EdTech 501 Final Reflections

As I began researching universities with online programs in technology, there were quite a few to choose from.  The program that would come up time and time again was Boise State’s program. Upon researching the university, I knew it was the perfect fit.  EdTech 501 is a wonderful introduction to the program.  Dr. Schroeder created meaningful assignments that opened my eyes to a plethora of knowledge about the state of technology where I teach.

Thankfully, I did not face many challenges in this course.  One of the only challenges was getting members of the technology department to talk with me.  Additionally, I have had trouble finding teachers willing to try some of the new technologies that I found during research.  I am a member of a team that has to teach the same material, on the same day, using the same activity.  It can be challenging to convince the other members of the team to try a new activity.

With respect to the technology department, I talked to the gentleman in charge of the entire department.  I was trying to be respectful of his time by not bringing up work during social hours; however, I was pleased to find that he was more than willing to answer any question that I had.  I had planned to have the building technology representative assist in my questions, but I received some wonderful feedback from the man in charge.  As for the other challenge, I am still working on that one. I am still working on winning them over.  While I have made some progress, I still have some work to do.

I believe my best assignment would have to be the school evaluation summary.  I really enjoyed diving in and assessing and analyzing the technology at my school.  I feel like I was able to truly look at every point and explain why it ranked where it did.  Additionally, I feel it was the type of assignment I could take back to my building to explain how we can implement technology without alienating teachers.  In fact, I have a meeting with the principal on Thursday to discuss my evaluation.  We will see how receptive to some of my suggestions she is.

There are many things I plan to do in my school as a result of this course.  The main outcome I am hoping for is to incorporate Kinect for Education in my classroom.  This is something I never would have heard about without this course.  The grant has been written, and I have to wait until April to find out if I receive the program.  This can be a game changer in education, but more teachers need to use it in order to keep it afloat.

This course has been a lot of fun, and I have learned a lot.  I wish I could take it again as I am sure I would learn even more.

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EdTech Trends

I recently read and reviewed the The Horizon Report for my EdTech 501 class.  This is a report that I had yet to read, but I will add it to my list of resources from now on.  This publication consisted of a plethora of ideas on how to integrate technology in the classroom ranging from the immediate to the long term.  It also contained articles on policy and leadership in respect to technology integration.  I flagged many of the articles to share with my colleagues about integration of technology and suggested administrative support.

The one section that stood out to me the most dealt with gaming in the classroom.  I have never been one to play video games, but the majority of my students spend a lot of their time doing just that.  I wanted to find something that I could bring in the classroom that would make the students a little more engaged in the learning process.  The tool that I found was Kinect for Education.  I became intrigued by the idea of learning through motion.  It makes sense.  I teach Romeo and Juliet through motion, so why wouldn’t I incorporate motion for other activities?

The issue I am having with this artifact is that, as is mentioned in the report, it is a new trend.  Not a lot of information exists on the use of Kinect in the classroom.  With that being said, I am excited to (if I get the grant I wrote at the end of last week) receive a Kinect and begin creating apps.  Kinect for Education has a program that the teacher can use to create specific, targeted apps for an assignment. The more teachers begin using this technology, the more artifacts will be created.  I decided to go with a lesson plan detailing a resource that I would use that I found online.  This could lead to another trend that I liked from the article-a bring your open resources party.

I’m interested to see how other people feel about integrating gaming in the classroom.  I used to be opposed to such a thing, but, after researching the topic, I am confident in saying I have changed my mind.  I look forward to piloting this technology if I receive the grant.

Tech Trends Lesson Plan-Kinect for Education

EdTech Research

Having never done an APA annotated bibliography before, I found it to be quite a challenge; however, it was a challenge that I truly enjoyed.  I created an annotated bibliography of resources for teacher apprehensive about integrating technology in the classroom.  As someone who hopes to become an instructional technology coach at some point in the near future, I thought it would be helpful to create a list of resources for teachers struggling with the idea of integrating technology in the classroom.  By giving teachers this document, I feel they can glean the information from the article without necessarily reading the entire article.  Also, if the article sounds like it would be interesting, the teacher would have the necessary information to find and read the article.

In respect to the research, I enjoyed having time to read again.  I feel I never get to research anymore, which is not how it should be.  I do not want to be the teacher who uses the same materials for twenty years.  There were some frustrating points in the research.  There were times I could not retrieve the full text of an article or the doi once I found the full text.  Eventually I put the link on the citation after shortening it using bitly.

I am excited to share this bibliography with some of my fellow teachers to encourage incorporating technology in the classroom.  I feel that I learned a lot about successfully integrating technology in the classroom.  This research has given me new life to try and bring in more technology than I already do.  Additionally, I plan to share some of my findings with the administration to make sure that we can all be on the same page in respect to the support the technology requires.

Annotated Bibliography

Digital Divide/Digital Inequality

For this week’s assignment, I had to create a Google Slides presentation about digital divide and inequality at DeKalb High School.  In addition to creating the presentation, I also had to narrate it using VoiceThread.  Find the presentation here.

Throughout this presentation, I learned a lot of new information.  While I am not a fan of narrating my work, I did find VoiceThread easy to use.  I’m looking forward to using a tool similar to this in my own classroom.  Additionally, I learned that many presenters are too wordy on their PowerPoint/Google Slides presentations.  I found this link shared by my professor to be very helpful.  In fact, I shared it with members of my department, and they are now using it with their students.

Before this project, I did not know that digital divide and digital inequality were two different concepts.  I always assumed that they were different terms for a similar concept.  I’ve always known that technology is not equal in all of the world; however, through my research on the topic (and there is a lot of research) I have found that the problem is much larger than I had originally thought.  This technology was not readily available when I was growing up.  Once I took this knowledge and applied it to my school, I found that the divide at the school is because of deeper problems that are difficult to solve.

Now that I have this knowledge, I hope to enlighten some of my colleagues.  There are many teachers that do not have this very important information.  I also plan to meet with the superintendent about some ideas I have to combat this problem.  While I may not have a lot of solutions, I feel that I can help solve this deep rooted issue.

As an educator, I am constantly reflecting upon my lessons.  The same is true for me now that I am a student.  If I had more time, I may add graphics to my presentation.  I had never used Google Slides before, so I spent a lot of time playing with it.  I have to say, I really like Google Slides.  I find it much more user friendly than PowerPoint.  I spent time this last week trying to convince my department about how great this program is.

In terms of the AECT Code of Ethics, I find it difficult to justify this supporting any of them.  With the digital inequality in my district, I feel like the students are not supported as individuals.  As much as I feel the district is trying to help, I think it is hard to do so.  We cannot force families to pay for internet access at home.  Additionally, the school can only force students to take one computer class and classes are getting cut at the middle school level.  Consequently, many students are not receiving the instruction that they require to be proficient in their use of technology.