Friday, June 27, 2014

EDUC 7726 Teaching, Learning, and Assessing in the Digital Era

In today’s technology enriched world, teachers need to use technology to make learning more engaging and authentic, and to teach the skills that students will need for their future.  Teaching in the digital era requires teachers to use effective teaching strategies and embed technology in their lessons.

For my final assignment to my EDUC7726 Teaching, Learning, and Assessing in the Digital Era, I will summarize my learning. I used Popplet software  to create a pictorial representation of my learning. My Popplet can be found at the end of this post. It has the specifics and details of my learning.  I chose to use Popplet to document my learning because it was easy to learn and it was free.

In order to be an effective teacher in today’s world, teachers must meet the diverse learning needs of their student.  Universal Design for Learning is a method that teachers can use to develop lessons that meet the diverse learning needs of their students. Teachers also need to use effective teaching strategies such as those identified in Robert Marzano’s “9 Highly Effective Teaching Strategies” and John Hattie’s research on improving student learning and achievement will help teachers design lessons that will help students learn.

Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model identifies the opportunity to use technology in  lessons.   The model matches the type of technology tool needed for a specific task.

Technology has many affordances for teaching, learning, and assessment. Students can use technology to collaborate, communicate, create, and use critical thinking skills as they read, write, and create online content. When teachers integrate technology effectively it leads to improved instruction.  Teachers are able to meet the diverse learning needs of their students by providing learning materials in multimodal format. Teachers can use technology to assess students during instruction. Assessment data can be used by teachers to determine how instruction should proceed and what learning scaffolds need to be put in place. Technology supports the symbiotic relationship between assessment and learning.

The following are benefits of using technology in teaching and assessment
  • learning is authentic because students are using real world tools
  • 21st century skills are practiced and developed
  • facilitates the evaluation and assessment of student work
  • learning materials and assignment can be presented in a variety of ways
  • data collected through assessments can be used to drive instruction
  • it promotes self and peer review

Technology supports student centered learning.  Student centered learning activities utilizes  students’ interests and strengths to achieve improved student learning.  Providing students  with choices on what they want to learn, how they want to learn it,  and how they want to show what they’ve learn are elements of student centered learning. Students take ownership of their learning and are engaged with their learning. Teachers become facilitators to support students in their learning. Using a student centered learning approach helps prepare students to become lifelong learners.

Click here to access my Popplet.

Friday, June 6, 2014

My Soap Box

This week in EDUC7726 Teaching, Learning, and Assessing in the Digital Era, we were  asked to stand on a "soap box" and speak for 8 minutes on a topic related to technology. We met as a class through Google Hangouts and delivered our "soap box" speeches.  I chose to speak about the "Top 10 - What Teachers Should Know about Technology". I enjoyed this activity because I was able to reflect and share my thoughts about what I feel is important for teachers to know about teaching with technology.  I was able to corroborate my thoughts with research, and I was able to share my understanding of ideas presented by others who have written on the topic.  Here is my soap box presentation on "What Teachers Need to Know About Technology".

The soap box topics presented by my classmates were all informative. I learned something from each. The topics were relevant and meaningful to my journey in the effective use of technology in teaching.  +Elizabeth Hick's "If students have the answers, what are the questions?" presented thought provoking ideas and research on questioning. With the proliferation of the Internet, finding the answers has never been easier. Questions posed by teachers today have to move beyond recall and summarization to questions that promote higher order thinking skills.   +Joseph Depalma shared a host of valuable resources and suggestions regarding the use of technology by young children. From  +Elizabeth Ferry 's soap box, "Stem to Steam", I learned about the trend to integrate "Art" into the STEM fields. +Amy Paskov's presentation on MOOCs and the issue with assessment generated a discussion on auto computerized grading of writing. +Gail Dandelske shared about the inconsistencies between textbooks and CCSS alignment. +Tim Flanagan spoke about the ISTE organization and the resources they offer. From his presentation, I learned about the standards for coaches of technology. Finally +Joan Robinson spoke of the future in technology and its uncertainty due to the rapid technological changes and advancements that occur. One thing is certain, it will look different than it does today.  She spoke of the need for teachers to find time to use technology and assess its effectiveness.

The "Soap Box" activity was an authentic learning opportunity, and I would like to thank our professor, +Laura Greenstein for suggesting the activity.  I think this activity is a powerful way to have students take a stance, research, evaluate, and synthesize information to create a presentation on a topic. I think my middle school students would also enjoy a "soap box" activity.