Monthly Archives: July 2013

Obstacles of Utilizing Technology in a Classroom

According to the National Council of Teaching Mathematics, (2000, p 24), “technology is essential to teaching and learning mathematics; it influences the mathematics that is taught and enhances students’ learning.  Teachers’ attitudes play an important role in using technology in teaching and learning mathematics.”

Math is such a visual subject.  Technology can enhance the visualization of an otherwise complex topic.  For example, in geometry, Geometer’s Sketchpad can help students explore geometrical relationships and develop reasoning skills.  Olkun (2005), suggests that it is effective to integrate math content and technology in a manner that enable students to make math discoveries in a game or playful environment.

Obstacles to Integrating Technology in a Math Classroom

  1. Getting teachers on board — As mentioned above, technology is useless without teachers being on board.  How do we get teachers to buy in?  Providing thorough and continuous training is a first step.  Teachers are overwhelmed with work as it is, so the implementation needs to be as easy as possible.  Also, teachers need to be shown ways that technology can be used in the classroom.  There is no need to recreate the wheel, so providing a resource page of how particular pieces of equipment or software is used would be useful.
  2. Money — Technology is expensive.  However, there are many technology grants out there to help diffuse the cost.  Another important expense is technology support.  This is very important in ensuring that the equipment will be working consistently.  Teachers will not use equipment if it is not reliable.  Creating a technology expert, so to speak, within each department will help keep the costs down and have a go to person close by for all teachers.
  3. Filters — Many districts and school have filters on the internet to prevent students from accessing social media, youtube, etc.  This can restrict the use of technology within a classroom.  Removing these filters and providing students with knowledge of how to be a responsible digital citizen would alleviate this obstacle

The key to implementing technology in an effective way is to provide training and resources, show teachers the power of using it within their lessons, and collaborate together to share ideas.  Embracing technology for what it is — a means to enhance a lesson — will help alleviate the fear of the unknown.  It is not replacing teachers, it is helping us teach students in a way we could never do before.

 

References:

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2000).  Principles and standards for school mathematics, Reston, VA.

Olkun, S., Altun, A., Smith G. (2005).  Computers and 2D geometric learning of Turkish fourth and fifth graders.  British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(2), 317-326.

Global Projects and Walled Garden Discussion

Here is my Voice Thread analysis of Global Projects and Walled Gardens.

References:

http://www.flatclassroomproject.org/

https://education.skype.com/

Internet Safety Guidelines–Tips for Students

The internet has become fast become THE place to gather and share information. Long gone are the days of searching for a book in the library to research a topic…or picking up a phone to get caught up with a friend. While it is very convenient, the internet introduces a whole slew of risks as well. This guide will provide some basic tips for students when browsing the internet with a little help from http://www.commonsensemedia.org.

Tip 1:  Recognize that any information you share online is NOT private.

First of all, recognize that college admission counselors, potential employers, your parents, etc. can see posted or forwarded information.  If you don’t want that group of people to see the things that you have done, then don’t post about it.  Many, many people have been burned by this idea that their information is private.  Your thought process before you hit submit should include “Do I really want my mother or potential employer to see this?”.

Secondly, the internet has allowed pedophiles to become more prevalent (or at least have access to more children).  Predators tend to create fake profiles to lure children.  How do predators select their children?  A list of some general criteria is here.  They tend to pick children via instant messaging, who are online quite a bit and who post personal profiles.

Thirdly, do not post any personal information about yourself such as your phone number and address.  If you post photos online, be sure that you are ok with everyone seeing them.

Tip 2:  The Golden Rule still applies when online.

Treat others as you would want to be treated.  This mantra tends to go by the wayside when people become anonymous posters.  Recognize that the people on the other side of the computer are still human beings with real feelings.  Do NOT say or post anything online that you would not say to that person face-to-face.

Tip 3:  Online cheating is still cheating.

Plagiarizing from a website is the same as copying passages from a book.  In this day and age there are many software packages out there that will allow a teacher to compare your paper to the internet to see if any of the text is virtually the same.

Tip 4:  Be aware of scams and potential viruses.

There are many illegitimate websites out there whose main function is to download a virus to obtain your information.  First of all, make sure you have proper anti-virus and anti-malware software.  Secondly, do not download anything from sites that aren’t reputable.  If you are not sure, ask your teacher or your parents.

The key to being a good digital citizen is to USE YOUR HEAD!  Think before you post and before you start browsing in unchartered territory.  If you are ever unsure of whether you should, you likely SHOULDN’T!

Resources:

http://www.gcflearnfree.org/internetsafetyforkids/1.6

http://www.commonsensemedia.org/advice-for-parents/internet-safety-tips-high-school-kids

http://www.fbi.gov/fun-games/kids/kids-safety

http://www.netsmartz.org/internetsafety

Using Multimedia in the Classroom

Using multimedia in the classroom can enhance instruction exponentially if used in an effective way.  The video below describes some benefits of using multimedia in the classroom.  I apologize for some of the stumbling within the video…this was my fourth attempt, so I had to kind of stick with it.