Category Archives: EDAD 342 Tech in Leading

Post from candidates in the St. Mary’s College School Leadership credential program.

Worth the Hype or Not?

Is Technology Worth the Hype or Not?

The logical answer to this question is yes! Technology in education can help and engage students in new and more interesting ways. It is also fair to mention that even though technology is an asset to education, it can also create other concerns about the raising of young scholars. Technology is everywhere at the touch of our finger tips. Weather we like it or not, technology is not going anywhere and we just have to keep up with it.

Technology is evolving by the minute, and we are in urgent need to readjust our education system which unfortunately is behind the times. Educational infrastructure and curriculum must be updated to address the needs our students will face as they leave our classrooms. It is our duty to prepare students for the world of technology and to be successful in their academic endeavors.

After reviewing blogs, researching technological resources, attending hangouts, I feel I gain a deeper knowledge about some of the uses of technology. I thought I was knowledgeable about technology but I have no idea how technology has evolved in the last years. I certainly believe technology has a lot to offer to students, teachers, and parents. It provides all parties involved with tools that can help each of them to be connected to the world of today.

As a word of caution, the use of technology has to be monitored closely. Students should not spend extended amounts of time in front of a device. We need to make sure they do not isolate themselves because they are extremely engaged in the use of technology. We also need to make students aware of the cyber danger when technology is misused.

The benefits a student can receive from the use of technology are endless. As technology continues to evolve, so do its uses. I think technology is like anything else in the world, it has a positive and a negative side. Since technology is an inevitable reality, it is imperative that we teach our students to use it appropriately to their educational advantage. We, as educators, have the responsibility to create a balanced environment in our classrooms where we foster the use of technology as a way to motivate students and also pay attention to the social-emotional development of our students.

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.

Simple K12 Teacher Learning Community Blog

logo

What is Simple K12 Teacher Learning Community blog?

Community.SimpleK12.com is an educational technology blog that offers a variety of alternatives to educators and administrators. Membership access fluctuates from free to couple of hundreds of dollars.  I only sign up for the free access, and I was able to navigate the site. I watched the tutorial on how to use this blog and it was clear and easy to understand. The catalog section provides access to several courses regarding a variety of educational topics. The majority of these courses have a fee that can go up to couple of hundreds of dollars. This blog also counts with webinars. They can be accessed when you purchase a full membership which is $357, but they also offer couple of the webinars for free. This site allows you to locate shared resources for most subjects which are mostly free. In the forum section, everyone who has signed up for this blog can express their ideas and opinions. The posts are current, done within the last hours. As you navigate this site and do different activities such watching tutorials, posting comments, you earn bunny bucks that can be redeemed for site’s merchandise like t-shirts, hats, slippers, etc. One more thing that is available is site licensing for schools and districts. Price for this is provided upon request.

 

Positives:

This blog offers a variety of free access opportunities. Its content is versatile and updated constantly. Every time I visited it, I noticed that several postings were uploaded in the last hours. Its navigation is friendly and easy to follow. The introduction tutorial was definitely a plus for someone like me who hasn’t had much experience with blogs. I also appreciated the resources topics. Most of them were technology based. What I also liked was the fact that you don’t have to have a paid membership to participate in the forum. Overall, I think this is a useful site that I will continue using to enhance my teaching skills.

 

Negatives:

The only thing I didn’t like about it was the expensive full access membership. I’m pretty sure it is worthy, but $357 a year is a lot for a teacher. The blog licensing is offered to schools and districts. They didn’t disclose the cost of the licensing but it is something I will suggest to my principal.

Is Google Apps Worth the Hype or Not?

download

What is Google Apps?

Google Apps is an interesting tool that can be used in different fields including education. It is a service that provides independently customizable versions of several Google products under a domain name provided by the customer. The following are some of the tools teachers and students can use to maximize learning/teaching: Gmail, talk (IM), groups, calendars, docs, sites, and videos. Among the different uses Google Apps offers to teachers and students are to be able to communicate on real-time and to share documents. For example, by using a couple of clicks, a teacher can share a document with every student in his/her class. Students can jump in and make edits at the same time. Google Apps is also designed to keep your data safe and under your control. All data you put into this Apps is yours and it is automatically saved in the cloud powered by Google servers which makes it easier to access it from anywhere.

 

Positives:

Google Apps is a service that allows schools to be part of the educational shift. Educational technology needs to catch up with the digital demands of today, and Google Apps is a useful tool in this unavoidable process. Google Apps possibilities seem to be endless. It provides support to e-learning and online collaboration. Once implemented in the classroom, it increases efficiency, students’ engagement, and collaboration. By using the real-time features, the going back and forth using email is eliminated. When removing time-consuming bottlenecks, teachers and students can spend more time on learning and teaching. Google Apps helps to reduce an organization’s overall expenses and its environmental impact. In addition, Google Apps is powered by Google’s energy-efficient data centers, therefore it’s less energy and carbon-intensive than on premise servers.

 

Negatives:

The only indirect down side I believe Google Apps has is students’ access from home or other places. I thought about this since I work in a school that serves a socioeconomic disadvantaged population. A significant amount of students do not have access to technology at home. Unfortunately, this situation is not rare, and it becomes a challenge when trying to implement such an effective tool as Google Apps. Even though these challenges are going to rise, I definitely believe Google Apps is worth the hype. I don’t have the answers on how to resolve some of the issues regarding students’ access from home, but I’m pretty sure it will be addressed one way or the other. The 21st century education is inevitably attached to technology and all efforts should point to the implementation of educational technology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Worth the Hype….or Not?

Is Educational Technology Worth The Hype…Or Not?

By Heather Burns

 Today many children across the United States sit in the desks of our classrooms interacting with a textbooks or a novel, taking notes with a pencil or pen in a notebook, talking to classmates to work through a problem, raising their hand to ask you the teacher for help on a question. With very little technology integrated into what they are learning.  However, when they go home after the bell rings they are in very different world which involves screen time hurrying to finish their homework and rushing through answering their parents “how was your day?” questions so they can meet their “friend” on Minecraft, or catch a glance at what new picture, video, text, or drawing has come across Snapchat.  Students are engaged at a very different level when they are connected.  They have Smartphones are early ages and devices where they are able to download apps, and have access to the internet-where the opportunities are endless.  However, is all the technology worth the hype?  And does it belong in an educational setting?

 There are many videos which one can look up on YouTube speaking to how quickly our population is increasing in countries such as China and India, and how US students need to be trained to use technology at an early age, to not only be competitive with all of the people coming from foreign lands, but to also prepare them for jobs and opportunities that do not even exist.  Therefore, the thought is to merge technology and education and bring the devices into the classroom, which in turn, will increase student engagement by the sheer fact that a device is in front of our students.  Yet also have our educators instruct our American youth through integrating technology into their lessons.  With this idea, some think it is a winning combination. I am mostly behind this idea, however I believe it is easier said then done.

In order to become a professional you need participate in some sort of training, which is what most educators have done.  Most have gone through credentialing programs that have taught them how to create lessons mostly with textbooks and novels.  Only recently have teachers been provided any training on technology and how to integrate it into their lessons.  So if teachers were not trained in credentialing programs to integrate and utilize technology then who is training them? Once teachers are in the classroom it is up to the School District or Site Administrator to train teachers on new devices or software.  Here is where I believe we have a glitch in the thinking technology is always worth the hype.  Teachers need training to effectively integrate technology into their lessons so students are using the devices productively.  However, training teachers takes time and money.  I believe if districts and school sites are given the funding, and teachers are given the time and training needed to integrate technology properly then educational technology is defiantly worth the hype!  An increase in student engagement, and also subject knowledge is every educators dream, and defiantly worth the hype!  However, without the proper funding, training or time to develop and integrate curriculum with technology then teachers are left to self-train, and navigate on their own-which is not worth the hype.

Educational Technology Review: Open Educational Resources

Michael Flosi

Open Educational Resources, or OER, are documents, lessons, activities, and other forms of media that can be used in a classroom or at home that can assist in a students learning, assessment, and research. For the most part, Open Educational Resources are freely accessible; however, there are some online sources that require a fee. OER allows equal access to information and a wide rang of knowledge that will ultimately increase educational culture.

Open Educational Resources is worth the time and investment, because they allow any person to access a mass amount of information at a push of a button. As stated before, OER are either free or cost a small fee. This would save school districts and colleges millions of dollars. Districts use an incredible amount of money on educational resources such as textbooks, reusable activity books, and other resources used in the classroom. Recently, Antioch Unified School District requested that the school board authorize an expenditure of $3.2 million for textbooks, which will most likely be out of date by the time they are used in the classroom. Open Educational Resources would eliminate a majority of the cost. Types of open educational resources include: full courses, course materials, units, open textbooks, open licenses (streaming videos), quiz/ testing sites, materials, lessons to support and facilitate learning.

Open Educational Resources ultimately sponsors high-quality open content for teachers and students, which can remove barriers and stimulates learning. Another positive aspect of OER is that content can be used, re-used and shared among students and teachers. Ultimately, Open Educational Resource creates equal access for all learners.

Educational technology worth the hype…

Michael Flosi

Is Educational technology worth the hype? In this educators opinion it is; however, for technology to have an impact educators need to learn how to embrace these tools rather than hide from it.  It is hard to disagree that technology is becoming the centerpiece of the 21st century classroom. Do to the rapid embrace of technology by students at all levels, educators are at a point where they must adapt to their lessons to their students, where before students had to adapted to their teacher. Many teachers have begun to slowly incorporating various types of media, technological equipment, and technological resources to deliver instruction. Even though most educators know how to use the technology many, if not all, are still behind the curve. It seems teachers are always playing catch up and there are multiple issues that contribute to this, like the lack of user-friendly programs and proper training.

Many educators are “techno-migrants,” who have an understanding of technology; however, they do not use it for a majority of their daily task. Ideas like “tweeting”, “blogging”, and “the cloud” are relatively new concepts to educators, and many don’t know how to use it or access it.  Sure a teacher can play a video from You Tube on their digital projector in or use a document reader, but many don’t understand how to use social media, resources provided by Google, and other technology that uses data to drive instruction.

School districts need to invest time and money to give teachers the proper training with new and future technology. If district continue to give poor or no training then a major obstacle will occur if technology is to gain steam in the classroom. Teachers will not use tools or resources if they are not taught how to use it. This could be seen at my school, where the district has bought new technology like data driven programs, open educational resources, and technological hardware expecting teachers to use it on a daily bases. Teachers, especially the older ones, are becoming frustrated by the issues they encounter with technology and feel it makes their jobs harder. If the time and resources are used to train teachers properly, then more would be willing to use it in their classroom.

Once educators are properly trained, then educational technology will have larger impact in instruction. There are a wide range of activities and lessons teachers can do in their class, which includes research, educational apps, and other online and open educational resources. Ultimately, teachers will find the ease when delivering their lessons and those who once saw technology as a nuisance, will now find it as a helpful tool.

So, is Educational technology worth the hype? Of course it is, only if the teachers are given the proper training.

Technology Certainly Worth the Hype!

Worth the Hype or Not?
On technology in the classroom

To determine whether technology is worth the hype or not, one need only ask themselves what type of world they live in now and what type of world the next generation is going to live in should present trends continue. As it is, our educational system is set up in the classical model of industrial education; or to have students learn as much as they can in the standardized day. As educational leaders, it is incumbent upon us to realize that this is not how the world works; we see that changes are abound and it is our responsibility to make our schools relevant not only to the world our students will enter, but also to the learning process.

The system we have now does not work. As far back as 1934, prominent Stanford educational researcher Ellwood Cubberly described American educational as a “manufactury” where students were prepared for a life of efficiency. DuFour et. al. wrote that uniformity, standardization, and bureaucracy became characteristic of school districts in which a small number of “thinkers” decided what was to be taught in every classroom and that those “directives” would be disseminated from school boards down through the educational bureaucracy. Teachers, like factory workers, would need strict supervision to ensure they were teaching what was mandated and that the finished products (students) were correctly moving along the assembly line from subject to subject. Observing the typical American classroom now, one would find many similarities to this stark description.

What we need now is a total revolution in how we educate our current students. Fullan presented the case in Stratosphere that integration of technological tools, in concert with sound pedagogical practices, would produce the results American educational leaders desired; a closing of the achievement gap when compared to students from other industrialized nations. This type of integration has been attempted in the past by many schools across the nation. However, absent the proper pedagogical structuring, almost all attempts have been doomed to failure. No matter how effective a technological learning tool is at teaching a skill, ultimately all electronics are supplements to an effective teacher who guides the learning process. Used properly, these technological tools become enhancers of the learning process and expose students to the types of tools they will be using both in the post-secondary educational setting and the professional setting. If the goal of public education is to prepare students for success in the world they enter as young adults, then surely we can adjust how our course of preparation such that it actually sets up our students for success.

On the question of whether technology in the classroom is worth the hype or not: I believe our world is increasingly technology-centered as the mobile age expands. Should trends continue, this is the world that will exist when our students become functioning adults. Therefore, the headlines, platitudes, and added workloads of any educational technology integration is certainly worth the hype.

Technology Alone Not Worth the Hype

By Brian Cooper

No doubt more technology is coming soon to a classroom near you. But is educational technology worth the hype?  No, not if the emphasis is business as usual with a few more bells and whistles. In the current culture of technology, many of my students spend hours every day gaming in an online world of epic wins and instant feedback.  My next-door neighbor says her daughter is in constant communication with her friends through technology.  A room full of cramped desks and textbooks is a primitive place for many students, however technology alone is not an answer to our greatest challenges in education.  All stakeholders in education are tasked with reconciling our youths’ engagement with technology and their disengagement in the classroom.

In Stratosphere, author Michael Fullan makes a compelling case for the use of technology in education, but with the understanding that it must be partnered with high-quality pedagogy and change knowledge. He believes we are in a once in a century window of opportunity.  Education should instigate curiosity, collaboration and experimentation.  The use of technology can individualize learning for every student, while even a master teacher has difficulty differentiating lessons for 30 students.  Technology also provides students with real-time feedback, whereas it can easily take me a week to score and return math tests to my five classes. With the right teacher and adequate training with technology, students will have unprecedented learning opportunities.  With the right systems of implementation and access to technology, there can be a learning revolution in our schools.

Sir Ken Robinson and Tony Wagner are excellent sources of change knowledge in education.  These guys get human potential.  Let teachers assist students in four ways: (1) recognize their interests and talents, (2) encourage collaboration and creativity, (3) facilitate meaningful learning opportunities, (4) stretch students in new directions to promote deeper learning.  I agree with Wagner that knowledge is not much more than a commodity in our world.  Albert Einstein wasn’t talking about rainbows and unicorns when he said imagination is more important than knowledge.  What we do with knowledge is the juicy part.  Whether we use pencils and paper, or iPads and Internet, students must be called on to use information in creative ways that provide opportunities to solve real world problems for the benefit of their communities.   Technology alone is not worth the hype, but technology along with innovative pedagogy and applied change knowledge can transcend the hype.