The issue is equal technology access for all: How can we ensure access to the disadvantag ed or disabled?
I believe there are a couple things that need to be addressed to promote web access to
everyone. Cost is a major issue for both consumer and developer. We all have to pay outrageous amounts of money just to access the World Wide Web and I think that makes it difficult for both poor families and people with disabilities. I know I pay $79 per month and I only have one option for high speed internet. Where my parents live they can only get hughsnet and I am pretty sure they pay over $80 a month for internet that is actually slower than mine. If places can charge that much money for internet access they should be able to find ways to incorporate programs that allow people with disabilities to access the web. There is so much information on the web that it puts people with disabilities at a serious disadvantage. If companies were forced to do something to help people with disabilities we would probably see results faster. Internet access also puts most kids at a disadvantage as well. Parents canâ€™t afford computers or internet access so their kids go without the online advantage. Going to public libraries is one way to offset not having internet access at home, but if parents canâ€™t afford to get the internet at home, chances are they canâ€™t afford to take their child to the library. One thing I think might work is if schools are able to have air cards that students can rent monthly at a low fee to use at home for internet access. I am sure there is a way to limit the websites they access too. Something like that option would put most kids on an even playing field. If they do not have a computer at home schools could even rent laptops to students as well. Either way it could make internet access more affordable.
How can we be sure using technology in the classroom adds to the learning experience and actually improves student learning outcomes? What "best practices" can you find/propose to ensure using technology positively impacts learning? Using technology in the classroom will definitely make learning more interesting and fun. One problem I think teachers have is the proper instructions on how to use the technology and then realizing if it was beneficial or not. One thing I have found useful is finding learning websites that you can use in the classroom that quiz the students during the entire lesson. Or ones that just give practice problems. Also I think maybe some teachers are trying to do too much too fast, and that could be frustrating. I like to try to incorporate technology in parts of my lessons instead of an entire lesson. Since time is a big concern, I am able to save a little, but still incorporate technology in my lessons. I have found the students listen a little better because they need to pay attention in order to be prepared for the technology part of the lesson.
Some school districts offer seminars that show teachers how to use new and current technology programs properly. One school district I was in held seminars every six weeks. Although I never attended one, I had they were very beneficial. (I never attended one because I was only a year long substitute and they were only offered to teachers). If teachers have the proper training it will make it easier to determine if the technology used is improving their students learning. If we do not try to do too much too soon we should be able to incorporate technology in our lessons that will stay aligned with the curriculum.
How would you combat e-cheating in your classroom? How has technology changed how you would give assignments or tests? Will you change how you view technology in the classroom now that you see how clever the kids are getting? Wow! Kids are always trying to find a way to be one up on their teachers. We will probably never be able to stop it, but there are measures I believe we can take to limit it. As far as technology goes in giving assignments or tests I have not considered doing anything. Something that I think is a good idea is letting students use stuff that the teachers supply to them. We can give them graphing calculators to use, make them keep their desks clear, and not allow them to have any electronics out while take a test. Also I think teachers should do pop quizzes that do not allow students an opportunity to cheat. We can also give students the same tests with questions in different orders so it makes it harder for the students to give the answers to their classmates. Using plagiarism cites also makes it harder for students to cheat and I think when you tell them you are going to use programs that tell they are cheating, it will make them try harder not to cheat. There will always be a kid that gets away with cheating, but if we can minimize the number of cheaters we are essentially going to win the battle.
What do we have to do to ensure teachers can integrate technology with classroom instruction? Will this ensure teachers can fully utilize the tools available to them? Professional development days need to start being more effective. I think maybe once a month they need to do a seminar on how to integrate technology that teachers have available to them, into their lessons. I think in general some teachers are just too overwhelmed with integrating technology into their lessons, so they boycott it all together. I have been in schools that have smart boards and because some teachers feel they do not have time or energy to learn how to effectively use them they donâ€™t. Now the question is who do we blame? To me it is a tough question because I think maybe both the teacher and the schools are to blame. I would assume that since ways to effectively use technology in the classroom are not being demonstrated during professional development days, there must not be enough time for it. If that is the case maybe schools should look into sending only a select few teachers to seminars around the state or country and then pay them to run seminars for teachers in their school district. Regardless teachers are never going to be able to use technology resources in their classroom until they receive proper training.
What competencies do you think we need to focus on here in the US? After reading the article I feel like it was a pretty could analysis of what is going on in our schools and what needs to happen. I think it is pretty important that one of the standards is for teachers to fully understand what they are teaching. If you have a math teacher teaching language arts, the students will never effectively learn. It is very important that teachers know and understand the entire curriculum before they try to use technology in their classrooms. If a teacher understands the curriculum to its fullest, they will be able to bring technology of some sort into their lessons. Also I think teaches need to know for sure how to use the technology to its fullest extent. I think there are times when teachers want students to use technology, but they have no idea how to use it themselves. It is crazy to think your students might know more about technology than you do. My advice would be to maybe listen to what the kids have to say. Teachers need to figure out how to use the technology available to them so in return they can show students things to use to prepare them for the real world. Eventually school districts are going to notice they can not expect teachers to use technology in their classroom without fully understanding how to use the technology themselves. We as teachers should not let our selves teach students using technology without almost mastering it ourselves.
How do we teach ethics to today's students? How can we protect our classrooms against illegal use of technology in the classroom? Ethics is always going to be an up hill battle in our schools. It will be tough to completely eliminate it, but there are steps that teachers can take to improve studentâ€™s ethics. One of the first thing teachers need to do is teach students what is right and wrong as early as possible. Students should know they are not allowed to just copy and paste information and copy music files from the computer using mp3 software. Most of this should be taught before students are even allowed access to a computer. Also teachers need to enforce their rules and make students suffer the consequences of being unethical. If I were to catch a student copying and pasting information I on a paper, I would give them a 0 on the paper and then give them an opportunity to correct it after they tell me what they did wrong. If we take a stand early on it will be just a matter of time before we see a decrease in unethical practices by our students.
What issues will be faced by educators in using the Internet and "cyberspace" in schools? Most schools have a very broad list of websites that can not be accessed by students. While some people might find reasons why websites should not be blocked, there are reasons for it. YouTube is not allowed in my district and I think it is for good reason. You could
realistically YouTube anything, from making pipe bombs to shootings. The last thing we need in our schools is for young kids to have that type of material at their finger tips. To me it does not matter how good a website might be, if there is anything on it that can be considered inappropriate, kids will find it. Plus the last thing a teacher or school district wants to do is deal with an angry parent.