Social Network Learning

What are you initial reactions about joining these social networks for use in this course?

My initial reactions for joining these social networks for use in this course is excitement. I am glad that we will be utilizing social networks throughout the learning process. I always find that I learn better by doing so by using these social networks to complete assignments I know I will retain a lot. I am pretty familiar with Facebook as I have been a member since 2006, but they have added a lot of features since then that I haven’t used or looked into. I joined twitter in 2012, but have only used it on and off.

What is your experience in using social media for your own professional development?

The only social network I have used for professional development is twitter. Between March and April of this year I was getting really into twitter and posting everyday about educational technology. However, I found it became very difficult to keep up with and haven’t done much with it since.  It was getting difficult to find things to post about that were contributing to the conversation rather than recycling others posts.  It’s unbelievable the amount of resources posted daily on twitter.  I currently use facebook only for personal use but I rarely post on it. I don’t really enjoy facebook, and I only have one because it feels like something you need to have in the 21st century.

What is your experience in using social media as an instructional strategy in your learning environment?

I have no experience using social media as an instructional strategy. This is something I hope to learn this semester. I’d love to create an online learning environment for my students and parents. I feel like using social media in the classroom would really benefit my music program.

What are your expectations for this course?

From this course I am hoping to learn how integrate social media into the classroom. I’d like to learn how to connect with people on twitter and write posts that are contributing to the conversation. I’d like to learn how to manage feeds so it’s not so overwhelming. I’m also interested in learning about how other social media, like facebook and more, can be used for professional development. I believe social media is an extremely powerful educational tool, and I want to be able to use it effectively to help me grow as an educator and to meet the needs of 21st century learners.

 

Technology Use Planning Overview

 

Planning is an essential part of education.  As educators, we plan our lessons, unit goals and objectives, what materials are needed, how to differentiate instruction, and much more.  Technology use planning creates an outline of goals for what technology will be purchased, how it will be used for instruction, who will be using the technology, why it’s important, and when each phase of the plan will be completed.  Why is technology use planning important?  Without proper planning it would be almost impossible to successfully grow technology use that reflects current educational trends, instructional methods, and budget restrictions within a school or district.  Educators want their students to be learning with the most current and effective technology in the continuously evolving 21st Century, and the only way to make that possible is to plan ahead and revisit that plan on a timely basis.

When creating a technology use plan, reading the National Education Technology Plan is a great place to start.  The NETP is a powerful resource with excellent goals and ideas.  It presents five main goals and explores each goal in detail.  It explains why the goals are important and how to effectively implement them.  The document also presents many real examples of effectively using technology in education.  Hopefully, state educators would use this document when creating technology plans, as it is a well-researched resource.  Keeping our national plans and local plans aligned would help improve our nation’s education goals as a whole.

According to See (1992), technology goals need to be short-term, not long.  See (1992) noticed that technology was changing very rapidly, and today, technology is growing even faster.   New technology is released or updated constantly so trying to project a technology use plan past one year is unreasonable.   However, budget restrictions usually require that long-term goals are set.  One cannot expect that new technology be purchased for a whole school or district within one year.  Long-term plans would work well as long as the committee is meeting at least once a year to update the technology plan.  More often than not, committees write the plan and then do not revisit it until it is time to write the new one.   It should be a continuously involving document.   Also, by creating a long-term plan it allows the community that the school is dedicated (past one year) to advancing instructional technology to benefit students (Anderson, 1999).

Another interesting point that See (1992) makes in his article is that technology plans should be based on application, not technology.  In other words, the plan should start with general or specific goals like “students will be able to create podcasts” and then the committee would decide which technology would be best to complete that goal.  This is a very important point especially in the ever-changing world of technology.  Starting with a goal allows the committee to decide which technology would be best to purchase rather than selecting technology based on brand and then deciding how to use it. The NETP is a great example of See’s idea.  The entire document focuses on educational technology goals and why they are important.  It does not specify which specific technology to use.   Not citing specific technology is important because all schools have different budget restrictions and may not be able to purchase the same devices but they can still accomplish the same goals.

My experience with technology use planning has been limited as I am a new teacher.  I hope to be involved in the process when my district writes their new plan at the end of 2013.  My district currently has a 3-year plan in place that is application based.  When I started at the district the plan was newly written and I have seen a lot of the goals be completed.  For example, one goal was to equip all classrooms with SMART Boards, which as of this past September was completed.  Another goal was to continue to replace obsolete technology regularly, and I have seen many older computers be replaced or updated with new software.  One area that could use improvement is staff training for using the technology.  Even though all the classrooms have SMART boards, some teachers are unfamiliar with all the capabilities of the software.  As See (1992) states in his article, “When teachers are aware of the types of technology and applications available we can begin to show them how to integrate technology into the curriculum.”

Sources:

Anderson, L., & Perry, J. (1999). Technology planning: Recipe for success. Retrieved from: http://www.nctp.com/html/tp_recipe.cfm

See, J. (1992, May). Developing effective technology plans. The Computing Teacher19, (8). Retrieved from: http://www.nctp.com/html/john_see.cfm

U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology. (2010). National education technology plan. Washington D.C: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files/netp2010.pdf

Digital Inequality Assignment

Learning about digital inequality was very informative.  The digital divide is not something I have thought much about because where I grew up everyone I knew had computers and access to the Internet.  Being a teacher, I have seen students who do not have the Internet or computers at home and the struggles they face to keep up with the technology.  Being more aware of the digital inequality in my own school will greatly help my instruction.  When using technology in the classroom, I know that some students may understand the technology more quickly if they have it at home.  Knowing this allows me to meet the needs of all students when using technology in the classroom.

The seven options we were given to explore digital inequality really helped break down the possibilities for how the digital divide can be fixed.  We discovered that providing low cost or free Internet would most likely be the best solution to bridge the gap because it would cover two of the main reasons for digital inequality—availability and accessibility.  Providing training to students about the technology could cover literacy, another reason for the digital divide. Students of the 21st century have to have access to technology to keep up with their education.  By not having access to the Internet, they are shut off from endless resources that other students have at their fingertips.  My focus was creating free educational content for all which I found would not be the most economical use of funds because if students don’t have access to the internet they can’t view the content.  This issues of access and availability need to be addressed before creating new content.

Collaborating with the gamma group was a fun experience.  I had never been a part of a group meeting using Blackboard Collaborate’s Elluminate, and it was great how we could view the project together and discuss the seven options and goals for the presentations.  I definitely want to learn more about Elluminate and how to use all the components of the program to conduct meetings.  It was also very informative hearing the different opinions on digital inequality.  Our group used Google form to discuss meeting times, Google docs to collect research, and Google presentation to complete the assignment.  It was helpful gaining experience with all these programs.

Through the development of our presentation we utilized many technologies as mentioned above.  This project required us to manage resources to create an effective presentation. This artifact aligns with AECT standards 2.4, 3.2, 3.4, and 4.2.

Horizon Report Tech Trend

This lesson plan teaches students how to use Garageband to create a podcast about the life of an American Composer.  As discussed in the Horizon report, mobile apps and tablet computing is a fast growing trend in education.  I designed this lesson to utilize popular music apps and iPads so that students would gain valuable experience with this emerging technology.

I believe the students will benefit in multiple ways from completing this lesson.  They can apply the knowledge gained to create other podcasts on topics of their choice or future classroom assignments.  They also will be learning about American music history through a way that they can relate to as a 21st century learner.  Podcasting creates a fun twist on a research assignment and the students are more likely to remember the information because they are more actively involved and engaged when modern technology is being used.

This lesson directly applies to AECT standards 1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, and 4.4 because students will be designing a podcast which requires them to utilize audiovisual technologies (iPad) and manage researched information.  From this assignment, I learned how to use Scribd, embed a document, and received more practice using google docs (I usually use Word for writing documents).  In preparing for writing the lesson, I learned a lot about the Garageband app because I had to make sure everything I wanted the students to do would actually be possible using the mobile version.  The more I learn about Garageband the more amazed I am about the capabilities of the app and its seemingly infinite uses for teaching music.  I plan to teach this lesson this school year, and I am really looking forward to it!