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:
For “Professional Ethics” I was required to identify a scenario or topic in educational
technology that connected to the AECT professional code of ethics. I chose to research BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) programs in schools. During my research I found that there are a number of ethical issues related to BYOD programs that can be addressed by using the professional code of ethics in the manner it was intended. Many of the issues I discovered during my research are things I had never considered in the past, such as concerns over intellectual property concerning copyright ownership for content created on student owned devices. Many of the disadvantages I discovered are issues that we encounter regardless of the manner we seek to incorporate technology into the classroom. BYOD programs provide a number of great advantages that help close the digital divide gap and give teachers and students additional tools to create engaging instructional activities.
Overall, I find it very challenging to evaluate ethical issues with educational technology as there is often compelling evidence in differing directions that makes it difficult to know for certain what the proper course of action is. I think this will likely continue to be the case as technology and how people use it is constantly changing and progressing. Just as all students learn at their own rate and in their own ways, students are able to handle technology at different rates and in different ways. This makes it even more critical for teachers and administrators to carefully consider how they integrate technology into classrooms in their school. Considering the ethical questions related to educational technology is an excellent way to ensure you are choosing how and when technology should be used in the classroom.
For “EdTech Research” I was asked to conduct research on an educational technology topic of my choice and create an annotated bibliography. I chose to research 1:1 computing programs, which is a program where each student in a classroom has access to their own internet enable device, such as a laptop, tablet, or other device. In order to research this topic properly it was necessary to find reliable resources that could be trusted. To accomplish this, I relied on peer-reviewed research studies, which allowed me to feel confident that the information I was reviewing was legitimate. Peer-reviewed articles go through a process to ensure the information is quality work that adheres to editorial standards. For this assignment I was asked to format my annotated bibliography in APA format. I learned that APA format is a commonly accepted format for professional articles, which provides a uniform presentation of information that can easily be understood by other professionals. Overall, this project has taught me how to identify quality information that can help me make better decisions for my future classroom.
Click here to view my complete annotated bibliography.
For “RSS in Education” I was tasked with writing a lesson plan that integrated the use of RSS feeds to enhance learning. I decided that since my goal is to earn a position in a middle school mathematics class, I should find a way to integrate RSS feeds into my vision for my future classroom. I will admit this was much harder than I originally expected and I hope to find additional ways to use this technology in my classroom. A large part of my vision is to find ways to relate mathematics to the real world to show students that their work is not just for math class. I want to bring real world problems and context to their work in hopes of fostering better understanding to what they are doing.
My lesson plan is laid out with the intention of creating a process that forces students to look for connections to math in real life. Students will use RSS readers to find news articles, blogs, and podcasts that have real life problems/issues, which contain a math connection. Students will nominate an article, blog, or podcast that we will then have a class discussion about. I will select from the student nominations and ask that students are prepared with questions, comments, and ideas about the chosen material. Students will then write a reflection that requires them to answer questions and reflect on both their understanding of the current topic as well as their classmate’s points of view. I’m really excited to see where my students take this project. I think this will be an engaging lesson that will lead to interesting class discussions and student reflections.
Click here to view my full lesson plan.
Welcome to my EdTech learning log. I am excited to get started and look forward to seeing how this page grows and changes. My EdTech learning log will be an ongoing and ever changing workspace where I will collect the finest examples I am able to produce using the skills I have gained throughout the M.E.T. graduate program.
This space will be begin as a workshop where I can collect and reflect on the work I complete in each of the core and elective classes I take during my time in the EdTech program. Over time I will modify, shape, and enhance these artifacts and reflections into my final eportfolio that I will present as proof I have mastered the necessary skills to earn my graduate degree in the M.E.T. program.
For those of you joining me in this journey I look forward to working with you while we all grow and learn to hone our skills and make them as effective as possible.