Sunday, January 26, 2014

Chapter 2- Understanding Educational Technology Issues and Trends

Focus Question:
How can teachers more closely connect learning experiences of the digital natives who are their students?

Teachers can connect learning experiences with the students who are digital natives by using technology as an enhancement to the standard curriculum. If the teachers incorporate technology into their lesson plans, they will capture the students’ attention and engage them into the lesson. Teachers can use technology to interact directly with the students, for example, using hand held wireless devices for group activities. Using technology to cover the course material makes it more interesting for the students.

Technology also plays a big part in the planning and organizing that the teacher has to do throughout the school year. Teachers use online databases to hold student grades and to record assignments. Teachers also use technology to prepare for lesson plans. Many teachers use the internet to research their topic ahead of time in order to give proper instruction to the students.

When working with students who are not familiar with technology, it is important that all educators accommodate the needs of those students. Changing some teaching techniques may be required in order to help the students with different technological experiences.

In my previous blog post, I talked about a new form of technology that is being used in many classrooms today: tablets. Along with tablets come apps. We typically think of apps being used for entertainment purposes such as games, but that is not always the case. There are many educational apps that help students grasp new concepts. Apps are more interactive than a standard computer. It is a portable way for students to practice their math, science, and English skills. My mom is a kindergarten teacher for children with Autism. She uses apps on a daily basis to stimulate their learning. When using apps, children are able to have fun while learning at the same time.

In chapter 2, it talked about the technological issues and trends in our educational system today. I have learned different ways to engage the students in the lesson and how to use technology as an enhancement to teaching. I have also learned about the many barriers to technology use such as technology skills, personal attitudes, teaching schedules, and curriculum requirements. I am also more aware of the digital divides and participation gaps that limit the access to technology for many students. Below is a picture I found and I thought it illustrated a digital divide very well. It shows the gap of knowledge between those who have access to the internet and those who do not. When learning more about teaching philosophies, I soon realized that my preferred way of teaching is student-centered. I love the thought of using technology as a tool for class discussions and exploration.

                      Dividing Our World by gabyshaiman

                                                       Dividing Our World, a photo by gabyshaiman on Flickr.

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.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Chapter 1- Becoming a 21st Century Teacher

Focus Question: What are 21st century skills and 21st century technologies?

21st century skills are the skills that children will need to know and comprehend in order to succeed in our technologically developing society. These skills include the ability to think critically, make informed judgments, solve complex problems, think creatively, communicate and collaborate with others, use information in innovative ways, and take responsibility for one's personal and civic lives.
21st century technologies include computers, websites, and Web 2.0 tools such as blogs and wikis.

It is important that children develop these skills in order to use these new technologies in their everyday life as well as in the classroom. An effective way for students to learn critical thinking skills is by using technology such as the internet and computers.

A new fast and efficient way to use technology as a tool for learning is the use of tablets, smartphones, and laptops. These portable web tools make teaching and learning ten times easier. With a click of a button, students and teachers have the internet literally at the tip of their fingers. Students can now research topics and connect with others faster than ever before. I think the use of tablets, smartphones, and laptops is very useful today. You can use these items in classroom discussions as well as completing online assessments of the students. They even offer e-books where students can find a book and read it electronically instead of having to go to a library. Tablets and laptops have made todays learning simple and accessible for everyone.

Today's students have grown up using computers and surfing the internet. using technology in our school systems is an interesting way to teach children new concepts. Students like using computers and other tools in the classroom. It helps engage each student in classroom lectures. Technology is being used in many classrooms around the world. Every year there are new technological advances and it is important that educators are familiar with them. If teachers are technologically educated, the students will benefit academically. Our textbook tells us how to build our digital identities. This term refers to an educators technology talents and competencies (Maloy, Verock-O, Edwards, Woolf 2013). When I become a teacher, my goal will be to create exciting learning experiences with the use of technology.

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.