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
Protected: Exploring the New Roles of Teachers — July 26, 2015
EDTECH Research: Flipped Classroom Annotated Bibliography — July 23, 2015

EDTECH Research: Flipped Classroom Annotated Bibliography

Creating an annotated bibliography is a great way to begin research.  While I had not done this in a while, I found it to be very useful.  I was able to review multiple sources and evaluate whether they were effective and applied to my needs.  It helped give me a “critical” lens to look though as I read each article, and I feel as if I can take away a lot of new and useful information from my research.  I researched the flipped classroom method, since it is something I am trying to move to in my own classroom.  I was excited to read all of the positive research that has been done on this method.  Many teachers have piloted a flipped classroom, and student survey results and test scores show that it is successful.  My research led me to multiple different methods that could work in my classroom and I am excited to design lessons and units around these ideas.  I particularly like the idea of using primary sources and online discussions outside of the classroom to facilitate discussion prior to class time.  I also found some articles on the “logistics” of a flipped model for a whole school.  This article explained the benefits of having students meet less times during the week and the cost benefit of a flipped model.  While this may not pertain to my current job, it is useful information to consider as I move forward with my career.

I found the Boise State Albertsons Library Database to be very useful in finding scholarly articles on this topic.  I was able to read through the results and their abstracts to discover which sources might be most beneficial. Using APA format was new to me when I began this course.  I have used Purdue Owl and many of the other resources provided to gain a better understanding of how to use APA properly.  While this assignment was time-consuming, it was very useful to my educational growth and research.  I feel confident with new ideas for my classroom in the fall, but also confident in how to continue to research new ideas and information.

Annotated Bibliography

RSS Feed Reader Lesson Plan — July 19, 2015

RSS Feed Reader Lesson Plan

This assignment introduced me to a great resource and also led me to create a practical lesson plan I can use this fall.  While using an RSS Feed reader, like Feedly, can be great for everyday life for staying up to date, it can also be a great tool for a social studies classroom.  Feedly was easy to set up and provides great “starter-kits” for new users.  I was able to find some great education sites to follow, as well as news sites.  I love the ability to view all of these sources up-to-date and in one place.  This helped inspire me to create my lesson plan.  While Feedly can be a great resource for current events, I wanted to make a connection to “past.”  After a lot of thought, I decided to create an “On this day in history” lesson plan.  Students would use provided links to discover events from the past that happened on the day of the lesson.  Then they would use Feedly to access the most current news sources.  After evaluating the events, students would create a blog post in Blogger, titled “On this day in history,” combining what they learned about the past with the current events.  My school uses Google Apps for Education and all students have created a Blogger using their Google Account.  Overall, I can see how this lesson could be a great way to engage students in both content and technology.  Feedly and other RSS Feed Readers will be a great tool to use this upcoming school year.   However, it was challenging to discover a way to incorporate an RSS Feed Reader into a lesson, while still relating to my content area.

I also enjoyed learning how to use Screencast-o-matic.  It was challenging to use at first, but after a couple of “trys” I was able to create a flip video on how to use Feedly.  This will be a great tool as I work towards a “flipped” classroom in the upcoming years.  One thing I would like to learn is how to make the transitions between takes look “smoother” so it seems more seamless to a viewer.

If I had more time, I would have worked on adding more examples to my student worksheet, for students to use as a guide.  I also think that with more time, I might have found another tool for the students to create an “On This Day in History” project.  While I think Blogger is a great way to start, I would have liked to have researched other tools that student could use to combine both content and technology.

Currently, I am unable to test this lesson since it is summer break.  However, I think this would be a good activity for my students to do early on in the year.  It will help introduce them to two new tools, while also getting them excited about the content.

 

Digital Divide & Digital Inequality — July 15, 2015

Digital Divide & Digital Inequality

Researching digital divide and digital inequality helped give me a better understanding of the gap that exists in our digital world.  I now understand how the divide goes beyond just simply having access, but also looks at how that access is being used. Internet access is increasing worldwide, through wifi, and mobile broadband.  But with that increased access does not come increased digital competencies.

This assignment has helped me understand my role as an educator in ensuring that my students become digital citizens, and that they are prepared for their future professions.  The National Education Technology Plan, created in 2010, provides a great resource for improving technology use for students and for helping teachers in the process.

In reflecting on my district’s technology plan, I began to realize some areas where the digital divide was present.  There have been many times where I have had to modify an assignment or provide an extension to a student without technology access.  I have also encountered a big gap in digital skills.  Some students are “tech wizards” while others struggle with using Google Docs, Microsoft Office, and many more basic applications.  I can see the importance of setting standards for all students to achieve.  My school uses standards-based report cards for content knowledge and skills, I now see that it should also include digital skills within the content.

One area that I would like to learn more about is the idea of “connected-teaching” where teachers essentially work as a team to share ideas, create lessons, and work with the students.  I think that having this collaboration among teachers would be invaluable!

This project also helped me learn more about multimedia principles.  I learned how to keep a presentation focused and effective.  Garr Reynolds’, Presentation Zen, was a great resource.  It gave good guidelines to follow when creating a presentation.  I like how he emphasizes starting with an “end in mind” and not “diving” right into Google Slides.  I created an outline before hand to make sure I had all of the proper content in my presentation, and then went back through to find graphs, images, and statements to include on my slides.  This will be a great resource as I complete future presentations for both projects in my coursework and also for professional development in my district.

Digital Divide Voice Thread Presentation

Digital Divide Google Slides

Code of Professional Ethics in Educational Technology — July 11, 2015

Code of Professional Ethics in Educational Technology

By reading and reflecting on the AECT Code of Ethics, I have learned many of the “ethical dilemmas” educational technologists face during their job.  While completing this assignment, I began to reflect on my own experiences and began to gain a better understanding of how the code of ethics works and its importance to the field of educational technology.  The AECT Code of Ethics defines a uniform set of expectations for all in the field.  The Code also provides a means for reflection as educational technology continues to advance.  Referring to and applying these ethics will help me as I continue my role as an educator and leader within my school.

While analyzing the Code of Ethics, I decided to reflect on the integration of technology in my school district.  By looking through an “ethical” lens, I was able to reflect on the process more critically.  I can now see that with great ideas and initiatives, comes great ethical considerations.

School-wide Technology Access

Hello world! — July 1, 2015

Hello world!

Welcome to my Ed Tech Learning Log!  Technology has become a huge part of our world, especially in the lives of my students. Since finishing my undergrad, I have been searching for a master’s program that would provide me with the opportunity to discover all of the possibilites technology can have in my classroom.  I am looking forward to using my learning log as a place to document my journey through Boise State’s M.E.T. program. I hope to use this space to showcase my coursework, reflect on my successes and challenges, collaborate with others, and ultimatley discover new ideas to bring to my classroom!