For this assignment, I was asked to create a visual representation of the elements of educational technology, how they connect and explain what educational technology means to me. You will see my visual representation below. The visual representation I created places all of the elements of educational technology interconnected with each other. This is to show that they are all necessary and important to successful technology integration. If one of the links is removed, then the whole concept breaks down. All of the elements are also contained within the study of educational technology, as they all deserve their own special attention on their own and collectively. This is why each is contained within its own link of the overall chain. I used Microsoft Word to create my visual representation because it is a versatile tool that allows for visual representations to be created without a lot of knowledge of the program.
To me, educational technology is the study of taking all of the best practices of teaching and applying those to the use of technology within teaching. This includes the teacher acting as a facilitator of learning, rather than be in sole control of learning. Students should be given the opportunity to explore and discover information by asking questions and going deeper and creating meaning on their own. Technology should not only aid students in deeper exploration and discovery, but it should also allow the teacher to be a better facilitator. One of the ways a teacher can gauge whether technology is improving a lesson is by using the SAMR Model to see what role technology is playing in the lesson. Our ultimate goal is to reach the redefinition level that allows students to approach content in a way they otherwise would not be able to, but even a substitution level of integration may provide efficiency improvements that are well worth the use of technology. This is where choosing the appropriate processes and resources must be aligned to the learning objectives to be accomplished. We don’t ever want to use technology just for the sake of using technology. It should be used when it allows you to create, manage, or facilitate instruction in a way traditional methods do not allow. We should use the AECT Code of Professional Ethics to guide the decisions we make as they will help to ensure we are making the best decisions for the individual, society, and the profession of educational technology.
For “Technology Use Planning” I was tasked with evaluating a technology use plan for a school or business. Since I am not currently working for a school or business with a technology use plan, I selected one I found online to evaluate. To evaluate the plan I used the Maturity Model Benchmarks Rubric, which is broken into different categories including an administrative filter, curricular filter, support filter, connectivity filter, and innovation filter, each of which is broken into subcategories. This rubric allows us to evaluate the thoroughness of the technology use plan by assigning a maturity stage achieved in each category.
I was surprised by the scope of processes, plans, and details that must be worked out in order to create a successful plan. I understand now that creating a successful plan requires the participation of all stakeholders in the planning and implementation of a technology plan. There’s not an area of the school that’s not impacted in some way when integrating technology into a school. Acquiring the technology is only one small piece of the plan needed to integrate technology across all content areas at all grade levels. There’s not one set way to integrate technology, but rather a multitude of ways that need to be catered to the culture and goals of the school and district where they are meant to be implemented. In order to be successful, it’s important to be purposeful in the manner in which technology is integrated.
I also learned that in order to evaluate a technology use plan, it’s important to truly understand the culture of the community where the plan is going to be used. Some of the categories in the rubric require background knowledge and information that cannot be found just by searching online. In order to fairly evaluate a technology plan, it’s important to be able to recognize possible obstacles to the successful implementation of the plan.
Maturity Benchmark Survey Sheet
For “Tech Trends” I was asked to create an artifact that shows my understanding of how an emerging technology could be used in the classroom. After researching BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) programs I chose to create an activity using a well-known statistics lesson called, The M&M Experiment. In a BYOD environment, students utilize their own personal technology devices in the classroom rather than relying on school-issued devices. This allows me as a teacher to utilize every cell phone, tablet, and laptop that my students already bring to class to help enhance learning. In the M&M experiment, I capitalized on the flexibility of mobile devices to allow students to collaborate using Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets, and Study Blue. In this activity, I have students use Study Blue to create vocabulary flashcards. Study Blue allows students to interact and personalize information in a way they’ve never been able to before, by adding voice memos, pictures, and other information to vocabulary cards. The program also allows me as the teacher to share information directly with my students, which means I can easily differentiate learning for both groups and individual students. Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets both allow me to create digital forms that can be edited by an individual student or the whole class as I did with this activity. Using electronic formats allows me to check up on students work and give feedback at any time of the day and allows students to ask questions and submit work at any time. Using a shared Google Spreadsheet for this activity gives me the ability to keep students engaged, as well as quickly gather data from the entire class in a fraction of the time it would take to complete using the whiteboard. Having the data in electronic form gives me much more flexibility to manipulate the data in different ways, to create different scenarios and questions for students to work through.
This activity is just one of many examples of how a BYOD can change how we approach learning. Technology not only gives teachers more tools to reach their learners; it also gives students more control over their learning. Using the SAMR Model developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, this activity would fall within the redefinition level of technology use as it allows for the creation of new tasks that were previously inconceivable. While it is not always necessary to reach this level every time we utilize technology in the classroom, it should always be the level we aim for.
You can view my artifact at the web address below: