laptops from our cart. It takes planning, but is doable.
  3. Support for technology and professional development: According to Nagel, reporting on the NMC Horizon Report:2013 K-12 Edition, the number one obstacle is professional development (2013). In terms of support, Guzey and Roehrig found that schools that encouraged the use of technology were more likely to give “support from the school community” that “allowed these teachers to reform their practices.” Meaning, that teachers who have access to and support from the community feel more comfortable using and adjusting their use of technology in the classroom. In other words, infusing technology takes time and practice! “Well-developed programs that provide opportunities for participating teachers to build and sustain “learning communities” seem to have positive impacts on science teachers’ technology integration. Continuous support is necessary to help teachers overcome the constraints in incorporating technology” (Guzey and Roehrig, 2009). Again, time, practice, and professional development are key to successful technology integration. Moreover, Guzey and Roehrig found that is is necessary “to provide teachers follow-up assistance during the time when they were designing and implementing their technology-enriched lessons and action research projects…Thus, professional development programs focusing on technology integration should provide teachers opportunities to reflect on their teaching and share their experiences both with professional development leaders and their peers” (2009). From my experience, professional development must include time to not only learn about a technology, but also include time to think about and plan for using the technology, and finally, include time for reflection, refinement, and collaboration. In our district, we get the first piece basic training on a technology, but do not always have the time to find ways to use the technology or time to reflect on and adjust the practice.

Successful technology integration is a process that takes time, practice, and training. I recommend that teachers try to infuse a single lesson or unit with  technology rather than revamping the entire course. Based on the success of the pilot, teachers can determine what works and begin to find ways to implement more technology into their lessons.

References

Guzey, S. S., & Roehrig, G. H. (2009). Teaching science with technology: Case studies of science teachers’ development of technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge.Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1). Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/vol9/iss1/science/article1.cfm.

Nagel, D. (2013). Six technology challenges facing education. The Journal, Retrieved from http://thejournal.com/articles/2013/06/04/6-technology-challenges-facing-education.aspx

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating technology into education. (7th ed.). New York, NY, Pearson.

ET541 Week5 Social Networking Lesson

This was harder than I thought. I understand the benefits of using social media to increase learning; however, the challenges remain to ensure student safety and privacy, as well as to ensure students are creating a positive digital presence that is appropriate for a classroom. Here is the link to my Weebly page.