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McKenna V. Woolley Chapman University EDUC 649 Education with Multi Technologies Spring 2014


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Technology in the Classroom Prior to taking this course I hadn’t thought about the possibilities of using technology within primary education. My personal experience as a student and engaging in technology was really only in high school and in higher education; all of which used basic operating systems such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. Before this class I would have considered myself within the “34% Late Majority” of Rogers model, The Rogers Innovation Curve (Maloy, 2011, p. 8). I have always been more skeptical when it comes to using technology because of the frustration that it has caused me personally. I have never had a problem writing papers or doing research the “old-fashioned” way, and have often times preferred it. Although, I would definitely say that I am not opposed to using technology within the classroom by any means, but I would never have wanted to be on the forefront of it either. This course has given me the insight, tools and fresh perspective on how to use technology in the classroom that seems very exciting! Technology can be used to enhance student learning, and assist in accommodating a variety of learners. I am leaving this class more optimistic about my use of technology in early education. I have found that there are both positives and negatives to using technology within the classroom. These are personal opinions that are based solely from my own experience, both in this course using specific programs and tools that were included in the curriculum as well as trying to implement them into my own classroom. I have decided upon three aspects of teaching with technology that I have found useful and productive, as well as two potentially negative aspects of technology being included in the classroom. Technology in the classroom can be used to differentiate information within the classroom to support the learning needs of all students. The DI model is an instructional approach that allows all students the opportunity to take information and make sense of it by giving them a

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variety of ways to learn the material. Our schools have students with a range of disabilities, English language learners as well as the gifted and talented students. Not all students can retain information the same way, so we should not be teaching to one style of learning. According to Robert Maloy (2011) in Transforming Learning With New Technology, he says that, “…teachers at every grade level have classes filled with such a wide range of student learning needs that no single teaching method or approach will deliver educational success for everyone” (p. 276). One way to implement DI and technology is through universal design. This enables multiple means of representation, expression and engagement (Maloy, 2011, p. 279). When technology is used in the classroom, it gives teachers more ways to accommodate the information that students need to access. One simple way that accommodations can be made using technology, is by presenting previously print bound material onto screens. This can assist students who have a visual impairment, or students who are ADD or ADHD and have a difficult time pulling out information from longer text. Information can easily be presented using pictures, sound and can be set at a pace appropriate for specific learners (Maloy, 2011, p. 280). There are many ways in which the delivery method of information can also be altered using technology to assist a diverse group of learners in one classroom setting. Things such as how the teacher lectures and demonstrates can be altered by using assistive technology, as well as student manipulation of hands-on materials, independent work, group projects and in peer teaching activities. The range of use can be low, mid or high tech. It is my opinion that mid tech is the most beneficial, because while it still uses technology as an accommodation and acts an educational engagement for students, it doesn’t solely rely on it in the classroom. When blending technology into the classroom, it is important to think how it will affect a


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variety of elements. I have learned through this course that practicing with these tools has given me more confidence and a higher level of comfort ability. The second is how the students will respond to said technology and how effective it will be for them using it. It must be engaging, practical and educational for them. Lastly, time management and technology go hand in hand. It is quick to think that allowing students to get on the Internet and research a topic is beneficial, however it can be extremely time consuming and overwhelming. With a combination of these three elements, I have chosen a few of my favorite technology tools that we have used in this course to implement in my future classroom. They assist student learning in a productive and useful way. The first is a self-created Google search engine. As an educator, we want our students to be able to research information that is relevant and educational. With the Google search engine, a teacher can choose web sites and other links that are topic specific. By self-selecting websites, this gives the teacher the ability to monitor what sites students are using. The teacher is able to give students ready access to information, while the students are still able to use the Internet and learn how to use a search engine. The links that the teachers chooses help the students find related material that are relevant, and cuts out access to websites that are not student friendly or educational. This is also a great time saver. The amount of time they will be looking through links can be cut in half. Once the teacher has geared their Google search engine towards specific subjects, they can give the students the link and let them go from there. It is important to remember however, that these are not the only links that will show up. If students continue to click on continuing pages of the search engine, they will have access to other related links. This is the only down side of the search engine. You are still prone to frequent pop up ads, and students have access to information outside of their research topic. It is therefore important to

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remind students that the search engine is teacher created, and they should choose links that first appear in their engines because those links will be the most helpful to their research. Another tool that I had never used before was Prezi Presentation. Prezi is similar to PowerPoint, but is much more interactive. With Prezi, you can create presentations that are engaging and easy to use. It allows you to embed videos, pictures and links with a fun “path� as opposed to a slideshow format that PowerPoint offers. The teacher can use this as an introduction to a lesson, presenting material, as well as allowing students to create their own presentations. It is important for students to be interested in what they are learning about, and allowing them to have fun at the same time will help them better retain information. Students no longer have to cut and paste onto poster board. Allowing them to work on the computer and create presentations will assist in learning how to use the Internet and researching information. Technology in the classroom can be problematic. As an educator it is important to be mindful before planning a lesson how the technology you are planning to use, will enhance the material being presented. One negative of using technology in the classroom is that it can become a distraction for students. Technology such as the iPad being implemented in schools has already gotten off to a difficult start. When Apple awarded $30 million dollars to Los Angeles Unified School District, this began the first phase in their technology driven education. It was the largest distribution of mobile technology devises in the United States. Each student in 47 schools received an iPad that came equipped with Common Core Courses and a variety of educational applications. The iPads were locked so that students would not be able to download other applications or use the Internet outside of educational websites. While the goal was to give children from low-income areas access to homework, educational games, tests and reading curriculum, there were major oversights. The largest being that students were able to hack into


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the Internet and had access to social media websites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Social media is a major distraction for students. While students should be using the technology for educational purposes, they are using it for social media and other innappropraite websites for students. In theory and on paper it seems like a spectacular idea to give students access to this cutting edge technology. However, it was proven that they were not prepared to handle it appropriately. Not only did iPads go missing, were stolen or lost, there was no plan for students who broke them. Being that they were distributed in the second largest school district in the Nation, and to low-income families, if broken, who is to assume the responsibility of replacing it? I would imagine that these questions were brought up prior to the roll out of technology, but it doesn’t appear to have been as well though out. Sending this type of technology home doesn’t seem to have been the most effective way for students to engage in their learning outside of the classroom. Another potential disadvantage of using technology is the isolation that it can create. We are a plugged in generation, and children from a young age become familiarized with technology whether it’s a smart phone or the television very early on. It is vital for students to learn how to communicate effectively both in and outside of the classroom. A teacher in San Francisco used the app Twitter in his classroom. This teacher would do a lesson and then have his students pull out their smart phones or jump on a computer and tweet or re-tweet responses using a classroom hashtag. This can extremely harmful to students because for one, Twitter only allows 140 characters per tweet. With a small amount of characters, students have to condense their thoughts and use abbreviations instead of spelling something out completely. Students are also not given the opportunity to dialogue with speech through a tweeting session. I believe that it is essential for our students to learn to use proper grammar when having a dialogue. Using social media

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might be an engaging way for students to interact with the material and with the teacher, but it doesn’t allow them to engage with the person sitting right next to them. We don’t want our youth growing up thinking its okay to walk around with their heads down staring at their phones. It is our responsibility to engage students in conversation and to model good communication skills. As a new educator myself, I cannot wait to use more technology in the classroom! There are pros and cons, but I believe that it is important to keep up with the times. We are using technology more and more in the everyday life. I value an education that teaches a child how to be a whole person both inside and outside of the classroom. It is important to teach them necessary skills that will benefit their life after schooling. My overall perspective on using technology in the classroom is that it has so many positive possibilities for the educators and for the students. Not only can it make learning more fun and interesting, but it can also assist with accommodating a variety of student needs all in one. My advice to any teacher who is undecided about using technology would be first to observe a successful academic environment where technology is used. Although it can seem like more work, once you become familiar and experienced with it, it can save you a lot of prep time, save paper, and can bring new life into old boring lessons and demonstrations. Yes, there are disadvantages to using technology in the classroom, but it is important to decide for yourself what those are and decide how you can prevent them from happening. You cannot prevent certain things, but if you are aware of the negatives that come along with it, you will have a better understanding of how to avoid them and turn it around for your classrooms benefit. The use of technology in the classroom is growing at a fast pace, and you want to be able to keep up with the times for the students benefit, while being realistic as to how it will positively enhance their subject knowledge. We have access to such wonderful technology. It’s time to begin incorporating it more into the classroom.

Final paper educ technology  

Narrative on using technology in the classroom.

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