About techmommaster

High school teacher working on my Master's in Education, specifically Integrating Technology in the Classroom. I am really behind as far as technology goes and I am hoping this blog will help me explore and learn about the resources available out there.

Integrating Technology Across Content Areas- The GAME Plan

The GAME plan helped to keep me focus on what my goals were for the class. Including NETS for Students also made me vigilante of the types of technology I planned to use in my lesson plans. Over the course of this class, I have become more aware of how to use technology to enhance my lessons. Furthermore, through this practice I have been able to teach my students how to use the same technology for our lessons which will add to their own technological skills set as well.
I have had to plan differently for my GAME plans. The intent is to meet and exceed standards while engaging students in the lesson for retention of knowledge. Reflecting on these lessons that I have prepared, there is evidence that students were more engaged in the lesson, were more thorough in their approach to research, and became more proficient and confident in their use of technology. I have to say the same things rang true for me as their teacher. I have a different outlook when I prepare to teach students. The goal is more than a having students pass the class or do well on a project. My desire is to have students add to their skill set through their own planning process and use of technology by having an authentic, hands on experience.
I have introduced two of my classes to the idea of the GAME plan. I will teach these steps to all classes within the next few weeks. The purpose is to have students consider the way they learn and how they plan to complete assignments and what outcome do they hope to have based on their actions. So far I have observed that students are receptive to the method. I can tell that their perspective toward reaching their goal for themselves is starting to come in line with the goals I have for them.
As I design future GAME plans, there are some issues that I believe will have to be adjusted. The fact that not everyone has access to computers and the internet can cause a problem. Also, several students have told me that they become frustrated with technology and would prefer not to use it if possible. I can offer more time for students who are struggling but I do not want to offer an alternative assignment where technology would not be used. One solution would be to have students work in partners. Additionally, having sites such as Edmodo, would allow students and their parents to see the assignment together. Parents can take the opportunity to help guide their student to a successful outcome. Another plus would be that this technology builds a bridge between school, the student, and the parent. This is an important component to a student’s success no matter what subject they are studying.
Integrating technology into my lessons is turning out to be easier than I once thought. I have several tools that I feel comfortable using and I tweak the way I use those tools for the various classes I have. Recently, I used Spiderscribe to teach students how to create a concept map. Students were able to compare child care programs, provide websites, and include pictures using this tool. I had easy access to their work and they were able to present their maps to the classroom. The visuals were excellent and the students were less reluctant to speak in front of their peers since their classmates were looking at the map instead of staring at them. Another tool I am learning to use is Edmodo. A few other teachers are using this social networking tool a.k.a. educational networking tool in their own classrooms. I have set up a free account, added resources to the library, and prepared a calendar for my students to explore even when we are not in school. After distributing the group code to access our class, students have joined and are learning how to navigate the site and use the resources therein to complete their assignment. Lastly, digital storytelling is going to open up a new world to my students. One resource, Voice Thread, has proven to be user friendly and accessible at school. Students research images and information that they add to their thread in the form of slides. Once they publish their thread, their classmates and peers can make comments and suggestions. I have found that students like to “show off” their work especially if they think their friends will see it. We are going to use this in my Early Childhood Education class to see how students teach a lesson and the response they receive from their peers. Each step will be recorded, audio and video, to show their plan, implementation, and feedback received. Very exciting! I will also use this as a teaching tool for demonstrating food preparation skills for my Foods, Nutrition and Wellness class. My mini-documentary can be uploaded to my teacher website or even Edmodo for students to view prior to their own food lab experiment to become more familiar with the procedure. Likewise, if a student is not present for the actual demonstration in class or they will not be present for the food lab itself, they can use this digital story as a means to get up to date in class.
I have shared my experiences with other colleagues and they are interested in hearing more. I think that through my enthusiasm, my students and colleagues will feel more confident in exploring technology and its uses. Another plus is that integrating technology into the classroom will become the norm and not the exception to teaching and learning.

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Monitoring GAME Plan Progress

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.

Implementing the GAME plan

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.

Developing a GAME Plan

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)

Enhancing Instruction with Technology: Reflection

Blog: Final Reflection
I realize that my theory of learning needs to include more technology tools. In the past, I have used videos and power points as the main ways to integrate technology into the classroom. However, over the last several weeks, I have been exposed to various technology resources that I can use that enhance my instructional message. I use cooperative learning a great deal in my classroom. When I integrate technology tools within this setting, I can help these students work together to become more productive while absorbing a new skill and new information. For example, recently my students were able to use Voice Thread to complete their own teaching project about chronic adult diseases. Students collaborated in small groups to create slides using images and information they found on the internet. I was excited to see team members engaged in creating the final project that would ultimately be presented to their peers. Team members were asking questions, they decided what information to include, and discarded information that was irrelevant. This is the kind of interaction I wanted to see among the students. It was refreshing to see them using voice thread in a manner that spoke to their desire to be innovative and up to date by using something new for a class project. Using multimedia for instruction is a great way to enhance teaching. However, student-created multimedia projects truly engage the students and get their creative juices flowing. The outcome was so rewarding, I have started to find ways to adjust current lessons to include technology tools such as this or find tools to implement the lessons I want to create.
In keeping with my desire to use technology more often in the classroom, I recently introduced yet another resource to a different class-Spiderscribe. This concept mapping tool has proved to be a great way to help student focus on a topic and then connect that central theme to other information that is relevant. My students are putting together timelines for a child development class. They are using Spiderscribe to map the emotion development and physical development of an infant for one year. They will include pictures, website links, and captions to connect the information they discover and they will ultimately connect specific developmental milestones that coincide, such as speech and temperament. Yet another technology tool that I planning to use is Prezi. Several of my students are using this technology in other classes. I have recruited a few students to help me convert some of my power point presentation to the Prezi format. I believe that presentation can help make a not so interesting topic become more interesting and lead to engagement.
This course has helped me to step out of my comfort zone and use tools that I thought would be too complicated for me to understand, use, or teach in the classroom. However, I am amazed and proud to say that I have discovered and used more technology tools during the last several weeks than I have in the last few years. That being said, I cannot stop here. Even though we have limited access to technology tools on the school network, by researching the web 2.0 tools listed in this course, I can find out which ones my students can access and which ones will work for the classes that I teach. As a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher, it is hands on nearly every day in every class. To keep the energy going, my instruction and student’s learning should be updated relate to their lives. My goals are to keep trying new things using the tools I have acquired recently and to change my instruction in a way that will open the door for using technology. For instance, if I cannot find a multimedia source to show students the proper way to hold and infant, perhaps students can work together to create their own video that would show the correct way but then also show the damaged done by not providing proper head support. In this manner, students would be able to show why head support is crucial for a newborn but they also learn to plan, edit, research, and put together a mini-movie for their peers to view. Taking it one step further, the students who created the video become the instructors for their classmates. This student to student interaction can inspire others to do similar projects and find ways to implement the process.
I am starting to enjoy the idea of technology and ways that I can use these tools to engage students and enhance my lesson plans. For the high school aged students that I teach, I have found that it is imperative that I continue to expand my personal list of technology tools. This age group has never been without technology and they simply need it to help them be creative, increase interest in the lesson, gain a skill, become more productive, and become more focused. Technology tools can help do all this for our students learning and for our teaching.

Connectivism and Social Learning in Practice

This week I was introduced to a new technology tool called VoiceThread.  At first, I was a bit skeptical at just how useful this resource would be to me and to my students.  I thought perhaps it would be too complicated and students would be more discouraged than excited.  However, after watching the tutorial and putting together a brief introduction lesson for my students and colleagues to view, I feel more confident in its use and potential.

When using networking tools such as Facebook, Google Docs, and others, we begin to see the value of connectivisim.  People sharing information via the internet to learn about something or watch as something is being created can happen instantly.  Those in the network can get started right away applying this knowledge for problem solving and project building on their own that represents a real world experience.  The application of knowledge is important as one would want to move from situated cognition to actually constructing an artifact that would show understanding as well as articulation.  Using VoiceThread in the classroom will provide students with an opportunity to share information in a manner that is in keeping with network tools they are familiar with but can now be used to complete school assignments. 

Collaboration and cooperative learning are essential for social learning.  Students learn from each other as they begin to build their project or solve a problem.  Peer to peer interaction gives students and opportunity to not only learn but to teach others.   This “teacher” will be helping others while continuing to deepen their own understanding of the content.  The knowledgeable other(s) immerges to guide group members of different levels of understanding toward the final artifact.   The social dimension of connectivisim provides a more rich learning experience as knowledge is more abundant and easily transferred over numerous networks or people and data.

Although, high school students do not always like to work together, I think that when we, as teachers, plan with connectivisim in mind, students will take responsibility for teaching and learning within their group.  They are more likely to embrace the use of technology and construct an artifact that they would be proud to share with others through over several networks of people. 

My first VoiceThread:  http://voicethread.com/share/2905123/

Comments are welcome!

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2010). Social Learning Theories [Video webcast]. Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=6489406&Survey=1&47=9645911&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=1&bhcp=1

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2010). Connectivism as a Learning Theory [Video webcast]. Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=6489406&Survey=1&47=9645911&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=1&bhcp=1

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2010). Constructionist and Constructivist Learning Theories [Video webcast]. Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=6489406&Survey=1&47=9645911&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=1&bhcp=1