Issuu on Google+

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2 Introduction Before taking this technology class, I felt that I was very limited in what I knew about technology and all of its uses that it has in the classroom. I have never been a part of a classroom that fully uses technology to its full advantage. Many of my teachers are comfortable with PowerPoint as a presentation tool and require the students to use Blackboard for assignments, email to communicate, the internet for research and as a resource, and word processor to type papers and reports up. There has not been a huge emphasis in my past to incorporate technology into our education and learning besides the basics. Some of my teachers are very “old school” in their teaching methods and do not trust technology. My teacher does not believe in posting assignments on Blackboard and that it is up to the student to contact the teacher or other classmates for what they missed or for help. They also use a file folder method of getting papers and assignment back to the class and to collect work from us. Their excuse for using different methods is because they are comfortable with the method that they have been using all of their lives and they do not know how to use Blackboard. They do the best to keep up with this day and age by communicating through email, but that is about the extent. As a future teacher, who will be student teaching this fall, I see the pros and cons of technology. As a student for so long, I am used to certain technology methods and before this class I was a bit skeptical of technology and all of its many applications and uses. I have learned many positive aspects and uses to incorporate technology into the classroom but also see the importance of “old school” methods that require face to face connections and hands-on experiences.


3 Pros There are many pros to incorporate more technology into the classroom such as all of the resources available for teachers as well as students; it is a great way for students to communicate and collaborate with their fellow classmates and teachers, and it bring a fun and different approach and aspect to learning and teaching. One of the first projects that we worked on this summer was learning how to use Google Docs. It is a really neat tool because it allows a group of students to collaborate and work on the same document or project from anywhere. Each student can be that their own house, but they can all work together on one typed assignment. Google Docs points out and color codes each student so you can see where a student is typing and who specifically is making the changes or adding information. In another project, we evaluated websites for students with special needs. I chose do2learn which is a website especially designed for students with disabilities with a special focus on autism, attention deficit disorder (ADD), and other learning and social disorders. I thought this website was awesome because it had no advertisements that students might click on to distract them and it was full of helpful information regarding different disabilities along with an overview of them. It had great activities that a teacher could incorporate into any classroom regardless if the site was intended for students with special needs. All of the games and songs included bright colors, text, graphics, and sound that all students would enjoy. There was also a tab on the website that included projects for the classroom. Overall, I found this website very informative and a fun resource to let my students and families use. By researching different websites and online tools, a teacher can truly benefit from all of the resources available on the World Wide Web! It is important to evaluate websites before you recommend it to parents or allow your students to view or interact with.


4 This summer was the first time that I made a Prezi, which is an interactive presentation tool. Other classmates and a couple of teachers have used Prezi to present information and projects to the class. I have always been amazed with Prezi because of the interactive factor, the presenter is able to zoom in and out of their slides, add videos, graphics, documents, voice, and many other things in a more interesting way than a normal PowerPoint. I was afraid to use Prezi before because I was comfortable and familiar with PowerPoint. Prezi was very easy to figure out how to use and their website had step by step directional videos for members to follow. Another great tool to incorporate into the classroom is the Google custom search. This allows a teacher to create a custom search engine that pertains to the topics that students are learning about and appropriate material and sites for students to come across through research. Students are learning how to use the internet which is a positive and a teacher can avoid awkward situations with unwanted sites and advertisements or questionable resources. Portaportal was another website that would be very helpful to use in the classroom for the students, parents, or other colleagues. Portaportal is a web-based bookmarking utility that allows you to store links to your favorite websites online. This could be very useful for parents to use because they can see specific links such as the California State Standards to see what the standards are for their grade and student. The teacher could also link resources for parents to use such as online games that help students with different subjects. This can also be used with other teachers. Many teachers have different resources that they pull from but by sharing it can benefit everyone. There are so many useful likes for teachers such as classroom management techniques, ideas, lesson plans, etc. All of the websites are in one place so it is easy for students, teachers, and parents to find and can use with ease.


5 Online surveys are another resource that is very useful in the classroom. It is a quick and easy way for teachers to get feedback or information from students or parents about the class. For example, teachers can find out about their students and their favorite subjects or they can get information about the demographics of their students or parents. It is a very easy and efficient way to get information and teachers can take away significant information about their class. Students today are very familiar with technology overall. They have grown up in an “electronic childhood� with televisions in their homes, computers, laptops, iPads, iPhones and smart phones, video game systems such as Wiis and Xbox, and internet. Being a teacher today means incorporating technology into the classroom. Using technology can enrich learning and make it more fun for all students and keeps them engaged.

Cons Although there are many positives for incorporating technology into the classroom, there are still a few problems and unfamiliar aspects. In our textbook, Digital Citizenship in Schools, there are nine main elements that can present issues such as digital access, digital commerce, digital communication, digital literacy, digital law, digital rights and responsibilities, digital health and wellness, and digital security. Digital access can be an issue because there is not equitable access for all students to use the internet. Although most students have access to a computer, a few students may not own a computer and have no means to get to a library or a place where they can use a public computer. This presents a problem in the classroom if a teacher presents the students with an internet or research project where students need access to a computer. Another issue that may arise is accommodations for students with special needs. Some websites or projects may be too difficult


6 for students to navigate and use on their own if it is a project where they need to find information on their own. Teachers need to find a way to accommodate all students and their needs and their access to a computer. This could be a potential problem that many teachers overlook and it could lead to an embarrassed student because they do not own a computer or not able to finish their work. If a student is given an alternate assignment that can also make them feel different and not included so it is best to provide assignments that work for all students and cater to all students. Digital commerce and communication can be other potential problems. Issues that arise with commerce are students have the ability to buy and sell items on commercial sites and auction sites. Students may not be able to judge a reliable source from a scam and they could be listing personal information that the sites can use to their advantage such as credit card information. Digital communication is a big problem in classrooms because most, if not, all students own a cell phone of some sort. Students will text during class time or play games on their laptops instead of learning in class. Students will also text each other during tests to cheat and get answers from their classmates. These are and can become big issues in a classroom unless boundaries are set and respected inside a classroom. Another issue that arises with digital communication is that students are used to shorthand words and ideas through their emails, instant messages, and text messages. These shorthand comments are then transferred to their school work where students will use the letter “u” instead of the word “you” on a homework assignment. Other problems can take place when it comes to digital literacy and digital security. Digital literacy is the process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology. Adequate time needs to be taken to explain to students the proper way to browse the


7 internet though browsers, search engines like Google, and how to use email. Most teachers assume that students know how to do all of this, but can they do it safely and effectively? Students need to learn how to evaluate online resources and be safe on the internet. Not enough time is spent on learning the basics which are a foundation to incorporating technology into the classroom setting effectively. Digital security is the electronic precautions to guarantee safety for your students. Issues that arise are the security of the hardware and network; personal security of identity theft, phishing, and online stalking; and protecting the school’s security from hackers and viruses. These are major issues that need to be taken into account for a school and its community. With budget cuts, it may be hard for a school or district to maintain current software updates that protect their computers from hackers and viruses. It is vital to keep everything up to date for the safety of the whole school as well as its individuals. There are bad people in the world that want to steal people’s identity and with bad intentions. Students need to protect themselves from these harmful people and to be smart about who and what they come in contact with over the internet. Especially in today’s world, there are many laws put in place for pirating software, illegal downloads, identity theft, sexting, and hacking. Students and teachers need to take precautions and learn about the consequences and why they need to follow the rules and not put themselves in risky and questionable situations. Cyberbullying is another big issue that affects many students and can be permanently damaging to their lives. More time needs to be spent to address these issues of safety and rules to students so technology can be a positive tool in our future.

Conclusion


8 With the advances in technology and our lives relying more and more on technology each day, I think it is very important to incorporate into our classrooms. Our students have grown up and are accustomed to technology. There are so many websites and tools that can very easily fit into our curriculum and enhance all of our students learning. In Google Docs and Prezi, students are able to collaborate and work together on an assignment from different locations. With technology, teachers can differentiate teaching and cater to the needs of all students in the classroom. My advice for teachers that want to incorporate technology in the classroom is to do their research! It is important to test out websites, games, and tools ahead of time to find potential problems and bugs. There are not answers to every question, but if a teacher is familiar with the software or program, than they can warn parents or take precautions to the use of a specific tool. The reason why many teachers do not use technology in their classroom is because they are unfamiliar with the tools. There are so many pluses when it comes to technology and they should be used to its full advantage. Another point that teachers need to be aware and teach their students about is digital citizenship. Students may know how to use Facebook or send an instant message, but it is important for students to know the proper rules and etiquette of the internet. The internet is endless and provides information instantaneously to use, but it also has dire consequences that should not be skipped over. Students need to be aware of copyright, protecting themselves, treating others with respect, and knowing what a reliable website is. Down the line, it benefits all learners to know of the laws and the proper use of technology in the classroom. Overall, the pros outweigh the cons, in my opinion, on technology use in the classroom. As long as the proper precautions are taken into account and are emphasized by the teacher then


9 a diverse learning environment is provided for all. If the time is taken, all teachers can learn how to use technology in the classroom and they can pass their knowledge onto their students and parents.


EDUC 649 Final Paper