Final Reflection for 541

EdTech 541 is coming to a close…..and with this I have looked backed and realized how much I have gained in the course of a few months. Mainly, my mind set on what constitutes as Technology! This class was not always easy for me…..many because I am not currently in a classroom. I stressed many of these past weeks trying to make sure I met the criteria of the artifact(s) guidelines and to make sure I had chosen the right tools and planned a good lesson; not to forget the research I needed to do weekly for my blog entries. Overall, I firmly believe the stress was worth it….below you will find my final reflection on this course along with how I assessed my performance.

  • What have you learned?

When I first looked at this question, I blanked; not because I couldn’t remember, but because there are so many things I am taking away. If I had to prioritize, I would say the #1 thing learned would be learning about relative advantage (RA). I learned I needed to keep RA in mind when I set out to look for technology for a given lesson. RA will help me determine if the technology will benefit the students or just keep them busy or entertained. Technology has a purpose in the classroom as long the RA can be determined, otherwise the students are receiving no real benefit from it.

I also learned about all the different types of technologies that can be integrated into a lesson. I never really gave much thought about how a “game” can also be used to teach a marketing subject. I knew there were Math and Science games, but through this course I found (and bookmarked) a plethora of marketing games, simulations, and so much more.

  • How theory guided development of the projects and assignments you created?

Prior to this course I thought to believe myself to be an objectivist, using directed instruction. However, I am not sure if it’s because of what I have learned so far in the M.E.T program, but I have discovered I lean more to the constructivism when I was creating many of my lesson plans.  I believe I have elements of both, but I have learned that I need to start making the students more responsible in their own learning.

  • How the course work demonstrates mastery of the AECT standards?

The AECT Standards for using, creating, and assessing/evaluating were the most prevalent in our artifacts this semester.  They demonstrated our knowledge of our content areas where we had to create lessons with appropriate technology. We also, in many cases, actually used the technology to demonstrate how it would be used in our classrooms. In our learning logs we assessed/evaluated these lessons and technology, as well as, reflected on how it would on the used in a classroom. Theoretical Foundations were mastered in each lesson by having to research and determine the goals of the lesson and then determine the type of instruction to be used to deliver the lesson. This is where we resolved if our lesson would be directed instruction, (objectivism), inquiry-based learning (constructivism) or both.

  • How have you grown professionally?

I feel like I am more confident in my abilities to integrate technology into my content area. I also believe I am prepared to be able to teach other instructors how to begin integrating and/or become more efficient in their integration. One thing I have discovered, I am more willing to try something new and reflect upon it, rather than sit and complain about how times are changing. I would rather be an initiator than in instigator.

  • How have your teaching practice or thoughts about teaching have been impacted by what you have learned or accomplished in this course? What will you do differently as an educator as a result of this course?

My thoughts have changed drastically since I began this course. In my teaching experience before I relied greatly on the text book and the textbook resources; which didn’t work all that well at the time. Now I am more willing to embrace the different technologies that will not only engage my students but will (hopefully) drive them to want to learn more; to take the initiative and take ownership of their own learning. As an educator I want to move more into a facilitator role and make my class more student-centered rather than teacher-centered.

 

Assess My Performance

  • Criteria                                            I would rate myself Proficient                           65 pts

I believe my blog posts were full of thought, insight and synthesis. However I I feel some may have lacked depth and detail.

  • Reading and Resources                I would rate myself Outstanding                       20 pts

I made sure I did use APA style; I rechecked with the manual and online with the Purdue OWL. The textbook was my primary resource for this course and I used other materials when warranted.

  • Timeliness                                     I would rate myself Proficient                            15 pts

All of my posts were made by the deadline. However, a few were made on the day of the deadline.

  • Responses to Other Students       I would rate myself Proficient                            25 pts

I responded to two peers’ post each week.

Total                                                                                                                            125 pts

Accessibility in an Android Device

This week’s assignment has been all about Assistive/Adaptive Technology for different areas of special needs. Up until now I knew about a few things, but I am AMAZED at what other technologies are out there.  I’ll be honest, I have never inquired about the “Accessibility” option on my cell phone before this blog. There are some things that many of us, myself included, take for granted. As I observed and researched what each feature could do I became more appreciative of the Samsung company and many others out there that provide these options. This lesson has made me more aware of what can be done to aid ALL students (and adults) in the classroom in a more efficient manner.

In this blog I am going to point out a few accessibility features that are a part of my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge phone.The operating system my device runs is the Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Many schools allow students to use their hand-held devices in the classroom. The following features will help the students set up their devices so they can be more engaged in the lesson.

Vision Impairments

There are many accessibility features for the vision impaired that Samsung provides on the s7. The following are just a few I looked into: 

Voice Assistant “The Voice Assistant function is the main tool for those who are visually impaired. Once activated, it’ll read out everything that you tap on, including text. Tap on something to hear what it is, then double tap anywhere on the screen to activate it if it’s an app or a link” (Tanasychuk).

Dark Screen “This is a pretty important setting if you’re concerned about your privacy. Voice Assistant must be enabled before Dark screen can be enabled to keep the screen turned off at all times. Tapping the screen will still make Voice Assistant read out the options to you, but other people won’t be able to see what you’re looking at or who you might be messaging” (Tanasychuk).

High Contrast Fonts “A great feature, thanks in part to the Super AMOLED display, this setting punches up the color and outline of fonts so that words stand out more prominently on your screen. Black text gets darker and white text is outlined” (Tanasychuk).

Magnifier Window “This feature activates a rectangular magnifying glass that you can move all over the screen to magnify the content beneath it. It’s great if you’re reading small text on websites or trying to see parts of an image that don’t stand out. This is also a great tool for those who want to check the resolution of images” (Tanasychuk).

Grayscale and Negative Colors “These features are for those who are color blind or who have trouble distinguishing one shade from another. Activating Grayscale will turn everything into what you might call “black and white” and your phone will go all Turner Classic Movies on you. Negative colors flips the color scheme on you, which helps improve contrast” (Tanasychuk).

Hearing Impairments

There is an option to improve sound quality for those with hearing aids. Once this feature is activated notification sounds and ringtones will come through better.

Flash Notification “Enabling Flash notifications will cause your camera light to flash when you receive notifications or when alarms sound. All you have to do is turn your phone over to stop the flashing” (Tanasychuk).

Subtitles “Samsung and Google both offer subtitles that can be enabled for videos that support them. If you choose to turn them on, you can adjust the font size and color if needed” (Tanasychuk).

Sound Detectors The Galaxy s7 can be set up to detects sound such as when a baby cries or the doorbell rings.

Mono Audio “If you hear better out of one ear, you can switch the audio output to mono, so that all of the audio that would normally be separated into right and left channels comes out of only one headphone” (Tanasychuk).

Dexterity or Physical Impairments

Universal Switch “This enables customizable switches that allow those with motor skill issues to more easily interact with their phone and select items on the screen. You can set your interaction method by connecting external accessories, tapping the screen, or using the front camera to recognize your head’s rotation, your mouth opening, and your eyes blinking” (Tanasychuk).

Assistant Menu “This feature gives you an on-screen interface to perform actions that would normally require you to use a combination of hardware buttons. A constant square will appear on the left or right side of your screen, which you choose, and, when tapped, it will produce four squares. With a single tap you can navigate home and back, open the notification shade, take screenshots, change the volume, lock the screen, and more. When you delve a little deeper into the settings, you can adjust the look of the buttons and decide whether or not you’d like contextual menus within apps” (Tanasychuk).

Interaction Control “This feature controls how your phone interprets different motions and screen touches. It’s a bit complex, but it’s a way to block interaction with certain sections of the screen by drawing circles around them with your finger. It basically creates a mask over those areas so that you do not mistakenly interact with what is beneath it. All you have to do is hold the power and volume down buttons to enable it. You can even choose to block the entire screen, which can be useful for those who aren’t going to use the touch screen at all” (Tanasychuk).

Direction Lock “This feature allows you to add a shortcut to specific accessibility features. You can enable the features you want and then activate them by pressing the Home button three times. This is so you don’t have to dig through your settings and enable individual features every time” (Tanasychuk).

Resource:

Tanasychuk, M. (2016). Samsung Galaxy S7 accessibility options you should know about. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from http://www.androidcentral.com/galaxy-s7-accessibility-options-you-should-know

Obstacles and Solutions to Integration of Technology

When I received my undergraduate degree we were not “taught” integration. We did presentations, but that was about it.  When I began teaching, mimicking what I had been shown, I relied heavily on Microsoft Office; since that was basically the only “technology” I knew. So, it was no surprise when I read The Digital Librarian’s Blog and she noted, “Teachers do not have the time or experience to properly integrate technology into the classroom.”  “Additionally, many educators mistakenly believe that any technology is good technology. This means that, at times, the introduction of technology may be a barrier in and of itself.” During my research on obstacles I could not locate anything specific for a high school marketing class. Therefore, I am writing about a few that I actually encountered when I taught.

One of the major obstacles I had as a Marketing teacher was actually not using enough technology. Since I have began the M.E.T. program at Boise State I am now more aware of various options.  Quizlet is a good source to begin using for those of us that want to start small with integration. Quizlet allows for students to create flashcards on a lesson’s key terms and main ideas. It also allows teachers to create quizzes for the students to take digitally.

Another obstacle, which coincides with the first, is allowing the students to take control of their learning. I’ve discovered I did not do much in the way of creating lessons that were student-centered; mostly teacher-centered. One solution to this is incorporate simulations, such as Game Corp which is a simulation game about owning a business and staying profitable. Another simulation is Shoot For Mars; “The Marketing Management Simulation is designed to address the pedagogical requirements of an Introduction to Marketing or Marketing Management class. It is appropriate for mass sections as well as smaller class sizes. Students play the role of a marketing manager responsible for corporate marketing planning, implementation, and control. Teams compete for sales, share, and contribution to corporate profitability.”

Another solution is to begin using Project-Based Learning in the classroom. I recently created one for another class and discovered how technology-rich they could be as well as student centered. This solution is a little more time consuming in the pre-planning and creating stages, but I have found that many standards can be met in a PBL and it moves the teacher to a role of facilitator.

Resources

Conley, L. (2010). Barriers to integrating technology – The Digital Librarian. Retrieved April 08, 2016, from https://sites.google.com/site/thedigitallibrarian/barriers-to-integrating-technology.

Relative Advantage of Using Technology in a Marketing Classroom

According to Brookspublishing.com there are five steps teachers can follow to help get students actively engaged in learning, They are:

  1. Connect what you’re teaching to real life
  2. Use students’ interests and fascinations
  3. Give students choices
  4. Present information in multiple formats
  5. Teach students self-monitoring skills

In my previous teaching experience I strived to meet these five steps daily, and realized I failed many times.

There are many teachers, including myself, who struggle with finding methods and/or tools to help aid students to become more involved with the learning process. When I chose marketing as my content area I could “see” how I could “easily” make this subject relevant to my students. Fast forward to my first teaching job and I realized pretty fast it was not as easily as I had originally perceived.

Enter in technology. I am one of those teachers (not old, just “those”) that did not have a lot of technology in the classroom growing up. Therefore, before my enrollment to BSU I did not think about the impact that integrating technology could have on a marketing classroom. I did small projects that mainly used Microsoft Office and some Internet research.

In a marketing class, technology can help overcome some barriers to understanding the concept. Technology helps put the learning process more on the students. by having them create something like an ebook (storyjumper.com) or create flashcards using Quizlet to help understand key terms and ideas. Simulations such as Shoot for Mars give students more in-depth practice and knowledge because it teaches in a method that is more pleasing to the student. They retain more information when they enjoy what they are doing; thus making it more engaging and relevant.

Technology also makes it more authentic because it opens doors to collaboration and to a bigger audience. Students can essentially have their work published on the internet for anyone to look, find, and/or use. Using activities like a blog or creating a website gives students more opportunities to create authentic works.

An article form Edtech Review points out, “Students love using new technology in the classroom. The interest of students in technology allows teachers to vary activities of the day and engage students.” I can see how some of the activities I have previously used in my classroom could have different outcomes. Once such activity, I had students create a brand new product. They had to include a drawing of the item, on poster board, with all of the necessary labeling. Today, I could incorporate graphic design software and let their imaginations really take off.

Not currently being in the classroom I am sure there are more ways that technology in a marketing class can be more engaging, relevant, and authentic. Practice helps in seeing the big picture and I can not wait!

Resources

5 tips for getting all your students engaged in learning. (n.d.). Retrieved April 03, 2016, from http://archive.brookespublishing.com/articles/ed-article-0212.htm.

Reasons for technology integration in education. (n.d.). Retrieved April 03, 2016, from http://edtechreview.in/trends-insights/insights/290-reasons-tech-in-education.

Roblyer,M.D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (7th ed.). Boston, MA:Pearson.

Relative Advantage of Using Digital Games for Content Area

My entry this week is about using digital games to enhance learning. This is a relative new concept for many teachers who did not grow up with gaming nor have much practice with using video games. In an article written by Jordan Shapiro, “Games,, however, can supplement time-tested pedagogical practices to long-term problems.” Edward Owens points out that in “a 2009 study by the American Life Project, 97% of teenaged Americans play some form of videogame, be that on the computer, the Internet, on a  handheld or on a console.” So with this knowledge, and knowing the percent will stay high, its makes sense for teachers to embrace using games in the classroom.

The relative advantage of using digital games in the classroom can be widespread. Shapiro points out a study conducted by the American Psychological Association “that identified four types of positive impact that video games have on the kids who play them.” These four types are:

  • Cognitive benefit: Games have been shown to improve attention, focus, and reaction time.
  • Motivational benefit: Games encourage an incremental, rather than an entity theory of intelligence.
  • Emotional benefit: Games induce positive mood states; and there is speculative evidence that games may help kids develop adaptive emotion regulation.
  • Social benefit: Gamers are able to translate the prosocial skills that they learn from co-playing or multiplayer gameplay to ‘peer and family relations outside the gaming environment.'”

I hope as I move forward in my teaching career I will be able to embrace games more so than I do now. I do not think games should, or will replace the physical teacher. Like I said at the beginning, games should enhance what the teacher is teaching.

 

Reference:

Owen, E. (n.d.). 4 Reasons Why Gaming Must Be Used in Education. Retrieved March 9, 2016, from http://whatculture.com/gaming/4-reasons-why-gaming-must-be-used-in-education.php

Shapiro, J., SalenTekinbas, K., Schwartz, K., & Darvasi, P. (n.d.). Mind Shift:Guide to Digital GAmes Learning. Retrieved March 8, 2016, from http://www.kqed.org/assets/pdf/news/MindShift-GuidetoDigitalGamesandLearning.pdf

 

Acceptable Use Policies

Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) have become a necessary evil in today’s environment. Schools, companies and organizations have to layout what they expect and how they expect technology will be used on their premises and/or with their equipment. Roblyer defines an AUP as a policy “…that stipulates the risks involved in Internet use and outlines appropriate, safe online behavior” (pg. 66). Schools have to maintain a safe environment for all students and employees, this also includes the virtual environment. The Internet, in general, gives a plethora of information, however, not all of it is suitable for the classroom or work environment. This is why an AUP is written up. An AUP is a set of guidelines for students and/or employees to learn how to be responsible with their privilege of using the Internet at school or work. These guidelines layout exactly what can and cannot be done along with the consequences if they choose not to follow.

So, what should be included in an AUP? The following, from scholastic.com, are components that are commonly found in an AUP for an educational institution:

  • a description of the instructional philosophies and strategies to be supported by Internet access in schools;
  • a statement on the educational uses and advantages of the Internet in your school or division ;
  • a list of the responsibilities of educators, parents, and students for using the Internet;
  • a code of conduct governing behavior on the Internet;
  • a description of the consequences of violating the AUP;
  • a guide to what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable use of the Internet;
  • a disclaimer absolving your school division, under specific circumstances, from responsibility;
  • a statement reminding users that Internet access and the use of computer networks is a privilege;
  • a statement that the AUP is in compliance with state and national telecommunication rules and regulations;
  • a statement regarding the need to maintain personal safety and privacy while accessing the Internet;
  • a statement regarding the need to comply with Fair Use Laws and other copyright regulations while accessing the Internet;
  • a signature form for teachers, parents, and students indicating their intent to abide by the AUP.

One negative side of an AUP is that is it usually written up, distributed and then forgotten about until something bad happens and lawyers have to get involved. Only then it is pulled out and dusted off. I believe that those who need to sign it also need to be taught what it means in order to fully understand what they are agreeing to uphold. Especially for middle and high school students that can be lead astray too easily. If every teacher in every subject area took one day out of their schedules to teach the policy I believe there would be less occurrences of non-acceptable issues.

Examples of Acceptable Use Policies

Madison County Schools

Huntsville City Schools

Madison City Schools This AUP is included in the student handbook. It is located in section 6.24

Morgan County Schools

University of North Alabama

Calhoun Community College

Resources:

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Scholastic. (n.d). Why have a technology policy in your school or library? retrieved February 28,2016 from http://www.scholastic.com/librarians/tech/techpolicy.htm.