Friday, December 25, 2009

Reflection: Technology Integration

Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society is a course through Walden University that has equipped me with information that will help me to integrate technology in my classroom. Before this course I do not think I understood how much of an impact technology had on my students. With the help of Dr. Dede and Dr. Thornburg, I feel that I have opened my eyes to a whole new world of learning, 21st century learning, with Web 2.0 tools.

The opportunities we have today with Web 2.0 tools are endless. I have developed an understanding of blogs, wikis, and podcasts. All of which I did not know prior to this class. Richardson states in his book “Blogs, Wikis Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms” that these skills “are relatively easy for anyone to employ in the classroom” (2009, p. 7). After this course, I would completely agree. Technology is something that I am very interested in; however, I was having trouble finding ways to incorporate it into my classroom. With the technology skills that I have developed in this class, I feel that I am more than prepared to utilize these skills in my classroom.

My goal is to increase student achievement; therefore I plan to continue to learn more about technology by keeping up with new and upcoming programs that are offered through technology use. I will have to read more about technology as well. I also plan to try more things in my classroom using technology as a strategy for teaching. I want to see myself as “a connector”, as Richardson describes, and show my students how to use technology effectively. Teacher modeling is one of the most powerful ways to teach; therefore by using technology myself, students will see the need to using technology other than for pleasure, such as games, etc. There is a “growing gap between what today’s students do in school and what they do at home” (Miners & Pascopella, 2007, p. 27). Before this course I was aware of this, but not to the extent that it truly is. For students to spend 27 hours a week on the internet at home, compared to 15 minutes a week at school there is obviously something missing here. Technology over the years has changed how students perceive things. Students today are classified as “digital natives” and according to Mark Prensky that means they are “native speakers of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet” (2001). As an educator, this should change the way that I teach. My lessons need to be based on how my students learn best, and based on the above information that means using technology to reach them.

In the next two years, I plan to create a classroom blog that will allow students to openly discuss classroom learning. This would be a place for students as well as parents to view content material. I will include websites that could help students when studying a specific skill, as well as have a place for students to comment. I would like to be able to add “pictures and quotes” as Richardson suggests in his book, and give the students an opportunity to add their own thoughts about a particular subject. In addition, I would also like to make podcasting a regular part of my instruction. I think using a podcast would be the perfect way to teach my students the importance of technology, as well as their other state standards. Through podcasting I would have to first teach my students how to use the computer program, and how to post it onto our classroom blog. I teach three reading classes each day, and I think it would be great to have my students create a podcast and compare and contrast it with the other classes. By allowing my students to participate in a blog and develop a podcast, I am helping them to build those 21st century skills that they need to possess such as; critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills, creativity and innovative thinking, and information technology (Laureate Education, Inc., 2008).

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). 2008. [Motion picture]. Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society. Baltimore: Author.

Miners, Z., & Pascopella, A. (2007). The new literacies. District Administration, 43(10), 26–34.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2004). Retrieved November 26, 2009, from

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5).

Richardson, W. (2009). Blogs, wiks, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Podcast: Student Technology Use at Home and at School

This podcast includes interviews with three fourth grade students that are classified as “digital natives”, and contains their answers to serveral questions about their technology use. Their responses to these questions have proven that today, in fact we do have “a growing gap between what today’s students do in school and what they do at home” (Miners & Pascopella, 2007). What is most surprising is the fact that these students are spending four hours or more using technology at home, and only using technology at school to take Accelerated Reader tests, or use Grammar Blast. As educators we must first identify this as a problem, and then take action. There are so many ways we can incorporate technology into the classroom, we just need to do it.

Dr. Thornburg states in the video “Today’s Students” that we have to think “nothing less than one to one computing”, meaning we need to have students on the computers learning individually and collaboratly in order to meet their needs (Laureate, 2008). He also mentioned that students that spend more time using technology at school see an increase in their grades and are able to grasp information at a quicker pace than those that use only paper and pencil. Obviously we need to find a balance between technology use and paper and pencil instruction. The most important thing is that we are doing what is best for our students. We can see clearly that what grasps their attention is video games, television, etc. We need to find out how to use that to our advantage. There are so many great websites, blogs, and wikis that have already been created, we just need to use them.

I love what Alan November states in his article “Banning Student ‘Containers’”, when talking about different forms of technology. “It will be the courageous educator who works with students to explore the power of these tools and in turn empowers stduents to be lifelong learners and active shapers of a world we cannot yet imagine” (November, 2008). That statement is so powerful. Is that not what education is all about? Having read these articles, viewing the video clip above, and completing this research on student technology use, my eyes have been opened to so much. Educators have the abilitiy to change the lives of their students, which is a big responsibility. Now, more than ever we need to focus on how to best reach that goal. Is it with technology? I would say absolutely.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). 2008. Skills for the 21st Century [Motion picture]. Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society. Baltimore: Author.

Miners, Z., & Pascopella, A. (2007). The new literacies. District Administration, 43(10), 26–34. Used by permission.

November, A. (2007). Banning student 'containers'. Technology & Learning. Retrieved from

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Partnership for 21st Century Skills

In the article, "The New Literacies", Miners and Pascopella first ask, "Students are immersed in 21st century “new literacy” technologies, but are schools preparing them for the future?" (2007). This question should make educators think. When I think about this, the first thing that comes to mind is how my students use my Promethean Board to aid in their learning. What I have found at times, is that students will look as though they understand the content while I have their attention on the board, however, when I give it to them on paper they are unable to perform. Is it wrong for me to teach using my Promethean Board? I do not think so, but I must be able to show them how to transfer what they are learning in a technology situation, to paper. In the education world students and teachers are searching for better ways to understand and/or teach material and skills. Using technology is a great way to do this, but their should definitely be a balance between the two.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills website discusses what skills students should possess for the 21st century, by providing a framework for teaching these skills, so that they will be prepared for the workplace. The diagram on the website shows the balance between these skills and the importance of each. It is evident that core subjects are still very important in the education world. This model puts a high importance on life and career skills, and information, media, and technology skills are included, which is appealing to me. Right now, this is not happening at our school. I feel like we are unfortunately leaving out life and career skills to focus more on standards and assessments. Although we do need these things, I think we should also be required to teach students skills that our students will use the rest of their lives. How to communicate with others, how to work in a group with people of different backgrounds, etc., and how to use a computer are just a few skills of the many that we should also be teaching. I am excited about what this could mean for my students and all the information it provides for educators.

I am most surprised by the life and career skills being a part of the model for 21st century learning. It was my assumption from my personal experience that those skills were the missing link to making our students successful. It is comforting to know that that is not the case. I agree completely with the framework for the skills to be taught. I have learned from this site that I need to be a more creative teacher. Although the standards are increasing in number and in depth, I think it is important for educators to continue to be creative and make learning fun. Paper and pencil cannot guide my instruction; instead technology and other creative strategies should be my priority in order to get the skills to my students. Whether that is in a group project, or independently using a blog, students should have those opportunities. The support that this model offers could quite possibly change our students and their dispositions dramatically. This is what I need as an educator.


(2004). The partnership for 21st century skills. Retrieved from

Miners, Z., & Pascopella, A. (2007). The new literacies. District Administration, 43(10), 26–34.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How to use Blogs in the Classroom

In reading Will Richardson's book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, "Blogs engage readers with ideas and questions and links. They ask readers to think and to respond. They demand interaction." (Richardson, 2009, p.18). This is a great time for others to respond with their own experiences. I think my students could do just that in a classroom blog.

I teach fourth grade reading and language arts. My goal for my students is to become better readers and writers. Being new to the blog world, I am seeing the benefits for not only myself, but my students as well. There are several ways I would like to use blogs in my classroom. First of all, I think it would be great for discussions. My fourth graders love being on the computer. We have stations, which allow the students to go from one activity to the next with a small group. Computers are one station. I could use a blog to discuss content with them. This would allow them to connect with the material while using a blog as the vehicle to produce their work. Another use would be for publishing their work. Unfortunately some of their handwriting is not the best, therefore using the computer to type their paper would help others to read it, as well as publish their work for responses. These responses could possibly be reviewed by their peers, which would help with editing skills.

I think that blogs would be great for my students and would enhance my lessons. I could definitely use them in many ways. My purpose and goal for them would be to know and understand the skills before them, while becoming better readers and writers in the process.

The role of technology in society is endless. It continues to improve. In a video that I recently watched, "Technology's Influence" we see these changes and how they take place. We are taking new things in technology and integrating them into our routines. Once the technology is there we have new ways to do things. That being said, why not use these things in education. The effects of technology could mean huge gains for students that may not learn those skills otherwise. This is why I feel so strongly about incorporating new technology, such as blogs, into my teaching routine.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2008). Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society [Motion picture]. Teacher as professional. Baltimore.

Richardson, W. (2009). Blogs, wiks, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Technology Integration

I am currently working on my master's through Walden University. My program is Integrating Technology in the Classroom. I am really excited to get started in taking technology classes. I am definitely not an expert when it comes to technology, however I am very interested in technology and I am excited to see how this will help my students.