PIDP 3250 Inspiring teachers to use technology

I wanted to share this video on my blog as it follows on favorably to a previous posting I made about technology in education. The purpose of this video is to inspire teachers to use technology in engaging ways to help students develop higher order thinking skills. All teachers should watch it as this video really put some perspective on the use of technology in the classroom, and its importance in education. New technologies have emerged, and so has the cry for us,as educators,to find meaningful ways to incorporate these technologies into the classroom. Technology is a ubiquitous part of students’ lives. It is transparent. Most homes have connected computers or Internet-enabled devices. Students these days have more knowledge of technology than their teachers. Technology helps change the student/teacher roles and relationships: students take responsibility for their learning outcomes, while teachers become guides and facilitators. There is a growing body of evidence that technology integration positively affects student achievement and academic performance. Technology impacts achievement in content area learning, promotes higher-order thinking and problem solving skills, and prepares students for the workforce. I believe it is critical to update our own skills, in order to be fearless in the face of technology, as this may determine our future success as educators. I believe we should use technology only when it enhances a lesson, it should be used to help us to teach better and in more meaningful ways. We should not use technology just because it is technology, but because of what it can do. As educators we need to find ways to use technology meaningfully. I am just beginning to explore the true potential technology offers for teaching and learning. I know that my understanding and awareness of the types of technology that exist, and the way that it can be implemented in the classroom is growing. I am excited to try new things with the students and learn with them. There are still so many different applications when it comes to understanding how to best use technology in the classroom, so many different types of technology itself, and so many ideas on how to integrate technology that it creates a daunting feeling at times. I realize that if used properly, technology will help students acquire the skills they need to survive in a complex, highly technological knowledge-based economy. This video certainly inspired me to try harder to integrate technology into my lessons. We really need to use the technology of today in the classroom of today.

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PIDP 3250 Hackschooling

This confident, 13 year old gave me much to think about after watching his presentation. It is obvious from the presentation that Logan is a bright, young man. In this presentation he describes his own unique version of schooling–which he calls “hackschooling.” It is homeschooling of a sort, using the Internet to delve into whatever interests him. It is not for everyone, only for those who are very self-motivated, curious, energetic, and industrious. I found his presentation intriguing. The concept is that education, like everything else, is open to being hacked or improved, not just by working within the current system, but by going outside the educational establishment to find better ways to accomplish the same goals. Logan claims that hacking education is helping him achieve his goal of being happy. In his presentation he questions the traditional education system. He makes strong, succinct points regarding the profound point that happiness and health are no longer a priority in our schools. He asks the question, “What if we based education on the study and practice of being happy and healthy?” He states, “Education is important, but why is being happy and healthy not considered education? I just don’t get it.”
He believes students should explore their own curiosity, show passion for self-directed learning, and above all else, be happy. In his view, the main purpose of education should be to help students become “happy and healthy.” I had to ask myself, is the educational base Logan is receiving better than what was provided by my educational upbringing? Is every student going through traditional school disadvantaged? Should students be pulled out of school and home schooled? Homeschooling is not for everyone. I think that home schooling can create a creative, adaptive, and forward thinking person but this does not mean it is for everyone and that a student can’t turn out that way through standard education. One aspect of hackschooling that appealed to me was that students are not punished for failure, but rather encouraged to fail then figure out why they failed in order to solve the problem. If one is taught that failure is part of a learning process at an early age, failing will always be another step towards success. Perhaps a solution would be to implement some of the ideas of hackschooling within our traditional school environment where structure is already in place. I hope that some of these ideas work their way into our traditional education system so that all students may benefit from them.

PIDP 3250 Technology in Education

Technology has always been a great interest of mine and I find the idea of technology changing education fascinating. There is something magical about high-speed technology; technology continually advances right before our eyes. This notion makes me wonder where we will be a few years from now. When I began my journey as an educator, I promised myself that I would be a lifelong learner and keep current in new instructional methods. At our college where we are encouraged to incorporate and develop technology-enabled teaching tools in the class lessons. Few educators would disagree with the notion that technology has dramatically changed the teaching and learning process. As a student in college, I was exposed to classes where the instructor used chalkboards and overhead projectors to explain concepts. Fast-forward a few years, and I think how far technology has advanced. A notebook and pen formed the tool kit of my generation, nowadays; students come to class equipped with smart phones, laptops and iPods. Today’s students grow up in a world very different from the one I grew up in. Today’s students are “growing up digital” (Moeller & Reitzes, 2011.) The world is changing; it is getting both smaller and bigger at the same time. Perhaps as instructors we should be asking ourselves the questions, “How has this influx of technology changed how the student’s learn?” “Has technology become an addition or a distraction in the educational setting?” “Is increasing technology in the classroom actually increasing learning opportunities?” I believe technology is having an increasing importance in education and is transforming how students learn. I regard technology as an essential tool for a modern classroom. The students in my classroom rely upon technology, and their mastery of these tools is evident. I admit that I am not very tech savvy. Finding the time to integrate technology in everyday lessons is an overwhelming task for me. Contemplating my own teaching practice, I realize that the challenge for me is to find an ideal balance for learning about, and eventually integrating technology in meaningful ways for instruction. I realize how critical my role as an educator is in ensuring that students are exposed to technology in the classroom. I recognize that I have a key role to play in ensuring that technology supports student-centered learning, and that the technology supports the learning goals for students.

Reference:

Moeller, B., & Reitzes, T. (2011). Integrating Technology with student-centered learning. Retrieved on March 14, 2014 from http://www.nmefoundation.org/getmedia/befa9751-d8ad-47e9-949d-bd649f7c0044/Integrating-Technology-with-Student-Centered-Learning?ext=.pdf

PIDP 3250 How to make stress your friend.

At some time, we have all had difficulty with our energy levels and challenging situations. We have all dealt with some form of stress on a daily basis. Stress is our body’s call for help. Too much stress can pummel our bodies and mess with our minds. Like many working professionals with families, it becomes a daily challenge to juggle multiple tasks effectively. I wear many hats; I play the role of an employee, a student, a mother and a wife. Maintaining a job is hard work. Completing an online credential is difficult work. Being a mother is challenging. Each of these three titles rolled into one can be daunting at times. It has taken an immense amount of discipline and organization to make all these roles complement each other in a way that allows me to succeed in each one. I have learned to stay organized, use time efficiently and prioritize tasks. My days are go-go-go, overloaded with responsibilities and commitments, overwhelmed with life’s trials and tribulations. Stress has become an everyday part of my life. This Ted Talk by Kelly McGonigal (2013) was an eye opener for me. The ill effects of stress have been pounded into my head for years, and it was refreshing to hear that we can not only manage stress but turn stress into a positive source of energy! Instead of being reactive to stress, I can be responsive to it and move beyond coping to thriving. Stress can be good!
McGonigal (2013) makes a key statement in her presentation,“How you think about stress matters.” In her view, if you can change your perception of stress, you can change your body’s reaction to it. When your body shows signs of stress it may be energizing itself, preparing you to meet the challenges, helping you rise to these challenges. When you perceive the resultant changes in your body to stress as something good, the ramifications of stress will be different. I realize that there will never be more hours in my day, and my career and family responsibilities will always be demanding. After McGonigal’s (2013) talk on the subject, I have come to the conclusion that the only logical, and healthy thing to do is to harness the power within me and turn stress into a positive. I need to cope with stress in a healthy way.

Reference:
Ted2013. (2013). Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend. Retrieved from
https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend

PIDP 3250 Smartboard

I find the integration of teaching and technology fascinating. Because students are growing up in a world filled with technology, it is important to change our teaching methods to include technology-based instruction. Students spend hours each week in front of the television, playing video games, or playing on the computer. When they come to classroom, I feel the concepts will be retained better if we incorporated technology, especially technology they could interact with and touch. Technology is the ‘students of today’s world’ – we need to instruct them in the most effective way possible.Smart Boards are avenues that make learning come alive for all students.The Smart board is impressive as it combines the simplicity of a whiteboard with the power of a computer, allowing the instructor to deliver dynamic lessons, write notes in digital ink and save their work – all with the simple touch of a finger . It is almost magical. I regard the smart board as an important and excellent addition to any learning environment. It really is a phenomenal new teaching technique. It is a novel way of learning which I believe motivates students to learn. With that being said, I strongly feel that instructors need training on how to use the Smart board properly in order to make it successful and support learning. There should be a clear focus on content and not only using the ‘bells and whistles’ of the Smart board. Smart Boards are avenues that make learning come alive for all students! I am excited to explore the effects of this technology. I found this online tutorial really helpful for teachers new to the smart board technology entering their classrooms.

PIDP 3250 Video games

Video games have come a long way since I sat down at a computer to play Donkey Kong.
It’s been deeply ingrained in us for the longest time that too many video games are bad for our brains. We’ve all had it drilled into our brains by the ‘experts’ and the media AND OUR MOM’s. Too many video games are bad for kids. Or is it? This fascinating and interesting Ted Talk is about brain training and how video games can have a positive effect on the human brain. How do fast-paced video games affect the brain? Cognitive researcher Daphne Bavelier discusses how video games, even action-packed shooter games, can help us learn, focus and, fascinatingly, multitask. At her lab, her work shows that playing fast-paced, action-packed entertainment video games typically thought to be mind-numbing actually benefits several aspects of behavior. Her lab now investigates how video games can be leveraged to foster learning and brain plasticity.
I am one of those parents who worry about my children spending too many hours playing video games. I would much rather see them reading a book or playing outside with friends. I worry about the addictiveness of video gaming. Rapid changes in technology, and the exponential growth of the video game industry, make the already tough job of parenting even tougher. As a parent, I need to decide whether or not to allow my children to play video games, and consider ways to minimize any potential negative effects of playing video games.
I found it interesting that the average player age for playing video games has steadily increased to 33. I am relieved that numerous academic studies indicate that playing video games has many psychological and even physical benefits. Positive studies tout improving hand-eye coordination, stimulating imagination, and improving cognitive thinking. Studies have also suggested that video games can improve motor skills, relieve pain, improve eyesight, improve decision making skills, and provide therapy for mental illness. But can these same benefits be better achieved outside video game play in pursuits such as sports, arts, music, hobbies, and other creative endeavors?

One key point gained from the video is that many of the negative aspects of video games are tied to excessive play and that games are best in moderation. Too much of anything is not good and video games are no exception. As a parent I need to avoid excessive play and set up firm time limits for games.
I appreciate that I need to do more research on the benefits of video games. I need to change my thinking about the value of video games. I need to stop thinking of it as something less valuable than other activities that involve learning, and stop feeling that it has negative effects on my children’s brain. With the gamification of education on the rise, I need to embrace and find the good in them otherwise my children may be missing out on the benefits they have to offer.

PIDP 3250 Do we need classroom management?

This question was recently asked by my peer on the forum posting. I personally think that classroom management is a critical ingredient of effective teaching. Classroom management has the largest effect on student achievement. Surely one of the most important aspects of teaching is the classroom manager. Effective teaching and learning cannot take place in a poorly managed classroom. If students are disorderly and disrespectful, and no apparent rules and procedures guide behavior, chaos becomes the norm. In these situations, both teachers and students suffer. Teachers struggle to teach, and students most likely learn much less than they should. Classroom management refers to all of the things that a teacher does to organize students, space, time and materials so that instruction in content and student learning can take place. Research tells us, “The amount of time students are actively engaged in learning contributes strongly to their achievement. The amount of time available for learning is determined by instructional and management skills of the teacher…” This implies that we must plan and prepare well, be organized, maximize student time on task, keep students actively engaged, and efficiently utilize time. I realize that how I manage the classroom is the primary determinant of how well my students learn. On the other hand, when students are successful and actively engaged in their work, they tend to be well behaved. I, therefore, appreciate the need to keep students involved in their work, have students understand what is expected of them, maximize time on task, prevent confusion, and run a work simulated classroom. I know that an important role for me as an instructor is classroom manager. I am the role of authority, and it is up to me to implement management strategies and ensure that I carry them out accordingly. I need to ensure a well-managed classroom providing an environment in which teaching and learning can flourish.

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