12 YouTube Videos Every Online Educator Should View

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12 YouTube Videos Every Online Educator Should View.

Great Resource.

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Free Technology for Teachers: Dropr – Create Multimedia Portfolios

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Free Technology for Teachers: Dropr – Create Multimedia Portfolios.

This is information about a great online file storage for teacher use.

Top 40 Software Applications for Educators CUSTOM_THESIS_TITLE_SEPARATORDr. Education, PhD

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Top 40 Software Applications for Educators CUSTOM_THESIS_TITLE_SEPARATORDr. Education, PhD.

This link provides a good breakdown of available software programs that are used throughout education.

504 Writings: Theoretical Foundations for Education

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This first paper was a general justification for educational theory.

When I was first introduced to the Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT), I wrote this review.

As I focused more on researching CHAT, I put together the Annotated Bibliography.

Finally, my classmate and I composed our synthesis paper, Learning Theories and the Use of Technology Tools

 

EdTech 504: Final Reflection, Cars and Educational Theory

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Final Reflection

EdTech 504, Theoretical Foundations for Education

 

While growing up, I didn’t learn a lot about fixing cars, so when I became a car owner, I asked a lot of questions about cars, from mostly guys, especially when there was a problem.  I actually learned a lot, but eventually I stopped asking opinions from people about what might be the problem with my car.  It was too frustrating hearing many different theories formed from personal experiences with their cars; it either sent me on a wild goose chase, or it was useless information for me.  Fortunately, I was blessed to have a good mechanic, and when I took my car to him, I knew that even if he couldn’t fix my car, he could explain what the problem was.

In some ways, this account from my life relates to my experience with this course.  I have been teaching for a few years, but prior to this course, I had limited exposure to teaching and learning theories.  We began by getting a general understanding of the role of learning theories in education, and then we dove deep into education theory.  I learned a significant amount about theory, but eventually I was in theory overload.  The time came when I needed to focus my attention on one theory in particular.  Even though there were several options, it seems that I was led to one, the Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT). 

Additionally, I have discovered that there are many varying opinions about the role of technology in education.  The EdTech program has served as a safe haven, in general, for listening to or voicing my opinions about how education is changing and that technology will make a huge impact.  Unfortunately, it was not the same in my working world.  It seems that both educational theory and technology integration can be misunderstood, and neither topic is very easy to dissect.  I hate conversations that take up time and go nowhere, so I tend to avoid these circumstances and develop my teaching around my philosophy as much as I’m allowed to do so.   

Therefore, this course has helped me develop more of my own philosophy regarding education theory and the role of technology in education, both now and in the future.  Whether it is for my students, my parents, my administration, or myself there are times that I am called on to give an account of why I use certain teaching strategies.  Even though CHAT may not cover all my students’ needs, it does provide a good amount of justification for what I do as a teacher.  I understand that learning is a social activity, and people interact in society based on cultural norms, which include the use of tools.  Strong trends in society are indicating that people are able to interact in multiple ways through their technology tools.  As these trends grow, they will become staples, which we will need to function in all facets of society. 

In conclusion, EdTech 504 has given me more foundation in my approach to education, which will help me today as a teacher.  However, it has helped me to imagine the future of education and how we can apply theory to it.

EdTech 541: Final Reflection

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Two, four, six, eight,
It’s time for us to integrate.
Ten, Twelve, fourteen, sixteen,
There’s so much more I haven’t seen.
Eighteen, twenty, you know the rest,
I hope I pass this final test.
With E-P-I-stemology
It’s time to use technology.

There’s something about the way that God wired me, that when its time to look back over a difficult period of time, I get poetic.  So the above lines were jotted down with the inspiration of this course and this semester.  I’m glad it’s coming to a close, but before it is official, here are my required reflections

Part I: Course Reflection

  • What have you learned?

For integration strategies, I focused most of my attention on applying technologies to English language development.  In the process, I became more familiar with a variety of resources, tools, and strategies for integrating technology.  I also was reminded of some basic principles when working with English language learners.  Additionally, this course has helped me see outside of my usual perspective, by requiring me to consider integration strategies for other content areas and also exploring technologies for students with special needs.

  • How did theory guide the  development of the projects and assignments you created?

During this semester, I was taking another EdTech course along side this one, it was Theoretical Foundations, EdTech 504.  Because of the constant reinforcement of theory, I was developing much of my 541 course activities around the reinforced knowledge.  The theory that I spent the most time researching is the Cultural Historical Activity Theory, which states that human activity, such as education, is a social activity that is manifested through the use of tools and other social practices  (Duvane & Squire, 2010).  This theory made me consider each technology tool for it’s ability to enhance learning opportunities. 

Educational theory is a very dense topic, therefore, I try to simplify it whenever possible.  I really liked the selection of this text book for this course, because the information was presented in a clear and concise way.  In particular, I appreciated how the book identified the differences between directed teaching, which is part of the objectivists’ view point, and constructed learning by the learners, which is part of the constructivists’ views (Roblyer & Doering, 2012).  With both major theories, there are integration strategies that can be used.

  • How does the course work demonstrate mastery of the AECT standards?

The various activities and projects helped me to meet many AECT standards, mostly in Standard 1: Design,  Standard 2: Development, and Standard 3: Utilization.  For a complete list of the specific standards met during this course please visit the AECT Standards Page on my course project page.

  • How have you grown professionally?

This course was quite demanding of my time, but I managed to meet all the deadlines.  Many external factors of my professional life have helped develop me along side the content I have learned for this course.  For example, I was asked at the beginning of the semester to chair the 9th grade department, I also implemented a Project Based Learning module that I developed with a EdTech colleague over the summer, and I managed to coach a little tennis with the Community and Service program in my school.  This semester has taught me more about balance and meeting responsibilities. 

  • How have your own teaching practice or thoughts about teaching been impacted by what you have learned or accomplished in this course?  What will you do differently as an educator as a result of this course?

Wherever I have taught, I have tried to take the students where they are and to develop them more with language skills.  This course has reminded me of ways to use technology to develop some of those students that have struggled to develop their language skills.  However, one of my grandest goals is to help my students develop self-confidence in their own ability to learn.  I will try to develop more differentiation skills for working with students that struggle language, but also strengthen their skills with technology tools too.

This course has also given me an awareness of my possible future role in an educational establishment.  I potentially see me moving from a position that mostly emphasizes language development, to a position that promotes technology integration across all the curriculum.  The course has prepared me for a possible transition, but more importantly, it not only has given me a collection of resources, but also it has given me a foothold on the topic of technology integration in all areas of education.

Part II:  Self-Evaluation

Ironically, now that I am at the end of the semester, I have just now paid attention to the rubric for blog and reflection postings.  Throughout the semester, I just read what the professor expected of me, and to my knowledge, I completed all the tasks on time.  Furthermore, I feel that writing is one of my more developed skills, and coupled with my creativity, I always looked for a way to make my reflections as entertaining as possible for my readers.  As a result, I believe that I have developed a bit of a minor following, based on some of the comments that I have read.  If you are one of those readers, who are reading this now, I just want to say thank you for the wonderful feedback that you have given me.

Also, I made a point to give some constructive feedback to many of my colleagues, and I believe that I have met the minimum requirement of always responding to a few colleagues.  I too, have enjoyed reading about my classmates’ experiences and their reflections.

Based on the rubric, I do not see where any points would be reduced from my blog grade.  So I think it will be full points.  However, I welcome any criticism, if there are even the slightest of flaws.

References:

A Theory X-Ray: What’s Inside Me

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Photo by Anne @ indulgy.com

Photo by Anne @ indulgy.com

What has a semester of theory crunching done for me as a teacher?  This semester has already produced some profound reflections throughout the 16 weeks, so I guess it is appropriate that I am provoked to ponder yet another profound question as sort of a finale.   When I think of all I do as a teacher, one of the top thoughts is “how I plan my lessons so that it is relevant to my students”.  When I am putting together the logic and the structure of my lesson, generally, I am not thinking about educational theory.  However, when I think of the “why” of my lesson, it usually fits nicely into one theory or another.  Since I have made it a goal to integrate technology into my teaching, I am witnessing the exploration of a new frontier in epistemology, which has great potential for reshaping our teaching and learning practices.

The Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) is the theory that I spent the most time exploring during this semester.  It resonated with me on many levels, but primarily I grew attached to the concept of humans interacting in society with their tools.  A typical coffee shop conversation will generally render two sides of an opinion about the role of technology in society or in education.  There’s the “technology is changing the way things were” view versus the “technology is creating new opportunities” view.  Ironically, this argument has been around for a long time, nonetheless the world keeps changing; but I must ask, where are all the nay-sayers that protested society’s embrace of the telephone nearly 100 years ago (Farber, Shafron, Hemadani, Wald, & Nitzburg, 2012).  Eventually they declined as more of society embraced the use of the technology.  I consider that the current trends in technology adoption will follow the same pattern in many ways, so I believe that many emerging technologies will one day be used as a standard by the majority of society.  I feel my role is to prepare myself as much as possible so I can prepare my students.

The two major branches of education theory is objectivism and constructivism (Roblyer & Doering, 2012). Even though individual theories attempt to give an account for methodology, they usually rely on the core concept that knowledge is transmitted (objectivism) or knowledge is constructed (constructivism).  Even though I lean more toward the constructive side, as I work with middle aged teens, I realize that there are many gaps in their overall ability, and therefore they are not able to build their own knowledge with missing parts of the foundation.  So, like many educators, I believe that both of these branches must exists to a certain extent.  Even with technology integration, students must be taught the correct way to interact with the technology tools before they can actually use them to construct their own knowledge.

This concept of using technology tools as a basis for social activity still has much ground to cover, but there is significant evidence in society of how it is changing the way we interact (Shum & Ferguson, 2012).  I had the opportunity to explore Connectivism as an emerging theory, which gives an account for our ability to interact in the world using technology tools (Siemens,  2005).  Also, while collaborating with my classmate, Aaron Dore, I learned a significant amount about TPACK, and how we as teachers should be versed in content knowledge, pedagogy knowledge, and technology knowledge.  All of this exposure to theories has helped reaffirm my dedication to educational technology, not only for my own benefit, but also for the benefit of my students.  Unfortunately, change in education takes time, so in the meantime, these theories reinforce confidence in me that I can share with administrators, colleagues, and parents, even when nay-sayers are nearby.

References

  • Farber, B. A., Shafron, G., Hemadani, J., Wald, E., & Nitzburg, G. (2012). Children, technology, problems, and preferences. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 68. doi:10.1002/jclp.21922
  • Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2012). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (6th ed.). Chapter 15: Allyn & Bacon.
  • Shum, S. B., & Ferguson, R. (2012). Social Learning Analytics. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 15(3), 3–26.
  • Siemens, G. (2005, April 5). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Elearnspace. Retrieved October 25, 2012, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm