Posted in 1.1 Creating

Educational Technology: A Definition

For this final EDTECH 501 assignment, we are tasked with creating an infographic based on the definition for Educational Technology. I used the course textbook: Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary for the definition and my reflection of the meaning. I enjoyed breaking the definition down into the smallest pieces in an effort to make the definition flow through the graphic.

I opted to use the suggested Piktochart online tool to create my graphic and was looking forward to getting to play around with it. I’ve heard about the tool in the past and seen some neat stuff people have created with it but I just didn’t have a need until now..

Piktochart was easy to use and has a huge library of assets to use. I opted to start from scratch as I really wanted to explore. As a graphic designer who is fluent in complex layout programs, I found the simplicity  of the tool refreshing. I didn’t have to create everything from scratch and the result was pleasing to the eye. Sure, I found some limitations to the tool but my expectation was simplicity and that’s what I got. Overall, the process was enjoyable and fairly pain free. Enjoy…

new-piktochart(sm)

Posted in 5.3 Assessing/Evaluating

Maturity Model Evaluation Summary

After familiarizing myself with what the heck a Technology Maturity Benchmark was, I used this Maturity Model Benchmark rubric to analyze my small school district. I had a difficult time finding technology plan information for my specific school so I chose to expand my research to my school district.

My process for completing this assignment started with learning about technology plans in general. I was able to find my district plan and status updates for it. I read the technology plan and mapped each section to where I felt it landed on the benchmark rubric. Based on my findings, I completed the summaries for each section. You can check out my evaluation summaries here. You can see by the chart below that the district dominated at the Integrated and Intelligent stages.smalltownSchoolDistrictChart

Having worked in the district for a couple of years now, I am familiar with how technology is being used. I was not too surprised to find that overall the district is in the integrated stage of the maturity benchmarks. My district uses technology a lot. We have iPads for classrooms, special apps, online programs, administrative systems, ample computer lab access, and more. With full time employees devoted to the cause, we have little excuse not to. I was surprised at how poorly we did with assessments and then I was surprised that I was surprised. Assessment tools is highly dependent on the teachers choice and many teachers still prefer traditional methods. Progress has been made using tools like Socrative and Kahoot to gamify quizzing for assessment but on a whole, pen and paper is where it’s at.

Overall this assignment was an in-depth look into all the aspects required for a school technology plan. It was interesting looking deeper into my own district and learning more about the community I work in.

Check out my Maturity Benchmarks Survey Sheet to see where Small-town does well.

Check out my Technology Use Evaluation Summary for Small-town to read summaries for each category.

Posted in 4.3 Reflection on Practice

BYOD – A practical example

BYOD or BYOT stands for Bring Your Own Device/Technology. BYOD as an emerging technology is much more complex than students just being allowed to bring their devices to school. There are students who do not have devices to bring, connectivity issues within districts, privacy & legal issues, difficulties delivering content consistently across devices,  and a daunting task to give proper training to educators. While researching this project, I found that there is no shortage of information on how difficult a BYOD environment is to manage. No matter what obstacles that are in place, I feel this is an important policy to fight for. With more than 80% of teens owning cell phones there is such a great need for education inclusive of the technology. Smartphones are not going away and information is just going to keep getting easier and easier to access on the fly. School budgets are not getting larger and the expense of attaining and maintaining device libraries is expensive. It seems like a no-brainer to incorporate student owned smart devices into the classroom.

The school I work at has a BYOD policy and I have actively pursued ways to incorporate fair activities in my classroom. My biggest hurdle is usually students who either don’t have devices or have devices that won’t perform well. Depending on the lesson, I will usually solve this problem by signing out a technology cart or have students group up. I find that my (high school) students seem to feel empowered and with excitement of using their own devices right out in the openness of a classroom. Students don’t have to hide their device in the depths of their backpacks or try to camouflage their texting under their books. Which segways right into the challenges of allowing smartphone use: keeping them on task! It’s “teacher 101” that an engaging lesson is the key to successful classroom management. Unfortunately, cell phones in the classroom are another distraction for teachers to manage but with engaging lessons and applicable use of the technology, success can be had.

I recently stumbled across a tool called Kahoot that basically turns quiz type activities into a competitive game. I’ve had the chance to deliver lessons that include Kahoots and I am impressed with the tool and all that it can offer me. Check out this short presentation I created that describes how to create and deliver engaging assessments and activities.

kahoot1.png

I’ve had the opportunity to use Kahoot! for unit pre and post assessments, lesson initiations and closures, and just for fun on a Friday afternoon. No matter what I use it for, when the students hear Kahoot! they are instantly excited and almost race to log in.

Creating a fun activity is one thing, tricking students to learn is another, but so far the best use of Kahoot! for me has been using the data it produces to quickly assess where a class is in meeting their objectives. If a class does poorly in one area, I can easily adjust instruction to focus more on that area. Likewise, if a class aces a pre-assessment, I know I don’t have to spend as much time with the content.

5805548The Kahoot! tool falls between the Modification and Augmentation levels on the SAMR model. While the tool is JUST a quiz app, the actual functionality of the tool just substitutes a task that already existed before. It enhances the mechanics of the task but it doesn’t change it much. I feel that the game aspect including competition can bump Kahoot! up to Modification as this is functionality you would not get when traditionally delivering an assessment.

Without my school’s BYOD policy, I would not be able to take advantage of such great teaching aids like Kahoot! I am thankful that I work in a district that is not afraid to address the difficult issues associated with implementing such a policy. There are still bugs to work out but I will continue to seek applications such as kahoot! to keep incorporating use of personal devices in my classroom.

 

Sign up for your own Kahoot! https://getkahoot.com/

Students log in to take a Kahoot! https://kahoot.it/

Learn more about Emerging Technologies by reading the Horizon Report, 2015 K-12 Edition: http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2015-nmc-horizon-report-k12-EN.pdf

Learn more about the SAMR model https://www.commonsensemedia.org/videos/introduction-to-the-samr-model

 

Posted in 1.1 Creating, AECT Standard 1 (Content Knowledge)

Using RSS for Education

What is RSS?

RSS stands for Rich Site Summary but is often called Really Simple Syndication. It is a format used for sites to deliver their regularly changing or updated content. You can think of an RSS feed as an export of the content of a web site without having to go the the actual web site.

Check out this short video where Rich Bonaduce explains what RSS is: 

How do I even use these RSS feeds?

Once you’ve got the RSS feeds you want to come back to, you’ll likely want to find an aggregator to view your feeds. Feed reader or aggregator software allow you to grab the RSS feeds from various sites and display them for you to read. Digg and Feedly are a good examples of an RSS readers but there are many for you to use. They all work pretty much the same. Typically they display your collection of RSS feeds in one place in an easy to organize and read fashion. Take a look at snapshot of both of my Digg and Feedly feeds.

feedly_digg.png

Both these services have easy web interfaces that allow you to effortlessly add subscriptions and organize data. There are also browser extensions that usually make adding a feed to your collection even easier. In the “old days,” people also used stand-alone applications such as their email programs or specialty RSS readers. With everything happening in the “cloud” these days, you see less and less stand-alone applications.

Another way RSS is used is aggregating feeds directly onto web sites. For example, a teacher can have a class web page and include feeds to various sources on the site. This way students always see fresh content on the class site and the teacher has an avenue to distribute appropriate content. Check out the Instructables RSS feed example I added on the sidebar of this site.

I already spend too much time online. How is this going to help me?

Using an aggregator will help consolidate the time you spend getting caught up with the content you find important. Instead of having to fish through email newsletters, you can check your aggregator and get everything in one place. Aside from cleaning your mailbox of all those annoying subscriptions, another benefit is being able to keep your privacy and no long need to use your email to subscribe to site specific content. 

How can RSS help me in the classroom?

Aside from being a 21st Century skill that students should be learning anyway, teachers can use RSS in the classroom wherever they want to organize content in relevant ways.. So like, all the time. 

Since my specialty is Technology Education, I looked for unconventional ways to use RSS. I came across Blog2Print, a service that will turn your blog into a book. This is a great foundation to teach an interdisciplinary lesson with the English department (or whoever else may be writing blogs in their classrooms). The idea being that the blog is being written in another class and then turned into a book in Graphics. The Blog2Print site does make the process pretty easy but there are details that will require graphical knowledge. Unfortunately, the service costs for this particular service will likely keep this idea from fruition in my school but I can already see ways to maybe create the books in-house.

howdoyouuserss

 

References

What Is RSS? RSS Explained – www.WhatIsRSS.com
Digg – What the Internet is talking about right now. – http://digg.com/
feedly: organize, read and share what matters to you. – http://feedly.com/index.html
YouTube –  https://www.youtube.com/
blog2print | Turn your blog into a timeless treasure. – blog2print

 

 

Posted in 5.1 Theoretical Foundations, AECT Standard 5 (Research)

Annotated Bibliography

“An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.” (Michael Engle, Cornell)

This week in EDTECH501 I explored the mechanics of writing an APA Annotated Bibliography. Resources such as the Purdue Online Writing Lab, Google Scholar, and various databases were used to research the topic of video games in the classroom. I kept my scope pretty broad and ended up reading many articles in a very short period of time. The program Zotero was used to organize and format my resources. This helped quite a bit by putting the information in the right order. I got a little flustered with the syntax of formatting the sources but I am happy with the results.

Check it out: Teaching with Video Games: An Annotated Bibliography.

Posted in Uncategorized

Welcome!

Welcome to my Boise State EDTECH Learning Log! This space will be used as a place to document my journey I will take while earning my M.E.T. with Boise State. Content such as artifacts, reflections, and documentations will live here.