Technology Integration Educational Journey

Posted: August 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

(My lessons learned paper for my Master of Educational Technology at Boise State University)

Throughout my years of teaching, I applied myself to the school of the thought that to be a relevant and effective teacher, one must have a thorough and up-to-date mastery of the subject, and possess the ability to relate to students at their level. Following almost two decades of teaching various grade levels in the same school district, I became cognizant of the changes in teaching methods, with technology assuming a pivotal role in educating our youth. I realized I was lacking in adequate training to infuse technology correctly into my curriculum. Although the district provided an array of professional development opportunities, integration of technology in education was lacking overall. This awakening, my passion for technology, along with the encouragement of our technology director, prompted me to enroll in the Boise State Technology Integration Specialist Certificate Program. I became fascinated by technology integration and the world of opportunities it opened for students and teachers. Consequently, I enrolled in the full Master of Educational Technology Program with the goal of enhancing my own education, and gaining the ability to share my knowledge and skills with the teachers and administrators in my district. Not only did I learn to effectively integrate technology, I gained insight on learning theories, assessment, appropriate instructional design, website development, and online course design. This knowledge applied not only to my classroom, but also to my professional development delivery, and my own professional self-directed learning through social connections. As a resulted of my extended Boise State education, I can now effectively create curriculum that integrates technology. This paper is a reflection of the valuable lessons I learned throughout my MET studies.

Lesson One: Reflections on Learning

“Active learning is grounded on the constructivist theory that emphasizes hands-on, activity-based teaching and learning during which students develop their own frames of thought” (Keengwe, Agamba, & Hussein, 2012, p. 2880). Constructivism states that all learners construct meaning through experiences that are individual, collaborative, or situational in nature. Constructivists believe that individuals are responsible for their own learning, and current and prior knowledge play an important role (Smith & Ragan, 2005). I learned from my studies at Boise State, that it is important to assess the learner’s prior knowledge and context before proceeding with any instruction, particularly those, which require intellectual skills and problem-solving strategies. Without appropriate exposure to particular prerequisite experiences and skills, it will be impossible for students to successfully complete the required learning task. The learner may not possess the knowledge with which to draw upon appropriate decision-making conclusions.

My curriculum is geared towards a constructivist point of view, with student-centered tasks requiring authentic problem-solving activities. One example of curriculum I authored was an online Digital Citizenship Course created during Edtech 512. According to Hathaway (2014), “an online instructor should consider two factors: the characteristics of the learners and the type of curriculum” (p. 6). Keeping this in mind, students were surveyed regarding prior knowledge and current needs. An analysis of their needs and the required curriculum helped create the lesson objectives and determined the content standards that needed to be addressed. A concurrent design was created, outlining the course and activity, along with a timeline of events. Motivational strategies were explored to enhance learning, and the planning began for effectiveness, efficiency and appeal. Constructivist-based activities were put into place and students collaborated and problem solved together on various authentic inquiry-based projects to achieve mastery of curriculum standards. Technology enhances cooperative learning experiences in a project-based learning setting (Jaiswal, 2006). They have access to experts, digital collaboration methods, instant feedback and research and enjoy a much better way to communicate, discover answers to real-world problems, and showcase their work.

I apply to the school of thought that, “constructivists favor rich, authentic learning contexts over isolated, decontextualized knowledge and skill, students centered, goal directed inquiry over externally directed instruction, and supporting personal perspectives over canonical perspectives” (Jonassen & Land, 2000, p. 6). I encourage collaboration, realized by the grouping of workstations around the room with computers accessible to all. My students are working on more than one project and relocate their stations as required during their sessions. I take on a facilitator role through the entire process, questioning techniques and encouraging students to self and peer evaluate, and to reflect upon their learning. “Students indicate whether they have achieved the skill, or if they require further assistance. This is helpful both for student growth and for the teacher to design differentiated lessons ” (McKinney, 2013, p. 45). This particular methodology of allowing students control of their learning, results in significant favorable chatter among parents, teachers and administrators and, most importantly, the students themselves.

Lesson Two: The Art & Science of Teaching

According to Smith (2008), we should change our perspective of how we view creating lessons by shifting our thinking. We must initially determine our learners’ needs before deciding what areas to teach which assists in the design process. Instructional design follows this perspective. It is a systematic process of applying learning theories and principles in order to achieve the successful development of effective, efficient, and appealing instruction (Smith & Ragan, 2005). Instructional Design requires assessment and analysis of instructional goals, learner context and needs, and evaluation of training tasks in order to provide effective instruction. The systematic nature of this approach is imperative for designers in order to ensure that learning theories and proper assessment and evaluation are applied, resulting in successful design implementation and learning success.

Learners today require different methods of teaching due to the current digital technologies in place. Something one must consider:

While doing things the way we have always done them is not necessarily wrong, the   problem is that such an approach alone fails to enhance learning among Digital Natives, nor to prepare them for the digital workplace in which they should be productive citizens. (Kivunja, 2014, p. 2880)

Gordon states (2010), “it is time to embrace a more rigorous pedagogy that increases learning by requiring students to think more thoroughly and critically” (p. 1). During my Instructional Design class, I was able to utilize Instructional Design methods centered on students’ current knowledge base and educational technology trends to create an inquiry-based instruction about global warming. Inquiry-based instruction is instructional content and activities that encourage student-centered, open-ended learning tasks, designed to engage students through exploration, problem-solving, and decision-making within a collaborative learning environment (Leonard, Noh, & Orey, 2007). Students were to create interactive digital posters about the causes of global warming, express their opinions on the topic, explain the effects of global warming, and inform others about what citizens can do to slow the process. I evaluated my students through surveys and interviews to determine the instructional needs on this topic. Most importantly, I designed the unit based upon their needs, and implemented the lesson with a group of students to determine the necessary revisions. I incorporate this lesson with my current fifth grade and it happens to be a favorite topic each year. They love the idea of creating digital posters that are published for the community, and the topic is relevant and therefore important to them.

According to Petraglia (1998), today’s educators view learners as having different approaches to classroom activities due to prior knowledge. I continue to analyze the learner’s prior knowledge and required content standards before creating my lesson plans and units. Most importantly, I ask, “What are my students’ needs?” Then I develop the instruction and implement it with groups or in the classroom. I evaluate and discuss results with subject matter experts whenever possible. This method helps create the best curriculum and classroom atmosphere possible for my students, since they are the most important part of the instructional process and must be kept in mind throughout all stages of development. I have learned that the art and science of teaching is having the ability to effectively communicate and facilitate your students. “The teacher is at the center of what takes place in the classroom. The teacher is responsible for creating a student-centered, stimulating, and developmentally appropriate learning environment” (Lucillo, 2009, p. 53). Proper lesson planning and learning theory play an essential role in the classroom, as well as the relationship with your students. Are you meeting the needs of your students, respecting and listening to them, and meeting them at their learning level? I believe these are the most important questions an educator can consider. I ask myself these questions every day, and I can unequivocally answer “yes.”

Lesson Three: The Design and Evaluation of Instruction

Design and assessment of instruction are particularly important to any person in the educational field. It wasn’t until my graduate studies that I realized that assessment did not always pertain to student evaluation. An evaluator looks for a well-written lesson plan design, program objectives, and student participation to determine an effective lesson (Zhao & Ma, 2009, p. 523). Evaluation and assessment can take many forms in education. In my current employment I evaluate curriculum that has already been set in place. Prior to graduate school, once I created the lesson or courses for my students, I never properly evaluated the effectiveness of the curriculum. I informally evaluated the curriculum, without the necessary data to render a professional opinion. Following my MET instruction, I understand that evaluation of your instructional program is mandatory to ensure student success. During Edtech 503, I learned that “evaluations determine program objectives and question whether they have been achieved; it judges the worth of ongoing programs and decides the usefulness of new programs or projects” (Boulmetis & Dutwin, 2011, p. 4). The implementation of evaluation must begin at the onset of missions and goals as they take shape. Evaluation can establish better success if the evaluator is present at the opening of the program to plan goals and assessment early on, and is authorized to monitor the program activities throughout the evaluation process. The evaluator should also be available to communicate needs or revisions to goals, assess program needs and success rates, and communicate all results to the stakeholders for decision making or funding review. I am continually involved in program cycles when developing my teaching lesson plans or units for Boise State graduate work. Involvement in my school STEM program required me to develop a program, collaborate on the program mission and goals with the Administration and Board of Education, implement the program, assess the needs and success of program goals, and provide a summary of the program cycle evaluation results to both the Administration and the board members. This program was for the Middle School Digital Citizenship blended learning unit. I monitored and evaluated its’ success, reported all results, and made recommendations for revisions to the administration.

As a fifth grade math teacher, and hopefully soon to be technology teacher, evaluations will be relentless. I plan on implementing more STEM lessons into my daily curriculum. To do so, I must be open to evaluation of the curriculum I author. Whether it is a Principal, Administrator, Evaluator, or myself taking the necessary steps for program evaluation, I will be sure to implement all recommendations in order to improve program and instructional goals. Curriculum documents should be fluid in that there is always room for improvement.

Lesson Four: Networking and Collaboration

“In connectivism, the starting point for learning occurs when knowledge is actuated through the process of a learner connecting to and feeding information into a learning community” (Kop & Hill, 2008, p. 2). Connectivism allows the learner to have complete control over their learning goals, topics or problems to research, where to research, where to share their learning, choice of social networks, freedom of expert connections and design of learning environments. Networking and collaboration have become a major factor in my professional development life. Prior to my Edtech 543 course about social learning, I always used Twitter and Facebook personally, but did not really dive into professional learning through social media. After the course, I am competent in finding relevant Personal Learning Networks (PLN’s) to help me improve my teaching methods and enhance my repertoire of resources. PLN’s influence a professional to “engage in learning based on their needs, interests, and goals” (Krutka, Carpenter & Trust, 2016, p. 153).

People read, write, listen and communicate differently due to the advances in technology (Holum & Gohala, 2001). Many social networking tools are valuable to my program because I now utilize social media platforms for professional discussions and professional development where I can define the learning goals I need and locate the professional training required without the restrictions a district professional development team may offer. One of the most rewarding experiences of my Edtech 543 class was the Twitter for Professional Development assignment. Having to dive into Twitter chats helped me grow in confidence that I have resources and knowledge that others find beneficial. My Twitter PLN also shared great resources and ideas that I put to use immediately with my students. I fully realize that planning lessons using the knowledge base of my PLN provides me the opportunity to create the best lesson possible for my students. Being educated with collaborative ideas and fine-tuning them for my own, truly enhances my students’ classroom experience.

Working with my class PLN provided a great opportunity to grow professionally and learn about myself. The course Social Learning engaged us in a connectivism learning experience, which proved to be a profound learning experience. I was so conditioned to working independently, it was refreshing to gain insight from others, receive ideas, and share work with classmates. I really enjoyed each learning activity, but I especially enjoyed creating a social media policy for student social media use, as well as a mini curriculum unit with my group. We were able to work together to devise a unit about Games Around the World that facilitates various social medias for an upper elementary class. The students collaborate across the globe to invent games to share with each other. According to Reed (2010), global project based learning “promotes creativity, address all learners, provides success for all students, makes content meaningful, provides an authentic audience, motivates students and empowers students to make a difference” (Changing Curricula section, para. 5). This unit will be completed with my fifth grade. I cannot wait to blog about how the experience unfolded. It is rare to hear about social media use in an elementary setting, therefore, I feel actually implementing the unit may encourage others to do the same. Social media promotes a constructivist’s view of learning as “active social engagement, to encourage the students towards collaborative learning and sharing through networking and in communicating to allowing for feedback from a wide audience, and to connect people…beyond the shores of the classroom and the textbooks” (Mei Ling Yeo, 2014, p. 61). Due to my connection with this viewpoint, I started using social media within my classroom by incorporating a class Twitter account. The parents appreciate the immediate communication, and the students enjoy having work published online, collaborating on weekly tweets, and communicating with experts in a particular field of study. I will continue to introduce new ways to infuse social learning within my classroom and profession. The benefits are plentiful for both the student and the learner.

Lesson Five: The Research-Practice Connection

During this ever-changing digital era, the question of how to apply appropriate learning theories to educational technology remains at the forefront of my continuing research at Boise State University. I realize the importance of having a comprehensible concept of educational technology and its significance to me as an educator. I have clarity of what principles to set forward when incorporating technology into my curriculum due to constant research and professional communication. Too often I see technology used either as a required tool or bragging right for the newest technological tools. Many districts have the finest hardware and software, but are unable to answer to the required guidelines of the educational relative advantage of such purchases. One challenge struck a familiar chord. According to Davidson-Shivers and Rasmussen (2006), “it is difficult enough for a faculty member to stay abreast of his own content specialty area; having to keep up with technological innovations as well as being the technical troubleshooter places extraordinary demands on a faculty member’s time” (p. 36). When I was enrolled in Edtech 541 class, I realized how vital it is to insure that guidelines are met, hence assuring that the software and tools selected create a positive educational outcome for all learners. The Technology Integration Matrix by The Florida Center for Instructional Technology provides an excellent guideline for implementing technology into the curriculum, and aids in my own technology integration. I utilized this matrix, which emphasizes active technology utilization, collaborative learning experiences, constructive connections to learning, authentic real-world assignments, and goal-directed activities (TIM, 2017). Using this set of guidelines, I created a cross-curricular weather project. I researched what misconceptions children have with weather around the world and infused professionally sound technologies to eliminate these misconceptions. The unit consisted of a cross-curricular approach incorporated with technology enhancing lessons.

How an individual learns depends on prior knowledge, the method of instruction, proper curriculum evaluation, and the instructor effectively implementing the lesson. These methods greatly impact the outcome of learner performance. “Training teachers as reflective practitioners and researchers should be a priority for an educational system that seeks to improve their students in managing complex information and solving problems creatively and divergently” (Fernández-Fernández, Arias-Blanco, Fernández-Alonso, Burguera-Condon, & Fernández-Raigoso, 2016, p. 1). Students are more motivated when instruction relates to content both inside and outside the school, and the content is relevant to real-world situations where students utilize new knowledge for authentic purposes (Brophy, 2013). I personally commit myself to be one of the dedicated researchers to the field of educational technology. Although I am immersed in graduate training research and professional learning networks, my school district is on the cusp of infusing technology into their curriculum. I do my utmost to create a technology rich classroom environment by remaining abreast of the current research and knowledge base of appropriate instructional design, curriculum, technology tools, and educational technology trends. My goal to incorporate additional educational technology into my everyday curriculum has been met with enthusiasm by administrators, students, and parents, thus providing the impetus for me to continue to rally for the advancement of educational technology in my district.

Conclusion

My hope for the future is to present as an example educator who integrates technology successfully through a refined educational product and instructional design. Many teachers are not adequately prepared and trained for successful technology integration, which is much needed in this ever-changing digital world. Not only am I prepared to be a teacher who infuses technology with proper pedagogy, but also I am prepared to also be a knowledgeable educator and trainer of technology integration. My goal is to implement educational technology curricular successfully within my classroom and to facilitate teachers to incorporate a successful technology infused curriculum designed for learner content mastery and educational success. It is my passion to assist my district on this path of technology integration. When technology is infused correctly into the educational setting, our students will successfully achieve the skills required for the 21st century workforce. Thank you, Boise State University, for preparing me with an extensive, rigorous, and well-designed Master of Educational Technology program.

Resources

Boulmetis, J. & Dutwin, P. (2011). The ABCs of evaluation: 2nd edition, Jossey Bass.

Brophy, J. E. (2013). Motivating students to learn. New York and London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://server1.docfoc.com/uploads/Z2016/01/02/CzqDJ9oDC7/0ba90b765aac4ace3f9903aaababb2b4.pdf

Davidson-Shivers, G. V., & Rasmussen, K. L. (2006). Web-based learning: Design, implementation, and evaluation. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Fernández-Fernández, S., Arias-Blanco, J., Fernández-Alonso, R., Burguera-Condon, J., & Fernández-Raigoso, M. (2016). Reflective and inquary thinking in education. aspects to consider in teacher education. Electronic Journal Of Educational Research, Assessment & Evaluation, 22(2), 1-16. doi:10.7203/relieve.22.2.8425

 

Gordon, M. E., & Palmon, O. (2010). Spare the rigor, spoil the learning. Academe, 96(4), 25-27. Retrieved from https://www.aaup.org/article/spare-rigor-spoil-learning – .WJEx-LYrIdU

Hathaway, K. L. (2014). An application of the seven principles of good practice to online courses. Research In Higher Education Journal, 22, 1. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov.libproxy.boisestate.edu/fulltext/EJ1064101.pdf

Holum, A. & Gahala J. (2001). Critical Issue: Using Technology to Enhance Literacy Instruction. North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED480229.pdf

Jaiswal, P. (2006). Using technology to enhance the teaching learning process. I-Manager’s Journal on School Educational Technology, 1(4), 26-30. Retrieved from http://libproxy.boisestate.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.libproxy.boisestate.edu/docview/1473907959?accountid=9649

Keengwe, J., Agamba, J., & Hussein, F. (2012). Technology and active learning in teaching and learning: A model. In P. Resta (Ed.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2012 (pp. 2879-2882). Chesapeake, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved from https://www.editlib.org/noaccess/40026

Kivunja, C. (2014). Theoretical perspectives of how digital natives learn. International Journal of Higher Education, 3(1), 94-109. Retrieved from http://www.learntechlib.org.libproxy.boisestate.edu/p/161639

Kop, R., & Hill, A. (2008). Connectivism: learning theory of the future or vestige of the past? The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 9(3). Retrieved from doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v9i3.523

Krutka, D. G., Carpenter, J. P., & Trust, T. (2016). Elements of engagement: a model of teacher interactions via professional learning networks. Journal Of Digital Learning In Teacher Education, 32(4), 150-158. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21532974.2016.1206492

Land S.M. & Hannafin M.J. (2000). Student-centered learning environments. In D.H. Jonnassen & S.M. Land (EDS), Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments. 1-24 Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Leonard, K., Noh, E.K., & Orey, M. (2007). Learning theories and instructional strategies. In M. K. Barbour & M. Orey (Eds.), The Foundations of Instructional Technology. Retrieved from http://itfoundations.coe.uga.edu/index.php?title=Learning_Theories_and_Instructional_Strategies

Lucilio, L. (2009). What secondary teachers need in professional development. Catholic Education: A Journal Of Inquiry And Practice, 13(1), 53-75. Retrieved from http://libproxy.boisestate.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ934031&site=ehost-live

McKinney, G. (2013). Building common knowledge: what teachers need, and how districts can help. Journal Of Staff Development, 34(4), 42-45. Retrieved from https://learningforward.org/docs/default-source/jsd-august-2013/mckinney344.pdf?sfvrsn=2

Petraglia, J. (1998). The real world on a short leash: The (mis) application of constructivism to the design of educational technology. Educational Technology Research & Development, 46(3), 53-65. doi:10.1007/BF02299761

Reed, J. (2010). Global Collaboration and Learning: How to Create a World of Success Without Leaving Your Classroom. Retrieved from http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2007/09/global-collaboration-and-learning

Smith, P.L., & Ragan, T.J. (2005). Instructional design (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons

Smith, R. M. (2008). Conquering the content: A step-by-step guide to web-based course development- By Robin M. Smith (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9647.2009.00562.x

Technology, F. C. (2009). The Technology Integration Matrix. Retrieved February 2, 2017, from Florida Center for Instructional Technology: http://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/index.htm

Yeo, M.M.L. (2014), Social media and social networking applications for teaching and Learning, European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, (2)1, 53-62. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov.libproxy.boisestate.edu/fulltext/EJ1107719.pdf

Zhao, D., & Ma, Y. (2009). A qualitative study on primary school mathematics lesson evaluation. Frontiers Of Education In China, 4(4), 506-525. doi:10.1007/s11516-009-0028-8

 

 

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EDTECH 543 Final Reflection

Posted: November 30, 2016 in Uncategorized
Tags:

media-998990_1920When I first began this course on Social Media Learning, I was quite excited to begin the journey of including social media into my own classroom curriculum.  Prior to this course, I knew of some ways social media could be infused into the elementary curriculum; however, I did not have the expertise nor the drive to incorporate this technology into my class work at that time.  Subsequent to this course, I am confident in taking my learning experience to the next step by utilizing what I learned within my classroom agenda. I always used Twitter and Facebook personally but did not really dive into professional learning through social media.  Now I feel I am competent in finding relevant social media PLNs to help me improve my teaching methods and enhance my repertoire of resources.  This course not only helped me grow professionally, but will also be of assistance to my students’ learning and curriculum activities

These social networking tools are valuable to my program because I now utilize social media platforms for professional discussions and professional development.  One of the most rewarding experiences of this class was the Twitter for Professional Development assignment.  Having to dive into Twitter chats helped me grow in confidence that I have resources and knowledge that others find beneficial.  My Twitter PLN also shared great resources and ideas with me that I can put to use immediately with my students. I fully realize that planning lessons using knowledge base of my PLN, provides me the opportunity to create the best lesson possible for my students.  Being educated with collaborative ideas and fine-tuning them for my own, truly enhances the classroom experience for my students.

The webinar interactions offered another great opening for professional learning.  I previously dabbled in some webinars, but did not commit to as many as I did for this class.  I realize now how important it is to keep advancing my training, not only in my graduate studies, but also in self- directed learning as well.  I decide where I could use additional training and research a particular webinar that addresses my needs.  Where else can you get professional development such as that?  This pursuit of highly developed education is something that I will definitely continue into the future.  

Curation was a topic I really never heard much about.  Although I utilized others’ curations, I never took the time to see how important curation is and how difficult a process it can be.  I was inspired at a technology conference about games in the classroom, so I decided to do further research on this topic and use it for my curated topic. I found wonderful material and resources and I had the chance to share the work of someone who inspired me. Hopefully, it will help another teacher decide if games in the classroom works for their curriculum needs. I will continue adding to this curation and sharing it through social media PLNs.

Working with my PLN was a great opportunity to grow professionally and learn about myself.  Working with my classmates gave me a profound learning experience I cannot forget.  I was so used to working independently, so it was refreshing to hear from others and get ideas and share work with classmates.  I really enjoyed all the activities we did, but I especially liked creating a social media policy and a mini curriculum unit with my group.  Both of these activities will go directly into my lesson planning.  My group was open to ideas for my fifth grade class that I had prior to this module and let us go in that direction for our unit.  We were able to work together to devise a unit using social media for an upper elementary class. I am pleased with the final outcome for learning about Games Around the World using social media and the collaborative effort was a worthwhile experience that I would like to continue with others in my school and/or field. This unit will be completed with my fifth grade and I cannot wait to blog about how the experience unfolded.  It is rare to hear about social media use in an elementary setting, so I feel actually implementing the unit may help others.  I cannot thank my group enough for making this lesson come alive.

I want to thank Dr. Jackie Gerstein for once again, delivering a wonderful course and providing me with an excellent graduate experience.  This was my final class for my Masters of Educational Technology, and between Dr. Gerstein’s Edtech 541 (my first class) and Edtech 543, I have portfolio work that I am very proud to share for my showcase portfolio needed for a masters degree.  Although my journey at BSU is coming to end, my journey for professional learning will continue on, especially through the use of social media.  See everyone online!

P.S. As far as what my blog grade should be, I feel that I have completed all the required blogs with many personal experiences and to the best of my ability.  Therefore, I would give myself 75/75 points.

Elementary School Social Media Policy

Posted: November 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

This week, I have been asked to develop a social media policy for my elementary school by my EDTECH 543 class.  After reviewing 10 policies online and the Internet Policy at my school, it has been determined that a social media policy should be in effect at our elementary school. I noticed that many school districts had policies for staff using social media but neglected to create a policy for students. I wondered if this could be that students are not permitted to use social media at their school.  After much research, I found that certain steps are crucial to create a fair and legal policy for my elementary school. I also noted that many policies were negatively worded, meaning that is sounds that the school does not trust the student. I tried to ensure a positive approach to creating this policy. I want the students to feel empowered to use social media for learning and feel responsible and trusted during social media learning.  My policy is meant to be guidelines rather than rules. Online interaction is a learning process, and good digital citizenship must be taught in order to be successful. This document should be read and taught in the classroom before allowing students to interact online. We must ensure that the students understand each strategy and feel safe and confident online. “Ultimately, kids have to know how to manage online usage both ethically and responsibly” (Developing Sound Social Media Policies for Schools, 2012).

The first step in creating this elementary social media policy is to organize a team. (Anderson, 2012) This team would consist of 5 students from grades 4 and 5, 5 teachers from each grade level, 5 parents, and 2 administrators, 2 community members and the school attorney.  Once we gather the team together, we will create a Google Document to keep notes and ask questions about possible strategies for students to follow. The team will also review other districts’ policies and any related policies that are in place at the district level. Once the policy is created, the team will gather again to review the final document and all feedback will be taken into consideration and added to the document as necessary. The school attorney will review the document to ensure that it is lawful, but the attorney will not be in charge of the process (Nielsen, 2012). The final document will then be presented to the students and parents at a PTA meeting.  A copy of the Social Media Policy will be emailed to each parent and student and will also be available for viewing on the district website. The policy will be reviewed annually by the committee to determine if any changes or additions need to be made (Anderson, 2012).

The Elementary School Social Media Policy that I created:

Social Media Policy for Elementary School

Social Media use is encouraged and fostered at our elementary school.  Our vision is to have students use social media to become global learners who learn and interact with students and experts around the world. This gives our students the ability to grow a positive digital footprint and learn the skills needed for good digital citizenship. The goals for our students is “to create lifelong learners, to increase creativity and collaboration, and to make connections.” (Cushing Academy) The proper use of social media gives our students the chance to develop these 21st century skills. The guidelines in this policy will pave the way to student success utilizing social media.

Definition of Social Media: Social Media is any form of an online presence, such as posts, comments, blogs, photos, forums, etc. that allows for interaction and communication between individuals.  These social media platforms consist of but are not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Edmodo, blogs, Google Plus, Google Sites, Google Classroom, and Flickr. These interactions can be in the form of school related projects or private online accounts.

Guidelines for using Social Media

Be Respectful.  Use good digital citizenship when interacting online.  Always read your comments before you post to be sure that you are respecting individuals or the school district.  Your digital Footprint is the reputation that you build online, and being respectful and positive will help develop a positive image.  In agreement with Western Salisbury Elementary School, “Social media venues are very public. What you contribute leaves a digital footprint for all to see.”

Be Present:  Positive Social Media classroom interactions can be educational and rewarding.  Be present online and share work and ideas with your classmates and teachers, and complete all required collaborative interactions.  According to the Cornwall-Lebanon School District, “How you represent yourself online is an extension of yourself.” Represent yourself wisely.

Be Responsible:  Use good judgement when posting or commenting online.  All interactions online should match the goals you set for your future.  Post positive messages, best works, and appropriate artwork or photographs. According to the NYC Department of Education, you should “align your image with your goals.”

Be Resourceful: Think of your online classroom as an extension of the school classroom. All online communications related to school reflects who you are academically at all times. Post only what you would want your teachers and parents to see.  According to the Howard County Public School System, “students will act in an appropriate manner and use digital tools such as websites, collaborative apps, and social media for educational purposes.”  Make the best out of these wonderful tools.

Be Empathetic:  Be sure to post truthful and sincere interactions. Do not post secrets and respect the privacy of others. Do not post anything that could harm the reputation of an individual or the school. According to Western Salisbury Elementary School, “make sure that criticism is constructive and not hurtful.  What is inappropriate in the classroom is inappropriate online.”

Be Smart: We encourage you to interact online, but do not post anything online that could endanger another individual or yourself. Private information should be kept private and off the Internet. Do not post birthdays, addresses, phone numbers and location. Block any individuals who spam or harass you and protect yourself at all times. In agreement with the Pasadena Independent School District, this policy is not meant to censor your online interaction, but rather to protect your rights and other individuals.

Be a Good Citizen:  Be inclusive and friendly to all classmates. Follow all School Internet and Social Media Policies to avoid consequences for poor judgement or behavior. According to the Leland School District, “be polite, friendly, and encouraging. Have some humor but be careful with sarcasm.”

Be Lawful: All interactions online must follow local and federal laws. Any unlawful behavior will be reported immediately to the appropriate authorities.  All copyright and fair use laws must be fully abided by. In agreement with the Los Angeles Unified School District, “students must represent themselves honestly and ethically online and are not to mislead others by impersonating another person.”

Be Aware: Use the school accounts wisely. Do not use the school email accounts to create social media accounts that are not approved by the school district. Be aware that many different people can view your posts and comments. In agreement with the Bloomingdale Public Schools, “comments and posts must be appropriate for an educational environment and for community members of all ages.”

Be Proactive: Report any abuse of our Social Media Policy immediately.  Do not be a bystander to cyberbullying or any negative online interaction behaviors.  Report this behavior to the superintendent, principal, teacher, parent or guidance counselor. In agreement with Green Mountain Elementary School, “we may not see every inappropriate comment right away. We ask that you alert us and either ignore or respond politely until we can.”

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Resources:

Anderson, S. (2012, May 07). How to Create Social Media Guidelines for Your School. Retrieved October 28, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/how-to-create-social-media-guidelines-school

Dunn, J. (2014, September 21). An editable social media policy for schools that works – Daily Genius. Retrieved October 28, 2016, from http://dailygenius.com/editable-social-media-policy-for-schools/

Developing sound social media policies for schools. (2012, May 27). Retrieved October 28, 2016, from http://www.eschoolnews.com/2012/03/27/developing-sound-social-media-policies-for-schools/

Nielsen, L. (2012, June 12). Looking to create a social media or BYOD policy? Look no further. Retrieved October 30, 2016, from http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2012/06/looking-to-create-social-media-or-byod.html

Students. (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2016, from http://schools.nyc.gov/RulesPolicies/SocialMedia/students/default.htm

Links to social media policies that were explored:

NYC Public Schools Social Media Policy

Social Media Policy Document

Cornwall-Lebanon School District Student Policy

Leland Public Schools

Howard County Public Schools

Pasadena Independent School District

Green Mountain Elementary

Los Angeles Unified School District

Bloomington Public Schools

Western Salisbury Elementary School

Cushing Academy

Social Media in Elementary Schools as a Learning Strategy

Posted: October 30, 2016 in Uncategorized
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twitter-birds-flightSocial Media as a learning strategy has always been a topic of debate among educators and administrators. Social Media can definitely have its pros and cons for students, and some professionals fear the cons.  I believe that the best method to teach students how to use social media appropriately is to give them the opportunity to utilize social media in a controlled setting such as a classroom.  All too often you hear about young students who have social media accounts and there is no one guiding them along the way.  Just like you would never place a small child in a big city by themselves, you should never allow a child on the Internet without supervision. Parents and teachers must be involved in this process.  Therefore, it is imperative that we teach students how to use social media positively, using good digital citizenship, to help them achieve a positive digital footprint.  But the question is “how to we teach digital citizenship?”

The best method of learning how to use social media is to actually have students use various social medias in schools.  I teach fifth grade, so this seems like an impossible task. However, there are an abundance of sites created for elementary age students that are available for sharing work, collaborating globally, and publishing content.  This week, in my EDTECH 543 class, I was asked to find at least 10 Social Media Classroom lessons/case studies that have had successful lessons utilizing social media as a tool for learning.  This was not an easy task due to the age of my students. Not many teachers publish their lesson plans and experience with social media in an elementary school setting. I could locate lists and suggestions, but had a difficult time locating actual case studies. Therefore, curating resources took a great deal of searching and time. I am pleased with the end result of my curated lesson experiences, hence I am  excited to incorporate social media within my fifth grade classroom.

Many of the lessons discussed blogging in the classroom.  Blogging gives the students a chance to share their opinion or work and have others comment on their blog post.  This provides the student with interaction and a chance to reflect on their learning.  KidBlog is a safe place to start my students blogging, which can be a private account for my class or a public account for the world. I know this will benefit students’ writing, realizing their work will be showcased for others to view. Throughout the blogging lessons I found, teachers discussed how important it is to teach the proper method of blogging and develop policies for respectable online behavior.  This is something I also feel strongly about, so I plan on incorporating these positive online experiences for the students.

My favorite lesson was Mystery Skype, where two classrooms in the world connect via a teacher account on Twitter.  The students ask the other class questions about where they live. From these answers the students use Google Maps to find the exact area where the other class is located.  Each student has an assigned task, and they are all involved in the project. This is great for cultural awareness, geography, collaborative learning, problem solving and social learning. Another wonderful lesson where students connect to another class around the world utilizes  Epals for communication. Students create kites with a buddy from another country while converting measurements from metrics.  Not only are the students learning a valuable math lesson, but they are engaged and excited to be part of this global project.  All of the lessons were excellent methods of infusing social media within the elementary classroom and I plan on incorporating each and every one of them. The common theme among all of these lessons were positive student learning outcome, responsibility, reflection, collaboration, pride, and motivation to learn and participate.

I wish, as a child, I had the chance to have friends globally, and publish my work and have my voice heard.  This is a wonderful opportunity for our students and we should not let fear hold us back from social media learning.  With the guidance of a supportive teacher and administration, the students will be facilitated through the world of social media and be ready to face the Internet independently and successfully in the years to come. Without this guidance, mistakes can be made that could impact a student’s life forever.  Digital Citizenship must be taught and practiced starting at an early age. I plan on blogging about my classroom experience using social media in elementary schools to help other elementary teachers see the impact that this method of learning can have on both the students and the teacher.  It should be easier to find elementary experiences than it was for me during this project, and hopefully my stories will make a difference and others will join in on sharing their experiences as well.

Click on Social Media Projects to see the lessons and experiences that I have found along with my insights on how each lesson relates to my fifth grade classroom.

My PLE Diagram and Analysis

Posted: October 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

A Personal Learning Environment is a systematic connection of applications used to enhance an individual’s learning. In today’s society, there are so many places to gather information and resources that it can be overwhelming.  One has to take the time to purposefully build a solid PLE that proves beneficial to the individual.  Each PLE is unique to the owner.  This week we were asked to create a diagram of our PLE and see how it relates to one another.  I was surprised to see the finished product. I used Cacoo to complete this diagram.  At first, I started with clearly distinct areas labeled Share, Communicate, Connect, and Collect.  I originally decided to place icons of my PLE in each separate area, but as I began, I realized it was not that simple.  Many areas overlapped. Each labeled cloud contains information flowing back and forth, and each icon can be connected with each cloud at times.  For instance, I use Google Drive to collect interesting documents I find on the Internet. Some documents are shared with me.  I connect with others while working on a document, and I communicate via comments and chats. Therefore, Google Drive belongs to every cloud, and the icons connect with each other as well.  For example, WordPress holds some of my Google Docs, along with Weebly and Dreamweaver.  Collectively, they unite every cloud in my PLE.  I realized that my PLE is a maze of connections put together for a common goal: to help me develop into the best teacher I can be through a host of knowledge gained each day.

This assignment confirmed to me how much I have grown since I began the MET program at Boise State.  Most of my PLE was certainly not a component of me when I began this educational journey.  The only avenues I had were my professional developments and printed articles. Through my education, I learned to grow professionally and develop into a self-directed learner.  Not only did I expand knowledge from my classes, but I now reach out to other avenues to uncover answers, resources, and theory, all in the hopes of benefitting a child.  My PLE is not simply for me; it is on behalf of every student in my class.  So perhaps I should add the students to this diagram since they are responsible for my love of learning.  My education is however providing me with the impetus to persevere on my own in order to enhance my professional knowledge.

Reviewing my classmates’ PLE diagrams proved interesting and eye opening at the same time.  It dawned on me that every PLE is like a fingerprint, unique to each individual.  Although there were some similarities, the way we perceived each learning organization and how its relativity to one another varies. Our diagrams are diverse, as well as our interpretations of our PLE. Below are some PLE diagrams that I reviewed and compared to mine.

Below is my picture of my PLE Diagram.

Click on this link to view my analysis of my classmates’ PLE diagrams.

mindmap-2

Real Time and Live Virtual Professional Development

Posted: October 8, 2016 in Uncategorized
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cloud-709105_1280Over the past few weeks, I participated in various Twitter chats and live Webinars to enhance my professional development.  This experience was rewarding and exciting for my personal learning.  I have gained an immense amount of new information and a host of resources for use within my classroom setting.  Although this was an assignment for my EDTECH 543 class at Boise State, I plan on continuing both Twitter Chats and Webinars in the future.  Below you will find a link to a Google doc which includes a summary of each Chat and Webinar, along with evidence of my participation.  I am hopeful that some of the resources I learned about recently may help you in your educational setting. 

Summary of Twitter Chats and Webinars

Games in Education Curated Content

Posted: October 3, 2016 in Uncategorized
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new_games_for_change_logoLast week, in my EDTECH 543 Social Network Learning at Boise State University, I was asked to develop a checklist on Effective Content Curation Criteria.  From developing this checklist with my group, I learned a vast amount of valuable information about what content curation is and how to develop your own curated content on a particular topic.  This week, we were asked to create our own curated content on a professional topic of choice.  I used the techniques learned with my group to develop my own content curation on Games in Education using Pearltrees. I have been dabbling in researching games in education ever since I went to the 2015 Technology Conference at William Paterson University in NJ.  The keynote speaker was Matthew Farber who is an expert on game based learning and gamification and wrote the book, Gamify Your Classroom A Field Guide to Game-Based Learning.  The resources, methods, and tools he presented were extremely helpful within my classroom.  Matthew inspired me to further my knowledge on the subject so I can incorporate games more effectively into my daily curriculum.  My curated content is a variety of literature from various subjects that are knowledgeable in different aspects of game-based learning and gamification.  My goal is to have other educators asking themselves, from the readings and their own experience, if games have a place in their classroom and if so, how?  The curated collection has three parts: literature on the effectiveness of games in education, how to incorporate games effectively with various resources, and journal articles on the research of games in education.  I plan on updating this collection often so it is current and engaging for both myself and the reader.  Through my collecting and reading, I developed a question that I am having a hard time finding the answer to. Are there gender differences in the effectiveness of games in education.  I plan adding any literature I can find on the subject to my curated content and welcome any help I can receive. Here is the link to my Pearltrees Curated Content on Games in Education.  I hope you read through all the literature and resources and comment on your thoughts either in Pearltrees itself or on my blog.  

After creating my Games in Education Curation, I was asked to evaluate my curated content using the Effective Curation Checklist Criteria checklist created with my PLN from EDTECH 543. I believe a did a good job curating content that adheres to our criteria. Below is the link to my self evaluation.

Self Evaluation on Curated Content

 

Effective Content Curation Criteria

Posted: October 3, 2016 in Uncategorized
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500px-echo_curation_alt-svgCuration is not simply collecting resources with a common theme, in one place, for easy access. Curation is developed by “deeper thinking through synthesis and evaluation of the collected items”  (White, 2012). Content curation was a term that I was familiar with, but not something that I completely understood until this week.  I was asked by my professor to create a checklist of effective content curation criteria with my class PLN group.  Immediately, I dived through the resources given in my online class website to study more about curation. Although I have used many curators’ resources, I didn’t really recognize to what extent the curator was required to work to house this list together.  Curation is not something completed in one day.  It takes many hours and constant research to analyze the massive amount of information available online, while compiling a thorough and educational curated list of the most important information.  I learned through my readings and classmates’ checklists that curated material should be organized, accessible, current,  valuable, cited properly, and promoted for other professionals to view and comment upon.

I had the opportunity to work with Jessica Allen and Jana Warner on our Effective Content Curation Criteria Checklist.  In order to work effectively with my PLN, I created a Google Doc and shared it in the beginning of the week so everyone could work on their efforts when convenient for them.  I started out the list and found the first 6 items that I felt were necessary for a good curation.  Jessica and Jana added their contributions and we came up with a list of 17 items for our checklist.  With reflection and edits we finalized the list to create our finished product.  I always appreciate working with a group because I learn so much about myself.  I realize I am a perfectionist, and have to let go when necessary.  Everyone works differently and at different paces. Finishing with time to revise helped me feel confident about working with my group in the future.  I know we will make deadlines and be able to critique and review each others’ work.  I realize everyone is busy, so we will have to divide and conquer and I am sure we will be successful. Below is the link to our Effective Content Curation Criteria.  I trust you will enjoy reading through it, and look forward to your comments on this topic.

Effective Content Curation Criteria

White, N. (2012, July 7). Understanding Content Curation. Retrieved September 25, 2016, from http://d20innovation.d20blogs.org/2012/07/07/understanding-content-curation/

Positive Digital Footprint and Reputation Management Plan

Posted: September 24, 2016 in Uncategorized
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Click the link below to view my presentation created for my EDTECH 543 graduate class about a plan for keeping a positive digital footprint.

Positive Digital Footprint and Reputation Management Plan

digital-footprint

My Digital Footprint

Posted: September 15, 2016 in Uncategorized
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human-footprints-in-the-sand A digital footprint is a permanent mark you make on the Internet as you search, post, share, or collaborate.  Everything you do on the Internet can be traced back to you.  It is important that we keep this in mind at all times, whether you use the Internet for professional reasons or personal leisure.  As a professional, I need to be extremely conscious of the mark I make, and intentional about what I want it to say about me.  I must take certain steps to create the digital footprint that I want others to perceive about me by being proactive.  This seems a bit scary and overwhelming.  A person can easily make a mistake and post something they regret later, only to realize that they cannot delete this unfortunate event.  It is important that we teach this to our children so they are aware of the repercussions that could happen towards their future.  Luckily, once I began having social media platforms in my name, I always kept them private.  It wasn’t until graduate school, that I started using social media professionally, so nothing much came up in a search engine other than my username at that time.  Now, I am conscious to assure that what comes up in a search is positive for me and my professional reputation.

For my EDTECH 543 class, I was asked to complete a search of my name using various search engines.  I was intrigued by what I found.  The first item that came up in my Google search was my EDTECH 541 Integrating Technology into the Classroom website that I made for a weather unit for first grade.  I was glad to see that something of a professional nature showed up first.  Facebook showed up next, followed by most of the graduate work that I completed at Boise State University, including my EDTECH learning log on WordPress.  Next, I found my teacher’s website and LinkedIn profile.  This all proves to me that on Google I have a positive digital footprint and that I should continue on this path.  I would like to see more of my work show up; however, there is a doctor with my same name that appears often as well.  When I put the word teacher after my name, so much more of my information is revealed.  My NASA Education award and other achievements were then visible.  I would like for this Information to be more prevalent in my digital footprint in the future, without having to add the word teacher.  I was pleased to see that some of my resources are being used on other professional blogs and websites.  I felt honored to be of help to someone, and I am pleased I discovered this now. It is the concept of collaboration that keeps me working hard and sharing that information with others.

When I searched my name on Ask.com, my salary comes up first.  After that, I found that I was honored to have my blog linked on Cybraryman’s Website.  This site is a website that I use often for resources and information, and I had no idea that I was one of the blogs listed as a resource. My STEM LiveBinder for iPads seems to come up repeatedly which I had forgotten about.  Again, this was a pleasant surprise and assures me that I have a positive digital footprint here as well.

When I searched Yahoo, Bing, and Duck Duck Go, I once again found all the graduate websites that I created.  I was amazed how many pages of my work I could find.   I also found the STEM award from NASA, which was one of my favorite experiences professionally.  I am thrilled that this is part of my digital footprint. I was surprised to find more websites that link to my work.  

Overall, this digital footprint assignment was a positive experience for me.  There is one picture that I wish did not show up on images simply because it is not my best hair day. Oh, vanity, I know!  I also realized that I have to keep up with my Google Plus account so all the information is current. Otherwise, I couldn’t have asked for a more positive experience.  Again, I would like to see my information show up faster without having to add the word teacher after my name, but to have a professional, well respected doctor with my name show up also isn’t an issue.  If someone confuses us at least we both have good online reputations.  I plan on being proactive and ensuring that I create a positive digital footprint by being more aware of what I post and joining additional professional online organizations.  I also plan on sharing more of my work, which seems to help grow a positive digital footprint.  This exercise is something every person should do.  I invite you to go search your own name and see what you find.  You may also be pleasantly surprised, or, you may find you must be more cautious with what you post in the future.