Semester Reflection

Semester Reflection

When I reflect on the experiences of this course, I find that the most positive activities were the social media and bookmarking tools that we were exposed you. From the beginning, the course focused on responsible action in any online setting. Digital Citizenship reflected the ideas and themes of responsibility and “proper” actions  while interacting with the Web in the same ways we as a society are called to act in our “regular” lives. In other words, digital citizenship is not that much different than what is expected of adults in this American society. The responsibilities of maintaining an online presence will only increase in the coming years and decades. In education, this will require a comprehensive plan to train students in the ethics of the 21st-century era of a technology-infused world. Students will need skills and have an understanding in order to work effectively and safely online. As a result, there is much work for every adult, particularly those in education to take leadership roles in teaching young people.

 

Web 2.0 tools were applications that provide two-way communication between the user and Web activity. These tools offered new experiences for users, and the interactions go farther than simply reading from a website. These new 2.0 tools could mean “wearable” technology such as clothing or watches. As with any other advancement, these tools meant more interaction, however, they required increased understanding and knowledge about technology in order to use these devices effectively. These devices put an increased burden on private networks such as schools and other institutions to provide essential bandwidth to users. For example, students come to school with three or more devices all requiring connection to the Internet, which necessitates a need for more access and large enough network to offer service for these devices.

 

Establishing a connection with an online community such as a Professional Learning Community was one of the more difficult challenges of the course. Connecting with others in person, or “networking” is something I enjoy. However, in an online situation, it seems to be inauthentic and troublesome to me. However, I tried, and connected with a couple of groups that were interested in the same topics I am. For instance, I found a community in technology education through Twitter. I follow that group and even made a post or two. Reading the updates and taking part in the discussion of a Professional Learning Community is something I feel I can do to learn and increase my involvement in an online community for my career.

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Diigo: MVT (Most Valuable Tool)

Diigo: MVT (Most Valuable Tool)

Diigo has changed the way I interact with the Web. Although I was exposed to a similar tool years ago, I failed to consider the possible advantages in using such a tool. The online tool, Diigo, offers the ability to complete many tasks such as saving websites and recording notes and important text on the website. I can use the tool for many different purposes, such as finding technology websites for a course, searching and finding the employment pages of schools where I would like to work, and cooking websites that offer the kinds of recipes that I like. Not only can these sites be part of my “saved” Diigo site, but I am able to group these sites by topic. So, my technology education sites are not among the cooking sites. Diigo allows me to separate professional from personal interests.

Being intentional about finding technology websites was a large reason why I started with Diigo. When I went to search information about technology I found that many others shared similar interests as I do. There are limitless possibilities for the use of Diigo in education, technology, 21st-century learning, etc.

In the future, I will assign new teachers I work with to establish an account with Diigo and use the social bookmarking tool to help one another become more familiar with using technology in daily life. In addition, these websites searches can focus on teaching and learning, and for those in the cohort of new teachers, they can use Diigo to learn about the mission of the school, i.e., the Jesuit mission and philosophy. Much of the training I complete with these individuals in this cohort revolves around the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm, a series of characteristics that define Jesuit philosophy in the classroom. Diigo can help explore this topic as well as other pedagogical philosophies.

In the end, Diigo has become a popular and useful tool that I will continue to use for the classroom and my personal life.  

Classroom Performance Systems by Pearson

Classroom Performance Systems by Pearson

The Classroom Performance Systems offered by Pearson, LLC, allows for the use of “classroom clickers” by teachers interested in raising the level of communication within the course. These clickers can be used from 2nd or 3rd grade through graduate education. Uses include questioning students with multiple choice or true/false inquiries, taking polls in class, or many other ways.

The instructor can use the “clickers” when starting a lecture to gauge knowledge or as a formative assessment tool to check understanding and extent of learning from a unit of study.

The Pearson Classroom Performance Systems offer “ExamView” or a question generator software system that can provide instructors with hundreds of questions for a chapter or unit of a textbook. These are valuable questions that upload quickly and easily to the software system used with the “clicker” technology.

Together these two advancements in education, the “clickers” and the questions from “ExamView” combine to create powerful and meaning interaction with students in the 21st century classroom.

Code.org

Code.org

Assignment_code.org

 

Coding has taken on an entirely new meaning for me. Coding is similar to learning a new language and reviewing twelve plus years of Math! Tough to do at 40 years old! The games at Code.org make the code learning process more enjoyable than typing in the “char” and “int.” Each individual “puzzle” requires remembering the instructions and applying the correct “directions” to the players. The code assignment took me more than two and a half hours over two nights, but I completed  the project!
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Technology Coaches as PD

Technology Coaches as PD

The ISTE White Paper, Technology, Coaching, and Community explained three professional development PD programs using technology experts referred to as coaches. This type of PD would work very well at the high school where I work in Philadelphia. The school is desperately in need of a permanent professional development program that reflects the school’s commitment to technology and its move towards implementing Chromebooks in a 1:1 initiative this year. With all students carrying Chromebooks to class every day, teachers feel they are expected to integrate the Chromebooks into lesson plans, however there has not been a significant push by the administration to establish a plan that would provide the proper and sufficient training in technology integration as professional development. The White Paper expressed three distinct avenues for schools to establish connections between teachers and “highly effective” professional development through the use of coaches. These three different types of coaching programs are cognitive, instructional, and peer coaching programs.

 

These types of professional development programs fit in well with my educational technology philosophy. Having school representatives who are experts in technology work alongside teachers would be a great step forward for the school. In addition, these coaching programs seem to follow a “teacher first” attitude expressing that the needs of the teacher come first and the teacher decides the type and amount of professional offered by this program. The program that would work best for the school would be the “Peer” Coaching described in the third of three educational coaching “programs.” This would work best because the faculty is mostly made up of men with 10 – 20 years of experience teaching and would respond well to a one on one program where there is weight given to the relationship that develops between colleagues or peers. I see the relationships that develop from these peer coaching programs to be part of the positive change that the school needs so much.

 

References

Monica Beglau, Jana Craig Hare, Les Foltos, Kara Gann, Jayne James, Holly Jobe, Jim

          Knight, Ben Smith (2011)  Technology, Coaching, and Community.  ISTE White Paper.

Mobile Learning

Mobile Learning

 

Mobile learning implies that instruction takes place on the go – in fast moving cars, or on a roller coaster. In reality, it does not mean any of those things at all. Mobile Learning is what transpires in a learning process when information is launched and received in through proper, yet unconventional methods. The phrase in today’s world is linked to the idea that new technologies provide the perfect platform for learning as previous generations were linked to actual blackboards and film projectors. Using devices such as Smartphones, iPads and other tablets, and similar devices, mobile learning is inspired by new innovations in technology that have been forever connected to the classroom of everywhere. This is a place where students and teachers can interact, learn, and reflect – all away from the traditional learning spaces.

Learning takes place today in the scenario described above all the time. While there are concerns regarding this type of learning, supporters believe mobile devices as a learning platform engages students and excites the mind. Although there are benefits, others point out that Mobile Learning has a ways to go before it can be adopted on a large scale. Many believe Mobile Learning – which requires the purchase or acquisition through other means –  of the devices. Not all students will have access to devices as these items tend to be expensive. And while there are examples of companies providing devices as part of a program, not all municipalities or classrooms can benefit in that way. For those who appear to oppose mobile learning, the equity of  access to these devices remains a large concern. Will these students who are unable to afford such devices be left behind? Again? I hope not. This is a major concern for smart educators everywhere. These concerns should remain among the top concerns for any educator wishing to bring mobile learning to our schools.

While detractors exist, the potential instructional uses for these devices are great. Many in education instruct with these instruments in mind. However, these devices are tools. Tools that in properly trained hands can unlock virtues and gifts in previously talentless hands. Teachers must be willing to make changes and be aware of changes required  in the evolving types of instruction to captivate the learners who hold the devices. Making changes to the curriculum must remain one of the primary goals of educators. Changing the types and focus of lesson plans and units of study to reflect the needs of learning with these devices is key. For example, lecturing for 40 minutes on a topic is no longer an option to reach these students who hold the devices. Changing up traditional styles of teaching, and incorporating inquiry-based learning in content instruction will lead to learners who play a more significant role in the acquisition of knowledge.

Also, there are areas such as assessments that are also due for a makeover. While summative assessments will always be with us, there are several ways to produce evaluative materials to judge a student’s progress through a range of material. As Emmen offers, there are several ways to provide feedback to learners and data to help instruction. Formative assessments differ from the summative type by being more informative than the other kind of assessments. Information for teachers and students can result from the use of  online software like Socrative.com. These formative assessments focus on providing information that is relevant for future learning strategies. As Dodge states, “formative assessments — support learning during the learning process,” software like Socrative offers feedback to both teacher and student. These types of assessments have a dual purpose, providing data for the teachers with regards to instruction, whether to continue or return to specific topics to review materials as some students may not be not grasping key ideas. Likewise, the students gain from viewing the feedback and can then make determinations regarding the material: “do I need more study time on the content”, or “I can move on to the next topic.”

Finally, some companies like Virgin Atlantic are using wearable devices in the uniforms of flight attendants to improve customer experiences. Such technologies can inform about flyers’ names and other data. In addition, flight uniforms can be outfitted with LED name tags, and can offer even more lights – again on the uniforms –  to be activated in times of emergencies. Finally, “Virgin Atlantic announced they will be using Google Glasses at the Upper-Class Wing at London Heathrow airport. Their purpose is to test how wearable technology to enhance passengers’ travel experiences.” These are advancements made for air travel in an industry that does not affect most of the world’s population. Perhaps in the future, such advancements can be made to assist in educational aims.

 

 

 

References

Corbeil, Joseph Rene and  Maria Elena Valdes-Corbeil. 2016. Are You Ready for Mobile 

          Learning? EdUCause: Why it matters to Higher Education. Retrieved

          from: http://er.educause.edu/articles/2007/1/are-you-ready-for-mobile-learning

Nguyen, My. “Up In The Air: Wearable Technology Takes Off.” Wearable Technologies.

          2015. Retrieved from: https://www.wearable-technologies.com/2015/12/up-in-the-

          air-wearable-technology-takes-off/

Emmen, Jonathan. “Top 5 Student Response Systems that Work on Multiple

          Platforms. Emerging EdTech. 2015. Retrieved

          from: http://www.emergingedtech.com/2015/09/top-5-multiplatform-

           studentresponsesystems/

 

Connections – online software that links people

Connections – online software that links people

Project Management

ZOHO Project Management Software. Retrieved from: https://projects.zoho.com/portal/

          techprofessionaldevelopment/newlogin.do#dashboard/879443000000014341

This product was chosen due its relative ease of use in the training modules I use with new teachers at St. Joseph’s Prep. The software was free, it required an email to start and offered training materials for new users. I sent along instructions to the cohort of new teachers, five individuals in all who would be working with this project management software. Once the software was sent electronically to the users, I will address them individually and in a group setting to begin the “project” I have planned. In this instance, having a calendar and areas for assigning tasks to every individual will be the first ways I can see using this project management software.

Users may use tablets or smartphones to access accounts and make changes to calendars, update accounts, and show tasks are complete with the devices. The product is the completion of an assignment that has several components, so as a result, there are several outcomes that are desired. Each one of these outcomes will lead to the successful completion of a video, a self interview, and an interview of a student.   

RSS Reader               Feedly. Feedly.com. Retrieved from: http://feedly.com/i/welcome

Really Simple Reader sites allow Web 2.0 users to be able to gather several different news, sports, or entertainment sites and have the information sent directly to a particular device. A user can use many different devices such as a laptop or desktop, a tablet, or a Smartphone. With the RSS feed and an application that organizes the RSS feed, the user can have all the content one desires sent to one location, saving time and effort searching different websites each time information is desired.

I chose “feedly.com” for delivering content to my iPad. I chose this site because it was recommended by the creators of the video posted under the “readings” for this module. The site was very easy to use, I chose three different news feeds, NPR, the New York Times, and The Huffington Post. Each of these organizations offer the national news I intend to stay aware of in my daily. I have not always been dedicated to knowing the news, and being aware of even the most important events in local and national news. An RSS feed from Feedly will allow me to remain constantly in touch with the most recent and popular stories.

This can enhance the learning by allowing me to connect with educational news as it breaks as well as follow stories that relate to subjects I am interested in. For example, I will take time over the weekend to further investigate other RSS feeds available from feedly.com. The product, once again, is informing people of recent events that change from day to day. A more informed teacher in world events is better able to discuss matters with students, as students will have questions he/she will want to discuss.

Podcasting

Audacity® is free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds. Retrieved from: http://www.audacityteam.org/

Podcasting allows users, just about anyone with a computer, tablet, or a Smartphone, to create audio files in a Mp3 format. This format is the most widely used and can be posted on a Website allowing consumers the ability to download and listen – usually for free. It has been said by many that podcasting has “democratized” radio, taking the power from the hands of corporate radio.

The selection of Audacity to create podcasts was chosen because I had a history with the application and have used it with students and teachers to explain content and be an additional resource for users who were trying to learn academic material or a training module from the program I currently oversee, a new teachers program at St. Joseph’s Prep. Audacity is one more technical tool that I use to convey the importance of learning and using technology to aid and assist new teachers to learn and grow.

References

Audacity A quick overview for the Completely Bewilded(sic). YouTube.com. Retrieved

from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4QpD1vAJkY

Watson, Stephanie. How Podcasting Works. Retrieved from:

http://computer.howstuffworks.com/internet/basics/podcasting.htm