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Kristen Cavinder  Frontiera   7/1/2012   Final  Paper  Educ  649   Introduction    

When I  started  this  class,  I  had  been  teaching  kindergarten  for  two  months  in  South  

Central Los  Angeles.    I  thought  that  I  had  been  using  technology  to  its  fullest  by   incorporating  YouTube  videos  into  classroom  instruction,  using  ST  Math  (Jiji)  for   supplementary  math  instruction  and  PowerTeacher  grade  book  to  track  attendance  and   grades.    This  class  has  opened  up  my  eyes  to  a  number  of  different  ways  to  better   incorporate  technology  into  classroom  learning.    

I am  twenty-­‐four  years  old  and  have  grown  up  in  a  generation  where  technology  has  

rapidly advanced.    When  I  was  in  elementary  school,  the  “technology”  present  in  our   classrooms  was  overhead  projectors,  CD  players  and  one  big  desktop  computer.    Because  I   didn’t  grow  up  with  an  immense  incorporation  of  technology,  I  have  had  to  learn  and   evolve  with  the  development  of  new  classroom  features.    To  me,  it  is  exciting  to  learn  and   discover  new  ways  to  teach  and  utilize  these  tools  to  make  my  classroom  more  exciting,   efficient  and  effective.    I  am  on  the  computer  constantly  and  consider  myself  well-­‐versed  in   “figuring  things  out”  through  trial  and  error.    I  like  to  discover  new  websites  or  teacher   tools  online  and  play  around  with  the  website  until  I  have  mastered  it.    Thankfully,  this   class  has  taught  me  a  more  systematic  way  to  learning  about  new  Web  2.0  tools.   Pros    


There are  many  positive  aspects  of  incorporating  technology  into  the  classroom-­‐

learning environment.    Specifically,  through  this  course  at  Chapman  I  have  learned  about   Coursesites,  Prezi,  Turning  Point,  Wix  websites  and  online  surveys.    Technology  can   enhance  a  student’s  learning  experience  by  adding  additional  visual  and  audio  support,  and   bringing  experiences  into  the  classroom  that  students  wouldn’t  have  otherwise.     Technology  has  the  power  to  create  efficient  classrooms  and  give  teachers  tools  at  their   fingertips  that  can  make  their  jobs  easier-­‐  like  grading  technology  (PowerTeacher  or   Thinkwave.com)  that  provide  automatic  calculation  of  grades  and  print  reports  with  the   click  of  a  button.        

Coursesites is  a  free  website  where  you  can  basically  create  a  class  website  

complete with  uploaded  documents,  discussion  features,  in  site  quizzes  and  more.    This  is   an  extremely  effective  tool  to  use  to  communicate  with  parents  and  students  when  they  are   at  home  and  puts  information  in  the  hands  of  students  and  parents  from  virtually   anywhere.    As  a  teacher  it  allows  for  increased  organization  and  efficiency  since  you  can   store  all  of  your  important  items  in  one  place  for  students  to  view.    You  can  also  use  many   features  within  the  website  to  assess  students  understandings  of  texts,  like  embedded   chapter  quizzes  that  are  graded  for  you.    

Two other  positive  aspects  of  technology  that  you  can  incorporate  in  a  classroom  

setting are  Prezis  and  Turning  Point  presentations.    Prezis  are  interactive  PowerPoint  type   of  presentations  that  present  information  to  students  in  a  creative  and  interactive  manner   and  allow  for  embedded  graphs,  videos,  pictures  and  text.    Secondly,  Turning  Point  slides   can  be  used  to  measure  students’  progress  throughout  a  lecture  or  determine  their  level  of  


understanding throughout  a  presentation.    Turning  Point  is  extremely  beneficial  for  large   classes  or  discussions  where  the  teacher  wants  to  constantly  check  for  understanding  and   engagement,  or  simply  for  opinion.    Surveys  can  also  be  done  quickly  and  efficiently  with   Turning  Point  and  will  provide  the  teacher  with  instantaneous  graphs  and  displays  data   anonymously  for  the  entire  class  to  see,  but  the  students  or  the  school  must  purchase  the   clickers  in  order  for  it  to  work.    Turning  Point  is  something  that  I  certainly  would  want  to   incorporate  into  my  classroom  if  I  had  the  opportunity  and  funds  to  do  so  in  the  future.    

Wix websites  are  another  wonderful  piece  of  technology  that  teachers  can  use  to  

better their  classrooms.    They  are  one  of  my  favorite  technological  programs  that  we  have   learned  about  this  semester  because  they  are  easy  to  use,  visually  appealing  and  very   functional.    Wix  allows  you  to  embed  videos,  surveys,  custom  search  engines,  pictures,   Prezis,  etc.  into  your  web  pages  and  displays  a  variety  of  important  informational  pieces  in   one  simple  and  easy  to  use  place.    I  created  a  Wix  website  for  my  kindergarten  class  and   then  adapted  it  for  our  final  project.    It  now  includes  Prezis  of  different  teaching  tools,  a   video  demonstration  of  Whole  Brain  Teaching,  pictures,  a  survey  about  summer,  a  custom   search  engine  for  kindergarten  activities  and  more!    This  is  a  great  tool  for  any  teacher  to   use  to  build  a  website  for  her  class.    This  type  of  website  is  a  positive  and  healthy  way  for   our  young  student  to  utilize  the  Internet  to  its’  fullest.    I  feel  like  if  we  as  teachers  can  direct   and  re-­‐direct  students’  attention  to  healthy  and  learning-­‐based  websites,  we  can  teach   them  to  utilize  the  Internet  for  learning  and  growing.        

Surveymonkey.com is  another  example  of  a  positive  use  of  technology.    I  can  think  

of numerous  ways  that  teachers  could  use  these  online  surveys  in  the  classroom  to  


positively impact  their  teaching.    First,  teachers  could  use  these  surveys  as  a  pre-­‐ assessment  of  learning.    In  Transforming  Learning  with  New  Technologies,  it  states  that,   “Pre-­‐assessments  are  part  of  prior  knowledge-­‐based  learning,  the  idea  that  when  teaching   new  concepts,  teacher  need  to  connect  their  lessons  to  what  students  already  know  or  have   been  taught…  Online  surveys  are  an  effective  way  to  activate  prior  knowledge  and  involve   students  in  the  pre-­‐assessment  process”  ((Maloy,  Verock-­‐O'Loughlin,  Woolf  &  Edwards,   2009,  pp.  315-­‐316).    Secondly,  teachers  could  use  this  to  evaluate  their  own  success  in   teaching  a  lesson  or  administering  a  quiz.    It  is  a  non-­‐threatening,  easy  way  to  receive   student  feedback  and  it  can  be  anonymous  or  specified.    Surveymonkey  specifically  is  a  free   program  that  allows  users  to  create  10  question  surveys  and  poll  up  to  100  users.     However,  there  are  a  variety  of  free  online  surveys  that  teachers  can  use.    Often  times  you   can  even  export  data  into  excel  files  and  display  graphs  based  on  survey  results.    Especially   here  at  Chapman  we  have  learned  how  to  be  teachers  who  constantly  reflect  on  our   teaching  and  seek  to  find  ways  to  continue  to  improve  our  own  practices.    This  tool  could   help  us  do  this  by  getting  feedback  from  peers  or  students.   Cons    

Even though  there  are  so  many  wonderful  ways  that  we  could  incorporate  

technology into  the  classroom,  there  are  some  negative  aspects  as  well.    First  and  foremost,   online  security  has  and  will  continue  to  be  an  issue  of  extreme  concern  for  classroom   teachers  and  administrators.    For  example,  I  teach  kindergarten  in  South  Central  Los   Angeles  and  while  many  of  students  have  been  exposed  to  inappropriate  things  online,  I   cannot  be  responsible  on  school  property  if  they  are  to  find  these  things  online.    It  is  crucial  


that teachers  monitor  students’  activities  on  the  classroom  and  limit  their  ability  to  access   certain  websites.    Certain  websites  have  too  many  advertisements  and  make  it  too  easy  for   students  to  click  and  wander  away  from  their  task  at  hand.    

One negative  aspect  of  technology  that  I  do  not  want  to  incorporate  into  my  

classroom is  social  media  like  Twitter  and  Facebook.    I  think  that  both  of  these  websites  are   flooded  with  opportunities  that  would  lure  students  away  from  the  possible  positive   learning  content  they  could  gain  from  them.    They  are  filled  with  advertisements  and   Facebook  specifically  can  tailor  their  advertisements  to  target  specific  audiences,  like   teenage  boys  or  adolescent  athletes,  etc.    This  is  a  slippery  slope  and  could  easily  get   teachers  into  trouble.    Further,  Twitter  is  an  effective  way  to  keep  up  with  daily  happenings   of  friends,  but  when  used  as  a  classroom  discussion  tool,  it  leads  to  further  isolation  and   less  communication  between  classmates.    Communication  done  online  does  not  teach   students  listening  and  speaking  skills-­‐  they  aren’t  even  required  to  listen  to  each  other.     They  can  choose  to  read  others’  comments  but  they  also  can  type  simultaneously  which   negates  the  effectiveness  of  meaningful  communication.    

Another con  of  using  technology  in  the  classroom  revolves  around  the  possibility  

and likelihood  that  technology  can  and  will  fail  sometimes.    There  are  days  when  you   cannot  connect  to  the  Internet,  or  a  computer  breaks  and  no  IT  tech  person  will  be  there  to   aid  you  in  fixing  the  problem.    In  this  situation,  if  you  are  too  reliant  on  technology,  you  will   be  up  a  creek  without  a  paddle.    This  is  why  I  believe  that  we  cannot  do  everything  online.     There  still  needs  to  be  a  human  factor  in  education-­‐  we  need  to  learn  to  talk,  communicate,   interact  and  work  cooperatively  with  each  other,  in  addition  to  learning  how  to  chat  online,  


conduct a  course  using  Adobe  Connect  and  respond  to  a  blog  post.    The  harmony  that  can   occur  with  the  perfect  balance  of  technology  and  “old  school”  teaching  could  be  the  solution   to  closing  the  achievement  gap  and  running  a  successful  classroom.    We  must  be  careful   however  not  to  sway  to  far  one-­‐way  or  another.        

Teachers need  to  be  discerning  with  the  content  they  allow  and  encourage  to  be  

used in  their  classrooms.    Burbules  and  Callister  discuss  four  types  of  “troublesome   content”  that  includes,  “misinformation,  malinformation,  messed-­‐up  information  and   mostly  useless  information”  (as  cited  in  (Maloy,  Verock-­‐O'Loughlin,  Woolf  &  Edwards,   2009,  p.  128).    These  categories  include  information  that  is  not  true,  old,  harmful,   disorganized,  trivial  or  ambiguous.    We  also  need  to  teach  our  students  how  to  decipher   between  good  and  bad  information.    We  need  to  direct  students  to  trustworthy  websites   and  help  them  learn  what  to  look  for  when  researching,  playing  educational  games  and   learning  how  surf  the  web  safely.    The  amount  of  bad  information  that  is  available  online   proves  the  security  risk  and  potential  negative  drawbacks  to  allowing  students  to  use  the   computers.    In  my  opinion,  it  would  be  great  to  get  parents  on  board  to  continue  the   teacher’s  classroom  philosophy  of  Internet  use  when  their  child  is  on  the  Internet  at  home   too.   Conclusion    

Overall, I  am  firm  believer  that  technology  is  an  extremely  beneficial  tool  that  we  

have been  blessed  with  as  teachers.    We  can  leverage  so  many  resources  with  just  a   computer  and  the  Internet  and  we  can  provide  a  wide  number  of  tools  for  our  students  to   use  without  paying  a  dime.    However,  we  must  monitor  and  carefully  select  the  ways  we  


use technology  and  introduce  it  in  our  classrooms.    If  I  were  to  speak  to  a  new  teacher   about  incorporating  technology  into  her  classroom,  I  would  say,  “Do  it!    But  proceed  with   caution…”  because  I  think  that  technology  can  enhance  and  aid  a  teacher  to  teach  more   efficiently  and  effectively,  but  it  cannot  replace  our  ability  to  connect  with  students  and   help  motivate,  inspire  and  transform  their  lives.    We  must  use  it  as  our  helper,  not  our   dependency.        

To a  teacher  who  is  undecided  about  education,  I  would  also  explain  how  many  

wonderful resources  there  are  online  that  can  help  you!    I  would  encourage  her  to  build  her   own  Wix  website,  to  make  Prezis  for  her  class,  administer  online  surveys  and  quizzes  and   allow  her  students  to  play  educational  games  online.    Also,  I  would  point  out  websites  that   could  help  her  develop  lesson  plans,  keep  track  of  grades  and  measure  students’  progress   as  well  as  keep  her  own  documents  in  order.    I  think  the  key  is  being  patient  and  taking  the   time  to  truly  master  the  different  resources  available.    I  would  definitely  tell  a  teacher  who   is  on  the  fence  about  incorporating  technology  to  give  it  a  try-­‐  the  worst  that  can  happen  is   that  you  fail,  and  often  times  as  teachers  we  do.    That  is  the  beautiful  thing  about  a  new   morning  and  another  day  to  try  again  and  improve  our  practices.    We  need  to  constantly   reflect  and  find  new  ways  to  excited  and  inspire  our  students.    If  a  student  is  inspired  by   technology  and  comes  alive  by  using  an  online  game  or  tool,  then  we  should  be  open  to   utilizing  it  for  their  sake.    We  need  to  constantly  evolve  with  our  students  to  stay  up-­‐to-­‐date   and  relevant.    

The last  thing  that  I  would  tell  someone  who  is  unsure  about  technology  is  about  the  

journey I  have  been  on  in  learning  how  to  use  it  an  incorporate  it.    I  went  from  using  only  


Youtube videos  and  online  grading  systems  to  now,  six  week  later,  knowing  how  to  build   websites,  Turning  Point  clicker  presentations,  Prezis,  Surveys,  Voice  Threads,  Coursesites,   Edmodos,  Wix  websites  and  more!    Learning  how  to  best  incorporate  these  items  into  your   daily  and  weekly  routines  in  the  classroom  takes  practice  and  patience,  but  it  is  easily   doable.    Teachers  need  to  continue  to  find  ways  to  relate  to  students  and  provide  them  with   meaningful  instruction  that  is  differentiated  and  taps  into  multiple  intelligences  and   technology  can  help  us  do  that.    I  plan  to  be  a  teacher  who  effectively  uses  technology  to  its’   fullest  from  now  on!    

Reference: Maloy,  R.  W.,  Verock-­‐O'Loughlin,  R.  E.,  Woolf,  B.  P.,  &  Edwards,  S.  A.  (2009).  Transforming   learning  with  new  technologies.  San  Francisco:  Pearson  Education  Canada.  

Educ Final Paper  

My final reflection and thoughts about incorporating technology in the classroom

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