Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Technology Integration

Technology integration is necessary for the advancement of our students as well as our schools. Having valuable experiences with technology is paramount for success. In order to achieve successful integration of technology, educators and administrators must be able to effectively evaluate the technology that is being used or that might be used. There are many ways to evaluate software and equipment. Some companies offer free trials so that you can try out their product to see if it will meet the needs of your students/staff. With rising costs of almost everything to do with living as well as teaching, it is imperative that schools purchase technology that they will use and will have an impact on teaching and learning. If a product is not going to be used, why spend the money on it? Also, if you can buy something that will be integrated in various subjects and grade level, it would be much more cost effective.
There are many valuable things that technology can and does bring to education. There are so many ways that students can gain knowledge through using the Internet and collaborating with other students, not only in their school but around the world. There are projects that students can create and participate in and use wiki spaces or blogs to save their information or journal. Some of these sites are free or the cost is minimal.
The main concern is getting educators that are not comfortable with technology to venture out of their comfort zone and try some of these things so that when technology is there to be integrated, it is used and used effectively.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Strategies for Integrating Technology into Teaching - Response

I agree with so much of this section! I believe it is imperative that teachers have the required training in order to integrate technology into their lessons. I think that some districts fall short at this. They have purchased many different software programs and technology items but do not give teachers enough training or support after training to make them feel comfortable using the technology with their students. On a personal level, I have experienced this. There are some programs that I would love to use, but because I do not have enough 'free' time to 'play' with them in order to familiarize myself, I choose not to use them with my students because I don't think I would be doing the program or my students justice by muddling through. My plan for this summer is to MAKE some time to become familiar with several different technology tools so that I can start using them at the beginning of the next school year. I think technology is so valuable to teachers as well as students. It is my responsibility as a teacher to integrate technology into my lessons as much as possible. It can only benefit not only my students but myself as well.

Frank McCourt Lecture

“We can all have 2nd Acts, 3rd Acts…” Dr. Lowery-Moore used this quote from Mr. McCourt in her introduction of him. I found this to be a very poignant statement. He made this statement because he feels that he has had several acts during his lifetime. He was a teacher for 30 years and now a Pulitzer Prize winning author. He wants to let others know that it IS possible to start new chapters in your life at any age.
I enjoyed the comedy in the stories that Mr. McCourt told about his early days teaching. It is so very true that the college you attend does not teach you about the things that sometimes happen in our classrooms. The fighting, the throwing of things, and the myriad of other things that happen even in the most disciplined classroom. I agree that you learn so very much your first year, no, your first day as a teacher than all the field experiences you might have had added together! I found that his experiences were much like every other new teacher, including myself.
Mr. McCourt also told an interesting tale about being a boy growing up in a Catholic school in Limerick, Ireland. He told tales of being a boy and learning things from observing the mistakes of others as well as making his own mistakes. His stories are so full of life and the way he tells them, you can picture yourself there.
As he was closing his lecture, he made what I feel is a very important statement about teachers. As teachers, we must go into a classroom having a sense of humor and be compassionate versus acting like a dictator. In my minimal experience, I have found this to be a difficult task at times. You have to find the right balance between these things in order to be really effective. I have been told by seasoned teachers that it is easier to let up later on than it is to try to reel them in after they have been let loose for too long.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Technology Standards - Communications

This 4th and final blog for Technology Standards is about Communication. The TEKS I chose 10c - students will be able to use data collected in spreadsheets to produce graphs and charts for information or presentations.

I discovered two interesting web sites that not only give examples and instructions for this individual task but many others as well.

The first site is eHow is a site that gives a vast amount of instruction on just about anything from food to weddings and everything in between. The slogan on the site is "How To Do Just About Everything". The particular article that I read gave step-by-step instructions for creating a spreadsheet in excel and using the data to create the graph of your choice. This would be beneficial if a student was doing a presentation about weather trends. If the student put the data on high/low temperatures in a an excel document over a period of time, they could use this data to create different graphs to show trends in the weather. This is just one example of how a spreadsheet could be used to store data and then turn it into a table or graph.

The second site I found is This site also lists steps in creating graphs from an excel spreadsheet. It goes a step further by using pictures to show what you should be looking for on your screen - the pages and menus from excel itself uploaded into the instructions! How much easier this makes it for some students! This is extremely important to some students as well as teachers because a student could go by this information to make sure they are doing things right. The teacher is left to tend to other students who are having trouble doing other things because he/she does not have to check and make sure the student is on the right page or doing the right thing. This site also has an abundance of information that can be used to do other things as well as what I described.
I think both of these web sites are worthy of being added to your 'favorites.' I have added them to mine and will definitely be visiting them many more times.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Chapter 5 Blog

Why are digital media and educational software applications important for education?
Hmmm…how to answer this question….Well, I think that with our student population today, the more stimulating an activity, the more the student enjoys and thereby remembers it. I feel that we are really at a turning point in education. If we do not rise to the occasion and meet the needs of our digital native students, they will suffer. Why not integrate digital media and software apps in your classroom? It is interesting and exciting to me as a teacher to be learning about all that is out there. I knew there was a tremendous amount of information out there but maybe not to the extent that it really is. There are so many things I want to try and do with my students eventually. I have been trying to incorporate different things as I go along to ‘test’ them out and see how the students respond. Most of the response is positive with the only negative being that only one student at a time gets to use the computer. I think that children are so affected by video games and multi-tasking that if we challenge them to do this in a classroom, the majority might just surprise us and meet and even exceed our challenge. So many of our students thrive on video games and other interactive activities. I wanted to do something different with my students when we were talking about animals and habitats. I ran across a lesson plan on the Internet that incorporated the CD-ROM Zoo Tycoon. My students loved the idea! I had more than a few convince their parents to buy the game for their home use. Those students then showed me how to use it! The only drawback was that I only have it loaded on 1 computer and only 1 student at a time could ‘build’ in the zoo. I have also used other online sources while teaching life science. The students really enjoy the United Streaming videos from Discovery Network. I use them quite often to introduce or reinforce a concept. I know I am just touching the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, of what is out there and what I could be using. I plan on continuing to learn and to keep on keeping on when it comes to technology in my classroom.