Saturday, August 30, 2014

Digital Badge A

1)       As I read through this chapter it was very interesting to learn how many young children under the age of 5 use electronic toys and computers for learning.  It is fascinating to see a young child pick up a cell phone and be able to figure it all out.  They just seem to have the knack for understanding how technology works. I have a smart phone that is almost a year old, I am still trying to learn how to use all the features the phone has to offer.   But sometimes I feel children rely too heavily on video games, TV, computer and cell phones for their entertainment.  They don’t know how to entertain themselves and often get “bored” if these electronic devices are taken away.  Children should be encouraged to pick up a book to read or participate in some form of physical activity for their well-being.  This class is all about technology, but I feel strongly about how much time children spend indoors on their electronic devices, which can lead to childhood obesity and/or video game addictions.  There needs to be a balance!  I saw a story just this week on the NBC nightly news that offers tech savvy kids an opportunity to build things with their own hands.   Program Encourages Kids to Build, Play the Old-Fashioned Way
2)      But, because children are fascinated with technology it can be an effective tool in the classroom when combined with the content the teacher needs to convey to his or her students.  This can help make learning fun which will keep children interested in learning.  There are many “Inside-the-classroom instructional tools” that are listed on page 7 of our textbook. Many educational websites offer videos or games which could be used to accompany a lesson.  For example, the website ScienceKids has some interesting videos that could be used to reemphasize a science lesson.  This same website offers games and other activities that a teacher could use in the classroom as well.   Another tool I found interesting, a student participation system.  I would have to say this tool is definitely one to be used in a 21st century classroom.  This tool allows all students in the classroom the opportunity to participate together, by using their clickers to answer questions the teacher poses.  It allows the teacher to immediately see whether the students understands the material or whether to go over the lesson again.  Often times there are children who did not quite understand a concept but was too shy or embarrassed to ask a question so they fall behind and can get frustrated.  According to the website, “technology-based instruction can reduce the time students take to reach a learning objective by 30 to 80 percent.”   
3)      The textbook it explains “family income dramatically affects technology use” (Maloy, Verock-O'Loughli, Edwards & Woolf, 2013, p.5)  So this is a concern for those students who come from low-income families whose parents cannot afford to own a computer or be connected to the internet.  To keep up with assignments and maintain good grades, accessing classroom websites and homework assignments online is very important.  Teachers also need to maintain communication with the parents so the parent can be sure their child is doing well in school.  While doing some research on this topic, I stumbled upon a program on the website called Connect to Compete, which provides low cost broadband of $9.95 per month and refurbished devices that cost $150 plus free training to students who are eligible for free and reduced lunches.  It will be important to be sure these students and parents are made aware of these opportunities so their children can be successful.  
In conclusion, there is a broad range of technology based tools teachers can bring to the classroom.   Because I did not have the luxury of growing up with technology, I sometimes feel overwhelmed.  It is going to be important for me to keep up with all the latest and greatest tools that may be available to teachers and students.   Learning is a never ending process, there is always something new, no matter how old you are.  As the students are learning from me I will also be learning from them how to be a better teacher.   But I am confident that once I complete this course I will have the knowledge that is needed to know how to be a 21st century teacher and incorporate technology in the classroom.    

Federal Communications Commission (2012). Fact Sheet, Digital Playbook Textbook. Retrieved from Federal Communication Commission Website:
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.
Valdes, Natalie (2014, August 28).  Program Encourages Kids to Play, the Old Fashioned Way [Video file]. Retrieved from