Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Focus Question – How does technology provide feedback to support learning?  According to the textbook “feedback lets you know when you are proceeding in a positive direction and when you are moving off track” (p. 49) I chose to answer this question because I am taking all online classes this semester and I am relying not only on my textbook to help me learn the material, but I am also relying on technology to help me understand what I am learning.  For example, in my history class, after I read each chapter there is an online multiple choice quiz that is available.  It doesn’t count towards your grade but it allows you to instantly know if you got the answer correct.  If you missed the question, it shows you the correct answer and helps you to better understand the information.  And this is what our textbook says “Information technologies offer teachers and students an essential element of successful learning-rapid (often nearly instantaneous), self-correcting feedback about their efforts.”  When I was in school we weren’t allowed to use calculators in any of my math classes.  It is important for students to know how to work out math problems without a calculator, but now I see how calculators can be beneficial.  It allows the student to check their work for the correct answer.    
Connections and Possibilities – High Tech High It is interesting to learn how successful this charter school has become since opening their first school in 2000.  Their constructivist approach to learning began as one high school and has grown to twelve other schools; three elementary, four middle and five high schools.  It is impressive that every graduate has gone on to college.  The goal at each of their schools is as follows: 

·         Serve a student body that mirrors the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of the local community.
·         Integrate technical and academic education to prepare students for post-secondary education in both high tech and liberal arts fields.
·         Increase the number of educationally disadvantaged students in math and engineering who succeed in high school and post-secondary education.
·         Graduate students who will be thoughtful, engaged citizens.

The constructivism theory in education “is a learning process of manipulating and interpreting the surrounding world in a unique way for each individual” (p. 34).  High Tech High offers a project-based learning environment at all grade levels, even in Kindergarten.  With this type of learning environment, students are learning in a hands-on technology based environment.  This prepares students to thrive and be more successful in the real world.  This Transformed by Technology video shows high school students from High Tech High using technology for solutions to real-life community based projects. I was really impressed by the way they personalize learning for each student.  Students work with an advisor on “long term goals and short-term performance” and students create “personal digital portfolios to document the year’s learning” (p. 35).
Summary – This chapter was very interesting and I learned a lot about how technology can be used to enhance learning.  It isn’t just about giving students’ access to a computer in the classroom.  I especially found it important to allow students to be creative.  According to our textbook:
“Expressing one’s ideas creatively is a highly valued talent in virtually every field from the artistic to the commercial.  ….creativity is an increasingly important but not easy to find, talent among today’s workers” (p. 51). 
I believe that all students have a talent of some sort, while there seems to be other students who are multi-talented.  Therefore, all students need to be given opportunities to express themselves whether it be by playing an instrument, drawing, writing, playing sports, etc.  With the use of technology it can enable students to take their talents to the next level.  For example, Poetry Writing with Jack Prelutsky is a website that teaches students how to write a poem and post it on the website.  When I was in elementary school I was never very creative when it came to writing poems.  This website could be very helpful for students who have the same difficulty and it gives opportunities for students to use technology in the classroom. 

Edutopia.org. (2010, June 4). Transformed by Technology. (Video) Retrieved from http://howtovideos.hightechhigh.org/video/206/Transformed+by+Technology

High Tech High. (2014, January). High Tech High Goals. Retrieved from http://www.hightechhigh.org/about/

Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Focus Question - What constitutes a highly interactive inquiry-based learning environment?  Whatever the lesson or project the teacher has to teach, the teacher could use various technologies to make the lesson more interesting and memorable for the students.  According to our textbook:

Accessing the Web for class discussion, utilizing computers to show presentations or simulations having students use handheld and wireless devices as part of group projects, and integrating different technologies into various in-class academic assignments or activities (p 11).

For example, Google earth could be incorporated into a geography lesson and students could be involved by allowing them to use the website to create maps with pictures and labels.  It not only teaches the students about geography but it teaches them how to use technology to create something memorable.  For classroom projects or assignments that require outside information, students could use their smart phones, laptops or classroom computers to search the internet or a trusted online database for reliable sources of information.

Tech Tool - Online Resources for Learning about Technology - I am happy to know there will be resources available to help me keep up to date with technologies that may be available to use in the classroom. I especially found the website "How Stuff Works" interesting.  Also, there are a lot of useful articles and videos that could be integrated into the classroom under careful monitoring and restrictions, due to the many advertisements and questionable topics.  For example, I found numerous interesting videos on the website, all entitled "Stuff to Blow Your Mind", that are all related to science that could be used along with science lessons in the classroom.  
Summary – Because of the significant amount of people, including young children, who own some kind of electronic device and are using them in their daily lives, it only makes sense to incorporate these technologies in the classroom as well.  I came across this interesting Ted Talk video entitled "Sugata Mitra: The Child Driven Education", it shows when children are exposed to the wide variety of information on the computer, it can be an essential tool in the classroom.  As a teacher, I want to make learning fun and interesting for my students.  Students learn more and stay involved if they are not bored with the subject or lesson.  My only concern is when technology fails, as I observed last semester in a 4th grade class.  Even though the teacher improvised, the outcome of the lesson was much different because the students did not get to view the video that went along with the history lesson that she taught that day.  I don’t know if I have a set teaching philosophy in mind because I feel both the Teacher-centered and Student-centered can be integrated into the classroom.  I think it’s important for students to learn how to work together with other students, they sometimes learn more this way but there also is a need for a teacher to teach a lesson and give a test.  This allows the teacher to evaluate the class and see if a student needs help in a particular area.   


Maloy, Robert W, Verock-O’Loughlin, Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education

TedGlobal 2010, (2010) Sugata Mitra: The Child Driven Education (Video). Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_education.html