Thursday, July 26, 2007

Educational Technology Web Site

I have entered the 21st century--I now have created not only a blog but a web site. Okay, I was required to do this for my Educational Technology class, but it turned out to be a lot more fun than I anticipated. The web site is all about my Educational Technology class and the projects I worked on--Photoshop, PowerPoint, Visual Essay, etc. You can follow a link to view my visual essay, The Making of a Cheerleader, if you're feeling like a quiz, follow the link to my PowerPoint and take a 10 question non-linear interactive study quiz on Romeo & Juliet, or listen to my Podcast of a sonnet by Edna St. Vincent Millay. If anyone wonders where I've been and what I've been doing for the month of July 2007, this web site should answer that question. Follow the link below to visit the site. I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Computer Delusion

This excellent article by Todd Oppenheimer may have been written in 1997, however, the topics it explores are just as relevant today. The article talks about the Clinton administration's efforts to get computers into the classroom, but makes it clear that the training of teachers and the technical support for the computers wasn't considered. Oppenheimer looks at some case studies to determine that when teacher training and educational goals mesh with the right computers and software, computers can be a boon to the classroom. But when the computers are old, the software is dated and the teachers aren't trained, the computers are no better than turning on a TV. Oppenheimer draws a clear line from the days when some educators were excited about the uses of radios and filmstrips in the classroom to how excited some educators are about computers. The technology is brand new and shiny and everyone is sure it's the next best thing. But is it? This was the most intelligent article I've read about computers and the classroom because it looks at both sides of the issue. The final quote sums up my view of technology and education far better than I can, "We need to teach the whys and the ways of the world. Tools come and tools go. Teaching our children tools limits their knowledge to these tools and hence limits their futures."

Big6: Information Problem Solving

The Big6 is an information skills model to teach students information problem solving. This was an academic paper written about a particular case study. As with many academic papers, this was poorly written and not always easy to follow, but the basic idea of information problem solving is excellent. The world is not wrapped up in a neat little package. Life is messy and daily life presents us with many problems and challenges, big and small that we need to solve and overcome. Information problem-solving is a skill that everyone needs and can be applied to both academics as well as every-day life and careers. I prefer teaching kids how to use information and their own brains to solve a problem.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Non-Linear PowerPoint in the Classroom

When it comes to applying all this new technology to the classroom, I am at a bit of a loss due to my lack of classroom experience. What I envision might be a lot of fun for the kids as well as educational might not actually work. I do sometimes think we get caught up in how cool and fun all these programs are and don't carefully question exactly how helpful they are to the students. I like the idea of using non-linear PPT for study guides, quizzes and games, but I must defer to my more experienced classmates when it comes to how they can be appropriately used in the classroom

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Is there a digital divide?

There is a digital divide and will be until all students have equal access not only to the computer hardware and software, but also to trained and skilled instructors. There may be equal access to education in this country, but there isn't equal access to learning.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Reflections on Ed Tech Class

I have to borrow from Lindsay and say I have also experienced a love/hate relationship with this class. I find the technology fascinating and it has been fun to learn new and interesting programs, but the sheer volume of work we are attempting to master and complete in such a short time frame has been frustrating. My favorite thing so far has been the blog. I love working on my blog!! I've sent the web address to all my friends and family and I've received some great feedback. I was worried about the web site project, but today, with some help from Jenn and John I feel like I have a handle on it. I believe learning to work with the

Monday, July 16, 2007

Value-Added Technology

I was taught the old-fashioned way--with books. Much as it pains me to admit it (and dates me) there were no computers in the classroom when I first attended school. I didn't work on a computer until I had my first post-graduate job. Lack of technology didn't hurt me, I went on to a successful career, but I have experienced in my career the way advancements in technology can make a j0b easier, better and in some instances, even more difficult. The same would apply to the classroom. Technological advancements have opened up a new world on learning. The concept of UDL transforms the access students have to learning and allows educators to reach a broad spectrum of learners. So what is the value added to the classroom by technology? New ways to teach students, greater access to information and a variety of programs to help teachers and students utilize that information. While there are downsides to technology: privacy issues, Internet predators, time wasting, expense etc., I do think the pros outweigh the cons. One big problem we have not addressed in class is those students being left behind because their schools and their families can not afford to provide them with the access to the technology that other students enjoy. That is elephant in the room that needs to be acknowledged in any discussion of technology and teaching.