My GAME plan is coming together. Students are excited to use technology in a new way. They are equally excited to hear that they will be able to make their first graphic organizer be all about themselves. The opportunity to show their creativity and express themselves in this manner is a true motivator.
I have found the technology tool I need to use. The demonstration video was helpful to the students. I also discovered that they also have access to the Inspiration tool that I have on my own school lap top. This tool has templates for concept maps and graphic organizers that these future teachers can print and save in their portfolio for future use.
As I prepare for this lesson plan, I am reminded that students so not always search the internet correctly. Sometimes they type in key words and use the first source they find without considering whether the information comes from a reliable source or not. I will have to prepare a list of web sites that students will use in order to find the information they need to compare child care programs. Furthermore, they will need to add information about theorists who may have contributed to the formation of the programs they chose. Web sites for this information will have to be previewed and added to the list of web resources for students.
To date, I feel more confident about integrating technology in my lessons. I understand that technology can take the place of markers and poster board from time to time. It is important to be open to changing our lesson plans a bit, look for new ways to energize our lessons, and further engage students in learning. This process takes time. However, I believe that doing the research and modeling the usage of technology in the classroom will prove to be overwhelmingly beneficial to me and to my students in the long run.
Future considerations that I have are what other kinds of technology tools can be easily accessed by me and my students both at school and home. Additionally, I would like to find out how to create blogs and wikis in the classroom as we prepare for future research activities. The last thing I would like to always know is how students felt about the tools they used and if they feel that they could use that tool in other areas of their lives.
The lesson that I have created will have students in my Introduction to Early Childhood Education class researching different types of schooling programs. Students will compare two programs and write an essay that is based on their opinion of which program they would choose for their own children and why.
As I prepare for implementation of my GAME plan, the first thought should be the Goal of the lesson. What do I want the students to learn today? I actually have two goals in mind. First of all, since this is a class that introduces potential future teachers to the foundations of education, I want them to have an understanding of children and the ways children learn. To that end, this assignment would require students to explore the types of instructional programs that are available and the instructional philosophy behind each one. Secondly, I would want the students to become familiar with a technology tool that would be useful to now and in the future.
Keeping in mind the NETS indicators I stated previously, I will put my plan into Action by demonstrating a technology tool called Spiderscribe. This tool is easy to use and is beneficial to all types of learners especially those who respond to visual learning. Spiderscribe is provides students with a means of organizing their notes and pictures to create a concept map. Students will use this tool to identify the characteristics of two educational programs for children such as home schooling versus public schooling. Their research will be displayed in a manner that will clearly state the advantages of each program and how they compare to one another. I will model a similar activity for my students so that they can follow along with each step. They will be given a paper copy, as well, of the graphic organizer and/or concept map that I used to make notes as I make my presentation using my computer to project the information onto the white board in the classroom.
In order to Motivate the students to meet the requirements of the project fully, I will give them an opportunity to create a concept map initially about a topic of interest to them. Students will be encouraged to use colors, pictures, clip art, and even embed video and even music into their map. In this manner, I hope to stimulate individual creativity. For the main project, their own creativity will be used once again to enrich the content and information they discover during the research process.
The Evaluation process will begin with the first “practice” assignment. I will have students explain their process and why their concept map is important to them. Students will be asked about the creative aspect of this project and if they felt that self-expression made the project easier or more difficult. I will review their graphics and the way the information is laid out. Students will be asked how certain points relate to their main idea. With this information in hand, I will be able to identify where students may have misunderstood how to use the concept map procedure and/or discern whether this visual representation of their idea was accurate. The evaluation of the “real” project will show whether students were able to use this tool for information not familiar to them. Also, they will be evaluated on how well they displayed the characteristics and comparisons of the two programs. Students will present their maps to the class. Students will be allowed to ask the presenter questions for clarification as well. This type of peer feedback would be helpful for making changes or adjustments that could be made for future assignments and projects. Finally, students will be asked to evaluate Spiderscribe as a graphic tool to help organize their thoughts and research. Students’ feedback will be relevant as more technology tools are introduced throughout the course.
Technology has not always been my strong suit. I did not grow up using various technologies to complete assignments nor did I use technology to do research or document progress. Fortunately, I realized after four years of teaching that if I was going to do a proper service for the students, then I would have to embrace the technology that confused and befuddled me most of the time. So here I am doing all I can to understand and master technology resources and tools in order to engage my students. By modeling technology on a regular basis in the classroom, I believe students will be more receptive to mastering technology while retaining the course content for a successful future.
As I prepare my GAME plan for integrating technology in the classroom, I am aware that my approach will must take into consideration that students’ learning will be two-fold. First of all, it is essential that students feel confident that I am comfortable with the tools being used. Therefore, the first indicator that I would focus on would be to Model Digital-Age Work and Learning. When I demonstrate to my students that I actually use the tools that I am presenting to them, I feel that I can be more effective and engaging as a teacher. Students will be able to learn from my example and therefore, are more likely to grasp the technology presented. They are also more likely to use these tools in other areas of their life including other courses of study. When students see that I can easily move from one technology tool to another, they will have the confidence to embrace the technology themselves and perhaps have the confidence to explore additional tools on their own.
The second indicator that I believe is essential to making sure students are motivated to use technology is to Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity. When students are given the opportunity to explore their own interests and create a product that has meaning to them, they will expand on that interest and thus cultivate innovation and creativity through authentic experiences. My classroom is a place where hands on, project based learning is essential to students’ success. Creating opportunities for students to be inspired by course content through the use of technology, will initiate an evolution of the traditional research and project based assignments. If I can create an environment where students are allowed to self-guide through problems, teaching and learning will happen not just from my point of view as the teacher but to some degree I will become the student as well.
Over the last several months, I have met with colleagues who teach Web Design and Computer Applications. They have much to share in the way of technology and have offered examples of ways to bring technology into my classroom. From discussions I have had with my Personal Learning Community, I understand that I do not need to “reinvent the wheel” everyday but instead implement tools that I feel comfortable using and the students will pick up on that and their confidence will grow as well.
Also, I will rely on feedback from the students to learn how well they adapted to using technology in the classroom to evaluate what I need to change and if re-teaching is necessary or if more practice would be beneficial. I would provide students with a questionnaire relating to a project and the technology used to facilitate that project to determine if it was useful, informative, allowed for creativity, and whether they would use these resources again. The information discovered here would help me to gauge what my students enjoyed and what they did not.
Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)and Performance Indicators for Teachers, (2003)