Wednesday, September 26, 2012


 

Monitoring My GAME Plan


            Looking back on the previous two weeks, I actually feel like I have made some significant progress on one of my GAME plan goals while the second GAME plan goal has remained somewhat stagnant.
            My first goal of trying to incorporate more project-based learning activities and assessments in my classroom has been fairly easy to pursue.  I have found a great deal of resources concerning project and problem-based learning from websites, educational journals, and advice from colleagues.  For this particular part of my GAME plan, I feel like I am right on track when it comes to taking action.  I have already incorporated several project-based activities in the last few weeks and while monitoring the learning of the students, I have come to the conclusion that these activities are worthwhile and meaningful.  Probably the most important thing I have learned so far concerning project-based learning is the fact that it cannot and will not fit into every single subject or content area.  Rather than forcing a project-based activity on students for the sake of just doing it, I have looked for other ways to tackle some other content in my Economics classes.  The biggest question I have concerning this part of my GAME plan is how many projects or problem-based learning activities do my colleagues use for their classrooms?

            The second goal of trying to increase parent and student communication through technology has no progressed as quickly as I had hoped.  This is despite finding some good resources through research and colleagues, such as Edmodo and Class Parrot.  Because this goal has progressed slower, I think I need to modify how quickly my plan will move forward.  At first I thought transitioning into instant digital communication would be easy.   I found out that even parents who do have computers and internet available do not always know how to use all the digital technology for communication purposes.  This does not mean I will give up on digital communication but rather I will be more patient and sparing in using computer technology.  I am going to try to work on getting parent cell phones linked up to a system like Class Parrot because I know for a fact that more parents and their children have cellular devices than computers and this may be the bridge I need to carry some parents into the digital communication arena.  For sure I have learned that even though technology is all around us in society, not all people can use it effectively and that can be frustrating.  If I keep being patient and use a combination of different communication tools, then I can still reach the goal of increasing parent communication with some use of technology support.  My question for my colleagues on this goal would be “what other communicative technologies do you use to help increase your parent, student, and teacher communication?”  Overall, I think that I am making some good strides in my GAME plan and I will continue to work toward achieving my goals so that student learning and communication improve.

 

 

Some resources I have discovered for my goals for both project-based learning and communication”


http://www.udel.edu/inst/-  Project-based learning

http://pbl-online.org/-  Project-based learning

https://www.remind101.com/-  parent/student communication

http://classparrot.com/-  parent/student communication

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Carrying Out My GAME Plan


After reading and listening to this week’s resources about Universal Design for Learning (UDL), it is clear that there are a great deal of tools and resources available to teachers in order to reach all students in the classroom (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009).  Just to refresh my colleagues, my GAME plan is focusing on increasing project-based learning through the use of technology and increasing parent communication and involvement through the use of technology. 

In order to carry out my GAME plan, I will need a great deal of resources, many of which are already at my disposal and the disposal of my students.  For my first goal of increasing project-based learning, I have almost everything I need for resources because my students each have their own laptops for 1:1 classroom learning capabilities.  In the budget project example I gave in my last post, students are now able to communicate with experts and conduct research to find out how much they could expect to pay for items such as rent, food, clothing, insurance, and daycare.  The only information I need is more research and development from continued inquiry and dialogue with colleagues at work and in my Walden community.  As mentioned before, I am already involved in an authentic and realistic project with my students and I have several other “real-world” projects in the work such as a stock market project that involves students buying and selling stock on a virtual stock market site.

The second part of my GAME plan involved increasing parent and student communication using technology.  Again, students have many of the resources they need to help carry this plan forward, especially through the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) that my district now has.  For parent side of communicating with technology, I would like to have more training and dialogue with other educators about how they communicate with parents through digital mediums.  I do have a Facebook page and email for just school but not all parents have those available.  After some informal conversations with colleagues, the suggestion of Edmodo was given as another means of communicating with students and parents.  I am going to continue to pursue more ways of connecting with parents using technology and I feel I have made some progress as I get more additions to Facebook and I do still get emails from parents.  However, I feel I have a long way to go even though I have taken steps to dialogue with parents as much as possible.

One question I have for my Walden colleagues:  Some of my students and parents do not have wireless internet at their house.  How do I maintain communication with them using technology?  In this case, I have resorted to phone calls but are there some other ways I can communicate using the latest technology?  I have thought about using data and texting through cell phones but that would mean giving out my cell phone number freely.  My phone number will not work on Google Voice.  I feel like I am on the right track but I wanted to see if there were any suggestions that I may be missing or forgetting.
 
Resources

Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Developing a GAME Plan for Technology

by:  Scott Embrock


In today’s educational world it is essential for teachers to incorporate digital technology in the classroom.  Technology can support and enhance learning for students and help them reach both content and skill goals (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009).  Because technology support is so important in the classroom, teachers should continue to grow and develop their skills in keeping up with the latest tools and methods that can enhance student learning experiences.

The first standard from the NETS-T that I would like to improve upon is facilitating and inspiring student learning and creativity (International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), 2008).  The one big goal that I have for improving myself in this standard is to incorporate more project-based learning activities in my Economics class that are supported with technology.  Because of this, I plan to implement at least two new project-based learning activities per semester so that my students can experience real and authentic learning with technology support.  One project I have in the works is a budget project where students use Microsoft Excel to create a budget worksheet and use online collaborative tools to communicate with each other about information they discover about mortgages, loans, and other expenses.  I plan to monitor the goal for this standard by keeping track of what projects and activities I have created that used technology as a support for authentic learning.  If I am not working hard enough to make sure that technology is used to support content rather than using technology for the sake of technology, then I have not met my goal.  I plan to do quite of bit of reflection on what type of activities I created with the use of technology and also plan on getting feedback from students on what they thought of the activities and projects that were supported by technology.  If students felt the activities were fun but not content rich, then I need to go back to the drawing board and make new goals.  However, if students felt like the projects and activities were meaningful to them and were also enjoyable, then I have met my goal and can then extend my learning by looking into new ways to improve content learning with the use of technology.

The second standard from the NETS-S that I would like to focus on is modeling digital age work and learning (ISTE, 2008).  A goal that I would like to accomplish for this standard is to communicate better with students and parents using digital technology.  One action plan I have in mind for achieving this goal is to give parents multiples ways to communicate with me.  I understand parent phone calls are still important; however, I would also like to use email, social media, and cell phones to be able to communicate with parents and students.  I have set up a Facebook account for parents and students to get updates about what is going on in my classes and I already have parents and students checking the site for new pictures, videos, and updates (parent permission slips were signed and returned, which relates to NETS-T standard 4).  As for students, my district has a new Learning Management System (LMS) and email server that allows for excellent, fast communication with students about a myriad of issues and topics, including grades and attendance.  Monitoring my goal of communication through the use of new technology will be done through call logs, email archives, and message or wall posts on my class Facebook page.  I do allow students and parents to have my cell phone number as well and some parents find it more convenient to send text messages as well, in which case I archive and keep track of text messages as well.  When I evaluate my goal for this standard I will look at what impact this is having on student attendance and learning as well as parent comfort and confidence in both me as an educator and the high school where I teach.  By having different means of communication for students and parents, students are developing communication and collaboration skills that will serve them well in their future after their high school career is over.

One big question I have for my colleagues is what types of projects and activities do you implement differently now than before because of new technology and what new projects and activities do you now have for students because new technology supports are available?  Also, are there any communicative methods or strategies that I have left out in trying to reach my second goal of communication and collaboration?  I think if we as teachers can help each other grow and develop then all of our students are set to reap the benefits in the long run.

Resources


Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education standards for  teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/Libraries/PDFs/NETS_for_Teachers_2008_EN.sflb.ashx
 
For some great tips and ideas, watch this video.  Some really great ideas to help all of us teachers!