Monthly Archives: June 2011

How we should spend the money for digital needs?

This is an assignment for EdTech 501. We were given 7 recommendations and were asked to evaluate them, followed by our suggestions on how to spend the money. I made a PowerPoint presentation that can be accessed at: http://www.slideshare.net/ntropi/suggestions-for-state-allocations-of-technology-funds  There is no audio at the SlideShare link.

In addition, I made a video in Camtasia, but it turned out to be huge. I don’t know if you’ll be able to open the video. Here is the link: http://tinyurl.com/MGetz501mod3

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Elements of Educational Technology

Instructions: You will explore and provide your perspective/reflection on one of the following elements, specifically how the word relates to or enables a better understanding of the definition of educational technology: (1) Study (2) Ethical practice (3) Facilitating (4) Learning (5) Improving (6) Performance (7) Creating (8) Using (9) Managing (10) Appropriate (11) Technological (12) Processes (13) Resources.

Definition of Educational Technology (2004):

According to the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT), Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.

My Response:

The one I pick is number 3, facilitating. Even though it may seem like I picked facilitating because it was near the beginning of the chapter, that is merely a coincidence.  When I read the description that goes with facilitating, it proved to be different than what I expected.  I expected to read about how as education has become influenced more by the invasiveness of technology, the teacher’s role has been replaced by that of a passive facilitator who merely monitors the students.  I thought that in this facilitator scenario, teachers do not have the responsibility of determining what gets taught or how to teach it because when the technology comes in to play, the teaching is exuded through whatever media the students are using.  Turns out I was wrong!  It has been known to happen.

As I read the passage about facilitating, I felt like I was reading my ideal job description.  The way the authors described the teachers’ actions is more like the teacher being a coach who has made it possible for students to have open ended opportunities to interact with content such that they gathered the important parts and built them into their psyche. The teacher still scaffolds the lesson, but it is done in such a way that the students take ownership of the direction of the learning and therefore they have mastery of the subject and not just a spectator’s point of view.  The concept of constructivism comes into play because the students are constructing meaning.  Fortunately when I was taught how to be a teacher, I was taught methods that follow the constructivist approach.  It is something that I’ve tried to embody in all of the classes I’ve taught, however the factoid based tests tended to interfere with the slower methods used in constructivism. That soapbox is one I shall stand upon at a later time.

Another aspect of the facilitating philosophy is that the teachers are not seen as the oracle of knowledge. Being in a classroom is not for students to sit and listen to a teacher talk at them. Even if the teacher is using “technology” via PowerPoint slides, the point of the technology is not to make lecturing easier on the teacher. The point of the technology may be to use the PowerPoint slides to engage the students by having them take roles in explaining concepts shown on slides. Technology is used to facilitate getting the information in the students’ hands so they can determine how to use it and to make sense of it.  Page 4 has a statement that sums this up perfectly, “the key role of technology is not so much to present information and provide drill and practice (to control learning) but to provide the problem space and the tools to explore it (to support learning).”  There are so many teachers I’ve taught with who really need to think about that statement. Too many times they act like they are doing the right thing because they are using the technology, but in reality they are merely fooling themselves because they’ve transformed the technology to be yet another way for them to control student behavior.

I hope that I will be able to become a facilitator of student learning by using technology to help students acquire and utilize information. I still want them to guide the direction and flow, but I hope to have the opportunity to build their scaffolding.  The TECH museum in San Jose, CA has done just that by creating curriculum that empowers students to find solutions to what may seem like common everyday problems. With these projects, students construct solutions to the design challenges.  Most of the challenges are low-tech, meaning the students don’t have to use anything that involves electricity to do their project, however if they found a technology that helps them build their solution, it certainly would not be discouraged.  The point of many of the design challenges is for students to collaborate and come up with something that exists in three dimensions.  They often create a prototype, test it, and then make changes as they see the flaws that remain. This is not dissimilar to what happens in educational technology where instructional designers use technology in a ethical manner as a way to foster student projects that reflect what they learned and the means by which they learned it.

Video of someone at the TECH museum in San Jose explaining how their Design Challenge activities work.  This is one way constructivist ideas can be brought into the classroom:

References:

Association for Educational Communications and Technology. (1977). The definition of educational technology. Washington, DC: AECT.

Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (2008). Chapter 1: Definition. In Educational technology: A definition with commentary (pp. 1 – 14). NY: Lawrence Erlbaum, Inc.

Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT). (2004)The Definition of Educational Technology.
Washington DC: AECT, Definition and Terminology Committee

found at: http://www.indiana.edu/~molpage/Definition%20of%20ET_classS05.pdf

Who am I?

Who am I?  Why am I seeking a degree in Educational Technology from Boise State?

First things first. I am an educator. I started being a high school teacher about 15 years ago. I love teaching. My life is more complicated than I want to go into with my first blog post- don’t know who is reading this yet and how much my audience can be trusted <evil laugh>.  Needless to say I’m no longer in a cinderblock classroom.  I am seeking a career from bed, using my laptop, that does not involve pornography. I figure that since I am an educator, I might as well delve into the world of online teaching and learning. I had brief employment as a “teacher” online and my impression is that online curriculum is dreadfully boring, incredibly passive for the student, and not interactive enough for the teacher to actually be earning the pitiful wages she gets. I do not like seeing what is happening with public education in the US where states are now farming out their students to businesses that promise to educate their ignorant children via a computer for much less than what it would cost to pay for a custodian to maintain the buildings kids would have to use if they were not doing all of their work online. If this is the trend the US is going in, and if I can do anything to help make the curriculum better than what I experienced as one of the online full time “teachers”, then I am going to do it. Like I said, I lasted for about a month in that chaotic atmosphere. The kids were excellent; the company was not. Please don’t expect me to tell you who I worked for because I really don’t need a lawsuit to accompany my current state of unemployment.

Why am I going to Boise State?  It looks like a totally kick-butt program. It offers really current classes and tons of them. I want to go to school to learn something, not to just get a paper that says I have another Masters degree. I already have a requisite Masters degree and technically don’t need another one to qualify for any pay levels or jobs that require a token MS. From the research I did, it just seemed logical to not only try to get into Boise State for a degree, but to actually attend school here. I’m even going to take the GRE in August which is scaring me less now than it did when I took it 20 years ago. I think I have such a massive mansion in the land of Denial that I’m just going to surf around in the practice books and software for the next couple months to delude myself into thinking that I’m literate.

Anyway, Boise State…  They are adding classes continuously and I like that. I like the idea that what I will be studying will be current technology with people who are experts in their fields. I took the edutainment class in the spring and a class in an Ed Tech program at another university just to see what the program atmospheres are like. The Boise State environment blew away the other school’s set-up, professionalism, and curriculum. I was only taking a class on web design, and yet it managed to totally suck. I can go into that later if folks are really interested to hear why that program turned me away from wanting to learn more in such an antiquated setting. My fellow students were awesome and I wish I could bring them with me to Boise State, but I don’t think that will be logical or possible.   One main reason I want a degree from Boise State is because they are adding classes and maybe a certificate in gaming.  My ultimate goal is to create online curriculum that is more of a game than rote memorization from a textbook that happens to be on a screen instead of on a student’s lap.

This blog may be dangerous because I have a tendency to splurt my ideas in writing and go on and on, if there is a specific topic for me to address. I am not so good at coming up with original thoughts and often require a stimulus to get the gears working. So if Boise will keep pushing ideas into my head, I will be happy to keep processing them and churning out whatever my delicate neurons choose to do with them.  I hope that my first post has not only been informational, but that I’ve answered all of the required questions in a way that has left you begging for me to write more <sappy grin>.