Friday, March 25, 2011

How do I integrate technology?

The posed questions this week all had to do with curriculum or the things we teach in class.  While all around us technology is advancing at breakneck speeds, as the 4G to 5G to 6G commercial illustrates, we need to be able to add this or integrate it into the classroom.  The way that teachers present information is guided by benchmarks, which are just educational goals created by our Department of Education.  Also, teachers use a pacing guide to check on a regular basis where they are in their instruction no matter what subject they’re teaching.  These benchmarks are created by experts to create goals for learning in all curriculum areas and grade levels.  Technology is being used increasingly in schools today to enhance the learning process to accommodate more types of learning.  The use of technology with all of its hardware and software inside the classroom is considered technology integration. 
            There are all types of integration inside the classroom.  This can include the use of interactive software programs, to computers in the classroom, and even a portable “wireless media cart”(Shelley, 2010).  The ideal classroom would have a brand new computer, now it would probably be in the form of a tablet, for each child, an interactive board instead of the traditional chalkboard, and a computer for the teacher to instantly have all the needed tools at their fingertips.  This would include instantly assessing students with digital test, using digital text books, and using multimedia to expose students to key enhancements that cannot be brought into the classroom like video of a science experiment that could potential be dangerous and is better suited to watch then to do.  Technology also has become a key part of the classroom as our students have been born into the world of technology that is moving at an ineffable speed.  We as educators need to be able to teach them how to correctly use this technology as it improves and changes.  The greatest part of technology and using the Internet is it gives children an equal opportunity to learn.  Classrooms of one, two or even an entire classroom of computers can be designed to fully integrate technology to enhance learning.
            A key model called the “ASSURE” model helps teachers to become guided correctly when planning for a lesson, unit or an entire week.  It includes key ideas which are question based including how to Analyze the learner, State the objective, Select methods, media, and materials, Utilize those same methods, media and materials, Require learners to participate, and Evaluate how the learning process is proceeding and revising the lesson if needed. The mere accumulation of the knowledge of how technology works is not enough, planning isn’t enough, it must be correctly organized using a model like the “Assure” method mentioned above.  Teachers must create an environment of integrated learning, decide how to administer or deliver the integrated curriculum.  (Shelly, 2010)
            One way to use technology in an appealing way is through digital storytelling.  I someday hope to use this tool to have students retell a story.  I think to have students use a digital storytelling presentation to tell about key components, or story map a book they have read would be incredible.  They could record their voice to tell the story, and create their own artwork to become the illustrators also.  As I teach fifth grade, I think this would be more than just another summary or writing project for them.  I think it would cover benchmarks for both technology and Language Arts.  The last part of the task would be to present it to a lower grade level, either live or through strictly the presentation.  As most of my fifth graders currently read books without much illustration, finding clip art or creating their own art, which they are most happy to do on everything especially their weekly spelling tests for some reason.  I think presenting this would encourage some of them to be a presenter even though they may be shy normally.  Even entice some to read to younger students and be a good role model to work on their own role in society.  Let’s face it with how easy technology is for today’s students this would be easy and I see nothing but great things to be created by completing this project.  The resources for student’s online would be few but key.
 They would need access to an online program, like Prezi, that allows easy user access, also so they can work at home.  Also it would need to be free, as most budgets can’t afford extras in today’s economy.   Furthermore, the use of free clipart, from Google images, would benefit students to illustrate the digital story summary would be a must.   As mentioned before teacher’s are directed by benchmarks, which leads to the question what learning activities would need to be used in order to facilitate the learner to successfully complete the task.  The students would probably need some in depth practice with Prezi, view multiple examples of presentations that are in the spectrum of what I expect as an end result, and a skill set on how to find images using a search engine or how to create their own images by using Paint.  Since they are great drawlers I think using a scanner to insert their own handmade images would also be a benefit for students to use while creating this project.  In short, the end result would need to be created by me as the facilitator of learning to visibly show students what they needed to do to create a satisfactory project. 
Shelly, Gunter, Gunter (2010) Teachers Discovering Computers Integrating Technology and Digital Media in the Classroom Sixth edition. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your insight with digital storytelling! I really enjoyed reading about your digital storytelling project for your fifth grade students! The idea and concept of having them recreate and tell a favorite story using their voice, Prezi, and Paint is very clever! As a fourth grade teacher, I could easily use this project idea in my classroom. I would however, choose a bunch of classic books we have read this year and let my students choose from the list to create their project on. I would be afraid my students would choose a book that is way to long. Another idea you could do, if your students wanted to create a project on a long book, would be to allow them to summarize the main points in their storytelling Prezi. Just an idea!

    Thank you for sharing about the ASSURE method. I too, felt that the teaching method ASSURE would be very helpful for a teacher who was unfamiliar with teaching technology. The way the steps are laid out for you is very helpful when planning a lesson using technology.

    Thank you for your digital storytelling ideas and insight!