Sunday, 21 October 2012

EDUC-6713......FINAL REFLECTION


At the beginning of this course, EDUC 6713, I was introduced to GAME Plan, at first I had no understanding of what a game plan entailed, however after reading our required text, and resources, I had a better understanding of this process.  As required by our course, I investigated the NETS-T standards, and chose two areas in which I wanted to become stronger in as an educator.  I choose the following areas; Standard 1: Facilitate and Inspire Students Learning and Creativity, with an emphasis on indicator b, “engaging students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources,” and Standards 2: Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments, with an emphasis on indicator c, “customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources,” (NETS-T, 2012).  As I am nearing the final stages of this course I can say that this process has indeed been a blessing to my teaching.  Even though this was a tedious process, and at times I was faced with issues, I was able to see the benefit of using the GAME Plan in my teaching.

The GAME Plan allowed me to implement more real-world issues and allowed for authentic problem solving with the aid of technology tools.  As I introduced Linear equations to my Algebra classes, I was able to implement a few problem-based assignment, at first I was rather skeptical because this was a new task for both my students and myself.  Little did I know that they would embrace this opportunity to think critically and creatively especially when I added the use of technology tools.

At the beginning of this school year, I was entrusted with a student that had many titles behind his name such as EBD, ADHD, and Autism.  Being enrolled in this course allowed me the chance to look beyond his disabilities, and offer him an education that surpassed what he was accustomed to.  I was able to find technology resources which catered to his needs, such as instructional videos and note taking tools.  Not only was I able to assist this student, but I was also able to aid the other students by offering them an opportunity to use computer-based tutorials, which sparked their interest in the content area, and also allowed me to see learning gains. 

Utilizing my GAME Plan allowed me to see that anything is possible inside the math classroom as long as I put time and effort into developing the lesson and implementing it.  I must also realize that I will face obstacles, but I must overcome them in order to become a better teacher. Due to this course, I see more engaging problem-based instruction taking place in my classroom.
   
Due to what I have learned in this course I will definitely be adjusting my Algebra 1 and 2 curriculums.  I will not only implement more authentic real-world instructions, but I will also be pushing my students into becoming self-directed learners. The only way my students will be able to compete in the workforce of the future is if they become self-directed learners.  I also see the benefits of attaching a technology component to these lessons.  Integrating the use of technology tools, take the lesson to a new level, by engaging the students in learning.  I will be using more peer collaboration via blogs, and Edmodo, giving students an ability to interact with their peers outside of the classroom.  By using digital storytelling, voicethreads, and Podcast, my students can develop “How To” media presentations, which will not only benefit them, but also those students who will take this course after.   By implementing these tools into my classroom, my students will be able to use them in their other classes since they all can be used across the content areas.  

Reference:


International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved September 10, 2012, from: http://www.iste.org/Libraries/PDFs/NETS_for_Teachers_2008_EN.sflb.ashx

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Monitoring the Progress of My GAME Plan


For the past two weeks, I've been looking at ways to make my GAME Plan come alive.  To begin with I decided I would love to have deeper knowledge in  the following areas of the NETS-T.  This week I must take time out to reflect and monitor my goals.  For each standard, I will address each question posed individually.

Standard 1: Facilitate and Inspire Students Learning and Creativity, with an emphasis on indicator b, “engaging students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources,” (NETS-T, 2012). 


Are you finding the information and resources you need?

To answer this question, I must say yes.  Yes I am finding the resources and information I need to carry out this task.  In fact I have been able to find a plethora of information, such as websites, articles, lesson plans, and not to mention, the knowledge I am able to gain from my peers and colleagues.  I have come to realize that solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources is a great way to get students involved in their learning.  It is said that learning is more successful when it is situated within real-world task or simulated in a problem-based learning environment, thus increasing the likelihood that students will be able to use what they have learned in new situations, and in new innovative ways (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009, p. 35).  The technology resources that are available in my class will also assist with bringing this goal to light.


Do you need to modify your action plan?

At this time I do not need to modify my action plan.  At the beginning of this assignment I originally looked at addressing four different indicators.  I am grateful that I did not follow through with that decision, since this has been a very tedious task.


What have you learned so far?

Thus far, I've learned quite a few things such as;
a.) that exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources, is a great way to "jump-start" students learning and creative thinking in my students.
b.) that by incorporating technology tools my students are able to step out-side of the classroom.
c.) that technology supports active learning when used as a tool to represent and stimulate real-world problems, situations, and context  (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009, p. 28).  
d.) that these projects do not have to be long and drawn out, they can also be short and sweet.


What new questions have arisen?

At this time, I have no new questions.



Standards 2: Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments, with an emphasis on indicator c, “customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources,” (NETS-T, 2012).


Are you finding the information and resources you need?

I am definitely finding the resources I need to carry out this task.  Last weeks learning resources and application was of great assistance to me in this area. The UDL framework, made it possible for teachers, such as myself, to be able to develop flexible curricular which will provide our students with multiple ways of assessing content, multiple means for expressing what they learn, and multiple pathways for engaging their interest and motivation (Howard, 2004, p. 26).  I was also able to see that most of the resources I needed to make this goal a reality, were already available to me.


Do you need to modify your action plan?

For this standard, there is no need for me to modify my action plan, as it is panning out great.



What have you learned so far?

So far I've learned quite a few things, such as;a.) that the UDL framework makes it easier for teachers to meet the need of all students  b.) digital tools can help to "customize and personalize learning activities to address students' diverse  learning styles, working strategies, and abilities (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009, p. 108)c.) any form of technology can be used to assist students learning needs.

What new questions have arisen?

At this time I have no new questions


Resources:

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.

Howard, K. L. (2004).  Universal design for learning: meeting the needs of all students. Learning and Leading with Technology, 31(5), 26-29. Retrieved from the ERIC database.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008).  National education standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved September 10, 2012, from: http://www.iste.org/Libraries/PDFs/NETS_for_Teachers_2008_EN.sflb.ashx






Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Carrying Out My Game Plan



Last week in My Personal Game Plan, I stated that I would like a deeper understand in the following standards;

Standard 1: Facilitate and Inspire Students Learning and Creativity, with an emphasis on indicator b, “engaging students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources,” (NETS-T, 2012).

In order to achieve this goal, I approached a few of my peers in both the mathematics and science department, to see how they have used authentic real-world issues in their classroom.  My science peers were most helpful at this since they have been doing more hands-on instruction with the use of technology, with assistance from my peers I steered towards Project-based learning, Learning-by-design, and Problem-based-inquiry.  This moved me to look back on a previous course EDUC 6711, where I was previously introduced to these different types of learning strategies.   I visited the following website Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching and Technology this website provided me with articles and scenarios of how to implement these on different strategies.  After reading these articles, I realized that there are many ways in which I could incorporate project-based learning into my curriculum.  I also decided on using voicethreads for carrying out this task.  As stated by Ross, technology provides us (teachers) with a venue to reach many more students than we were able to reach with print and analog (Laureate Education Inc. 2009).

I decided to show my students my voicethread, and get them familiarized with this technology tool.  I have also secured space in the computer lab to have them sign up for this tool.

Standards 2: Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments, with an emphasis on indicator c, “customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources,” (NETS-T, 2012).

This week’s learning resources has provided me with many ideas on how to achieve this goal.  By implementing the universal design for learning (UDL) framework, I am able to develop flexible curricular which will provide my students with multiple ways of assessing content, multiple means for expressing what they learn, and multiple pathways for engaging their interest and motivation (Howard, 2004, p. 26). I have decided to give students access to our online text, where they are able to review the materials and view the different tutorials available for the lesson.  I have also decided to provide students with the “student works” CD which will supply students with all the worksheets we will be utilizing in class.  While reading this week’s resources I understand that I will also have to develop a drop box on my computer in order to store student’s assignments. 

With the aid of our technology coordinator, I will be able to burn the “student works” CD, and develop a student drop-box. The steps I have taken for reaching this goal, is looking over each students data, to see which ones have IEP and to familiarize myself with their disabilities. 

Resources:

Howard, K. L. (2004).  Universal design for learning: meeting the needs of all students. Learning and Leading with Technology, 31(5), 26-29. Retrieved from the ERIC database.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008).  National education standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved September 10, 2012, from: http://www.iste.org/Libraries/PDFs/NETS_for_Teachers_2008_EN.sflb.ashx

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology.  Retrieved September 17, 2012 from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Main_Page


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

My Personal GAME Plan



At the beginning of EDUC 6713-Integrating Technology across Content Areas, I was introduced to the GAME plan concept.  According to Cannamo, Ross and Ertmer (2009), the GAME plan requires one to think about and take steps to direct their learning process, specifically while learning about technology and how to integrate it into their curriculum (p. 3).  The Game plan emphasizes self-directed learning, a strategy that all teachers are familiar with and have implemented in their own learning many times over.  This week’s assignment ask that I, examine the National Education Standards for Teachers (NETS-T), choose at least two indicators I need strengthening in, and share my GAME plan for achieving these goals.

GOALS
After reviewing the NETS-T, I decided on the two standards I would like deeper growth and understanding in.

The first standard I would like deeper growth in is Standard 1: Facilitate and Inspire Students Learning and Creativity, with an emphasis on indicator b, “engaging students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources,” (NETS-T, 2012).  As a mathematics teacher, it has been my goal to design lessons to motivate and engage my students using more thought provoking real-world issues, while implementing technology.

The second standard I would like deeper growth in is Standards 2: Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments, with an emphasis on indicator c, “customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources,” (NETS-T, 2012).  With the NCLB Act it is imperative that I find ways in which to reach all students, by designing lessons which incorporates a wide range of technology tools for differentiated instruction. 

ACTIONS
To achieve the stated goals it is important for me to ask myself the following questions, a) what information do I need to meet my goals, b) what learning strategies will I use, and c) what resources are needed (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009, p. 4). 

To engaging students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources, I must first look at my curriculum to see where I can implement more authentic real-world problems, while using technology, thus leading to more project-based learning.  This will also require self-directed learning on both teacher and students.  Then I will research different technology tools that can be aligned with project based learning. 

In order to customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources, I must first evaluate my students Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) scores, paying attention to their exceptionalities, and also by providing students with a learning inventory assessment.  This will lead to the incorporation of differentiated instruction; I will also research different software programs which will align with this standard.

MONITOR.
It is imperative that I monitor whether I am making adequate progress towards meeting my goals, and also reflect on whether the strategies I have selected are working (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009, p. 4).  I must also incorporate a timeline; indicating dates I would like to implement my goals.  I will also access my strategies to ensure that they are assisting me in meeting goals.

With implementing differentiated strategies, I must ensure that I am meeting the needs of all students.  Therefore I will have to monitor students learning on a weekly basis, to ensure that they are all learning the materials while utilizing different technology tools.  I must also assess whether the chosen technology tools are benefiting students.

EVALUATION
To evaluate whether or not I am meeting my goals based on the standards, I must determine whether or not I have met my goal and reflect on whether my approaches worked or whether I must modify my strategies for the future (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009, p. 5).

For Standard 1, indicator b: engaging students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources, I must first, a) access student’s attitude towards project-based learning, b) survey students  and c) observe and take antidotal notes while students are working on assignment.  If this is not working then I will look at different ways of introducing students to project-based learning.

For Standard 2, indicator c: customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources, I will survey individual students to see if this way of work is working for them.  Another way of evaluating this Standard is by assessing students, this will provide me with the required data needed to evaluate whether or not these different software are assisting in students' comprehension of the lesson.

Resources:

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. (2008). National education standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved September 10, 2012, from: http://www.iste.org/Libraries/PDFs/NETS_for_Teachers_2008_EN.sflb.ashx

No Child Left Behind-Ed.gov. Retrieved September 10, 2012, from: http://www2.ed.gov/nclb/landing.jhtml


Sunday, 15 April 2012



Final Reflection of EDUC 6711

In Week I of this course, I was asked to develop my personal theory of learning, back then I just knew I leaned towards Multiple Intelligence, which aligned with both Social and Constructivist Learning Theory.   As I continued throughout this course, my understanding of these learning theories has deepened tremendously.  Not only did I get to look deeply into these two theories, but I was also able to learn about the technology tools that go hand in hand with them.   Each week we delved deeply into discussion about the different learning theory, from the Behaviorist to the Social learning theory, during this time I was able to get a better understanding of each theory and the technology tool that aligns with them.  I realized that the Behaviorist learning theory is still evident in my classroom, however, it does not play a large role, and it’s linked to classroom management.  One thing that will definitely stick with me is, the use of many different type of strategies and technologies can contribute substantially to the teaching and learning process (Lever-Duffy & McDonald, 2008, p.7). 

Now that I am at the final juncture of this course, I am bombarded with so many different ideas of how I would like to adjust my instructional practice in regards to technology integration; the big question is what I will begin with first.  The one thing that has been nagging me the most is how to ensure that I keep using technology as a learning tool and not as an instructional tool.   Learning technology (student-based) can be defined as the variety of tools students use to activate knowledge and deepen content (Laureate Education, Inc. 2011a).  Please don’t get me wrong, my classroom is student-centered, however, I would like my students to have more hands on experience and the ability to work at their own pace, especially for my diverse students. I guess what I want is my own classroom lab (yeah right), or access to the laptop cart.  There is so much more I would like to do in my class, but with the lack of resources, it’s going to be a tedious process.

The first technology tool I would like to use with my students is the blog.  Blogs will enhance my students’ learning by allowing them to communicate, collaborate, provide feedback, and assistance.  But most importantly it allows for reciprocal teaching, where students can summarize, ask questions, clarify and make predictions (Pitler,  Hubbell,  Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007, p.137), and the best part of the blog is that the students are given an opportunity to create an artifact, that they can share.   With this form of technology like all the others I wish to implement, I must secure lab time, to ensure that students get the allotted time to construct their blogs,  post and provide feedback to other blogs.

The second technology tool I would like to use with my students is VoiceThread, this is another form of collaboration tool, which my students will have a blast using.  VoiceThread offers my students the opportunity to once again construct a product for presentation or sharing with their peers.  This form of technology, will allow me to see how well students understand the concept, and to fix any misconceptions they might have.  With instructional technology, students will be actively engaged and motivated in the learning process (Laureate Education, Inc. 2011a). 

My two long-term goal changes I would like to make in my instructional practice regarding integrating technology will be utilizing Virtual Field Trips and the concept mapping tool www.spiderscribe.com.  I placed these in the long-term goals because in order to carry out these task I will need to have access to a computer lab or the laptop cart.  Virtual field trips can expand learning opportunities by allowing students to visit places they otherwise might not be able to visit (Laureate Education, Inc. 2011b).  These visits allow students to gain a deeper understanding of the content, and allows for engagement.  Like Dr. Orey states “Virtual Field trip is a powerful tool that creates an episodic that allow students to make rich connections that they will be able to retrieve at a later date” (Laureate Education, Inc. 2011b).  In order to achieve this I must first take the time out to design or research the concepts I would like the students to investigate, then plan the lesson.  I know with virtual field trips, I must be very organized as it takes time and dedication.  Given this information now, I can definitely plan ahead this summer and align a few virtual field trips with my algebra concepts. 

 With using www.spiderscribe.com advance organizer, I am giving my students a powerful tool that they can use to help process information that they don’t usually use (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011c).  Advance organizers give students the ability to retrieve, use, and organize what they already know about a topic (Pitler, et. al., 2007, p.9) which leads to deeper understanding. These tools allow students to brainstorm either at the beginning or the end of a unit. as it allows students tonactivate prior knowledge.  The biggest draw back, as with all technology tools is getting to use the technology, in a school with limited resources we have waiting list of people trying to get into the computer labs, and it is also on reserve for Reading/English teachers.  With this activity, I would have the students read throught the chaoter we were about to begin, as they scan the chapter, they can ask questions they would like answered, copy down key conceps or define words or terms they are not familiar with.  With doing this the students will have their own personal study guide.  My aim is to move my students to the 21stcentury, and with these tools we are heading in the right track.

Reference
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011a). Program eleven: Instructional strategies, Part one [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011b). Program seven: Constructionist and constructivist learning theories [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011c). Program five: Cognitive learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1

Lever-Duffy, J., & McDonald, J. (2008). Theoretical Foundation (Laureate Education Inc. custom ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007).   Using technology with classroom instruction that work. Alexandria, VA. ASCD.

Thursday, 29 March 2012


Connectivism and Social Learning in Practice

This week, I got the opportunity to explored one of my favorite instructional strategies, Cooperative learning.  I also got the chance to investigate the technology that is embedded in cooperative learning.  Cooperative learning as defined in, Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works provides students with opportunities to interact with each other in groups in ways that enhance their learning (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007, p. 9).  This instructional strategy aligns directly with the learning theory we studied this week, Social learning theory, which includes social constructivism, and connectivism.

Dr. Orey, states that if students are actively engaged in constructing an artifact while conversing with colleagues, then they are learning, and social learning theory is in taking place (Laureate Education, Inc. 2011a). Culture and context plays an important role in constructing knowledge and understanding of the world around us (Laureate Education, Inc. 2011a) thus leading to social constructivism.  Connectivism, according to Siemens, is the act of constructing knowledge, making sense of the world (Laureate Education, Inc. 2011b).  From these learning theories stem collaboration and cooperative learning, a must when initiating social learning theories.  When students work together in collaborative or cooperative groups they are assisting each other in developing understanding of the content.

With cooperative learning, the authors suggest five components for establishing assignments: 1) Positive interdependence, 2) face-to-face, promotive interaction, 3) individual and group accountability, 4) interpersonal and small-group skills, and 5) group processing (Pitler, et. al. 2007, p. 140).  With social learning theories, students are required to “construct” something, hence the need for technology, what better way for students to showcase their learning than with the use of technology.  As stated in Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, technology plays a vital role in cooperative learning by facilitating group collaboration, provides structure for group task, and allows for members of groups to communicate even if they are not face to face (Pitler et. al., 2007, p. 140).  

The technology that is embedded in cooperative learning is multimedia, Web resources, and communication software.   Multimedia can stem anywhere from PowerPoint, prezi, movie maker, publisher and voicethread.  This year our school participated in a book study, the book we read was The Art and Science of Teaching, by Marzano, each department choose a topic and presented to our faculty during our faculty meeting.  My department, choose to construct a multimedia project to present our understanding of the chapter.  Each person was given a section of the chapter they had to read and summarize, we would meet weekly to discuss our findings and work on our product, take a look at our prezi . With these activities teachers must ensure that students are provided with a rubric that outlines what is expected and how they will be evaluated, since this will be the driving force for these assignments. Web resources can include blogs, Wikis, prezi, websites, Google, edmodo and blackboard.  Last semester I was given the privilege to work collaboratively with the member of my PLC and construct a Wiki, I enjoyed every moment of this activity, since we worked together to produce a product even though we were miles away from each other, see our final product here. I incorporated edmodo into my reading class last school year; I realized that my students liked working on edmodo much more than working in our text.  With that in mind I would post assignments on line, and have the students respond during class using their phones or tablets.   Communication tools can also include blogs, wikis, edmodo, facebook, twitter, text message, Skype, instant messenger, and email.  At the middle school level, I had email accounts for all my students, and with this students were able to email assignments, questions, and suggestions for class.  Now that I am at the high school level, can use text messages, instant messenger and blogs to communicate with my students and parents.   There is no question as to whether cooperative learning and social learning theories goes hand-in-hand.  Cooperative learning strategies positively correlates with social learning theory, as they both require students to work together and create a product.

Resources

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011a). Program eight: Social learning theories [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011b) Program nine: Connectivism as a learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007).   Using technology with classroom instruction that work. Alexandria, VA. ASCD
VOICETHREAD ACTIVITY


This week I was introduced to Voicethreads, and as an assignment I had to make a voicethread to share with my colleagues. I tried my best, I hope you get an idea of what voicethreads are and how you might be able to use them in your classes.
  
http://voicethread.com/share/2911929/


Thursday, 22 March 2012


Constructivism in Practice

This week I explored the following instructional strategy which embeds technology: “Generating and Testing Hypotheses,” I found this strategy to be rather informative, since I never looked at this strategy as one that I could implement in my classroom.  So what is generating and testing hypotheses?  This is a strategy that enhances student’s understanding of and ability to use knowledge by engaging them in mental processes that involve making and testing hypotheses (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007, p. 9).  According to the authors, when we allow students to test and generate hypotheses, we are allowing them to engage in complex mental process, applying content knowledge, and enhancing their overall understanding of the content (Pitler, et. al., 2007, P. 202).   To implement this instructional strategy, we should ensure that students can explain their hypotheses and conclusion, and we must use a variety of structured task to guide students through generating and testing hypothesis (Pitler et.al., 2007, p. 203).  We were introduced to six tasks which we can use to aid students in generating and testing hypotheses, they are as follows: system analysis, problem solving, historical investigation, invention, experimental inquiry, and decision making (Pitler, et. al., 2007, p. 203)

So you’re asking, how is generating and testing hypothesis related to constructionist learning theories?  Well first we must familiarize ourselves with the constructionist learning theory. The constructionist learning theories states that people learn best when they build an external artifact or something they can share with others (Laureate Education, Inc. 2011).  Both constructionist learning theory and generating and testing hypothesis learning strategy, requires students to construct a product, using some form of technology such as; spreadsheet software, data collection tools, or Web resources, and then present or share them with their peers.  This will also incorporate Project-based learning, Learning-By-Design, and Problem-based-inquiry. 

Project-based Learning is a comprehensive instructional approach that engages learners in sustained, cooperative investigation (Hans & Bhattacharya, 2001).
Learning-By-Design emphasizes the value of learning through creating, programming, or participating in other forms of designing (Hans & Bhattacharya, 2001),
Problem-based inquiry emphasizes learning as a process that involves problem solving and critical thinking in situation context (Gazer, 2001)

With these instructional strategies, we are moving our classrooms from teacher-centered to student-centered; we are now facilitators, and our students are now investigators.
For more information on constructionist click here

Resources
Glazer, E.  (2001). Problem Based Instruction. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging Prespectives on learning , teaching, and technology,  Retrieved 3/14/2012, from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/ Retrieved from “http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Problem_BAsed_Instruction”
Han, S. and Bhattacharya, K. (2001). Constructionism, Learning by Design, and Project Based Learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved 3/14/2012, from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title= Constructionism,_Learning_by_Design,_and_Project_Based_Learning
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program seven: Constructionist and constructivist learning theories [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007).   Using technology with classroom instruction that work. Alexandria, VA. ASCD

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


Tools for Cognitive Learning Theory: “Cues, Questions, and Advanced Organizers” and “Summarizing and Note taking”

This week we learning resources focused on cognitive learning theories and the learning strategies that would go hand-in-hand with cognitivism.   What is cognitive learning theory?  Cognitive learning theory focus on learning as a mental operation that takes place when information enters through the senses, undergoes mental manipulation, is stored, and is finally used (Lever-Duffy & McDonald, 2008, p. 16).  Cognitive learning theory includes; i) limited short term/working memory, ii) elaboration, iii) dual coding hypothesis, and iv) episodic expressions (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011).    Cognitive learning theory gives students powerful tools that they can use to help process information that they don’t usually use (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011).  Thus our learning strategies for this week; Cues, questions, and advanced organizers, and summarizing and note taking.

In chapter 4 of our text, “Using Technology with Classroom Strategies that Work,” I explored cues, questions, and advance organizers.  In this chapter we look at ways in which to enhance student’s ability to retrieve, use, and organize what they already know about a topic (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007, p. 9).  These tools are very important when it comes to the cognitivism, since they allow the students to focus on what they are learning.  Cues allows teachers to provide students with hints about what they are preparing to learn, questions are similar to cues by accessing students prior knowledge, and advanced graphic organizers, allow students to organize and focus their learning (Pitler, e.t al., 2007, p. 73).
 In my daily lesson plans, I provide my students with an essential question, which they should be able to answer at the end of the lesson.  This question gears my teaching and at times acts as a guide for classroom discussion, this question also allows the students to think back to previous lesson and try to connect it to the new lesson.  I find that it is necessary to activate student’s prior knowledge to gage their knowledge of the lesson; I have used different graphic organizers to carry out this process, such as Frayer’s Model and K-W-L charts.  With these strategies comes different form of technology applications which we can implement in our classes to engage learning and deepen understanding. These technologies include word processing applications, spreadsheet software and organizing and brainstorming software.  With these technology tools, teachers are able to input students’ responses, and organize these responses in to useful information (Pitler, et. al., 2007, p. 75).

Chapter 6 of our text dealt with summarizing and note taking.  Summarizing and note taking, enhances students’ ability to synthesize information and organize it in a way that captures the main ideas and supporting details (Pitler, et. al., 2007, p. 9).  To begin with the author’s states that we should first teach students the rule-based summarizing strategy then use summary frames and finally teach students the reciprocal teaching strategy (Pitler, et. al., 2007, p. 120).  One way of getting students to summarize information in math is to have them skim the text, and identify the key concepts, which are usually bold or written in color.  I also stress to students that the formulas are necessary when summarizing. 

Note taking is considered the most powerful study skills a student can cultivate, the authors suggest that we give students teacher prepared notes, teach students a variety of note-taking formats and use combination notes (Pitler, et. al. 2007, p. 120).  The note taking strategy that I implement in my classroom is Cornell Notes, this strategy allows students to question, reflect and review their notes.  This is also a requirement of our schools’ AVID program and for our 9th grade academy.  The Cornell note also comes with a rubric that can be used to grade the given assignment.  The technology tools that are aligned with note taking are multimedia, wiki, blogs, word processing applications and organization and brainstorming software. 

Resources
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program five: Cognitive learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1
Lever-Duffy, J., & McDonald, J. (2008). Theoretical foundations (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.  Chapter 1: Theoretical Foundations
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007).   Using technology with classroom instruction that work. Alexandria, VA. ASCD

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Behaviorist Learning Theory and the Impact it has on Instructional Strategies: Reinforcing Efforts and Homework.

This week we were asked to explore two instructional strategies that were embedded with technology.  These two strategies are closely aligned with the behaviorist learning theory.  Behaviorist learning theory emphasizes changes in behavior that results in stimuli-response association made by the learner (Orey, 2002). 

The first instructional strategy I explored was reinforcing efforts; this strategy allows students to see the correlation between effort and achievement.  In “Using Technology with Classroom Strategies that Work” the authors gave two recommendations on using this strategy; i) explicitly teach students about the importance of effort, and ii) having students keep track of their efforts and achievements (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007, p.156).  Since behaviorist believes all behaviors are learned, I can definitely see how reinforcing effort align with one of James Hartley‘s key principles that “reinforcement is the cardinal motivator,” (Smith, 1999).  Even though I have stressed “you get what you put in” in my classroom, I never thought to designing a rubric which my students can use to chart their effort and achievements.  As a high school math teacher, I can see how this would benefit majority of my students, since my students cannot see how valuable it is to study or even read over their note.  With the implementation of technology, it is now easier for teachers to develop a rubric or a spreadsheet which they can provide to students with an opportunity to chart their effort and achievement.  Once students are able to see how both effort and achievement correlate, they will in turn want to be successful.

The second instructional strategy I explored was Homework and practice; this strategy extends the learning opportunities for students to practice, review and apply what they have learned (Pitler et al., 2007, p. 9).  In math it is imperative that students are given the opportunity to practice what they have learned, thus the need for homework.   In order for students to deepen their understanding and achieve proficiency, they will need multiple exposures to the material, (Pitler et. al., 2007, p. 188).   I find when we start the assignment in class; the students are more inclined to doing the assignment.  With homework and practice, the following key principles of James Hartley come to mind, “repetition, generalization, and discrimination are important notions, and learning is helped when objectives are clear” (Smith, 1999).  With the use of word processing applications, spredsheet applications, multimedia, web resources, and communication soft ware, we can take our homework assignment to an innovative level.  One website that I allow my students to use for practice is Khan Academy, whenever I introduce a new topic I pull instructional videos from this site to present the materials, my students also use the practice problems provided on this site to check for understanding.  Our text also offer an online module that allow students to self-assess, where they can take the assessment for the given section, this is for personal use and at times can count towards n extra-credit activity.

For more information on instructional strategies with technology click here
  
References:
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007).   Using technology with classroom instruction that work. Alexandria, VA. ASCD

Smith, M. K. (1999) The behaviorist orientation to learning”, the encyclopedia of informal education, www.infed.org/biblio/learning-behaviourist.htm.  Last updated: December 01, 2011.

Strandridge, M..(2002). Behaviorism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved March 05, 2012, from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Behaviorism

Sunday, 19 February 2012



Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society

          When I began this course back in January, I really didn’t know what to expect.  I am not new to technology; therefore, I was familiar with most of the tools that we were going to use throughout this course.  Even though I was not new to these forms of technology, I have never taken the time out to look deep into their development and there benefits to education.  Now that I am finishing up my last week of this course I can easily say that I now know enough about these tools to implement them into my classroom.  This course also allowed me to be reacquainted with the 21st century skills which my students will need in order to be successful in the future.  You might be wondering what type of tools I am referring to, so let me cut to the chase, this course introduced me to Wikis, Weblogs, and Podcast.

Before this course, I had no interest in having a blog of my own, however, I did subscribe to the blogs of few of my friends, so I knew it was used to relay information, and facilitate communication.  So after completing the required reading for week 2, and learning of all the positive impact blogs have on students learning and the professional collaboration it allows for educators, I was more than ready to make my own professional blog.  The best part about using my blog, was the feedback I received from my classmates, so I knew this would be a hit with my students. 

By the time week three came around, I was required to develop a group Wiki with the members of my PLC. Before now, I stayed away from Wiki’s of all forms, this was all due to my ignorance, never had I taken the time to investigate the benefits  associated with Wikis, I also figured that wiki’s were not trust worthy, therefore, I avoided them.   This course offered me the opportunity to see the benefits of using a wiki, firsthand.  Using a Wiki in my classroom will definitely benefit my students, “they will become better learners-----namely, collaboration and negotiation skills” (Richardson, 2010)

                Week four offered me the opportunity to do something completely outside of my comfort zone, not only did I have to interview and record my students, but I also had to upload to my personal blog.  Of all the assignments I thought this to be the most difficult since I had a HARD time uploading my podcast.  With utilizing these different tools, I was able to see my teaching in a different light, I am now able to introduce my students to a whole new way of learning, which will definitely offer engagement. 

          This course really allowed me to rethink my way of work in the classroom; it allowed me to see ways in which I can improve my teaching style to reach all my students.  Since my students are required to learn 21st century skills I realize that I have to find the teachable moments to implement these skills into my lesson or class.  This course also reminded me that my students are not like me, they are from the digital era therefore, and I need to teach them with that thought in mind.  The teaching strategies that worked for me “back in the days” will not work for my students. 

          This year I have actually moved from lecturing four days a week to two, with this changed I have moved my classroom from teacher-centered to student-centered.  I have also introduced more engaging activities and project-based learning.  In doing this I noticed that I have more student participation, and student’s grades have definitely increased dramatically.  I think that with the change to student-centered classes I have placed my students learning in their own hands, they are now responsible for their own learning.  I must also say, I like my role as facilitator. 
         
          I will continue to expand my knowledge of learning, teaching, and leading with technology with the aim of increasing student achievement by becoming involved in different PLC at school, gaining membership to different educational technology organization, and subscribing to different educational technology magazines.  In order for me to continue to grow I must keep learning.

          My two long-term goals for transforming my classroom environment to overcome institutional and systematic obstacles are; 1) become more of a facilitator rather than a lecturer, I will accomplish this by providing my students with more inquiry based, engaging scenarios with the use of collaboration.  Students will work more in cooperative groups rather than individually, 2) to have a running classroom blog, for students to use for collaboration, assistance and communication.  To accomplish this I plan on first talking to our administrators and getting permission to begin this task.  I will then send home parent letters, to get permission from parents to involve their students in this process.  Once all the red tape is eliminated, I will then set up a classroom blog for each of my five classes, and use this for collaboration.  By year two all my students will be required to have their own blogs.

          Looking back to my Check list, few of my answers have changed since the first week of class.  I would like to be able to collaborate with my students on new and emerging technology tools; I would also like to work on designing more collaborative learning experience.


Reference


Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.