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:


  1. I think it is so important for our students to see that we use technology ourselves and that we enjoy it. Through your game plan, you are offering students the chance to use technology in the classroom. The other thing that I really like, is that you are modeling for students the right way to use technology. This will ensure that they are safe while using the internet, as well as prepared when using various forms of technology. It looks as though you have high expectations for your students and I think this is great. We need to set the bar high and allow students to climb to that expectation.

    Linzie Humphrey

  2. Nancy,

    I really think you have outlined a well thought out GAME plan. I particularly liked when you discussed your goal and action of incorporating at least one lesson per week where you will use technology to assist the teaching of a concept. It is so important that teachers do not turn to technology as the sole means of educating students, as this is not what technology integration is all about. Lessons should not be based around whether or not technology can fit in, but rather after a lesson and objective have been created, a teacher should look to see if technology could assist in the instructional process.

    You may also want to consider asking your students if they may know of any specific types of technology tools that you could possibly use in your classroom to help make lessons more engaging. If you students are anything like mine, the majority of them know more about and use technology more than I do. While you are monitoring your progress through student observations, having a quick conversation or conducting a survey on the types of technology tools students would like to see used in school may not be a bad idea.

    I also agree that it is very important that students are taught how to properly and safely use technology while at home and in the school setting. If students are going to be collaborating on wikis, posting to blogs, and working with other digital tools, it is imperative that guidelines and consequences be set at the very beginning of the school year.


  3. Nancy,
    I too chose to model good digital citizenship and responsibility. I agree that online technology is a new language community and young people are learning more from peers than responsible adults.

    With monitoring both your own and students ability follow copyright laws, do you plan on assessing this when students create there technical artifacts of what they learned? Just this past week I had a teachable moment where I had students copy directly out of the text book into their blog post. Students were confused that they could copy from the book into their notes, but needed to use citation when posting the same wording into a blog post. I took advantage of that moment to discuss the differences. I am glad this opportunity came so early in the year for me.


  4. Nancy,
    In your game plan you mentioned including the use of technology into your lessons at least once a week. I am also attempting that through the use of my SmartBoard and computer lab time. Do you find it to be difficult to include technology so often, or are you in a district where you have easy access to it?

    In your second plan you mentioned modeling proper use of the internet and showing them resources to aid them in online usage in your classroom. This is very important to attempt since all students "plug in" at home and explore with freedom. Teachers need to monitor, model, and supervise all usage in school to ensure their and other students safety. Great ideas!

  5. Thanks for the Comments!

    Linzie: Thank you! I am very "into" technology and I enjoy using it for many aspects of both my personal and professional life. Though my students often see me using technology, I have a long way to go to ensure that they use the technology in the classroom. Hopefully, by implementing my GAME plan, I will see an improvement in that arena.

    Jonas: Great idea to check in with the students regarding ways that I can incorporate technology in the classroom. Though students are not permitted to bring technology like cell phones and MP3 players to the classroom, I would love to find ways that their technology can be used outside of the classroom to benefit my classroom goals. I was inspired by Diana Laufenberg's use of technology to create primary sources and I would love to find ways to have students post to a blog via cell phones or text messages. I will also see what students can bring to the table, because I will know that they will use the technology. I tried to get students going on a wiki last year and they were not responsive to that goal. If I could find something that they enjoy doing and use it for educational purposes, we both benefit!

    Jean-Marie: Yes, I think that I would grade students based on their use of citations of technical resources. I understand that the students will be working on a learning curve and would need a great deal of guidance. I would afford my students the opportunity to redo that portion of the assignment, because I would rather have the students learn about appropriate citations than be penalized for a mistake. So many of the issues surrounding the use of material created by others are not apparent until they rear their heads. By using genuine learning opportunities like you did, students will understand the skills and philosophies behind citing sources without the skill being seen as just another lesson or a burden.

    Wendy: I do have trouble bringing technology to my students. Computer time is hard to come by as we all fight to sign out the computer lab or mobile laptops. We often need to sign out technology months in advance and I do not feel that I am able to plan that far ahead as I like to plan in a freer form. I just received a smartboard at the start of this school year, so I am working to find ways to incorporate that technology. Though I use my smartboard daily, I have yet to figure out the best ways to use the active board.

    I look forward to finding ways to improve my use of technology, both as an instructional tool and a means of showing students how to interact responsibly and respectfully.


  6. Nancy,
    I like that you would allow your students to "redo" their citations. Giving them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes instead of just getting it wrong and losing the points.