EDTC 6433 Meta-Reflection

Technology Bookmarks

Figure 1: Teaching Technology Resources Bookmarks

P4 – Practice the integration of appropriate technology with instruction. This standard refers to the effective integration and use of technology in the classroom so that students become technologically proficient learners in a world of rapid growth. During the course of this class, we have discussed the five ISTE standards for teachers, their benefits, and possible issues with the standards. Learning ways to successfully integrate technology into my classroom has been highly beneficial to me as I begin to form my own educational practices and ideas.

During this course, I have discovered many resources that will be useful to me as I begin my first year in teaching. Figure 1 shows the many bookmarks I have created to organize my resources for future reference. As I continue to develop my educational practice, I refer to these bookmarks for ideas, networking, and learning of my own. Though I would not say that these bookmarks all prepare me for integrating technology into my classroom right from the start, I believe they are a good beginning to effectively including them, and I will continue to research and develop ideas throughout my career. While researching these resources, I began to understand that integrating technology into the classroom is more involved than I had thought prior to this course. Not only is it teaching students how to research information using the internet; it is also continually developing my practice as a teacher to be informed and connected, using my evolving knowledge to teach my students to become responsible and safe citizens in a globally networked society. By using these resources to increase my own knowledge and fluency with technology, I will be able to model use and benefits of being a modern and globally connected citizen for students. Beyond research, it will be absolutely imperative for me to begin connecting with these professional networks and communities, and continue to stay up-to-date with current trends in technology.

Promoting and Modeling Digital Citizenship

ISTE Standard 4 for teachers addresses digital citizenship, both promoting and modeling it. In this standard, teachers should understand issues that come with a digital culture, modeling legal and ethical behavior in their practice. This also means teachers should be modeling and encouraging safe, legal, and ethical use of technology and digital information; advocating for and providing strategies to help bridge the digital divide; provide opportunities for students to engage with other cultures through technology to develop cultural understanding; and promote digital etiquette when having social interactions using technology.

E3 – Exemplify an understanding of professional responsibilities and policies. This means teachers should be exhibiting knowledge of professional, legal, and ethical responsibilities and policies. This standard ties in very well with ISTE standard 4, which also requires teachers to teach and model safe, legal, and ethical behavior. To me, this means that teachers are both encouraging students to become ethical digital citizens (as well as ethical people) while also showing that they follow the same code of conduct themselves.

After reading the articles this week, plus some supplemental research, I realized that teaching digital citizenship is a much larger task than I originally thought. There are many topics that fall under the category of “digital citizenship” as well as many ways to teach them. The question I asked for this week was a broader look at digital citizenship and how I can help students practice responsible use of the internet and technology they come into contact with, in and out of school.

As a teacher, how can I encourage students to become digital citizens, who can create, read critically, and use online content or forums in a responsible and respectful manner?

With a rapidly-changing digital world, it can be difficult for digital citizenship to be taught effectively. It’s a large topic, and needs to be taught explicitly so students understand the language and law involved. It should also be taught implicitly, so students understand how digital citizenship looks in action, not just in words. As a teacher, it is my job to “effectively research technology trends, monitor the uses of technology in [my] school or district…and empower student centered learning to create vibrant, exciting learning projects” (Lindsay and Davis, 2010).

My search for the best methods for teaching digital citizenship in class led me to two possible resources, which give me ideas for lesson plans and methods for teachers to become model digital citizens themselves. One resource is an Edutopia Resource Round-Up that was posted for digital citizenship week in 2013. Not only does this resource have ideas for lessons, it also leads to articles to further educate myself in the necessity of teaching digital citizenship, allowing me to develop my educational practice. Some of the links discuss teachers using social media to communicate with each other, giving them a forum for discussion and reflection that involves teachers from around the country. My other resource from Common Sense Education is a variety of useful lesson plans and ideas for teaching digital citizenship. These will be useful to me as I develop my own practice.

Another resource I found useful was shared to our Google+ community by Colleen Lawler, from the Digital Citizenship homepage. This website discusses the nine elements of digital citizenship, provides articles for teacher development, and provides more resources to read about teaching digital citizenship and using technology ethically in class. As a teacher, it will be important for me to pay attention to trends in technology and ways they can be used in my classroom, and I will need to be acutely aware of the changes that occur. Part of this will be to research new ideas and resources, such as the ones I have shared, and collaborate with my peers for evaluation and reflection. In this way, I can effectively use technology to improve my own practices, while also using valuable resources to teach my students.


Lindsay, J., Davis, V. (2010). Navigate the digital rapids. Learning and Leading with Technology, (37)6, pp12-15. Retrieved from http://teachinglearningresources.pbworks.com/f/Navigate_the_Digital_Rapids_Lindsay_Davis_2010.pdf

Model Digital-Age Work and Learning

In the ISTE standard 3 for teachers, it is important for teachers to “exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society” (ISTE, 2015). In this standard, teachers need to be able to demonstrate fluency in technology systems and use that fluency in the transfer to new situations, collaborate with peers, parents, and community members with digital tools, and communicate relevant information using technology, (ISTE, 2015). The fourth part of the ISTE standard talks about using digital tools for finding, analyzing, and using information resources to support research and learning, and this is what I chose to focus on this week. For this standard, my guiding question was:

In an increasingly technology-rich world, how can I use common digital tools for collaboration between community members, teachers, parents, and students so that student learning is enriched with local and global resources?

During this course, I have been very interested in how I can incorporate technology into my classroom without putting an enormous strain on some students while making it much easier for others (for example, with the digital divide as a big factor). There is evidence to suggest that in many cases, students may not have access to computers but they do have access to smartphones and the internet (Goodman, 2013). So for my question about ISTE standard 3, I wanted to find something that was accessible by more people, allowed for communication, and also enriched student learning in an impactful way.

My solution was a tool that many people don’t think of as very educative: Skype. Largely used for communicating, Skype doesn’t appear to be very useful to a classroom at first glance. However, as a member of my learning circle suggested, there are many useful ways to incorporate Skype beyond what I was imagining, making it a wonderful tool for collaboration, connection, and learning (Marshal, 2015). One of the ideas I liked best from this resource was that parent-teacher conferences could be held via Skype. Although this may not be possible or practical, it gave me the thought that rather than worry about parents getting emails or newsletters, if I needed to speak directly with a parent, I have another outlet that may be easier and more personal than a note or phone call.

Skype can also be used to enrich student learning. In a study on transferring familiarity with new technologies to educational environments (Kumar & Vigul, 2011), one preservice teacher commented on online videos used in classes “to see real examples of teachers teaching in real classrooms using different methods being talked about. While it’s always an option to read about teaching and talk about teaching, the videos provide a real life example to see implementation of practice.” This same thought can be transferred to much younger students, who are learning about local or global topics. If a class is having a unit on tectonic plates, then what an amazing way to demonstrate the power of the earth’s movements by contacting a tour company in Iceland to take you on a “field trip” to Thingvellir and Silfra, places where the diverging North American and European tectonic plates are visible from the surface. Not only do they get to see what it’s like, but they can interact with their field guide and ask questions, share what they know, and make connections between their learning and a place halfway across the world. In addition, Skype can be used to connect two classrooms. In my classroom, I plan to have “pen pals”, except I would like to use the practice as a way to get my students to practice typing. I can enrich their experience by including occasional Skype calls with the classroom we write to, allowing students to experience what school is like in other parts of the world. One concern with this is the time differences, making it impossible to have conversations with some regions, but I feel that the benefits of speaking even to a classroom across the country can greatly improve student communication and learning.

Though not a tool for everyday communication between parents, teachers, students, and colleagues, Skype is a wonderful addition for enriching student learning and experience. It allows for collaboration between classrooms and teachers, offers an alternative way of communication that may be more personal for some parents, ensures the teacher is staying current with communication technologies, and allows for potential virtual field trips and visitors to enhance learning on a topic.

Goodman, J.  18 August, 2013. The digital divide is still leaving Americans behind. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2013/08/18/digital-divide/

ISTE (2015). ISTE standards: Teachers. Retrieved from: http://www.iste.org/docs/pdfs/20-14_ISTE_Standards-T_PDF.pdf

Kumar, S., Vigil, K., (2011). The net generation as preservice teachers: Transferring familiarity with new technologies to educational environments. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 27(4), 144 – 153.

Marshal, J. (7 February, 2015). ISTE Standard 3. [Comment 3 on Meghan Welsh]. Message posted to: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/111058430962704146204/stream/c08ea841-0e78-4ca8-b2f4-3d5c3fb4ae2c

Students Taking Charge of Their Learning

ISTE Standard 2 for teachers addresses designing and developing digital-age learning experiences and assessments. It focuses on customizing learning activities, using multiple and varied assessments, learning experiences that incorporate digital resources to promote learning and creativity, and environments that enable students to pursue their individual curiosities (ISTE, 2015). For this standard, I focused a lot on customizing education for each student as well as letting students become active participants in their own educational goals, and asked this question:

What technological resources are available to me to incorporate into my classroom that elementary students can use to become individual or collaborative producers of knowledge of their own choosing, including topic, project type, and form of assessment?

Initially, my question involved mostly just personalizing education for each student. I did some research on ways to incorporate this into my classroom, including project-based-learning (PBL), and a beta program called Knewton. However, after reading the articles for the standard this unit, I became more interested in how I could help my students become knowledge producers rather than knowledge consumers (Porter, 2010). I had a few ideas, but the one I thought fitted my question more was an idea I got from the Orlando (2011) article on using Wikipedia in the classroom. Though I didn’t necessarily want to use Wikipedia specifically, I really liked the concept of having students publish something on a topic of their choice, which people can then read. For younger students, I thought it would be more appropriate for them to have a more personalized class wiki, and so for my resource I chose Wikispaces.

wikispaces

In my future classroom, I would like to have my students access our class wiki on a regular basis. They would be able to write or create digital projects and post these within the wiki, and as a teacher I would also have access to each of their projects. I would also give choices on how students would like to complete certain projects, and also how they would like to be assessed. This way, they can use the knowledge they have to create their own goals, and they also were able to choose their own form of learning so they can discover what works best for them. Obviously, if something wasn’t working well for a student, then we would have to discuss a new method, but I think that giving students the choice in the first place allows them to feel more in control. A member of my learning circle, Jack, provided me with some interesting ideas on where to look for ideas about what to do with Wikis. I understand a little bit about how I could use them, but this is definitely a resource I need to explore a bit more. There are lots of different ways to use Wikis in the class, and I am excited to try them out!

ISTE (2015). ISTE standards: Teachers. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/docs/pdfs/20-14_ISTE_Standards-T_PDF.pdf

Orlando, J. (2011). Wikipedia in the Classroom: Tips for effective use. Teaching with Technology: Tools and strategies to improve student learning. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/wikipedia-in-the-classroom-tips-for-effective-use/

Porter, B. (2010). Where’s the beef? Adding rigor to student digital products. Learning and Leading with Technology. Retrieved from http://digitales.us/sites/default/files/Wheres-the-Beef-ISTE.pdf

Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standard 1 for teachers states that teachers should “use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments” (ISTE, 2015). This means that teachers should model creative and innovative thinking, they should promote student reflection, use digital tools and resources to engage students in real-world issues, and model knowledge construction (ISTE, 2015). This standard also aligns with HOPE principle P4, practice the integration of appropriate technology with instruction. As a teacher in a society that is continually advancing, providing opportunities for students to experience technology in a way that promotes creativity and learning is vital.

While exploring ISTE standard 1 and the materials for this week, I grew curious about the technologies available for language arts and literacy lessons. Since I hope to teach fourth grade, I examined the Common Core State Standards for fourth grade writing standards, and asked the question:

How can I use technology to help 4th grade students create a real or imagined narrative with dialogue, description, and a sequence of events?

My main concern with asking this question is that I would have a difficult time finding a resource specifically designed for creating stories with description, dialogue, and event sequencing, three standards outlined by the Common Core. Rather than searching for this specifically, I determined that it is more beneficial for teachers to use resources at their disposal in order to encourage ideas and reflection, then take those ideas and help students translate them into writing. I have also noticed that for many students, writing does not come naturally. With this in mind, I asked a new question:

How can I use technology to help 4th grade students generate and record ideas in a way that suits their learning style, then use these ideas to create a real or imagined narratives?

My first thought was for a daily journal. Students could record ideas and thoughts based on several writing prompts provided by the teacher. These prompts could range from questions about students’ weekends, to invented dialogue, or providing photos for students to describe. However, keeping journals on paper only allows for students to write or draw their ideas, despite the fact that many may struggle with this. So I began searching for web resources that incorporated a variety of ways to record journal entries, and came up with several possibilities. Ideally, schools would have unlimited resources for technology, and would be able to include handheld devices such as iPads or personal computers for each student while in school. However, as a member of my learning circle pointed out, there is this idea of the “digital divide”, which describes the disparity between students (or schools) with access to technology and the internet, and those who do not have it. Keeping this in mind, I conducted my research for affluent schools, and for schools with limited resources.

One resource that allows students to record their voice, record and upload video, upload photos and drawings, and also research in-app and write ideas, was Glogster. The app can be free, or there is a paid app for schools (or website), allowing classrooms to create digital media posters called glogs either individually or in groups. The teacher has access to all glogs in his or her classroom, and can provide feedback for students, while also assessing where each student is at. I experimented with Glogster a bit and created my own poster, which can be seen by clicking on the image.

Meghan's Glog Example

Jack Marshall, one of my learning circle members, suggested that Glogster be used as a graphic organizer, and I think this is a wonderful idea. Students could “conduct their research [and] add pertinent information onto the board and then have everything in one place as they prepare to write their papers” (Marshall, 2015). The access to the web in-app also allows students to engage in exploring real-world issues which they can then write about, which is part of ISTE standard 1. Another classmate, Kate Thibault (2015), posted an article about tech tools in young classrooms, which described word processing programs that don’t involve fine-motor skills and can make the physical act of writing less frustrating. Although this was meant for younger children, I believe I could also adapt it for older children who struggle with putting their ideas to words on paper.

One potential issue with ISTE standard 1 that several of my classmates expressed was that using technology in class can provide a distraction for students. Since Glogster can be somewhat distracting for students (access to YouTube, internet images, the ability to add stickers and clipart), another possible direction for online journals is a blog. Dr. Wicks mentioned edublogs as a safe and secure place to keep these. Recordings can be created and uploaded for free online for students who like to speak their ideas, and drawings can be photographed or scanned as well. Having individual blogs also allows students to collaborate in their writing and constructing of knowledge. For schools with fewer resources, in-class journals are still an option. Students who have an easier time expressing ideas through speech may benefit from an inexpensive voice recorder, which teachers could teach them to use and transcribe. Amazon has some recorders at a variety of reasonable prices.

In my classroom, I hope to incorporate as much technology as I am able, though obviously I may be restricted by budget or time, or support. However, students today are using so many resources ranging from wikis to social media to podcasts and blogs. They are “using them in an ever increasing pace and in ways that are helping to define a new generation of not just information gathering, but information-creating as well” (Robin, 2008). Because of the increasing technological resources and interest in digitization, as well as ease of access, it makes sense to teach them in a way that they will be using. In my classroom, I hope to use the resources I discovered relating to this standard to facilitate the creation of online media as well as use online resources to create stories and discover world issues. One idea I had was to use freerice, a website mentioned in the Vialogues for this week (or something similar) as a way for students to spend free time practicing various subjects, but also using it as a way to generate interest in world hunger. This could lead to a year-long service project in which my class conducts research on hunger issues in the world and locally, and uses the information to come up with a project where students could volunteer time to raise funds or send resources. In this way, students are generating possible solutions for authentic problems while using technology to research these issues, and are promoting positive values of citizenry.

Marshall, J. (2015, January 12). ISTE standard 1. [Comment 2 on Welsh, M.] Message posted to: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/111058430962704146204

Thibault, K. (2015, January 9). ISTE standard 1. Message posted to: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/111058430962704146204

Robin, B. (2015). Digital storytelling: A powerful technology tool for the 21st century classroom. Theory into practice, 47:220-228.

ISTE (2015). ISTE standards: Teachers. Retrieved from: http://www.iste.org/docs/pdfs/20-14_ISTE_Standards-T_PDF.pdf