Sunday, April 19, 2009

Blog Posting #9—My Vision

Integration of technology into the curriculum is currently in the infancy stage at my school. Not only do we lack sufficient computers and other tools, but our students have not yet had a keyboarding class. For this reason, I will have to carefully consider how to begin harnessing technology in a practical and beneficial way. One application to which I was introduced in another class this semester is Voicethreads. Using it, students and teachers can respond to a graphic or video using only their voices. I think it would be a highly motivating introduction for students who haven’t really communicated through technology before. I could use it in the library to get students to comment on different books. The book jacket could be displayed on the Voicethread and then students could make their comments into the microphone. Their recorded comment would be heard when their photo was clicked.

Another technology I would like to see our students learn is PowerPoint. This would require very little keyboarding while still providing a new and exciting way for them to communicate new knowledge to their classmates and teachers. Students could help create PowerPoints in the library to announce school news on the monitor that sits at the checkout counter. They could also create PowerPoints in their other classes to report findings from research. I know this isn’t anything new or exciting to most of you! We are just really behind, and I know that learning PowerPoint would be most exciting to our students.

Both Voicethreads and PowerPoint lend themselves to the Constructivist model of learning and require students to think critically. I’m looking forward to having more time next year to devote to helping teachers learn these skills in hopes that they’ll, in turn, teach their students.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Overcoming Technology Fears

The following are my worst fears regarding implementing and integrating technology:

· That I will fail to use the knowledge I’ve gained both personally and to teach our faculty
· That the teachers at my school will refuse to learn new technology skills from me
· That our school will continue to put technology on a low priority level resulting in the lack of funds budgeted and the lack of qualified personnel hired
· That I will be inadequate in being a change-agent for our school

I will try to overcome my fears by bravely pursuing my goals. I will continue to practice and learn more about technology. Besides investigating on my own, I will look for workshops to attend and continue my education in this area. I will work diligently to education influential people in my school and district and will look for alternate funding sources.

And here are my best hopes!

· That I will be a change-agent in our school
· That more funds will be allocated for purchasing the equipment needed to implement technology integration in our school
· That I will effectively teach our faculty in a way that will seem non-threatening and “do-able”
· That I will be able to communicate the importance of technology implementation and integration to my principal
· That students will be motivated through technology integration to put more effort and enthusiasm into their projects
· That students will gain skills and knowledge in the area a technology
· That students will think on a higher level through projects designed with technology

Ways I will use technology for personal empowerment:

I will use technology to improve the offerings of the library in which I work. Through it I will improve efficiency and will enrich the lessons I teach. I will also use it to display my “worth” to my administrators. On a personal note, I will probably create a personal blog and perhaps begin making photo books of special family occasions.

Ways skills I’ve learned in this class contributed to realizing my hopes:

The skills I’ve learned in this class will definitely help me meet my goals. I have gained confidence as I’ve learned to apply technology in new ways. Learning new skills such as how to create blogs, wikis, and RSS feeds in a non-threatening environment has boosted my confidence greatly. Dr. McElhany has been sensitive in gauging the knowledge and confidence levels of those of us in the class and has adjusted her lessons and assignments to best meet our needs.

Changes I will make regarding my continued investigation and implementation of technology in the future:

One change I will make is that I will increase the time I have to “play” because I will soon be finished with my master’s degree and will have more time for “fun.” I really think that I will be more relaxed and able to learn when I’m out from under the pressure of assignments and classes. At least now, I know what I need to go back and fully learn!

Another change I hope to make is that I will design more projects for my students and will teach the teachers so that we can collaborate in planning, implementing, and evaluating projects for their classes.

I have been a poster child for those who “fear” technology. I’m not a mechanical or technical person and this set of courses has been far outside my comfort zone. Even though it didn’t come easily, I am so proud of the new knowledge and skills I have and am slowly becoming friends with computers and all that is possible through them. Thank you to all my teachers, family, and classmates who have helped bring me along!