Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Monitoring my GAME plan progress

NETS-T 3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning c. communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats (NETS-T)

Finding Resources: It has been a pleasure beginning to find the resources that I need to work on this goal. I have used SmartBoard resources available online to find, download and adapt for my own use. Additionally, I have found a multitude of games and multimedia resources to supplement my lessons and blog. I need to continue to explore and begin to look towards the technologies with which I am not as comfortable such as wikis and podcasts.

Modifications Needed: I need to ensure that I do not bite off more than I can chew in this arena. There are so many resources available, that it can become overwhelming. I am going to modify my goal to include quotas per unit of study so that I do not burn out and I do not overwhelm myself. Too many times I have begun looking for one element to add to a lesson or a blog post and I end up finding more resources than I can handle, often for topics other than the one I was researching. If I make it my goal to plan a great dynamic lesson for one or two topics and a truly engaging blog post for another one or two topics per unit, I will begin to build a library of quality technology rich lessons/posts that will serve me well for years to come but will not be overwhelming.

Learning: The school provided website, FinalSite, and Google’s Blogger have been wonderful repositories for my work and have allowed me to be creative in what I put online. I am in the process of learning how these two separate programs can work together, e.g. linking a document from my FinalSite page to my blog. I have also learned that I need to be an active proponent of using the page in order to encourage my students to use the technology at home. The more I provide, both informational and enjoyable, the more my students utilize the page and the more they get from the resources offered.

New Questions: The major question that I feel I am struggling with is “are these resources being used?” This primarily falls to the blog elements. As I stated earlier, the posts are a large investment of time and energy and I often worry that they are not being taken advantage of. Though my students continue to report that they are visiting the site, I need to find ways to encourage them to participate and get involved in the resources that I have made available. I question how I can incorporate blog elements into homework without penalizing students that do not have access to internet at home. It can be difficult to get computer time during class, so I am unable to provide class time to complete the assignments.

NETS-T 4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility a. advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources (NETS-T)

Finding Resources: I have been able to find resources on this topic quite readily. If anything, I may have found too many. Various means of documenting resources exist and I have not found one that I prefer or a way to modify existing plans for my sixth grade students. I really do welcome any assistance that anyone can provide on this front.

Modifications Needed: I need to modify my expectations and realize that this process will likely take some time. Students (and teachers) can be resistant to the extra work associated with documenting resources and unless I find an easily implemented means of documenting, I fear that documentation will not take place or that avoidance will occur. Just yesterday, I was about to place a picture on my blog, but realized that I could not determine the actual creator of the image and therefore elected to omit the visual from my post rather than risk citing the wrong source. I need to find image libraries that are searchable and trustworthy so that I can know how I should be citing my images. I also want to explore the possibility of incorporating more of my own images (photography) on my page so as to ensure that I have the right to use the image. This development ushers in the new concern of protecting my own, and eventually my students’, intellectual property.

Learning: Thus far I have learned that I still have some philosophical issues to iron out before I can really move forward. Once I find a type of documentation that I feel comfortable with and can implement without too much burden, I believe that this process will be much easier. I have also come to realize that virtually everything online seems to be stolen from somewhere else. This realization was not necessarily unexpected, but it complicates my goal. Aside from documenting images, I have learned that documentation has not been too difficult. As I believe that I will not ultimately use full APA or MLA documentation, it has been easy to simply cite the source of games, links or information with a brief note or parenthetical comments.

New Questions: I have come to realize that I need to define my philosophy and my expectations for students and myself regarding documenting sources. Additionally, I have begun to question if using images from the internet can be justified when it is nearly impossible to determine original sources.


National Education Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T) located at:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Carrying out my GAME plan

I have begun to implement my GAME plan in measured steps and have considered what I need to do to progress further.  My goals are to use technology to assist with communication of information and content and modeling and teaching responsible use and documentation of resources in online communities.

NETS-T  3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning  c. communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats  (NETS-T)

Resources:  In order to meet my goal, I will need resources that include technology, colleagues, and less tangible resources.  The technology that is required includes a blog interface, a school website with a parent portal and the ability to post resources and links, an email distribution list, and software/hardware that allow me to create and manage class information like Publisher and SmartBoard.  Online multimedia, games, and informational websites will provide additional resources.  I will use the skill, creations, and input of colleagues within my building, district, and online sharing communities to assist, supplement, and inspire my work.  Finally, as I hope to make my lessons and offerings dynamic and engaging I need adequate time, inspiration, and drive to deal with the trial and error aspects of creative lesson planning.

Additional Information:  To help me move forward, I need to understand the capabilities of the technology I use and the usefulness of the various options.  I must also better understand what materials and resources are free to use and how I should acknowledge the use of materials created by others (This ties in with my second goal).  I want to reflect on the incidence of use of the materials I create to ensure that the efforts are not for naught.  I also need to continue learning about the various technologies I hope to use while working toward my goals.

Steps so far:  I have a blog established, but I am working to provide links that are more informational, increase the use of meaningful games, and provide exciting activities on the page.  I am creating various original resources as I create lessons and notes with my new SmartBoard.  Our school has recently begun using a new website that allows for increased communication with parents and students, though not all features have been rolled out thus far.  Preliminary information and parameters have been implemented and I continue to explore potential applications of the features on the website.

NETS-T  4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility  a. advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources (NETS-T)

Resources:  I will consult with the Media Center Specialist to review fair use policies and establish a collection of resources from which we are permitted to use materials without asking express permission, e.g. subscription services.  I will also use resources like APA citation manuals and online referencing guides to determine best practices for citing resources online and in the classroom.  Creative commons will be used to collect and share resources.  The last resource that I will use will be blogs to determine accepted protocols in the online community, extra credence will be given to blogs with an educational focus.  Ultimately I will need a student friendly version of the rules so I can share them with my students.

Additional Information:  I need to know what fair use practices say about use for educational purposes as I am not fully informed about what can and cannot be used without expressed permission.  I need to determine what type of citations are required by my district and the technology I use, e.g. blogger and our website host.  As I have a limited understanding of how creative commons works, I need to explore and participate in that resource sharing site.

Steps so far:  I have used simple citations, i.e. “from the Weather Channel,” to begin citing the images I include on my blog.  Additionally, I have tried to use photographs that I have taken to illustrate my posts, post links to notes and images rather than copy and paste, and embed items with inherent authorship stated such as youtube videos from the original author.  Finally, I have been cognizant about recognizing the ideas and suggestions of my students in my work; students are always referenced in my blog and my classroom when I use their ideas.

I hope to hear from you, my classmates, if you are aware of any resources that have helped you with either of these goals or if you see something that I have overlooked when it comes to additional information.  Unfortunately, I can only see these topics from my own eyes and I am quite sure that there are angles that I have not covered.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts, suggestions, and feedback.


National Education Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T) located at:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My GAME plan

As “digital natives,” my grade six mathematics students interact with technology regularly and successfully.  Outside of school, they use technology to communicate, for entertainment, and even in the most mundane of tasks.  Televisions, internet connections, touch screens, and more are pervasive; accordingly, the children that have grown up using these technologies are skilled with the medium and engage with little hesitance.  The same cannot always be said of the educators that attempt to enlighten them in school and thus we see a “powering down” (Prensky, 2008, p. 42) of our students, a move toward static interactions and a reliance on learning activities that do not match the 21st century world in which we live. 

I consider myself an acclimated digital immigrant and a bit of a technophile.  My students see that I use and enjoy technology on my own and that it is incorporated into our class activities.  Despite my enthusiasm and skill, I have strides that I would like and need to make for the benefit of my students.  By exploring the ISTE NETS-T standards, I was able to identify two areas that I need to improve and believe that the GAME plan identified by Cennamo et. al. (2009) will help me improve my use of technology in the classroom.
NETS-T  3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning  c. communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats  (NETS-T)

Goal:  My goal is to ensure that I use technology as a means to deliver content in a meaningful and improved manner.  Technology should assist in the delivery of information, not be the focus of class activities. 

Action:  In order to meet my goals I need to commit to creating at least one lesson a week in which technology assists in the instruction of the concept.  I will use resources such as colleagues, professional online forums like blogs or resource sharing sites, and text connections to broaden my instructional approach.  In respect to technology, I would like to use available resources such as active whiteboards, internet resources, software, multimedia, and public posting venues to improve my lessons and the communication of our content.

Monitor:  To ensure that this implementation is beneficial to my students I will check for understanding via traditional and new methods that incorporate technology.  Additionally, I will monitor student reported interest/engagement as well as my anecdotal observations regarding student enthusiasm.

Evaluate:  To ultimately determine the success of this change in my teaching style I will assess students on the content via the use of various strategies to ensure that students are able to demonstrate recall, application, and interpretation of the content.  Additionally, I will evaluate this endeavor on the enjoyment and engagement of my students through reflective discussion.

NETS-T  4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility  a. advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources (NETS-T)

Goal:  My second goal is to model and teach safe, appropriate, and legal use of technology.  My focus will be primarily in the areas of respectful online communication and use of non-self-created items.

Action:  I will provide students with venues for online interaction within safe confines and give them rules for online communication via both online postings and classroom discussions.  Safe usage guidelines will be shared with parents and students and I will engage in regular monitoring of student interaction online.  I will also research ways to document appropriately the use of others’ content on my blog and in my classroom.  I will use resources like creative commons and teacher sharing forums to populate my creative work to ensure that I model appropriate use of resources.  Additionally, I will utilize the skills of our media center specialist to help improve my skills and educate my students on this topic.

Monitor:  To monitor my progress on this goal I will oversee my students’ interactions online and work with them as new concerns arise.  Regarding copyright and intellectual property, I will review my work to ensure I have documented sources properly and collaborate with colleagues to ensure that our entire staff uses resources fairly.

Evaluate:  Though it is difficult to quantify the effectiveness of my work, I would expect to see adherence to expectations in 90-100% of posted material.  Be it the work of my students or my work online and in the classroom, I hope that we all move towards safer and responsible presences online.  Our skills should continually grow and develop.

Technological interaction is much like a new language and community.  We must learn how to interact within the culture in an educated, safe and respectful manner.  It is an ongoing process and I am excited to make improvements in these areas.

Cennamo, K., Ross, J., & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology Integration for Meaningful Classroom Use: A Standards-Based Approach (Laureate Education custom edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

National Education Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T) located at: