technology in education

Archived Posts from this Category

Techdate: crosspost from LiveJournal

Posted by on 17 Feb 2013 | Tagged as: education, Education Professional, good things, teaching, technology in education, Uncategorized

This is a crosspost from the online journal I keep mostly for technology-related posts. However, this is also about teaching, and perhaps explains (along with daily grading of papers, lesson-planning, meetings and tracking down experienced teachers to bounce ideas off…) why I have been posting irregularly and rather poorly the last two months.

I owe my readers an update on the garden and personal life as well, but will do that this evening, when I hope to take actual “downtime” with no papers hanging over my head!

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Children and high-tech safety issues

Posted by on 17 Dec 2012 | Tagged as: children, citizenship, education, Family Matters, parenting, teaching, technology in education, Uncategorized

Note to readers: I began this 16 days ago, and then was so busy this month it languished. Hopefully it’s still somewhat relevant.

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A Good Week!

Posted by on 18 May 2012 | Tagged as: education, teaching, technology in education, Uncategorized

Fourth Grade, Fifth Grade, High School, Primary School. I pretty much hit all the major levels this week, and enjoyed them all!

What I am learning:

  1. Be firm right away. The kids need reassurance that they are in capable hands.
  2. Notice the small annoyances right away and the big ones aren’t as likely to happen.
  3. Notice the really great things right away, and publicly, and all the kids want that kind of attention. I have been giving gold stars to the kids who do something first, or notice something first, or who go the extra mile on their work. At first, some of the kids act as if stars are for “babies” but after a while they all want one.
  4. Be alert to the kids who can’t see (I am working on this one) because by the time they admit they need help they are pretty far behind the rest of the class and feeling frustrated. Sometimes the kids have just forgotten their glasses. Sometimes they don’t have glasses but know they need them. Sometimes… who knows? But the kids who sit in the back row really struggle with our modern obsession with technology when they can’t read the optical projection image.
  5. The kids who are misbehaving are doing it for a reason. Find out the reason before you respond if you can. I am immediate on consequences for dangerous and destructive behaviors, but am developing my ability to stop, ask questions, and consider my responses for other behaviors that are disruptive to the class or annoying to other students. This last week I had a couple of chances to ask the kids involved in minor scuffles what was going on and what they thought a better response would be. Will it help? I am not there consistently enough to know if it got through to them. I hope so.
  6. The kids who want to control every aspect of class are usually doing it for one of two reasons: they are highly anxious and don’t do well with changes to routine, or they are struggling to keep up and want to show their peers that they have it together. For the kids with the former issue, I am clear that although I am doing things differently than they are used to and they will be okay. For the latter issue, I try to notice when those kids are getting it right so they don’t have to show off. Sometimes, giving them a little help on the side is effective. Sometimes, changing the task from individual to group thinking is helpful. And sometimes, just letting them work on the task in peace for a while is enough.
  7. I need to be aware when I am getting tired, too. I am learning to sit down so my feet and back don’t hurt (important when I am standing on those hard asphalt tiles). I am having kids come up to me when they want to ask a question (learned to do this when I broke my toe a couple months ago) — a teacher friend of mine has a “see me” sign up on the white board for a similar purpose. And I am being unapologetic about taking sips of tea or water while teaching — I need to stay hydrated to be able to see straight!
  8. Finally, I am getting much better at keeping track of time. I now tend to write the schedule on the board. Not only do the kids know for sure when things are supposed to happen, but I can glance quickly up and see how much time I have left instead of having to constantly refer to the page/s of notes. When I can remind kids a little ahead of a transition that they are going to need to change pace they seem to do better.
  9. As always, this list is to be continued, and I welcome comments and suggestions!

Parent-School Communications and In-school Technologies

Posted by on 21 Jan 2012 | Tagged as: education, Education Professional, Interesting Websites, teaching, technology in education, Uncategorized

I have just finished attending a web seminar, my usual Saturday-morning activity. Glad our power was restored in time for this! The livebinder of links for this webinar is at livebinders.com classroom20live. The actual webinar is available for playback at live.classroom20.com archives (there is a link to archives at the top of the page). It is also available on iTunes U!

I am excited by Joe Mazza’s presentation. The way this principal has integrated technology into a robust home-school program is inspiring. And to my question about what to do for the families who lack tech connections, the answer was simple and obvious: they maintain a list of those families, and EVERY communication that goes out via the web or cell network goes home to those families in hard copy. The school also has awareness of community resources that can help families become connected (cut rates for cable internet was an example).

The school district I am applying to is very rural. Cellular service is questionable, let alone smart phone access, and cable internet will be sporadic as well. Affordability of technology will be an issue for some families in this district. Some families might be able to access or afford technology but decline to use it. I want to be sure that anything I do online does not disenfranchise families!

So I am thinking about using a telephone-based call-in feature where I could leave a homework update or family notices about tests and conference times. My local school had something like this when my boys were little, and it was very helpful to me. Paper communications don’t always make it home in a timely manner! But that would be a common way for me to send information home also. Class sizes in this district will be small, so printing won’t be a huge deal. But in a larger, still rural or low-income community, cost to print might be an issue.

One of the participants in today’s webinar in the chat room mentioned Remind 101 as a tool that can both text families/students and email. This would be a good tool where cell service is reliable, and most families have cell phones. I know that just because families are in an urban location does not guarantee that they have access to computers. Even public access computers in libraries are not always available (as I mentioned in my Master’s Paper). So wherever I am, whatever I am teaching, I will have to be sure I make communications with families as broad and inclusive as possible.

I have a lot of things to think about! A different person in the chat room was insistent that online communications are not safe or secure. I think this person is unfamiliar with technologies, as many families are, and has read too many alarmist reports. However, there are some very real and important personal security issues that need to be addressed with online communications. I am going to do some research and thinking about how to convey to families (and other teachers) the knowledge they need to be able to address those concerns. For example, I understand how to disaggregate data and keep it anonymous, but I think most people don’t. I should be able to explain this better! I should also be able to talk intelligently about firewalls, restricted-access sites and communications, and what a “hacker” does – and doesn’t.

Finally, these webinars make me think about how tech can be used to support learning, both within and outside the classroom.

I am always trying to wrap my head around how to integrate tech into instruction without losing the developmentally appropriate tasks of non-tech activities. I think students of ALL ages benefit from using physical crayons, paints, scissors, glue… I think students of ALL ages need to know how indexing systems work in physical texts, how to ask a question and hold it in their minds longer than the time it takes to click a link, how to communicate face to face. I think students of all ages also benefit from being able to move quickly past a stumbling block by using online resources, to communicate with teachers or project team members outside of school time, to be able to publish their original work to websites where classmates and far-flung friends and family can view and comment! So when I think about the home-family connection, I think about things like posting student work to a class website that parents can access (with a password) and comment on. I think about a web-based chat room where parents can ask questions or suggest things and I can respond so all the parents can be part of the conversation (emails don’t allow this!). I think about giving students the tools to post notes from class so peers can benefit from the group process — who noticed what? Why would that be important? I think about an online class calendar and notification system so that my students can see what I have taught as well as what is coming up (projects, tests, special guests).

So much to think about, to be excited about.

I hope I get a classroom of my own soon so I can start working on this!

New pages at Stidmama.com

Posted by on 19 Jan 2012 | Tagged as: education, Education Professional, grad school, school, technology in education, Uncategorized

I have added two pages, both are in the sidebar to the right.

Under "About" is a Page that reads My Online Resume. No surprise, but it has the basic text of the resume I walked in to a local district last week. I am going to add in some of the additional activities and training sessions I have attended in the last 7 months as well as some of my hobbies and skills — those would go on a second page, if I were to hand it in.

In the "Papers" section is my Master’s Paper. Titled, Access to Opportunity it is a cursory exploration of some of the issues surrounding technology literacy in schools. While the writing process was artificial and disorganized, I think there is information in this paper that could help other teachers who are also struggling with either how to articulate the need to take instructional time to support student use of technology, or how to understand the variances in capacity between students.

I will probably be spending time this coming summer organizing and re-arranging pages, to make it easier to navigate what is rapidly becoming a catch-all site. I might break out some of the functions again, and start maintaining separate sites for my professional teacher activities, storytelling and arts, and my random but hopefully fascinating observations on life in general…