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.

Reflections on EdTech 502

I have not been formally reflecting on my website design for EdTech 502.  At this point, I have created numerous websites using Dreamweaver CC.  This class is the first time I ever used Dreamweaver or coded anything.  To be honest, I love it!  It is really hard at times, but I am learning from my mistakes. I cannot wait to incorporate some of these websites, and many I have yet to create, in my classroom. Feel free to check out my 502 page which will lead you to my other creations.  Hopefully you can see the quality of the pages get better as I learn more from the class.

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.

Code of Professional Ethics in Educational Technology

The world of technology is every changing, and, as such, so is the definition of professional ethics.  The AECT Standards give wonderful insight into the world of professional ethics.  I wrote a paper for class about an incident that happened in my school district a few years ago.  In brief, we had a substitute teacher looking at pornography while subbing.  This led to him being banned from the building.  What it did not do was keep him from being elected to the School Board.  Feel free to read my paper for more details and my reaction.

I find it very difficult to come up with a solid definition as ethics vary from person to person.  Students today are on information overload!  They have so many answers that they do not know what questions to ask.  Additionally, instant access to anything can create blurred lines on what is acceptable and what is not.  It is my belief that districts need to come up with very clear (and perhaps overly explicit) guidelines for parents, students, and staff to see that can be modified as technology changes.  This will help guide any unethical issues that may arise over time. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what the right answer is to some of the ethical situation questions. That is why I feel it is so important to have the Code of Ethics spelled out for employees.

Plain 502 Page

There are two songs that I sing while I work on coding for class.  “Dream Weaver” and my version of “Learning to Fly” entitled “Learning to Code” have been heard throughout the house.  My husband and children are all saints for listening to me butcher these songs.

I have never attempted coding before EdTech502.  Coding is forcing me to use a very different part of my brain.  This can be very difficult for a perfectionistic English teacher.  I found working with Adobe Dreamweaver CC to be a matter of trial and error.  I know this may sound ridiculous, but I have truly enjoyed learning from my mistakes.  While coding my Plain502 page, I learned the importance of patience.  I found that the coding came more easily when I exhibited more patience.  I have since finished my 502 page, and I am looking forward to sharing that with you soon.  Additionally, the Netiquette page is well under way, and it is looking good!  I am excited to share the next few projects with you shortly.