Leader in Me

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EDTECH 504 – Final Reflection

EdTech 504 introduced me to a variety of learning theories, demonstrated how older theories have adapted to include technology, and how newer theories have emerged.  The two theories that I feel will impact my teaching will be connectivism and constructivism.

Working as the Technology Coach has allowed me to analyze technology integration within my school.  This course has helped provide me with the tools and a deeper understanding of technology integration that I can use to be successful in my job.

The majority of the coursework for this class was centered on reading, discussing and writing about different learning theories. I enjoyed being able to put my ideas and thoughts out there and have my peers read and respond.  I believe this is an important process in learning.

Looking at the coursework completed and reviewing the AECT standards, I feel each assignment addressed an element of Standard 1: Design.

Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to design    conditions for learning by applying principles of instructional systems design,             message design, instructional strategies, and learner   characteristics.

Having an understanding of learning theories will aid me with designing future lessons.  I will be able to select appropriate instructional strategies, identify student needs and use technology to meet instructional and student goals.

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EdTech 541 – Final Thoughts

Learning & Theories

The coursework in EDTECH 541 has helped further develop my belief in the power of technology integration.  I have a better understanding of the foundational theories that support technology, specifically TIP and TPACK.  These theories will help me plan, prepare and select the best strategies and materials to support learning. I understand that there is more to technology integration then having “tools” in your classroom to use.

AECT Standards & My Teaching

I feel the most rewarding part of the course was creating different lessons and products.  I learn best while doing.  I now have several lessons that I can share with others, use as examples or teach in the classroom.  I have a feeling that all of the knowledge I gained in this course will serve me well as I continue with the MET program.  Each course is building upon each other while meeting the different AECT standards to prepare me for graduation and life beyond the program.

Professional Growth

I can honestly say that everything I have learned is relevant to me professionally.  I am currently working as a Technology Coach and helping my staff integrate technology in their classrooms.  I have an arsenal of ideas and lessons that I can put into action at my school. When I first took the job, I was worried about how to help the teachers outside of elementary.  Spending time learning about different ways to integrate technology across the curriculum prepared me to help those teachers I was worried about.  I feel better prepared to make a difference at my school.

My Performance

Using the rubric provided, I scored myself at 136/140 points.  I felt I could have posted earlier in the module on some occasions and could have gone into more depth on other posts.  Here is my completed rubric.

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Accessibility on My MacBook Pro

I use a MacBook Pro with OS X 10.9.  One thing I’ve learned about the accessibility options on my MacBook is that they are similar to the options on my iPad and iPhone.  Apple uses the same features across their systems, which makes them more accessible to users.  I love that each Mac comes with assistive technology built in.  You can find it by going to System Preferences>Accessibility.

Here are the available technologies on my MacBook.

Vision

Display:  In this section I have the ability to change the color of my screen to gray scale or invert the colors. I am able to adjust the contrast.  I can also increase the cursor size.  I inverted the colors and realized right away that this option is not for me.  My eyes had a hard time adjusting to the change.

Zoom: In this section I can access the built in magnifier.  I can turn on shortcuts and adjust how the zoom works and to what extent it zooms in.  I had to look up what one of the shortcut symbols was.  I’ve always wondered.  (It stood for the option key) The only problem is I couldn’t get the window to go away and I think I turned off all shortcuts.

Voiceover:  I did not know I had this option.  Voiceover is a screen reader.  It provides both spoken or a braille description.  There are lots of features built in this one option.  For more information, visit http://www.apple.com/accessibility/osx/voiceover/

Hearing

Audio: One of the options found here is to have the screen flash when an alert sound occurs.  Users also can have sound played in Mono.  This is important if the user is using headphones. A lot of the time stereo sound plays different channels in each year.  If the user is hearing impaired in one ear, they miss out.  Selecting mono puts all the channels in both ears.

Captions:  Built in the MacBook is a captioning service.  It provides captions for supported apps like iTunes.

Another option not found in my Accessibility list in System Preferences but talked about on the Apple website is the use of iMessage and Facetime.  Both allow the user to communicate.  iMessage doesn’t require the user to speak and Facetime allows the user to see expressions and even be able to read lips.

Interacting

This section has several options for controlling the keyboard, mouse, switch control, speak able items.

A user can change the sensitivity of the keyboard and mouse. One of the more interesting features I learned about was the speakable items.  The MacBook allows the user to control the computer with their voice instead of the keyboard.

Overall, I am impressed by the different options that are available on my MacBook.  I am interested in how they compare to PC.  For more information about the accessibility of IOS and OS X devices, visit the following website http://www.apple.com/accessibility/

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Obstacles and Solutions for Technology Integration

There seems to be two main problems when it comes to technology integration in my classroom.

Availability – Problems and Solutions

We have a lot of technology in our school.  I would consider us to be very lucky. But, it seems that even though we have a lot of technology it isn’t always available for use.  We are a K-12 school and at times the labs and other equipment are used the entire day by different classes.  There isn’t enough to go around.  This is a good problem to have.  I would rather it be this way than no technology or technology that isn’t being used.

When I taught, I had three other teachers at my grade level.  We collaborated a lot and so did a lot of the same projects.  That meant we had to be creative with technology.  A solution would be to turn a lesson that might be a 1:1 device into a center/station.  This would allow the technology to be shared.  Another solution would be to stagger the times of the lesson so that the demand on technology is less.

Adequate Resources – Problems and Solutions

Another problem would be having adequate resources to use with the available technology.  My classes were mixed grade levels which meant I had my kids for two years.  I taught different things each year so I repeated curriculum every two years.  A lot of web based resources, apps, software, etc change during that time.  It never failed that something would happen to my computer and I would lose all my bookmarks or not be able to find the file that I saved the links in.

One of the best solutions for this problem has been working on my Master’s Degree in Educational Technology.  In each class I have been exposed to amazing resources and tools to manage those resources.  Before, I stored everything at school.  Now I have a website that I keep most of my resources on as well as several other accounts. The only problem would be remembering where I stored what.

Having access to resources like Scoop It, Diigo and Twitter keep me up to date with new ways of integrating technology regardless of the subject area.  Developing my PLN has been the best way of overcoming not having adequate resources.  At times, I feel overwhelmed by the amount of information available.  This is a good problem to have.

Jennifer Moss. (n.d.). Content Curation Tools | iTeachU. iteachu.uaf.edu. Retrieved November 17, 2013, from http://iteachu.uaf.edu/grow-skills/filelink-management/content-curation-tools/
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Integrating Technology into the Content Areas

I am very passionate about the topic of integrating technology into the content areas.  I feel it is a must and I work hard to find ways to integrate technology.  But, for many, it is not an easy transition.  Years of doing things the same way make it hard to see the benefits of doing something different.

For me, the relative advantage of using technology in the content area is that it enhances the opportunities we can provide to our students.  We can give them another avenue for learning, create skills needed for furthering their education and careers, and even visit places that before would be off limits to the classroom.

The past year I have spent many hours trying to find ways to integrate iPads into the classroom.  It seems to be all I think about.  For this blog, I wanted to talk about something different and I’m sharing an example of the advantages of integrating technology into the content area that I experienced.  I hope that over the course of the next year or two, this type of learning will happen more often at my school. This particular opportunity was made possible by a hard working teacher, the video conferencing equipment installed in our school by the Idaho State Department and a grant from Digital Learning Day.

Last year one of our teachers won a grant that provided her students with the opportunity to take a virtual field trip.  This was the first time that I was able to participate in such an event. I set up a test call and got the classroom ready for students to use the videoconferencing system.  I had no idea what to expect.  I knew the kids were showing up and I had to call in to the location.

The students had been learning about different ecosystems and had been “flying” around in their classroom airplanes to different locations.  They would watch videos and do other activities to enhance their studies.  They even got a behind the scenes tour of the Boise Airport.  The teacher picked this field trip to support the learning that was taking place in the classroom.  What made this virtual field trip special is that students were able to visit The Alaska Sea Life Center. They watched the birds fly and swim around in real time.  They were able to listen to the presentation that the expert gave to them.  They were able to raise their hands and be called on to ask questions.  They participated in an activities and even used clay to build a bird.  The materials had been shipped and arrived at school in time to be ready for the presentation.  The center provided background materials to study before going on the field trip.  It was a huge success and students thought it was an amazing experience.  Did I mention they were first and second graders?

They were completely engaged!  It isn’t often that you get that young of kids to sit and be engaged for an hour.  They were able to go someplace special that most of them probably won’t go to in person.  They had the opportunity to speak with an expert in the field of marine animals. They got to see and learn about birds that we don’t have in Idaho.

This one event for me reaffirmed my belief that technology is key to great things.  It allows distances to disappear and opportunities to unfold.  It brought science to a first/second classroom that previously wan unreachable.  It brought experts to the students.

Posted in 1.3 Instructional Strategies, 2.2 Audiovisual Technologies, 2.4 Integrated Technologies, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Walled Gardens

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Walled Gardens

Posted in 3.4 Policies and Regulations, 4.4 Information Management, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment