Author Archives: annaeperales

Worth the Hype of Not?

Educational Technology – Worth the Hype or Not?

by Anna E. Perales

Technology is definitely worth the hype in education!  Technology can be an amazing teaching and learning tool, but one must crawl before they can walk.  Training and exposure to new technologies is key to teaching and administrating in a 21st century school and classroom.  I am fortunate to have been born into generation and family that values technology.  Typing and basic computer skills were part of the basic technology curriculum in my elementary school, middle and high schools, however, much of what I know about technology has been learned through trial, error and “Google-ing it”.  Although this method has worked to me thus far, I am becoming increasingly aware that my students are more technologically savvy than I am and I find myself frustrated by what I do not know.   It is time to step up my game.

Trying anything new for the first time is unsettling, but I have slowly been integrating technology into my lessons for the past few weeks.  I started by taking an inventory of the technology and technology-based teaching strategies I already use in my classroom and lessons.  I use PowerPoint as an aid to my lectures, my website to share assignments, links and important deadlines, our district online gradebook, streaming videos for supplemental lesson material, our email system for communicating with other teachers, students and parents and the Remind 101 application for reminding my students of upcoming dates and important information.  I then looked at some of the projects I use in my unit plans and thought about how I could integrate technology.  An idea smacked me across the face when my students were turning in their Latin America brochure projects and commented, “Why couldn’t I have just put all this in a PowerPoint?”  The student was totally right.  The PowerPoint would have actually been better as the student could have integrated photographs, sounds, animation and videos.

Educational technology is definitely worth the hype and well worth the time spent researching and learning about new technologies to use in administrating and teaching.  We are supposed to be educating our students for the 21st century, but many teachers are stuck in their traditional ways of teaching.  Technology is a double-edged sword.  Students can wield it maliciously and teachers can find themselves in situations they did not foresee because of their general lack of understanding of new technologies.  The positives, however, outweigh the negatives as technology can open new doors to learning and teaching that were previously closed.

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Blog Review – GettingSmart.com

GettingSmart.com Blog Review 

by Anna Perales

Overview – GettingSmart.com blog

Over the past few weeks I reviewed the education blog GettingSmart.com.  The GettingSmart blog is part of a larger business which focuses on the “shift to personal digital learning and its potential role in student achievement in the developed world and access to quality education in emerging economies” (GettingSmart.com).  In addition to the GettingSmart blog the company also offers consulting services, publications and speaking engagements.  The GettingSmart blog is a collection of articles describing and reviewing, and encouraging discourse developments in research, educational technology, educational entrepreneurs and educational methods.  Its intended audience is education leaders, education policy makers, K-12 and higher ed. educators, administrators, education technology organizations and education associations.  The articles on the GettingSmart blog look at the 21st century world and how our teachers can most effectively teach and students can learn.

Positives

Website layout is user friendly and intuitive.  The articles are easy to find and were all fairly concise with links for more information (good for readers short on time).  Very convenient and easy to filter searches by author or blog series.  There are a good number of articles to read on a daily basis on this blog on a variety of topics in education.  Ability to share articles on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest) is convenient.

Negatives

Not all of the articles had content related to technology in education.  Would have been nice to be able to filter searches by date and/or keywords although the search bar in the top right corner of the website allows for a general search.  “Featured Articles” window is a nice touch, but cycles through the articles too quickly.  By the time the user has read the name of the article and the brief description the slide has changed to the next article.

Educational Technology Review – Flipped Classroom

What is “Flipped Classroom”?

“The flipped classroom inverts traditional teaching methods, delivering instruction online outside of class, and moving ‘homework’ into the classroom” (Knewton.com).  Essentially the flipped classroom model gives students a chance to learn course material at home at their own pace and frees up class time for students participate in activities that will enhance the student’s understanding of the material.   Students are free to learn through teacher-led activities in the classroom instead of subjected to lectures that often do not allow for comment or discussion.  Educational technology is essential for the flipped classroom to work as teachers must record their lectures and put them online and students must have the technical ability to watch these lectures and post on discussion boards at home.  There are many different platforms and programs teachers can use to implement the flipped classroom model.  Some of these include Google and EdMoto.

Positives:

The flipped classroom model is great for students who can sit down after school or when they’re finally home from their various extra-curricular activities because it does not require a student to tune in at a specific time for their lecture.  They can watch the lecture at their own pace and re-watch if they missed a concept.  The online forum component of the flipped classroom model allows for students to dialogue about the lecture material outside of the classroom essentially forming an online study group.  Class time is now freed up for enrichment activities that will improve student understanding of the lecture material and/or present it in a different way.  The flipped classroom model is also very useful for students when they miss class as they do not miss any lectures and can ask questions on the online forum or in class if they do not understand part of the lecture.

Negatives:

The flipped classroom model may not work for all students.  What does the teacher do about the student who refuses to or does not have the time or technology to watch the lecture at home?  A chief complaint of students and parents today is that students have too much homework.  Students may not have physical homework that they are taking home, but they will still have the task of watching the lecture.  Some students are not motivated outside of class to watch the lectures.  Also, teachers must have activities planned which engage students in the classroom to the content they are learning about at home in the lectures.  This can sometimes be difficult with every lesson.  Some lessons need to be taught via direct instruction so students can ask questions.  For this reason, I believe the flipped classroom model is a good idea, but must be well planned and/or used in conjunction with other traditional teaching models.

For more information: http://www.knewton.com/flipped-classroom/