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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Building an Effective Presentation

Google Documents are wonderful. No software to buy or upgrade. However there are a few drawbacks, like not having as many bells and whistles. From the information I could find, at this time you can not embed a live poll, you have to settle for a hyperlink. This version of my presentation doesn’t have any sounds and only a slide right transition. Since all of our teachers have Promethean Boards, I want to utilize Active Inspire features for the animation and sounds. I know I broke the rules by having more than 20 words on a slide for the directions on how to do the poll. This is a totally new concept for my teachers, so I thought the explicit directions that come with Poll Everywhere were necessary.

I uploaded the PowerPoint to Slideshare, but after an hour it is still in process. So here is the actual PowerPoint presentation. It is a little different from the Google Presentation, as I had more bells and whistles to work with. Again it has no sound or transitions yet, but this way you can see the slide notes.

The Power of the Point

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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Instructional Software

This week we were to read Chapters 3-5 in Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. The topic was technology tools in the 21st Century. These chapters provided an insight into just what Instructional Software is, the difference between instructional and software (productivity) suites, and how to integrate applications into lessons. The authors highlighted how these tools can enhance learning when embedded into lessons. Throughout the chapters there were tables of free open source options, relative advantage charts, and suggestions on how best integrate a specific tool. Our focus for the weeks project was the Instructional Software aspect.

So, just what is  Instructional Software? It is computer software designed for the primary purpose of teaching or self-learning. There are five basic categories of instructional software:

  • Drill & Practice – designed to help users remember facts or concepts quickly, while providing feedback as to whether the answer is correct or not. Its purpose is to increase automaticity of recall skills
  • Tutorial – provides a complete cycle of instruction on a specific topic.It can be used as independent study or in a small group setting for remediation or enrichment.
  • Simulation – computerized model to allow user to learn how something works. Provides a glimpse into the “real-world” and allows users to experiment without risk.
  • Instructional Games – educational concepts applied in a game setting. The primary purpose is to increase student motivation.
  • Problem-Solving – teaches specific steps to solve a particular type problem or general problem-solving and higher order thinking skills.

There are many advantages to using instructional software, the two main reasons that may get your attention are time and motivation! Let’s look at the first reason, time.

At the middle school I work in, classes are only 57 minutes. In that time the teacher has to go through the entire cycle of instruction,  while providing differentiated instruction.  It is like running a race while doing juggling act. That is where instructional software comes in to play.  A teacher can be multi-tasking through the use of technology with the ability to monitor students actual progress, instead of using dreaded worksheets and flash cards. Students who are still struggling with basic concepts or need to continue practicing skills can be using drill and practice applications. Meanwhile, you may have a student or two who were absent and missed a lesson. A tutorial such as those at Khan Academy may be just the answer.  Do you remember back in kindergarten when you planted a seed in a Styrofoam cup, and anxiously checked it everyday to see if it was growing? A simulation can take a slow process and speed it up (watch that plant go from a seed to a plant in a minute or two) or take a fast process and slow it down. You can also use simulations as alternatives to live experiments and dissections. There is a time and place, even in 57 minutes, for a game or two. Do you ever have students who grasp the concept, get their work done, and then use the rest of the time to see how many other students they can distract? Maybe a creative redirect in the form of an educational game, that unbeknownst to them reinforces the concept, or a problem-solving program that requires students to use high-order thinking skills may be a more appropriate activity for these students.

Now, let’s go back to the second reason – motivation. The students sitting in our classrooms today are much more tech savvy than their predecessors. Many of these students literally cut their teeth on a cellphone! It is quite common for a pre-school student to be able to operate a computer or tablet with ease. Students are used to using technology. They enjoy it. The same task that is a drudge on paper is generally better accepted and completed when getting to use technology. Thus, to be able to use technology to replace tedious assignments or repetitive  tasks creates a higher level of motivation.

Are you ready to take the instructional software plunge? Let’s start by exploring “How to” articles from Education World and TechKnowLogia to develop an understanding of how to evaluate instructional software.

Now that you have a better understanding on how to evaluate an application, explore the chart below and figure out just how your students could benefit from using instructional software to enhance to your instruction.

Category

Relative Advantages

Reading

Math

Drill and Practice
  • Automaticity
  • Immediate feedback
  • Self-paced
  • Supplement/replace worksheets
  • Differentiated instruction
  • Motivation
  • Time saver
Internet 4 Classrooms
Skill Wise
AAA Spell
Math Playground
AAA Math
Adapted Mind
ixl
Internet 4 Classrooms
Tutorials
  • Immediate feedback
  • Self-paced
  • Differentiated instruction
  • Motivation
  • Time saver
  • Instruction that stands alone
  • Individual or small group
Brain Pop
Learner Interactives
Math Tutor
Math Media
Interact Math
Purple Math
Math.com
Simulations
  • Involves students
  • Makes experimenting safe!
  • Allows manipulations not feasible in real life
  • Saves money and resources
  • Does not require killing or harming test subjects
  • Observe complex processes
  • Manipulate time – compress or expand time elapsed
  • Manipulate variables
  • Avoids potential ethical issues
Social Studies Central Mathworks
STEM Real Life Math
Gizmos
Instructional Games
  • Motivation
  • Time on task
  • Reinforcement of academic skill
GameUp
Reading Brain
Sheppard Software
Reflex Math
Sheppard Software
Gamequarium
Problem-Solving Software
  • Motivation
  • High-order thinking skills
  • Applied academic skills
  • Challenging activities
Read Write Think Maven
Math by Design
Sketchpad

Well, what is your next step going to be?

Resources:

Roblyer, M.D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Technology Tools for 21st Century Teaching. Integrating Educational

Technology Into Teaching, Sixth Edition (pp. 72-169). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags:

Instructional Software

This week we were to read Chapters 3-5 in Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. The topic was technology tools in the 21st Century. These chapters provided an insight into just what Instructional Software is, the difference between instructional and software (productivity) suites, and how to integrate applications into lessons. The authors highlighted how these tools can enhance learning when embedded into lessons. Throughout the chapters there were tables of free open source options, relative advantage charts, and suggestions on how best integrate a specific tool. Our focus for the weeks project was the Instructional Software aspect.

So, just what is  Instructional Software? It is computer software designed for the primary purpose of teaching or self-learning. There are five basic categories of instructional software:

  • Drill & Practice – designed to help users remember facts or concepts quickly, while providing feedback as to whether the answer is correct or not. Its purpose is to increase automaticity of recall skills
  • Tutorial – provides a complete cycle of instruction on a specific topic.It can be used as independent study or in a small group setting for remediation or enrichment.
  • Simulation – computerized model to allow user to learn how something works. Provides a glimpse into the “real-world” and allows users to experiment without risk.
  • Instructional Games – educational concepts applied in a game setting. The primary purpose is to increase student motivation.
  • Problem-Solving – teaches specific steps to solve a particular type problem or general problem-solving and higher order thinking skills.

There are many advantages to using instructional software, the two main reasons that may get your attention are time and motivation! Let’s look at the first reason, time.

At the middle school I work in, classes are only 57 minutes. In that time the teacher has to go through the entire cycle of instruction,  while providing differentiated instruction.  It is like running a race while doing juggling act. That is where instructional software comes in to play.  A teacher can be multi-tasking through the use of technology with the ability to monitor students actual progress, instead of using dreaded worksheets and flash cards. Students who are still struggling with basic concepts or need to continue practicing skills can be using drill and practice applications. Meanwhile, you may have a student or two who were absent and missed a lesson. A tutorial such as those at Khan Academy may be just the answer.  Do you remember back in kindergarten when you planted a seed in a Styrofoam cup, and anxiously checked it everyday to see if it was growing? A simulation can take a slow process and speed it up (watch that plant go from a seed to a plant in a minute or two) or take a fast process and slow it down. You can also use simulations as alternatives to live experiments and dissections. There is a time and place, even in 57 minutes, for a game or two. Do you ever have students who grasp the concept, get their work done, and then use the rest of the time to see how many other students they can distract? Maybe a creative redirect in the form of an educational game, that unbeknownst to them reinforces the concept, or a problem-solving program that requires students to use high-order thinking skills may be a more appropriate activity for these students.

Now, let’s go back to the second reason – motivation. The students sitting in our classrooms today are much more tech savvy than their predecessors. Many of these students literally cut their teeth on a cellphone! It is quite common for a pre-school student to be able to operate a computer or tablet with ease. Students are used to using technology. They enjoy it. The same task that is a drudge on paper is generally better accepted and completed when getting to use technology. Thus, to be able to use technology to replace tedious assignments or repetitive  tasks creates a higher level of motivation.

Are you ready to take the instructional software plunge? Let’s start by exploring “How to” articles from Education World and TechKnowLogia to develop an understanding of how to evaluate instructional software.

Now that you have a better understanding on how to evaluate an application, explore the chart below and figure out just how your students could benefit from using instructional software to enhance to your instruction.

Category

Relative Advantages

Reading

Math

Drill and Practice

  • Automaticity
  • Immediate feedback
  • Self-paced
  • Supplement/replace worksheets
  • Differentiated instruction
  • Motivation
  • Time saver

Internet 4 Classrooms
Skill Wise
AAA Spell
Math Playground
AAA Math
Adapted Mind
ixl
Internet 4 Classrooms
Tutorials

  • Immediate feedback
  • Self-paced
  • Differentiated instruction
  • Motivation
  • Time saver
  • Instruction that stands alone
  • Individual or small group

Brain Pop
Learner Interactives
Math Tutor
Math Media
Interact Math
Purple Math
Math.com
Simulations

  • Involves students
  • Makes experimenting safe!
  • Allows manipulations not feasible in real life
  • Saves money and resources
  • Does not require killing or harming test subjects
  • Observe complex processes
  • Manipulate time – compress or expand time elapsed
  • Manipulate variables
  • Avoids potential ethical issues

Social Studies Central Mathworks
STEM Real Life Math
Gizmos
Instructional Games

  • Motivation
  • Time on task
  • Reinforcement of academic skill

GameUp
Reading Brain
Sheppard Software
Reflex Math
Sheppard Software
Gamequarium
Problem-Solving Software

  • Motivation
  • High-order thinking skills
  • Applied academic skills
  • Challenging activities

Read Write Think Maven
Math by Design
Sketchpad

Well, what is your next step going to be?

Resources:

Roblyer, M.D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Technology Tools for 21st Century Teaching. Integrating Educational

Technology Into Teaching, Sixth Edition (pp. 72-169). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 23, 2012 in Ed Tech 541

 

Module 1 Reflection

Glossary:

Value-neutral: is neither good or bad, having no particular value, to be objective about the worth

Value-laden: based on personal opinion

Change agency: changing one thing to cause a change to another (i.e. change the use of a tech tool to cause a change in society – social networking)

What I learned through the selected readings

I read numerous articles while working on my definition of Educational Technology, but a few really resonated. Larry Cuban’s blog, School on School Reform and Classroom Practice, review of Jeff Dunn’s Evolution of Classroom Technology was very similar to the Looking Backward, Thinking Forward video. It was interesting to see the changes in “technology,” for many years, were primarily upgrades to the same basic concepts. The Magic Lantern was the precursor to filmstrips, and overhead projector merged with filmstrips to become interactive whiteboards. The major changes in educational technology aren’t so much the tools, as what we do with them.

My favorite of the sources provided was the NCREL critical issues. Several articles were very good; the one that really stuck out was the overview portion of Critical Issue: Enhancing System Change and Academic Success Through Assistive Technologies for K–12 Students With Special Need highlighted just what technology can be. It can be anything from a pencil grip to text-to-speech recognition. The definition of assistive technology with a change of a couple of words makes a great definition of educational technology: virtually and device that increases, maintains, or improves the capability of a student.

The second critical issue article from NCREL, Using Technology to Improve Student Achievement was also very interesting. It focused on the fact that the current generation of students has basically been wired their entire academic careers.  The article references Prensky (2001) and McHale (2005) argument that since this generation has been “wired” basically their entire lives, they are fundamentally different from prior generations, and that our educational system is not designed to meet their needs. I can concur with that. Many students are much more tech savvy than their teachers or parents. Pre-school aged children are comfortable using Smartphones, tablets, and laptops. The students of today have been brought up with technology; it is part of how the interact with others. The education system needs to recognize and embrace this change in our students.

Where I am now, in my professional practice and the inclusion of educational technology

Currently as the reading facilitator and testing coordinator my use of technology in the educational realm is primarily through the use of student information systems, various electronic testing applications, productivity software, and lots of email.

The current reading program that my district utilizes requires teachers to input student achievement data through an online portal on a regular basis. As the facilitator I setup the teachers’ accounts and classes, manage student enrollment, and monitor student progress. Each quarter all of the students take a computerized reading assessment to determine growth in reading comprehension. I use the classroom data along with reading comprehension scores to manage student and teacher placement. In years gone by this process was done with pencil and paper test, and took many man-hours to complete. Timely feedback was non-existent. With the current use of computer-based assessments students receive instant feedback via a score, and I can determine growth at a glance.

In my role as testing coordinator, it is my responsibility to create a student information extract from the district’s student management system. I prepare the extract to meet the guidelines of the On-line testing company that we use for benchmark assessments, and then upload the file. It takes about an hour or two to do the extract and create the upload file for three schools, 40+ core teachers, and well over 100 sections. Since all of this is done electronically, the number of students, teachers, and classes does not have much impact on the amount of time it takes to complete the task. The hours it would take to create each course and section, input the student demographics, and then enroll them in a specific section of a course manually would be staggering.

Even though I am not using technology in classroom instruction at this time, I am still using technology to support education. In my definition I included the need for educational technology to assist in the collaboration and communication of learning.  So, in that regard I do use educational technology!

What kind of change do you hope to see as a result of this class?

My goal is to develop a better understanding of just what educational technology is, how I can best utilize it to support the teachers I currently coach/mentor, and how I can prepare myself for my eventual return to the classroom. For 18 years I was a business education teacher, and used computers as part of my instruction for 16 of them. I cannot imagine teaching without technology, but I want to make sure that both the students and I use the resources at hand efficiently and effectively to improve learning. I want to increase my understanding of how to incorporate technology so students regard it as productivity tools not as toys.

How might your knowledge and experiences influence the actions of those around you?

One of the “other duties as assigned” is to assist faculty and staff with any technology issues they have. This ranges from showing them how to turn on their promethean projectors, printing a document from the Internet, inputting grades, to actually assisting them in creating multi-media presentations. As I learn about different tools I share and train staff. Some do incorporate it into their lesson, others do not.

My goal is to be able to influence the technology department and district administration to let us have our technology back. When I started at my current district we had a 1-1 laptop ratio. We hired a new consulting agency and now only have 2 COWs at my site (that is a 1-10 ratio). Two years ago teachers all had slates and dual pens for the Promethean boards, now teachers get one old style pen and with an administrative directive may get a slate. In times where technology use is expanding at an exponential rate, we are going backward at the same speed. With the accumulated research, resources and educational background I am building up, I am hoping it will be enough to convince the technology director, superintendent, and school board that we need to have not just what we had back, but have it updated, and to revamp our usage policy to reflect mobile computing.

Resouces:

Cuban, L. (2012, April 1). Evolution of Classroom Technology (Jeff Dunn) | Larry Cuban on School Reform

and Classroom Practice. Larry Cuban. Retrieved September 12, 2012, from http://larrycuban.wordpress.

com/2012/04/01/evolution-of-classroom-technology-jeff-dunn/

Honey, M., McMillian Culp, K., & Spielvogel, R. (2005). Critical Issue: Using Technology to Improve Student

Achievement. North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. Retrieved September 17, 2012, from http://

http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/methods/technlgy/te800.htm#context

Reed, P., Clifford, M., & Svedkauskaite, A. (2002, December 1). Critical Issue: Enhancing System Change and

Academic Success Through Assistive Technologies for K–12 Students With Special Needs. North Central

Regional Educational Laboratory. Retrieved September 10, 2012, from http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/

issues/methods/technlgy/te700.htm

Retterer, O. (2008, April 17). Instructional Technology: Looking Backward, Thinking Forward – YouTube. YouTube.

Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdwEIi22Dv8&feature=player_embedded

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Wi-Fi for Mobile Networks

This was an interesting project. The best thing about it – I found the answers to questions we had about being able to do online testing. With the Common Core coming next year, we had better start beefing up our wireless network now. By my estimates we will need at least double the number of access points to meet the needs of your students. Fortunately we have more than enough bandwidth, it is just a matter of boosting the number of access points. That at least is an easy fix.

This is my revised presentation:

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Wi-Fi for Mobile Networks

This was an interesting project. The best thing about it – I found the answers to questions we had about being able to do online testing. With the Common Core coming next year, we had better start beefing up our wireless network now. By my estimates we will need at least double the number of access points to meet the needs of your students. Fortunately we have more than enough bandwidth, it is just a matter of boosting the number of access points. That at least is an easy fix.

This is my revised presentation:

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Ed Tech 541

 

Acceptable Use Policy – A Student’s License to Drive on The Internet Super Highway

The History Lesson

When Internet use exploded in the late 90s, like with any boom, there were some undesirables that took advantage of the new Internet frontier.  As a result, in an effort to protect students against harmful or obscene content, the Child Internet Protection Act was passed in 2000 and updated in 2011. The intent was to block this sort of content on public computers used by minors. To assure compliance, schools and libraries that participated in the discounted communications program known as E-rate, had to certify that they would comply with CIPA. Compliance included instituting filtering protocols for obscene or harmful images and monitoring student usage.

With the birth of social networking came cyber-bullying and student safety concerns. In 2008, the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act was passed requiring the additional stipulations that schools  had to educate students about appropriate online behavior and Internet safety. In addition to the federal requirements, each state could impose further mandates. Arizona’s requirements can be found on the Arizona Department of Education Educational Technology page. I encourage you to see what your state requires.

How to Get a License to Operate on Your School’s Network

If your school participates in E-rate, you will have have to sign a user’s agreement. This agreement has several different names: Electronic Information Services User Agreement, Computer User Agreement, Acceptable Use Agreement, and so on. Regardless of the name, the agreements have required elements:

  • State the intended purpose of Internet and computer use and Network access
  • District’s right to monitor user activity
  • Compliance with all copyright and licensing laws
  • No unauthorized access, including  “hacking,” using someone’s  username and password, and any unlawful activities
  • No inappropriate (obscene) or  harmful content allowed
  • Maintaining the security and privacy of minors – no disclosure of student’s personal information
  • Consequences of non-compliance

Once you and, if you are a k-12 student, your parents have signed your district’s or school’s user’s agreement, you have your “license to drive” on the Internet super highway. Just as with any roadway, remember to obey the laws and be safe!

Sample Acceptable Use Policies

BUSD AUP – This is my school district’s user agreement. We are a small rural district on a Native American reservation in southern Arizona

Gila Bend – A small rural district bordering the Tohono O’odham Reservation. This agreement is for the elementary and middle school.

Grant High School – A rural New Mexico high school

Chinle Unified School District – A rural Navajo Reservation district in Arizona

National Center for Education Statistics – This template can be used by simply filling in the district’s name

Click here for a glossary of related terms for middle school students developed by Boston Public Schools.

References:

Federal Communications Commission, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau. (2012). Children’s internet

protection act (CIPA). Retrieved from  http://transition.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/cipa.pdf

Arizona Department of Education, Educational Technology. (2012). Children’s internet protection act (cipa). Retrieved

from http://www.azed.gov/educational-technology/e-rate/childrens-internet-protection-act-cipa/

 
5 Comments

Posted by on September 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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