Standard 10 MetaReflection: Technology

Standard 10 Technology: Integrates current technology into instruction and professional communication/collaboration activities where appropriate.

Before I began the Curriculum and Instruction program, I took an online six-credit Web 2.0 class; this was my first introduction to online learning and I was nervous that I would find the online environment difficult to navigate without direct instructor support. I was also intimidated by the subject matter; I did not feel like I was “techy” enough to keep up with all the new learning I’d be exposed to. However, I found the process to be straight-forward and convenient as I could work at my own pace. The experience of successfully navigating an online course gave me the confidence to take my M. Ed. entirely online as I knew that I had the discipline to stay on top of work and I could successfully navigate a digital learning environment. These are the learning outcomes from my online course:

  1. Understand what web 2.0 is/means and how to use it in an education setting.
  2. Become proficient with social bookmarking, online document collaboration, Twitter, blogging, personal learning networks (PLN) and creating your own WordPress website.
  3. Understand how today’s students interface with technology and each other.
  4. Understand how web 2.0 concepts work conceptually so as to take advantage of future technology.

In comparison, these are the learning goals from the SPU course [EDTC 6536 Instructional Technology & Information Management] I would have taken had I not been able to transfer in credit:

  • Examine current educational technology trends, research, and best practices.
  • Reflect on appropriate uses of educational technology at the institutional, grade, and/or discipline level.
  • Demonstrate comprehension by designing a technology-enhanced learning activity.

I believe that by meeting the objectives of the Web 2.0 course I have simultaneously met the major course goals of EDTC 6536. The following assignments provide links to artifacts demonstrating how I have met Standard 10:

Some examples from the C & I Program

Like  all Curriculum and Instruction students, I began the C & I program by taking the C & I Orientation class. It was through the taking of this initial course that I built this bportfolio and explored issues associated with an online presence. One of my assignments had me researching articles around the topic of controlling my digital identity and the pros and cons of having a digital presence. This is an excerpt from my netiquette response which details my thinking on this subject.

Nina Gregory speaks to the growing cognition that an online presence, while fulfilling many social and work-related goals, would benefit from some serious thought around what she has coined, “privacy hygiene” which loosely interpreted is a set of practices that help to maintain your privacy. Each of the articles I read this week discuss in varying specificity the need to keep your Internet practices “hygienic” to avoid potential problems through the use of basic precautions. According to StaySafeOnline.org it is critical be aware that what you and others post about you creates a digital identity that endures“. (Rayl, October 5, 2012)

Through these readings and more, I developed an initial statement addressing the issue of living in the digital world, detailing my approach to having a safe and professional digital presence. This is a link to that blog entry https://kimberlyraylbportfolio.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/living-in-a-digital-world/

Some examples of Web 2.0 assignments

Unknown-1Understanding Today’s Students

This assignment included a link to an interview with Dan Tapscott, the author of Growing Up Digital and Grown up Digital where he discuss what is meant by the term digital native and how the digital world impacts teaching and learning in today’s classroom. As Tapscott explains, digital natives are more than comfortable with technology; it is part and parcel to their daily existence, “…it’s like air to them”. This is a link to my discussion response where I debate the pros and cons of student connectivity and my role in facilitating that connectedness as an educator. Assignment 1

As an adult learner that has not grown up as a digital native, I find that technology must be useful for me to bring it into my personal and teaching repertoire, otherwise it feels too gimmicky. There were a few assignments that allowed me to explore and realize the potential of digital technologies including the intersection with teaching and learning. These are a couple examples from my course work that I have and will continue to use with students and colleagues:

images-1Social Bookmarking

This assignment introduced the idea of social bookmarking. As I commented in my original response Assignment 3 Delicious, I did not at first understand the appeal of housing my teaching bookmarks online. However, I found that the ease of sharing my bookmarks with students during class assignments that utilized web resources proved invaluable.  This is a link to my teaching Delicious account: http://delicious.com/kimrayl

Unknown-2Online Document Collaboration

I have used the learning from this assignment multiple times in my new position as an administrative intern this past year. I have used Google documents to share information such as professional development schedules, surveys of staff professional development needs, review of policies and procedures with committee members, sign-up for all staff meeting agenda items…the list goes on. This is a screen shot of the Google Form I created to share professional development dates and activities with staff.

Google Form_PD Schedule

 

Unknown-1Another valuable activity that I have used in my teaching, in my M. Ed. program and m personal life is the creation and use of a WordPress blog. I find that housing assignments, documents and links to youtube videos that I want my students to view in a class blog is a useful way to organize information and help my students become familiar with learning in an online environment. In addition, as an international educator I typically live in countries that experience school closure due to minor natural disasters (flooding in Indonesia), health epidemics (H1N1 in Mongolia) and political strife (protests in Bolivia). My next school will be in Nigeria and I anticipate that at some point, we may experience a school closure due to events outside of our control. By having my course content available online, I will be able to continue providing my students with an instructional environment online, minimizing the consequences of school closure.

One of the culminating projects for my Web 2.0 class was creating a WordPress site. Through this activity, I learned how to create pages for each of the middle school classes I taught, grades 6-8. I learned how to embed youtube videos of short stories that my Grade 8 students could watch at home, and I also was able to add links to resources that my students could use to complete assignments, or make additional copies from if they lost their original. When I move to a new school this next year, I will be able to build upon the work I’ve already done, creating an online archive that is accessible no matter where I happen to be teaching. This is a link to my English WordPress site: http://mrsrayl.wordpress.com

images-1The main course text is book by Jeff Utech called Reach. Though a short and easy read, this text was chock-full of information and thinking about the ways that students learn today have evolved since I and most educators were in school. A final analysis of the text and how it related to my learning through the course was a powerful culminating metareflection that continues to impact my thinking about the use of technology in learning. This is an excerpt from my full response:

“I was particularly struck by Jeff Ultech’s comment in the first pages of Reach that the difference between Web 2.0 and Web 1.0, as represented by newspapers, is content that is produced for consumption only, “information that flows from producers to consumers” (p. 2).  Jeff comments that Web 2.0 technologies and applications, “allows users to engage with information and people” and that “anyone can create content”  (p. 4). I define Web 2.0 as a completely new perspective of information flow, a sort of tearing-down and re-realizing what use to be a somewhat hegemonic structuring of information. No longer must we, whether school children or the general public, be passive receptacles of doled-out information. We are empowered to seek out, create, comment on and deliver information as we choose. This simple fact has the potential for enormous implications not only for the traditional educational system but society at large. Yet, I suppose this shift in the information flow is still limited in the sense that the vast majority of users simply do not realize the potential at their fingertips. Users still have to be cognizant and trained in the use of Web 2.0 tools; this is not necessarily a given, even amongst young people, our so called “digital natives.” Issues of access, training and support along with meaningful real-life application will determine each individual’s adoption and interaction with Web 2.0” (Kim Rayl, February 2012).

 

Unknown-2The ground work laid in this initial course taken two years ago has positively impacted by learning and teaching in numerous ways. I am much more comfortable engaging with new technology and I realize that I do not have to be a master, certainly not after a first encounter. I feel comfortable seeking other educators to talk about ways they incorporate 21st century learning into their classroom practice and I’ve been able to work closely with the Media Specialist at my current school to facilitate collaborative 21st century projects with teachers. As I look at my own practice, I know that I will be back in the classroom next year teaching Grade 6 ELA. I am interested in working with my students to build digital portfolios of their writing and projects that will be used to publish their ideas, as an assessment tool and as a means to share their work with parents and the greater school community. Though technology is constantly evolving, I feel that I have a good grounding in potential applications to both student learning and my professional learning.

References

Boll, M. Power Up with Web 2.0: Understanding Today’s Students. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/Cf_OpnhI8kU.

Gregory, Nina (2012, February 29). New Ways to Think About Online Privacy. Message posted to http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2012/02/29/147669008/new-ways-to-think-about-online-privacy?sc=tw&cc=share.

National Cyber Security Alliance. (2012). Social Networks. Retrieved on October 4, 2012 from,  http://www.staysafeonline.org/

Rayl, K. (2012, February 20). Assignment 11: Reach. Personal Communication.

Rayl, K. (2012, October 5). Living in the Digital World. Retrieved from https://kimberlyraylbportfolio.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/living-in-a-digital-world/.

Utecht, J. 2010. Reach: Building Communities and Networks for Professional Development. Creative Commons: CA.

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