Category Archives: 3.3 Implementation and Institutionalization
Implementation is using instructional materials or strategies in real (not simulated) settings. Institutionalization is the continuing, routine use of the instructional innovation in the structure and culture of an organization.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Preparing students for the 21st century workplace involves teaching and exposing students to various types of technology they will encounter. Students should feel comfortable being able to email, share documents, present information electronically, research online, etc. School districts are providing more and more technological resources in the form of computer labs, laptops, mobile devices, and so on.
Opening up the world wide web for students can open up a can of worms so to speak. How can we ensure that students are using the technology responsibly? One measure is to have a very clear and concise Acceptable Use Policy.
The National Education Association suggests that an effective AUP contain the following six key elements:
- a preamble,
- a definition section,
- a policy statement,
- an acceptable uses section,
- an unacceptable uses section, and
- a violations/sanctions section.
Students need to be aware that when using technology in a school, it needs to be specifically for school use only. Districts have the ability to track all computers history which helps alleviate some of the desire to roam throughout the internet. The key is to ensuring students use the internet properly is that they are TAUGHT specifically what it means to be a responsible user. Students need to be expected to uphold that behavior and if they don’t there are consistent and clear consequences.
At the beginning of every year, my school teaches a responsible computing portion of our freshman seminar course. This provides a means to present our guidelines to all students. Examples of poor behavior are given and the consequences that follow. Students are expected to treat others online as they would in person.
Some examples of AUP’s:
Can you imagine a world without smart phones or computers? Technology has increasingly become a more important part of our lives. Because of this, preparing students for the workplace has changed dramatically. We are immersed in a world where wikis, podcasts, blogs and moodles have become commonplace as a means to communicate. Integration of technology into the curriculum has become imperative to better prepare students for this new 21st century workplace.
Edutopia defines effective technology integration as “seamless integration is when students are not only using technology daily, but have access to a variety of tools that match the task at hand and provide them the opportunity to build a deeper understanding of content.”
How can technology integration help students?
Outside of school, students are presented and process information differently than in the past. Television and the internet have created a very multimedia rich world. Everything is much more dynamic and engaging.
Technology in the classroom can provide a much more engaging learning environment as well. Students are able to visualize concepts much more clearly with video and applets. They can take the basic knowledge that they learn and apply it to real world applications in a much easier way. Students are able to use virtual field trips and like activities to transport themselves to other parts of the world to gain a better understanding of the plight of others.
It also can aid students in providing multiple resources for learning. Computer based quizzes and clicker activities can provide instantaneous feedback allowing them to become more interactive and take ownership of their learning.
How can technology integration help teachers?
As mentioned above, our role as teachers has changed. It is still imperative that we teach students the basic skills needed to be successful in the world. However, it is also important that students leave high school feeling confident and comfortable with the different technologies and terminology they will encounter in the workplace.
According to the ICT (Roblyer, p 21) teachers are required to provide three sets of technological skills for students:
- Technology literacy: Students need to be able to adapt to new technology.
- Knowledge deepening: Students can take their prior knowledge to a new level utilizing technology.
- Knowledge creation: Students can create concepts being innovative using technology.
Technology adds so much to a teacher’s repertoire. It brings a lesson to life. In the past, we might have taught about the work of Shakespeare having students read and analyze his work. Today, we can have students create a video depicting the plot of a particular play. This is just one example that can assess a much higher level of understanding. In Geometry, students can use an interactive white board to manipulate a polygon to actually see that the measurement of the angles stay the same. Seeing it to be true is so much more valuable than just believing it is true because it was read in a textbook.
The sky is the limit when it comes to utilizing technology. We are teaching in an exciting time. Learning has become so much more comprehensive and dynamic. It is changing the culture of education for the better.
Doering, Aaron H., & Roblyer, M.D. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson
Edutopia. (n.d.). What is technology integration? Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-description
Games have been around for certainly as long as I can remember. Even the term “game” itself tends to describe a positive and fun experience. Years ago, I would not have described myself as a “gamer” (still am not really). Back then (15 years ago), I thought gaming was a waste of time and brain power. I had one experience years ago that changed my thinking.
As a new teacher, I was asked by students to be a “computer group” sponsor. So, as with any new teacher wanting to get involved, I agreed. When I went to the first meeting that day, I encountered not a “computer” group but a “gaming” group. I don’t even remember what game they were playing, but I have never seen a group of kids (most of whom were not great students) so ENGAGED!! I could barely get their attention. My first thought was to turn off the game right away, but I decided to jump in and see what they were doing. I hate violence in games, but the strategy needed was incredible! It required a lot of analytical and algorithmic thinking to be successful. At that point, I remember thinking I need to work with this and use it in my classroom. Have I? Well, not exactly. Time has gone by and I haven’t done much with the concept of integrating game based learning into the classroom. My hope is that will change.
Alice is a 3D programming environment that helps students visualize the ideas of Object Oriented Programming — objects, functions, methods, etc. I just started using it in my Intro to Programming class last year as an intro to Java and the kids love it.
The lesson I have created below is not for my programming class, but for my Algebra class. For my Programming final last year, students were asked to create an interactive quiz in Alice (on any subject). I created one to quiz my students on systems of equations. I used it last year and now my students always want to be quizzed in that method. If I had the time, I would absolutely mix in more games. It tests the same material but in a much more engaging and interactive way.
Here is a demo of the quiz:
1.1 Analyzing instruction to deliver better methods for presenting material.
3.1 Using resources (Horizon Report) to improve learning.