Technology in the Classroom Reflections: - Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum?: The Reasons Are Many.
Technology is touching almost every part our lives, yet most schools lag far behind when it comes to intregating technology into classroom teaching. Properly used, technology will help students acquire the skills thet need to survive in an ever more complex, highly technoloogical knowledge-based economy. Effective tech intergration must happen across the curriculum in a way that will deepen and enhance the learning process and will be achieved when the use of technology is routine and transparent and when technology supports curricular goals.
Learning through projects while equipped with technology tools allows students to be intellectually challenged while them with a realistic snapshoot of what the real-world looks like. Through projects, students acquire and refine their analysis and problem-solving skills as they work individually and in groups to find, process, and synthesize information. The resources of the online world provide students with interesting, diverse, and current learning materials. The Web connects students to experts and provides numerous opportunities for expressing understanding through images, sound, and text. And as an added benefit, with technoogy tools and a project-learning approach, students are more likely to stay engaged and on task, reducing behavioral problems in the classroom.
Technology also changes the way teachers teach, offering educators effective ways to reach different types of learners and assess student understanding through multiple means. It also enhances the relationship between teacher and student. Whwn technology is effectively integerated into subject areas, teachers grow into roles of advisor, content expert, and coach. Technology helps make teaching and learning more meaningful and fun.
Some students learn by doing, some by reading, and some by observing. With the recent availability of technology in the classroom, it has become easier for teachers to reach all these different learning styles. The concept of differentiated instruction has come into play in an attempt to reach all students. With differentiatd instruction and technology, educators are reaching more students than ever. It is up to every teacher to decide what kind of technology to use and when to use it.
It was interesting in this video, how technology is used in real-life environments. They were using real data in their Math classes instead of random numbers. It's more interesting for students to learn using real life information. This video demonstrated how we can get students more motivated to learn. The students were able to use certain technologies for their personal interests and were able to see the scientific aspects behind them. Technology allows both teachers and students to explore beyond the classroom. - The Virtual Classeoom Redefines Education.
This video was about the growing number of high-school students that are attending online classes. Most take an online class or two to obtain access to classes not available at their local school, gain a conpetitive edge when preparing for college, or accommodate a jammed schedule. A few, though, are so convinced of the efficacy of online instruction that they have abandoned traditional schools altogether. Virtual schools do make available a world of new courses that challenge students intellectually and open up new doors educationally. And thanks to the anytime, anywhere nature of online courses, students with a range of special circumstances don't have to fall behind or drop-out. From small rural communities to large urban centers, schools of all sizes and styles are looking to online courses to patch holes in their own academic lineups.
It was interesting to note, that thanks to modern technology online learning can be more immediate than some face-face instruction. Students converse with the teacher and classmates, give online presentations of offline work, perform virtual and traditional lab work, and meet in virtual conference rooms. Students find that they don't have to wait long for feedback on a project or test.
This immediacy, combined with the physical seperation inherent in th eonline environment, can give students a sense of freedom and openness that isn't always present in a typical classroom. The freedom of expression some students find online can shine a light on talents that go unnoticed in the typical classroom. Students also demand more of their teachers. Just as online courses can foster closer relationships between students and teachers, so too, can they build understanding among far-flung students.
Although virtual schools may open doors for young minds, they're not a cure-all for the shortfalls of public education. In fact, the idea that they are a panacea may be one of the few real dangers of online learning. Online learning is not a solution to facilities that are falling down, and it doesn't solve underfunding.
Virtual schools also raise a few problems of their own. For example, though the virtual classroom offers shy students a front-row seat and one-on-one access to their teachers, the instructors have to find time to provide that attention. Add to that the meticulous preparation necessary to teach online, and you have a recipe foe a teacher time drain.
Adequate training and screening for virtual teachers becomes a critical part of the package. A good teacher makes a good class. Even with excellent training, some teachers simply don't work well online. Students don't always, either. An online class requires discipline and motivation. Some students simply aren't up to it, even if they excel in a traditional classroom setting. Another critical issue is course quality. As in traditional classrooms, the caliber of virtual classes can vary cobsiderably.
What will the future bring? Some form of blended learning, online and in the classroom, will likely become the norm. Students will take one or two online courses to supplement their traditional schedule, and most students won't entirely be on their own. An in-class teacher will act as a coach, helping students select online courses and making sure they stay on track and manage their time well. Also, it must be remembered that schools play a tremendous role in socialization and in the community.
Classroom Webinar Topic: Exploring
The Classroom 2.0 Live webinar topic that I "explored" was Exploring with show hosts Kim Chaise, Lorna Costantini and Peggy George with special guests Gerald Aungst and Lauren Zucker. This a very useful technology tool for use in the classroom. All About Explorers is a website developed by a group of teachers as a means of teaching students about the internet. The point being that although the interenet can be a tremendous resource for gathering informatiom about a topic, they found that students often did not have the skills to discern useful informatiom from worthless data.
So, they have developed a series of lessons for elementary age students in which they demonstrate that just because it is out there for the searching does not make it worthwhile. The only way they could b sure of controlling the content of the site was to create their own site and develop the content for the site.
Because they wanted to make a point about finding useless information even in a site which looked at first to be fairly well put together, all of the Explorer biographies in the site are fictional (the biography of Sir Frances Drake is a must read!). As such, they stress that it is important that you do not use this site as a source of reference for your own research!
Any references to outside source materials, however, are quite accurate to the best of their knowledge. Books and other print materials are listed throughout the site. In most cases these are the references they give to their students when they are looking for reliable information about these explorers. Links to other web sites have also been evaluated for accuracy and usefulness. Their "Treasure Hunts" page is an excellent teaching tool.
Very good lesson plans (the "For Teachers" page is a must see) have also been incorporated into this web site along with an Explorer WeQuest which they use with their own students to do valid research about these same explorers after showing their students the pitfalls of poor planning and searching. In both cases, again, the information they include is as accurate as possible. They say that all of their lesson plans have been tested with students in the upper elementary grades.
Over the past few months, they (a team of 2) have been working hard behind the scenes at All About Explorers. They have essentially rebuilt the site from the ground up to add new features and new content. They feel that it is a certainity that there are things that they haven't gotten right yet. Even though they have caught a large number of glitches already, they are asking for everyones' help in tracking them all down. They are asking to let them know what you find and what suggestions you have for making it better. The site welcomes suggestions for new content, reorganizing the site, and lesson plan ideas. You can submit your ideas in one of the forums, or share it with them through the web site contact form.