School Evaluation Summary

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Reflection

After a detailed examination of my chosen school, I was surprised to find out about the technology use status of Greendale Elementary.  In short, while I was aware the Maturity Model Benchmarks would provide a summary of technology use at Greendale Elementary, I in no way anticipated the amount of information it would uncover and analyze with respect to technology use within a specific school.  Essentially, this examination provided valuable information on the success and faults of Greendale Elementary’s technology plans, policies, practices, and implementations.  Furthermore, this probe into Greendale Elementary’s technology use allowed the school to perform some self-assessments and gauge its current practices on technology integration.  Thus, this research not only became a valuable tool for me in my studies, but also for the school that was examined.  In the end, I believe it was very successful, eye-opening experience for all parties involved.

Standards Assessment

This assignment meets AECT standards 4.1, 5.1, 5.3 and 5.4.

In short, this assignment meets Standard 4.1 – Project Management by utilizing the planning and monitoring of a research subject to initiate better instructional design.  Next, Standard 5.1 – Problem Analysis is supported by the quality of this project in determining problem areas of an institution by gathering relevant data and information.  Additionally, Standard 5.3 – Formative and Summative Evaluation is met by the requirement of information gathering and its use for decision-making.  Finally, Standard 5.4 – Long Range Planning is continually met in this assignment by the addressing of the future of technology use and implementation.

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Technology Use Planning Overview

Reflecting on the concept of technology integration, I began to assess the definition, use, and benefit of technology use planning in modern-day institutions.  In essence, technology use planning provides a physical outline of how an organization intends to harness and implement current, technological trends into a strategic development plan.  In other words, a technology use plan is a physical description of how an institution can integrate technology into future lessons or activities.  According to researchers Abdullah S. Al-Weshail, et al. (1996), “[t]echnology planning is an activity that provides direction and helps users understand clearly where they are now and imagine where they want to be” (p. 9).  For example, a school district might foresee a future where mobile devices are the preferred method of learning.  Thus, they could put together a technology use plan to determine what steps and technologies they need to reach their goal of a district-wide, m-learning initiative.  In short, this approach would all be possible by technology use planning.  As I stated earlier, a technology use plan benefits an institution by providing a statement of how that organization intends on using different technologies to enhance their educators, students, and staff’s relevant skills (Nguyen & Frazee, 2009, p. 31).  Thus, it is important for every forward-thinking organization or institution to learn as much about technology use planning as possible.  In the end, it is only though constant study and effective resources can an institution have the significant data needed to make an informed tech use plan.

In fact, one of the most effective resources in technology use planning is the National Educational Technology Plan.  Essentially, an individual could say that the National Educational Technology Plan is a bit like the technology use plan for the entire United States.  In other words, it serves as a guidebook on where technology in our country’s schools stand today and where they believe it will be headed in the future.  In short, institutions and organizations can obtain inspiration for their own technology use plans by simply following outlines and recommendations from the National Educational Technology Plan.  For example, section 4.2 of the NETP suggests that every individual, whether student or staff, have at least one Internet-accessible device to use in and out of school (2010).  Obviously, by adopting this type of strategy, an institution would surely exhibit their progressive outlook on future technology integrations.  Thus, any individual can see that the National Educational Technology Plan serves as a technology-based model for all schools.  In fact, it is viewed as a technology planning, goal-setting reference for numerous educational organizations around the country.  Specifically, the NETP is an invaluable resource that equips schools with concepts they can use in the classroom, and broad ideas that even hold value in the future.  In short, no matter the structure of an institution’s technology use plan, the NETP stands as an effective and powerful resource for any technology use planning.

In probing further into the structure of tech use plans, I find myself agreeing with researcher John See’s article, “Developing Effective Technology Plans.”   In this article, John See makes an impassioned plea on the length of tech use plan objectives.  In short, See (1992) states that technology plan objectives should be short and not long term because of the constantly changing nature of technology.  In other words, because technology is changing so fast, we are unable to know what we need to plan for in the future.  In fact, because of this continual change, See suggests that technology plans should be divided by phases and not years.  He states, “[d]o not let a technology plan lock you into old technology and applications just because it says so in the plan. Newer, more powerful, lower cost technology may be available to replace what you have specified in your plan” (See, 1992). Thus, as I stated earlier, I agree with this view.  Essentially, by having short term goals; people can be sure that their plans are not geared toward outdated technology.  For example, if a technology plan’s objectives were long-term, they could be outdated within a few months because of newer and more efficient technology being developed.  Contrarily, by implementing a technology plan one phase at a time; an organization can ensure they are using the most up to date technology and applications available.

Continuing my examination of John See’s research, I began to study his claim that effective technology plans center around applications rather than the technology.  In this claim, See argues that it is more important to value the skills students receive by the utilization of the technology rather than the implementation of technology itself.  In short, I agree with this assessment.  I believe successful technology use planning is measured by what students takes away from the use of the technology.  In other words, I believe what they learn matters more than how they learn.  In fact, I believe this is the foundational thought beneath all educational endeavors.  In other words, I believe this is the essence of technology use planning and, on a larger scale, the educational process.  In fact, I believe See is on the right path when he provides institutions with a guideline for technology use development.  He states, “[d]evelop a plan that specifies what you want your students, staff, and administration to be able to do with technology and let those outcomes determine the types and amount of technology you will need” (See, 1992).  Again, I agree with his assessment.  In short, instead of building students around technology, organizations need to focus on building students up with technology (Gulbahar, 2007, p. 943).  In the end, I believe this is the only way to experience positive, effective outcomes in technology integration.

In conclusion, I have had some recent experience with technology use planning at my workplace.  Unfortunately, I have seen, first hand, the effects of not having a technology plan before undertaking a large, technology integration project.  In my experience, my current organization hired an IT consultant for a project that realistically should only have taken a few months.  However, because they did not fully understand the technology or all that was involved in the process, they neglected to give the consultant a specific plan, timeline, or budget.  Therefore, believing there were no limits or expectations, the consultant proceeded to milk the project for as long as he could.   In the end, the project took two years longer than it should have taken, wasted a very large sum of money, and put his hiring supervisor’s job at risk.  Obviously, this is an extreme example of a negative outcome.  Nevertheless, this example illustrates the importance of technology use planning, short objectives, and application-centered planning.  In short, all of these elements work together to lead organizations and institutions into a more digitally literate future.

References:

Al-Weshail, A. S., Baxter, A., Cherry, W., Hill, E. W., Jones, II, C. R., Love, L. T.,
. . .Montgomery, F. H. (1996, May 7). Guidebook for developing an effective instructional technology plan: Version 2.0. Mississippi State University. Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/downloads/guidebook.pdf

Gulbahar, Y. (2007). Technology planning: A roadmap to successful technology integration in schools. Computers & Education, 49(4), 943-956.

Nguyen, F., & Frazee, J. P. (2009). Strategic technology planning in higher education. Performance Improvement, 48(7), 31-40.

See, J. (1992). Developing effective technology plans. The Computing Teacher, 19(8). Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/html/john_see.cfm

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology. (2010).
Transforming american education: Learning powered by technology.
Washington, DC: U.S.

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RSS Feeds for Education

http://www.google.com/reader/shared/18118337235404246440

RSS feeds offer a way for people to directly receive information from numerous websites into one, easily accessible place (Beldarrain, 2006, pg. 140).  In other words, instead of going to different websites to see if they have been updated, an individual can subscribe to an RSS feed and be immediately notified when new information has been posted.  Specifically, individuals use a RSS reader to collect the information and display it in one location.  In the end, the utilization of these technologies can save everyone valuable time.

How might teachers use RSS in the classroom?

There are many ways that teachers can use RSS feeds in the classroom.  First, by utilizing a classroom blog, the teacher could provide students with classroom news and information through an RSS feeds.  In other words, teachers could easily share information with students by simply requiring all students to subscribe to the classroom blog’s RSS feed.  Next, the teacher could utilize RSS in the reverse manner by requiring all of his or her students to create a blog for classroom assignments and projects.  In short, instead of trying to keep up with numerous papers, reports, essays, and projects; a teacher could use an RSS reader to check the status and progress of each individual student in one place.  Lastly, RSS technology could be used to make announcements on assignments and events for the entire class.  In essence, by utilizing RSS technology, a teacher could greatly enhance his or her efficiency in the class

What other benefits might you gain from knowing how to use RSS?

Basically, I believe RSS technology could be a great benefit to every individual because of its inherited simplicity.  In short, RSS feeds can save time and increase efficiency within any organization.  Essentially, within the ever-changing workplace, creating any type of competitive advantage is imperative for success.  Whether the advantage is providing higher quality products through more experienced employees or reviewing important information through an RSS feed, an organization should see RSS technology as a huge part of its future.  Ultimately, the changing characteristics of the work force and work environment make the need for RSS technology evident.  At its core, it simply allows individuals the ability to learn how to effectively manage change.

Reference:

Beldarrain, Y. (2006). Distance education trends: Integrating new technologies to foster student interaction and collaboration. Distance Education, (27)2, 139-153.

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Horizon Report Tech Trend

Technology Trend Lesson Plan:

Lesson Plan Link

Wii Remotes

Students show Nintendo Wii in action.

Reflection

Through examining the technology of the Nintendo Wii and Wii Music, I found that it was much more than just a game and a system.  Moreover, the Wii and Wii Music can also be utilized as an interactive learning tool.  In short, the Nintendo Wii uses games that are also educational.  In fact, the Wii and games like Wii Music are excellent devices for teaching because, ultimately, students feel like they are simply playing a game, and are, unknowingly, more responsive to learning.  Furthermore, the Wii technology allows several students to utilize the system at the same time.  In other words, this advantage also makes games like Wii Music educational on a social level.  In the end, I believe the Nintendo Wii and Wii Music are great tools.  In essence, my examination of their educational value has allowed me to better understand why these interactive, learning resources have a viable place in the modern-day classroom.

Importance and Relevance

Essentially, the Nintendo Wii and its games are important because they are educational tools that work on many different levels.  Specifically, Wii Music allows the student to interact using visual, auditory, and tactile learning methods.   For example, Wii Music lets students play different types of instruments and take music lessons alongside their classmates.  In other words, it also teaches the student on an interactive, social level.  For instance, in my lesson plan, the students are able to develop group skills and understand teamwork while simultaneously learning about tempo and rhythm.  Thus, I believe this technology is an extremely important tool because of the variety of combined educational outcomes it inherently offers.  Additionally, games like Wii Music also allows students of all skill levels to play.  In other words, students are not required to have an extensive knowledge of music theory.  Furthermore, they are not expected to have extensive knowledge in a wide variety of musical instruments.  In fact, the most important thing about the Nintendo Wii and Wii Music is that it will teach each player on his or her own level.

Lastly, the Nintendo Wii and Wii Music would be useful to teaching and learning because it teaches students creativity, rhythm, tempo, and types of instruments.  More specifically, Wii Music offers over 60 instruments to play.  Therefore, it provides each student with a unique learning experience based on his or her own choices.  In short, this approach ensures that all participants will have an engaging, educational experience.  Furthermore, an individual can see Nintendo’s belief in its relevance to education based solely on its recent partnerships.  In other words, Wii Music has collaborated with the National Association for Music Education to integrate its educational technology tools into 51 cities’ classrooms nationwide (Wii Music 2011).  Thus, I believe any instructor can see the belief in the power of this technology.  In the end, I also believe they would greatly benefit from the integration of this technology into his or her lesson plan.

 

References:                                                                                             

Nintendo of America (2008): Fun in the classroom with wii music nationwide.  Wii Music Spotlight.  Retrieved October 10, 2011 from http://www.wiimusic.com/launch/?ref=http://www.google.com/search?q=wii+music&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

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Plagiarism Video

Video Description:

My xtranormal video is about two robots named Sally and Ralph.  Sally, plagiarized on her robotic upgrade exam and was downgraded to a body made of cardboard boxes.  She is explaining to Ralph why she did not pass the exam.  Sally told him that she plagiarized and explained to him what plagiarism was and how to avoid doing it.

In my xtranormal video, I identified three types of plagiarism: cheating, non-attribution, and patchwriting.  First, cheating is taking someone else’s work and using it as your own.  I think that this is what usually comes to mind when people think of plagiarism and it may be the most common.  The second form of plagiarism I used in my video is non-attribution.  This means not citing all of the sources used when doing one’s own researching or writing.  This is essentially cheating because the person with the original idea is not receiving credit for their idea.  Lastly, patchwriting is basically taking someone else’s work and re-wording it to claim it as one’s own work.  This is considered plagiarism because it is not the plagiarizer’s own ideas and they did not cite the person who originally wrote it.

What I Learned:

In creating this video and completing this assignment, I have learned the official names of the different forms of plagiarism.  I learned that one must cite all of their sources of information; however, one can also use too much citation.  Sometimes I struggle with knowing the difference between what is considered general knowledge and what is not.  What general knowledge is to me may not be to someone else and vice versa. Also, it can be seen as somewhat of a clouded area.  Sometimes, I tend to overcompensate for this and cite terms or phrases that are usually seen as unnecessary because they are considered “general knowledge”.  I always try to be more safe than sorry and cite all of my sources, however, now I know that I can also use too many citations.

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Digital Inequality Assignment

Click Below For My Group’s Digital Inequality Presentation:

Gamma Group’s Digital Inequality Presentation

Reflection:

In examining why people first begin to think of the digital divide in terms of the “haves” and “have-nots,” I came to the obvious conclusion that it is because that trait is generally the most obvious and visual when contemplating the digital inequality among specific socio-economic groups.  Ironically, although this trait might be the most obvious reason people identify the digital divide with the physical possession of a computer, I do not believe it the main reason why individuals tend to think this way.  In short, I believe it is people’s general lack of knowledge of other cultures.  Typically, most individuals do not know or understand other countries viewpoints on human rights.  In fact, they generally only aware of how human rights are viewed within their own culture.  Thus, I do not believe that free citizens understand the issues facing individuals that live in a society in which the government constrains both educational and digital literacy opportunities.

In fact, I believe the issue of governmental constraint with respect to technology and education is the biggest cause of digital inequality.  Essentially, it has caused me to reexamine my earlier belief that digital inequality was strictly a financial problem.  In short, I know realize that a city, country, or nation that fails to promote digital literacy is heading down a dangerous path.  In fact, the effects of failing to promote digital literacy range from the weakening of educational concerns to the impossibility of ethical reform within a specific area.  Furthermore, this failure causes individuals to start to believe that the constraints on their human rights are necessary to the city, country, or nation in which they reside.  In other words, this belief leaves no room to make judgments on issues that are obviously unjust with respect to the education and skill sets of a society.  Therefore, I believe it is crucial to try every means necessary to liberate an individual’s right to be digitally literate.

How This Assignment Aligns With The AECT:

This assignment best aligns with the 4.2 Resource Management standard of the AECT.  In this assignment, my group utilized numerous educational technology tools to complete each stage of the project.  First, in the planning stage, we utilized Google Docs and WordPress to plan the development of our presentation.  Secondly, we monitored each member’s progress through their comments on Google Docs and their relevant emails in Gmail.   Next, we used PowerPoint to develop the visual component of our project, and VoiceThread to finally execute our overall plan.  Thus, as you can see, this particular assignment aligned with the Resource Management standard in many ways.  In the end, it taught the student how to utilize new technology to manage tasks in a group setting.

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Digital Divide and Poverty

Poverty in the world can be described as continual deprivation.  In other words, the vicious circle of life the poor experiences on a continual basis increasingly devalues their individual rights they were born with.  Furthermore, poverty increases depression and fear.  At its foundation, poverty also diminishes the health of the poor, their opportunities, and it further disparages their dignity as human beings (Lauer & Lauer, 2008, p. 189).  Therefore, with these characteristics in mind, it is easy to see that the increasingly depressing and limited technology options left available to these poverty stricken individuals are few and far between.  Thus, to develop any possible solutions to combat the digital divide, it is essential to understand the social institutions behind this travesty.

Essentially, the distribution of power is one of the main social and governmental constraints behind digital inequality.  Essentially, the wealthiest people are the most powerful, and, in turn have the most political power.  Obviously, this makes the government another large contributor to the vastness of the digital divide, and, subsequently, it conversely makes the economy a major factor as well.  Basically, these three factors affect the poor in variety of ways that include: the concentration of wealth, guaranteeing hardship when finding employment, and poverty-level wages in jobs (Lauer & Lauer, 2008, p. 189).  Thus, as I said before, these factors only add to the helplessness the poor feel with regards to their educational and technological opportunities.

Lastly, the social institution of the educational system itself may be responsible for contributing to the digital divide.  Basically, because of the lack of quality education available to the poor, the poverty stricken usually experience fewer career opportunities and lower pay.  Additionally, poor children tend not to receive any encouragement to pursue a higher education.  Ultimately, in the end, the poor remained trapped in their vicious circle never identifying a way to break the cycle, and, consequently, pass the same negative outlook of their lives onto the next generation.

Thus, I believe this examination creates a “which came first” scenario with respect to the causes and effects of the digital divide.  In other words, do you believe the digital divide, in terms of equipment and access, are responsible for poor educational opportunities in some areas or is it that the poor educational systems are responsible for not seeking out better technological tools to increase the effectiveness of their particular educational system?  Furthermore, could it be a result of both?

References:

Lauer, R., & Lauer, J. (2008). Social problems and the quality of life (11th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Custom Publishing.

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