Archive for the 'Teachers' Category

Which Technology Will Save Education this Year?

I’ve been using computers in the classroom  since 1978.    Each year a new technology comes along that claims it will save education. Some evangelists of this technology, usually technology-based people,  tout its wonders. Teachers are trained on this newest and best technology. Whole curriculums are developed around the technology.  Some schools, often pilot schools who have had a huge influx of the technology with special help from the producing company, brag about the many  benefits of this technology. Yet, we do not hear about the long lasting effects on learning.

Some people consider the pen an improvement over the pencil.  Has the pen caused students to write better?  How teachers have students  use the pen improves  students’ writing.  The same is true for any new technology.   “Technology integration” workshops should focus on improving teaching, not on this newest technology.  When these workshops show teachers how to apply different learning strategies such as those from Silver, Strong and Perini in The Strategic Teacher Selecting the Right Research-Based Strategy for Every Lesson (from ASCD) using a technology, then  successful student learning will result. Likewise, a workshop on formative assessment that incorporates technology can lead to greater student achievement.

Another trend with the new technology is that often the producing company has already created the “learning” curriculum. Teachers have less of a role in designing and modifying the curriculum. Teachers become reduced to the observers of the curriculum. Classroom teachers know their own students and they know the best way to modify the curriculum so that their students can learn. Teachers should have available a wide variety of technology-rich resources to help them as they map out the curriculum for their students. These teachers should not be trapped by the technology.

What do the “technology integration” workshops in your district focus on?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Quarterly Benchmarks Programs and the Role of Teachers

Many companies are now selling quarterly or more frequent benchmarking of the students. The companies make it sound like the benchmarking will solve the educational woes of teachers and schools. I agree that benchmarking can provide a valuable summative assessment of the student. Unless the benchmark specifies what the student can do to improve than the benchmark is summative, not formative. The teachers have to spend time going through the data to figure out what each student needs. If a school’s solution is for a computer program to diagnose and then give formative feedback (i.e. have the student do certain activities which the benchmark happens to provide), I wonder what the role of a teacher becomes. Do teachers in such environments simply become managers instead of instructional classroom leaders? Does all their expertize get thrown away since the computer program does it all? Teachers could be working with small groups of students but then the benchmarking program would not have that information to keep track of students’ progress. How do teachers integrate these benchmarks into their class?

Professional Development NECC Workshops- “Hands on” or “Brains On”

NECC 2007

I’m finalizing my presentations for NECC (2 workshops and 1 session). Conducting a workshop is an interesting game. People want to learn new information. They want to practice it. However, they often do not want to spend time in workshops which focus more on developing new thinking skills involving technology than on the actual “technology.” I tend to give “brains on” workshops instead of “hands on” workshops. I always build in time for people to think about the new skill such as using Flickr and to plan how to integrate it into their classroom. Yet at this most critical time, the actual implementation of the skill, is when many participants zone out or leave. Usually I build in time to for them to share their implementation ideas with another participants so that they can get feedback. Participants often do not want feedback.

If I show them sites all during workshops, they are happy. However, when I stop and ask them to seriously think about how they will use this technology to improve student learning, I find their interest descending quickly.

Do we want our students to be “show and tell” or “show and think”? Do we think about the hard questions about technology use so that we use the technology in a way that truly benefits our students learning? Or do we just want to learn the technology?

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Diagnostic Pre-test With Technology Before Teaching the Standard

Teach or Pretest

I’ve noticed that teachers start off a new lesson with the topic, maybe why it is important, and some motivation/hook. I have not seen, in the last few years, any teacher pre-testing students at the start of the topic. I understand the reason not to pre-test students. If we know what students do not know, then we have a responsibility to fill in the gaps. If we do not pre-test, then we do not know anything about learning gaps and we can proceed with our already-planned lesson even it does not fit the needs of the students.

If we pre-test and quickly analyze the results, we have an obligation to modify instruction. We can not simply say that the students need to do more math problems or they need to write more to do better in the standard. We have to discern how to help them travel from where they are to where we want them to be in terms of the standard.

I suggest giving a pre-test the day the students finish the previous unit. Then you have a day to analyze the results and modify your unit according to the new data you have. Some teachers who do not have a district online quiz or test program use survey sites such as Zoomerang and SurveyMonkey that allow them to give 10 question pre-test (multiple choice, True False, ratings, and open-ended) “survey” for up to 100 students. They can set up a quiz quickly. If they write the pretest in a word processor, then they can copy and paste it into the online survey taker program and they will have it for the future. However, the teacher has to copy the survey results since the results will disappear after ten days. Teachers save pretest correction time and basic analysis time when they use these sites.

Do you use another online survey program for pretests? Do you have another way to give online pretests and have them analyzed? Share your information so that we all can have new tools to help us improve our students’ learning.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Locked Down Laptops: Technicians vs Educators or Both Win-Win

A friend told me that his child goes to a 1-1 laptop school. He bought the computer for his child but the district locked it down when it installed the school software. He could not add a driver so that the child could print out at his office.

I borrowed an office laptop.  I do not have admin rights to change the printer so I cannot print in the office nor at home. I have to email the materials to myself and then use my wife’s laptop to print out the material.

A teacher bought the same laptop that the district has so she could use it in her classroom.  The district will not let her put her laptop on the district network.

I think the district technology director, technicians, and end users should sit down and have a healthy discussion about locked down laptops and other technology.  I understand security issues, viruses, management issues, and network concerns; I also understand the teachers or students desire to use their laptop for maximum teaching/learning.  I tend to go with technology supporting learning as opposed to technology blocking learning.

So how has your district provided both technicians and teachers/students with a win-win solution?

Stop Idealizing Technology Integration and Begin Helping Other Educators

 I am amazed at how we educators still tell the ideal glamorous story of technology integration but we usually neglect the struggles, the issues, and the problems that we have encountered.  We have forgotten that others can grow from our mistakes and they can avoid those problems if we let them know about the problems.  I think that every educational website, blog, and conference presentation, and article should build in a “what went well” and a “what did not go well (or what might go wrong)” section.   

Do we want to help each other or do we only want to sugar-coat our own experiences? Let’s help others to stand on our shoulders by telling them about our disasters as well as our successes. Tell others about all the steps we have had to go through to make something work so others will be aware of those steps.  If we help each other, then each of us will be much better at integrating technology for improved student learning. If we do not, then each of us will be independently spinning our wheels. Let’s travel together.

Blogging:

Went well:
I was able to easily migrate my blog from another blog site.

What did not go well: 
I recently moved this blog from another blog site but I did not realize that I have to re-insert all the graphics so numerous entries have broken graphics symbols.

I had used another blog site that did not use RSS feed and so few people knew the site existed. Although RSS feed may or may not be the best “feed” system, it is the one that most people use.

I could not find what the widgets did  in this Wordpress until I did a web search for some outside references. I’m sure that they are explained somewhere within WordPress but I could not find it and I did not want to put in any widgets unless I knew what they did. 

Technology-Infused Learning: Restricted or Scaffolded Learning?

( learning)

( learning ….Learning….LEArning……LEARNing…..LEARNING)

I had a talk with a teacher who decided to incorporate technology into her unit.  She decided what activities she wanted the students to do and then she fit the technology into those activities.  She was working with countries of the world.  She wanted each student to do a report on a country.  She decided that they would gather the information from the library’s encyclopedias and then her students would prepare a PowerPoint presentation of the country’s information. It was to be all words.

I had a talk with another teacher who decided to incorporate technology into her unit. She decided what particular standard she wanted her students to practice.  She and I discussed various activities and various technologies that might help scaffold the learning for her students.  She decided to have the students select five images for their chosen country from Flickr/Woophy and then for them to describe the variety of geography in a PowerPoint. They would use those five images to tell the different geography and how it might influence life in that country. 

Have you talked with your technology integration teacher or Library Media Specialist recently to see new ways of using technology-infused learning to scaffold learning for your students?

Learning or Technology First?

I am fascinated with inconsistencies between concepts and talk in terms of learning and technology. I have conducted many interviews about learning and technology in classrooms with K12 teachers.

 

I have noticed that many educators say that technology is only a tool and that learning is the true focus. I often hear statements like “I concentrate on their classroom learning not their technology use” or “I don’t care about the technology, I just want them to learn math.”

 

Then the educators go on to describe what their students do in terms of learning and technology. I usually hear statements like “My students use PowerPoint to show the decline of Spain,” “They searched the web for information on plants in space,” “I have my students take digital pictures to show the steps in their lab,” or “My students use email to exchange math problems with students in France.” Their words show a different focus. I notice that in each statement the technology comes first and then the learning. “My students use PowerPoint to show the decline of Spain” has a different focus than “My students show the decline of Spain through PowerPoint.” Often the educators’ words show that they are still fixed on the technology.

 

The vast majority of teachers place the technology in the front part of their sentence and then the learning afterwards. Frequently, when I ask about learning and technology in their classes, I just hear the technology such as “My students search the web” without any indication of the specific subject area learning. I do not feel an educational focus in such statements about technology.

 

Sometimes I hear myself talking about learning and technology and I notice that I have put technology first. I usually stop and rephrase it instantly. I want to focus on student learning. Listen to how other educators describe learning and technology and see where their real focus is. Listen to professional development presenters or professional speakers and hear where they focus really is. What is first in your statements and theirs – learning or technology?


RSS Education with Technology

  • Tech Integration Teacher, What time is it? August 23, 2016
    When someone asks what time it is, that person wants to know the time, not the history of the clock, not how a clock works, and not what other types of clocks there are. Classroom teachers want to help their students improve their academic learning through technology. Sometimes they need help with technology so they go […]
    hgtuttle
  • Curriculum Focus, Not Technology Focus July 28, 2016
    In my public school career I have been a classroom teacher, a technology integration specialist and a technology administrator. In my technology role, I served under the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction. She had a simple mission: Improve students’ academic learning. My mission was equally simple: Improve students’ academic learning through technology […]
    hgtuttle
  • Students React to Digital Badges: Pros, Cons and Interesting June 22, 2016
      ISTE 2016 By Harry Grover Tuttle, Ed. D. College World Language Students’ Preferences Digital Badges – 52%        Paper Certificates – 48% World Language: Can-Do Digital Badges Digital Badges Pro- – Breaks down proficiency more – Shows all badges at once – Is more attractive – Is more appropriate since we use […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Naming the Badge October 29, 2015
    Once teachers have selected what learning and what digital badges (individual or category badges; see previous blog), the teachers encounter another decision. What will they name each badge? Will they use the full name of the Common Core Standard or the national proficiency? For English, under “Speaking and Listening,”will they write out SL.2 “Integrate and […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Better Than Grades? October 19, 2015
    Teachers understand that the grade in a course consists of many different factors such as homework, participation , projects, tests, etc. Blodget observes that sometimes grades reflect attitude, effort, ability and behavior (http://www.academia.edu/9074119/Grading_and_Whether_or_not_Grades_Accurately_Reflect_Student_Achievement). Equally important, a letter […]
    hgtuttle
  • World Language Students Use of Mobile Devices in the Classroom October 5, 2015
    Do world language students use technology n the classroom? Do their  teachers go beyond having their students use technology simply for the drill and practice in vocabulary and grammar? Students can use laptops and mobile devices to hear authentic language, read authentic texts, read tweets about famous performers, see up-to-the-moment culture,  watch video […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Individual or Categorized Learning Badges? September 12, 2015
    The idea of digital badges sounds appealing for the digital children in classes. As teachers start thinking about digital badges, they have to figure out what badges will be awarded. The teachers can award social or academic badges. If teachers decide to use academic badges, then the teachers may base their badges on the Common […]
    hgtuttle
  • English +Common Core +Mobile = Success (ISTE2014 Poster -details) June 30, 2014
    Here are the ten examples I showed at my English + Common Core  + Mobile ISTE 2014 Poster Session: Based on CCSS Anchor Statements: L.2 Take a Conventions Mobile Online Quiz  to pick the  incorrect sentence from four choices (capitalization) SL.2  Evaluate audio recording of a  book chapter on mobile and predict for next chapter. […]
    hgtuttle
  • Global Cultural Learning Using Mobile Devices (ISTE Mobile MegaShare Presentation) June 28, 2014
    Based on my presentation at ISTE 2014 Mobile Megashare Why teach about other countries? Location: Large view to small on maps. Culture or culture. Find six similarities in a  mobile picture from another culture (“Wars are caused by differences, not similarities.”-Tuttle.) Tell one piece of information from each different Internet visual from a place in that […]
    hgtuttle
  • English + Common Core + Mobile = Success in Learning Poster Session at ISTE 2014 June 25, 2014
    In my ISTE Sunday 8-10 am poster session, I demonstrate many diverse mobile activities to help students achieve the English Language Arts Common Core Anchor Statements through mobile devices. The mobile activities focus on free common tool apps that are available on both the Android and the iPad. The students use the apps as a seamless […]
    hgtuttle

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