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