Practical Classroom Applications of Educational Technology
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Practical Classroom Applications of Educational TechnologyModule 1PowerPoint AssignmentLME 448
Rational for Incorporating Technology into Daily ActivitiesEngage students with a multi-media enriched classroomPromote higher order thinking in the classroomConstructivist learning atmosphere
Instructor BenefitsOrganizationPlanning templates and resourcesStatistical tracking made easier Performance task assessment Instructor presentations are engaging no longer only Blackboard Lectures Teacher is the facilitator of learning
Students make meaning with projects that are authentic to themStudents develop technological familiarity and abilityOpportunities for self-expression Project flexibility Skills translate into real world applications
Technological ToolsComputer Video Recorders Digital CamerasScanners Software Internet
Why wait for a trip to the Computer Lab?Use Classroom Resources EffectivelyInternet for Peer CommunicationTopic ResearchCurriculum Supportive Games and ActivitiesClassroom Web PageWeb QuestsTopic Links Homework Helpers PLEASE do not limit your computer to tests and quizzes!*
And Speaking of the Class Web SiteEnhance Parent Communication E-mail linksLetters to parentsPost weekly progress reportsLinks to topic related sitesStudent ShowcaseWork samplesStudent developed resources
Technology SuggestionsStudents can create:Student PortfoliosProject ReportsCreative Writing CompilationsTake Home WorkSamplesArtisticDemonstrations
The Possibilities are endless!
Frogs by Allison 2004
Technology SuggestionsInstructors can create:Directed reading activitiesLesson topic extensions Game Show quiz assessmentsSkill building exercisesVirtual Field TripsWebquestsResearch
Curriculum IntegrationBrings excitement to projects by integrating many subjects Provides personally authenticexperiences for the studentsProvides instruction that benefits manydifferent learning styles.
ReferencesButzin, S. (1992). Integrating technology into the classroom: lessons from the Project CHILD experience. (Computers Helping Instruction and Learning Development). Phi Delta Kappan, 74, 330-4. Hipschman, R., (1997). Your weight on other worlds. http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/weight/index.html Lacina, J., & Austin, S. (2003). Technology and the writing workshop. Childhood Education, 80 (2), 101-3.Lacina, J., (2004). Designing a virtual field trip. Childhood Education, 80 (4), 221-2. Lim, C., & Tay, L. (2003). Information and communication technologies (ICT) in an elementary school: students' engagement in higher order thinking. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 12, 425-27.
There are many practical applications for the use of technology in the school/classroom setting. Technology is an ever evolving and expanding resource that should be used as any other non-technological educational resource for the greatest benefit of the learner. By integrating technology into the educational experience of our children, we are giving them the gift of a future in which they can participate in the exciting advances being made with technology and also encouraging a lifetime of inquiry and learning. For many children traditional American schooling is painful and difficult. Their world outside the classroom is awash in electronic media, while inside the classroom they often find only chalk and paper. Deprived of engaging stimuli, many children quickly lose interest in schooling. (Butzin) As educators we need to ensure that our students develop the skills that will ultimately enable them to become successful and productive adults. We know from our own experiences that we need to take responsibility not only for our own education but for the quality of our learning, now it is our turn to share these views with the students and provide them with the tools they will need to become life long knowledge seekers.
When we give our students opportunities to construct their own knowledge through various activities and open ended projects which engage them on many different skill and experience levels, we are allowing them to develop as learners. (Butzin, 1992)Instructors benefit greatly from the use of educational technologies. Computers and peripheral devices make continuing education and professional development more accessible. Software applications can help organize and facilitate lesson planning and classroom management with downloadable templates and databases. Statistics such as grades, test scores, and group placement can be easily charted and the data used to plan follow-up enrichment activities to aid in student comprehension.
Performance based assessment becomes a valid tool when students are given the opportunity to work on open ended projects that encourage higher-order thinking skills. Students can be given a performance task developed using either National Educational Standards or local requirements and then be assessed on performance, task results, and organizational/working skills. Students with varying abilities and learning styles can be accommodated and facilitated by adjusting the expected end product or relaxing the working parameters making their assessment more valid than if they had been held to the more rigid standards imposed in traditional assessments.
Instructors become the source of inspiration presenting challenging problems, the students take responsibility for what methods they will use to educate themselves with the information/skills needed to complete the learning. As students become more adept at using technological resources to gather, organize, and present information, their abilities to use these technologies becomes innate and well defined, leading to future success.
Instructor presentations are more exciting and engaging for the students. This greatly reduces the need to stop during lessons to control behavior issues or refocus children whose attention is wandering after listening to a traditional lecture-type lesson. (Butzin, 1992)Project Flexibility Many different project solutions can result from one open ended problem/question. As an example, students presented with the problem of surveying their neighborhoods to gather and present data on the various forms of local wildlife could return with finished projects ranging from PowerPoint demonstrations complete with incorporated photographs and media sound clips to Informational brochures created using data spreadsheets, graphs, and scanned personal artwork. With few creative limits, the students will be able to construct projects that express their learning styles in inventive ways. (Lim & Tay, 2003) Technological tools are used to enhance the educational process. Students and instructors use these tools to research, gather information, organize data, and publish results to a wider audience. Through this experience, students gain skills that translate into other curricular areas in their academic lives and enrich their out-of-school experiences.
Constructive tools are general-purpose tools that can be used for manipulating information, constructing one's own knowledge or visualizing one's understanding. The term "constructive" stems from the fact that these tools enable students to produce a certain tangible product for a given instructional purpose. For example, web authoring applications allow students to create their own web pages and communicate their ideas to the world. Communicative tools are systems that mediate communication between the teacher and students or among students beyond the physical barrier (either by space, time, or both) of the classroom. Examples of communicative tools include e-mail, electronic bulletin boards, chat, teleconferencing, and electronic whiteboards. (Lim & Tay, 2003) Why wait for a trip to the school computer lab???
Most primary classrooms in our district only get a few brief visits to the computer lab every week and this time is spent practicing math drills. It isnt until the end of the school year that many of the youngest children start to information gather for short periods of time. Every day should hold the opportunity for children at all levels to experience the wonders of technology in their educational surroundings. Planned projects could be designed to utilize the free time many children have during the day between activities. Guided research with pre-visited sites could be used as exercises in many subject areas (math-graphing, science-habitat exploration, reading-folktale comparison, music-listen to various composers, etc). Weekly Reader magazine has web links that go to site chat rooms where children can publish their comments about articles and read how others all over America feel about the same issues. This would be a great way to transition from one curricular area to another.
Instructor developed web pages for each subject could guide students who have finished their work early into further topic exploration. A lesson on the planets might lead into a discussion about weight on other worlds and the students could be guided to http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/weight/index.html, a website where you can explore your weight on the different planets in our solar system (Hipschman). A lesson on simple machines could be followed by an on-line trip to one of the many web quests and exploration tools relating to them all linked directly from the teachers webpage to prevent accidental exploration of something inappropriate.
Technology doesnt have to be painful! There are many on-line tutorials available for website development a site with a professional appearance is easily created, not difficult to maintain, and provides hours of enriching activities both in the classroom (and at home instead of Nintendo when you share the web address with parents).
* Using the classroom computer for timed tests only is not really a productive use of the technology, The issue is not whether a teacher uses technology in the classroom, but rather how well he or she integrates the technology into classroom instruction in order to enhance student learning and promote active learning (Lacina & Austin, 2003). Parents often feel left out of the loop, even with daily agenda books sent home with homework assignments. I think that class web sites are an effective way to enhance parental communication and bring them into their childs educational day.
Students develop a sense of pride for their site when it contains information about them and individual work samples. They then develop ownership of the website project and feelings of accomplishment. (Butzin, 1992)
Students can be encouraged to use the available technology in their environment to create personal portfolios for publication. This publication can be included on class websites or onto individual CDs for them to share with family members at home. The format and content of these portfolios can be predetermined to stay within curriculum standards such as the Kentucky Fourth Grade Writing Portfolio requirements regarding which kind of writing it contains, or they can become an artistic vehicle for student self-expression. The possibilities really are endless. (Butzin, 1992)Instructor use of technology in the classroom is only restricted by imaginative limits. Many traditional lessons can be adapted to use the wealth of technological applications available on most computers today. Assessment and review can even be made fun using Jeopardy type PowerPoint games students may never know their knowledge is being reviewed.
The internet holds many easily obtainable resources that have already been created by educational professionals willing to share their own creativity and expertise. As an internet community, we have a great capacity for sharing tools and ideas for the benefit of children.
With the internet we can also take our students on adventures using webquests and virtual field trips. What better way to explore a topic being studied in your class than to go and experience the site yourself? virtual field trips provide access to places that normally would be impossible for classrooms to visit, and this, in turn, provides a plethora of learning possibilities for the classroom. (Lacina 2004)
Curriculum integration brings excitement to the students by allowing them to fly with their creative skills. A science lesson in change of seasons, weather, and wind (researched and developed on the internet) could easily become an important data gathering exercise if kite flying were brought in to the lesson. After researching kites of the world through topical webquests, the students would design (using design software) and create their own kites and then take them out for a flying session. Data could be gathered (spreadsheets and databases) about the success of flight by design and/or weather and wind over time (a few days). Mathematical content would come into play as the students measured how high the most successful designs flew along with the wind speed and the resulting data could be graphed in Excel. All of the data would then be compiled into a published product that the students design to be shared with their audience (school, parents, etc).
This particular project would of course require a great deal of instructor collaboration. The resulting experience would be an authentic and meaningful way to reach students of many different learning styles and abilities. (Lim & Tay, 2003)