Integrating Technology and Teaching

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Assignment #2

b. Technology Outcomes Blog Post

): please identify one SPECIFIC technology outcome that related to using PowerPoint as a tool in the classroom and give an example of how you could incorporate that outcome into your classroom.

Related (specific) Technology Outcome being integrated: P3 3.2
Create multimedia presentations that incorporate meaningful graphics audio video and text gathered from remote sources

Subject: Social Studies

Grade: 9

Description: (write a clear and well written one paragraph description of how you could use PowerPoint to meet this technology outcome.)

The students will work in groups of three to create a PowerPoint presentation of no more than 15 minutes to combine images, video, and a brief organized outline of a description of the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the residents, and the city of New Orleans. Please create a descriptive chronicle and be aware of how the videos and pictures and sounds increase the impact and empathy of the viewer. Students should brainstorm different types of damage and consequences. Organise your list and videos and images on the categories as follows: students, families, the elderly, businesses, infrastructure components like roads, sewer, water, electricity and social and support services like fire departments, police, hospitals, libraries, schools. Please gather video clips and pictures from websites that are listed under CNN or ABC only, using Google.

New Reflections

As I read through the article by Lance Grigg on whether and how technology enhances students learning of social studies, it reminded me of the uses I have already made with technology integration. I taught an AP course in Microeconomics to grade 11 and 12 students. The text and study guide were published by a well known company, and were very good. The text book contained weblinks that lead to side studies, sometimes on prominent economic pioneers like J. M. Keynes. The weblinks may have also taken the student to evaluation tools like self tests and chapter summaries. Or the link might go to a current article on some developing aspect of government monetary or fiscal policy, or perhaps directly to Stats Canada. In many ways the additional material augmented the text book and the students appreciated the insights, and enhancements to their learning experience. As a final note, they all did well on the standardised final exam 1 scored a 5 ( the highest score you can get), 3 scored 4, and 2 scored 3 ( the minimum to get credit for the course at any University that accepts AP scores.

The text book also came with a cd that contained a study guide matched to the text book. The study guide had multimedia presentations, and interactive graphs that you could maipulate by entering some data that might change while other data was held constant, so to see the effect on the shape of the graph. I think it was very good integration, and the students remembered the concepts better, and were able to synthesise with them on new sets of data more confidently.

Integrating Technology

I have spent a good deal of time going through some suggested websites and url's in order to determine what exactly is meant by technology integration, as it pertains to teachers and learners. Here are a couple of my observations and a brief synopsis of the items I reviewed.

I started by downloading the ICT complete program, although it turns out you can also access it directly by going to the Alberta Education website. The Website is also a goldmine of material for examples of integrating the ICT outcomes desired into subject and grade specific learning objectives.

I also reviewed some of the sites ostensibly to "learn" powerpoint. The first couple of them were not specific to Macs, and the last one, though it had a Mac version of the tutorial, was for a version of Powerpoint that was too old to make much sense. Oh well. If anyone knows about a good website to learn about Powerpoint for Office X for Mac, other than the official website at http://www.microsoft.com/Education/MacOfficeTutorial.mspx I would appreciate it. I did a search but didn't see too much.

Anyway, what constitutes good technology integration in the class and what constitutes bad integration? Do we mean integrating Hard and Soft technologies, like the ones talked about on page 2 of the introduction to Illustrative Examples to accompany Information and Communication Technology Interim Program of Studies Grade 7 to Grade 9, September 1998 at
the link on the sidebar called Alberta Education.
Or do we mean integrating the outcomes of the ICT Curriculum with Outcomes for a particular subject area in the curriculum, as the ICT philosophical statement suggests? "The ICT curriculum is not intended to stand alone, but rather to be infused within core courses and programs". The quote comes from page 1 of the ICT Program.

Ideally in order to successfully integrate the technology available to us as educators, we need to concentrate more on using it as a means to an end. Technology should support and augment the required disciplines for successful transition through core curricula by the students, in order to encourage them to learn by exploration and without the risks inherent to students of performing higher level learning processes in front of their peers. It should also allow them to communicate more rapidly with peers and teachers, like what we are doing here.

Teachers for their part will want to allow new technology to give feedback in a more timely way, and to encourage students to explore in more meaningful, creative directions, spontaneously, and in the direction that the students interest takes him/her.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Taking a drink from a fire hydrant.

The title is a metaphor that is probably a cliche by now. I know a lot of what I read will get on me, and hopefully some will go in, to quench my thirst, if only a little at first.

I have just about finished reviewing the total of all Dale's recommended readings and viewing the video and checking out the other blogging links. The one risk I feel most acutely is the overload of information. As a returning student I am dealing with the frustration of not being able to read as quickly as I need to, absorb the content, and not be intimidated by the sheer volume of material to work through.

As well some students may not deal well with the opportunity to publish to an infinite audience. The opportunity to make a big splash might be overwhelming, and the consequences to the student not well understood, of putting inappropriate, illegal, offensive, or otherwise objectionable content on a blog. To that end I religiously reread and spellcheck, but I look forward to getting past these early jitters and on to the real blog world.

As educators we need to use a method of encouraging willing participation, free from physical barriers, for students to write and read their and their fellow student's thoughts, musings and interests. The process is all very human, and incredibly ubiquitous now. It taps into the bias that most young students already have to email, or surf the net, building on the experience by making the interaction a dialogue. Most of the students I know including my 10 year old (his name is John and the picture is of he and I on Mt. Rundle by Banff, with our dog, Taffy, and Ha Ling Peak in the background) readily explore spots on the internet and have used technology in many forms without hesitation since they were very young. John was doing basic computer games when he was 3. His favourite site right now is without a doubt the Lego website. He gobbles up the StarWars videos and examines the latest sets in minute detail. Talk about learning! He has a Christmas wishlist a mile long.

I can see the progression of learning the concept through reading some other peoples blogs, to creating my own works well. I hope I have given you something worthwhile to ponder.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Wow


"So far, so good" said the man falling from a 40 story building after the 20th floor went by. He was an optimist. and so am I. The process so far has been interesting and I think I am getting the hang of this blogging business. I hope to have some interesting tidbits about how technology is being used in the instruction of different curricula, particularly on the web, or the internet. My son has just started his online course with the University of Advanced Technology somewhere in Arizona I think and has had an assignment already. I'll report on it later once I know more about where they are going with it, and how it is structured.

Cheers