Action Research Project Literary Review

My Literature Review

There are a number of resources that focus on effective technology integration in the classroom. Sun Associates is a company who works with schools, districts and state departments in the United States, and other educational organizations worldwide. (Sun Associates) They state that research has shown that when tools such as word processors, spreadsheets, databases, modeling and presentation software are integrated into curriculum-based student-centered classroom activities, this can promote 21st century skills. They go on to say that meaningful integration means matching the most effective tools with the most effective pedagogy to achieve the goals of a particular lesson. Furthermore, the Sun Associates state that technology infrastructure in a school dictates what is and what is not possible for students and teachers. In connecting this to my research, this tells me that the tools must be in place to begin with in a school for technology integration to be effective. The report also notes that it is essential for equipment and infrastructure decisions in the school must be driven by the specific learning goals of the school/board. Sun Associates also states that schools whose professional development exposes teachers to new ideas and ways of teaching, with and without technology, are those whose classrooms display evidence of research-based best practice. Technology must be driven by the goals of the curriculum and must be used by students to allow for exploration, discovery and deeper understanding.

The current research also states that educational technologies must also provide students with interactive experiences along with frequent and focused feedback. (Militello et al)I think this fits well with other resources I’ve researched which talks about Google Documents being an excellent tool for providing meaningful feedback. This will allow teachers to give students more feedback, and in less time. Google Drive even allows you to track revision history to see how responsive they have been to your feedback. (Carey,Google Drive: A Better Method for Giving Students Feedback) I believe this is an example that shows how students are provided with interactive experiences along with meaningful feedback.

Research also indicates that the use of technology must be part of an instructional shift towards constructivist approaches to teaching and learning. Instead of simply dispensing knowledge, it’s about teachers setting up projects and arranging for access to appropriate resources. (Kozma)Constructivism is a process in which students set their own goals and plan their learning activities. (Kozma) Teachers must change their role from primary sources of information to one who provides students with structure and advice, monitors their progress, and assesses their accomplishments. In one case study, when teachers go beyond basic teaching practices and use technology to prepare and plan instruction and collaboration, and when students use technology to conduct research projects, analyze data, solve real-world problems, design products, and assess their own work, then they are more likely to develop new problem solving, information management, collaboration and communication skills. (Kozma) In terms of my research, this tells me that if technology is used as a tool, it should be used to promote collaboration, creativity and critical thinking, which can come in a variety of forms. This is what makes technology use truly effective. Another article from Edutopia (Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum?) states that effective technology integration must happen across the curriculum in ways that research shows deepen and enhance the learning process. The Edutopia Staff go on to state that technology must support active engagement, group participation, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts. They also say that when students are learning through projects, students acquire and refine their analysis and problem-solving skills as they work both independently and in teams to find and synthesize information they’ve found.

After reviewing the literature on effective technological practices in education, I have come to a variety of conclusions on how to effectively use technology in the classroom. I have come to realize that whenever technology is used, the curriculum expectations must be taken into account, otherwise, you are just using technology for the sake of using technology. Technology should also be used to allow for student collaboration. I have come to realize that to be effective, learning must be student-centered. This means that they must be the ones doing the research and engaging in critical thinking, with the teacher facilitating. Technology must also be used in a collaborative manner. This means students can work on group projects and create multimedia presentations in groups, or even do research in groups. In the 21st century, the ability to collaborate and produce with team members is an extremely vital skill. I also learned that technology should and can be used to provide meaningful feedback, and this can be done in a variety of ways. This feedback should enable students to become their own best assessors and help them find ways to improve their learning. Many of the literary resources I’ve read have truly helped me understand what it means to use technology effectively. I believe the information I have been researching goes hand in hand with some of the practical tips on using technology in the classroom I have come to learn from websites such as www.edudemic.com, www.edutopia.com, and www.fluency21.com.

 

What did I find that was unexpected?

To be completely honest, I did not really find much that was unexpected. However, I initially overlooked the significance of teacher professional development to become effective facilitators of technology use in the classroom. The reality is, is that school boards and schools must invest money in not only having the most appropriate and technological tools, they must also invest in teachers themselves, making sure that they are comfortable with using technology in the school environment. In other words, school boards and schools cannot continue saying that there just isn’t enough funding. If they are serious about adapting to the 21st century learners, then they need to literally put their money where their mouth is. Through professional development, teachers must learn how to connect curriculum content with technological use in an efficient and effective way. They need to be shown what tools can be used in the classroom, and how to link it to curriculum content. More importantly, I also overlooked that teachers themselves need to be passionate and willing to change so that they are not afraid to use technological resources in the classroom. There is no way technology can be used effectively if teachers are too afraid to come out of their comfort zones. At first I thought that teachers would naturally support this 21st century change, but I then realized that since we are creatures of habit, many teachers might not be willing to support the major shift to technological education right away.

Is there anything I could not account for in my findings?

I was able to learn how technology can be integrated thoroughly in the classroom. I feel that my research is missing studies or resources on technological methods that do not work in the classroom. Personally, I think I need to dig a little deeper and find resources that show examples of using technology in the wrong way. This would serve a purpose because I will not only be learning about effective technological practices, but ineffective practices which I could be careful to avoid.

Literary Resources

Carey, Jennifer. “Google Drive: A Better Method for Giving Students Feedback” Powerful Learning Practice, 9 Sep 2013. Web. 28 Oct 2013 <http://plpnetwork.com/2013/09/09/give-students-frequent-feedback-google-drive/ >

Edutopia Staff. “Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum?:The Reasons Are Many” Edutopia. Web. 28 Oct 2013http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-introduction

Kozma, Robert. “Technology and Classroom Practices: An International Study” Center for Technology in Learning 36(2003) <http://robertkozma.com/images/kozma_jrte.pdf>

Militello et al. “Effective and Meaningful Use of Educational Technology: Three Cases from the Classroom” <http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic786630.files/HeffernanMS.pdf>  1-17

Sun Associates. “Best Practices in Technology Integration”   Web. 28 Oct. 2013. <http://www.sun-associates.com/tlresources.html.>

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My Twitter Handle

Hello Everybody!

My Twitter handle is @MrP21C.

All of the posts on my blog are automatically tweeted once they are published!

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Symbaloo

Check out my Symbaloo Page!

This is a great way for teachers to manage and share their resources with students or colleagues. All the icons on the webmix you see have links to all kinds of resources!

http://www.symbaloo.com/mix/teacherresources195

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Social Evolution MP3 Activity

Here are the questions for Module 3 in my Online Learning Course:

1.    Would you consider it rude to chat on your cell phone while checking out at the grocery store?

2.    Is it appropriate to text a friend when you are at home eating dinner?

3.    How much time should a family spend on separated tasks while in the same space? 4.    When is it appropriate to text instead of calling?

5.    Why is it socially acceptable to read the paper at the table but perhaps not a digital device?

6.    Why do people text more than talk or vice versa?
Activities

  1. Please read the Ontario College of Teachers Advisory on Social Media found here: http://www.oct.ca/resources/advisories/use-of-electronic-communication-and-social-media

I answered the questions above in an audio format. I also included my thoughts to the social media advisory from the Ontario College of Teachers. Please click on the audio link below to hear my response:

http://www.filedropper.com/socialmediaresponse_1

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Ian Jukes Blog Review: 5 Modern Skills Teachers Need

The 5 Biggest Skills Modern Teachers Need Link

Ian Jukes posted an article by Edudemic on his blog. He states that the five qualities that John Perkins, from Edudemic speaks about in this article are a must for teachers in the 21st century.  He begins the article by stating that there are only basic requirements for hiring a teacher; a teaching certificate, degree and background check. He goes on to say that the most modern teachers go beyond their degree and develop some other important skills. The first skill he talks about is diplomacy. He states that teachers must be delicate, but firm when dealing with students, parents and administrators. He also states that great teachers must be both a mentor and guide to students, exemplifying the skill of leadership. He states that teachers must also have great organizational skills, being able to stick to a schedule and change direction son the fly. Life saving skills are another essential skill according to John Perkins (Note: He is a marketing manager for OnlineCPRCertification.net.) The final skill teachers should have in the 21st century is the ability to learn, meaning that the learning process should never stop.

I found this article to be quite interesting. I can definitely see how all of these skills are a must for 21st century teachers. I agree with Ian Jukes’s comment that these five qualities are a must for every teacher in the digital age. The biggest criticism I have regarding this article by John Perkins is the fact that he states that many schools only have basic requirements for hiring a teacher. I really don’t think it’s as simple to become a teacher as Mr. Perkin’s makes it sound. I can speak from experience regarding the hiring process, whereas I am not so sure that Mr. Perkin’s, a marketing manager for OnlineCPRCertification.net, can, since he is not a teacher and has never been hired by a school board.

All that being said, Mr. Perkins is correct in stating that 21st century teachers must constantly strive to continually develop the 5 qualities he talks about in his article. There is no doubt that educators should strive to be lifelong learners, adapting to the needs and learning styles of their students.

On another note, you have probably noticed that 3 of my lasts posts relate to Ian Jukes’s Blog. Ian Jukes is a teacher, administrator, consultant, writer and keynote speaker. He is also the director of the 21st Century Fluency Project, and I have had the honour of hearing him speak live and his words resonated with me in a very deep way. He is an enormous supporter of 21st century learning, and he even has his own Twitter account, where he constantly posts great articles/resources/blogs for anybody interested in 21st century learning. He can be followed on Twitter @ijukes. Since I have heard him speak live and follow him on Twitter, I had a natural bias towards many of his resources. I thought it would be appropriate to explain why my last three posts have essentially come from Ian Jukes’s blog and/or Twitter account.

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Review on Ian Jukes’s Blog: Google Drive

Google Drive: A Better Method for Student Feedback Link

This is one of Ian Jukes’ blog. The first thing he talks about is how Google Docs is now called Google Drive. He talks about how you can use Google Drive as a word processing document, and that it has most of the popular features associated with Microsoft Word. He writes that Google Drive is unique because it gives you the ability to share documents with others. This means that students can share a document with their teacher, which allows the teacher the ability to only view the document, but to make revisions or comments on it as well. Instead of emailing back and forth, the teacher can open up the Drive table of contents and make live comments and corrections. Another great thing about Google Drive is that you can track revisions and a document’s history. You can even leave voice notes to students, which is a great way to provide broad feedback.

I wanted to include this blog about Google Drive, because I believe it is a revolutionary tool that should be used in the classroom. It is a new and exciting way to provide fluid feedback to students. I also think that students tend to be more computer savvy; therefore they will be more likely to read and respond to feedback in this format. I think Google Drive is a tool that truly embraces 21st century learning.  Although it is not mentioned in this article, I also know that Google Drive can be used between students working on group assignments, facilitating collaboration. It makes things much easier for students who are not always able to meet at someone’s house when working on a group project. They can literally work together in real time.

This blog really resonated with me because I was recently introduced to Google Drive through my Technology in the Classroom Part I Course. I also presented the Google Drive application to some of my colleagues. The intermediate teachers in my school were very interested in using Google Drive when I told them about it, so I demonstrated how to use Google Drive to the students and teachers, and they were mesmerized and excited by all the great things they can do with this tool at their disposal. Most of the students have created a Google Account, and have been doing writing assignments, group or individual through Google Documents. Most of the teachers are beginning to get used to the idea of writing feedback through shared documents.  Google Drive is an enormous tool that can definitely change the way teachers provide meaningful feedback for their students, while simultaneously facilitating opportunities for creative collaboration.

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Review and Analysis: “Is Technology Answer to Education’s Problems?”

No Child Left Untableted Article Link

Ian Jukes posted an article on his blog called “No Child Left Untableted” by Carlo Rotella. This article talks about 18 middle schools that received 15,450 tablets for both students and teachers, courtesy of Amplify, to be used for class work, homework and educational games. Teachers in the district were receiving training on these tablets as a transformative educational tool. Some teachers were very receptive to the new technology, while others believed that these tablets would simply take over the classroom. Some did not like the idea of looking at a screen, as opposed to the students. The author of the article talks about this experiment showing the overvaluing of technology and the undervaluing of people, as well as the displacement of face-to-face interaction because of virtual connection. That being said, the author still came to Guilford County with curiosity and an open mind. The author even acknowledges that his tendency to dismiss the tech industry’s marketing might actually blind him to the tablets genuine potential as a teaching tool. He even spoke to Joel Klein, the chief executive of Amplify, and they spoke about his concern that technology isolates, rather than connects people. Klein stated that Grades K-12 isn’t working in the United States. There is a lot of money poured into education, with little results to show for it. Klein’s point is that we must be “very” different and better, as opposed to doing things a little different and a little better.

 

I think this article offers a lot of perspective. For one, it is clear that the “old” or “traditional” model of education is not working. This can simply be attributed to the fact that the traditional model was invented in a totally different world than the one we are living in now. In some way, I can sympathize with the author’s viewpoint that technology may isolate, rather than connect people. That being said, I believe that technology is a tool that can be used either correctly or incorrectly. Quite frankly, if students are isolated from one another through technology, then the technology is not being used correctly. In fact, students can collaborate with technology, even face-to-face. There are definitely possible negative consequences with the use of technology, but the possible benefits of using technology are endless. Why should we be afraid to leverage something that students are already comfortable and knowledgeable in to help them learn? The bigger question is not whether or not teachers should use technology in the classroom, but “HOW” to use it most effectively for students of the 21st century.

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