My unit of instruction is geared towards 8th grade students learning about the presidential election. I chose my four words based off of key words students will come across in this unit. They are: Ballot, Campaign, Elect, and Swing State.
Ballot – To represent ballot I chose to include the check boxes found on most common ballots. I used the check boxes next to the letters in the word. I chose to use all capital letters to keep the letters the same size and position throughout. I made two attempts at this word, first I put the letters in the check boxes. As I reflected on that image, I felt the word looked more like block letters you might see a child playing with and did not portray a ballot. I also chose to use the colors of red and blue to emphasize the American presidential election theme.
Campaign – When nominees campaign they often speak in front of large crowds and attend political rallies, often use a megaphone to speak. I chose the same red and blue as in ballot to continue the American presidential election theme. Although the book mentions that often capital letters can be more difficult to read, I chose capital letters for campaign for 2 reasons. First, in order to best fit the megaphone in as the “p” it needed to be capital. In addition, I believe the capitals emphasize the idea of campaigning “loud and proud.” Originally I had added “2016” below the word campaign, but after looking at the image and the purpose of the unit, I realized that I did not want to select just this years campaign, as I will hopefully use this lesson in the future.
Swing State – Swing state was a fun word to create. I knew that using some type of a swing would be important. I had considered using an image of an actual swing. I also considered just having the words in the swing shape, without the rope. After reviewing the image with a coworker, they felt the ropes were necessary in creating the “swing” affect. We also decided that continuing the use of the red and blue would be important.
Elect – I found elect to be the most difficult word I chose. I created 4 different options for the word before settling on this one. I originally had planned to use a check box and an “x mark” as the “t” in elect. However, after showing coworkers and students I realized that it was difficult to identify the word. Next, I began adding the check mark to the E. I went through many color options before choosing to blend the same red and blue into the E.
Engaging, Effective, and Efficient
Imagine a classroom where the students guide and develop their own learning. They are an “active learner,” developing questions, making hypothesis, and discovering answers. Students are creating new meaning and participating in authentic tasks. Learning encompasses more than just the content area, but the skills and capabilities necessary for students’ futures. Learning theorist John Dewey would have celebrated this classroom and how it fits into the constructivist theory that he researched and developed. While this learning theory has been around since Dewey’s lifetime in the early 1900s, it can now be promoted more regularly with the increase is technology tools and resources in the classroom. Classrooms are now equipped with the ability to let students venture out on their own to discover and construct new meaning. Students can explore the vast cultures and beleifs available to them and formulate their own opinions based off of their findings. This builds even more on Dewy’s constructivist ideals, by reaching Lev Vygotsky’s concept of social constructivism. The ability for students to collaboarte with others, engage in purposeful discussion, and explore the world around them Additionally, teachers are now able to better guide the student’s learning process and utilize these tools effectively. Although the idea of educational technology is not new, it is a continuously evolving concept; one that changes and adapts over time to accomodate the new resources available.
Educational technologies are not limited to just the devices used, but also the process by which those tools are used. As a teacher it is important to consider how technology is being used in your classroom in order to ensure it is being used to truly promote Dewey’s constructivist theory and improve student learning and achievement. In addition, educational theories have evolved to consider the importance of “life-long learner” skills. There is now an “emphasis on learning and innovation skills and critical thinking and problem solving (35)” that will allow students better success in future careers (Roblyer, 2016). And the integration of educational technology is essential in reaching towards these goals.
To ensure success for both educators and students, educational technologies should be used to increase student engagement, allow for feedback and data collection to me more efficient, and to allow for continuous improvement and growth to ensure its effectiveness.
Engagement means that students are alert, active, and overall excited to be a part of the learning environment. Educational technology tools can be used to promote student engagement. Thought should be put into the tools being used: Does this tool improve the overall lesson? Will use of this tool benefit my students? How will my students react to this tool? There are plenty of educational technology tools available. When implementing educational technology into the learning encironment, it is important to choose a tool that will “excite” students and improve their intrinsic motivation. When an educational technology tool is utilized well, it should lead to increased engagement.
Efficiency is important in education. Depending on the grade level you teach, you may only see your students for 50 minutes a day. During that time you need to deliver feedback to about 30 students. With educational technology, educators can now deliver feedback to students digitally, allowing for quicker transitions between students and more timely feedback. Different technologies also allow for educators to gather data more quickly on their students. Educators might create a digital formative assessment for the middle of a class to see areas of strength and weakness for students. Additionally, educators might take compile test data and easily be able to group students based off of results.
The Effectiveness of educational technology tools and proccesses is important to the fields continuous growth. Educationa technology is an evolving field, in order for it to be implemented well educators should always be evaluating how it was used and be considering ways to make improvements. One of the great attirbutes of educaional technology is that there are often opportunities to make adjustments on the fly. If the student learning is not going “as planned” educators can make quick adjustments, or find valubale resources to share with students. The overall effectiveness of educaitonal technology is a huge attribute and allows for continuous improvement in learning environments.
The use of educational technology is instrumental in improving student learning envirnoments. Educators are better able to create learning environments that support theories promoted by John Dewey and Lev Vygotsky who urged learners to take an active role and explore on their own. The use of educational technology allows for increased student engagement, efficiency of feedback for students, and an opportunity for increased growth and effectiveness.
Roblyer, M. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed.). Massachusetts: Pearson.
Trif, Letititia. (2015). Training Models of Social Constructivism. Teaching based on a developing scaffold. Social and Bahvorial Sciences, 180(978-983)
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.
Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (2008). Professional Ethics and Educational Technology. In Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary (pp. 283-326). New York: Routledge.