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Technology in Education

EME5050——Signing off….but first:  One final post.

So how do I take this entire course in and use it?  We have finished EME5050 and it was a fun ride.  We learned about integrating technology in the classroom.  In doing so, we hit upon each of the NETS-T standards.

Of these standards, I found that I already do a few of these things.  In fact, many accomplished teachers use several of the NETS-T standards in their curriculum and instructional delivery.  For example, many teachers use digital tools to convey a message.  In other words, some teachers use PowerPoint to give lessons.  However, after taking this course, I realize that there are other methods of giving a presentation:

What was missing?  I think I would have liked to have had some exposure to podcasting in this course.  I know that I would like to create podcasting of my lessons to post for students to review.  I would also like to work with video lessons…as form of blended learning.  I know that podcasting can be engaging and can stimulate creativity if done correctly with the classes.  Here are a few links that might get me (or you) thinking about creating video lessons…..and maybe even a live broadcast!

A final thought…

Do you find that technology is cyclical?  I mean, think about cell phones…they started off as large chunks of machinery, right?  Then they evolved to something that could fit in your car.  Eventually, they were able to fit in our pockets.  Then the trend was to be as small and thin as possible.  However, if you have noticed, the new thing is for screens to be bigger these days.  Are the days of nano-phones over?

I appreciate all of your input and comments…and I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.



Lesson Planning? Really?

It has been almost 13 years since I have had to create an actual lesson plan!  All throughout my educational foundation courses in college I was required to create a lesson plan.  I was told that my lesson planning would make life much easier…and that was true.  However, there were some real obstacles that got in my way.


Writing objectives was always an area in which I struggled.  I mean, I know what I want to accomplish.  I know what I want the students to be able to do.  I know what I want the final product to look like.  However, I was always being told that my objectives were not effective.

So what did I do?  I practiced.  And failed.  And practiced some more.  And failed some more.  I still have difficulties, 17 years later!  Luckily, however, the teacher’s guide provided me objectives…I use them as a guide.

So, should lesson plans be required?  I say no.  While they are very frustrating to create at times, they are very helpful.  But as an experienced teacher, I am proud to say that I can “wing it” without a lesson plan.  Do I do it every day?  Of course not!  But I can.  Experience makes you wise…but it also makes you put your guard down.  So why not require them?  I think some teachers (mostly new teachers) might feel that they have to stick to the lesson plan.  Experienced teachers know that a lesson plan is just that….a plan.  It is a guide.  It is foolish to think that a lesson plan will:

1.  Go exactly as planned

2.  Take the entire class period

3.  Meet all objectives

There are many times when a lesson presents itself with a “teachable moment”.  Seasoned teachers know that you have to take those moments and use them as an opportunity for authentic learning.

This week in my EME5050 class I had to write a detailed lesson/unit plan.  And I have to say, I found myself struggling!!!!  I would not mind hearing some feedback on my lesson/unit plan…


Open To Suggestions! C’mon In!

So in preparation for our final project in EME5050, I would LOVE your feedback regarding my Wiki curriculum page.

The basis for my Wiki page is 6th grade Language Arts, with ELL students (non native English speakers).

Particular concerns that I would like to have addressed include:

  • Does the flow of my page work?
  • Does my Prezi example look like the product I am asking for?
  • Are the instructions clear?
  • Are my reference points appropriate?

Do you see any obvious issues or problems?

Feel free to be constructive.  I’m open to feedback that will help me improve my project page.



On-Line Learning-My Thoughts


The reading this week was very interesting. Since I am a student in the UCF Educational Technology program with a focus on e-Learning, I found the chapter on Teaching Online to be very practical. I would like to eventually teach in a virtual setting. I know that the economy and unemployment are an issue these days and finding a job teaching virtual classes might be difficult to come by. The chart on page 293 (Figure 6-13) gave me an idea of just how many options for teaching online are out there. I thought I was limited by Florida Virtual School! Being a National Board Certified Teacher will certainly make me more marketable if I have to look out of state…and having this degree under my belt will add to my qualifications.

Dual enrollment is a topic that I also want to reflect upon. I understand the use of dual enrollment to acquire college credit ahead of time at a faster pace. However, in my district, schools (at least my school) are using dual enrollment as a credit recovery program. And with this use, I am not so sure that I agree with the justification. How can a student be placed in a 7th grade math class without having mastered the 6th grade skills? This is exactly what is happening. Students are placed in classes which content is being presented that scaffolds on last year!

Just my thoughts!

Week 9 Reflection Journal – Wiki and Digital Storytelling

As I was reading the chapter and supplements for my EME5050 course this week I couldn’t help but think about how I could apply the concepts to my own background; how could these concepts benefit a 6th grade Language Arts class?  I have been teaching 6th grade Language Arts for over 15 years and I have seen many changes.  I have seen the students change…I have seen the curriculum change…I have seen assessments and testing change…I have seen technology change.  How might I be able to integrate technology, digital media, and curriculum integration into my lessons?

Digital storytelling projects have just started to become more common in my school.  As a matter of fact, I have really only noticed them since this semester…perhaps this is because the EME5050 class has devoted a major chunk to this topic?  Or maybe they have really just started to gain popularity.  I’m not so sure.  I do know that the students I have in my class are just as tech savvy as I am, and would take very well to the challenge of completing digital assignments.

Digital storytelling assignments may start to take the place of traditional book reports.  I think the only thing that might even come close to preventing this would be the lack of access to technology of some families (which is a completely different blog!).

So the question to put out there to all educators regarding digital storytelling might be:

Exactly how will you develop the project if this is your first one?

Great question!  And fortunately we have many great resources to use in the planning, creation, implementation, and presentation of digital stories.

For my 6th grade students I would have to look at Common Core Standards (we formerly used the Sunshine State Standards here in Florida) to see what could be turned into a digital story.  I think I would use a biography assignment as a digital storytelling assignment.  I could see students using a digital presentation platform and/or digital timelines to create a project that is both rigorous and relevant. 

The assignment mightlook something like this:

Select a person to do a biographical research study on.  You will read and research your subject and create a multimedia presentation highlighting his/her major accomplishments.  Please be sure to include specific dates (birth, death, etc.) and specific accomplishments.  You can present using any type of digital presentation platform (other than PowerPoint).  Your presentation should include both text and images.  You may also include video and sound/music to your presentation.  We will spend 5 days in the Media Center where Mrs. Smith, the media specialist, will assist with research techniques and technology.  You can use traditional texts in your research if you wish, but you must include at least one digital reference.  Be sure to check that your web research is reliable.


Use the following links to assist where needed:

Now, there may be a bit more to the instructions, but this is just a starting point.  As far as teacher created materials…I would think that a good teacher would have a few demonstration presentations.  Eventually, the teacher would acquire some exemplary samples for future classes to view. I think this part would go along pretty well with the “Don’t Reinvent the Wheel” section of our reading!


In the creation of our Wiki page for this week’s assignment the following NETS-T standards were covered:

Standard 4:  Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

Topic C—Promote and model digital etiquette and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information

Digital Wiki pages tools which nearly all teachers should use at one point in their career.  Some may only use a Wiki page for specific assignments, while others will go into more depth using Wiki or other platforms to help themselves be known to the digital world, as some of them can be set to edit mode.  I was aware that individuals used Wiki platforms to collaborate on digital assignments, but it is a new concept to me all together.  This assignment was authentic, and I can see myself using Wiki pages to promote my class in the future.

Standard 3:  Model Digital Age Work and Learning

Topic C—Communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats

Creating an online Wiki page is an effective way to communicate assignments and ideas to parents and students, as well as to collaborate with colleagues.  Using the online format allows for students and others to view the information from any computer with WWW connections.  You can add active links in your Wiki to make the page more of a network than a page.  You can also set the page to allow others to edit, making this a great collaboration tool.


Who Can Benefit From Digital Storytelling? A Prezi For EME5050

The following link will bring you to a Prezi that I created to outline who might benefit from digital storytelling.  Now, since digital storytelling is actually a digital explanation, the Prezi may seem to be more of a skeleton.

The presentation concludes with a cropped photo and added caption from Flickr.

Technology In The Wrong Hands…Disaster Waiting To Happen?

Technology In The Wrong Hands

The unit this week is on computer hardware…I thought I would take a look at how computer hardware and technology could have a dark side.

 Long ago it was that only the government had access to “super computers”, taking up entire rooms. As time progressed, it seemed that only the most well-to-do and affluent families had access to technology. Then the pattern progressed to almost all families having access to technology… Today, it seems like almost every member of every family has access to technology. This is a fantastic leap in the right direction. We do need more access. Children are getting exposure to technology earlier and earlier in life. The ease of access has become almost a given.

However, the ease of access can also be a disaster waiting to happen. How?

Let’s take a step back…away from the realm of education. Let’s look at the Department of Defense. Unless you have been living in “technological isolation”, you are aware of one of the newest forms of defense: The unmanned drone. The United States Government has employed the service of unmanned drones to survey, assess, and address particular areas of concern in the world. War seems to have gone far from “man against man” in WW-I and WW-II…and now is fought remotely. A planned attack can be ordered and carried out via remote control from a facility in Colorado, far from harm’s way.  Check out the article.

So why is this a disaster waiting to happen?

Well, if the United States is able to create and develop the technology to carry out missions from across the world, on “enemy” soil…isn’t it only a matter of time before “the bad guys” have the same technology? Isn’t it only a matter of time before “the bad guys” will be able to carry out missions on U.S. soil? Technology is a great thing. However, in the wrong hands (like anything else in the world) this can be a terrible disaster waiting to happen.

Another example of technology doing harm is in the remote detination of IEDs in other parts of the world. Who would have thought 25 years ago, when some of the first cellular phones were introduced, that this new and exciting technology would/could be used to harm people. A $25 cell phone can cause the death of multiple people…in the wrong hands. Perhaps this is a dark and gloomy way of thinking about smart phones, but it is a realistic issue. It is somehting that is in the news today, and should be addressed.

Finally, take an innocent web browser. A student…a family member. Perhaps paying their electric bill online. All of a sudden, the family computer is “hijacked” by a piece of malicious software. Said malicious software didn’t evolve from dust! It was created by some computer genious with too much time on their hands. A family can have their computer hacked, personal information stolen, and lives thrown into a spiral due to one “smart and bored” person.

From:  Do Computer Viruses Influence Society?

All of these are examples of technology in the wrong hands. Do we have ways to defend against these issues? Sure. But just as “the good guys” are working on ways to prevent all of these potential disasters from happening, there are “bad guys” working on ways around them.

Understand that the world sees technology as a fantastic creation that certainly does more good than evil. There are more positives than negatives. This blog is NOT being written to cause paranoia. But rather to open our eyes and bring light to the fact that, in the wrong hands, technology can be a potential disaster waiting to happen.

What are your thoughts?