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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Technology Integration

Technology Integration

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So, I'm wondering, do you think that technology has truly made a difference in the quality of teaching and learning within the core subject areas? How often do non-technology teachers really use technology in their classrooms to benefit learning? In what ways do they do this? I'm feeling pessimistic and I hope that I'm wrong.

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Keith Heggart's picture
Keith Heggart
High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia
Facilitator 2014

Here's a link, Andrew and others, to a project that I undertook last year. This was a mix of English (a novel study) and also a bit of writing and scripting. We called the unit of work 'Bookworm.'

Update - I keep triggering the spam filter when I try to post the link in.

Here's where you can see it:
a) Search for keithheggart on Youtube.
b) Look at the video called 'StMarksStory.'

Any way I can get around this, Andrew, and post the link itself?

Hope that helps. If you've any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Andrew Pass's picture

Keith and others,

You should see on the bottom of the page it says, "Allowed HTML." Click on that text and you'll find a wide array of HTML codes that you can borrow and edit accordingly.

I hope this helps.

Donna Malloy's picture

I'm a technology facilitator in NC and serve 8 schools. I work with teachers helping with technology integration. I have found that the key is not only offering the training, but being available to be there when they attempt their first lesson integrating the new idea. Once they get over the fear of things "messing up" and gain confidence, they become pretty independent and eventually want to branch out further. So keep moving on and have faith. The integration will happen and it does pay off.

Jessica's picture

Of course you can use technology for core subjects. I developed a placement value lesson using the smart board and had great results. we played games and used traditional style blocks for ones, tens, and hundreds. The students were involved and eager to try a question on the board, even my shy and special needs students. Technology can truly assist in learning for all levels of students for both core subjects and electives.

Kevin J. Latham's picture
Kevin J. Latham
Teacher, Annapolis, MD

Hello, everyone. New member here.

Dr. Bradley's comment of 2/5 seems really insightful, and I've seen some of the frustrations mentioned by Mr. Heggart. I also believe it's important to keep telling ourselves that technologies can be great enablers, but are just tools, not ends in themselves. Sometimes a pencil is better than a computer.

I'm beginning to gain some traction with the use of a collaborative tool from Microsoft called SharePoint (not trying to plug a vendor here). My website is built on that technology and I invite interested parties to poke around or to email me. You'll see, if you check multiple teachers at my school, that it's still an unevenly implemented work in progress -- an example of Dr. Bradley's point about teacher training (and also of the importance of having a carefully thought-out implementation plan).

The version of SharePoint used at my school is actually free. A more robust version is also available, but probably not needed in most school environments.

SharePoint is pretty powerful. It can be used to post announcements, homework assignments, tests, etc. It also can show a variety of useful links, course-related documents, photos. There is a discussion-group capability, blogging (not a big fan), and a host of other capabilities. One can also map curricula on the site, either broadly or down to the level of individual lessons. This is a great feature for those trying to standardize courses or for bringing new teachers up to speed rapidly.

Anyway, I didn't mean to be so long-winded. Please feel free to contact me or post something to this group for additional information.

Roxana Williams's picture

Identify the differences between teacher centered strategies and student centered strategies, and how do the differences affect the role of technology and media in the classroom. Describe one of the four major learning theories and its impact on the classroom.

Roxana Williams's picture

Identify the differences between teacher centered strategies and student centered strategies, and how do the differences affect the role of technology and media in the classroom. Describe one of the four major learning theories and its impact on the clasroom.

Keith Heggart's picture
Keith Heggart
High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia
Facilitator 2014

And it actually makes a difference. I stumbled upon this little program while talking to some educators from a different school It turns a script that you write into an animation, complete with a range of characters and all these other options, including camera angles.

It's called Xtranormal - www.xtranormal.com
You have to sign up, but it's all free!

How about that as a way of motivating your less enthusiastic writers to have a go? And I bet it would make a real difference to literacy, if used effectively.

And to prove that it is really that simple, here's one I prepared earlier, introducing students to an assessment task:


Keith Rosko's picture
Keith Rosko
Visual Arts teacher from Chenango Forks, NY

[quote]Hi Andrew and all,I hear you! I, too, have been really excited at the prospect of technology, but also I've been incredibly frustrated by the actual application of that technology. As a bit of background, I've worked at 2 schools that have had a 1:1 laptop program, and the results, to be honest have been mixed.My biggest problem has been the reliability of the machines and the network supporting it. In the first school, where we used Windows machines, it was not uncommon to find that, out of a class set of 30 machines, only 15 would actually load. Then, if we navigated to the Learning Platform, the drain on the wireless network would cause the whole network across the school to crash.Added to that, I've been reading a lot of the evidence regarding learning and technology, especially the work of Dr Alan Bain, from Charles Sturt University, Australia. As I understand it, he argues that despite the increasing level of technology in the classrooms, educational achievement has stayed the same.I personally think that we need a different approach to technology - we need to consider very carefully both how we want to use them and what educational outcomes we want to see from this use - and then define different ways of assessing those outcomes.I feel education and technology have a lot to offer, but there are clear obstacles to be overcome first.[/quote]
I agree with what I hear Keith saying...

I am on both the HS and district level Technology Committee's here at CF (as well as being the resident Media Literacy obsessive on the HS Literacy Team).
I see some teachers here doing some truly innovative and oustanding things with technology - using it to enhance the learning process, or add things to the curriculum that would otherwise be impossible for students to be exposed to, (and our Visual Arts Department - of which I am a member - has fully integrated technology into our K-12 curriculum) however...
My biggest complaint, and the largest shortcoming I see in the use of technology (and in school districts approaches to technology - both hardware and software) is that too many teachers (and administrators) are viewing/using it to teach based on todays world (or even worse - the world some of us grew up in) and not using technology based on the world the students are living in now - or most importantly - the world that these students will graduate into.
Until we can fundamentally alter the way we see education and technology so that it reflects the fundamental changes going on in the world these children live in, we will always be behind the curve. A tough task, but not impossible, especially since it really only a matter of mindset.
I have some examples of solid use of technology at the tail end of one of my "media literacy" lectures at http://www.cforks.org/education/components/scrapbook/default.php?section....

Keith Heggart's picture
Keith Heggart
High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia
Facilitator 2014

Hi Keith
Always nice to meet another Keith!
I couldn't agree with you more - somehow, we need to get ahead of 'the curve' as you call it. I agree, it's not impossible, but it will take a very different approach to education than the one I see both in Australia and the US. I think we need to find the time, money and expertise to explore different kinds of learning - and in many cases, it will mean us, as teachers, working in a different role to what we traditionally imagine as teaching.
Let me give you an example - what about 'Notschool', an idea I've seen tossed around in various forms in a couple of educational arenas. That is, a school which exists solely online, and teachers communicate to their students via skype, twitter, VLEs and so on. Rather than textbooks, we could have interactive learning 'streets' which students walk down, visiting different buildings as they learn. A much more student-negotiated, student-centred approach to learning.

Just a few thoughts.

Oh, and I think your stuff on Visual Literacy is excellent, Keith. I've bookmarked the page for later use!

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