Thursday, April 16, 2015

ED 7726 Week 2 Integrating Technology into a Lesson

Simon Peyton Jones' TedX talk published 4/29/14

Each teacher starts in different places when choosing to adopt technology and insert it into their "tried and true" lessons. For some, the goal is substituting an online free version of a hard-to-duplicate hard copy. For others, the goal is to engage students with a new and different challenge. Other teachers find themselves in other places along the spectrum ,from adding a small enhancement to redesigning a lesson with similar purpose.

Teachers are like students. Because they have different comfort levels with technology, they need to feel like they have choice of technology. I completely reworked the Internet research lesson, incorporating more than one technology piece, but the originating teacher could choose to modify it if it seems overwhelming. One of my English teacher friends has her students do a "shop project" every year, and I modifiec/planned this lesson with her in mind. As the librarian, I can embed advanced search skills and copyright information into the lesson.

Learning new technology takes time. I have found that once a teacher finds something that has been successful in the classroom, that teacher is more willing to try something new. The initial curve is steep, but the future learning is much less so. As a technology leader, play with new apps and invite teachers to join. Be excited when finding something new, and tell everyone you come in contact with about it. When one teacher is finding success, others will start asking.

Don't just substitute technology for another activity. Look at the outcome. Does it all tie together? Is the goal to create something new or to do the same thing using different elements in the lesson? Either is fine, but adding technology does not mean "instant engagement." Students can be equally bored and unfocused in front of a computer as they are doing worksheets. Bounce ideas off of teachers who have found success using technology in their lessons, and ask for suggestions. Studies indicate that students learn better from collaboration. We should use that model as well.

Thank you Jodi and Christel, who helped me iron out some of the bumps in the lesson. Getting ideas from imagination to paper can be a challenge for me, and they really helped me see some of the awkward areas in my original plan.


Original lesson:
Internet Research tied to Literature for Alternative Jr. High
Diann Gergen
English/Reading 9th grade
Content Area Objectives Addressed:
Students will refer to and utilize textbook, audio equipment, paper and pencil, visual artwork, and computers, to:
Build Vocabulary, Respond to Literature, Look at Author’s Purpose, Build Grammar Skills, give oral interpretation, and search the Internet to make a Career Connection between Past and Present.
Technology Objectives Addressed: Students will access the Internet to search for information relating to careers.  Students will develop note-taking skills, reinforce “cut and paste” techniques on “Word”, orally respond to Art Transparencies on Audio-Tape, and Review procedures for correct editing with overhead transparencies.

Activity Description

           Students were introduced to 5 “center” activities.  Each center dealt with responding to or connecting with Literature.  With limited computers and in the classroom for Internet searching, and Word processing, centers was necessary to maintain student interest and on task activities.  Students have had prior exposure to center activities, computer usage, overhead driven activities, and “packet” work. New to them in this class was the oral interpretation center which allowed them to listen to their own and others interpretation of Literature.
1.      Students were given a brief over view of what activity could be found at each center, and where the centers were located around the room.
2.      Each activity was then explained in detail.  Understanding and clarity were checked for at frequent intervals
3.      When students seemed clear as to what expectations of lessons were, activities were started.
a.      Center 1: Overhead review of editing procedures.  (Overheads from classroom Literature series used)First draft, revision, peer/teacher editing, final publishing of paper.  (This was just an overview review to inform students what was expected of them with final copy of Internet center.  This center was done all at the same time, with the opportunity to review on an individual basis with me later.
b.      Center 2: Paper and pencil packets.  (classroom Literature book used)  This center exposed students to worksheets looking at Building Vocabulary, Reading Strategy, Author’s Purpose, and Building Grammar Skills.  Although paper and pencil packets are not always the most exciting way to inform and encourage students to learn, some seat work was needed to allow all students to be engaged in the learning process at all times.
c.       Center 3: Art Transparency and Oral Interpretation of said art tied to written word.  (classroom Literature book used)At this center, the students viewed a transparency of Cradling Wheat by Thomas Hart Benton.  There were hard copy directions that looked at Appreciation of art, Responding to Literature, and having the students give an Oral Interpretation of the short story, “The Harvest” By Thomas River Benton.  The students were asked to chose a section of the reading that they felt reflected the art work, then make an audio recording of said passage.
d.      Center 4: Career Connections.  At this center the students  read the poem “I Hear America Singing” by Walt Whitman.  (Classroom Literature book used)  Students were asked to identify as many careers as possible from the poem, and then pick the career that they felt was best suited to their life choices.  It was noted that some students felt that they could not relate to any of the careers mentioned in the poem, yet they were requested to choose the one that came the closest to something they could research successfully.  They were then asked to search the Internet looking for information on their chosen career.  They were required to research at least two of the following areas:

Education needed for chosen career, time to receive that education, salary or money issues related to career, benefits of career, benefits beyond money related to career, physical locations where they could have career, length of time they may expect to be able to work in career, definition of career from the past into the future, (how has it changed, or may it change) importance of career to American society, (in the past, present, and future), or branch off in the direction that they felt best suited them.

Students could take paper and pencil notes, cut and paste to a word document, or some even just cut and paste information and sent to personal e-mail to work on and develop projects at home.

e.       Center 5: Word processing center.  At this center they were asked to produce a final product (report) sharing the information they researched on their career.  Not all students have access to computers at home, so they were made available in the classroom to help ensure success with the assignment.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

ED 7726 Week 1

Summarize your learning, recommend a strategy to your readers, make suggestions to educators on aligning technology with standards, explain the importance of this alignment, describe how Marzano/Hattie fit with CCSS, etc. 
Image from CBT McGraw-Hill blog 

Students learn best when they are able to interact with the material rather than just trying to absorb it by reading or listening. Using technology can help a visual learner connect with the material. Chris, a teacher at my school, was reading  Memories of a Geisha with her class. Although her students were interested in the story, they did not understand the cultural references. We collaborated and decided to use Thinglink as the platform for their research. Using an image as a base, students were asked to find credible information and link it to different aspects of the image. They were also required to use one video. Chris and I observed her students sharing information with their classmates while working on the project. When they continued their reading, the students were much more engaged in the story after they had completed their research. 

As the Librarian at my school, I weave research skills into every lesson. It is critical to stress source credibilty. We are all exposed to too much information. Students use technology, mostly the Google, to research everything. Being able to determine the validity of sources is not just part of the Common Core for college and career readiness, it is a life skill.

I somehow lack teacher terminology ("edspeak" is my nickname for it,) so I find myself looking outside the class resources for definitions and examples. According to the book, What Works in Schools, teachers who are considered "expert" use many strategies in their classrooms. Teachers who are ineffective have few effective strategies.  Although there are many strategies for learning, John Hattie was the first to quantify how much each individual strategy can effect the percentile gain for a student. As an example, according to Hattie, tutoring can cause a 19 point percentile gain, and simulation and games can cause a 13 point gain.* It is surprising how large a difference using proven strategies can make. It is worthwhile to make time to learn new strategies.

Marzano's and Hattie's teaching strategies are part of best practices for teaching and learning. Teachers who use these strategies help their students learn how to learn. The alignment of the Common Core Standards is designed reflect these same best practices.  The ELA standards focus on complex texts and learning strategies for understanding these texts. The high yield strategies mentioned in this week's readings can give students the skills they need for college and career readiness, the main focus of the Common Core.

* Hattie's effective gains in What Works in Schools are different from the link to Marzano's effective gains in the assignment.

Additional resource:

"Teacher Level Factors." What Works in Schools: Translating Research into Action. Robert J. Marzano. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2003. 69-70. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 11 Apr. 2015.

Image link: