Ed Tech 543: Initial Thoughts — August 29, 2015

Ed Tech 543: Initial Thoughts

Hand holding a Social Media 3d Sphere sign on white background.

I am very excited for what this semester has in store for me!  Social Networking is a huge part of my students lives, and even my life so why shouldn’t it be a part of the learning process?  I am looking forward to discovering ways to use social networking in my classroom.  I am already excited about using Diigo.  With inquiry being a huge part of my curriculum, providing a space for students to share annotated resources from their research will be awesome!

I have used Twitter and Facebook in a limited capacity for my professional development.  I know there are great resources out there, but I was not always sure of how to find them.  After setting up my TweetDeck, I was already able to find some great articles and resources on Educational Technology.

I really have not incorporated much social media into my classroom environment, truly out of fear.  I did not feel 100% comfortable having my students use social media because I was worried about the implications outside of school.  However, I can now see that using social media in the classroom can be a great way t motivate students to create a positive digital footprint.

I am hopeful that this course will help me discover ways to use social media in the classroom.  I look forward to learning new instructional strategies and collaborating with classmates throughout the course.  I am very excited about how Ed Tech 543 will transform my classroom and help my students drive their own learning!

EdTech 501 Course Reflection — August 12, 2015

EdTech 501 Course Reflection

EdTech 501 was a great introduction into the field of Educational Technology.  I would like to pursue a career in educational technology consultant and this course helped introduce me to the aspects of the field that go beyond the “flashy” technology.

  • What challenges did you face in this course?

This was my first course at the graduate level.  While I feel that my undergrad helped prepare me, I did feel a bit challenged when following the APA format.  I still have a long way to go, but I am appreciative of the feedback I received that will help me better understand how to use APA.  An exciting challenge was using new technology tools.  At times I would grow frustrated because I did not understand how to use something, but after a lot of trial and error I felt confident in my new technological skills.  I also just found the pace of the summer course to be a challenge.  I decided to take 2 courses this summer without understanding the fast paced summer work-load.

  • What strategies or other creative resources did you use to address these challenges?

I found the Purdue OWL APA resources to be very helpful when completing assignments.  I reviewed the resources over and over to make sure I had the proper set-ups.  I also used the example provided by the professor to help me see exactly how things should be set up using APA in each particular assignment.  I definitely benefit from viewing exemplars. Maybe that’s why I use them so much for my own students?

  • Which artifact do you feel was your best and why?

I felt that my school evaluation summary was my best artifact.  I think that using the survey to really evaluate my school district helped me gather all of my thoughts in a concise format.  It really helped me to write a good reflection and truly understand where my school stands with their technology plan.  I also felt that I was able to explain the demographics of my school well by blending my writing with visuals.

  • What is one thing you plan to do in your school or business as a result of this course?

I definitely want to play a larger role in technology integration at my school.  I plan to work closer with my educational technology specialists to create lesson plans and professional development session that help the teachers in my school feel more comfortable with technology in the classroom.  I also plan to create flip videos for many of the topics in my curriculum.  I enjoyed using Screencast-o-matic for assignments during this course and am excited to use this to create instructional videos throughout the school year.  I know that I can’t do everything at once, so I will definitely need to pace myself.  But I am excited to see how technology can improve my classroom and excite my students!

EdTech Graphic: Educational Technology Defined — August 7, 2015

EdTech Graphic: Educational Technology Defined

Unwinding the definition.
When I first began this course, I defined educational technology as “using technology to enhance education.”  A simple definition, but I have learned that this field encompasses so much more.

The concept of educational technology is defined as: the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.  This definition dives into all of the parts within educational technology.

The study and ethical practice are essential to the formation of the field of educational technology.  As the technology in our world continues to evolve, it is important to study its growth. Continuous research and reflection are essential in the field of educational technology.  While working in the field, it is important to consider the AECT Code of Ethics.  The act as a guide and a means for evaluation and reflection.

I found the most influential part of this definition to be the idea of “facilitating learning.”  What does it mean to facilitate?  Well, it means to make a process easier or to bring together the resources and oversee the process.  To facilitate learning, is to provide students with the tools, resources, and materials, and allow them to discover, create, and innovate.  Having this as one of the main points within the definition shows the emphasis on how educational technology is enhancing the learning process.  It promotes the idea of instructors taking a step back, and allowing the students to construct knowledge on their own.  As the definition continues , it emphasizes “improving performance.”  This promotes the usability of resources, while motivating learners to become digital citizens and gain 21st century skills.  It guides instructors to creating real world situations for their learners, and creating effective and reachable learning goals.  These two parts of the definition are integral to the concept and practice of educational technology.

In order to successfully fulfill your duty as an educational technologist, you must be able to create, use and manage technological processes and resources. Creating is an extensive process.  It means create learning environments, both digitally and physically, such as computer labs.  It means creating instructional tools, like ThingLink or Socrative for the purpose of promoting learning.  Additionally, it means creating educational systems for teachers to use and follow.  The use of these processes and resources can be complex as well.  It covers the integration of technology to schools, the encouragement of teachers, the selection of best practices, and ensuring effectiveness.  Finally, the management skills of an educational technologist are equally as important.   There is a need to direct operations, manage projects, collaborate, delegate, and implement.

Educational technology is a complex field, that is continuously growing.  While the definition is “jam-packed” is leads to a larger understanding of the field and its purpose.

Creating my graphic.
To create my graphic I used Google Drawing.  I collected images of technological tools for the classroom through a Google Image search.  I used the search tools to find images that were “labeled for reuse with modification” and all of the images I used were from Wikimedia Commons.  In Google Drawing, I created a black background to represent a blackboard with a “callout” shape to symbolize a crack or break in the board.  I then placed all of the technology tool images within the break to symbolize how technology allows us to breakthrough the classroom walls and dive deeper into learning.  I then placed the key terms of the educational technology definition around the chalkboard to emphasize their importance.  Finally, I used ThingLink to add descriptions to each of the terms to help viewers understand how each term works within the definition, as well as how it leads to improved learning environments.

I have used Google Drawing to create images before, and find it a very useful tool when making infographs for students.  ThingLink is also a great resource to add information to infographs.  I have used ThingLink to create interactive maps for my students with links to articles and videos.  I have also used it as an inquiry tool, providing my students with basic information which leads them to question a concept and inquire deeper through research.  While I was looking for a way to create my graphic, I discovered Piktochart, which is a great tool to create infographs as well.  It is definitely a tool I will use in the future to provide information to my students, and I even plan to have my students use it to create their own infographs.

Click here to view a larger version of my EdTech Graphic.

References:
Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (2008). Professional Ethics and Educational Technology. In Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary (pp. 283-326). New York: Routledge.

Protected: School Evaluation Summary — August 2, 2015