Tag Archives: EDTECH 501

Reflection on Learning in EDTECH 501

Looking back on this semester in EdTech 501, I feel like I face two challenges. One challenge was time. I have managed to keep myself quite busy over the past several years without attending school and because I had made prior commitments, it was difficult to fit everything in. The other challenge I faced was application. It was difficult to apply what I was learning in my classroom, because of the lack of resources at my school.

One of the less effective ways I dealt with the lack of time was to sleep less. This made it harder to concentrate while completing assignments and made me a little bit less pleasant as a classroom teacher. I will not be losing sleep over my assignments next semester. I managed to deal with both the time issue and the application issue by discussing my assignments with my grade level team. They were helpful in suggesting ideas for how I could create an artifact that would be applicable in our classrooms. This was a useful technique for a couple of the artifacts. I also realized that time worked better for me if I prioritized myself first, work second, then school. I plan to prioritize better in future semesters so I don’t burn out half way through.

My best artifact was the digital divide voice thread. I feel like I did the most thorough job on that artifact and learned the most. I was able to spot problems at my school that I had not noticed before. I was also able to see potential solutions.

One thing I plan to do at my school as a result of this course is create a school technology plan. As a member of the technology team, I plan to push the team to create a plan before purchasing anymore wasteful technology. We have so much technology that goes unused because teachers are not trained, or because it is not the best choice for the subject they teach. I want my school to make more conscious choices when purchasing new hardware.

Thanks for coming along on my journey.

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RSS in Education

This week I learned about Feedly and wrote a lesson plan that would incorporate RSS. Although I have used RSS feeds in the past, I don’t currently use any. I stopped using RSS feeds because I wasn’t really following any blogs or news sites, and I could find content I was interested in through Pinterest. However, Feedly will be useful for following my EdTech 501 classmates’ learning logs, as well as blogs about flipping the classroom.

Feedly is easy to setup and navigate. The website offers several ways to log in. Once you log in, you can begin adding blogs and news sites to follow by copying and pasting the URL into Feedly:

Feedly

 

Your home page shows you the most recent articles:

Feedly home

Feedly allows you to sort the sites you are following into categories:

feedly organization

Feedly has additional tools available for a fee. As I use the free tools more, I will decide whether the Pro tools would benefit me.

Designing a lesson that would organically use RSS was difficult. Because of Internet access issues in the past, I rarely require my students to go online to complete assignments. However, after completing the digital divide assignment, I realized that, because of smart phones, most of my students now have Internet access. Another issue with designing a lesson that utilized, rather than focused on, using RSS was topic. Because I wanted a lesson I would actually use, I looked in my files and found a lesson I designed about five years ago. This lesson on analyzing mass media was fun and effective. It was pretty easy to add the RSS element, and it should make the lesson easier to complete because the students will have better access to sources.

The lesson is probably a little long. My students should not need as much practice as I planned, but I can always have them complete their projects sooner if they demonstrate understanding sooner. There are several references to one of the textbooks we use in class. I will have the students complete the review lessons as warm-ups over a few days before actually begin the lesson. My 7th grade ELA team is in the middle of testing a UbD unit on short stories that we wrote over the summer and then we will begin a unit on The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, so I will test this lesson next semester; it will fit better with the units we plan to work on in February and March.

Click here to access my lesson plans.

 

Educational Technology – what, exactly, does that mean?

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EdTech Definition Graphic

Before embarking on this journey to study EdTech, I felt like I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting myself into. Isn’t Educational Technology just the use of technology to support learning? After doing the first reading for class,I realized that I was mostly correct. The authors of Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary define the concept as “the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources” (Januszewski, 2008, p. 1). This definition fits with my existing philosophy as a teacher. Although I have to give some direct instruction, I try to create tasks that allow my students to create their own understandings and transfer their learning to the real world. A great example of an entire school that does this is Stonefields School in New Zealand. I embedded one of their YouTube videos into my graphic because it discusses learner qualities and shows students discussing how they solve real world problems and create their own understandings. I have been trying to implement some of these ideas into my own classroom.

For my graphic representation of the EdTech definition, I chose a wagon wheel because the wheel is one of our earliest technologies. A wheel can be small and move more times to cover the same distance, or it can be large and move more quickly. A wagon wheel looks like it has a small wheel within the larger one. Unsupported student learning is like the smaller, inner wheel. Unsupported, students can learn, but they will progress more slowly than with a support system. The large outer wheel represents the learning that students can attain with access to appropriate technological resources and processes. The spokes are the support system (a facilitator, guidance, performance tasks, the opportunity to use technology, etc) that allows the larger wheel to function properly. To maximize student learning, all of the elements must be in place: inner wheel, spokes, and outer wheel.

I created my EdTech graphic using Prezi.  Similar to PowerPoint, Prezi allows you to create presentations, but there are no slides. Instead, you work with a grid and can zoom in to see specific parts of the presentation, or out to see the entire presentation at once. I like Prezi because you can create a picture to show your entire idea and then move into text or embedded content for a deeper look at the topic. I did not embed my graphic, because WordPress does not allow Prezis to be embedded for security reasons. Here is the link: http://prezi.com/zrnqfnc9rhb4/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share


References:

Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (2008). Educational technology: A definition with commentary. New York, NY: Routledge.