What are the most effective educational technology practices that can be utilized at the Elementary (Grade 5-8) level?
To me, this is a very important question because I have access to and use technology quite often at my school. I am often helping other teachers implement technology in their classrooms as well. Many teachers seem to want to include technology in various ways in their classroom, but many, including myself, may not be aware of the most effective methods that can be used to both fulfill the demands of meeting curriculum expectations, while using technology. I personally believe technology must not be used for the simple sake of using technology. It must be used for the purpose of teaching students curriculum content and learning skills in a “language” that they are truly acquainted with. Since I see these students every day, I want to know how I can make their educational experience worthwhile and productive.
My goal is to not only implement the best technology practices at the elementary level. I want to combine these practices so that students will gain more opportunity to be collaborative with one another. Students can create online research presentations together, learning to work together, even doing so at the same time, while in different places. I know that this is something that can be done with Google Docs. I want students to use technology to display their creativity. For example, students can use technology to create presentations, videos, songs or blogs. I also want students to use critical thinking when implementing technology practices. Where can they go to get research information on a project? How will they know the difference between a legitimate and illegitimate source? I also want to learn how to effectively use technology when assessing and evaluating students. How do I make this process transparent for students? I believe that it is imperative for students to understand how they are being assessed, so that they eventually become their own best assessors.
In conclusion, I don’t want to just use technology. I want to use it with a purpose. I want my students to be receptive and comfortable with any technology used, and I want them to be able to use it themselves. I also want to learn what methods do not work in the classroom when implementing technology. I think it is important to do this because students need to learn in a 21st century environment, for the simple reason that they are living in a 21st century world. When students graduate and enter the workforce, they need to be equipped with the necessary 21st century skills, and it is our responsibility as educators to make sure that we prepare them for the world they are living in.
This is my rationale for wanting to learn the most effective technological practices that can be implemented at the elementary level.
List of Materials for Research
Types of Information to be gathered-how it will be gathered and how it will inform inquiry
- Student questionnaires on technological tools they would like to see in the classroom and why. This will help me gauge students’ interests. The questionnaire will also ask students about technology they have seen work well or not so well. (Grade 3-8 students) This will help give me a sense of what tools can be effective in the classroom based on my students’ wants or needs.
- Teacher questionnaires on technological learning tools they would like to use or have used. The will rate tools as effective/ineffective and tell why. This will give me a better sense of what tools work really well, and what to watch out for when the tools don’t work out so well. Learning from other professionals’ personal experiences can provide a much deeper understanding of effective technological practices.
- Research findings from articles and other sources about effective technological use in the classroom will also help me find technological activities that are effective.
Gathering information: 3-4 weeks
Researching and writing a Literature Review-brief summary of current, relevant research that relates to topic of study: 1-2 weeks
Planning and implementing inquiry: 5-6 weeks
Developing an Annotated Bibliography: 5-6 weeks
Examining various evidences gathered: 1-2 weeks
Writing up investigation: 1-2 weeks