Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Technology Integration

I read an interesting article today (Technology Integration Guide) that presents practical tips for seamless integration and what it "looks like" in a classroom. The original form of the article was posted in 2007, but an updated version is making the twitter rounds today. 

According to this article, technology integration is achieved when the use of technology is:
  • Routine and transparent
  • A child or a teacher doesn't stop to think that he or she is using a technology tool
  • Is accessible and readily available for the task at hand
  • Technology tools support the curricular goals, and help the students to effectively reach their goals
  • And students are more actively engaged in projects when technology integration is a seamless part of the learning process. (Edutopia, 2007)
While I agree with the points made, I think that they only allude to a crucial element of seamless technology integration--it's not about the technology. What makes students actively engaged? What makes students able to move seamlessly from one form and mode of technology to the next and stay focused on the lesson? How is a classroom transparent? It seems that this list misses the teaching pedagogy behind the use of the technology--a crucial point in mentoring teachers to use technology in their classrooms. Technology doesn't make a better teacher, but technology can enhance what is already happening in a master teachers classroom.

Take "routine and transparent". Sure, technology can make this easier--giving parents and guardians a voice in the classroom, allowing ownership to foster in not only students, but in the community surrounding the classroom as well. There are hundreds of websites that provide collaboration and transparency of a teacher to the rest of the world (not sure a teacher exists in our country whose grades are not posted online for parents and guardians to access). Yet, a solid teaching practice is to foster relationships between classroom stakeholders. Giving technology to a teacher who does not value these relationships won't make the classroom routine and transparent. It's the backstage belief of the teacher in the necessity of fostering community that makes the onstage movement towards a routine and transparent use of technology.

Each of these bulleted ideas must be discussed through the lens of the kind of teaching skill that gets a class to this point. That's what we need to foster in our teachers--the technology will come when the desire to teach effectively becomes the focus!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 23rd Ed Tech Tip

Back in college my husband was given a copy of the book Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. On the inside cover was a list of signatures of people that had read the book and then passed it on to the next person. When my husband finished it, he signed it and sent it on. I always thought it would be quite neat to know where it had traveled. Now, thanks to Book Crossing we can!

Now, to pick a book to send...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22nd Ed Tech Tip

Sometimes I need a bit of humor and, while it's quickly becoming (or already is) an overused gimmick--I still love the "Keep Calm" posters. If you ever need to make one of your own, my favorite Keep Calm generator is KeepCalm-O-Matic. Enjoy!

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21st Ed Tech Tip

One of my favorite tools is the Down For Everyone or Just Me? tool. This tool allows you to see if a website is down for just your network or everywhere--meaning an issue with the actual website. I use this a lot, especially working with students. If they encounter a slow site or don't get something uploaded to Animoto or Prezi, we check the Down For Everyone tool. It allows us to see if it's our error or the site's error.


Bookmark this tool!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Blogging & Twitter Beginner

I've dabbled in blogging and twittering for a few years now, but this week I decided to "get serious". I'm not sure what that means though.

When you started blogging and twittering, how did you begin talking?

I think my deeper, darker question--will anyone want to listen?

I understand that I need to make myself someone worth listening to in the blogosphere and twitterverse, but I wonder if I have anything new to say. Is it worth blogging if I'm just reposting the thoughts and ideas of others? Do I have to contribute something new, a controversial comment or witty remark? Are rhetorical questions the must frustrating thing to readers of a blog?

Yet, I have a vision for my blog. I want it to be a place that my students (teachers in BVSD) can come to learn about new technology and ideas in education. I want it to be a place where we can debate and discuss ideas and vision for implementing technology in the classroom. I want it to be a place where I can reflect on what it's like to be on this end of the district, I'm now a part of the calvary rather than being in the trenches of the classroom. My experience through this transition could take up an entire book already, so I know I have so much to share about that.

I think I can make this a blog worth reading, I think my fear right now is whether or not it will actually happen and whether or not it will actually be useful.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 17th Tech Tip

Looking for a great search tool? Check out: http://www.instagrok.com/ It's a mind-mapping search tool. When you search for a topic (say: Edgar Allan Poe) it pulls up a mind-map set of responses, urging you to look even deeper into your topic.  On the right-hand side it captures videos, articles, additional topics to search about this person. And the added benefit to "grokking" is that the resources are vetted by the tool in order to eliminate the less trustworthy or junky search results. Unlike Google, Instagrok doesn't choose it's results based on popularity or payment--rather information and the most relevant and credible information needed by the user. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May 16 Tech Tip

Google adds the research tool to Google Docs. Nice addition--helps students not only with research, but also with embedding and documenting the research (including images and video)!