My goal for this project was to create an infographic that I could give to students or post in my classroom concerning Netiquette Guidelines. ISTE Standard 4 recommends teachers promote online digital citizenship and student creativity while focusing on relevant technology issues like security, plagiarism, research, global communication, and copyright laws. These are all important topics and one of the reasons netiquette captured my attention is because the guidelines summarize many of the other digital citizenship objectives.
After I decided on netiquette as my topic, I searched for websites about specific tips and rules to teach students. I was surprised how many of the articles I found were written nearly 10 years ago. This confirmed that netiquette was a good topic. Updated materials and information is appealing to any learner, but it is especially helpful when trying to capture younger students attention. Next, I googled examples of infographics so I knew what one looked like. I also watched the EDTC6433 YouTube video that teaches how to make an infographic and examples of projects to assign students. I learned there should be a relationship between pictures and text and that the images should be noticed before the details.
I used the website http://www.piktochart.com to create, modify, and download my poster. The free demo offers limited templates, but I think that is actually a benefit for new learners. After selecting a template, I discovered I had more creative control than I initially realized so I changed some of the fonts and color schemes. The majority of my time was spent writing and editing content. I would have liked more image choices since the visual aspect is so important, but I was able to work with what was provided. Overall, I think the site is a valuable free resource. If I want to create more charts and posters in the future I think it is worth the annual cost, especially to have access to higher quality final versions.
Creating an infographic is a really fun assignment to demonstrate knowledge in an artistic method. If students cannot access a computer, then I would teach them how to make an infographic either through drawings or assembling together pictures from magazines and newspapers. I look forward to seeing what my students create in the future when I assign infographics as part of group projects or individual assignments.
ISTE Standard 5 stresses the importance for teachers to stay updated on technology research and trends. In addition, teachers should participate in a digital society by sharing their knowledge and research through digital communication methods. Standard 5 also emphasizes that teachers find creative methods to use technology during classroom instruction and create engaging activities so students can practice and apply new digital skills. This standard prompted me to ask myself: as a new elementary school teacher, what local and online communities can I join or monitor to ensure I am devoting time to continually learning about updated technology and integrating new digital ideas into my curriculum?
Teaching is a complex, time-consuming profession that requires many character traits including commitment, organization, effort, and motivation. One of the goals of teaching is for students to master challenging content and learn new skills. Effectively incorporating technology is difficult for many teachers because technology is constantly changing and sometimes complicated. The U.S. Department of Education (2010) asserts that educators can become more effective teachers when they practice a connected teaching model. The connected teaching model is a technology-centered approach that encourages teachers to continuously use the necessary computer equipment, resources, and technical assistance to connect with students, teachers from around the world, and to access current course-related content (U.S. Department of Education, 2010, p. 40). The connected teaching model reflects how important technology skills are in a rapidly changing global society. This type of instructional approach and planning is quite different than what I experienced as student. As a teacher, I need to monitor resources and websites that will help me practice being a connected teacher and continually learning about technology.
StudentGuide lists essential resources for teachers who want to incorporate technology in the classroom. This list is very helpful for me because it divides potential resources into seven categories. Under each category are links to corresponding websites, resources, articles, or organizations. The seven categories include: 1) general educational technology tools; 2) technology initiatives and grant funding; 3) integrating technology; 4) web tools; 5) planning lessons using digital tools; 6) using technology to enhance learning among special education students; and 7) ongoing professional development. I like StudentGuide’s website because resources are organized by specific topics and I think I can find additional information through the recommended links. A classmate of mine shared a different source from TeacherVision that includes information about similar categories, along with links to specific lessons and resources about how to begin using technology in the classroom. I like TeacherVision’s list because it has more subject specific links and activities. When I review any resource, I know the purpose is for me to acquire additional knowledge so I can create innovated learning activities for students instead of relying on traditional teaching instruction approaches and assignments.
ISTE Standard 5 for teachers is one of my favorite standards I have learned about over the last few months. I do not want my lesson plans and curriculum to become outdated or repetitive. That is not interesting for my students or myself. I can prevent that from happening if I continually explore what new technology is available. I also need to maintain communication with other teaching professionals and my students. Through routine communication I can ask questions and assess what technology is effective during lessons or how activities could be changed. My students will experience my commitment to technology as they become involved in the process of continually researching, connecting, and reflecting.
Throughout this course the readings, lectures, and reflections have reviewed teaching techniques educators practice in the classroom. These strategies are grouped together in broader models, so teachers have the opportunity to learn and assess how to apply the instructional approaches. Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun (2015) categorize the four main models as: 1) the information-processing family; 2) the social family; 3) the personal family; and 4) the behavioral systems family.
Information-processing models are important because people strive to make sense of information by organizing their knowledge, applying critical thinking skills, and attempting to solve problems (Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun, 2015, p. 10). The scientific inquiry approach is a natural instructional strategy for me to include in my classroom. This approach primarily focuses on science-related lessons, but I think it should be used in many different subjects. Advantages of this approach include that it allows students to experience hands-on practice and teachers are encouraged to seek “cross-cutting”concepts to identify content that is similar to other subjects (Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun, 2015, p. 72).The steps are also applicable for students when they try to solve problems outside of school. Additionally, I hope that the more practice students have using the scientific inquiry process will further benefit them in their future Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics endeavors.
Social model strategies promote a positive cooperative learning environment in which students interact during supportive learning activities (Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun, 2015, p. 12). Creating and consistently using a cooperative learning approach is very important to me when I begin teaching. The world has advanced to a global society and successful interactions requires the ability to work with people of different cultures, beliefs, and values. Cooperative learning activities should incorporate elements of positive interdependence so students can reflect on how everyone’s effort is significant and individual accountability so students recognize how their individual contribution impacted the group (Dean, Hubbell, Pitler, & Stone, 2012, p. 37). Cooperative learning activities also keep students actively thinking and they learn how to communicate their understanding and knowledge with others.
The strategies discussed in personal and behavioral systems families are crucial as well, although I think of those approaches more often at an independent, personalized level for students. Information-processing and social models requires more planning at a broader classroom approach. I look forward to discovering more about these models, instructional techniques, and experiencing how students respond to certain strategies.
Dean, C., Hubbell, E., Pitler, H., & Stone, Bj. (2012). Classroom Instruction that Works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Joyce, B., Weil, M., & Calhoun, E. (2015). Models of Teaching (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.
I created my digital storytelling project on why I decided to become a teacher because then my video serves multiple purposes. First, I can use it as an example to show my students what a digital storytelling project is. Second, they know I have finished one before too. And lastly, the video has another message to them about why I enjoy being their teacher. This video is primarily focused on my students as the audience in a formal educational setting, but I would likely share it with parents and other educators too.
The recommendation of ISTE Standard 1 for teachers is to create an inspirational student learning community through technology. The entire digital storytelling creation process is fun for students while engaging them to apply technology skills and research content for their topic. Also, because the videos take time and planning to finish, students’ learning is enhanced as they continually combine prior knowledge with new information.
The creation process can be as simple or as a complex as someone wants it to be. I decided fairly quickly on a topic and began gathering my photos to include in the video. I typed out a script so I could think about what other photos I needed. While writing the script I tried to use simpler vocabulary words and thought of how I would emphasize certain terms during the audio recording step. I searched for the additional pictures using the website Creative Commons. I specifically downloaded map pictures for the different geographic locations so students had a visual representation of where I was during different parts of my story. I searched for graphic art style pictures too because I thought the variety added more character to the video.
As I collected pictures online, I saved them in an iPhoto folder. Next, I imported the pictures to iMovie. Since I had not created any videos before, I watched a few videos on YouTube about how to use iMovie. I preferred an educational series from user KQED Education because the videos were in a sequential order and concise. After watching a few videos I worked on making transitional changes between pictures and extending their length for more than four seconds. The tutorial videos advised that the pictures are timed a bit longer than your audio so it would be easier to adjust after recording narrative.
I practiced my script a few times using my iPhone stopwatch to record how long it took to read through. The stopwatch ended just before four minutes and thirty seconds so I knew I had the right amount of content. I recorded the audio in iMovie was satisfied after my fourth recording. I adjusted the pictures to ensure photos changed at appropriate times. Next, I looked for music to add to the background. The music is from YouTube’s free library, although I searched a bit on SoundCloud as well. I found two free songs on YouTube and added them to the video. I watched and listened to the video at least five times while making slight changes before deciding I liked the final product.
The biggest challenge of this project was thinking about the fact that nearly all of the technical steps were completely new to me. I was really overwhelmed before starting to make my video, but soon realized I had enough research skills and basic technology knowledge. Finding music was probably the most difficult step because I was really nervous about how I would know if it was free or not. I also wanted to find music that had good tempo, was a bit calming, and not a distraction from my story and the pictures.
The most significant thing I learned from this project is that as a teacher, I must practice whatever I assign my students and have many resources available for them when they need help. This is definitely a project I would assign to my class, although I would specify a shorter video time for younger students. I would also build the class up to a project like this by having them practice skills in recording audio, finding music, searching for pictures, and slowly combining information along the way. I am excited to see what types of videos my students create in the future.
ISTE Standard 4 addresses ethics, safety, and responsible application of using technology in a global society. An educator’s responsibility is to teach students about the importance of respecting people’s digital privacy, ethical use of resources, and being cognizant of behavior online. This standard also recommends teachers consider if students have proper access to technology resources.
When I start teaching I would like to work with fourth of fifth graders. I strongly believe I have to model any type of behavior or expectations I have of my students. After reading Standard 4 I asked myself what opportunities do I have to model ethical behaviors to my students as we explore and practice using the digital tools and communication resources available in a global society? An objective is to demonstrate safe and ethical technology practices during class.
Digital citizenship is a key phrase school districts might use when creating policies to teach students Internet safety, responsibility, and proper technology-related skills. As a teacher, digital citizenship includes being informed about technology trends, being aware of district policies and options, and empowering students to create engaging digital learning projects (Lindsay & Davis, 2010). I think teaching digital citizenship to students begins with teaching students to understand how digital citizenship is similar to real-life citizenship. Ribble and Northern Miller (2013) describe how children have grown up with technology so they attend school with a basic skill set, but they are often not aware of technology etiquette or what is required of a digital citizen. Due to this, educators need to think about opportunities that will explicitly teach students about appropriate technology habits and attitude.
Researchers and experts have developed categories that target specific issues related to digital citizenship. Lucey and Grant (2009) list property, freedom of speech, priorities, privacy, and accessibility as the primary digital issues. They further explain the responsibilities of teachers, students, and administrators related to the five categories. One of my classmates shared an article that described three main categories to describe important digital issues: 1) respect yourself and others; 2) educate yourself and others; and 3) protect yourself and others (Ribble and Northern Miller, 2013). Within each category there are specific elements and examples so educators can understand how these issues relate to instruction. Ribble’s Digital Citizenship Website aptly summarizes the nine categories and provides additional resources and information.
Lucey and Grant (2009) state, “Teachers demonstrate their technology values through their instructional choices” so it is important to be mindful of how technology lessons are incorporated in the classroom and what students will learn from such examples. One opportunity for me to teach students is by explaining how I decided to use certain facts or research in a lesson. I can review with students how I determined a website was creditable, obtained updated information, and if there were any digital laws that prevented me from using the source. Another chance to practice digital citizenship is by evaluating if students have enough time to work on projects during school. If many of my students do not have computer access at home, then I should allow extra time to finish assignments or provide opportunities before or after school for students to work on school computers. A final example is teaching students why it is important to cite sources and paraphrase other people’s work into your own words. This activity involves me demonstrating aloud how I think about rewording another author’s work and decide on my own version. Over time I would assign students to work together to paraphrase examples or sentences and eventually have students work independently on sample paragraphs.
When planning digital citizenship lessons I will reference the various categories to ensure I am covering all the necessary issues. My objective is to teach, discuss, and model why these issues are important and how my behavior reflects an effort to follow the guidelines. Learning activities will be mixed in with different subjects so students have many opportunities to practice digital citizenship and learn that technology safety and ethics is applicable to numerous situations.
Ribble, M. & Northern Miller, T. (2013). Educational leadership in an online world: connecting students to technology responsibily, safely, and ethically. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (17)(1). Retrieved from: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1011379.pdf
ISTE Standard 3 recommends teachers utilize and adapt technology resources to promote effective learning and communication with students, peers, and parents. Educators should routinely evaluate how technology can help create learning opportunities during the school day and assist with interaction outside of regular school hours. This standard expects teachers to use technology tools to exchange ideas, create new content, and become a model digital citizen for students.
While learning about ISTE Standards 1 and 2 I researched how to use technology to work with students, so Standard 3 made me wonder what resources are available to communicate with parents. The specific question I asked was: What digital tools do students and parents find most useful that effectively impacts learning and improves communication while being easy to use on a regular basis? When I started thinking about this question I assumed that many teachers primarily communicate through email, but I do not think email is the best solution. Emails can be quite formal, easily ignored, time-consuming, and challenging to personalize for each student. Instead, I wanted to find a technology platform that allowed easy communication while supporting student learning.
My research indicated there are several communication sources available so parents and teachers can easily contact each other. I was a bit surprised to find out that text-messaging programs are quickly becoming the preferred method of contact between parents and teachers. Text message preference is likely because Smartphone ownership among adults has increased from 35% in 2011 to 64% in 2015 (Gilgore, 2015). More importantly, studies have also found that student academic performance is improved when parents and teachers communicate by frequent text-messaging (Gilgore, 2015). As a teacher, it is encouraging to learn that taking time to send parents messages likely benefits student achievement too. Even if text messages are a preferred source, experts recommend teachers use multiple resources to reach all parents (Gilgore, 2015). This is a very important recommendation because technology is constantly advancing and teachers have to remember that not all parents have access to the new technology. Remind is an example of a multi-approach resource so teachers can communicate with parents and students by email, text messages, and phone calls. Phone numbers are hidden which is a benefit to all users. One user of this program stated he prefers the mixture of communication options because then he feels like he is reaching more parents (Gilgore, 2015). Image 1 below shows a teacher’s view of Remind on a Smartphone along with a few features of the program. Remind appears to be an option that is age appropriate for all students and user-friendly for parents.
One of my classmates asked a similar question about ISTE Standard 3. He discussed a digital resource called ClassDojo, which his school has already integrated. This program offers a range of options including direct messaging, class announcements, and tracking students’ academic and behavioral progress. The site also indicates that read receipts are available, which I think is a major benefit because then teachers can easily monitor who has seen important information. I like that this platform provides teachers the opportunity to provide both student feedback and message options to parents since no one wants to be using too many digital tools. The visuals and feedback in ClassDojo appear geared toward elementary school students, so I am not sure it would be the best fit for secondary school students and teachers.
Deciding which digital tool to use is often the biggest challenge for educators, especially future teachers who are still in teaching programs. The options can be overwhelming and there are numerous factors to consider. Many preservice teachers have reported a high level of familiarity with technology and using digital tools on a daily basis, but studies indicate preservice teachers are not appropriately prepared to utilize technology resources in their classrooms (Kumar and Vigil, 2011). I think this is likely because the current generation of students in teaching programs did not experience a high degree of digital tool integration in their childhood education. Technology tools have primarily been used for social or personal purposes. While preservice teachers understand the value of technology, they do not have as much experience with using or observing educational digital tools. Kumar and Vigil (2011) recommend teaching programs include technology learning experiences as part of curriculum so preservice teachers can practice evaluating digital tools and creating content. This is a reasonable proposal and I think it will result in a generation of teachers who more seamlessly integrate technology resources with instruction, content, and communication.
The best communication option depends on if parents have the appropriate devices and technology skills to effectively utilize the digital tools. Another consideration is if the school district has already integrated a preferred communication source. Teachers should use the platform the district offers; otherwise it might cause parents to become frustrated if they have more than one child in the district and every teacher is using a different source. The goal is to make communication straightforward and easy for parents. Teachers also have to observe the user response of communication. If parents are not utilizing a certain source, then perhaps it is a better decision to not devote time and resources to that platform. Similar to all aspects of technology, teachers will learn overtime and through experiences which resources are most helpful and what parents prefer.
ISTE Standard 2 recommends that teachers utilize modern digital resources while designing, developing, and evaluating learning experiences. When effective technology tools are integrated as part of student learning, then learners become more actively involved in their education. Using digital tools also provides opportunities for teachers to modify lessons according to student learning styles while continuing to develop individual student’s knowledge, skills, and abilities.
After thinking about ISTE Standard 2, I was curious how I could design digital student assessments for fifth grade students and myself to evaluate their skills, knowledge, and learning goals. There are two core objectives as part of this inquiry since part is focused on what can help me facilitate the learning process while the other part focuses on how students are responsible for their learning. First, what digital tools might assist me to quickly provide feedback and evaluation during class? Second, what digital resources allow interaction between me and myself as they create learning goals and monitor their progress?
Numerous educational platforms are fun and engaging for students to use while practicing their knowledge and skills. These resources frequently provide teachers the ability to review how students have progressed. Socrative is an app that students use to submit an electronic version of their work so teachers can evaluate comprehension (Harold, 2014). This is an example of a resource that provides opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and teachers the ability to provide quick feedback. If students submit their work during class, then teachers can take a moment to review everyone’s work and modify instruction as necessary. Figure 1 below is an example of the teacher’s dashboard when logging in to Socrative.
Another useful program for teachers is VoiceThread. VoiceTread is an online tool that allows teachers to upload digital content like a video, image, or document, so students can then collaborate by interacting with the content (Cicconi, 2013). This platform offers students options since they select from different methods to communicate and they can collaborate with their classmates (Cicconi, 2013). This is a functional tool for teachers to incorporate as part of any lesson and provides students the possibility to gain a better understanding of different perspectives and learning styles. Both of these resources offer the instructor the ability to digitally assess student work. Then teachers can decide the best way to continue facilitating lessons for individual students or the entire class.
Finding a program that allows students to be actively involved in their learning while evaluating their critical-thinking skills is challenging. I initially found a digital program called PEAK (Personalize, Engage, and Achieve with K12). PEAK is a functional tool for teachers to track students progress since it combines digital content and assessments from various sources such as the company itself, third-party vendors, and any sources teachers upload (Harold, 2014). The advantage of this program is that it is a single source for teachers to monitor all the data from multiple platforms. Another benefit is that teachers can easily review each student’s information and modify instruction as appropriate. A disadvantage of PEAK is that it usually tests basic comprehension skills. Another downside is that the platform is for teachers to assess learner information so students are not involved in monitoring progress. Student involvement is essential in the creation, evaluation, assessment, and reflection process.
One of my cohorts shared an article that examined an electronic portfolio program called ePEARL (Electronic Portfolio Encouraging Active and Reflective Learning). ePearl is a comprehensive tool for students to create learning goals, monitor and reflect on individual progress, share and comment on each other’s work, and teachers provide feedback during each step (Abrami, Venkatesh, Meyer & Wade, 2013). ePearl is used throughout the school year so teachers and students are consistently engaged in reflecting on the learning progress. ePearl researchers also discovered students demonstrated a notable increase in reading and writing skills when test evaluations were compared to classes that did not integrate ePearl (Abrami, Venkatesh, Meyer & Wade, 2013). This result is significant because the purpose of integrating technology is to guide and improve the learning process. ePearl is Canadian platform so I am interested in finding an alternative that incorporates American education standards. Otherwise, ePearl appeared to be a fantastic solution for teachers and students to use during the school year.
While digital tools have advanced over the last two decades, the integration of technology in the classroom is becoming increasingly more common. As the Internet and computer technology have evolved, teachers have attempted to effectively combine digital tools with student learning. According to Hew and Brush, three obstacles have made it difficult for teachers to utilize technology in the classroom (Cicconi, 2013). These issues are: 1) lack of proper resources; 2) inadequate support when implementing technology; and 3) difficulty creating meaningful content. These are important considerations teachers should be mindful of when determining the appropriate technology to integrate in lessons. Technology tools can enhance the assessment process for teachers and students when realistic options are selected and proper time is spent on training how to use the platform. When students and teachers collaborate to use these resources, the result is likely to be a better understanding and appreciation of the learning process.
Abrami, P., Venkatesh, V., Meyer, E., & Wade, C. (2013). Using electronic portfolios to foster literacy and self-regulated learning skills in elementary students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105 (4), 1188-1209. doi: 10.1037/a0032448
Cicconi, M. (2014). Vygotsky meets technology: A reinvention of collaboration in the early childhood mathematics classroom. Early Childhood Education Journal, 42, 57-65. doi: 10.1007/s10643-013-0583-9