Tag Archives: educational technology

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    Technology integration into the classroom now and into the future

    Technology integration into the classroom now and into the future

    Category:Educational TechnologyTags : 

    Technology integration into the classroom now and into the future

    #BringItOn”

    I was standing outside the middle school talking with the technology guy for both the middle school and the high school a while back. Really great guy, family man, well respected for his work with the school district. We were discussing the issue of Bringing Your Own Devices (BOD) to school,  and how that would affect, not just the lives of the students, but his IT department, and all the teachers at both schools. While I am tremendously happy for our district, I also understand the challenges we face with technology.

    New Technology and Education

    New technology creates volumes of work for those in IT, as well as for teachers, and administrators on tightly held budgets. How can we really gauge eLearning or mLearning (Mobile Learning) when technology doesn’t have a consistency plan? We can develop plans, but technology doesn’t seem to have any boundaries. How do you strategically plan for technology? You can equipment your labs with the latest computers and software, but technology shifts almost monthly.  Once you plug it into the wall, it’s on the road to obsolete.

    We can develop plans, but technology doesn’t seem to have any boundaries.

    There are some key strategic questions you have to ask when you begin to prepare to integrate technology into your educational setting and/or any organization.

    1. How can educators ensure reasonable access for all students or employees? Not everyone can afford it.
    2. Will the wide variety of devices create a problem with consistency? It would be important to do research beyond specific brands.
    3. Ongoing discussions have occurred over the “digital divide”. Is this still an issue or is it narrowing?
    4. To avoid distractions from things such as social media and texting, would different types of mobile devices be more effective for use in the classroom setting?
    5. How can research keep up with the ever-changing world of devices and applications?
    6. When the novelty of using mobile technology begins to wear off, will student and employee engagement still be higher for the m-learning group?
    7. What are best practices for Twitter usage in a classroom?
    8. What external factors (age, gender, socioeconomic class, culture, religion, etc.) affect the usefulness of mobile learning?
    9. What situations is mobile learning least-suited for?
    10. How will the role of the teacher change as mobile learning increases?
    11. What changes will be made in teacher education to prepare them to facilitate mobile learning?

    Everyone needs to be connected

    It’s no secret that I used to work for a university, and one of my many hats that I wore had to deal with helping students get onto the wireless system. It was a small 5% or less of what I did. At the maximum level, I also helped troubleshoot nearly 82 computers throughout the complex. Between myself and the campus help desk, and UEN engineers, we muddled through a number of challenges daily.

    The hardest part of BOD, and administering access is that there are so many different types of devices. Students have presented computers to me that was almost archaic. I’ve seen some pretty sweet devices too – ones that I would love to own. The high school and middle school would see the same. Once you open the door to BOD – you will have to accommodate all devices, within reason of course.

    I have to say my favorite departments to work with were IT and UEN, at the university level. They have a thankless job some days. Other days they are everyone’s hero. They were always my hero’s. Somedays I kick myself for never having applied to UEN. Working with such highly specialized technicians and engineers was rewarding.

    Looking at the problems

    Here is the problem that I see. While IT usually has their hands full with a host of projects and fixes, most are not going to have the time to help students, staff and/or guests gain access to their wireless systems, nor offer technical support at the door. You have to have someone on site who can help those individuals who can’t access your wireless system, or need special help with software required by the institution or organization. It’s a troubleshooting job, not at all similar to an online helpdesk. These people are face-to-face.

    While there may be extra hard wired computers in the labs for students to use, when it comes to software and what each student MUST have to accomplish their assignments – that is where it gets a little tricky. Not every student will have the same software needs. Not every teacher will use the same software. You wouldn’t want a teacher using GPS software worrying about their students only having access to software that a marketing student would need.

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAj1AAAAJDU0NWI4YzljLTFjOWMtNDQyMy05M2ViLTE4Yzk0ODZkMzY3MA Technology integration into the classroom now and into the future

    You can say you only have X or O software available for everyone to use, but when you begin talking about Adobe, Indesign, GPS, and other software – you run into bigger issues. A big example of an another major issue is licensing for all the software each instructor will need. If a student is required to have the software and it isn’t provided on the school computers – you WILL accommodate that students need and troubleshoot their access into your network. If the student is required to purchase software or rent it, you have to at least allow them access to your network.

    Anytime you upgrade a computer system, you should be thinking about training and hiring new staff too. Be thinking about this as you develop your long range plans for:

    • upgrading your computer software, and providing technical support.
    •  adjust your projected budgeting for new equipment & networking,  as well as the impact the change will have on your employees.
    • project how it will be implemented, with periodic evaluations and assessments on the finished product (technology is a change beast)

    A little good news

    Most wireless systems have an online dashboard for administrators so that they can add and drop computers easily just by knowing the IP and MAC addresses. The MAC address is a unique address for a specific computer. What is nice with the BOD system is that the person who generally monitors this online system can add and delete computers online, from anywhere. I would get phone calls after hours from the evening staff requesting help with a student’s computer.  I simply log into the online system and “issue solved”.

    The dashboard also allows you to set reminders to check for computers that are about to run out of their allotted connection time (365 days for students, 7 days for quests), and even add the IP and Mac Address along with the person information. Since I also advised students, I knew their class schedules, and I would automatically extend their time so they had a seamless experience.

    Oh, lets upgrade! What does that really mean? 

    Administrators are the worst when it comes to IT and wireless communications. They know a lot, but they really don’t get involved with the hands-on operational part of technology.  They don’t always have the insight for the long term difficulties that comes along with technology. They don’t get into the ends and outs of computers, nor the networks. Just so long as it works, that is all that really matters to them. When it doesn’t work – that seems to be when they really listen.

    Well, listen…..

    If you are going to incorporate new technology in your organizational structure, factor in potential new staff and/or additional man hours. You’re going to need it.

    You need people on site!

    Staffing also includes teachers and IT staff. Professional development for all distance and non-distance educators needs to go beyond the basics. All beliefs and values aside – some educators really do need to go back to school themselves (PhD’s, EdD’s, etc). Institutions of education cannot expect its instructors to teach over a technology medium, nor operate new technology, that they themselves struggle with. Teacher readiness may be more than just “being ready”.

    If an instructor doesn’t have those lifelong learning skills either from prior education or learned through continuing professional development, they probably won’t appreciate the benefits derived from the use of technology in the classroom.

    The changing classroom environment

    Adults still tend to think of a classroom with walls, desks, and a teacher who will lead them in a face-to-face learning environment. With the increase of technology in the classroom, the definition of a traditional classroom is evolving. Teachers have more access to online teaching tools and grading books that help to free up their time for more core curriculum planning.

    The modern curriculum is being redesigned to incorporate further blended learning environments for the student. With the use of online technology, instructors can offer a student a variety of instructional methods for learning. One day a student may be in the classroom listening to a lecture, the next day they may out in the field, doing surveys or working on experiments. The next day after that, they may be doing course work online.  These new blended environments give both the instructor and the student opportunity to utilize the best of many educational methods – traditional, online, and self-directed learning.

    IT has the responsibility to service all these ever changing environments. It’s not a matter of just deciding to install new equipment or software. Unless IT, teachers, and administrations are all working together in the planning and design stages, there really can’t be an assessment stage. You need those assessment stages.

    Understand this when it comes to technology and education

    The impact of technology is directing instruction away from a teacher based learning experience, toward a student lead experience assisted by media.

    Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences (ITLS) is a universal phenomenon, offering educational technology that has the ability to reach immense audiences globally, and obviously, students are by far the largest users of that product

     

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    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAQTAAAAJGZjNmIxMjM5LWI4MjUtNDBhYy05Mzg3LTgxMDBlODA1MDVmMQ Technology integration into the classroom now and into the future

    Designing in the Digital Age

    __________________________

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAoUAAAAJDc3NThiOTViLWFhZWEtNGM3Yi1hZDg1LThjZDhiNTBlZDY3Mg Technology integration into the classroom now and into the future

    The “As Usual” series

    Content creator & writer, blogger, social and digital media advocate. JB was born with a passion for writing and instructional design. JB is the owner of Radcliff Design.


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    Does Facebook finally have enough emojis

    Category:Educational Technology,Social MediaTags : 
    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAQbAAAAJDQzMzJjMDFmLWRhNTgtNDk5Ny04ZjY3LWFmMjY0YzhkODAwYQ Does Facebook finally have enough emojis

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    Lectures in the field

    Category:Education,Educational TechnologyTags : 
    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAUBAAAAJGRiMjYwNzM1LTAyMzAtNGIwOS04ZTllLTE1ZjViODFkODg2MQ Lectures in the field

    Lectures in the field and the use of social media as a learning tool


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    Edutainment – a Virtual World

    Category:Education,Educational Technology,Instructional TechnologyTags : 
    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAJ6AAAAJGE2NjAxZGVlLTIwZmMtNGVhZS1iMjhlLWEyM2I0ODEyYTljNw Edutainment - a Virtual World

    Edutainment - a Virtual World

    It might be interesting to see a virtual avatar of the instructor popping in and out like the Cheshire cat giving minimal guidance where appropriate.AAEAAQAAAAAAAAG1AAAAJGNiOTg2ZjI3LTlmNmItNGY0NS04ZmU2LWNhNDU1NDIzZGU4Ng Edutainment - a Virtual WorldThe tangible benefits of this type of environment can be many. The environment can be set up to allow learners to go back or retrace their steps in a process of discovery to correct an error or go to a higher level.

    The course would have to be relevant and provide a level of entertainment to keep student motivated and engaged. Not all content has to be entertaining in the real world.

    So is there a stimuli balance?

    Are students becoming overly stimulated with technology?

    As far as edutainment being a legitimate philosophy, yes I feel it could be in certain instances. At the same time, it is a gimmick that will have insurmountable rip-offs trying to support their claims just to gain money. Assessment is the key to the legitimacy. Students will have to show a level of aptitude and accomplish set goals. But the goals need to be justifiable and open to assessment and change.

    With Multi User Virtual Environments MUVEs/Second Life (sometimes called virtual worlds), the idea that one can create their own environment that fits AAEAAQAAAAAAAAMyAAAAJDcxNjNiNjZlLWViNjEtNDZjNy04MTQwLWY4NWY5MjJmZjY0Nw Edutainment - a Virtual Worldtheir needs and future needs is an exciting field. However, I do see where it could be negatively used, for instance in “bullying”, or cyber stalking in ways unimaginable; the risk of loss of privacy are high in the virtual environments.

    We have to keep pedagogy as our principal focus rather than technologies. It is how you use technology that matters.


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    Creating Innovative Students

    Category:Education,Educational Technology,Instructional TechnologyTags : 
    AAEAAQAAAAAAAARvAAAAJDMyYWY5NmE4LTliYTgtNDQzZi1hOWQ4LThhNWU4ZmM4ZTM4Zg Creating Innovative Students

    Creating Innovative Students

    Creating Innovative Students

    Creating an online classroom and making sure that the students can be successful in them is a craft that instructional designers and instructors work on endlessly. Building online and blended content for the new technological classrooms requires more time and energy, than the traditional classroom that most of us grew up with. However, online instruction offers something that the traditional classroom doesn’t offer – the ability of the student to actively engage in thetechnological learning process, and gain hands on experiences that pushes them to really think about how things work in an innovative way within the field of emerging technology. That is one of the true defining characteristics of our modern American society “innovation”. We Americans are innovators.

    24fdcd0-2 Creating Innovative Students

    Anyone can plug information in a ditto sheet, and/or
    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAZhAAAAJDI3YjZjOGEwLTcyNjItNDI0Ny1iMDM4LTA4YTQ0MjQxMzcwMA Creating Innovative Studentscram for a paper exam - only to purge that same information out the next day. But real learning, and true innovation, comes from hands on learning and building upon the skills one already possess. That’s what makes this country great. Innovation, hands on – sweat at the brow – even in the field of technology.

    I can understand why a student would become distracted and may lose interest in trying to connect with certain online learning sites. Beginning users might need additional encouragement from their tutors or guides to help keep them on task at first. It’s new!

    There are a lot of small secondary skills that are often easy to overlook, and simple processes can become complex rapidly if skipped by students. Grouping or organizing of information can become repetitive and lengthy within an online learning environment; making it hard to determine what information is useful. Using teachers as guides is a way to help students overcome these simple barriers.

    In the process of trying to design an online instructional course, I find when I design an instructional online class that it is just as simple to prepare a video presentation or two, and strategically locate them in the design This better assists students more appropriately by means of describing the many different informational components.

    Those who work at a distance as I do, have come to rely on the the assessments and feedback from the students we serve. It is good to be able to factor in as many changing variables as possible. Student feedback is invaluable.

    For instance: If you have ever set and waited for a program to load, and all you see is a little arrow and/or hour glass on your screen - from a new users 0f0524c-2 Creating Innovative Studentsperspective that is “critical load time". Time that they do not yet understand. It is part of the learning process. Internet load time, if slow, can decrease a student’s motivation to remain engaged. Just waiting for the program to load drives some students over the top. I'm with the students 100%, I don't want to wait either; so designing simpler models is best.

    Teachers are there to see that behavior is monitored with first time online users. Teachers as guides can help students with reinforcement that engages the students to use their prior skills to stay on task. Timely instructions can make simple concepts easy to understand.

    The ability of a student to learn on their own is only measured by their own desire to be successful. The true test of eLearning is in the student’s ability to use their prior knowledge or skill sets to their fullest potential. We have to teach our students to be expert learners. We have to teach them how to use the skills they already have and then help them learn to research new concepts on their own.

    Synchronous vs Asynchronous learning

    Synchronous learning which is still done mainly in the classroom is not free of technology. You have labs, and chat rooms and video and audio. Technology is everywhere - It’s in the main classroom. A traditional classroom may be 80% free of technology, but the remaining 19 to 20 % is still using some form of technology. In the chart below you begin to see the bigger picture of how engrained technology is becoming in the classroom. Asynchronous is just the opposite of Synchronous - with 80% online and 20% using some form of video conferencing and/or face to face meetings. In the middle you have your blended courses with 20 to 79 % going in either direction. Blended is becoming more a norm for teaching at a distance.

    24fdcd0 Creating Innovative Students

    I personally like blended learning. I like having a number of scaffolding tools to choose from when developing course content and how I will present it to my students. Student need to be able to transition through step-by-step procedural instructions, as well as sub-step instructions to achieve the instructional goals set out in any online and/or on blended classroom learning environment.

    Students need to successfully connect with a tutor, a guide or online instructor, and be able to participate in an online collaboration using their intellectual knowledge that they already have. Students deserve the chance to do that. They are the innovators of the next generation. We owe it to them to craft the best online/ traditional and blended learning environments to help them reach the next step in their learning process. We need to teach them to be expert learners, and we will - because they demand it!

    We need to challenge our institutions of higher learning to prepare the future educators of tomorrow to deal with the technological advances that are occurring every day. In many cases it has already begun. The traditional classroom is no more. Wherever you look there are computers labs, IPADs, calculators, cell phones. You have a generation of digital learners. I wonder - if they will have the instructors in the future to keep them motivated, engaged, and willing to collaborate in the learning process. You have to be where the learners are – they are in technology! That is where your instructors and your instructional designers will also be.

    If no good deed goes unpunished – then we all will be punished for not taking the time to educate a new breed of teachers who will be able to keep up with the ever changing emerging technologies. Engage your students – but first you must engage your instructors. That is where your instructional designers come in. Instructional designers build the templates and platforms that teachers will load their content upon. Teachers work closely with instructional designers to build the best online classrooms suitable for learning and developing innovative skills.

    The innovators of tomorrow are waiting for the tools we will develop today. Our inventions of today will be the tool for creating innovative students of tomorrow.