Integrating Technology into Classroom Teaching and Learning

Throughout this course we have read and discussed the values and benefits of integrating technology into the classroom. Technology should be integrated into the classroom in order to support and enhance lessons. We should also use technology to align and support common core, district and/or state educational standards.

Technology can be infused into the classroom through the use of mobile phones, iPads, computers, interactive technological devices, digital photo journals and more.

As technology continues to change and evolve it is imperative that educators continue to “educate themselves” on the latest technology and understand its implications and program benefits in order to support classroom goals, objectives and standards.

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Week 13: Curriculum Integration for EC/Childhood

Wang, X. C. et. al. (2008). Meaningful technology integration in early learning environments. Young Children,63(5), 48-50.

The title of this article speaks volumes. The most important component of integrating technology into the classroom in not just to integrate the technology for the sake of incorporating technology, but to find avenues where technology can be integrated in a way that supports classroom goals, objectives and common core standards.

Hopefully, through donations, grants and other means schools will be able to continue and further integrate technology into the classroom. Technology in the classroom supports documentation through portfolio based assessment, communication with parents, students and colleagues. By integrating meaningful technology, students will also have the opportunity to work independently or in small groups which will support and reinforce taught skills.

Ching, C. C., Wang, X. C. & Kedem, Y. (2006). Digital photo journals in a K-1 classroom:  A novel approach to addressing early childhood technology standards and recommendations. In S. Tettegah & R. Hunter (Eds.), Technology:  Issues in administration, policy, and applications in K-12 classrooms (pp. 253-269). Oxford, UK:  Elsevier.

I truly love the idea of incorporating digital photo journals into the classroom. This is an excellent way for students to become proactive in their educational experience. With any form of modern technology there are always mixed reviews, so it is imperative to note the importance and benefits of these technologies. The benefits of using digital photo journals is a constructive way for students and teachers to document class work and support forms of journaling, portfolio based assessment and allow for progress monitoring coupled with classroom/lesson/data analysis.

Another key component for creating digital photo journals is that while providing students the opportunity to socialize in a constructive manner, students truly become active and reflective practitioners who are directly involved in the documentation of their education.

Philip, T. M., & Garcia, A. D. (2013). The importance of still teaching the iGeneration: New technologies and the centrality of Pedagogy. Harvard Educational Review, 83(2), 300-319.

Despite children/students of the iGeneration being up-to-date on the latests and hottest technology, it is imperative that as teachers we continue to educate them and support their usage of smartphones to support technology in the classroom. We have all read many articles and understand the positive correlations between technology in the classroom, but are used to hearing school policies that indicate the use of cell phones to be prohibited in school.

As mentioned in the article, students generally use their mobile devices for socialization purposes; so why not incorporate this device into the classroom and teach new and continued benefits of cell phone usage, and its educational implications.

I found an article that I once received during a professional development workshop from Scholastic that further illustrates the importance plus dos and dont’s for using mobile phone as educational tools in the classrooms. http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3755576

The benefits of incorporating mobile phones into the classroom can also support group work, students communication and support the constructivist educational theory.

 

 

Week 12 ICT and Early Science, Social Studies

Enyedy, N., Danish, J. A., Delacruz, G., & Kumar, M. (2012) Learning physics through play in an augmented reality environment. ijcscl7(3), 347-378

I enjoyed learning about the importance of LPP; “learning physics through play project.” As noted in all articles read this week, it is imperative to provide students with opportunities to engage in “realistic activities” when conducting science investigations at a primary level. The supplementation or “augmentation” of science affords students the opportunity to engage in previously scaffolded instruction through exploration and discovery. Students are provided this engaging opportunity through “play” which at the primary level is how students socially and academically interact while learning to manipulate and synthesize.

It is a shame that literature has not kept up with modern science and investigation for primary students. Whatever the reason, children should be taught how and exposed to challenging and “ambitious” science instruction. Nonetheless, it is imperative that children be provided with opportunities to engage in science exploration and discovery at a young age. Through 21st century technologies as mentioned in the article, young students are being afforded the opportunity to “play” and engage with technology which will support their conceptual understanding of scientific theories and concepts.

Siraj-Blatchford, J. (2006). Emergent science and ICT in the early years. In P. Warwick, E. Wilson, & M. Winterbottom (eds)., Teaching and learning primary science with ICT (pp. 128-147). Buckingham, GBR: Open University Press.

Early Childhood and Elementary Educators often find teaching science/scientific concepts to be a daunting task. As the article states “teachers shy away from science and don’t understand the natural phenomena.” Due to a variety of factors, teachers often work from a “script” when teaching science. What ends up getting lost through this process is the scientific knowledge, excitement and exploration. Several things need to happen: First, teachers need to become more educated regarding early childhood and childhood science curriculum. Second, teachers need to become and be made aware of the multiple internet and software programs available to help guide and engage students through scientific exploration and discovery.

It has be researched that the use of ICT supports science “learning goals” and allows students to investigate explore, problem solve and conduct “scientific inquiry” through digital media “play”. ICT Science programs/software provide students with first hand animation that can lead them through the world and metamorphosis of the caterpillar or on a journey through the human body. Even in middle school and high school there are ICT programs that support science goals and investigation. As a student, I couldn’t bare the thought of any type of dissection, therefore my science teacher provided me and several other students with a computer simulated/animated program that enabled us to explore and learn about the necessary components of the science unit.

Murphy, C. (2006). The impact of ICT on primary science. In P. Warwick, E. Wilson, & M. Winterbottom (eds)., Teaching and learning primary science with ICT (pp. 13-32). Buckingham, GBR: Open University Press.

This article is similar to the one second article, as it further emphasizes the great importance and impact ICT has on science discovery. Through the suggested systematic approach to science inquiry and investigation that simultaneously enhances technology learning; students are able to acquire the necessary “skills and attitudes” needed for a 21st century science world.

This article lists 11 skills ranging from observation through variable control/manipulation that can be learned, emphasized and enhanced through the use of ICT programs to support science instruction and learning

[YouTube video] BeeSim: A Wearable Computer Game for Teaching Children About complex systems
I loved this program! Hopefully one day we will all have the opportunity to access these fabulous 21st century simulators. BeeSim is participatory, complex and allows for students to experience conceptual understandings in a medium that they are comfortable with. It’s fun, easy and accessible, where everyone can participate and experience first hand real world scientific ideas and concepts.

While watching this video, I was thinking wouldn’t it be great if we could simulate being a piece of food going through the digestive system. Does anyone know of similar programs that exist for other curriculum areas? Wouldn’t it be great to experience a simulation as a soldier in the civil war, or the Boston Tea Party?

 

 

Math, Technology & Common Core

One element of common core math standards is that students are given and provided the opportunity to explore, analyze and manipulate math problems in order to complete a given task. I remember being given “tricks” to learn about fractions and multiplying using the reciprocal etc…. but I never knew why? We just learned or memorized the “method” or “trick”. There was no enduring understanding and very little explanation. Through the use of technology in math students are being given the opportunity to understand why.

Many ICT math programs support student discovery and simply stated are more focused on the process rather then on the product! As educators, the goal will be to find math apps, software programs and websites that take students on a journey through math. Math ICT is also a great way to create group/centers that support a constructivist classroom and can provide students with work that is meaningful and relevant.

 

Week 11: ICT & Math

Buchanan, M. (2003). Classroom technologies as tools not toys: A teacher’s perspective on making it work in the classroom. In J. Way, and T. Beardon, (eds.), ICT and primary mathematics (pp. 122-152). Berkshire, England: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing.

I enjoyed reading this article and learning about new ways to approach teaching math in the classroom through implementing technology. As the author discusses, over the past fifty years (since the invention of the computer) and today more so then ever, computers are providing teachers and students with prodigious opportunities. Through ICT we have “power” and “access” to the world! Students can create, manipulate and discover the world of mathematics, critical thinking and analysis through the use computers.

Buchanan is correct in her through process, that we should create a world for our students that is hands on and engaging. As educators we need to empower and motivate our students towards and through new prospect. Scaffolding is a wonderful method that supports independent work and differentiation of classroom instruction, and this methodology can also be used in motivating and challenging students to create their mathematical journey through the use of ICT.

I felt very motivated after reading this article and can’t wait to further enhance my students learning (and hopefully share with my colleagues) through ICT programs that challenge students and keep them engaged. Often times math is taught through a variety of  rules or strategies with no discovery or enduring understanding. The common core supports the process and understanding “why” which makes using technology a key resource in delivering math instruction.

“Children need to work with teachers as co-designers” or curriculum or lessons. Why not have students create components to an exam, or teach the class a new way to work with tangrams or solve word problems. We should provide our students with the opportunity to journal their ideas about math class and then find ways to infuse these ideas and practice across the math curriculum. However ICT and math are incorporated into the classroom, one component that holds true is that students need an opportunity to “showcase” and “evaluate”, their work and understanding through real classroom and real world experiences.

“We must create a math environment that focuses on the constructivist philosophies!”

Bratitsis, T., Tatsis, K., & Amanatidou, A. (2012, July). Counting sounds: An ICT musical approach for teaching the concept of the angle in kindergarten, Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT), 2012 IEEE 12th International Conference.

Many of us can remember back to preK and K, when songs and rhymes were used for everything! There are several studies that even indicate (for older students) listening to certain music while studying sends a cognitive message to the brain to help remember learned facts and information.

We can all turn on the radio and sing the lyrics by heart to some of our favorite songs, but few of us can remember the pythagorean theorem. When thinking about learning math through music, I was reminded of the song my teacher taught us for the quadratic formula (which I still repeat in my head from time to time). Discovered a Youtube video of students signing using the same “pop goes the weasel” melody and thought it would be cute to share. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSMtTS1Oh14

If the value of music can impact older students, clearly it will have an impact on young children as they explore mathematical concepts and ideas. It was very interesting to learn that musical approaches to math can be acquired through ICT programs. This will give students and teachers the opportunity to save their work; review classroom material at home and provide them with the opportunity to experience “musical math” through ICT. This ICT experience will give students the opportunity to practice with a medium that is familiar to them and supports common core learning and experiential standards.

Nansen, B., et al. (2012). ‘You do the math’: Mathletics and the play of online learning. New Media & Society, 14(7), 1216-1235.

Last week I spoke about how the student I was working with, was participating in her outside reading book through digital technology. I have been working with this students for several years, and since I have known her we have always utilized the athletics program to reinforce taught math skills.

Mathletics allows students work individually or compete across the globe. Their programs are superb for and go all the way from grades K-12. There are countless applications that provide students with the opportunity for repetition, practice, analysis and competition. Students are highly motivated to achieve or “win” thus causing them to constantly come back to the program in order to “beat” their highest score and earn awards. What younger students don’t realize (a little teacher secret) is that they aren’t just playing games….they are actually (gasp) learning.

I disagree with those who contest the effectiveness of Mathletics, as I have seen first hand the progress my student has made over a five year period using this program. I don’t think parents need to feel anxiety about their children engaging in ICT educational activities; especially those related to math; with that being said the article and website tries to ensure that parents monitor and support their young children’s Mathletics experience (to monitor, parents are able to get email update of child progress after each log in).

[Youtube Video] Dr. Doug Clements speaks at EETC 2012

The beginning of this video was hysterical! I loved the math faux pas; which of course emphasized that better math is needed in our country. It is not enough for teachers to spend a day learning the latest software or teaching technique! We must ensure that our students math experiences are “sustainable” and “scale up”. Both teachers and students require significant and increased follow-up on math ICT lesson implementation.

The software mentioned in this lecture was very informative and continued to showcase the significance of real world applications and the implications it hold for future job fields. Learning through these avenues provides kids with the opportunities to experiment and manipulate in an environment and context that is familiar to them.

Dr. Clements is a wonderful speaker and truly explains the meaning and value between ICT math programs coupled with real world experiences where students can apply their knowledge in an environment that supports interconnectedness.

 

 

 

Technology, ELA and The Common Core

The goals of NYS Common Core support instruction for all ages that is “data driven and inquiry based.” Integration of knowledge and ideas, application of taught skills and exhibiting curiosity are some of the key standards for early childhood ELA instruction.

Technology plays a significant role in supporting Common Core reading and literature standards. One of the goals is for students to be able to interact with a variety of texts. Through e-books and digital apps students have the opportunity to engage with literary works and books, which support text interaction, experiential learning and application of modern day technology.

Through digital books, students are also exposed to new vocabulary words and guided comprehension questions. Through an understanding of question and answer, students will be afforded the opportunity to express their knowledge, understanding and question new or unfamiliar vocabulary words.

Digital books can also be used in whole group or class lessons. Through these lessons and explicit teacher directives, students can engage in reading with clear purposes and understanding. These books can also be shown on the SmartBoard and can be accessed at home through podcasts, apps and links for teacher wiki site.

The ELA Common Core Standards are very intricate and explicit, and the use of modern digital technology supports the experiential, engaging and and prompting components of the Common Core Standards.

 

Week 10: ICT & Early Literacy

Moody, N. (2010), Using electronic books in the classroom to enhance emergent literacy skills in young children. Journal of Literacy and Technology, 11(4).

According to the National Reading Panel supported by the National Institute for Literacy, the following techniques that support effective reading and literacy programs are: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, guided oral reading, vocabulary word instruction and reading comprehension strategies. The NRP and NCLB have emphasized that these techniques must be supported through direct instruction that is teacher guided and scaffolded. One way to support these techniques is through e-storybook/electronic readings.

E-storybooks/electronic readings are a growing trend for teachers to utilize in classrooms of emergent readers. E-storybooks support student learning through interactive phonemic awareness and emphasize oral and visual letter-sound relationship. Electronic novels also serve to enhance students development of acquiring simultaneous reading and listening skills.

It is vital for all educators to become knowledgeable on the benefits of e-storybook/electronic readings. These educational technologies can serve to engage not only young readers, but also engage older students and those with reading or learning difficulties. E-books can also serve to differentiate instruction for all students, with features that support NCLB’s evidence-based learning & instruction.

Despite the lack of evidentiary support for electronic books, their growing popularity coupled with an increase of technology in the classroom makes e-books a viable resource in supporting the teaching and learning of literacy techniques and skills.

Cahill, M., & McGill-Franzen, A. (2013). Selecting “App”ealing and “App”ropriate book apps for beginning readers. The Reading Teacher, 67(1), 30-39.

The introduction to this article is very catchy with the play-on words “app.” The tittle alone certainly emphasizes that importance of selecting books that are appealing to students interest and also appropriate for their age, grade and literacy comprehension level. The benefits of book apps for beginning readers is that they continue to “promote traditional literacy” while supporting written text and especially quality pictures. Through apps, these digital pictures are enhanced and serve to support the text while simultaneously being viewed by students to gather a deeper understanding of text content. Digital picture books truly help “paint a picture” and enable students to visualize the events they are reading about. Visualization while reading is one of the fundamental concepts supported by the Lindamood-Bell, which supports children in achieving their reading potential.

Yesterday, while I was tutoring, my student happened to be reading a novel online. Despite the novel being geared towards upper elementary students, there was still a small component of the novel that included high quality pictures. My student was also able to turn on and off the voice recording of the text and record her own voice. She also created an organization system in order to underline and highlight key components of the story. Even though she is not a beginning reader, the implications and benefits for digital books were evident. As I observed her reading with the recorded voice, I could see that she was truly taking in the words and visualizing. As the authors of this article quoted Mayer & Moreno, 2003, it was evident that “her cognitive load was reduced” thus “true learning” was able to take place.

Wolfe, S., & Flewitt, R. (2010). New technologies, new multimodal literacy practices and young children’s metacognitive development. Cambridge Journal of Education, 40, 387-399

All three articles we read this week have continued to emphasize the important role digital technology plays for emergent readers. This article focused on the importance of socialization as a means of collaboration. With digital books young children have the opportunity to read and experience literacy in groups.

It is vital for teachers to understand the benefits that digital books possess in supporting learning. Through peer groups young students will have the opportunity to collaborate with their group mates. They can share their thoughts and expressions while interacting with their digital books. Students can also share their knowledge of how to navigate this technology. Through this type of collaborative reading and approach to literacy, young students will be afforded the opportunity to engage in an environment that promotes the process of reading and learning.

When engaging with these books, students will have the opportunity to interact independently and with their peers in a manner that supports metacognitive thinking and higher levels of taxonomy and synthesis.

I found this study to be engaging, it would interesting to explore similar research with a more diverse and bigger sampling size.