Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Elementary Education and Technology

Before reading this chapter, I had never thought of the importance and complexities of incorporating technology in to the classroom. As we all know, technology is constantly evolving and for the most part I feel as if I am able to keep up. But then there are times when I have to ask my 12 year old brother about certain of aspects of say microsoft word or excel that I had no idea even existed. This chapter really put in to perspective just how important technology can be in enhancing and even improving a child's achievements at school.

This chapter starts out by explaining how technology is more than just computers. I did not take into account all the other devices such as LCD projectors, digital cameras, and multi-media tools that are implemented into classrooms now. With the correct knowledge and understanding of all these technological devices, teachers are able to enhance their students' learning and ways of thinking. Then, the point is brought up that teachers should learn how to use all this technology so they can rely that knowlegde to their students. Teachers know their students and their learning habits which make them better equipped at teaching children about technology then say a tech assistant would be. So training teachers to utilize technology, then passing those skills on to their students is the most beneficial solution. Examples of this in the chapter show that schools that use technology to its full advantages, are more successful.

I agree that teachers need to learn about the technological advances that occur and then incorporate that in to their classrooms because of the positive outcomes it has on the children. I think that if more teachers were required to stay up to date with the rapid evolution of technology, then that knowledge could be passed on to help students to achieve at a higher and more advanced level.

It's Elementary!

After reading this first chapter, I found it interesting and important that integrating technology with classroom content can overall improve student achievement. It was helpful to see in Lenski's study that students' academic growth tended to be greater when teachers frequently integrated technology. This chapter adequately explained various ways to implement different technological tools into the classroom which can help meet learning needs for every student. For a teacher, providing multiple ways and opportunities of learning for diverse needs of students is a primary focus. When reading about the different forms of technology and the suggestions that the chapter provided about integrating them into classroom-content, I found myself generating ideas about how I could include technological tools in my future classroom.

This chapter also discussed the difference between a classroom teacher and a computer teacher. The book stated that a classroom teacher DOESN'T necessarily need collaboration to integrate technology, but a computer teacher CAN'T integrate technology with classroom content without the involvement of a classroom teacher. After rereading this specific section twice, I still remained a bit puzzled at why that is? I think that a computer teacher can implement some classroom content during their class by using outside resources from the actual computer. However, I do think that the computer teacher would be limited to few technological tools in comparison to a classroom teacher and would then not be able to improve student achievement.
I definitely agree that aministrative support plays a critical role in the success that classroom teachers will have when integrating technology. The attitude and the school staff is important because it can help to create an environment where teachers feel comfortable and encouraged to integrate technology and classroom content.

IT's Elementary!

The first chapter of this book brought up some good points that I had not thought about before.  The chapter talked about how the teacher had to really know what he/she was talking about.  The book said that some students knew more about technology than the teacher.  I realize that this is true.  Many students know a great deal about technology.  Teachers need to become more up to date on the technology so that they can keep up with their students.  The teacher knows the students and how each student learns best.  Therefore the teacher needs to teach his/her own students about the technology.  A tech assistant will not know each student's personal needs.  This could cause many problems.  It would take a great deal of money and planning to try to train all the teachers in the latest technology, when many schools do not have the funds to get things such as textbooks.  We need to find more efficient ways of training teachers.  I think that making it a requirement in college to take a technology class would be a tremendous help.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to technology, and it is very important that everyone is up to date.

The article also talked about the fact that students that had technology at their fingertips had better grades in school.  I would like to look more into this statement because there are many things that factor into this statement.  The schools that have the latest technology are schools with more money which means the students probably come from families that have more money, and have had more of an education.  I would like to look at a study that shows students of all economic levels and backgrounds and how they deal with technology and how it effects their grades.  I am excited to keep reading this book.  It will be interesting to see the suggestions it has for how to incorporate technology into activities everyday.

Elementary Technology: Introduction/Chapter 1

I am used to thinking of technology as a robotic system that robs teachers and students of creativity. My mom taught Preschool and Kindergarten for several years, and I watched her integrate only a few technological devices into her lessons. She was a great teacher, and many parents and students adored her - so I have had to ask myself if technology in the classroom is really as beneficial as many say.

After reading the Introduction and Chapter 1 in Integrating Technology in Primary Grades, I was shocked to find that I agreed with a lot of what was said. I was mistaken when I said that technology takes away from hands-on learning and makes it harder to meet the needs of every student. The Introduction introduces Lois Lenski Elementary School as the winner of the AASL Library Media Program of the Year. The students in this school were actually able to have more control (more hands-on interaction) when computers were implemented in the classroom because they were forced to actively think about the information, make choices, and execute new skills during teacher-led lessons. Visual learners were able to see pictures and slideshows, Math/Science learners were able to work with graphs, and hands-on learners were able to play with intereacitve web sites. The integration of technology into Lenski School even helped provide gender-neutralizing effects.

The most important point that was emphasized throughout the reading was that integrating technology into the classroom means actually using technology to TEACH any lesson that needs to be taught. This does not mean that technology should be taught as its own subject, this means that technology should be used as a tool to teach all other subjects. I found it interesting that when technology is used appropriately to teach lessons, students will begin to find greater appreciation in their work.

Chapter 1, The Philosophy of Integration

In Integrating Technology in the Primary Grades, the author tells of how the integration of technology in elementary classrooms improves student achievement. Technology includes more than just the computer. It also includes LCD projectors, digital cameras, and multi-media tools. She says that lessons integrated with technology can lead younger students to a higher degree than traditional thinking and lead to more complex thinking, creative problem solving, and collaboration. She makes it clear that the classroom teacher must be involved in the technology integration because only that teacher knows where the students are in the mastery of a concept. She also tells of certain resources a school must have in order to successfully integrate.

I agree with what the author is saying. By using and integrating technology into the classroom, students are becoming more involved and having a higher curiosity than just reading and memorizing facts in books. Technology can help engage students in discovery and higher-level thinking. Technology may help students to better understand what they are learning by getting them more involved in the concepts.

English Forward and Introduction Reading

After reading the Forward and Introduction of Ten Easy Ways to Use Technology in the English Classroom, I have a much better idea of what the book is going to be about, and I am excited to begin using it. Both the Forward and the Introduction went over how the book was set up. I am glad that there are still sections of the book on the more basic and familiar ways to use media in the classroom, such as audio, video, television, and movies. But I also appreciate how it goes into more step-by-step depth with the different ways to incorporate computers into the classroom. There is also a website with downloadable templates to help create the different types of technology.

In addition to that, I really found the author's views on the correlation between literacy and technology fascinating. It really is true that they go hand in hand, and influence each other in ways that we never thought were possible. It is very interesting to think about the fact that if one does not know how to use the internet and other forms of technology, it means that more than likely they cannot read or write as well because of the correlation between the two.

These sections of the book were very short, but also packed with good information to think about before reading the following chapters.

Chapter 23 Technology-Supported Math

Using technology in the classroom can greatly enhance a student's learning experience. A more hands-on and visual approach to different concepts will aid in a student's understanding of complex ideas. Through all of my math classes throughout grade school and high school, we always learned the longest, most in-depth process of a problem first in order to learn how and why it worked. After mastering this process, my teachers would usually show us a much shorter, one- or two-step process that came up with the same answer in less than half the amount of time. With the continuous enhancement of technology, tools are being developed that can help students learn different processes. Hopefully, these technological advances will help students grasp concepts more quickly and speed up their education, allowing them to learn more in their twelve years. Even being introduced to a graphing calculator increased the speed and quality of my learning experience, allowing me to actually see what I was learning and produce it by myself. With technology being used more and more, it should give a new, more interesting way for students to be eager to learn.

Chapter 23 Reading

The thing that stuck with me the most in this reading was that technology in math will help students learn main concepts without being caught up in the little details (as Danielle already laid out). In my opinion, this is SO important and I'd like to expand on it a little more.
Can you imagine learning how to factor and use the quadratic equation without using graphs to find the answers first? Thinking back on my high school math education, I can't imagine how much I would dislike math if I had to do all the busy work before using a graphing calculator. Using the graphing calculator allowed me to see the "macroprocedure," big picture, without having to put a pencil to paper. I could visualize what the tedious work would lead me to find; this gave the tedious work a purpose. If I had to do all the writing without picturing graphically what I was doing, I am almost positive I wouldn't have enjoyed it or done very well.
Also, in this way, those who learn by seeing the big picture first are aided; those who learn by doing the details are able to do so later through the tedious work.