Sunday, January 18, 2015

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow (The Field of Educational Technology

          I think the best phrase to describe technology is, “here today, gone tomorrow.” Technology is hypothetically developing at the speed of light and to speak honestly, I am way behind. There are so many definitions that try to encompass the vastness of technology and there are so many unique ways to look at technology that no one definition can give the term the justice it is due.
          This week we began EDOL 533: Educational Technology and already I am trying to get my head around just how electronically dependent this generation of students are and I can say with certainty, the generations to come will be more deeply involved than the previous generations. Our text main a very valid statement when it pointed out that every educator needs to be a competent user of the tools that facilitate teaching and learning at all the educational levels and it is very evident that those tools are structured around technology. If technology is at the base of every lesson teachers prepare, students are capable to explore, test, and construct knowledge that will better equip them to assume the skills of meaningful adult roles in society.
          As teachers, it is natural for us to want the best for our students; it’s our job. Therefore, we must inspire student learning and creativity, one of the ISTE Standards. Creativity gets the brain pumping. Students who are encouraged to create their own problems and use the same creativity to seek and solve those problems have dangerous, knowledgeable minds; minds for our future. Creativity can build critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, and promote decision making skills. These skills are essential for meaningful adult roles in society.
          One of my first goals as an educator is to learn and implement technologic explorations into my classroom for the benefits of my students and for myself. We learned of a few explorations this week that can be beneficial to the classroom.  Of the three we saw this week, Wiki, E-Books, and Podcasts, I found each served some purpose for my students. First, Wiki, or what was first known as “WikiWikiWeb”, is an encyclopedia that has a neutral point of view and has free content that has no rules and must be used in a respectful manner. Wiki is essentially a database for creating, browsing, and searching. I could use this as a beginner’s tool for students as they are learning to explore technology. This would be a good tool for early elementary students who are learning to do simple reports on dinosaurs or dogs. However, I would not encourage this resource based on the fact that almost anyone has the opportunity to contribute to Wiki. Because, anyone has the ability to comment or edit, wiki is not a scholarly source.
Secondly, E-Books are something I myself find very helpful and fun. This source helps build reading, math, and multiple literacy skills. It is combined of Tumble Book Library, Tumble Book Cloud Jr, and Tumble Math. This source is available to K-6. Some of the tools available are talking picture books, chapter books, videos, non-fiction titles, playlist, and books in other languages. For teachers, lesson plans, quizzes, educational games, and puzzles are available. There are also common core portals: K-5 English Common Core Portal and a Math Common Core Portal. Overall, I thought this was a good educational source. With the ability to access books, videos, or pictures and it also allows teacher’s educational opportunities such as lesson plans or quizzes. It would also benefit any grade level K-6. On the down side, this is not a free resource; however, it is $799 for K-5 for a whole year and $599 K-3 for a year. If the school would fund this or numerous teachers would go in together this could be beneficial for reading.
          Lastly, Mr. Langhorst’s Classroom Website was excellent. He has an excellent website, announcements, thoroughly detailed, guidelines, reminders, and test dates. Everything is clearly laid out and punctual. He also has a Twitter Mr. Langhorst also makes available grading info, reminder info, and testing links. He is very informative and in tune with is students and I would argue that they are very in tune with their teacher respect him. He speaks their tune of technology. I think podcasts and websites are excellent tools for this generation. Oh course, my students would need practice in learning how to explore the Internet but I think this would be a great tool that could get parents and other teachers on board. However, the only downfall would be that it requires daily updates and time put into creating a website that is current. The ease of use for this educational tool would be efficient. However, it is making the time by each individual educator to put in the effort and devotion it takes to keep a website and daily podcasts affective and refreshing for their students. 
                Next we will explore Productivity Software: Spreadsheets and Databases. We will also take a look at three more technological explorations and discuss, The Machine That Goes Pings. So stay tuned as we take a look at this beautiful, glamorous, scary thing called technology.

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