Infinity & Beyond

I described my view of integrating technology in a classroom as a yellow brick road. The teacher’s job is to build, support, protect and direct along the path each step of the way. There are many amazing things that can happen when using technology. I believe it is a nonstop learning experience for both teacher and students. It opens the door to new ways of thinking and gives students a chance to explore new ways of learning. For an educator, teaching a class how to use technology is a long challenging road to go down. The teacher has to be well informed of the resources they are using before presenting them to the class. The teacher can then use scaffolding to help students reach their zone of proximal development to better understand the advantages of using technology as a tool. Having strong leaders assists the development and engagement of students as well as influences their academic outcomes. I believe that the 10 commandments for teaching cyber ethics are essential to use in a classroom so that students are aware of the dangers that can arise by using the web and understand that technology needs to be used as a tool in an appropriate manner.

the-road

Resource: http://rinklyrimes.blogspot.ca/2011_12_01_archive.html

Nothing is perfect. Although I believe that the educator being the leader towards becoming more technologically aware/advanced is extremely important, there may be some limitations that occur within this metaphor. I have not yet had a significant amount of experience teaching students how to use technology therefore, I feel as though there might be some altercations that may come about. What if a student (like my niece) is so much more technologically advanced that the teacher has difficulty challenging them? Is it hard to teach someone to use technology who has not yet had a chance to experience it? Such as a family who does not have a computer in their home. Are children who have not experienced using electronic devices more afraid to move to that particular stage in their development than those who have? The teacher has to think of so many things before deciding which aspects of technology to incorporate within the classroom. When I teach, I definitely want to incorporate resources such as the web, games and blogs. I want my students to be inspired and feel as though they are making a difference both for themselves and for the people around them, just like in the Freedom Writers clip. I am a big supporter of students having the freedom to explore within limits. I want my students to be able to explore/experience the technological resources availible to them within certain boundaries (for their own safety).

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This metaphor continues to reveal itself as students and teacher learn how to use and integrate technology in their daily lives. I think I will have more answers to these questions when I myself have acquired more experience as a practitioner and there will definitely be more questions that will surface along my journey as a practitioner.

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Freedom within Limits

A successful technologically mediated classroom consists of students using technology as a tool and in an appropriate manner. This is why it is essential for the teacher to lead students in the right direction and make sure they do not get off the path. What lies off the path are distractions and other dangerous things. It is crucial for the teacher to set boundaries for students when incorporating technology in the classroom. I definitely think that students should have freedom within limits. This means that students can still see and experience different features technology has to offer.

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A study that was conducted in the United States in 2011 by Microsoft and The National Cyber Security Alliance showed that students are currently not receiving sufficient education when it comes to cyber ethics or internet behaviours. This is crazy considering that there are over 60 million students and teachers nation-wide. Students from ages 8 to 18 years of age are on electronic devices for almost 7.5 hours per day. 94% percent of students ages 12 to 17 are online users as well. Were these students taught cyber-ethics at school? If not, do they know about both good and bad sides of using technology?

See more about the study here: http://news.microsoft.com/2011/05/04/2011-state-of-cyberethics-cybersafety-and-cybersecurity-curriculum-in-the-u-s-survey/

In the article “Tools for Teaching Cyber Ethics” by Linda Starr, she talks about the significance of teaching cyber ethics within schools. It is extremely important to make students aware of the dangers of using the internet/technology to fully comprehend how to use it to the fullest potential. In my opinion, the article really proves how important it is for the teacher to be the guide/leader for students and lead them in the right direction. She also includes the 10 commandments for teaching computer ethics that was created by Dr. Ramon C. Barquin. I think this is extremely accurate and is definitely something I would include within my teaching if I am incorporating technology.

10 Commandments of Computer Ethics:

  1. Thou shalt not use a computer to harm other people.
  2. Thou shalt not interfere with other people’s computer work
  3. Thou shalt not snoop around in other people’s files.
  4. Thou shalt not use a computer to steal.
  5. Thou shalt not use a computer to bear false witness.
  6. Thou shalt not copy or use proprietary software for which you have not paid.
  7. Thou shalt not use other people’s computer resources without authorization or proper compensation.
  8. Thou shalt not appropriate other people’s intellectual output.
  9. Thou shalt think about the social consequences of the program you write or the system you design.
  10. Thou shalt use a computer in ways that show consideration of and respect for your fellow humans.

Reference: http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech/tech055.shtml#sthash.rgpNlnfX.dpuf

Today’s student is tomorrow’s entrepreneur or business. Each student should have the chance to receive proper education when it comes to the use of technology. In order for students to receive that education, each teacher needs to go through adequate training in order to offer a solid foundation to each student. As a leader, educators are transmitting knowledge in order to create future leaders.

Lions & Tigers and Bears, Oh my!

People might think that an educator will become lost in a technologically integrated classroom. You may ask youself: Why do you need a teacher when the technology is capable of teaching the lesson for them? What does the educator do in this type of environment? Why would you need help being lead down a distinct path that seems to head in only one direction?

What the teacher is supposed to do in this type of environment is be the constructor, leader, repairer and protector along the brick road. All these things are essential to properly educate students so that they become aware of the dangers envolved in using technology, social media etc. Making sure everyone stays on the same path avoids students wandering off and going on inappropriate sites and becoming distracted. If cracks begin to form in the road (e.g. student has a hard time understanding), the teacher has to make sure they are able to fill those cracks and move forward. For a technologically-integrated classroom, it is the teacher’s duty to come up with appropriate content, diverse projects (differentiation), have engaging topics and be a good problem solver.

Reference: http://rap.genius.com/Dyme-a-duzin-this-is-my-world-lyrics#note-2074427

Having strong leaders assists the development and retention of students as well as influence their academic outomes. We must face the challenges the yellow brick road (technology) has to offer, much like Dorothy confronts her own challenges as she journeys down her own path (“lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”). If a teacher wants to integate technology in the classroom, they too have to do their homework before presenting it to the class. They have to be prepared to provide/find the answers to questions/problems that may arise along the way. There are many strategies a teacher can use to figure out how to include technology in their classroom. Below is a link written by Dave Guymon. It is a five step process to integrating technology within a classroom. I think he sums up the steps that have to be taken beforehand very well. 

Link: http://gettingsmart.com/2014/02/5-steps-effective-technology-integration/

The yellow brick road can be decieving. It may look simple and easy to follow but there are many challenges along the way. There can be many distracting things along the way such as meadows full of beautiful poppies. However, how can we let students explore the benefits of using technology in such a confined environment?