Session 10: Wrap Up

5 12 2011

I found this class to be very interesting and thought provoking, as I begin to look at my role as a teacher, but more importantly my role as a potential educational leader as it pertains to technology integration. The session on management vs. leadership clearly defined for me the distinction between the two. It also allowed me to see the ability that I have, not just as a teacher, but also see myself as someone who could play an active role as a leader at my school site by improving teaching and learning practices. I feel that I have a more positive outlook at the capacity I have to empower people and to show more initiative and shared responsibility through collaboration and a shared vision. As I stated in an earlier blog I already know that I want to play an active role in finding how technology could improve the school and classroom environments. I am willing to take the initiative, to take a risk on a new vision which is quickly formulating on the horizon and changing the way teachers teach and how students learn. I feel that this is because both this class and the instructional technology program have a better understanding and insight as to what is possible with my own professional growth.

Another area of interest was the Ed Norman Syndrome. I think the Ed Norman’s of the world are probably well meaning but then they end up significantly hindering the needs and goals of the institution.  As an educational leader I could work closely with “Ed” whoever they may be to clearly understand their role in supporting technology integration for both teachers and students.

The session on data driven decision making challenged me to look at data a more constructive eye in how it can be used effectively as I use the data as both a teacher and future leader in guiding decisions on improving students and schools.  I agree with Dr. Newberry in that there needs to be high quality data, and that you have good leadership that will make sure the technology/tools that are used are not a burden to teachers.  As a leader I need to recognize that their time is precious, but at the same time without the availability of high-quality data and technical assistance, data has the potential to become misinformation or questionable validity. 

Of extreme interest to me was the session on barriers to technology use. I say this because this is an area of focus in my own research for master’s thesis project. Granted, it is from the perspective of parents and students, but some of the characteristics are remarkably similar. As a result of this session I clearly recognize the problems or barriers that prevent or hinder technology integration. I feel more able to address these barriers and perhaps do something about them.

This class also showed me the importance of good, sound professional development that is relevant and meaningful. Like many things professional development needs to be designed, developed, and delivered with established performance goals that can be met with careful planning. Needless to say there is both good and bad professional development, but good leadership can  ascertain between two and provide training that will meet the needs, goals, and objectives of the institution.

I particularly enjoyed reading the blogs, and learned a great deal from other students in the class. It gave me great insight as to my own potential as an educational leader. I found their words and ideas to be very encouraging.

As for my projects, I felt I could have gotten more done with my thesis project if I had pushed myself more. I say this because if I am going to be an educational leader I am going to need take more initiative and push myself if I am going to be effective at all. That is my challenge! I am a few steps closer, but I need to bring this chapter to a close in both my personal life and this thesis project. Even so, I feel I have grown  in the way I look at things with a fresh perspective, and that there are possibilities out there waiting for me just waiting for me to reach out and grab them.  It has really given me a clear vision of what is in store for me and my potential as a educational leader to empower myself and others .

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Session 9: Professional Development

4 12 2011

I apologize for the tardiness of this blog in advance as I have been bogged down with work and life.

In the years I have been teaching, I have been exposed to a number of professional trainings. I have indeed had my share of both excellent and poor training experiences.

Professional development is an integral part of the teaching profession that allows teachers to actively engage in new skills that promote the growth and effectiveness of the teacher. If planned well, and implemented correctly, professional development has the capacity to add opportunity and value to the teacher that is looking to grow professionally. But, on the other hand, if professional development is not planned and implemented it tends to hinder growth in the eyes of the teacher.

With this in mind, I wanted to briefly highlight both the good and poor examples of professional development as stated by Dr. Newberry before going into my personal examples.

Good Professional Development

  • Improves the use of technology at the institution by enhancing the ability of those receiving the training to perform tasks that meet the needs of the institution.
  • Increases confidence of individual to use the technology.
  • Recognizes how technology is relevant to their job.
  • Makes job easier and using technology where they couldn’t before.
  • Measurable differences where learning take place almost immediately.

Poor Professional Development

  • Technology fails to make improvements at the institution.
  • Fails to connect technology to tasks that are important to the mission of the institution.
  • Recipients of training are unsure of how technology fits into their job.
  • Recipients less willing to use technology because it is deemed irrelevant or extra work.

Like I’ve said before I’ve had quite a bit of training as a teacher. Much of this training has been directly connected to technology. Some years, and a few schools ago, I participated in 21st Century grant where we were given laptop computers. In order for us to retain our laptops we had to attend a number of workshops on using various software packages that we could begin using in our classrooms right away. Each session was different. We met at the district office in the technology department in small intimate conference rooms where there were about 10 to 12 teachers. After each training session we were given a homework assignment where we had to document our use of the software with a project or example of how we would use the software in the classroom. When we would show up for the next session we would critique our assignments with the other teachers and the instructor as a way of getting feedback. I found this training to be most helpful, and I quickly became more confident with the technology. The instructor could easily move around the conference table and help us if we got stuck or needed to clarify something. I knew immediately how relevant the technology could be to me and my students. I found out that I could do things that I never thought possible in the way I teach by using technology. The instructors were readily available to help in any way. Often times they would come out to the school site to check on us or help us with a project that we were working on with our students. I found the training to be very personable, relevant, and had really helped me develop my technology skills.

Needless to say I’ve also had my share of what I felt was mediocre training. Again, the trainings were at the district office in the technology department. This time they were held in a larger setting in the computer lab. Often times you would have to sign up. Many times there would be between 25-30 teachers. We had training available in the newest versions of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, United Streaming(now known as Discovery Education), Encyclopedia Britanica Online, and Podcasting. Each training lasted about and hour or so. They were not very formal, and the instructors would often go over the material rather at a brisk pace. Often times I would look at teachers around me who were either confused or lost completely. That is not to say that there weren’t teachers that were very adept in the use of technology, but it seemed that they were in the minority There was no real in-depth training per se. The instructors essentially went over the basics, leaving teachers to experiment and train themselves at their school sites for more complex uses of the software. Because of the amount of teachers and the configuration of the room, mobility around the lab often limited the instructor to the front of the room. There was no real follow up after the initial training. I think what these training sessions failed to accomplish is how these technologies would make improvements at the school site level. I also felt that the mission of the technology department at the district levels didn’t necessarily correlate to the goals and mission of each school site, but that is my personal opinion. I feel that these trainings left teachers wondering how the technology relates to their jobs.

The district even had a mentoring program for which I was chosen to participate in and was paid for in addition to my teaching duties. My job was to help other teachers at my school site and a couple of other school sites in helping them integrate and use technology in their classrooms. I was in charge of about a dozen teachers. I was responsible for contacting them and letting them know that I was available to help them. The thing was that I never got any real guidance from the technology department. All they wanted was documentation of my hours, but never really contacted me. We did have meetings occasionally, where we talked about our progress, but I never really got much from them. Unfortunately, I only had a couple of teachers that actually contacted me for help. I felt I could have really helped teachers more if there were definite goals in place that met the needs of each teacher and school.

This takes me to the characteristics of good professional development. It is so important to train to the mission and goals. Technology is simply a versatile tool to accomplish those goals. Another key ingredient to good training is contextualizing the training so that it is relevant to the actual job the person is doing. It is pointless otherwise. Indivualizing training whenever possible allows for more authentic assessment, troubleshooting, and any unexpected glitches. That is why I found the first training experience more positive, because I felt the training was more personalized. I thought the first training sessions had clearer objectives, and could measure effectiveness more readily over time because the instructors could track our proficiency and effectiveness better in a small setting. Training was definitely done in small units which proved to be more effective than one big training. In the first training I always felt that the instructors clearly stated the objectives and expectations of each session. Though both trainings offered hands-on training I found the small setting to work better for my own personal needs and interests.

In looking at professional development from the standpoint of educational leadership it is important to have clear objectives and goals as to how the technology can be used. Effective models of performance need to be in place to insure best practices throughout training. A good leader will establish performance goals that adhere to the training in order to meet the goals. Just as a designer designs, and delivers through technology, so must a good educational leader do the same with professional development. Even during hard fiscal times leaders need to provide, implement, evaluate, and budget for opportunities for professional development. Often training is one of the first things to be cut. That is why I feel that training should be localized more at school sites that meet the needs and goals of each school. Good leadership could make play an integral role in making this happen.

Activity Log:

I listened to Dr. Newberry’s podcast on Professional  Development.

I responded to Dr. Newberry’s podcast on my blog.

Unfortunately I did not respond to anyone’s blog for this session, but still may for Session 10.

Waiting to hear back from Dr. Baek on IRB application,

She still has my Chapters 1,3,4, and abstract for review.

I am still working on but have not completed Chp.2

 





Session 8: Data Driven Decision Making

13 11 2011

As always I find myself looking up more information on the topics that Dr. Newberry discusses on his podcasts, and which he often encourages we do. This was no exception. I found myself knowing little about data driven decision-making (DDDM), even though it is becoming more prevalent in the educational community, and I have witnessed it more at my own school site. I know it is important, but perhaps it’s this whole idea of taking information and turning it into numbers. My own personal feeling is that it de-humanizes things to a certain degree, since a great deal of our data deals with students. As I embrace technology I often find sometimes that it takes away how we relate to each other on a human level. So, I guess I struggle with this as a teacher, and a potential educational leader. That being said I wanted to find more information about the topic.

  In an occasional paper, published by the RAND Corp., the authors stated that, “In recent years, the education community has witnessed increased interest in data-driven decision making (DDDM)— making it a mantra of educators from the central office, to the school, to the classroom. DDDM in education refers to teachers, principals, and administrators systematically collecting and analyzing various types of data, including input, process, outcome and satisfaction data, to guide a range of decisions to help improve the success of students and schools. Achievement test data, in particular, play a prominent role in federal and state accountability policies. Implicit in these policies and others is a belief that data are important sources of information to guide improvement at all levels of the education system and to hold individuals and groups accountable. New state and local test results are adding to the data on student performance that teachers regularly collect via classroom assessments, observations, and assignments.”

 The paper goes on to talk about how (DDDM) is modeled after successful practices from industry and manufacturing, such as Total Quality Management, Organizational Learning, and Continuous Improvement, which emphasize that organizational improvement is enhanced by responsiveness to various types of data. I found this information interesting because I find education is, or is becoming more business like in its own infrastructure. As things become more automated; even data, this will become even more obvious.

 I agree with Dr. Newberry in that there needs to be high quality data, and that you have good leadership that will make sure the technology/tools that are used are not a burden to teachers, especially their valuable time. Without the availability of high-quality data and technical assistance, data has the potential to become misinformation or questionable validity.

What I thought was useful was the research questions used. I feel that these questions could also be used by administrators and teachers in evaluating performance of students and in decision-making process. They are as follows:

 • What types of data are administrators and teachers

  using?

• How are administrators and teachers using these

  data?

• What kinds of support are available to help with

  data use?

• What factors influence the use of data for decision

  making?

 I could probably go on talking just about DDDM itself, but unfortunately that is not the assignment. I just thought I would provide a little information here. Instead, Dr. Newberry wanted us to think of a way that we could use DDDM in both a positive and negative way, and how educational leadership factors into both of these.

 I would personally like to see is an automated system that provides progress reports, such as report cards, or monthly updates, or even IEP information that makes it more readily available for teachers to input data, and for parents to access that information. The current system is using is entering student progress information directly into a database where principals can review and approve content. Report cards and IEPs, and other documents can be printed from the system for distribution to parents. Either on hard copy or electronically managing student progress reports can be a document intensive process involving a large investment in teacher time. This is what I consider to be a negative, and which is evident in our own district. I believe leadership is suppose to make sure the tools that are put into place don’t place an extra burden on teachers time in the classroom. So, the challenges I see here are (1) reduce time and costs to create and distribute student progress reports, (2) give teachers more time to work with students, (3) adopt technology solutions that will be easy to learn, and be more efficient to implement, (4) provide better accuracy on report cards, and (5) help ensure that the district is in compliance with state regulations. I feel a good leader can meet these challenges.

 So, what would be a possible solution? In reading some additional information I found that many school districts are streamlining this process by use of an automated system that creates, distributes, and archives student progress reports by using Adobe Acrobat software and Adobe Portable Document Format(PDF). This way, teachers can convert reports to forms using PDFs. Teachers can fill out the forms, route them electronically to principals for approval and sign off, print the documents for students and parents, and even archive the reports. What is also wonderful about this platform and application is that it moves fairly easy through varied computing environments. I find this to be a positive way where DDDM could work. Leadership could provide collaboration and training to implement this program. You would have an efficient process management system and readily available electronic forms for the teacher to use.

 The results would definitely work in favor of the teacher.(1) It gives the teacher more time to spend with the students, (2) it provides electronic solutions to complete and manage student progress, (3) improves security of confidential records, (4) provides accuracy on student report cards, and (5) streamlines compliance and quicker access to student records in reliable archives.

 This is what I would like to see. Our current system is antiquated, and data appears to be scattered. Whether this is the case I cannot say, but I would like to learn more about the process, and how it could possibly be run more efficiently through dialogue, collaboration, and solid decision making from leadership and those they serve.

 Activity Log:

 I listened to Dr. Newberry’s podcast.

 I responded to podcast on my blog.

 I read 3 other student blogs.

 I responded to 3 student blogs.

 I worked on revisions to IRB to send out this week.

 I worked on Chp. 2 Lit Review





Session 7: The Ed Norman Syndrome

6 11 2011

If you were to run into the Ed Norman Syndrome where you work, what would the issues be? What would Ed Norman be doing to try and preserve and protect the infrastructure? As an educational leader how would you resolve the situation?

It has been my experience of running into the “Ed Norman Syndrome” where I work. Namely, the district is, I feel, overly protective of it’s infrastructure, in the sense that it controls a great deal of what we can or cannot do, even though it is for educational purposes. These limitations often hinder the teachers’ ability to access certain websites or educational materials that would be beneficial and effective in providing useful and meaningful information to their students.

Ultimately, it affects the client (the student). This is something that was talked about at the Ed Tech Conference this past weekend. We give students the technology, but then districts like mine restrict the use of the technology. Why give them the tools, but then limit or restrict how they use the technology? In this sense both teachers and students become discouraged in its use. I believe it also hinders creativity and critical thinking in both the teaching and learning spectrums by not allowing the use of technology in meaningful ways.

One of the big issues that I run into with the Ed Norman Syndrome at work is not being able to access certain websites that I feel could have valid information are blocked by the district for one reason or another. The other issue is loading of software, although this is more a minor issue, since we do have a certain capacity to load software. As teachers, we should be given the ability to install software, or have access to websites in an effort to use technology as a tool to teach more effectively, and engage students more readily. Too often, you have to go through so many channels to make this happen. It seems strange to me that on one hand we are considered highly qualified teachers, but on the other hand, the district doesn’t seem to trust us.

Being an educational leader I would focus my attention on talking to “Ed” about solutions that would meet the needs of the school community. Primarily, teachers should be allowed more freedom to pick and choose information on the Internet that is suitable for students. I feel more control should be given at the local school site. It should be understood that “Ed” is there to support technology integration that meets the needs of both students and teachers.

 

Activity Log:

Listened to Dr. Newberry’s podcast

Wrote blog response

Attended Ed Tech Conference on 11/5/11

Read 3 student blogs

Responded to 3 student blogs

Received feedback from Mike Gillespie from IRB office

Need to make some minor revisions on IRB then send to Dr. Baek for approval, then upon approval re-submit

Worked on Lit Review

 





Session 6: Barriers to Technology Use

30 10 2011

Interestingly enough, the issue of barriers to technology integration and use has been an issue that has gotten under my skin as well. I’m so glad that Dr. Newberry talked about in his podcast this week. It seems teachers are faced with a number of challenges in using technology effectively. He talked specifically about three areas that seem to affect teachers the most in their use of technology. These areas are:

  • The lack of technology
  • The lack of release time to design and develop technology-enhanced lessons
  • The lack of time in the school schedule for students to work with technology effectively

Needless to say, I have experienced all of these issues at varying degrees from the past up to the present. But, before I talk about my own experiences more extensively, I went online to do some additional research and reading. I found some other areas that seem to correlate with being barriers to technology use. Some of these areas are very similar to what Dr. Newberry talked about. These include:

  • Resources– If teach­ers don’t have tech­nol­ogy, how can we expect them to inte­grate it effectively.
  • Knowl­edge and skills-This is why pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment is so impor­tant.  Edu­ca­tors need to be given sup­port to develop appro­pri­ate knowl­edge and skills.
  • Institution-This bar­rier deals with lead­er­ship or insti­tu­tional level bar­ri­ers such as scheduling.
  • Atti­tudes and beliefs– With any change, cre­at­ing a sense of urgency and hav­ing a vision are essen­tial. Both com­po­nents can help develop appro­pri­ate atti­tudes and beliefs.
  • Assessment-The focus on high stakes assess­ments has caused some to believe that they are unable to take the time to inte­grate tech­nol­ogy in their classes. In addi­tion high stakes test­ing can cause tech­nol­ogy to be used for facil­i­tat­ing assess­ment rather than teach­ing and learning.
  • Sub­ject culture– The cul­ture of cer­tain sub­ject areas don’t value tech­nol­ogy or under­stand how it can be inte­grated in their curriculum.

Whether schools are one-to-one or not, it is impor­tant to really think about these bar­ri­ers. Too often, money is spent wisely on tech­nol­ogy that is sim­ply not used, or not used to its fullest potential.

Now, getting back to my own experiences, I’ve dealt with these issues at one level or another. As far as the lack of technology resources, there have been times in my classroom where I had little or no technology. Currently, I have 9 desktop computers, 4 thin clients that work through a blade system network at the district level, and LCD projector, a voice amplification system, a digital reader,2 printers, and a responder system for testing/assessment. I feel that there is sufficient hardware. Even with all of these things in my room there are deficiencies. Out of the 9 computers in my room 4 are not hooked up. The thin clients are unreliable at best. Sometimes they work; sometimes they don’t based on the district network. My responder system is not working properly. One of my printers is not hooked up, even though I had it working last year. The remaining computers frequently have problems as well.

As far as software, many of the computers software programs are outdated. I haven’t had too much problem downloading software, although I have had software downloads blocked by the district server on occasion. There are times when teachers want access to certain types of software, only to be turned down, or it takes a lengthy process to get it as Dr. Newberry stated. Often times software can be updated or newly installed remotely by the district. What I find unfair is that the district technology department has access to many more types of software that teachers are not allowed to have access to. I have a problem with that.

Lack of release time is another big issue. We never seem to have enough time to fully design, develop, and implement technology-enhanced lessons. But, if you are into technology as much as I am you find ways to somehow get it done. This often takes time during prep schedule or after school and sometimes weekends.

I agree with Dr. Newberry in that there needs to be more training and professional development in K-12 schools. With severe budget cuts in education many school districts have cut back on training; ours included. The training that I have received from the district has been at a very basic level at best. I don’t feel that the training is specific or in-depth enough for teachers’ needs.

Time to use technology in the classroom, where students can learn and utilize technology more effectively has become very difficult. As Dr. Newberry stated, particularly, but not limited to California, curriculum is being scripted which often limits the availability or use of the technology, whereby students can work independently. This is the case with our school district. Also, because there is specific focus on language arts and math, little time is left for other curricular areas where technology use could have a dramatic impact on learning.

What I find interesting is that at no time has anyone really fully communicated to me how the technology should be used in the classroom. From the district level down to the local school site I have never felt any real guidance when it comes to technology use. Of course there have been suggestions, but no real direction. It seems that teachers are the ones required to come up with uses for the technology. I guess this would give the teacher a certain amount of control and creative license.

One of the biggest barriers for me is the educational institution itself. Specifically, I am talking about the district level, but I’m sure it reflects the county and state level too. I think so much can be accomplished, and technology integration and its use could be maximized if there wasn’t so much red tape and bureaucracy at the top, that for one reason or another bogs things down.

This leads me to another issue which is attitude and beliefs. If the leadership doesn’t have a clear vision and sense of urgency then things get tied up. I know leadership has a certain vision, but it should be a vision that communicates effectively to teachers the mission on an ongoing basis. I have been part of this process at the district level. The problem is it shouldn’t be something pulled out every couple of years, dusted off, and looked at. It should be clear vision that is in front of us at all times, and not just as mission statements for the district office. Everyone should be focused on the same clear vision. I just don’t feel a sense of urgency.

This brings me to what I would do about many of these barriers that hinder technology use. First, I would make sure that our school site had a technology plan, and that the plan had a clear focus and vision of what technology integration is essential and meets both the needs of the teachers and staff, as well as, the students. Next, I would create a core of teachers that would become experts in a number of different areas in technology with both hardware and software. These should be your go-to people. They should also become your trainers. More control of training should be given to local school sites. This would take some of the burden off the district technology department. Training should not be exclusive to the district office. Finally, I would create a database of lessons created by teachers for teachers that utilize technology in the lessons. Currently, there is this type of database at the state level, but I think if you create lessons locally at the school site it will empower teachers. By empowering teachers, we can in turn empower our students.

Reference:

Hew, K. F., & Brush, T. (2007). Inte­grat­ing Tech­nol­ogy into K-12 Teach­ing and Learn­ing: Cur­rent Knowl­edge Gaps and Rec­om­men­da­tions for Future Research. Edu­ca­tional Tech­nol­ogy Research and Devel­op­ment, 55(3), 223–252.

 

Activity Log:

1. Listened to Dr. Newberry’s podcast on barriers to technology use.

2. Responded to podcast question on my blog.

3. Responded to 3 other student blogs.

4. Signed off and turned in IRB application at CSUSB main campus

   this past Tuesday. Waiting to hear back.

5. Abstract and Chapters 1, 3, and 4 turned in to Dr. Baek two

   weeks ago. I am waiting to hear back from her.

6. Worked on my Chapter 2 Literature Review.





SESSION 5: Best Practices

24 10 2011

I found Dr. Newberry’s podcast on best practices for technology integration in education to be very interesting, as I begin to reflect upon my own best practices in the classroom. I felt I needed to do a little more research to fully understand Dr. Newberry’s message as we move closer to becoming educational leaders in our own right.

As I looked at the research there were a number of key areas that stood out the most often. They are (1)technology integration into the curriculum and instructional environment,(2)technology access/infrastructure,(3)technology professional development, and (4)technology literacy and standards.

Studies have shown that, when integrated meaningfully into curriculum and instruction, technology can positively impact student learning and achievement.  Decades of research has shown drill and practice programs to be effective in reinforcing basic skills and boosting student performance in specific areas. (Boster, Meyer, Roberto, & Inge 2002). Recently, research has shown more and more how integrating curriculum-based student-centered classroom activities, tools such as word processors, spreadsheets, databases, modeling and presentation software can promote the development of such 21st century skills as communication, collaboration, and analytical thinking.

Therefore, the meaningful use of technology integrated into the classroom refers, to the process of matching the most effective tool with the most effective pedagogy to achieve the learning goals of a particular lesson. Each tool brings different opportunities to the learning environment and involves a different set of skills on the part of teachers and students.

The technology infrastructure is either a district or school  which provides the foundation upon which all educational and administrative technology efforts must rely. The design and functionality of a school’s infrastructure largely determines the possibilities for teachers, students, administrators and parents to do with the equipment they have. Similarly, the number, type, location, and flexibility of technology tools in a school will either enable or avert the kinds of integral uses of technology.

As stated earlier, it vitally important to integrate technology in meaningful ways by matching instructional tools with curricular goals, in an effort to show favorable student outcomes and instructional practice. It is necessary to choose the “right” tool for a particular learning task, but at the same time, have a familiarity with the availability of tools out there, and an understanding of how the tools can support the necessary growth of knowledge and skills. Over the years, many studies have documented the pivotal role of technology professional development in enabling schools to realize the value of investments in technology. (Office of Technology Assessment, 1995; Coley, Cradler, & Engel, 1997; Silverstein et al., 2000; Sandholtz, 2001) Teachers who participate in regular, hands-on training that addresses important issues of curriculum and pedagogy in addition to the typical technical “how-tos”  are those most likely to use technology in ways that promote higher order thinking in the classroom. (National Center for Education Statistics 1999).

A necessary first step for a professional development program aimed at integrating cutting edge technologies is to provide teachers with a first-hand look at the kinds of learning environments they are being encouraged to create. Opportunities to see reformed pedagogy “in action”, and to develop their own understanding of the value that these new (often challenging and threatening) teaching methods can bring. (Linn, Slotta, & Baumgartner, 2000).  Student-centered lessons and curriculum units must be provided as samples, and the teaching of those units modeled for teachers.  To be successful, technology professional development must equip teachers with the knowledge and skills to be be able to:

  • Address student-centered curricular areas
  • Develop essential questions for inquiry
  • Design and deveolop projects that fit instructional objectives, whether or not there is any technology involved. 
  • Facilitate team learning, provide effective feedback to students, address unexpected questions, adjust timelines in the midst of projects
  • Relate students’ own ideas and perspectives to curricular content

Needless to say, changing teacher pedagogy and beliefs about learning requires a sustained commitment on the part of administrators as well as from the teachers themselves. In many cases, traditional didactic forms of instruction have remained the norm in schools even after extensive professional development, primarily because of the many and varied demands on staff. (Means and Olson 1995).

Meeting curricular goals through authentic, student centered learning activities presents many challenges to traditional instruction. Teaching students proper and effective use of technology tools in that context can be even more difficult.  Current studies suggest, however, that it is in combining the elements of reformed pedagogy and the appropriate integration of technology that students can gain valuable 21st century learning skills. (Partnership for 21st Century Schools, 2009).

Essential to the development of “technology literacy” is the ability of teachers to embed technology use into students’ regular classroom work, very similar to what Dr. Newberry said in his podcast. It is crucial that technology be driven by the goals of the curriculum (be they content, concept, or skills) and must be employed by students in ways that allow for exploration, discovery and the development of understanding. As students use technology to analyze information, collaborate with peers, communicate their knowledge, and create projects, they are developing technology proficiency as part of their overall education.

As far as my own best practices in my classroom, I do utilize a number of technological tools in my teaching, but maybe not to the full extent of what these four areas that I have talk about here. In looking at integrating technology in meaningful ways into the curriculum and instructional environment, I feel that I could probably do more. Granted, I try to incorporate project-based lessons whenever I can. Presently, in my teaching, I use my teacher computer, along with my SMART slate, or digital reader, in conjunction with my LCD projector to show, demonstrate, or model lessons through videos, PowerPoint presentations, and Notebook SMART lessons, as well as go over worksheets and writing samples. Currently my students are working on a webquest on land regions and California Indians. This provides students with learning how to research, document information, find pictures, create presentations, and also (re)create historical artifacts. Students need to be able to learn and create things in meaningful ways as a way of expressing their knowledge. I truly believe that traditional direct instruction stifles creativity. I want my students to realize that the potentiality of great things through creative thinking. I feel that the right technological tools provided and integrated into our classrooms allows that process to happen.

From a standpoint of a technological infrastructure at both the district and school site level I feel we have made great strides towards better technology integration, but there is always room for improvement. I personally feel that we could have an even stronger foundation within our technology infrastructure. There are many things that can provide opportunities or create roadblocks. Some these include backward thinking, not all recipients are on board, vision at the top is not strong enough, how schools are connected to the district network isn’t stable, or not enough professional development for teachers and staff.

What I want to do with technology in the classroom, and what I am able to do with the technology can be like night and day. Things need to change, and it’s starts with people’s behavior and attitudes towards technology integration. Some embrace it, while others run away from it. I am one of those teachers that embrace it, and I do my best to convince other teachers the benefits of how technology, if given the right tools to meet their curricular goals and objectives can meet their needs and the needs of their students.

From my own personal perspective I feel our district could provide us more professional training when it comes to technology integration. I’ve had the training on podcasting, CMS(Content Management System), PowerPoint 2007, smart slates, Notebook software, and responder systems, but they really haven’t really provided anything new. Actually, they have even cut back training. What I feel needs to be done is that a certain number of teachers are trained as experts for each school site. Frankly, although the classes provided a very basic foundation, I learned most of the stuff that I use in my classroom on my own. As an expert, teachers chosen, would also have the mobility and motivation to seek out new technologies that would fit the school’s curricular goals and objectives, through conferences, webinars, podcasts, and videos.

Finally, it is essential that technology literacy become an integral part of the curriculum. Students today are vastly learning in new ways, and I feel it is about time that we provide them the right tools for the task. We can no longer hinder their creative capacity to learn in dramatically new ways. It is time that education moves forward in a bold way by giving students the tools they need to empower themselves and their thinking.

 

References:

Boster, F.J., Meyer,G.S., Roberto, A.J., & Inge, C.C. (2002) A Report of the Effect of United Streaming Application on Educational Performance

Linn, M.C., Slotta, J.D., & Baumgartner, E. (2000). Teaching high school science in the information age: A review of courses and technology for inquiry-based learning. Santa Monica, CA: Milken Family Foundation. [Online]. Available: http://www.mff.org

Professional Development for the 21st Century, (2009) Partnership for 21st century schools http://www.21stcenturyskills.org

 

Activity Log This Week:

Worked on Chapter 2 Literature Review

Listened to Dr. Newberry’s Podcast on Best Practices

Responded on blog about best practices

Had IRB Application approved by Dr. Baek after returning revisions. I will be going up on Tuesday to sign off and take over to IRB office.

Dr. Baek sais she would get back to me on the other chapters of my thesis.

Will be responding probably tomorrow on other student blogs.

 





Session 4: Diffusion of Innovation

16 10 2011

 As Everett M Rogers(1962) states, in his book Diffusion of Innovation Theory, “Diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system. Diffusion is a special type of communication concerned with the spread of messages that are perceived as new ideas.

 In order to understand how this theory works it is important to define exactly what an innovation is. In practical terms an innovation is an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or social system that is adopting it. Based on the characteristics of an innovation, and the perception of the social system determines its rate of adoption.

 In reading more about this theory I found out that there are four elements in which new ideas are primarily adopted based on the innovation itself, communication, time, and the context of the social system. As far as innovations are concerned, there are five characteristics that determine the rate of adoption for the innovation. These characteristics are (1) relative advantage  (2) compatibility (3) complexity (4) trialability (5) observability to those people within the social system.

 Communication is the process by which those individuals or social systems create and share information with one another with the intent to come to a common understanding. In looking at different channels of communications clearly mass media channels are far more effective in creating knowledge about innovations. On the flip side, interpersonal communication channels are deemed more effective in creating and changing new ideas, which could greatly affect the decision of adopting or rejecting a new idea. Predominantly, individuals look how their peers adopt an innovation rather than rely solely on scientific research.

  Time establishes itself in the innovation decision process from first knowledge of the idea, to formulating an attitude, and finally by making a decision on the innovation It is in this stage that Dr. Newberry talked about a 5-step process in his podcast :

 (1) Knowledge – person becomes aware of an innovation and has some idea of how it functions

(2) Persuasion – person forms a favorable or unfavorable attitude toward the innovation

(3) Decision – person engages in activities that lead to a choice to adopt or reject the innovation

(4) Implementation – person puts an innovation into use

(5) Confirmation – person evaluates the results of an innovation-decision already made

 Another way that time is involved in diffusion is in the innovativeness ofan individual or other unit of adoption. Again, Dr. Newberry referred to five major adopter categories, or classifications of the members of a social system on the basis on their innovativeness:

(1) Innovators – 2.5%

(2) Early adopters – 13.5%

(3) Early majority – 34%

(4) Late majority – 34%

(5) Laggards – 16%

 The fourth element in the diffusion of new ideas is the social system. This can be defined as a number of individuals that are engaged in joint problem-solving in an effort to accomplish a common goal. The social system establishes boundaries which an innovation can be diffused. Within this social system, individuals can often become change agents in persuading others to change their attitude about the innovation which could change the outcome of the decision making process as it pertains to the innovation.

 After listening to Dr. Newberry’s podcast, and following up with some of the literature on this theory, I had to determine what category I fell under as being an integral part of the innovation decision process as it relates to the 5-step process, and being a member an educational social system at my school site. In reviewing the literature, I rather consider myself an early adopter.

 As an early adopter, I do feel that I am significantly integrated into a local system, by being part of a school site. I have other teachers ask me for advice or for information regarding technology innovations, or technology in general. I am working diligently in an effort to becoming a change agent in the innovative decision making process by talking to other teachers and my principal. I believe that I am respected by my peers for getting involved on our school campus and sharing new ideas. I feel that I am a good role model for other teachers in the social system. I am always willing to share new ideas with colleagues, work collaboratively, and be a team player. I use technology quite a bit in my classroom. I also regularly go to technology conferences in an effort to gain knowledge, look for new technology innovations, and network with my peers in the educational arena. I do my best to share with my grade level and school site those things that I’ve learned. I also feel that I have the ability to decrease uncertainty by adopting new ideas more readily and then sharing with others through interpersonal networking. I have done student showcases showing how students use technology. I have also been a presenter at a technology conference. I have also provided staff development and training on certain software that we use at our school site. I am also have been involved in a process of designing and developing a parent webpage, along with my learning partner, mentor, and friend Kathy Kronemeyer, that I hope will help increase home-school communication and parent involvement.

 I feel that I have knowledge about certain innovations and I do have an understanding of how they are used. I usually have a favorable position and attitude when it comes to most technological innovations. I am totally open to finding out more about them. I can usually make informed decision whether I would accept or reject an innovation. It is my intention to become more actively involved in technology decisions and purchases, as well as, what technology will best serve the needs of our students and teachers, and eventually be part of the change that will transform how teachers teach and students learn.

  On a side note, although I rarely toot my own horn, I am receiving a 2011 Technology Hero Award by the “Technology Training Foundation of America” through Tech Tools for Schools program co-sponsored by Time Warner Cable-Desert Cities. I will be also receiving 10 refurbished computers donated by Southern California Edison. The awards ceremony is on December 9th. I will be getting the computers after the first of the year. Thank you so much Kathy for nominating me for this award. I am very excited. I’ve never had an award like this before.

 Source:

Everett M. Rogers

http://nnlm.gov/pnr/eval/rogers.html

December 10, 1997

  Activity Log: This Week

 Listened to Dr. Newberry’s podcast on Everett Rogers “Diffusion of Innovations Theory.”

 Responded to Dr. Newberry’s podcast on my blog.

 Responded to 3 other student blogs for Session 4.

 Sent Abstract, Chapter 1,3, and 4 to Dr. Baek for a second time.

 Completed 3 pages of Chapter 2-Literature Review.

 Attended meeting with Vice President and consultant of Tech4Learning to gain information and insight on how more teachers can use their software to help both teachers and students. Invited by Kathy Kronemeyer.