GAME PLAN update

Posted in Uncategorized on January 25, 2010 by derrickmgreen

It has been over two weeks since I outlined my GAME PLAN for this year and, as of now, I feel as though I am making progress on my goals and working through the steps in order to accomplish each.

Are you finding the information and resources you need?

Overall I am very happy with the amount of information that I have been able to find throughout my research. The internet has provided vast amounts of research-based data with which I can use to continue to work towards my goals. Also, I have been in communication with co-workers as well with other educational professionals within my district who have provided me with a plethora of information and ideas to help me reach my goals. Many of the professionals that I have spoken with have been helpful and more than willing to assist in my endeavor.

Do you need to modify your action plan?

As of right now, I feel that my action plan is on-track and acceptable. Although initially, after designing my plan, I felt as though I would not have much success towards reaching my goals, I have discovered, over the past two weeks, that there are a multitude of resources for professional educators and all it takes is time to sort through the information and patience to develop the human connections to make progress.

What have you learned so far?

Thus far I have learned a great deal about the benefits of technology in the classroom. Many research studies that I have read expound upon the positive affects that technology can have on student motivation, student product development and student engagement within the classroom. I have begun to share this research at monthly staff meetings and weekly department meetings to attempt to influence the decision making with my school. Also, through the communication that I have begun to have with other educators at various schools throughout the country, I have begun to understand just how important inter-cultural communication can be. Although my goal is to help my students connect with students of other diverse cultures, using technology, the discussions I have had with other educators regarding the development of such communication has led to great idea sharing and greater lesson development within my own classroom. I have started to incorporate more diverse texts into my curriculum, upon recommendation, and have been working to develop projects that expose my students to various other cultures.

What new questions have arisen?

As of now, the new questions that have arisen are research-based. As I look over the various scholarly journals and research studies that debate the impact of technology within the classroom, I am forced to seek out alternative points of view, particularly if the data used within the study does not appear sufficient. Since the topic of technology in the classroom is so highly-debated, I have found myself reading similar studies that come to wildly different conclusions. Through the reading of such studies, I have been forced to research even deeper to better understand the various affects technology has had on other students to better inform my school leadership and co-workers.

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GAME PLAN RESOURCES

Posted in Uncategorized on January 18, 2010 by derrickmgreen

In order to complete my GAME plan and effectively meet my pre-set goals, I have to ensure that I have all the appropriate resources and information necessary.

Resources Needed

Initially, to complete my plan I will need to communicate with experts in the fields of 21st century technologies, Web 2.0 systems, 1-to-1 laptop program directors, as well as scholarly researchers within each of these fields that can provide me with the data necessary to bring to meetings to influence the decision-making processes within my school. I will also have to confer with my direct colleagues within my building as well as other colleagues with my district, state, and regional school systems. Each of these experts will provide invaluable resources and information as I work to convince my school that 21st century technologies are necessary in today’s educational environment. Also, each of these resources can provide me with tools and techniques to help the others within my school to become more technologically literate and begin to include more technology into their lessons and outcomes. Finally, I will need to contact various Language Arts department heads from around my region to begin to establish relationships and develop an idea bank for how to creative culturally-relevant connections between my own students and others.

Information Needed

Beyond the resources of the various types mentioned above, I will also require scholarly information to ensure that each decision I make and action I take is data-driven and research based. Such information will come from research studies detailed in the most-recent educational research journals. Also, staying up-to-date on the newest technologies coming into the classroom will allow me to remain ahead-of-the-curve when lobbying for new technologies with my school.

Steps Taken

Although it has only been a few days since I first outlined my GAME plan I have already been able to take comprehensive steps toward reaching my goals. I have become a member of various educational technology related websites such as; eschoolnews, fno.org (From Now On), Educationweek.com, and edutopia.com. Websites such as these provide an invaluable resource basis for educators looking to strengthen their technological prowess as well as provide weekly e-newsletters with links to the latest research articles and real-life stories of teachers using technology effectively to promote student engagement and understanding. I have also been contacting various principals and assistant principals from various neighboring schools that are more culturally-diverse than my own to establish relationships and begin communication with other middle school Language Arts teachers. Finally, I have been keeping a log of all my contacts and information gathered that has allowed me to reflect on what I have done and make decisions for how to move forward. Although this is a long process, it has been enjoyable so far and I look forward to seeing how much I can accomplish in the coming weeks.

Technology Standards

Posted in Uncategorized on January 14, 2010 by derrickmgreen

I have recently examined the National Education Standards for Teachers from the International Society for Technology in Education and have realized that although I would describe myself as technologically sophisticated and an educator who attempts to incorporate technology into my lessons for the benefit of my students, I still do not fully meet with some of the indicators outlined within the various standards.  With that in mind I have decided to dedicate my time to working on two particular standards, “Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership and, develop and model cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with colleagues and students of other cultures using digital-age communication and collaboration tools” (ISTE, 2008) by developing a GAME plan (Cennamo, K, Ross, J, & Ertmer, P, 2009) to monitor my progress and ensure that I am achieving mastery of each indicator.     

GOALS

1. I desire to become a more outspoken and confident leader in technology integration within the curriculum and the classroom within my school and cluster group.

2. I desire to more effectively use digital-age communication technology to create learning experiences for my students that incorporate diverse cultural groups and experiences.

ACTIONS

                In order to become a more effective technology leader with my school, I need to begin by speaking out more, particularly administrative meetings, about he importance of effectively training teachers in Web 2.0 systems such as, social networking, wikis, blogging, classroom websites, digital story-telling, etc, and providing them with technologies, such as interactive whiteboards, laptops in the classroom, digital interactive devices (voting/texting). To promote these technologies, I will attend meetings and provide scholarly data that displays the benefits and cost-analysis of such technologies. I will also research other school districts that have incorporated similar innovations and even invite other teachers or educational leaders to come speak about the benefits of such technology and professional development within my own school.  Through attending meetings and researching the real life implications of 21st century technology within the classroom I can begin to influence decisions being made about financial allocations and teacher training using said technologies.

                Within my own classroom, in order to more effectively develop educational environments that incorporate cross-cultural communication between my students and other students, I need to build relationships, either in person or digitally, and make connections with other educators from various, diverse locales ranging from neighboring school districts to other schools from around the world. By developing such relationships and establishing long-term communication with my cohorts within other schools as well as the administrations within said schools, I will be able to create socio-educational connections between my own students and other students. These connections will allow for digital collaboration between students and educators.

 

 

MONITOR

                To ensure that I continually move toward my two goals, I will monitor my progress by keeping a detailed log of events and times, as well as outcomes. This detailed log will provide a source of insight as to how much I am accomplishing and how fast I am moving towards my goal. This log will also indicated meeting times of various staff and administration so as to ensure that I attend each meeting possible and describe the benefits of technological integration in the classroom.  Also, by detailing meetings, and social networking, either digital or face-to-face, that occurs between myself and others at local, regional, national, and international schools, I will be better able to develop engaging, student-centered, cross-cultural, lessons and activities for my students.

EVALUATE

                After some time dedicated to reaching towards my goals and monitoring my progress, I hope to be able to see that I have had positive impact on my school community by influencing the administration to lobby for more funds to be allocated toward technological investment and infrastructure. If this has not been the case, I will reevaluate my communication strategy as well any need for additional support for my goal from other professionals within the building.  I will also look to see that I have made, at a minimum, one valuable connection with another teacher/classroom at a school with a predominantly different culture population than my own.  If I have been unable to complete these tasks within the time frame set out for reaching these goals, I will need to reevaluate how I am communicating with my colleagues and the community as well as devise more actions that will better allow for each goal to be met.

Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach (Laureate Education custom edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

ISTE. (2008). National Education Technology Standards. Retrieved January 13, 2010, from http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/NETS/ForTeachers/2008Standards/NETS_T_Standards_Final.pdf

Supporting Information Literacy and Online Inquiry in the Classroom reflection

Posted in Uncategorized on December 21, 2009 by derrickmgreen

Over the course of the last nine weeks as I have studied and learned about the various digital literacies presented within this course, I have been amazed at the sheer amount of new information that students of the 21st century will require to not only acquire new knowledge effectively but to also successfully participate in the workplace. Students of this generation are constructing new knowledge in ways that could not be contemplated twenty years ago and the job of the educator must shift to not only include the standard curricula from years past but also the digital literacies of today.

      The most striking revelations I have discovered throughout this course are the researched-based findings from various institutions around the country and the world that have illustrated how student’s minds are adapting to ever-changing technological landscape. Unlike years past, particularly my own generation and those that came before, today’s students cannot simply be given information, process it individually, and produce an artifact that displays understanding. The new technological social landscape has changed the way that students learn, communicate, and process information. As an educator, after this course, I find myself focusing designing and focusing my lesson planning time on how to amend previously developed lessons to include new digital literacies to connect more with student interests, produce greater student motivation, and ensure that my students are able to successfully compete in this new world.

      From this point on my teaching techniques will no longer simply focus on fulfilling classroom objectives; I will now incorporate digital literacy into every class. Although this may be difficult for other educators, particularly if they do not have the technological tools at their disposal, I am blessed to work in an institution that is relatively well-funded and gives me the opportunity, and technological tools, to incorporate digital literacy lessons into my class daily. The various assignments during this course have provided me with a fantastically diverse idea base that I can begin to apply within my own classroom and assist my students in developing their understanding of the digital landscape.

      Over the course of the next few years, I plan on enrolling with my county’s professional development program. This program has a specialized series of classes that promotes the inclusion of technology in the classroom, but also provides concrete ideas and steps to take to ensure that the students are developing digital literacy skills as well as learning to become better readers and writers. This course set will allow me to continue to develop the skills that I have begun to harness within this class and will promote even more creative lesson development as I become more skilled in the process and create new lessons to engage my students, motivate my students, and instill within them powerful and useful skills for their lives. Although this goal will take time, approximately two years, I feel confidant that by continuing course work similar to this class, as well as using my classroom as a space to implement these new ideas, I will become a skilled educator of digital literacy and help all of my students.    

As we enter the second decade of the 21st century,  it is now more important than ever that educators continue in a quest for life-long learning and contirube new ideas, not only within their own classroom, but within their entire school. As our economy shifts and the world changes, we as educators are on the front line and must ensure that our students are highly-qualified and well skilled as they continue their educational career and work to make their country and the world a better place.

Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology review

Posted in Uncategorized on August 19, 2009 by derrickmgreen

          As a professional educator in the 21st century it is a job requirement to become a life-long learner. No longer can professional educators continually replicate the same lessons used in past years and expect the same results from different students. In an effort to better understand how students learn, tools that can facilitate greater knowledge acquisition, and techniques that promote safe and effective learning environments, I have dedicated myself to learning all I can as a student in my Master’s courses. This most recent course, in particular, has illustrated the importance of technology in the classroom as a tool for learning and a gateway for students of multiple, diverse intelligences and backgrounds to succeed.  This course has affected my outlook on technological integration within the classroom as well as helped my to hone my personal learning theory.

          As I began this course I summarized my theory of learning as a combination of multiple intelligences and social constructionism. These two educational theories encompass the real life learning experiences I have had as a learner and those I have witnessed as a professional educator in the classroom. Students tend to learn the most material and master the most objectives when they are able to learn in a safe, social environment with lessons that touch upon the multiple intelligences described by Gardner. Throughout this course, I have been asked to reflect upon multiple theories as they relate to new technologies making there way into the classroom environment. At the end of this course I have found that although I still believe that Vygotsky’s and Gardner’s theories remain the most relevant to my particular educational setting, the, well thought-out, inclusion of technology into the learning process can benefit all student learners, no matter the circumstance.

            Beginning in the next academic year, I will initiate the incorporation of multiple different technological tools in my classroom for the benefit of my students’ knowledge. First, I will devise lesson plans and projects that allow my students to use Web 2.0 tools and resources so they can not only access knowledge in a timely manner but create new artifacts as well. With tools such as blogs, wikis, and academic social networking ( limited to school-school communication) my students will be able to display there understanding of key English 8 concepts, not only through papers and oral presentation but through group created blogs that evolve over weeks and student created wiki pages that serve as a resource for future and current students. These tools will enhance student learning as they become more engaged in the creative process of developing an electronic artifact to demonstrate their knowledge. The social core of these technological tools with also facilitate greater learning as students must rely on one another to develop these artifacts and present to one another the knowledge they have gained and explained.

           Beyond blogs and wikis, my students will also have the opportunity to use more advanced technological tools such as VoiceThreads and Webspiration digital diagrams. VoiceThreads, in particular, are well suited for my English 8 academic setting as students desire a more social academic environment that is dynamic and easily manipulated. VoiceThreads give students the luxury of working on a final product over multiple days and amending it with the help of others (peers or teachers). Webspiration on the other hand, allows students, either individually or socially, to diagram there physically thought processes and gain a greater understanding of intricate connections found throughout the world of literature. Both of these tools enhance learning by providing students with platforms to understand and display their understanding of underlying concepts of the English 8 curriculum. By providing students with such various and diverse tools with which to learn, student engagement along with student success is promoted.

            As I think about all that I have learned in this class, particularly regarding technological integration, I have developed two clear goals with which to focus my time and energies over the next year and beyond. First, I plan on integrating the technologies I recently have come to understanding into lessons in my classroom throughout the entire year. In the past, after receiving professional development, I have been wary of changing course from my set curriculum and experimenting with new tools and techniques. However, after working with these technologies myself and coming to understand their inherent qualities, I will now push myself to integrate these technologies, not simplistically, but with great effort to ensure they are used as learning tools, rather than teaching tools. In order to reach this goal realistically, I must, not only, dedicate myself to spending the time and energy to design lessons that use these tools to their greatest service to student understanding, but also work with my co-curricular planner in a partnership that highlights the importance of technological integration and moves beyond the curriculum as it currently stands.

            Beyond including technological innovations into my own classroom and curriculum for the benefit of my particular students, my second goal is to spread the knowledge I have gained throughout this course to all of my professional peers and ensure that my school becomes a leader of technological innovation and inclusion within every classroom. This goal will certainly be a challenge as many educators and administrators have a general unease about new technologies within the classroom, particular social-based web 2.0 applications. However, in order to fulfill this goal I will make it my charge to speak up at staff and department meetings and provide workshops and training to my academic peers to inform them of the number of technological tools at their disposal. I will also make myself available to any staff member who needs assistance in integrating technology into their curriculum. Finally, I will serve as a member of the tech/integration committee in my building to promote the safe use of technology within the classroom for the benefit of all the students.

            Overall, I have found my experience with this class to be enlightening and incredibly useful in my everyday teaching experience. Although we focused on educational theories and their particular benefits within particular environments, learning about real technology that can be implemented in my classroom will forever change how I teach my English 8 curriculum. My students and peers will benefit from the knowledge I have gained and I will work diligently to seek out new technologies and new products to promote the success of all of my students for years to come.

VoiceThread Link

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2009 by derrickmgreen

http://voicethread.com/share/568982/

Social Networking in the Classroom

Posted in Uncategorized on July 27, 2009 by derrickmgreen

            This week in class we have been discussing the inclusion of social networking technologies into the learning environment to provide students the opportunity for greater connection between one another and those outside the classroom. In Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, many types of technology were discussed, ranging from Google Docs and Microsoft Publisher to Sid Meyer’s Civilization series of PC games and WebQuest design. Technologies such as these can have a profound effect on students. The 21st century student, at least in my school community, is incredibly tech savvy. Whenever I incorporate technology into a lesson, whether a PowerPoint presentation with video and audio or the development of a classroom wiki page about Shakespeare, student engagement is dramatically increased along with group cooperation.  Since my students are so technologically sophisticated, the incorporation of technologies that they are generally familiar with, but used academically, can greatly increase their cooperative learning and overall understanding of the subject being discussed.

            I have always strived to create a classroom that is student-centered and engaging to each individual. The tools described in the reading allow me to not only engage my students with technology but provide an avenue for them to learn cooperatively and socially. Since the primary foundation of social learning theory is that students and people create knowledge through the exposure of multiple cultures and various environments, by placing technological tools into the hands of students that can connect them to diverse ideas and peoples, my students will have a greater opportunity to develop and retain knowledge. Similar to the experience my students will have when they graduate high school and move on to college (a new environment populated by diverse peoples with unique life experiences learning together collaboratively) the inclusion of technologies that give my students that opportunity in middle school and throughout their high school careers will better prepare them for the further advanced education and help them to better retain the knowledge gained during their time with me.

            Overall, I personally find social networking technologies to be the wave of the future for education and every other fact of our lives. As I grew up in the formative years of the social networking world (instant messaging, facebook, MySpace, etc) I have seen first hand how they can assist in an individual’s education. I know that my students will benefit greatly from these technological tools presented and that I will become a better educator as I strive to develop lessons that use these tools as a way to help my students achieve success.