I enjoyed this article because it restates issues that I hear so many teachers discussing regularly. We all agree that receiving technology without training is ridiculous. Yet many of us have been placed in those kinds of situations. This article stated that professional development programs should not just be an add-on to School Improvement Plans, but an important part of the school and district technology plans. The importance of including a survey of needed skills before providing professional development as part of the plan was also illustrated. It was suggested that the usual workshop method of one time learning just doesn't work with technology. Several alternatives were offered: mentoring , modeling, on going workshops, and summer institutes. I loved this quote, "Adults require relevant, concrete experiences with adequate support, appropriate feedback, and long term follow-up." I believe that information in this article could be used to take home the importance of tech support personnel at every school. I think the parishes acknowledge that, but can't fund it.Now we apparently need to convince the state to do that.
The development of children's Web searching skills - a non-linear model
by AnnBritt Enochsson
This article focused on skills needed to search the Internet for information. I almost waded past it on my surfing of various topics. However, I am glad that I did not. So many children are familiar with the Internet that it is automatically assumed that when given a topic to research, they know what to do and where to go to find it. This article lists important skills needed to search the Internet:
1. Language - being able to read is a given
2. Knowledge about technology- the computer should be seen as a tool for learning
3. Knowledge about different ways of seeking information - the computer is not always the best tool to use. Children need to be given the opportunity to develop this theory through trial and error.
4. Knowledge of how search engines work
5. Setting goals and
6. Being critical - This helps keep the research on target.
This article also stated that there is a new basic skill that should be added to Reading, Writing, and Arithmatic - Information Literacy.
Building a Better Pod Cast
By Matt Villano
This is a wonderful article to read before beginning to produce pod casts. This author believes that the inherent value to pod casting is the fact that it allows students to do research collaboratively, a skill that seems to be needed in the real world. Additional value to pod casting also comes through the editing and revising of pod casts because the process helps the student to internalize the learning. There is even discussion here about how to provide good quality sound by “do it yourself” studios made of a box with egg crate sound proofing or panty hose over a coat hanger to cover a microphone. Discussions about the value of musical interludes for transitions and where to find free music sources, as well as free sources of editing are also given. Mr. Villano stresses that pod casting is like potato chips – you can’t do just one to be good at it. His suggestion is for teachers to plan to insert pod cast assignments in their lessons through out the year.
This site is a wonderful introduction to pod casting. It gives ideas and links related to pod casting for beginners and more advanced users. There is a link to a power point presentation called Pod Casting 101 for those who may need to present the information to faculties. It lists steps for creating pod casts. There is also a section that discusses how pod casts can be used for Book Talks and literature circles, science, meet the author talks, and more. The Pod Casting 101 site is really great for providing links and steps for creating various types of pod casts. There’s even a pod cast on how to create pod casts . It was created in 2005, but is still applicable.The advantage of this site is that it takes the viewer from beginner levels to more advanced levels in podcasting. The narrators also do an excellent job of demonstrating how to use “Audacity” to edit audio pod casts.
When browsing through the NCREL website, I decided to search for information on professional development as it relates to technology use within the classrooms. Many educators within St. Tammany Parish came together for a meeting regarding technology use within the parish at the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year. At some point in the meeting, there was a majority consensus that one of the greatest needs for advancement of student achievement and progress toward greater and more effective technology use was full time on-site technical support personnel who would be responsible for problem solving and regular, needs based professional development. At that point, as always, the talk turned to funding. In many cases, the ammunition for achieving one’s desired outcomes is a rich and varied arsenal of support and research. With that end in mind, I would like to present the information gained from this article.
Professional development as it relates to technology training is one of the most important keys to success of a well functioning, successful technology integrated curriculum (Fatemi, 1999; Office of Technology Assessment, 1995; Panel on Educational Technology, 1997). A teacher’s knowledge of how to use the computer, however, is secondary to the ability to use the computer to assist in achieving the objectives and goals of their given curriculum. This means that professional development should not be an “add-on” to the School Improvement Plan, but an integral part of the process. With that in mind, the following site is a useful self assessment tool for teachers and school technology teams. It is a technology profile tool/survey that assesses “teaching practices and technology functionality, ease of use, engagability, operability, and access”. http://www.ncrtec.org/capacity/profile/profwww.htm
This article listed several components of Effective Professional Development for Technology Use. The importance of having support now, and not next week when teachers encounter problems when trying to use technology in their classrooms was clearly stressed. It was stated that if that support is not available, teachers will return to traditional methods of teaching. The importance of adequate resources was also illustrated with this quote. “The district, first of all, must purchase the type of technical equipment necessary to meet the learning goals identified and provide for ongoing maintenance and upgrading. Skimping on this step can be more expensive in the long run because teachers and students eventually will want and need access to multiple technologies that will enhance the curriculum and expand learning opportunities…. Funds should be available to provide teachers with technology that they can use at home or in private to become comfortable with the capabilities it offers.”
Technology in American Schools: Seven Dimensions for Gauging Progress
By Miliken Exchange on Education Technology
Authors: Cheryl Lemke; Mr. Edward C. Coughlin
The Miliken Exchange is a group of educators, business representatives, researchers, and policy leaders who discuss technology initiatives that are needed to prepare students to “live, learn and work in a global, digital age.” (Lemke, 1998). The purpose of this article was to provide policy makers with evidence that increased funds for tech use are a good investment. While the data given with respect to the number of schools using technology has surely changed over the past ten years since the article was written, the seven indicators for assessing whether students have increased learning, which are in this particular report framework, are still useful.
The framework, according to the authors, should be used as a vision form making decisions, a self assessment tool, a planning tool, an accountability system, and a research agenda. The seven framework components are learners, learning environments, professional competency, system capacity, community connections, technology capacity, and accountability. I chose to research this article because these seven components are integral to the development of state, parish, and school technology plans, and ultimately school improvement plans.
This particular study gave examples of students applying technology within the classroom and taking the information to the community to show how the information could be useful. As an example, a fire station needed some updated information on mapping of buildings within their town. The students developed those maps using GIS technology and other devices and provided the information to the fire department. When the police department realized the value of the service, they too requested technology assistance for their particular needs. Surely, in such situations, technology funding for education would not be given a second thought in community tax questions.
Ms. Lemke has noted that given the right conditions, technology within schools has the potential to accomplish several tasks. It can enrich basic skills and allow students to use them in a way that apply to a digital age. Technology motivates and engages students in learning by allowing meaningful, authentic applications. It helps relate academics to the real world work force and increases the economic productivity of the workers of the future. Ms. Lemke also felt that technology strengthens teaching by allowing teachers to meet individual needs of students and share ideas and resources with teachers all over the world. Finally, technology contributes to positive change within schools while allowing schools to be connected to the global community.
Ms. Lemke notes in her article that while the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) established technology standards for students which were being addressed through technology standards in 38 states at that time, the students weren’t being assessed in their progress through those standards which are based on the following: fluency with using appropriate technology to meet needs, strengthening basic skills, developing higher level skills, increasing relevancy of technology through real life learning, providing a motivation to learn, and recognizing that there are trade offs inherent to using technology. As a teacher in a parish that stresses the utilization of technology, I have to agree that while technology use for students and teachers is being stressed, there is still not a focus on assessment of skills in that area.
In discussing learning environments, Ms. Lemke stressed that while having technology is important, using it appropriately is vital. There must be an environment that teaches students to use technology tools for problem solving within a curriculum which assesses knowledge based use as it applies to community or global skills. There must be a school culture which encourages technology use while making technology accessible to teachers and students in the form of a variety of tools, online services and media based instructional materials. In my opinion, this continues to be an area of need within school systems today, ten years after this article was presented.
“Educators are the key to the effective use of technology in schools.” (Lemke, 1998) With that said, educators need to be prepared for that incredible responsibility and administrators need to be cognizant of a teacher’s knowledge and how they use that technology to impact student learning with respect to requiring students to become independent learners.
“Technology, properly managed and applied, has the potential to restore rigor to children’s learning, to rebuild public confidence in American Education.” (Lemke, 1998) This seems to point the responsibility for technology integration and use with school systems who must have a vision, long term plans, the capacity to translate the vision into meaningful learning for kids, and the ability to use technology across the entire education system. I see the St. Tammany school system working toward that goal through technology plans, online curriculum resources, required use of teacher websites, and the emphasis on decreased use of a paper trail within classrooms and school communities.
“The concept of school as community center” has been making its way back into cities across the country with a new twist.” (Lemke, 1998) Community members are important stake holders in any school improvement plan. By providing for community input of school programs, access to school resources, and opportunities to provide funding, the schools are again revitalizing their roles as community centers. I give as evidence at least two schools within my parish who have recently opened up their computer labs to the community. The labs are staffed by teachers who are there to provide instruction or help as needed with the computers, the programs, or online resources.
If technology is to continue to be funded by the community, there must be accountability, not just with regard to the quantity of equipment, but to evidence of improved student learning. However, as David Livingston, a principal at an elementary school in Colorado stated (Lemke, 1998), schools limit their responsibilities when they define their progress only in terms of test scores. With this in mind, Ms. Lemke went on to include a set of questions which address the seven dimensions of progress discussed through out the article.
I found this article intriguing because it presented a picture of the progress of technology use within schools over the last ten years. It’s interesting to note that the National Technology Standards set up by ISTE years ago, are still relevant today, which is surely a sign of a well developed plan. It also indicates that major changes within any system are slow, and that for progress to be made, all stake holders with the nation and within communities, must be involved and educated.
Mastering Reading and Math In the Early Grades
2004 Southern Regional Education Board Challenge to Lead Series
Joan Lord, Robin Wade, Joseph Creech
This article is a part of a series of reports of SREB (Southern Regional Education Board) states and their progress in meeting educational goals. Mark Music, president of SREB emphasizes the importance of having children master skills in reading and math in the early grades in order to achieve future academic progress and success. According to Music, in 2003, two thirds of the SREB states (Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia) met standards in reading and math. However, minority students and students in low income families fell behind in performance. In reading and math, boys also traditionlly lagged behind girls in the early grades.
According to No Child Left Behind, (NCLB), all students (100%) must be proficient in grade level standards y 2014. The challenge in reporting this is that individual states have different tests and different standards. The importance of developing appropriate standards was clearly emphasized. If state standards are too low, the children may achieve success at state levels, but will not meet national achievement levels. It was also noted that most states’ standards are geared to the NAEP “Basic” levels rather thanthe NAEP “Proficient" levels, meaning that challenging subject matter is not yet being set as a standard in most states.
Large gaps in scores for Hispanic and white students and those with limited English proficiency were additionally noted as an alarming trend. Eleven SREB states have Hispanic populations that doubled between 1990 and 2000. Overall a lower percentage of students in low income families are meeting grade level content expectations than those from higher income families. Within those numbers, reading scores show lower overall improvement than math scores. It was noted that good reading programs should include components that work with phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, reading fluency, and reading comprehension.
A solution to the problem appears to be early intervention of students with difficulties followed by programs which are individualized to assist the students. Some states such as Florida are giving intensive reading instruction in kindergarten through third grade for these students. Parents are also notified of the deficiency and told of available services, as well as the consequences of not reading on grade level by the end of third grade. States that have retention policies for not passing state standards find that children who are retained will show improvement within the following year, but the gains do not last. This study reviewed Florida’s efforts at small group instruction, smaller teacher student ratios, more tutoring or transition classes for third and fourth grade students, and extended school year programs as being successful.
As a result of researching this article, I have become more informed on the policies, requirements, and deadlines of NCLB. The different state requirements for achieving a “Basic” set of knowledge for success within a grade level has also become apparent. Louisiana is often criticized for its low achieving status, but throughout the nation it is noted that low income families and minorities have tended to score lower on standardized tests than other students. Louisiana tends to have a higher promotion of students who fall into this category, and in my opinion, indicates that southern school systems are working harder to achieve required results than school systems outside of the SREB boundaries.
Testing the Joy Out of Learning”
By Sharon L. Nichols and David C. Berliner
March 2008; vol 65; Number 6
Reaching the Reluctant Learner pg. 14-18
According to Sharon Nichols and David Berliner, in the five years since NCLB has been in existence, there is no convincing evidence that student achievement has increased in any significant way on tests other than the states’ own tests. In addition, the gaps in learning between students of higher and lower socioeconomic classes has not narrowed.
These authors present the idea that hundreds of cases reviewed (Nicholas & Berliner, 2007) showed that focusing on testing has harmed the learning process. When testing is overvalued, learning is undervalued. Testing tends to decrease the fun of learning. In order to keep students from becoming reluctant learners, they must perceive the learning as important to the achievement of their own personal goals. Yet high stakes testing focuses on the importance of scoring well on the test.
High stakes testing tends to cause a narrowed focus in the curriculum to include standards that will be visited on the test with decreased emphasis on subjects such as art, music, and social studies. Students begin to see themselves as winners or losers based only on their test scores. Testing tends to diminish many students’ sense of self worth, which leads to a decreased motivation to do well in school.
Pressure for achievement seems to be the greatest in schools where many kids come from low income families. NCLB means that some schools may be consolidated or shut down as a result of low scores, causing much concern and stress to children and adults. The most important thing that schools can do to minimize the harmful results of testing is to quit focusing on “testing” and refocus on gaining knowledge and improving individual performance. The school community needs to create a climate of care, concern, and cooperation among students rather than competition. Students who feel connected and have a sense that they belong show greater effort, greater persistence, and a better attitude.
I chose to research this article because as a fourth grade teacher I agree with so many of the concerns that have been presented. The pressure to improve scores and achieve greater results is ever present and dominates discussions in faculty meetings and in classrooms. Deemphasizing the “test” word will take more than just a casual effort. As a student in a college curriculum, I have found the value of project based instruction that is relevant to my own personal goals and needs. The challenge is to present similar learning opportunities in that captures student interest and promotes learning of state mandated objectives.
Cost Guidelines for State Virtual Schools
SREB’s Educational Technology Cooperative in cooperation with state virtual school in SCREB states
What is a state virtual school? It is a school developed by a state to provide online courses for students when courses are not available to help students who need to retake courses to graduate or to provide enrichment or opportunities for acceleration of learning. They are also useful for high schools that must provide higher level AP courses, but do not have the personnel to do so , and for students with physical disadvantages, or who may have an extended absence.
Cost comparisons between virtual schools and traditional schools indicate that the largest costs for both are personnel related. The costs for a virtual school can be even higher initially. Unlike traditional schools however, virtual schools do not require large physical facilities since teachers and students are not housed there. What is required is a physical location for staff training and meeting, equipment, and storage. Added costs include a company to manage and offer the online courses.
Funding of virtual schools is a new process and many difficulties seem to arise. The initial set up of a virtual school can be quite expensive. Therefore these authors stress the importance of having a reliable source of funding. This report provides three scenarios for cost estimates which are based on three implementation levels.
1. To meet course needs of at least 1,000 one semester student enrollments with an approximate cost of $1,500,000
With an undertaking this small, it is suggested that course providers should come from a third party source outside the school, but care would have to be taken to monitor objectives and requirements to make sure that students are meeting state objectives.
2. To meet the course requirements of at least 5,000 one semester student enrollments with an approximate cost of $4,000,000
In this situation, administrators may also want to gather courses from a third party provider. In the long run courses may need to be developed in cases where none are currently available to meet needs. It was noted that course development can be a costly and time consuming endeavor.
3. To meet the course needs of at least 10,000 one semester student enrollments with an approximate cost of $6,000,000
It is suggested that ina situation involving such a large sum of money, efforts should be made to garner support from local and state decision makers. Recommendations are made to begin gathering courses from third party providers, but then to scale back a little at a time as pertinent courses are reused or reworked.
I initially thought to research this topic because the concept of a virtual
school seemed to be very appealing. Most of the information I located relates
to course work designed for high school classes. Since I teach in an elementary
school, this didn't seem to relate very well to information that is currently
relevant to my situation. However, I found it interesting and could forsee
its use as it relates to Home Schooling choices.
Five Don’ts of Classroom Blogging
By Julie Sturgeon
Classroom blogging is a technology tool that has recently become popular. Despite that fact I know very little about it and decided to research some information about it uses. Blogging is apparently a term that comes from web logging. It’s a combination of the two words. When a teacher uses blogging in the classroom, there are some important considerations before beginning.
Following are Ms. Sturgeon’s list of “Don’ts”, and one “Do”.
1. Don’t just dive in.
2. Don’t confuse blogging with social networking.
3. Don’t leap at the freebies.
4. Don’t force a sequential style.
5. Don’t leave the blogging to the students.
• Do recognize the ways that blogging can help your students.
1. Don’t just dive in. Apparently one must design a blog. It should have goals and objectives just as any classroom learning activity would. Students should be given guidelines on expected behaviors and courtesies to each other on the blog. Bullying can occur in many ways, and students should feel comfortable in sharing their information. Students should be asked to sign off on understanding an appropriate code of conduct according to Ann Davis of Georgia State University. Parents should additionally be made aware of the project under consideration and likewise be asked to give their consent for student participation. Students should also be given opportunities to view sample blogs before beginning the group activity.
2. Don’t confuse blogging with social networking. The focus of the blog should be academically related. Students should be using the blog to reach academic objectives and help each other to learn or gather more information on a given topic. One particular teacher discussed used a web quest as a starter for a classroom blog. Another teacher divided the class in groups with one group writes entries with the other group responding. One additional positive for blogging appears to be that “quiet” students in the classroom tend to feel more comfortable with participating in a blog.
3. Don’t leap at the freebies. Care should be taken when setting up a classroom blog. Some of the free sites for blogging often contain advertisements over which the teach can have no control. One of the recommended sites was Class Blogmeister (http://www.classblogmeister.com/ ) because all blogs must be filtered through the teacher before being posted.
4. Don’t force a sequential style. It was recommended that blogs be structured by topic rather than by time. An example used was a favorite poem posted by a student. If the entries are logged sequentially, eventually one would have to scroll through many entries to find the original poem. Teachers need to be sure to map out exactly what objectives will be taught when using a blog.
5. Don’t leave blogging to the students. It is important for teachers to be a part of blogging process. Blogging will allow teachers to get to know more about their students, and consequently, students will learn about their teacher. Somehow that seems to personalize the learning process. In one example given, a teacher made comments about things that she saw and liked regarding student work, specifically praising certain students. The amount of blogging and the quality of the content then appeared to increase as a result of her responses.
Do recognize what blogging can do for your students. Nonfiction writing can be uninteresting and difficult for many students. Blogging can help in some ways by allowing students to present small chunks of information which can later be compiled into a large article or assignment. The assignments can also be enhanced with the additional of audio visual technologies and images to make the impact more interesting.
I’m glad I researched this article on blogging. Now that I know what not to do, I can begin researching appropriate blogging sites and sample blogs. Blogging seems to have interesting potential in getting students to be actively involved in the learning process. Engaged learners are a good thing.
This is a you tube video of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream speech". This is strictly the speech itself. The video includes the text of his speech with the audio of his voice giving the speech. It lasts a total of 3 minutes and 45 seconds.
If you are writing code and would like to use this to embed it into a web page, this is what you need.
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I located a Martin Luther King Pod Cast of his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. We had talked of February being Black History Month and I was interested in possibly including the speech on my social studies web page for my class. I found this site which includes speech, text, audio and video.
This is a You Tube video, and there are advertisements on the site. This text in its entirety is a bit long for fourth graders to sit through but it's possible to scroll through to the end of the most famous part of the speech.
Episode 4 Pod Casting
This is a pod cast on "how to" create pod casts.It was created in 2005, but is still applicable.The advantage of this site is that it takes the viewer from beginner levels to more advanced levels in podcasting. Equipment and editiing programs such as Audacity are discussed with actual demonstrations.
Pod Casting Made Easy?
The above link is a pod cast that I created after reviewing the information on the Catalyst Web Tools website designed and created by the University of Washington. This particular site appears to be set up with tools similar to those needed for use with the Blackboard system used by many schools and universities. There are Drop Boxes, File Managers, Go Post Discussion Boards, Group Manager sections for participant groups, Porfolio designers for Online portfolios, Portfolio Project Builders with templates, Quick Poll for 1 questions polls, Share Spaces for file sharing, Simple Site for Websites, Umail for web based email focus, and Qeb q for surveys and quizes. Located under the Help Center tool bar at the top of the page is a series of teachng guides that are extremely useful. One of the guides discusses various audio editing tools. Using the Audacity editing Link and directions, led to the creating of the above pod casting "How To" power point presentation.